The summer is a great time to catch up on reading for pleasure. Without the constant pressures of prelims, papers, and extracurriculars, there is no better time to pick up a book. From commuting to beach reading, the summer is filled with opportunities to delve deep into a novel. This summer, during my daily commute in and out of New York City, I had lots of time to read. I became very attached to certain authors, and read multiple books by the same author. Below are some of my favorite authors of the summer, and why I loved their novels.
This summer I went through a slight Jonathan Tropper obsession and read two of his books: This Is Where I Leave You, and One Last Thing Before I Go. I love Topper’s style of writing, which made each of these books exceedingly difficult to put down. Topper’s books read like a screenplay: the dialogue, characters and plot are not only realistic and endearing, but also extremely funny and fast moving. He writes in a sardonic and engaging tone, and you cannot help but feel connected to the characters and families he creates. His stories are centered around masculinity, family dysfunction, and relationships. I highly recommend for a fun and fast-paced book that will make you feel better about your own crazy family.
Meg Wolitzer is by far one of my favorite authors. Her book The Interestings is a must-read for everyone and one of my favorite books of all time. Wolitzer creates complex and dynamic characters, deeply analyzing people and the relationships we develop. This summer I passed along my well-worn copy of The Interestings to a friend, and once she had finished the book we couldn’t stop talking about it–it was as if the characters were people we knew and loved. This summer I also had the opportunity to read Wolitzer’s first novel, This Is My Life. An analytical investigation into the complicated relationships we have our parents, this book is as funny as it is introspective. Woltizer’s writing allows you to feel connected to her dynamic characters, accepting their flaws, and triumphing in their successes.
Author of the renowned best seller Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Semple explores motherhood in her classic cutting and satirical style. Her books are different, almost allegorical in their commentary on modern-day life. I read Semple’s first book this summer, This One is Mine, an interesting commentary on identity and the consequences of the choices that we make.
Claire Messud is an incredible writer. This summer I read her book The Emperor’s Children. By far my favorite book of the summer, the characters and world that Messud creates are all-enveloping. Although her writing can sometimes be a bit esoteric, this is a book that not only challenges your own perceptions of the world, but one that also makes you think reflect on your own relationships. Soon to be a movie, this book follows the winding paths of three friends throughout their adult lives. The book confronts important themes of identity, truth, ambition, and the meaning of life.
Jonathan Safran Foer
I also read Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close this summer.. Beautifully written, the poignant story follows the life of a young boy, Oskar, in his quest to find meaning after the death of his father in 9/11. Oskar struggles with panic attacks, depression and anxiety, and embarks on a journey to find a connection to his deceased father.
Foer uses multiple ways to present text, shifting from prose, to more poetic sections, to photos. Oskar’s storyline also parallels the plot of his grandparents, and the atrocities and horrors they faced at the start of WWII. While this novel is not the lightest in it’s content, is an important book to read, and it is impossible not to fall in love with Oskar and his quest.
J. Courtney Sullivan
On the lighter side, I read J. Courtney Sullivan’s book Commencement this summer. An author of a few best-sellers (including Maine). Commencement is a fun story about the paths of four very different best friends through college and into adulthood. Infused with a fast-paced mystery, this is a nice and easy read.
Even though we are back in Ithaca with school already in full swing, try to set a little time to pick up a book and read – whatever your tastes may be, these suggestions will not let you down.