Sometime’s you just need to get away from it all and jump into a good book—particularly one from a good summer reading list.
From current restrictions due to the pandemic, political unrest at home, and an increasingly warming planet, it can feel like there’s nowhere to escape…
Until you pick up a good book.
Although Netflix classics like The Office and Breaking Bad are fun staples to rewatch, if you’re like us, you’ve probably discovered by now that there is such a thing as too much TV.
In those moments where you just can’t stomach another episode of Love is Blind or The Floor is Made of Lava, we recommend turning off the TV, putting your phone down, and grabbing one of these six books from our summer reading list…
6. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
For the sci-fi nerd in all of us…
If you’re unfamiliar with the science fiction/horror author, Blake Crouch, he’s most famous for his Wayward Pines trilogy, as well as his clever use of narrative twists.
In one of his more recent novels, Dark Matter, Blake Crouch sets a thrilling new watermark for the genre, implementing a surprise second-act twist that’s impossible to see coming.
The story of Dark Matter tells the story of the brilliant professor and family-man, Jason Dessen. Once a luminous intellectual with a bright future ahead of him, Jason met his beautiful wife, Daniela, and his fate was sealed. He fell in love, had a son, became a professor, and focused on his family to live happily ever after.
Or so he thought.
One day, Jason has a small reunion with an old colleague at a local bar. His friend’s just accomplished his greatest achievement yet leaving Jason to reflect on his life’s path. Soon after leaving the bar, everything changes.
A shadowy figure places a pistol in Jason’s back and tells him to get into a car and drive to an unknown destination.
Jason’s world and sense of reality spiral out of control quickly, as he becomes not only separated from his wife and family but the very fabric of his world itself…
This book is so good, we finished it in two days. If you’re a fan of good sci-fi, action, thrills, and a pace that reads like an action movie, you’ll love Dark Matter on your summer reading list.
5. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
For the secret romantic at heart…
From the late, great Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera, is a masterpiece of longing and love that defy time and space.
The novel follows the story of Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza; two young lovers from different social classes that meet in secret to affirm their love. However, on the day they can finally meet, Fermina is immediately turned off by the young, unremarkable Florentino, rejecting his affection and resolving herself to move on.
The novel jumps forward in time to a place where Fermina is now married to a handsome and gentlemanly doctor, while Florentino struggles to find his place in the world, working his way up in a strict social caste system, and keeping his love for Fermina alive in his heart for the day he can reapproach her from equal-footing.
The story of Love in the Time of Cholera is one that tells the resilience of true love against the realities of socioeconomic disparities.
It’s an affirmation that real love, spiritual love, can compel us to do incredible things, and can only be satiated when realized—even if it’s years later.
4. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
For those thinking the other grass is greener…
This is easily one of our favorite books on this list, precisely because of the beauty in which the story is told.
Jonathan Franzen is widely considered a “writer’s writer,” among many due to his masterful prose, brilliant storytelling, and complex interweaving of time and character development among a handful of shifting, and interlinking, perspectives.
The story of Freedom tells the story of Patty Berglund, a beautiful and spirited suburban mother living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Despite a loving husband, and charming son, Patty is restless. She loves her husband and environmentalist, Walter, and family greatly, but there’s something missing, and she thinks she might have found it in her husband’s lifelong friend—and actual rockstar—Richard.
Freedom is a novel that honestly tells the story of a woman on fire. A woman who finds herself at the edge of happiness, but needs to truly know what could have been if she’s ever going to claim it.
This novel is a story that’s impossible to put down as the story of her growth, actions, and impact echo throughout her world sparking lifelong insight and irreparable harm in her wake.
3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
For those at a crossroads…
Coming in a bit shorter than other entries on the list, The Alchemist is less a novel than a self-actualizing tome about the importance of following one’s dreams.
For anyone at a crux of a decision in their life, unsure whether they should stick to the familiar and comfortable route they’ve taken thus far, or split now before it’s too late and follow their life’s dreams, this is the book for you.
The Alchemist tells the story of a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago. Living a normal and somewhat comfortable life, Santiago asks a gypsy about a recurring dream he’s been having, only to be told there is a great treasure that awaits him.
All he must do is sacrifice part of his flock and follow the signs pushing him further in his path.
The novel follows Santiago through a journey of discovery as he pushes through obstacles, trials, and temptations, all in search of his treasure—his dream.
2. Grit by Angela Duckworth
For those who need a little kick in the…
Stepping into the realm of non-fiction, Grit, by the renowned scholar, Angela Duckworth, is a brilliant exploration of the concept of resilience.
What separates the achievements of a prodigious talent vs an unremarkable workhouse?
In Duckworth’s deep dive into the topic of success and what truly makes the greats great, she provides an expert review of our culture’s grittiest paragons, as well as instructions on how to create higher levels of grit in our—and our children’s—lives.
If you’re struggling for motivation in these times of unrest, we can’t recommend adding this book to your summer reading list enough for a how-to guide to pushing through difficult times to find success at the end of the rainbow.
1. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
For those wanting to know real love…
And finally, our last entry is by the fantastic writer, Lauren Groff, and her seminal work, Fates and Furies.
The story of Fates and Furies tells the story of husband, Lancelot Satterwhite, and wife, Mathtilde, and their decades-spanning love affair.
A handsome and charismatic youth, Lancelot (Lotto), was a boy that could command the world with his eyes. However, when he meets his wife, Mathtilde at university, he’s smitten. Marrying in their 20s, Lancelot struggles to become an actor, and overtime their love begins to strain. One night, Lancelot gets drunk after a Christmas party passes out. He awakes to find a rough draft of a brilliant theatric play on his laptop. And that’s when their lives—and love—change forever.
Fates and Furies is a story of what true love really means, and the innumerable sacrifices we make for those we love so their star can shine just a bit brighter.
There are a ton of cognitive benefits to reading, so if you’re ready to give Netflix and the news a break, we highly recommend checking out a book from our summer reading list above. And if you’ve got any books from your summer reading list you think we should read, be sure to let us know!