Lifestyle Reads: Books to crack open this summer

Recommending novels to keep you relaxed and entertained over the summer

My favourite reads going into the summer.
Photo: 

It’s the time of year again: I’m finished school and finally reconnecting with my love of reading. Here are some of my favourite books that will help you rekindle your relationship with literature this summer: 

Normal People by Sally Rooney

People used to ask me what my favourite book of all time was, and I would reply with the classic, “Oh I can’t just pick one, I’ve read too many good books.” 

Incorrect: this book is the one.

While I think Normal People is the greatest book ever, I don’t know if I’ll ever read it again—I was an emotional wreck for about a week the first time around. I’ve read a lot of romance novels throughout my life, but I would say that this book isn’t about romance: it’s about intimacy.

If you want to relive the intimacy and heartbreak of your first love, this book is for you—but brace yourself for emotional destruction.

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Being a psychology major with a biology minor, I love to nerd out on anthropology books. 

Once, in one of my biology classes, someone asked the prof if humans were an invasive species. My professor cocked his head, thought for a minute, and said, “Yeah, sort of.” The human species really is a freak of nature. How else did the hairless cats of the primate family take over the world?

Sapiens describes the major developments that allowed humans to expand throughout the continents, dominate the animal kingdom, and develop complex cultures and societies.

If you’re putting away your textbooks for the summer but still want to learn something new, Sapiens is for you. 

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Whenever I recommend this book people always ask me what it’s about, and I don’t even know where to begin. One of my key memories from this book is a man dressed as a giant bunny hiding in a ceiling vent, but I can’t remember why or how he got there.

The basic premise is that a bunch of anxious people get taken hostage at an apartment showing and get to know each other beyond their quirky exteriors. While trying to piece together this odd mystery, you’ll laugh, cry, and ultimately be reminded how anxiety often manifests as people just trying to find love, safety, and fulfillment.

It’s clever, compassionate, and made me laugh really hard. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for something light and funny—but not a garbage beach read. 

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

This book is probably the craziest true story I’ve ever read. In short, a journalist goes into the mountains of Mexico to try to find a hidden community of ultrarunners and uncover the secrets of running and health.

On his journey, he encounters a hermit living in a cave after being dumped by his girlfriend, an ultra-runner with a passion for barefoot running, the elusive running tribe, and many other unique characters. 

This team of eccentric ultrarunners take on some of the most niche and perilous ultramarathons in the United States on a quest to unlock the secrets of running and human nature. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson

Growing up, I always saw this book on my friends’ parents’ bookshelves and display at Indigo and wondered what all the fuss was about. I finally got around to reading it this year, and I see now why everyone was so excited during its heyday.

I enjoy psychological thrillers over horror movies because they always provide interesting commentary on the complexities—and dark sides—of human behaviour. 

This book was the most dark, twisted, and thrilling book I’ve ever read. It also provides insightful commentary on issues of mental illness in the law, the realities of sex trafficking, and the Swedish political system.

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