With summertime just around the corner it’s time for literally everyone to break out their summer reading lists. There are so many recommendations from so many different sources that it’s like looking on at the legions of hordes of Orcs at Helms Deep. It can get crazy pretty fast, doing an internet search brings up thousands of pages of what you need to read this summer, let alone the big hitters like Oprah, NPR or Barnes & Noble. What makes a good recommendation and what should you read this summer? Who should you trust and where do you need to go for the best type of summer book?
Here you won’t find another list, and you won’t find a list of the lists you should choose from. I’m here to help you find the books that are full of meaning, and will help make your summer that much better.
Always remember, that you should never trust reviews. There are those books that everyone will like and have universal truths. But, there are also books that speak to you and another select group instead of everyone. Those who don’t see themselves in the book they’ve read will put it lower on this list (if at all). This is why you should only look to all those summer lists for inspiration, not guidance. Another reason everything becomes muddled is that everyone has different criteria for what a good “summer read” is. Most of Barnes & Noble’s books are the classics. There is nothing wrong with the classics, but just because they’re the classics doesn’t make them good summer reading. Do you want to sit down on the beach with War and Peace?
What makes a good summer book? Is it that it takes place during summer? The characters and the plot revolve around sun drenched islands, and mild nights of July and August? Just because the characters in the book are getting a tan, doesn’t make it a good, “summer read”. You could argue that summer reading is a perfect time to read books that take place in winter. They will keep you intellectually “cool”.
Here is what I believe a “summer read” is: A book that makes you think about the warmth of life and those you share it with – the memories of the times when you grew up and the feeling of bare feet on a grassy lawn or the chilling fun of jumping into the pool for the first time that summer. Books that remind you about the passion that comes from good deeds, great loves and the best of circumstances winning out. I challenge you to look beyond the veil of summer and find books that speak to the inner summer in you. Read books that remind you of your first crush, the first time you saw the ocean or any of your warmest memories. The book can take place in the dead of winter, but whatever warms your heart is the true telling of a good summer story.
Go into the bookstore and look. Open your senses to the books that speak to you. Find the books that spark warmth in your heart. Find books that remind you of the warmest and most splendid times in your life, even if they were brief moments. Summer is a time to celebrate what’s alive, good and pure. Summer is a time to remember all of that which made you who you are and the good you’ve glimpsed in this life. A summer read may teach you something new, but the best of summer reading comes from the books that remind you about how you are now and the amazing things that have happened to you. Whether its memories that are bittersweet or books that remind you of the magic that once was, a true summer is one where the characters and plot warm your heart, not walk on a beach.
“Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own”
~ Mark Twain