Summer Reading Recommendations From a Bookworm

For most people, summer is a treasured time in life to indulge in extra sleep and time by the pool. Then there are those who take this time to catch up on hobbies formerly stifled by work or school. For me, this hobby is reading. Whether you already love to read or feel perhaps you should read more, here is a small but varied list of books to start with:

“The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger.

This classic novel follows 17-year-old Holden Caulfield escaping from his private school in Pennsylvania to discover new adventures in New York City, set in 1949. Caulfield yearns to experience all that life has to give but constantly finds himself disappointed by what he finds in the process. A charming yet cynical character, the conclusion to his story is ambiguous and open to interpretation. This may or may not satisfy you, but nonetheless, a must-read coming of age story. Perfect if you are on a journey of self-exploration. It’s an easy read (214 pages) and will guarantee a laugh or three. This is also both a female and male-friendly read.

“The Luxe,” series by Anna Godberson.

Starcrossed lovers, a murder mystery, villains and a potential Cinderella story? Set in Upper East side Manhattan, 1899, the beautiful Holland sisters find themselves facing tough trials after the loss of their father. Imagine glamorous nights dancing under expensive chandeliers imported from France to chasing run-away hats in Central Park. This series is well-written and will easily transport you back in time to the turn of the century. The first novel (433 pages) and its following are perfect for those who enjoyed the Gossip Girl series, or are looking for an epic love story that far surpasses that of Bella and Edward from “Twilight.” This is most definitely going to be one of the next novel-to-movie series to be a box office hit.

“My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me,” by Hilary Winston.

Winston writes a good-humored tale about how she survives living with her boyfriend before and after he breaks up with her. Then he writes a book about their relationship, referring to her as the “fat one,” to put it nicely. The story is about her journey to recovery after she moves out, the funny dates she encounters and her fears of growing old and ending up as the infamous cat lady. This read (240 pages) is perfect for those coming out of a long-term relationship, or have experienced any kind of break-up where as an end result, you are bitter, and definitely if you like cats.

“The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Diaz.

This book consists of 352 pages of rich, Dominican-American culture and an intimate look into a “cursed” family that will begin to feel like your own.  The story starts with an unknown narrator that sets up all of the characters in the family. As the novel progresses, readers go back in time, one family member at a time and  learn just how they ended up in their current “cursed” positions.

Oscar is an overweight, socially awkward college student who is severely depressed when his love for a friend isn’t returned and he finds himself potentially forever alone. There is an attempt at suicide, a family member that runs away, sent away to the Dominican Republic as a punishment, another is diagnosed with cancer, a secret family is revealed from a cheating father and by the end someone does die.

Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction after writing this complex and satisfying novel − and after you finish it, you will understand why. The ending is exciting, at-the-edge-of-your-seat thrilling, victorious, beautiful, and clever. You will not want this story to end.