5 books to read this summer

Lauren Durham
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Now that the days of watching lectures and tuning into awkward class zooms are behind us, what’s next?

You’ve already baked banana bread (a few times), downloaded a fitness app, and if you take your dog for one more walk around your neighborhood, you might just lose it.That’s where I am. I was describing myself.

Between searching for a part-time job and napping, I’ve started a few new hobbies that I would never have had time for otherwise, including leisurely reading. Have you ever been so bored that your parents suggested you read a book? Again, I have. 

I took my parents’ advice and opened a book or two — most of which I’ve wanted to read for awhile but haven’t had the time to do so. Here’s a list of my favorites that not only make for good quarantine/summer reads, but they might also add a bit of positivity to your monotonous routine. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Former first lady Michelle Obama eloquently describes her life starting from her childhood through the inauguration of her husband’s successor. She details everything from how she met Barack to the redecorating of the White House. 

The book was recently turned into a documentary on Netflix thanks to its success. Although the memoir is lengthy, I highly suggest reading it whether you are a huge fan of Michelle or not. Hearing events from her perspective provides an interesting outlook of the country, especially at a time when a lot of us were too young to fully understand what electing a black man into office truly meant. 

I laughed, cried, and mostly just missed the Obamas. 

Tip: If you can get the book as an audiobook, do it. Michelle is the narrator, and her voice adds a whole other level of intimacy and intrigue to her stories.

The Subtle Art of Giving a F***  by Mark Manson

Typically, the title of this book catches people’s attention right away, including mine.

Author Mark Manson describes his second book saying, “It’s the self-help book for people who hate self-help. It’s as much a pat on the back as a slap in the face. It’s the first truly no BS guide to flourishing in a crazy, crazy world.” https://markmanson.net/books/subtle-art

Being the people-pleaser that I am, the idea of not caring so much sounded pretty good to me. So far, the book has not disappointed. If you’re looking for a little motivation or just want to stop feeling sorry for yourself, give it a go. 

Educated by Tara Westover

This memoir blew my mind when I read it last summer. My boyfriend, best friend, and grandma all happened to read it around the same time as me. I debriefed the book with each of them multiple times afterward. 

Author Tara Westover details her childhood of seclusion from the modern world — one where schools are not to be trusted and the only useful medicinal remedies are herbs. Westover educated herself, which eventually propelled herself into the world of prestigious academia. Her compelling tone and incredible journey are both thrilling and endearing. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Who’s watched this on Hulu? It’s nearly impossible to read the book without picturing Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington as the two female leads, but I’m not complaining. 

This novel explores motherhood, race, and wealth during the 1990s, but the themes are ever-so-relevant today. 

If you’re a Clevelander or are familiar with the city, you may recognize the novel’s setting of Shaker Heights. My grandma, who grew up in a nearby suburb, promises that author Celeste Ng describes the area to a T. 

Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen’s cooking videos on Instagram and Twitter convinced me to read her infamous cookbook, and I was not disappointed. 

Cravings has everything from French Toast Casserole with Salted Frosted Flakes to Actual Drunken Noodles. My personal favorite is Teigen’s Lemony Arugula Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. Pasta, pancetta, parmesan, and lemon… what’s not to like?

If you’ve already read Cravings, feel free to graduate up to her second installment, Cravings: Hungry for More

Tip: If you’re not willing to pay almost $20 on the cookbooks, she sometimes posts recipes on her social media accounts. Keep an eye out.

Happy reading and happy summer.

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