Looking for more books to read this summer? Here are a few classic books, both past and more current, that are perfect additions to your reading lists this summer!
This semester My English class Literature of the Western World assigned a group project to craft a list of the fifty books deserving of inclusion in the Western Canon. We tended to choose books true to their time and books that contained moral lessons, so you may notice those themes throughout the books I highlighted here. I added several of our selections that were either my favorites ones or ones that I am hoping to tackle this summer.
This short novel tells the story of an old, Cuban fisherman and his struggle with the largest fish he has ever encountered, an Atlantic blue marlin. Throughout the story, Hemingway uses a simple narrative to explore perseverance and surviving the struggles of life. I love to fish with my brothers and I grew up going to the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland on vacation, so this book has always reminded me of those moments with family.
Anne of Green Gables is a classic story that describes the adventures of a young orphan named Anna on Prince Edward Island. It is a coming-of-age story filled with imagination, everyday life, and the relationships that form with those close to you. I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time over Christmas break and couldn’t put it down. Prince Edward Island is on the top of my bucket list for places to travel and I was fascinated by Anne’s imagination.
This tale features a 12-year-old boy, Douglas Spalding as he spends a summer in a rural, Illinois town. The story uses Dandelion Wine as a metaphor for life and explores what it means to truly be alive. I’ve never read this book, but it caught my eye when I read a few of the selections by my peers. It fits with the previous books because it is a simple narrative and tells a story commenting on life. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, not Illinois, but I always enjoy a story that takes place in a small town.
Hosseini’s story is a heartbreaking tale about Amir and his life growing up in Afghanistan. During a time of tension in Afghanistan, the novel touches on the themes of friendship, regret, shame, and the possibility of redemption. This book has stuck with me since I read it in high school. My younger brother recently read it and reminded me of how impactful the story is for the reader.
Stanley Yelnats is shipped to Camp Green Lake for the summer after being falsely accused of theft. At this camp, Stanley is forced to dig holes each day for his rehabilitation. As the story unfolds, the author shows how history and ancestry impact the present. Holes always makes me think of the summer. I read this book back in middle school, but I hope to reread the book soon!
Simon Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor, shares his experiences inside a concentration camp during World War II. In the camp, a nurse asks him to dying Nazi soldier, who is hoping to gain forgiveness from a Jew for his crimes against humanity. The author explored the possibility and limits of forgiveness in this novel. I had never heard of this book before, but this book caught my attention since I am researching World War II at Hope College this summer.
Published in 2014, this book takes place after a flu pandemic that resulted in the collapse of civilization. Station Eleven is a story of hope, pain, joy, regret, and how one uses these emotions to craft a better world. This book is also at the top of my to-read list! It takes place in the Great Lakes region during a pandemic, which feels a bit familiar. It was also a past Big Read selection.