Remember in high school when you would get a summer reading list, twenty books long? Yeah, we kind of miss that. So we’ve put together our own guide of favorite summer books. While this is hardly a curated list of literary classics, you’re sure to find one (or all!) that you enjoy. So sit back, relax, and crack open a good book.
I read this book shortly after Nora Ephron passed away, but it’s one I keep coming back to. Ephron does humor and wit like no one else. She has the ability to make me laugh out loud yet also ponder what it truly means to be a woman. Each chapter is a short story, meaning you can easily put it down (and pick it back up again) between naps on the beach and dips in the ocean.
– Maggie, Managing Editor and Interim Lifestyle Editor
The Complete Stories
By Flannery O’Connor
I started reading Flannery’s short stories in college, and initially I didn’t know what to make of her stark, graphic, and startling storytelling. Now, re-reading this treasure trove, it’s easier to pick up her genius for character development—not only of people but of the South—as well as her sensitive understanding and presentation of the human condition. I’ve been picking my way through the collection at random and particularly enjoyed “Parker’s Back,” “Good Country People,” and “The Life You Save May Be Your Own.”
– Janet, Style Editor
The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection
By Robert Farrar Capon
I just finished devouring Robert Farrar Capon’s whimsical reflection on the goodness of food and existence. For Capon, the slicing of a single onion is an opportunity to consider the joy of unnecessary being. Baking soda, the humble kitchen cleaner and leavener of bread, is a worthy candidate for the title of “Most Extraordinary Ordinary Thing in the World.” Capon gives the reader recipes for feasting and fasting—and treating indigestion—but also sound advice for living well.
– Meghan, Interim Culture Editor
By Kurt Vonnegut
This was my introduction to Kurt Vonnegut’s writing, and it was a blast! The novel tells the story of Dr. Paul Proteus’ rebellion against a futuristic America where human labor has been almost entirely replaced by machines. It’s a witty tale laced with sobering insights on the mechanization of society.
– Maria, Editorial Intern
I Capture the Castle
By Dodie Smith
It’s impossible not to fall in love with Cassandra, the dynamic heroine of this charming coming-of-age novel. Set in a dilapidated castle, and chronicling the misadventures of the eccentric Mortmain family, you’ll be transported to the bluebell woods and winding country lanes of the heartbreakingly beautiful English countryside this summer.
– Sophie, Headline Writer
A Severe Mercy
By Sheldon Vanauken
I read this story year after year because it always reminds me of that elephant in the room that I’d often rather forget: Nothing (and no one) in this world can fully satisfy us. In this memoir of his marriage, Sheldon “Don” Vanauken recalls the adventures, intimate friendship, and love between himself and his “Davy dearling.” And, finally, Vanauken shares his experience of grief upon losing Davy. Woven throughout the memoir are nearly twenty personal letters from C.S. Lewis. It’s not exactly a mindless beach read, but who has time for those anyway?
– Kelsey, Copy Editor
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
By Jeannette Walls
In her memoir, Jeannette Walls looks back at her nomadic childhood living in cars and ramshackle houses with her charismatic parents who embraced the romance of the open road. As she grows from a tough “hippie” child to a young adult, Jeannette struggles to reconcile her love for her family and their repeated betrayals—fire “accidents,” missing grocery money, chronic alcoholism. The Walls family’s wandering adventures will hook you, but ultimately it’s a poignant tale of a daughter who tries to love her family to the best of her ability.