Your Summer Reads: Top 10 Must Read Books This Year
For all of the bookworms out there, summer is synonymous with reading. Who needs a vacation when a good book can transport us into foreign lands without leaving the comfort of our own homes?
In preparation for summer, we have compiled the best of all of this year’s recommended summer reads for you here. From fiction to nonfiction, from England to South Africa, we hope you are prepared for the suspense, adventures and thrills that these books bring to you this season.
1. The Heart, by Maylis de Kerangal (translated by Sam Taylor). This novel takes place in the 24 hours around an operation, a heart transplant between a teenager killed in a car and a dying woman. Originally written in French, the book follows the lives of the family members, doctors and nurses involved.
2. A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, by former President Jimmy Carter. The former US president and prolific author looks back on his life at the age of 90.
3. The Answers, by Catherine Lacey. The world exacts a particular price from women, simply for existing. Exhibit A: this novel's protagonist, Mary, who lives with a chronic, painful condition. To fund her treatment, she agrees to play the part of the "emotional girlfriend" to an actor in search of many partners to fulfill all his needs.
4. We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria, by Wendy Pearlman. A politics professor at Northwestern, Wendy Pearlman interviewed hundreds of displaced Syrians in the aftermath of the massive upheaval that followed the Arab Spring.
5. What We Lose, by Zinzi Clemmons. This is Clemmons’ debut novel about Thandi, the main character’s "other home country" of South Africa. She dives into a rediscovery of her mother's land, which serves as a kind of unsteady anchor for her, even as her mother passes away and she realizes she'll soon be a mother herself.
6. See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt. Having spawned a ballet, an opera, a musical, and even a Lifetime series, Lizzie Borden's story has enthralled the public since she was acquitted for the brutal murder of her father and stepmother in 1893.
7. Dying: A Memoir, by Cory Taylor. Australian author Cory Taylor passed away last year of brain cancer. In just a few weeks before her death, she wrote this clear-eyed memoir, reflecting on the enduring taboo of death, voluntary euthanasia (which she considered, but ultimately rejected), and her worries about "dying badly"—the kind of painful descent into dementia that her parents shared.
8. The Ready Made Thief, by Augustus Rose. The 17-year-old protagonist quickly finds herself on a fast-paced adventure, starting with juvenile detention and moving to homeless desperation and an illicit underground society with a mission that could threaten the underpinnings of human society.
9. The Summer Before The War, by Helen Simonson. Beatrice Nash, the new schoolteacher in a small English town, craves independence after her father’s death, but she is soon drawn into the lives of the other residents, many of whom she comes to care for. Hat begins as a study of small-town society becomes a compelling account of war and its aftermath.
10. Miller’s Valley, by Anna Quindlen. Taking place from the 1960s to the present, the story follows Mimi Miller as she grows up in Miller’s Valley, a tiny community whose future is threatened. Quindlen creates fascinating characters, most notably Mimi’s mother and her troubled brother, and writes movingly about how family secrets thread through generations and continue to affect lives.