For those of us who are technically full grown adults now (maaaaan), every summer we still look back fondly on our summer reading lists of yore. From being assigned the classics to being able to pick a couple of new titles off a list (and feeling like you have all the power) to doing your own thing and reading whatever you wanted, summers recall books in hand. If you’re feeling nostalgic, here are the top 10 titles you should re-read (or read for the first time, that’s okay!) this summer.
Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
Now a major motion picture – in fact the fifth adaptation – Ben-Hur is a classic from 1880, considered the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century. It features Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur, who has been falsely accused of assassinating a Roman governor, thus sentenced to life as a slave. But when he saves a captain’s life, he becomes determined to seek his revenge against those who brought him misfortune.
Agatha Christie’s The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
Before you crack into this year’s Closed Casket, rewind a bit to The Monogram Murders, which stars Agatha Christie’s beloved character Hercule Poirot. A young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered, and soon he finds out about three others have been murdered. Poirot must put the pieces together before someone else is in danger.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
Read the book before you see the movie! In Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Billy finds himself suddenly as a sought-after hero, after his squad was filmed in intense warfare with Iraqi insurgents. The book takes place in one day – Thanksgiving, when Billy’s group are honoured guests of a Dallas football game, and are slated to be part of the halftime show.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Do I have to say much about this and why you should read it again? Because it’s a great classic, especially on high school reading lists, and the message of the story is still so relevant today. Get reacquainted with Scout, Atticus, Jem and Boo!
Room by Emma Donoghue
It’s been almost a year since the film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s Room hit the Toronto International Film Festival to great acclaim, and Emma is about to release her new book, The Wonder, which is bound to make big waves itself. Emma’s books aren’t exactly happy ones, let’s be honest, so if you feel like shedding a good tear but still enjoying a good book, revisiting the story Jack and Ma will hit you in the right places.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
If you live somewhere like Toronto, where it’s felt swampy hot for weeks, you’ll feel right at home in The Jungle Book! You’ll also get even more enjoyment out of this classic if you read the new deluxe illustrated collectible edition, which has 3D interactive elements by the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise and the illustrated classic Peter Pan. Take your inner child on vacation!
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
Even though Nadia has a new book out, A House Without Windows, that does not mean you shouldn’t want to dive back into her powerful first novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell. Especially since her next book (out like, next month!) is a middle grade novel called One Half From the East, which actually runs so similar in theme – the Afghan tradition of bacha posh, dressing young girls as boys in order to enter society – that it shares a character with the first novel, so you’ll want to check back in with them from the beginning!
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
People are obsessed with finding happiness. Though we each have our own methods and reasons, for some people like Gretchen Rubin, they need to try things out to see if it makes a difference. In Gretchen’s widely popular memoir, The Happiness Project, she sets out with all kinds of resolutions, which are relatalbe, inspiring and sharp – all the things that can get you feeling motivated even if you’ve read it before.
The Princess Diaries
Can you believe it’s been sixteen years since The Princess Diaries came out? Doesn’t that make you feel old? If you want to feel young again, you could just re-read it! (And then watch the movie again because that too is perfect.) Mia Thermopolis is such an endearing YA character that you’ll find yourself giggling at her awkwardness all over again.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
There are plenty of reasons to dive back into Veronica Roth’s dystopian world – like being excited for the future screen interpretation of the end of the series or the upcoming release of her new book, Carve the Mark! If Divergent solidified or just added on to your love of YA then clearly it’s going to be on your re-read list and maybe now is the perfect time!
What are you re-reading this summer? What books did you enjoy reading during the summers of your grade school years?
Follow me on Twitter @papertraildiary