It’s officially summer in my neck of the woods, and while it’s my least favorite season, I do love it for all the free reading time it gives me. My reading schedule doesn’t change all that much during the summer to be honest, but there are some books that I either read during a particularly important summer in my life, or they have summer settings and themes such as, travel, beaches, road trips etc. So here they are in no particular order.
This one accompanied me on a month long trip to Nicaragua which was the perfect book to take with me. It follows Bria, a recent high school graduate whose life has taken a turn for the worst. She decides to get away from it all by booking herself on a guided bus tour of Guatemala. Along the way she meets Rowen and his sister, two well worn back packers who convince her to ditch the bus for a a nice thread bare back pack. If you’ve ever been to Central America, this book will delight you by how accurate its portrayal is. From unreliable chicken filled buses, to soda in bags, and the coldest baths you will ever have it’s obvious Hubbard knows what she’s talking about, and she captured Central America beautifully. I savored every bit of this read while lying on a hammock and sipping plastic bags full of the sweetest Fanta I’ve ever had.
“What everyone forgets — even me — is the people who actually live here. In places like Central America, I mean. Southeast Asia. India. Africa. Millions, even billions, of people, who live out their whole lives in these places — the places so many people like us fear. Think about it: they ride chicken buses to work every day. Their clothes are always damp. Their whole lives, they never escape the dust and the heat. But they deal with all these discomforts. They have to. “So why can’t travelers? If we’ve got the means to get here, we owe it to the country we’re visiting not to treat it like an amusement park, sanitized for our comfort. It’s insulting to the people who live here. People just trying to have the best lives they can, with the hands they’ve been dealt.”
I picked this one up right after I graduated high school, and again it’s one of those uncannily perfect books to have read at the time. Like Auden, the protagonist I’ve always been known to be a little adult. I went through high school missing tons of experiences because I was busy obsessing about my grades and my future. I rarely stopped to enjoy just being a teenager, and now looking back I wish I had. Aside from connecting with Auden, the book also has a perfect summer vibe. Think the beach, small town, staying up late and being silly, first experiences etc. It’s a book that reminds you to take a break every once and a while and just have a good time. This is my favorite Dessen book, and perfect for the summer.
“I’d come here planning to leave as soon as I could. It was a pit stop, not a destination. I had my whole life mapped out.””So what happened?””I guess that map didn’t turn out to be mine after all,”
Most of you probably already know with this is about, either you’ve read them or seen the films. A group of four friends who find a pair of pants that mysteriously fits them all, and they decide to share the pants between them for the summer. From Greece, to Mexico, these pants travel with the girls and become not only a symbol of their friendship, but of the summers that change their lives. Summer, travel, and friendships equals a perfect summer read.
“The rules took a while to sort out. Lena and Carmen wanted to focus on friendship-type rules, stuff about keeping in touch with one another over the summer, and making sure the Pants kept moving from one girl to the next. Tibby preferred to focus on random things you could and couldn’t do in the Pants — like picking your nose.”
This is a difficult book to explain. It made me laugh and cry, and I enjoyed every second of it. It reminded me of my summers of madness running around and having fake wars with all the my neighborhood kids. It’s definitely a fun read, but it also has a lots of dark undertones. It’s a book about self-discovery, building relationships, and learning how to trust others. Overall, it’s a lovely read regardless of the season.
“It’s funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that’s why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It’s not the pain they’re getting over, it’s the love.”
Another one of those book you have to be living under a rock to not have heard of. I took this with me while I was traveling around Europe for a summer when I was nineteen, and one of my destinations was Rome. It’s a memoir about a woman who takes a year off of her life and decided to “find herself.” Kind of cliched yes I know, but while I was reading this it made me so excited to visit Rome, and as well as all the other destination Gilbert has on here. Bali, one day I shall come for you.
“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.”
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
The book that made “Road Trip around the U.S.” a top priority on my bucket list. It follows a group of friends who well.. road trip around the U.S. Along the way they stop in all kinds places, and see completely different side of the U.S. It’s strange considering I’ve never gone on a really long road trip during the summer, but road trips always seem like a summer thing to me.
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
What are your favorite summer reads, or what books make you think of the summer? Does your reading schedule change during the summer?