Summer Reads (Beach Optional): Book Recommendations

It’s summertime again, and it is the perfect time to work your way through your “To Be Read” list. In addition to our book recommendations from last summer as well as lists from sources like NPR and public libraries, below you will find favorite book recommendations from a survey of high school students in the community. Read further for suggestions from the Brookline Booksmith.

What books or magazines do you plan to read (or reread) this summer and why?

A book cited by two of our contributors was Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. “It has a good storytelling approach and is very informative about both mountaineering and rural areas in Pakistan,” said Holger Ketterle. “It also offers a nice narrative of Mortenson’s dealings with local people, finances, and personal struggles to build schools for the rural children of various regions in Pakistan.”

Anna W. hopes to finish The Short Bus by Jonathan Mooney. Mooney’s book details his experience driving a short bus and talking with people who have disabilities. On a lighter note, she is also hoping to finish Love, Ellen by Betty DeGeneres about her famous daughter. “I started them before I started studying for finals and unfortunately had to put them down'” said Anna. “I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been able to read so far and can’t wait to pick them back up.”

In addition to catching up on the Twilight Saga, Alyssa plans to read This is Your Brain on Music and Musicophilia, both of which explore human’s relationship with music, specifically how music affects the mind.

Besides rereading some Sarah Dessen books “because they are great beach reads,” Julia also wants to read The Time Traveler’s Wife and Nicholas Sparks’s Dear John and The Last Song in order to see how the books compare to their movie adaptations.

All-Time Favorites

Anna recommends Kurt Vonnegut’s war novel Slaughterhouse Five because she “loved the discussions that came from reading this book with a group.” She also cites Alice Monro’s coming of age novel Lives of Girls and Women and Jerzy Kosinski’s satiric Being There as other personal favorites.

Julia’s keeper shelf includes Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle Trilogy, which includes A Great and Terrible Beauty, because of its combination of “history, fantasy, and romance.”

Kendra’s favorite books are of a historical bent, particularly Gone with the Wind, a Civil War epic romance featuring the strong-willed Scarlett O’Hara, by Margaret Mitchell, and 1776, a look at a crucial year in American history, by David McCullough. She also cites the “interesting writing style” found in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a fictional account of several soldiers in Vietnam.

Need more suggestions? Emily McLean, bookseller and children’s literature specialist at Brookline Booksmith, recommends the following books:

  • Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher: Everything we do affects everyone around us — whether we want it to or not. This mystery will leave you piecing a puzzle together with every turn of the page. What really happened to Hannah Baker? Only after listening to thirteen recordings will Clay Jensen find out why she committed suicide.
  • A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass: Mia sees her world through colors. In fact, every sound, number, and letter has its own color. To Mia this is normal, but she soon discovers her secret is something called synesthesia. This award-winning novel is truly an amazing read. Whether for fun or school, you won’t be able to set it down.
  • The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld: In a world where everyone is fashioned to look like a model, everyone would lead a perfect life, right? Tally believes this at first and wants to be made “Pretty.” What could possibly be better than partying all day? Sleeping as late as you want? Riding hoverboards all around town? This is a world where everything you could want is at your fingertips. When the truth about this world unravels, though, Tally wants to remain “Ugly.” But she doesn’t have a choice.
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Silence is a power that can often be stronger then words. But, when should you say something and when do you just keep quiet? Melinda finds it safer to be quiet… Anderson’s extraordinary novel reveals the power that sexual assault has on a person, her friends, and those around her — especially when the secret is kept silent.

What did we miss? Is there a favorite book you’d like to recommend? Feel free to offer your own recommendations and insights here or on our Facebook page.

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