An Unsolicited Summer Reading List | Izzy Ster

I can feel it in the air, can’t you? The warm breeze beginning to move in San Diego, frightening away the May Gray. A greater number of surfers beginning to dot the deepest blue areas of the ocean. Ice cream begins to become an essential food group, sunblock is an essential, and many begin to plan their weeks around what the UV will be. Summer is almost upon us and, like every good San Diegan, I’ll bet that you’re planning on spending lots of time at the beach, perfecting your tan. And with good weather comes…a lovely opportunity to grab that book that’s been hiding on your bedside table for months or finally finish the one series you’ve been working on for an embarrassing amount of time. Never fear, your guide to books that are practically written to be devoured in a sunny park or while sunbathing at Powerhouse Park is here.

Normal People – Sally Rooney

It is a solemn occurrence in which I feel completely engrossed by a book. Normal People somehow reached through the pages and clutched onto my brain, even after I finished the book. In a classic boy-meets-girl trope, Rooney takes it to a new level while exploring the human condition and the boundaries of love. It brilliantly explores connectivity with a psychoanalytical angle; at times, the reader feels as though they are intruding profusely on intimate conversations between the two main characters, Connell and Marianne. 

Song of Achilles – Madeleine Miller

Did you devour every Percy Jackson book as a child? If so, this is the book for you. Miller takes a modern and sparkling new take on centuries-old characters. Recounting aspects of the Trojan War, this book weaves in timeless mythology while serving up a devastating romance. Aside from the intriguing plot, Miller beautifully employs words to create epic prose that’s wonderfully poetic in nature. This book, just like the classics it’s inspired by, creates riveting storytelling to totally engross the reader. 

My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh

This is an excellent book that urges readers to not judge a book by its cover (excuse the pun). The main character, whose name is never divulged, has a seemingly easy life: she’s pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, and has rich parents. Mosfegh writes in such a way that celebrates the darkest aspects of human nature; this book is not for the weak-hearted. In a book that somehow emphasizes masochism and narcissism taken too far, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is bound to keep you entertained. 

Crying in H Mart – Michelle Zauner 

It’s in the title: this book will make you cry. Zauner, known for her music under the name of Japanese Breakfast, is a beautifully raw memoir of losing her mother to terminal pancreatic cancer. In the memoir, Zauner explores how her experience with this set off an identity crisis and a deep reflection on being a Korean American. In her prose, it feels as though you are sitting at a coffee shop with Zauner as she recounts her trauma. For this book, keep a pack of Kleenex nearby. 

Whether you’ll be laying poolside in your backyard or sunbathing on some exotic beach, the summer allots an unique opportunity for some free time — what better way to spend it than to crack open a good book? Whatever book you chose to add to your summer reading list, just remember to try and truly relax. You deserve it.

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