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Top 16 Reads for Summer

summer reading list books

Looking for a good book to read by the pool? HCC has you covered. We asked professors from our English and World Language Division for recommendations for stories so good, you won’t want to put them down. Here’s their list of Top 16 reads for the summer: 

English and World Language Division’s Top 16 Reads for Summer

1.    The Alchemist – By: Paul Coelho 
The Alchemist is considered an international “classic” piece of lit and it is translated from Portuguese. The literature features simple language, yet the story is inspiring and moving.

2.    All the Light We Cannot See – By: Anthony Doerr
The author connects the dots in a vast universe that occupied a large portion of history and is one of the most thrilling aspects of the novel. It is easy to see how the skillful way in which he weaved a plot where the real and the fantastic mix – in a similar way to Latin American Magic Realism – as well as his careful choice of language, attracts diverse audiences. 

3.    An Unnecessary Woman – By: Rabih Alameddine
This book is about an Arab woman who translates great works of literature into Arabic – but just keeps these translations in her apartment. Beautifully written with a stream of quotes from wonderful authors. 

4.    Citizen: An American Lyric – By: Claudia Rankine
This book was the 2015 poetry winner for the National Book Award. It is a combination of prose, poetry, and images, and a meditation on racism in America. It is a very compelling, creative way to try to capture what it means to experience daily life in this society/culture as an “other” that is usually difficult to articulate. 

5.    Crow Lake – By: Mary Lawson
A moving story about a young girl’s traumatic experience and how it influenced her future experiences, both personal and academic. It emphasizes the power of perception and how having an open mind can be freeing. 

6.    Enrique’s Journey – By: Sonia Nazario
This book follows a young man from Honduras who immigrates to the United States, traversing Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and crossing into the United States. Nazario’s book puts a human face on the immigration issue and brings in many facts, points of view, and experiences through a story that draws in the reader and is hard to put down.

7.    Fates and Furies – By: Lauren Groff
Chosen by President Obama as one of the best books of the year in 2015, Fates and Furies is not directly about politics; rather it relates the story of a marriage from two different perspectives and the secrets of a happy, or at least sustained marriage. 

8.    The Glass Castle – By: Jeannette Walls 
Popular amongst reading groups, The Glass Castle is used in HCC reading classes and is generally rated highly amongst students. 

9.    The Golem and the Jinni – By: Helene Wecker 
This novel adds a twist to the typical New York City immigrant story from the early 1900’s. The main characters are a golem and a jinni who are mythical creatures from Jewish and Arabic mythology. They arrive in NYC and have to figure out how to fit in with the rest of the immigrants without being discovered for what they really are. 

10.    In Cold Blood – By: Truman Capote 
First published in 1965, In Cold Blood may have taken place in the past, but its attention to a violent crime and the criminal justice system is still captivating and relevant. 

11.    The Lecturer’s Tale – By: James Hynes
This work of fiction about academia is at turns dark and hilarious, realistic and absurd. There are fun literary allusions in the book, and it is reminiscent of Macbeth and Doctor Faustus at different moments. Hynes is a fun author – there’s usually something supernatural and creepy in his work with makes his books a wild ride. 

12.    The Life We Bury – By: Allen Eskens
The Life We Bury is a mystery novel by a first-time author with a fresh perspective and solid character development. A college student has to interview a convicted murderer for an English assignment, but finds himself uncovering more than he expected. Some reading and composition classes at HCC will be reading this novel in Fall 2016.

13.    Me Before You – By: Jojo Moyes
Now a motion picture, Me Before You is an easy read that brings up a lot of issues. Another recommended book authored by Moyes is The Girl You Left Behind, which is historical fiction and totally different than Me Before You, but also a really great story with a strong female character.

14.    Middlesex – By: Jeffrey Eugenides
This book covers three generations of a Greek-American family and their saga from Asia Minor to Detroit to the  Michigan suburbs. The main character shares a gender identity secret and a coming of  age that brings a new birth.

15.    The Name of the Wind – By: Patrick Rothfuss
Rothfull excels at world-building and story-telling. This is not your usual dragons-and-swords novel – even those who “don’t read fantasy” will find this a good read. 

16.     Self-Reliance – By: Ralph Waldo Emerson
A seminal text that explains everything a college student needs to know about expressing one’s individualism, trusting one’s intuition, and developing an authentic “self.” 

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