Sunscreen, swimming pools, and freedom from school: that’s what summer days are made of. The weather can be a brute, but there’s something magical about summer. Outdoor adventures abound, the sun shows its face more than usual, and life slows down just a bit — more time for reading!
In school you may have had summer reading assignments you had to complete. This summer, here’s your assignment: we challenge you to check off these 10 books from your reading list. Each of these classics evokes something classic about summer, whether it’s kids running free or an exotic, tropical island.
Not all of these selections are sunny stories, but they’re perfect for a beach or front porch read that transports you to a summer scene. A refreshing chilled beverage, a pair of sunglasses and one of these books are all that you’ll need to cope with the heat. So get comfy: it’s hammock time!
What’s more summery than a great adventure? Follow Huck and traveling companion Jim on their adventures down the Mississippi, as Huck escapes being “sivilized” but runs into other troubles along the way. A playful yet poignant satire set in the antebellum South, Huckleberry Finn continues to be a favorite among literary circles.
Aye, matey — it’s the original tale of “buccaneers and buried gold” that has inspired pirate stories for decades. Billy Bones battles with one-legged sea-faring men — most notoriously, “Long John” Silver — who covet the treasure his map marks with an “X.” Grab your bottle of rum and set sail on a treacherous ship in unchartered territory, where you just might get rich if you don’t get murdered. Arr!
In the scorching July heat of Pamplona, Spain, a group of expatriates from the “Lost Generation” sweat it out in cafes drinking bottles of wine and in the streets watching the bullfights. Not your average summer shindig, the Festival of San Fermin is a hectic setting that captures the experience of the characters as they attempt to cope with life after World War I. The Sun Also Rises is widely known as Hemingway’s greatest work.
This iconic Southern Gothic tale of justice, race, and salvation follows the Finch siblings and their father, Atticus, a lawyer whose recent client seems doomed to be persecuted. The summer of Tom Robinson’s ill-fated trial is a turning point in Atticus’ legal career in the “tired old town” of Maycomb, Alabama. Jem and Scout Finch’s prejudices are challenged as they learn there’s more to their spooky neighbor, Boo Radley, than meets the eye.
Get your summer road trip on with a group of 1940s countercultural artists and musicians who indulge in drugs and dabble in philosophy. A roman a clef based closely on the lives of Kerouac and his friends (including William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsburg), the narrative follows main characters Sal and Dean on epic adventures across the country — some of which end in heartbreak.
What more could you ask for in the summer months than decadence, drinking and dancing? A touch of drama, perhaps. In so many ways, The Great Gatsby is the quintessential summer novel. Love and lust heat up the days and fast cars burn up the night in upper class New York. You’ll be needing that mint julep.
Winner of the Booker Prize in 1978, The Sea, the Sea is a cautionary tale of obsession and egotism. Almost becoming a character itself, the sea is the backdrop of this novel about a playwright and director writing his memoirs at the beach. During his stay he ventures into the past — and no amount of suntan lotion can keep him from getting burned.
Title castaway Robinson Crusoe’s life is no vacation on a remote tropical island near Trinidad (which he calls “The Island of Despair”). Shipwrecked and alone, Crusoe fights for his survival, overcoming hopelessness and winning unlikely allies. Written in the style of an autobiography of Crusoe’s 30 years on the island, the novel portrays a wild and exotic existence that includes cannibals, bloodthirsty wolves, and a great escape.
For Caroline and Vix, the two young protagonists of Summer Sisters, every summer is meant to be spent together — at least until things change. Heavier than Blume’s other novels, this coming-of-age story about the ties that bind follows the girls from high school through motherhood.
“Too weird to live; too rare to die.” This phrase describes the journalist Raoul Duke, who, along with his attorney, Dr. Gonzo, seeks the American Dream in a drug-filled run through Vegas. A semi-autobiographical adventure depicting a distorted reality and disillusionment, Fear and Loathing introduced the concept of gonzo journalism, a style that rejects objectivity and is often told in first-person narrative.
These classics will fill your summer days with life and inspire your own adventures. If you’re looking for something new, OSAAT Entertainment has a wide variety of selections to pass the time this summer. If you like the thrill of Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island or the Southern setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, check out Puzzles. Try Double Dare if Judy Blume and Iris Murdoch are more your style. Stay cool and keep on reading!