Most of the year, you’re stuck pouring over recommended reading lists and course syllabus. But when summer comes, you’re finally in charge of how you feed your brain.
Summer reads are in a category of lit all on their own. They give you a chance to explore topics you don’t have time for the rest of the year when you’re busy studying for your next exam. They provide some escapism to distant places and times, even if your summer consists of chilling at home with the family instead of at some glamourous resort or road tripping it with friends.
If you need inspiration for your summer reading list, these eight picks have something for every mood, ranging from lessons on how to boost your career, to literary classics that transport you to exotic (sometimes imaginary) locations. So, sit back and check out the 2018 summer reads that will keep you going until fall.
To increase your productivity
We live in a very distracting world. Instagram beckoning with every notification. Endless binges on YouTube and Netflix. It’s really hard to focus on what we need to do to succeed. “Deep Work” author Cal Newton helps us navigate through the noise and explains why mastering the ability to work deeply is crucial for anyone who intends to stay ahead and learn to focus without distractions.
Notable quote: “What we choose to focus on and what we choose to ignore—plays in defining the quality of our life.”Cal Newton
Ever heard of entering flow state?
“Flow can be defined as the experience of being fully engaged with the task at hand, unburdened by outside concerns or worries. Flow is an enjoyable state of effortless attention, complete absorption, and focused energy.”
Learning how to get in a flow state will change the way you study, work, and basically live your life. Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the founding father of flow research, and this book is packed with evidence and guidance on how to achieve this state. When you’re in the flow, you enjoy what you do much more, so it’s definitely worth checking it out.
To feel empowered
The title alone might pique your interest, but it’s more than just a fun book.
Author Jen Sincero manages to make a how-to guide that’s fun and refreshingly unexpected. Between the humor and lighthearted jabs at everyday nonsense are lessons and advice that actually do shed light on how to start living an awesome life. All in 27 chapters.
Notable quote: “The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.”Jen Sincero
Since it was first published in 1989, this book has been on almost every major Best Seller list and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Author Stephen R. Covey is credited with having propelled the self-improvement genre. His book, subtitled “Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”, is still a reference for how to learn good habits and learn how to stick to them. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has stood the test of time and is a worthwhile summer read to help you start building up better habits before next semester starts.
To lose yourself in another world
“In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS…”
Ready Player One hit theaters earlier this year as a major blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg. But did you know that the author of this bestseller, Ernest Cline, also co-wrote the screenplay for the movie? The 2011 novel transports you to a dystopian future where the only escape is a virtual world. If you’re a gamer or fan of the sci-fi genre, it won’t disappoint. Or if you’re just looking to humble brag about having read the book when you watch it with friends on movie night, I won’t judge.
Notable quote: “For a bunch of hairless apes, we’ve actually managed to invent some pretty incredible things.”Ernest Cline
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. I’ve recently found myself rereading it to relive the magical realism that Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez achieved with this epic novel. Read this If you’re in the mood to lose yourself in an immersive world crafted by a master poet.
To reflect on life
Hope Jahren is a geobiologist who has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. “Lab Girl” is a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist.
Whether you want to major in a STEM field or not, Lab Girl will inspire you with its focus on work and love. And more so, what can be achieved when those two things come together.
Notable quote: “Love and learning are similar in that they can never be wasted.”Hope Jahren
“Trapped in Tokyo, left behind by a series of girlfriends, the narrator of Slow Boat sizes up his situation. His missteps, his violent rebellions, his tiny victories.”
Author Hideo Furukawa is considered the heir to Haruki Murakami, and in “Slow Boat”, he pays homage to Murakami’s style and short story “Slow Boat to China” while finding a voice of his own in this novella.
Do you have more good Summer reads on your list? Share them in the comments!