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25 Items To Add To Your Summer Must-Read Book List

25 Items To Add To Your Summer Must-Read Book List

Summer’s around the corner and we’re all too busy fussing about where to go and what to pack, all we need now is the very necessary summer must-read. Think of this list as a display window of an online bookshop; you could indulge in some not-so-guilty pleasure contemporary fiction, pick up a classic that you never have the time for in your day-to-day or even a self-help book that can possibly make your summer a life changing experience. Here are 25 books to help you make the best of your time (and of course, help you take the perfect Instagram picture with your book and smoothie by the pool to make all your friends jealous)

Summer Must-Read for the Contemporary Lovers

1. Every Day by David Levithan

    The thing about this story is it keeps you questioning. It’s the thoughtful and captivating journey of A, who has an indeterminate gender, family and even an indeterminate name, as he finds himself waking up in a new body in a new life each and every day. Soon enough, things change when A meets Rhiannon and so arises the question: can you be loved by a single person, if you’re a different person every day. This book goes beyond romance and makes us long for a true human connection.

    2. One Day by David Nicholls

      On the theme of days, this book is about Emma and Dexter who meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. It’s a realistic love story making it a whole lot less of a cliché than most. It captures the effect of time on people and relationships; the strains and the struggles and the longing and the nostalgia. It’s told through snapshots of both their lives on one day over the course of twenty years and with this one, there seems to be no middle ground as it’s a conundrum in itself.

      3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

        This is the story of Bee, the 15-year-old daughter of Bernadette Fox, a notorious, fearlessly opinionated and revolutionary architect. It begins when Bernadette disappears and Bee – through emails and secret correspondence – begins her search for her. This book is original, satirical, sharp and ultimately about self-discovery and acceptance.

        4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

          This book unlike many is charming. It takes place in 1999 just before the turn of the millennium and is Lincoln O’Neill, the new “internet security officer” who comes across the hilarious emails between Beth Fermont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder discussing all the details of their personal lives. Despite the job description stating he should probably be turning those emails in, he can’t help but be captivated and keep reading, until he realises he might be falling for Beth. It’s light and sweet, definitely lifts spirits for the summer.

          5. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

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            This haunting and tender story of the brief lives of the Lisbon sisters is all about the enigmatic and the magical. Twenty years later, they remain in the minds of the boys who worshipped them and the book is them recalling their shared memories of the slow and unexpected disintegration of the family next door. The suburban vibes and the warm hues that are so well described make reading this book an experience you can’t miss out on.

            Summer Must-Read for the Classicists 

            6. 1984 by George Orwell

              Written in 1948, 1984 is essentially Orwell’s prophecy of the future. It presents a chilling dystopia that is so powerful and convincing from start to finish because it captivates the imagination and has withstood the test of time making it timeless. Orwell’s complex depiction of the future requires multiple readings to take it all in but you could definitely appreciate the genius on the first time.

              7. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

                This book is an examination of how we live and a guide on how to live better. It’s a story of love, fear, growth, discovery and acceptance and brings up all of life’s fundamental questions making it very exhilarating but both touching and sublime. If you’d like a challenge filled with speculations and confusions, this could be the one for you.

                8. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

                  Dream-like modern classic about Randle Patrick McMurphy who walks into the world of a mental hospital and takes over, attempting to challenge the “dictatorship of Nurse Ratched”. This novel revolves around defiance and the struggle between two relentless opponents and will give you hope that maybe, just maybe, there’s a possibility to rise above  the machine and The Man and find your humanity again.

                  9. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

                    F. Scott’s aim was to write “something new — something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned” and so he did. This book is an encapsulation of the Jazz Age with Jay Gatsby – a self-made, self-invented millionaire – leading it all and embodying all of America’s obsessions of the time: money, ambition, greed and the promise of new beginnings. It’s the American Dream in action along with all its contradictions and obstinate hope.

                    10. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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                      This story in a nutshell is about Celie, a poor African-American girl living in Georgia who overcomes poverty, sexual oppression, racial oppression and separation from family to become a strong woman. It’s told through diary entries which makes it very personal and despite the portrayal of the abuse that could be a little overwhelming, it almost brings a reality check and could be a very introspective experience.

                      Summer Must-Read for the Travellers 

                      11. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

                        Many worry being seen with this book will make people think it’s a book about the relentless rants of a neurotic 34 year-old-woman, but it’s beyond that. It’s a memoir about Elizabeth’s enlightenment and self-discovery as she travels to examine three different aspects of her nature: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India and balance between enjoyment and divine transcendence in Bali. This journey to seek answers and a sense of serenity encourages us to do the same and go on a journey that will help us find some sense of happiness and balance.

                        12. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

                          This book commands you to live deliberately, have no fear and live with no compromise. It’s about the riveting story of Chris McCandless, a young man who left his family, friends and abandoned most of his possessions to go to Alaska. The essence of the novel is that it makes you want to live more, to truly understand the meaning of Reality.

                          13. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

                            This is the story of a one thousand and one hundred mile solo hike that broke down a young woman shaken by catastrophe and built her back up again. And it has it all: tragedy, drugs, lust, infidelity, nature, humour and adventure keeping you interested. Some might say that this book is what “Eat, Pray, Love” aimed to be.

                            14. The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson

                              This book is a classic of travel literature and is hilarious with a touch of heartache. Bill Bryson discovers a continent that was doubly lost; once to itself as it was blighted by greed, pollution and television and once again to him because he had become a stranger in his own land as he had left Des Moines as soon as he was old enough. It’s very poignant but I have to warn you, it could make you call your travel agent.

                              15. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

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                                On The Road is about Jack’s years of travelling in the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady. They roam the country on a quest for self-discovery and experience and Kerouac’s patriotism and compassion combine to make this inspirational piece of freedom and longing. Just like The Lost Continent, this could make you feel the urge to research hippie culture, quite your job and just drive.

                                Non-Fictionists 

                                16. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss

                                  This is the story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic and most importantly the ways in which we can fight back. Every year, the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese, 70 pounds of sugar, 8,500 milligrams of salt a day and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year. This book is an eye-opener and has a very empowering narrative.

                                  17. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson

                                    We’ve all taken one of those online tests titled “Are you a PSYCHOPATH?”, well know you can know for sure. They say that one out of every hundred people is a psychopath and this bestselling novel is an exploration of the world of those who have no empathy, who are manipulative, deceitful, charming, seductive and delusional. How can this be any more appealing?

                                    18. Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits by Kevin Roose

                                      Every year, thousands of eager college graduates are hired by the world’s financial giants, where they’re taught he secrets of making ridiculous amounts of money in addition to a guide on how to dress, talk, date and drink. This book is an insight into the world of Kevin Roose and all his young bankers that are exposed to the workload, the bonuses and the drugs that are the essence of Wall Street life.

                                      19. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

                                        This is the book that can make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change. Malala’s tale is remarkable as it’s about family, culture and – the trigger of her peaceful protest – her entitlement to an education. This will remind you how much we take for granted and will allow you to see life through a very different perspective whilst keeping you informed of the world around you.

                                        20. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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                                          Eating Animals explores the many stories we use to justify our eating habits and marked by Foer’s profound moral ferocity, this book can truly make you question the things he’s investigating: “Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates?” This book can challenge people’s beliefs when it comes to their eating habits and in that discomfort, you could find a very interesting experience.

                                          Self Help Books 

                                          21. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

                                            Kahneman will engage you in a lively conversation about how we think and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. Many practical insights into the mechanics of decision-making are shared along with techniques to guard us against the mental glitches that often get us in a pickle. Essentially, this book will change the way you think about thinking! Who wouldnt want that.

                                            22. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

                                              Many would wish this book had been around when they had graduated for college and had someone buy it for them and say “Here. This will help.” Rather than it being viewed as the ultimate guide to being a grown-up, it’s there for reference. Taking your time when reading it over summer would make it a very fun read while giving you a list of your own life hacks on the go.

                                              23. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

                                                This book is considered the manifesto for the digital age. It’s a guide that will put you directly in touch with your artistic side with its graphic look. It’s a quick and funny how-to that points out that no work is ever completely original and that the obsession with being original will only smother your creativity. It’s a good message to keep in mind before endeavouring any art projects and could get you fuelled up for your own summer art project.

                                                24. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

                                                  The Power of Habit shows that harnessing this new science of understanding how habits work will be the key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive and being more successful, ultimately transforming our businesses, our communities and our lives. This strikes as very tempting because it presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential and is great to read before starting a brand new year again filled with changes. Who said December was the only month for resolutions.

                                                  25. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

                                                    Quiet is for all you readers out there who undermine the value of introverts, you’re missing out on lots, my friends. This is very passionately argued, impressively researched and filled with personal anecdotes that – collectively – can permanently change how we see introverts and how they see themselves as it can help you confront things about yourself that you always kind of knew but glossed over with more appeasing explanations.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Reading via wallpapersus.com

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                                                    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                                                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                                                    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                                                    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                                                    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                                                    1. Work on the small tasks.

                                                    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                                                    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                                                    2. Take a break from your work desk.

                                                    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                                                    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                                                    3. Upgrade yourself

                                                    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                                                    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                                                    4. Talk to a friend.

                                                    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                                                    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                                                    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                                                    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                                                    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                                                    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                                                    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                                                    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                                                    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                                                    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                                                    7. Read a book (or blog).

                                                    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                                                    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                                                    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                                                    8. Have a quick nap.

                                                    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                                                    9. Remember why you are doing this.

                                                    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                                                    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                                                    10. Find some competition.

                                                    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                                                    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                                                    11. Go exercise.

                                                    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                                                    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                                                    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                                                    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                                                    12. Take a good break.

                                                    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                                                    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                                                    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                                                    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                                                    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                                                    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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