Sun, Surf, and Stealthy Loons
Ahhh…it’s over; and it’s time for a well-deserved break, some rest, and relaxation. Whether you’re headed to a sandy beach with the soothing sounds of waves lapping at the shore, or the mountains where lakes resound with the haunting sounds of loons, we’ve pulled together a summer reading list for you.
Our Scientific Methodology for Developing This Summer’s Reading List
Creating a high-caliber reading list should always be based on sound research. We used a rigorous methodology by which we challenged the assumption that people use reading to relax and learn. To test our hypothesis, we posed the following question to educators and students: What are you reading this summer? The results verified our assumption; reading, relaxation, and education go together like hand and glove.
Breaking Down the Research
Our comprehensive findings are listed by genre in the handy table below. Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!
In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America.
Carl Sagan: A Life
Carl Sagan was one of the most celebrated scientists of this century—the handsome and alluring visionary who inspired a generation to look to the heavens and beyond. His life was both an intellectual feast and an emotional rollercoaster.
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin
J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress. In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War.
Think Smarter: Critical Thinking to Improve Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Skills
A comprehensive guide to training your brain to do more for you. Written by a critical thinking trainer and coach, the book presents a pragmatic set of tools to apply critical thinking techniques to everyday business issues.
The Fifth Discipline
Peter M. Senge
In The Fifth Discipline, Senge describes how companies can rid themselves of the learning “disabilities” that threaten their productivity and success by adopting the strategies of learning organizations—ones in which new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, collective aspiration is set free, and people are continually learning how to create results they truly desire.
Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks
For the last decade, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey has worked with world-renowned doctors and scientists to uncover the latest, most innovative methods for making humans perform better—a process known as "biohacking."
Small Great Things
Small Great Things is about racism, choice, fear, and hope. The novel is based on the true story of a labor and delivery nurse who was prohibited from caring for a newborn because the father requested that no African-American nurses tend to his baby. In the fictional version, Ruth, the African-American nurse in question, finds herself on trial for events related to the same request made by a white supremacist father. Using the narratives of Ruth, the baby’s father, and the female public defender who takes Ruth’s case, Picoult examines multiple facets of racism.
Learning to Stay
Elise Sabato is proud of her husband, Brad, for serving his country…and grateful when he returns home to her. But the traumatic brain injury he suffered in Iraq has turned him from a thoughtful, brilliant, and patient man into someone quite different….someone who requires more care and attention than Elise can give while working in a demanding law firm. And when Brad ends up on his family’s farm, hundreds of miles away, she wonders where their marriage is headed.
Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching
Mathematical Mindsets provides practical strategies and activities to help teachers and parents show all children, even those who are convinced that they are bad at math, that they can enjoy and succeed in math. Jo Boaler—Stanford researcher, professor of math education, and expert on math learning—has studied why students don’t like math and often fail in math classes.
The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks
Terry Tempest Williams
America’s national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year. The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, an exploration of what they mean to us and what we mean to them.
Ranger’s Apprentice (12 book series)
John A. Flanagan
They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice.
Harry Potter (7 book series)
The most evil and powerful dark wizard in history, Lord Voldemort, murders James and Lily Potter but mysteriously disappears after failing to kill their infant son, Harry.
A Natural History of Dragons (5 book series)
All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science.
Eragon (4 book series)
The #1 New York Times bestselling Inheritance Cycle about the dragon rider Eragon.
The Time In Between
The inspiring international bestseller of a seemingly ordinary woman who uses her talent and courage to transform herself first into a prestigious couturier and then into an undercover agent for the Allies during World War II.
The Zookeeper’s Wife
When Germany invades Poland, Luftwaffe bombers devastate Warsaw, the city's zoo along with it, most of the animals are killed, or stolen away to Berlin. Zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski begin smuggling Jewish refugees in the empty cages to safety. As the war escalates Jan becomes increasingly involved in the anti-Nazi resistance.
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
Stephen King’s second novel, the classic vampire bestseller Salem’s Lot, tells the story of evil in small-town America.
Seven adults who return to their hometown to confront a nightmare they had first stumbled on as teenagers…an evil without a name: It.
The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed
In The Way of the SEAL, ex-Navy Commander Mark Divine reveals exercises, meditations and focusing techniques to train your mind for mental toughness, emotional resilience and uncanny intuition. Along the way you'll reaffirm your ultimate purpose, define your most important goals, and take concrete steps to make them happen.
In her first book, one of our most beloved, funny folks delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world
The Women’s Murder Club (16 book series)
Set in San Francisco, the novels follow a group of women from different professions relating to investigating crime as they work together to solve murders. The series follows the women through their personal issues, including Lindsay Boxer’s medical issues, marriage, and pregnancy.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue combine into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.
13 Reasons Why
When Clay Jenson plays the tapes he received in a mysterious package, he’s surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker. He’s one of 13 people who receive Hannah’s story, which details the circumstances that led to her suicide.
Scores of novels and short stories chronicling the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
Big Little Lies
A murder…A tragic accident…Or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.
The Poetic Works of Lord Byron
George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron
Described as ‘Mad, bad and dangerous to know’ by one of his lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, Lord Byron was the quintessential Romantic. Flamboyant, charismatic and brilliant, he remains almost as notorious for his life - as a political revolutionary, sexual adventurer and traveler - as he does for his literary work.
Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness
In Dark Matters Simone Browne locates the conditions of blackness as a key site through which surveillance is practiced, narrated, and resisted. She shows how contemporary surveillance technologies and practices are informed by the long history of racial formation and by the methods of policing black life under slavery, such as branding, runaway slave notices, and lantern laws.
Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn.
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true
Ready Player One
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut - part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
The Program (5 book series)
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Ancillary Justice (3 book series)
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge. How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life? The 5 Love Languages is as practical as it is insightful. Updated to reflect the complexities of relationships today, this new edition reveals intrinsic truths and applies relevant, actionable wisdom in ways that work.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Stephen R. Covey
This is one of the rare books that has influenced presidents, CEOs, educators, and individuals all over the world not only to improve their businesses and careers but to live with integrity, service, dignity, and success in all areas of life. It has had an undeniable impact for the past 25 years--and will no doubt continue to be influential for many more.
Swipe Right: The Life and Death Power of Sex and Romance
There is nothing more powerful on earth than the forces of love, sex, and romance. In fact, relationships are a matter of life-and-death importance.
America’s electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It’s not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources--solar, wind, and other alternatives--the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future.
The Holy Bible
The Bible is the various collections of sacred scripture of the various branches of Judaism and Christianity. The Bible, in its various editions, is the best-selling book in history
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
David Martyn Lloyd- Jones
A spiritual classic, this detailed and comprehensive study by one of the greatest expository preachers of our time explains Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and incisively applies it to the Christian life.
No Middle Name: The Complete Collection of Jack Reacher Short Stories
Get ready for the ultimate Jack Reacher experience: a thrilling new novella and eleven previously published stories, together for the first time in one pulse-pounding collection.
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children (3 book series)
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in this groundbreaking novel, which mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling new kind of reading experience.
When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.
Researchers have responded to urban sprawl, congestion, and pollution by assessing alternatives such as smart growth, new urbanism, and transit-oriented development. Underlying this has been the presumption that, for these options to be given serious consideration as part of policy reform, science has to prove that they will reduce auto use and increase transit, walking, and other physical activity.
The Life and Death of Great American Cities
Jane Jacobs, an editor and writer on architecture in New York City in the early sixties, argued that urban diversity and vitality were being destroyed by powerful architects and city planners. Rigorous, sane, and delightfully epigrammatic, Jacobs’s small masterpiece is a blueprint for the humanistic management of cities.
We hope this list has provided you with suggestions if you were pondering what to take with you on vacation or while relaxing at home. What’s on your reading list this summer? Let us know in the comments below.
Image Credit: Tischenko Irina/Shutterstock