The Best Part of Summer: Summer Reading

With Spring Quarter winding down and the weather approaching something we might be able to call “summery” (because, let’s face it, it’s the best we’re going to get as Chicagoans), I’m starting to feel like reading for myself again.  As a kid I was always happy for summer to come around; no class meant a lot of free time to myself, and absolute freedom in my reading choices.  In college and when class is in session – and especially when you’re an English major like me – it’s hard to justify reading for pleasure.  We already have a lengthy reading list from our professors to get through.  While reading and feeling enamored of Super Sad True Love Story for a class and realizing how much I miss reading on my own, however, I started drafting a list of “to-read” books for this summer.  So, with summer fast approaching, what should I read?  What do you want to read?  With that in mind, I’m listing my options and hopefully I’ll inspire some readers to take up my choices (or choose their own).  Unless I designate, I haven’t read these books, so my deep apologies if you try one and dislike it.  Suggestions for what I should read or what you should read are definitely welcome in the comments.

The Graphic Novel

I’m looking forward to the July release of Ed Piskor’s Wizzywig, a new graphic novel that follows a group of hackers and their exploits.  And, of course, I’ll probably pick up the Avengers Omnibus, Vol. 1, since seeing a great movie always makes me want to pick up the book and stay a bit longer in the fantastical world of the movie.  My background in classic Marvel is dubious at best, though, so maybe I’ll go with Box Office Poison, a slice-of-life dramedy that’s gotten some serious critical acclaim.

The Sci-Fi Adventure

My friend has been shouting something along the lines of “space zombies!” in regards to this book Leviathan Wakes, so that’s obviously a must-read.  China Miéville’s new novel, Railsea, sounds like a trip, and his earlier urban fantasy has been a master class in worldbuilding.  Finally, I’m always a sucker for time travel and Scotland-set romance so I’m going to go with Outlander, even though it could probably fit just as well in the “chick lit” category.  It’s been sitting on my shelf for weeks and seems like the perfect thing to whisk me away on a hot summer’s afternoon.

The Literary Fiction Bestseller

I’ve never been a big John Irving fan but his new one, In One Person, has been getting strong reviews, and I just bought the book version of We Need to Talk About Kevin, so I’m excited about that.  Another older one, but Philip Roth’s a safe bet, as far as I know, and American Pastoral has been on the “been meaning to read that” list for a while.  I have a couple of A.S. Byatt books that I want to get to as well, and her new one looks fascinating.

The “Chick Lit”

To be honest, the height of summer is the only time I’d consider reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but I probably still won’t.

The Classic

One summer in high school, I read E.M Forster’s entire opus and his A Room With A View will always feel like a summer book to me.  It’s short, hilarious, and utterly touching, and every one of you should read it (A Passage to India is great as well).  Otherwise, I have to read Dracula for the fall, so why not get a head start and discover where all of those pesky vampire fiction tropes originated from?

The Chiller

House of Leaves is a couple years old, but I’ve heard it’s wonderful and involving.  Who doesn’t love a good mindbending horror story about a dimensionally-unstable house?  Not me, usually, but I’m curious!

The Foreign Dark Horse

Argentinean writer Andrés Neuman has won multiple awards writing in his native Spanish, and Traveler of the Century is the first of his novels to be translated into English.  A dense, multi-faceted and intellectual tale, Traveler doesn’t seem like my usual fare, but in between all of that sci-fi action I’m going to want something more respectable and intelligent, and this seems like just the ticket.

What do you guys think?  Should I read any of these?  Tell me what you’re reading this summer!