Now that the sun is at its finest, blazing upon our stride and darkening our look, it’d be a shocker if you didn’t take the time to plan a beach day when rainy weather is slim to none in the midst of summer. However, any day is a good day to reignite the love of reading a good book from cover to cover and then some. For this Summer, indoors or outdoors, close or far from home, we recommend four top-notch books that’ll make you wonder why you ever stopped reading in the first place. Carry these with you wherever you go and you’ll always be in a trip of the mind.
1. The Vacationers
Written by Emma Straub, The Vacationers takes you on a quick two-week getaway to Mallorca, Spain, giving you a bird’s-eye view of a family filled with secrets and hiding jealousy. The vacation takes you through the lives of Franny and Jim who are celebrating their 35th anniversary, Sylvia, a high school graduate, Franny’s gay friends Lawrence and Charles, and Bobby, a 28-year-old retailer who brings his 40-year-old girlfriend along. Though vacation is all about quality time with the folks, Franny steers away from her family as she and Charles rekindle their friendship. All personal baggage that didn’t board the plain begin to arrive at Mallorca, igniting the fires of argument among the travelers and eventually revealing everyone’s hidden side.
Why we love it: The Vacationers is entertaining, and an irresistible read. It keeps your eyes and fingers glued from the first word to the last.
About the author: Emma Straub lives in New York and has written two novels and a short story collection book. She is known for blending humor and sadness in the same story. Currently she writes for the magazine Rookie.
2. The Painter
Peter Heller takes us on a journey into the intricate life and personality of Jim Stegner, fly fisherman, narrator and celebrated painter. After his daughter’s death and the collapse of his marriage, he flees New Mexico to settle in the valleys of Colorado. Jim is haunted by his dead daughter’s memory, and tries to suppress the darkness, which threatens to overcome him, by drowning himself in his paintings and fishing. After seeing a horse getting mistreated, Jim reaches his breaking point. Following an encounter with the local authorities, Jim then starts his journey back to New Mexico, while trying to live with his burdened conscience.
Why we love it: We had a hard time getting attached to Jim Stegner at first, but after a few chapters, the protagonist won us over, and the book was impossible to put down.
About the author: Peter Heller is the celebrated author of The Dog stars, and has once again managed to draw us into his universe.
3. All The Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr blends world history and the allure of a timeless legend in this heartwarming summer read. Become immersed in the journeys of Marie-Laure and Werner, as they weather the effects of Nazi Germany at home and overcome personal hurdles along the way. Marie-Laure is blind and living with her father in France before the German invasion occurs. Werner, who abides in a German orphanage during his childhood and preteen years, is an incredibly gifted young man on his way to the top of Hitler’s Youth Program. Marie-Laure is guided by her father’s undying support, and Werner possesses an innate sense of right and wrong. As their stories slowly entangle, they must navigate through every hardship until peace can return to Europe.
Why We Love it: Taking place under the Nazi regime, the story provides rich context and background. It is hard to keep from falling in love with the main characters, to keep from laughing (and crying) along with them.
About the author: Anthony Doerr is a New York Times bestselling author, and multiple award winner for his work.
4. The fault in our stars
Acclaimed young adult fiction author John Green delivers another tearjerker in the form of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, a novel about the trials and tribulations of falling in love as a teenager. Harking back to Shakespeare’s famous play, ‘Julius Caesar’, from which the title is derived, the story of a couple who are both riddled with cancer reminds us that fate is unpredictable and as mere human beings, we are unable to control the direction in which our lives takes us. Just as Cassius admits his weakness in comparison to Caesar, Hazel Lancaster eventually comes to terms with the fact that she might succumb to her thyroid cancer at any moment, leaving her love interest Augustus Waters to deal with her death alone.
Why we love it: John Green’s characters embody the realistic emotions of teenagers undergoing a turbulent phase in their lives while dealing with a severe illness. “The Fault in Our Stars” is a story full of life lessons about love, loss and overcoming the grief that follows.
About the author: John Green is an American author of young adult fiction and Youtube video blogger who shot to fame after his 2005 novel ‘Looking for Alaska’ won a Printz Prize. He currently resides in Indianapolis with his spouse, Sarah Urist.
–Marine Bigand, Kelly Fleming, Gaelle Gilles, Aimee Aurol