The art of summer reading

The art of summer reading


Some recommendations, traditions, and best reads.

Summer is a time for reading. It’s more literally a time when the Earth’s axis is tilted so that the northern hemisphere receives more sunlight, creating longer, sunnier days. But it’s mostly a time for read­ing.

Whether you want to finally get around to starting that classic every­one is talking about, you’re looking for clever quotes to quip in conversa­tion, or maybe you just want to read something worthwhile, we’ve got you covered. Here is a list of some of the best summer reads around.

Southern Gothic: The American South has a lot to offer, aside from terrific accents. Sometimes the dia­logue can be a bit foreign to those of us from up North, but the flowing prose captures the reader’s attention so that the story and the characters will seem all too familiar. The South­ern novel is full of depravity, wit, and the deepest pathos.

The Complete Short Stories by Flan­nery O’Connor

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac Mc­Carthy

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner


Postcolonial: With the fall of imperialism and Europe’s colonial system, a plethora of peoples and cultures began struggling to identify themselves. These books, while of­ten frustrated and tragic, display the lies and truths that both separate and unite us.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Ga­briel Garcia Márquez

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

True History of the Kelly Gang by Pe­ter Carey


War: Is War hell? Does it rip men from their homes and shatter their very souls, or does it offer boys a chance to show true courage and become men? These books, show­ing war on and off the field of battle, wrestle with these questions as they fight against simple definitions of war and personhood.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Er­ich Maria Remarque

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Marche

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimam­anda Adichie

     Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Von­negut


Russian: Oh, those Russians. From existential crises to peas­ant fatalism, the Russians could make compelling narratives out of just about anything. While Russian books can seem excessively lengthy and filled with more names than you learnt in O-week, there is no better time than summer to sort through the stories to find the most compel­ling portraits of human compassion.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Doestoevsky

The Winter Queen by Boris Akuinin

The Overcoat and Other Short Stories by Nikolai Gogol


Metafictional Mindspinners: Sometimes you just gotta read a book that makes your head hurt. These books are puzzles wrapped in enig­mas that when solved, reveal that sometimes life is frighteningly bi­zarre and beautifully confusing.

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne

James Joyce - Ulysses

If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvion

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Have a great summer and happy reading!


Katrina Murphy:

In the Summer I'm allowed to have as many books going at once as I would like to, as long as I finish them all. I end up reading about five really wonderful books that I plan to read and then a whole heap of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and random best-sellers. I'm a sucker for covers, and in the Summer I allow myself to be.

This Summer, I tentatively plan finish or read: Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (because I read the other thirteen)

Everything That Rises Must Converge because Flannery O'Connor

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

poetry, poetry, and more poetry!

For your Summer reading, I recommend:

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. No, really. It's a classic for a reason, and it's beautiful. Read it, and then come talk to me about it because no one understands!

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card because it's great science fiction.

The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton


Richard Bergen:

One interesting summer reading tradition I have is to soak up the sun while I read. Specifically, I only read very dark and gloomy books in typically winterous settings, while sun-tanning.

Diverging in part from my above-mentioned summer-reading habit, I will be re-reading, the Hobbit, the Lord of the Ring Trilogy, and the Simarillion. Middle Earth, in many ways, derives from the Arthurian Kingdom of Summer (To this end, I could also recommend Malory's Morte D'Arthur, or Tennyson's Idylls of the King, or even Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle).


Jessica Lamb

I usually read lying on a tattered picnic blanket on a lawn, awkwardly jostling a book from hand to hand trying to block the sun. This summer I hope to read Richard Niebuhr's book Christ and Culture, which has been alluded to in several of my classes.  I also hope to read Five Red Herrings by Dorothy Sayers.  After reading Strong Poison over Christmas break I became enchanted with the character Lord Peter Wimsey, and was happy to find that there were several other books in Sayers' series.



A pilgrim's journey home

A pilgrim's journey home

Carpé finis

Carpé finis