I have always had a certain affinity for books. For as long as I can remember, I have admired books as special treasures – something to save up my $3/week allowance for in the 3rd grade, a resource for encouraging potential careers as a professional surfer and a Hollywood actress in middle school, and a way to explore the truths of the world – both inspiring and tragic – in high school literature and beyond.
In college, I’m the kid who does all of the unnecessary readings for class and still has a leisure book on my bedside table. I dog ear the corners of pages, highlight interesting passages, and read multiple books at one time – switching back and forth depending on what I am in the mood for. Instead of watching Netflix before bed, I curl up with a book for 15 minutes (or sometimes a few hours) and enter the captivating worlds of people who don’t exist and happenings I’ll most likely never face.
I wrote my college essay on what it’s like to be taken by a book describing it as “a static state of unbelievable motion” in which I am able to travel to distant lands and eras, expand my viewpoint of life, and most importantly – celebrate the freedom of being granted the ability to ask unlimited questions – all from the comfort of my “sea of pale pink sheets”. As my 17-year-old self said it best:
“It is through reading that my inquisitiveness is no longer seen as a nosy flaw, but a celebrated asset. I am able to question ideas and make connections between concepts, and my constant companions, the neatly arranged letters, encourage it. I delve into others’ lives without suffering any repercussions. In fact, I am praised by the orchestrators of the stories who desire nothing more than a reader who truly thinks about their works. I embark on adventures of exploration and investigation, and do not return home until I am satisfied with the answers to my queries.”
Summer has always been my favorite season for a reason beyond beach vacations, overnight camp, and pool days. I never saw the forced summer reading that plagues most elementary, middle, and high school children as a chore, but rather as an exciting opportunity to discover something new (save Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which truly did haunt the summer prior to 4th grade). Even this summer when I leave the house at 7:15am and don’t return until after 6:00pm, I find time to fit in some reading. For me, reading isn’t something I simply like – it’s something I absolutely could not live without.
And so, I have compiled (a month or so too late) the ultimate summer reading list. From the classics to the beach reads, the historical fiction to the tween novels (I promise I read these years ago), I give you the best books I have ever read. I’m sorry if you don’t agree.
Emma by Jane Austen
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Opposite of Lonliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
Bloom by Kelle Hampton
The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Students Across the Seven Seas (S.A.S.S.) multi-author series
Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
Secrets of my Hollywood Life series by Jen Calonita
Enjoy! And let me know what your favorite books are. Although I prefer historical fiction, one of my goals is to start branching out. I’ve realized that limiting myself to one type of book defeats the purpose of allowing stories to propel me into a different world. There’s still another month and a half left of summer, which means plenty of time to immerse myself in endless reading.