My parent’s divorced when I was young, leaving me to play country and city mouse on alternating weekends. My dad owned a house in the country – a big old dairy farm complete with barn and silo, butted right up against some woods. As soon as the weather turned warm, my brother and I would be herded out of the house, along with encouragements like, “You need some fresh air”, and “Stop reading so much, go play”. We’d feign amusement with the outdoors for his benefit, then sneak away when he wasn’t looking. The cherry and pear trees that lined the property made a perfect nest for a young girl whose nose was always stuck in a book.
These days I’m still an escapist reader, gravitating towards the nearest perch with the perfect balance of sun and shade. And while long summer days seem to provide the right ingredients – there are few things better than basking with a book – not all books are suited to the summer season. A good summer read must take you down a rabbit hole, bringing you on a vicarious departure from the hum-drum; these are not your high-brow contemplative tomes. As such, I’ve compiled a list of my favorites, a ‘best of’ if you will, of summer reads that you can fully lose yourself to; check them out below.
1) Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut –
A satirical science fiction novel about man’s inevitable self-destruction, from the atomic bomb to ICE 9, an element that threatens to end all human existence.
2) Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez –
An epic and obsessive novel about all the ways we experience love, as told through the course of three people’s lifetimes.
3) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway –
A novel about the angst and futility felt by a group of expatriates living in Paris and traveling to Spain, post-WWI.
4) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath –
The story of a young college girl in the 1950’s, and her eventual breakdown, while spending her summer in NYC at an internship for talented female writers.
5) The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami –
In the search for his wife’s missing cat, an otherwise ordinary man slowly sinks into Japan’s gritty underworld, discovering a dark history he must confront to survive.
6) On the Road by Jack Kerouac –
The near-fictionalized autobiography of a young Jack Kerouac’s bohemian cross-country adventure, and the characters that come along for the ride.
What are your favorite summer reads?