Making the Most of Your Summer: A Reading List

Summer break is here and that allows you to take your time and choose books that you enjoy. What would you read if you had the chance? Fiction? Non-fiction? Self-help? As usual, College Raptor is here to help! Here are our suggestions for your summer reading list. Before we get to your summer reading lists, check out these tips to make the most of your summer reading!

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Fun Summer Reading Tips:

  1. Download Libby or Hoopla to your favorite reading device. Then you can check out books for FREE from your local library, straight to your device.
  2. Try audiobooks or podcasts if your eyes need a break. Pro tip, Amazon currently has tons of free audiobooks!
  3. Make it fun. If motivation is tough, join or start a book club to make it more engaging and fun.
  4. Set a reading goal (like, “I’m going to read an hour a day” or “I’d like to finish a book a week this summer”).
  5. Reach out to teachers/professors and see if they’ll give a copy of the fall syllabi so you can get ahead of fall required reading at your own pace this summer.

8. Good Reads for College Bound Students

1. Chicken Soup for the College Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Kimberly Kirbeger

Chicken Soup for the College Soul offers their usual 101 stories of guidance, laughter, support, encouragement, and inspiration written by college students just like you. They’ve been in your shoes and know where you’re coming from.

2. Adulting: How to Become A Grown Up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Based on the popular blog ADULTING, by Kelly Williams Brown, this book covers some basic, practical things young adults need to know in order to survive in this world. For example, how to avoid a workplace romance, how to cook a proper meal, and how to fake it ‘til you make it. Humor mixed in with real talk makes the world seem like not such a scary place for all of us constantly trying to properly “adult” these days. Whatever that means.

3. 15 Things Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse

What do seven billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 straight ‘A’ students, and 239 entrepreneurs have in common? According to Kevin Kruse, the answer is productivity. The book is filled with practical, valuable information like how to get rid of that pesky procrastination habit, or if social media easily distracts you, there’s a chapter for that!

In college, time management is one of the keys to your survival. It can mean the difference between sleeping soundly the night before an exam and cramming until the early morning. There’s something for everyone in this book no matter what stage of life you’re in.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

What’s summer reading without some humor? Actress, producer and everyone’s favorite girl from “The Office,” Mindy Kaling invites us into her very own world. Readers get a glimpse into her opinions on friendship, romance, and navigating Hollywood – it’s all there. In true Mindy fashion, she gives her thoughts while making us laugh out loud in the process. She’s like that really honest, funny friend we’d all love to have. This book is on our list because it’s just the kind of free, lighthearted fun that your summer break should be made of.

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If you haven’t already read this critically acclaimed book, it’s time to add it to your TBR list. This fiction book is about a young Spanish boy who is on a journey to find the worldly treasure but is quickly finding the treasures from within. This book is inspiring, magical, and relatable to college students who are embarking on this new chapter of life.

6. The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook: Easy, Healthy Recipes for the Next Four Years & Beyond

This book is not like any other on our list but we believe it’s essential to learn to cook healthy and great-tasting meals before heading off to college. The 5-Ingredient College Cookbook has easy-to-follow recipes that will make you feel like Gordan Ramsey. Spend the summer trying out and perfecting these recipes before you head off to college!

7. Beach Read by Emily Henry

This author has written THE books for summer. Beach Read, People We Meet on Vacation, and Book Lovers are all great options. Her debut novel, Beach Read, is the perfect light-hearted option. The main character is a writer who is in a rut and is starting to not believe in those fairytale love stories. It’s more of a romance novel so if you’re looking for something different for your summer reading list, this is it!

8. How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students by Cal Newport

College isn’t as straightforward as we think sometimes! Thinking outside of the box can actually pay off big time. For example, have you ever thought about not doing all the reading? Or why you should focus on your grades rather than your GPA? This book contains 75 rules you should follow during your time at college if you want to succeed and have a blast during those four years.

Classic Reads Every Student Should Consider

There are so many classics out there that deserve to be mentioned (and read!). If you haven’t tackled any of these just yet, this summer is the perfect time to give these reads a try. (P.S., you can check most of these out for free).

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • Room by Emma Donoghue
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • The Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

College Raptor Staff Favorite Summer Reads:

1. Any book by Elin Hildrebrand

“Elin Hildrebrand sets her books mostly on the Island of Nantucket (though she has branched out to the US Virgin Islands too). “28 Summers” is a great one to start with. It’s sort of a same time, next year theme. A young woman (Mallory) falls for her brother’s college friend, but they don’t have a typical relationship. They meet on Nantucket one week each summer. The reason I like her books is that she actually lives on Nantucket and names real businesses and beaches. I always feel like I’m actually on island with her.” – Shannon G.

2. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

“The book is about a woman who becomes a beloved cooking show host in 1960s in Southern California after being fired as a chemist four years earlier.  I love books about characters who persevere and stay true to themselves.  I also loved how quirky the characters were- a breath of fresh air!” Allison H.

3. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt.

“It is about a group of seemingly unrelated people and the giant pacific octopus who brings them all together and tells part of the story. A nice, easy read.” – Liz R.

4. The Holdout, by Graham Moore

“It’s about a juror who becomes a defense attorney years after holding out for a not guilty verdict in controversial high-profile murder trial. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jury 10 years later. When one of the other jurors is found dead in the holdouts’ hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. A present-day murder investigation reveals what really happened during their deliberation, and secrets they all have been keeping are threatened.

Why I like: it is a riveting blend of mystery and suspense and explores themes of justice, truth, race, class, and the complexities of the legal system in a whodunit murder mystery.” – Dan S.

They say better readers make better writers, so take some time this summer to relax with a book in hand. You’ll see the improvements in your academics once the fall semester rolls back around. Our book suggestions and summer reading list range in genres so there’s something for everyone to enjoy! If you find yourself wanting more book suggestions (especially if you’ve already read these great books), then Penguin Random House and Scholastic have summer reading lists to go through. For now, happy reading!

Love to read? Is an English major in your future? Use our Major Search tool to see what schools are best for bookworms and what you can expect in each area of study.

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