Summer is probably the best part of the year. Sure, you have to deal with annoying insects that are waking up from inside your walls, and sure those rascally teenagers now have free time to focus on no-good tomfoolery and whatnot. But it’s all worth it, because now all us nerds finally have time to relax and pick up a book or two. Or three. Thousand.
Just to be clear, I’m not necessarily recommending the best books ever or anything, just fun, relatively light reads that you can bring with you to the beach. You won’t see any mammoth-sized novels such as War and Peace or The Stand.
This post will be divided between books for each month.
Paper Towns, by John Green
While it’s a good idea to read a JG book any day of the year, I think the end of the school year/beginning of the summer is the perfect time to read his most underrated book, Paper Towns.
The book’s about a guy’s search for this awesome girl named Margo, who disappeared after a pulling off a mischievous all-nighter with him. This book is packed with young energy—the best type of energy there is. The book’s hilarious, addicting, and surprisingly moving.
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, by Stephen King.
“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”—Stephen King.
There’s going to three Stephen King books in this list; two of them from the novella collection Different Seasons. If you’re thinking, “I don’t like horror stories!” then have no fear; these three stories aren’t scary at all. And this particular novella is one of King’s most beautifully written stories in his career. In Different Seasons, there’s a story written for each season. This one’s for spring. Since June is mostly still spring, I sort of cheated and put this in here.
This novella is about an innocent man with some really bad luck, who gets blamed for murdering his wife and the guy she was cheating on him with. He ends up being sent to jail for a long, long time. There may be some pretty graphic scenes in this book, but nothing is overly gratuitous. It all adds to the powerful message of the story, which is hope. This book teaches you to never lose hope, no matter how dark everything may seem, which explains the powerful quote above.
The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
What better way to start off your summer than by re-reading childhood favorites? You don’t necessarily have to read Harry Potter, either. (Actually, you don’t have to read anything. I’m not forcing you.) You could go with Artemis Fowl, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. The only rule is, the book has to be awesome.
Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, and it’s sequels (thought it’s optional).
This book is a book-lover’s book. It’s about a girl who discovers her father could read fictional characters to life. This book was great, with some memorable characters (Dustfinger, anyone?) and an intriguing, original premise. The sequels, in my opinion, were even better (though I always prefer sequels for some reason). you should definitely read this book now, because if I’ve heard correctly, a bunch of people are stealing these books out of bookstores and burning them.
A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle
For a book written in the 19th century, the Sherlock Homes stories are surprisingly easy to read, but aren’t easy to solve. A Study in Scarlet is the first story, the only one I’ve read so far, and it’s addicting.
You might also want to check the near-perfect BBC modern adaptation of Doyle’s stories Sherlock.
To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis
With the exception of 11/22/63, this is probably my favorite time travel novel of all time (granted, I’ve only read like, four time-travel novels, but still). It’s almost impossible to summarize, so I will tell you this: the book’s great, the characters are unforgettable, and you will drop your jaw at least once.
Though try not to have such high expectations, though. Actually, the book sucks.
(You don’t actually have to read any of these books in any specific month.)
The Body, from Stephen King.
A well-known movie called “Stand by Me,” was based off this book. The movie was awesome, and so was this book.
What I like about Stephen King is his ability to write realistic kid characters from any time period from the fifties to the seventies. When he tries to write kids’ dialogue in today’s time period, he fails. Badly. See Under the Dome for proof.
Luckily, King is writing about kids in the year of 1960, and he succeeds. This is the perfect coming of age story and there’s no better time to read it than at the very end of summer.
Airman, by Eoin Colfer
Though I loved the Artemis Fowl series, I think this is Eoin Colfer’s best work. It takes place in the 1890s on the sovereign Saltee Islands, off the Irish coast. A boy named Conor Broekhart, a mechanical genius, devotes his life to figuring out how to fly. This book involves pesky pirates, saving a princess, and someone unknowingly blowing up their son. What’s not to love?
My favorite part about this book is not the characters or writing (both great, by the way), but the plot. The twists in this book will make you gasp so loudly, at least one of your neighbors will file a noise complaint and the cops will show up at your door asking you to stop gasping so loud.
The Running Man, by Richard Bachman
Unfamiliar with Richard Bachman? He’s actually Stephen King in disguise. No joke. King actually started published books from an entirely fake name because his publishers would only let him publish one book a year.
This book is like the The Hunger Games’ crazy uncle. The premise is similar, the dystopian society is similar. The only difference is, there’s no annoying love interest and the ending is actually happy (sort of, I guess). The action is non-stop and the atmosphere is so tense it makes The Hunger Games look silly in comparison. The whole time reading the book, I thought “This would make an amazing movie,” because it’s really non-stop action, yet it still manages to find time for character development and a lot of political satire.
If you do chose this book, my only advice is DO NOT READ THE INTRODUCTION!!! For some weird reason, King decides to spoil the entire ending for you in the first few pages of the introduction. He just comes out and says “This character does x and then y happens,” and then the whole book is ruined.
Like my list? Sorry about the large amount of Stephen King books in there, but in my defense, King has written a lot of books. If you have any suggestions for me to read over the summer, please feel free to comment below. Or don’t. That’s totally fine.