5 Good Books to Read in Summer
We believe in always having a good book on hand. Once the weather warms up our attention turns to good books to read during summer vacation. But how do you choose? There’s so much more out there than the classic beach read. Literary fiction can make you tingle with summer warmth, mysteries will have you on the edge of your deck chair, and true crime will give you the shivers.
Good books about summer are as much about place as they are about the season. In our collective psyche as readers, some settings are “summer” places, like the Hamptons and the states of Florida, Hawaii, and California. Islands always bring to mind summer breezes, even if they technically have winter, too, and cruises evoke a spirit of leisure that is hard to separate from the balmiest season.
In fiction, summer often acts like a symbol. In The Great Gatsby, not only does the entire novel take place in the span of a summer; the heat also acts like a foil to make the characters seem trapped and their interactions feel more tense. Atonement, by Ian McEwan evokes feelings of summer as well, especially with the scenes of certain characters soaking wet in the early parts of the novel.
In the noir genre, heat serves as a stand-in for grit. Classics of the genre are steeped in sweat. The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler takes place in Hollywood in the 1930s, and the Southern California heat soaks the story, even if it’s hardly mentioned.
When it comes to choosing a summer read, decide where you want to go in your imagination. Will you stay in the States or take a mental trip to an island paradise? These five good books will take you wherever you want to go.