Summer Standbys: A Personal Reading List

It’s officially summer (something we in Arizona know only too well), and everyone is securing their final picks for vacation reads. I’m done with summer classes for my program, and I definitely need a mental break when I leave the office. My first order of business was getting a good nights’ sleep; my second order is curating a summer reading list.

I’m not sure if this appeals to any other bibliophiles out there, but summer is a time when I reread books. I have a few standbys that just “make” summer for me.  There’s something about a lazy summer day, a cool drink, and a warped, favorite paperback. So, here are my personal favorites – books that mean it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

I love a good epic doorstopper, and there’s no better time than the summer to really dive into one. The Pillars of the Earth is one of my all-time favorites, following several families and their involvement in medieval English history. The main plot lines involve contested succession and the building of a cathedral, so expect lots of intrigue and shady dealings. There are some great romances and some of my favorite female characters. If you saw the Starz adaptation, reading the book will be a real treat!

THE Hot Zone BY Richard Preston

We had to read this one summer as part of our required reading and it was awesome. It was the first time a non-English course required summer reading (that I can recall, at least), and it really stayed with me as a great example of going beyond the theoretical and finding resources that engage students. It’s a totally personal pick that won’t apply to everyone. Still, if you love non-fiction and epidemiology, maybe just give this one a read.

 stephen king

Sometimes I alternate my Stephen King read in the summer and select something new or another favorite. For a long time, it was The Stand. I now recognize this as an imperfect read. It’s almost a case study of how not to write well, but still craft an engaging story that is dominated by, let’s be real, white dudes. The magical negro character is highly problematic. As cheesy as it sounds, The Shining is a great book that gets better with each read, at least for me. Either way, diving into a book by Stephen King just feels like summertime.

What books make your summer? Leave a comment!

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