An Editor-in-Chief’s Summer Reading Challenge

by Taylor Brethauer, Editor-in-Chief


This summer, I had planned to read twelve books from the time I left campus in May by the time I moved back in August. Well, life gets in the way: between summer jobs, vacation and spending time with family, I was only able to read nine books. I use the word “only” since I did not reach the goal I had set out, but I’m still happy with the books I did end up reading.

For some people, that might be a lot. Reading is not typically seen as a common hobby for our generation anymore. If you’re interested in getting back into reading, or even finding a good book to read and enjoy for the first time, here are the best ones I read this summer (check out the picture on the side for more books I read, I recommend all of them!).

Best Read of the Summer

My favorite book I read all summer was “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. If you’re interested in books that give off a small-town vibe, combined with family drama and coming-of-age themes, this book balances all of these wonderfully. This novel is currently in the process of becoming a television show produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, which I’m interested to eventually see. The characters in this book are strong, diverse and fascinating and I hope that does not get lost in the transition from page to screen.

Best Adult Picture Book

If you had to only follow one blog, I would highly recommend Humans of New York. Brandon Stanton started this project a few years ago and it has taken off as one of the most well-known photography blogs on social media. “Humans of New York: Stories” is his second book full of photographs and stories from the subjects. Stanton captures the best part of the human spirit through his interviews, along with incredible portraits. I read this book in a day, but could definitely reread it multiple times in a row.

Best “Judy Blume Does It Again” Novel

Last summer, I read Judy Blume’s “In the Unlikely Event”, which was my favorite book I read in 2017. This time around, I read “Summer Sisters”, which yet again pulled at my heartstrings and featured an amazing cast of characters. Blume captures the friendship of two girls with such clarity and relatability and allows the reader to follow their lives as they grow up and grow apart. She made it feel familiar and I loved every page of it.

Best Reading-the-book-before-the-movie

Another favorite of mine from this summer was Emma Donoghue’s “Room”, which I had been meaning to read for a while. There were times when I could have watched the movie, but I knew I owned the book and I would eventually get around to reading it. The narrator is Jack, a 5-year-old boy who has only known the room in which he was born since his mother was kidnapped seven years prior. His descriptions of things he doesn’t fully understand leaves the reader attempting to see from his point of view. This is a tragic novel that very well falls under realistic fiction– the most difficult truth of all.

If you want to get back into reading, it is never too late. There are so many fascinating books, funny books or thought-provoking books. But most importantly, the next book you pick up could be a life changer. 


Taylor’s Summer Books Rated

1. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng

2. “Room” by Emma Donoghue

3. “Summer Sisters” by Judy Blume

4. “The Descendants” by Kau’i Hart Hemmings

5. “Humans of New York: Stories” by Brandon Stanton

6. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

7. “Lily and the Octopus” by Steven Rowley

8. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote

9. “Between the Lines” by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer