July 14, 2016

Nothing could be better than curling up with a good book on a lazy summer day.  After all, "Books are the quietest and most constant of friends."  There's only one problem: with so many books to choose from, how does one make a good choice?  Never fear; that's why I'm here.

I've rounded up twenty of the best summer reads, from every type of fiction to heartwarming memoirs to helpful guides.  All that's left for you to do is grab a chair and a pair of reading glasses--so read on!

Prep For A Day

Outliers:  In what I consider to be one of the most fascinating books ever written, Malcolm Gladwell affably debunks the myths that surround the "outliers" in society:  the geniuses, the professional athletes, the billionaires.  From hockey players to technology superstars, this novel really has a topic for everyone.

When Breath Becomes Air:  The brilliant memoir of a neurosurgeon-turned-cancer-patient, this novel gives rise to many of the questions that linger on the surface of humanity:  How does one go on existing, even in the face of death?  What makes a life worth living?  The book is truly unforgettable.

Redeeming Love:  In her usual style, Francine Rivers tells the tale of a young, embittered woman, a deeply religious man, and a love that comes not only from their romance, but from Heaven above.

The Great Divorce:  Ever wondered what Heaven looks like?  Take a bus ride from the grayness of Hell into the realm of paradise in this C.S. Lewis classic.

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Proof of Heaven:  Another heavenly tale, Proof of Heaven tells the true story of neurosurgeon Eben Alexander's journey to Heaven:  what he found there, how he got there, and how the experience altered him forever.

Flowers for Algernon:  If you've been reading the blog for a while, you probably know that I recently finished this classic science fiction novel.  It's a heartwarming and emotional book that digs deep into the concepts of intelligence and acceptance;  I couldn't recommend it more.

1984:  This book has remained a staple of classic literature since its publication, and it isn't hard to understand why.  George Orwell's eerily accurate predictions about the future of society make this novel a very thought-provoking read.

Blogging for Creatives:  Whether you're a blogger, an aspiring blogger, or a blogging enthusiast, you'll find all of the tips in this guide to be super informative, especially for beginners.

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A Grief Observed:  C.S. Lewis's memoir about the loss of his beloved wife is more than just a memoir:  it's a collection of writings, rife with reality and heartache, that allowed Lewis to slowly overcome his grief. If you've ever lost someone important in your life, you'll find that Lewis's words ring very true.

Pet Sematary:  In what has been described as the "most frightening novel Stephen King has ever written," explore the seemingly idyllic lives of Dr. Louis Creed and his family, including their family cat, Church. Only two factors disrupt their idyllic lifestyles:  a busy street that flanks their home and woods that house a terrifying presence--even stronger than death itself.

The Trials of Apollo:  If you loved the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, you've probably heard of the newest installment to the demigod world;  this time, the unlucky god Apollo takes center stage.  If you've never heard of the series, see this as an opportunity to start reading.

Thirteen Reasons Why:  A high school girl commits suicide.  While everyone is grappling with the terms of her fatal decision, Clay Jensen finds several cassette tapes recorded by the girl, Hannah Baker.  Her voice takes him through the steps leading to her ultimate death, answering how and when it occurred, and most importantly:  why.

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The Gene:  An Intimate History:  If you're even remotely interested in the field of genetics, this is the novel for you.  Mukherjee brilliantly relates the biography of the gene, including its journey through history and its overall effects on our personalities, identities, and decisions.

The Bell Jar:  A more modern American classic, The Bell Jar explores a woman's journey from beauty and success to mental instability and chilling rationale.  The book does a wonderful job of taking readers inside the head of an individual struggling with her own sanity, making it a must-read.

The Emperor of All Maladies:  Mukherjee's other masterpiece focuses on one of the most destructive diseases in human history:  cancer.  He analyzes it with "a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion" in order to portray both the true nature of cancer and the worldwide hope that it will be eradicated.

The Nightingale:  Fans of historical fiction (especially pieces like All the Light We Cannot See) will love this World War II tale of two sisters who become entangled in the German invasion of France.

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The Problem of Pain:  In typical C.S. Lewis fashion, this novel explores facets of human nature as well as man's relationship with God in order to answer the single-most controversial question in many religions:  "If God is good and all-powerful, why does He allow His creatures to suffer pain?"

Sisi:  Empress on Her Own:  Sequel to the hit historical fiction novel The Accidental Empress (one of my all-time favorites, I might add), Allison Pataki's newest book focuses around the later years of Empress Elisabeth of Austria.  Let's just say that this royal's life consists of so much more than grand parties and glittering gowns--it's chock full of unlikely romances, stifling protocols, and recurring tragedies.

Pride and Prejudice:  This charming, witty novel is perhaps one of Jane Austen's best;  its sweeping regency romances, Victorian witticisms, and hints of humor make it the perfect beach or lazy day read.

Understanding Exposure (3rd Edition):  If you're interested in learning about photography, this is one of the best-recommended books for beginners.  Bryan Peterson uses easy-to-understand metaphors, simple exercises, and his own photographs to explain tricky concepts like aperture, shutter speed, and white balance.  You'll be shooting with manual mode in no time!

I hope everyone was able to find a new novel to peruse after looking at this list.  As always, happy reading!

What are some of the books that you've read this summer?



  1. 1984 is definitely one of my favorite books! Great list, I definitely want to check out Outliers.

    Ashley //

    1. You should! It's a super interesting read!

  2. OH my Tori you have so many books to read! I am going to have to schedule extra pool time so I can discover your recommendations!

    1. Haha, I'm glad that I gave you a wide selection (and an excuse to read more)! Thanks for reading!

  3. You always have the best book recommendations Tori!!
    xo, Syd


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