Top Books of the Summer

by Hunter Anderson

There is no better time to read a book than the summer. There is just something particularly satisfying about reading a book when relaxing by the pool, at the beach, or on the porch. The number of books can seem endless and finding the right one can be daunting. So, looking for a good book this summer? Here are several that I recommend that cover a wide array of genres.

Fiction

Thrillers

  1. A Gentleman in Moscow – by Amor Towles

This novel is about a Russian man sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, an impressive hotel across from the Kremlin, during the Russian Revolution.

Towles is brilliant in his development of the main character, Count Alexander Rostov, the man sentenced to house arrest. Rostov is witty, composed, and observant throughout the book. To really fall in love with the book, you must appreciate Count Rostov.

Towles also creates a world inside of the Metropol that is remarkably vivid and alive, which compares to the incredible world of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. As the reader learns about the events unfolding in the Metropol through the eyes of Count Rostov, the Russian revolution unfolds right outside its doors.

  • American Dirt – by Jeanine Cummins

Lydia Quixano Pérez runs a bookstore in Mexico, and her husband is a journalist. One day the new cartel leader in the region walks into the bookstore to buy a few books. They become close friends, bonding over literature, yet Lydia has no idea who this man really is. Lydia discovers his identity through her husband’s journalistic work. When Lydia’s husband publishes a scathing article on the new cartel leader, Lydia’s remaining family is forced to flee and make their way to the United States – as migrants.

This novel will grip you from the very first page. It is a story interwoven with joy, terror, love, despair and yet hope. I would say it is one of the best reads of the year.  

Science Fiction

  • The Long Winter Trilogy – by A.G. Riddle

In this science fiction series, a new ice age has hit earth. As humanity is struggling to survive, a group of scientists look for answers both on earth and beyond, in space.

I have never read a science fiction novel before this series. I was skeptical at first about the science fiction genre, but not after reading the first book in this series. Even better, the second and third books are just as riveting as the first. Riddle creates a plot that is not too far-fetched and involves real science.

If any reader is looking for a science fiction book to read, I recommend this entire trilogy.

Adventure / Family

  • A Dog’s Purpose – by W. Bruce Cameron

This book stands apart from the other recommended books. This is a much lighter read intended for younger readers or dog lovers.

The plot involves a dog’s search for its purpose over the course of multiple lives. The story is even told from the viewpoint of a dog. I really enjoyed this unique book.

If you need a light read and love dogs, this book is for you. The book is now even a motion picture.

Nonfiction

Memoirs

  1. Long Way Gone – by Ishmael Beah

I first read this book as a junior in high school for summer reading. This is one of the few books that I enjoyed for summer reading, and it is the book that eventually got me into reading books outside of school.

This book is a memoir, the firsthand account of a collection of memories in a person’s life. Ishmael Beah writes about his experiences as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone, which took place between 1991 and 2002. Beah’s experience in war changed him, turning him from an innocent boy into a soldier, capable of many violent acts.

There are not many firsthand accounts of child soldiers that are this in-depth. Ishmael’s story is fascinating, unique, and almost unbelievable. The amazing aspect about his story is that it is very much true.

  • Educated – by Tara Westover

Educated is about Tara Westover’s journey from being a child in a survivalist Mormon family to eventually getting her PhD at Cambridge. Growing up, Tara’s father did not believe in the formal school system or hospitals. Therefore, Tara did not receive a formal education until she was 17. Throughout the book, Tara learns there is a vast world outside of the mountains of Idaho with people that have far different beliefs and experiences than she does.

Educated was arguably the book of the summer last year. Like A Long Way Gone, Tara’s story is unique and equally captivating. Throughout her memoir, Tara transforms from a young child who believes everything she is told into a woman who is curious about the world. Tara is inspiring, and every reader should pick up this book at some point.

History

  • Three Days at the Brink – by Brett Baier and Catherine Whitney

Three Days at the Brink focuses on the Tehran Conference during World War II, a meeting between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin. The meeting would be crucial to planning D-Day and bringing an end to the war.

While the book concentrates on the Tehran Conference and FDR’s journey to the presidency, Baier and Whitney give a clear picture of WWII from beginning to end. The “Big Three” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin – move beyond just being names in a history book. They come to life, having personalities, habits, and characteristics.

To anyone wanting to learn more about WWII and one of the decisive moments of the war, this is the perfect book for you.

  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky – by Mark T. Sullivan

This book is based on actual events. A young boy named Pino helps Jews escape the Nazis over the Alps into Switzerland. Eventually, Pino’s parents try to protect him from being caught by forcing him to enlist in the Nazi army. He becomes the personal driver for one of Adolf Hitler’s most trusted generals. Pino courageously decides to spy on the general for the Allies, endangering himself and his family in the process.

While this book is a true story, it reads like a thriller. Pino is a very passionate and courageous character, who is willing to do anything for what is right. The story is filled with suspense, love, action, and the horrors of war. Not a page in this novel is dull. One of my all-time favorite books.

Author: Hunter Anderson

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