Summer is fast approaching and the excitement that surrounds this season is already kicking in: more free time, trips to the beach, long summer nights and seeing friends from home. However, my favorite summer activity has to be reading for fun! During the school year, I find that I do not have any free time to pick up a book as I am swamped with school work and activities. However, when the chaos of final exams is finished, when I am home for the summer and can finally take a deep breath, I find myself drawn to my bookshelf. Most summer days, you can find me sitting at the beach with a good novel in my hand. 

If you have not picked up a book in a while, summer just may be the perfect time to get back into reading. I have compiled a list of some of my favorite summer reads that will hopefully help get you started with your reading this summer.

Any Novel by Jane Austen

I find that the period of transition between spring and summer to be the perfect time to crack open a Jane Austen novel. I love being whisked away from the real world and transported to the English countryside everytime I dive into “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma” or “Mansfield Park.”

“Emma” is by far my favorite of Austen’s novels. The protagonist, Emma Woodhouse, an upper-class citizen of Highbury, England plays match-maker for those in her community. But all does not go well. With witty characters, subtle humor and beautiful language, “Emma” is such a fun read.

“Sense and Sensibility” is on my list of Austen novels to read this summer. It is one of the few Austen novels I have not yet read, and a beloved classic that I am excited to dive into.

The word “classic” may deter you from picking up a Jane Austen novel, however, I urge you to put aside any preconceived notions and give this incredible author a try. With more free time due to a lack of schoolwork, this summer may be the perfect chance for you to dive into some of the classics. Austen will pleasantly surprise you with her romantic plotlines and subtle comedy, often pointing to the absurdity of gender roles and upper-class English society. 

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune

If you are looking for something a little lighter, something that feels a little less academic or something a little more modern, then “The House in the Cerulean Sea” is a book I recommend picking up this summer. This story is the perfect summer read, its fantastical plot providing the perfect escape and its setting appropriately by the sea.

The story follows Linus Baker, an orphanage case worker who has been assigned to a case on an island in which six potentially dangerous, magical children reside. Following a theme of finding family in unlikely places, this book has something for everyone: romance, humor, LGBTQ+ representation and lovable characters. 

Coincidently, this novel was Fairfield’s pick for this year’s One Book One Town event. Author TJ Klune joined the town of Fairfield at the SHU Community Theater to discuss his book with the community. If you choose to pick up “The House in the Cerulean Sea” this summer, I would highly recommend watching the live recording of this event on the Fairfield Public Library’s YouTube channel as well. I find that discussion surrounding a book can only make it more enjoyable. 

“Rebecca”  by Daphne du Maurier

Yes, another classic! Again, don’t let this word deter you from picking up this book as it is one of my all time favorite reads. Like “The House in the Cerulean Sea,” “Rebecca” is set by the ocean. However, du Maurier takes a darker approach to summer by the sea. Set in the 1930s, our unnamed main character impulsively marries the great Maxim de Winter and enters the seemingly magnificent world of the upper class. It is a world she is not familiar with herself as she was not born into wealth and had previously worked as a lady’s companion. As she adjusts to her new role as lady of the house, she finds that she is haunted by the spirit of Maxim’s late wife, Rebecca.

The mysterious and chilling atmosphere of this novel will have you on the edge of your seat throughout its entirety and may even alter the way you perceive the ocean. 

“Along for the Ride” by Sarah Dessen

Steering away from the thriller that is “Rebecca,” my next recommendation is one that I consider to be the ultimate beach read: “Along for the Ride” by Sarah Dessen. If you are looking for a publication that does not require such deep analysis; a story that can be read and enjoyed anywhere at any time, then this is a book I would highly recommend.  

Like many of the others I have discussed, this novel takes place at the beach, the scenery of the ocean often described in beautiful language. The plot follows the main character, Auden, an insomniac as she moves in with her father for the summer. Having been held to such high academic standards by her parents her entire life, she finds this summer to be a time to explore new friendships, new experiences and new relationships. 

This is a book that I found myself reading primarily at the beach last summer, the setting of the ocean providing for a much more pleasant reading experience. If you decide to pick up “Along for the Ride” this summer, be sure to check out Netflix’s new film adaptation of this story. I have yet to watch it, but I am excited to see the characters and plot translate from the page to the screen. 

Summer is the perfect time to explore the world of literature and find out what genre is your favorite. These are just a few book recommendations that will hopefully help to kick start your summer reading!

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