One of the few good things about Covid-19 is that it’s giving people much more free time to do crafts, learn an instrument, watch netflix or in my case, to read. This summer I’ve been devouring books like there’s no tomorrow so here’s my recommendations for summer reads.
The Great Gatsby- F.Scott Fitzgerald
I know I know!! It’s an ultra famous classic with an accompanying Leo Di Caprio film, so why am I recommending it? This book is so much more than some boring old classic. The writing is almost like poetry, it has my favourite hopeless romantic main character ever, it’s a great text about the American Dream and it’s set in New York in the summer. Oh, and the film is by the amazing Baz Luhrmann whose Romeo and Juliet you probably had to watch in high school. All in all it’s a book everyone should read not only for its lessons but for the writing and story.
The Hate U Give- Angie Thomas
On the other side of the spectrum we have this YA novel which deals with issues of race, police brutality and violence in the Trump era. Thomas’ novel is an important read for all of us this year as we have seen the Black Lives Matter movement blow up. This book gives a voice to those people who have suffered as a consequence of racism and police brutality and deserves to be read by all who wish to understand what is happening today.
Beauty Queens- Libba Bray
I listened to this book a few summers ago and it truly is the best audiobook I have ever listened to. I love an audiobook for long car journeys or even just walking to uni. And whilst a novel about a group of pageant queens getting stranded on a desert island may sound like what some condescending reviewers call ‘chick lit’ this book packs a punch. The story unravels many social issues as it develops in the ultimate summer setting- a deserted island.
Kindred- Octavia Butler
Looking for sci-fi, layered historical fiction and race issues all rolled into one book? I doubt you were but somehow, ‘Kindred’ has them all. The main character is an African American writer who has been plummeted back in time to the pre-abolition South and has to try to survive in this complex new environment. The way exciting way this novel deals with the United States’ complicated history of slavery should push it onto your summer to-read list.
Aside from my recommendations it’s important to remember that you should read whatever you want to read. Even if it’s not a ‘classic’, there’s something to learn from every book and even though you study ‘literature’ you don’t always have to read it. Young Adult novels can be just as deep as well established classics and it’s important to explore and give yourself a break. Happy reading!
– Yzzy (Fourth Year English Literature and Hispanic Studies)