With summer vacation coming up, chances are we’ll have quite a bit of free time on our hands. But, as fun as they are, beach outings and summer projects only last so long. So to take some time off your hands, here’s a list of five great books to read this summer.
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
For all of us who struggle with uncertainty or sometimes feel lost in the hustle and bustle of our modern world, The Alchemist reminds us that sometimes, fear is the biggest obstacle in our paths to treasure. This best-selling novel tells the story of Santiago, a Spanish shepherd-boy who learns of treasure in Egypt and travels from Spain’s familiar pastures to the unknown Middle East. On his journey, he encounters a Gypsy fortune teller, a King, and an Alchemist. They teach the once-insecure Santiago to be sure of himself as he strives to learn the secrets of the universe and realize his own personal destiny. The Alchemist is a great read for those wishing to abandon fear and insecurity to find a deeper, richer meaning within their lives.
Available on Amazon.com for $13.45, Barnes & Noble for $13.68
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
Set in the grubby streets of Limerick, Ireland, Frank McCourt recounts his miserable Irish-Catholic childhood In this Pulitzer-Prize winning memoir. Complete with unforgettable first communions, sick siblings, an alcoholic father, and more, Angela’s Ashes is rich in frankness and detail. McCourt’s childhood exploits are sure to make readers laugh, and just so, his dire miseries will likely evoke a few tears.
Available on Amzazon.com for $10.11, Barnes & Noble for $10.61
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
If you’ve ever wanted to relate to a character, The Catcher in the Rye is the book you’re looking for. The novel follows Holden Caulfield, a rebellious 16 year-old who flunks out of his college preparatory school and spends several days in the Big Apple. During this time, Caufield offers his take on life and society around him, such as fake friends, unreasonable teachers, and a longing for fulfillment through his sarcastic and often explicit narrative. Although set in the early 1950’s, The Catcher in the Rye is a fresh, relatable novel for today’s youth which can help us navigate our stressful times.
Available on Amazon.com for $5.49, Barnes & Noble for $8.92
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
A controversial work, A Clockwork Orange follows the sadistic exploits of Alex DeLarge, a teenage criminal who, at night, wreaks havoc upon London alongside his delinquent accomplices. Set in dystopian London, it explores the philosophical conflict of free will vs. determinism. A Clockwork Orange is narrated by DeLarge in the first person and is written in a dystopian slang (a mix of Cockney-English and Russian). This, though, shouldn’t discourage readers as the slang (although awkward at first) adds to the novella’s spice.
Available on Amazon.com for $7.03, Barnes and Noble for $9.49
The Stranger – Albert Camus
Written in 1942, The Stranger is as relevant today as it was then. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows Meursault, a French Algerian who personifies the absurdist and existentialist philosophy of author Albert Camus, that is, that life in this world is absurd, purposeless, and chaotic. The Stranger revolves around Meursault’s indifference towards life and societal norms, and how such indifference eventually leads him to dire trouble. Readers curious about the effects which societal norms have on the individual will find this short novel a gripping, thought-provoking read.
Available on Amazon.com for $9.34, Barnes and Noble for $8.71