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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 January 17, 2019

                                                    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                                    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                                    In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                                    Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                                    Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                                    Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                                    Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                                    The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                                    There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                                    How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                                    According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                                    Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                                    Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                                    The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                                    Listen carefully:

                                                    We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                                    The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                                    Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                                    8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                                    There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                                    Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                                    1. Pray Daily

                                                    You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                                    When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                                    Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                                    Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                                    2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                                    A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                                    By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                                    Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                                    If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                                    This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                                    How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                                    3. Smile Often

                                                    Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                                    Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                                    Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                                    The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                                    4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                                    A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                                    When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                                    Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                                    Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                                    5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                                    I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                                    Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                                    What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                                    6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                                    God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                                    I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                                    I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                                    7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                                    You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                                    How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                                    First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                                    If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                                    If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                                    If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                                    Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                                    8. Go Exercise

                                                    Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                                    The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                                    You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                                    12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                                    The Bottom Line

                                                    It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                                    It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                                    Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                                    More Resources About Mindfulness

                                                    Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

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