Summer Reading: My Ultimate Top Five

It’s time to open up those windows and breathe in the glorious scent of freshly cut grass. It’s summer, and with the sweltering heat comes leisure time galore (if you’re me, and have summers off), and the prospect of books, books, and more books.

Thus my ultimate top five summer reads:

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

A tome of info on India, Shantaram is the story of Mr. Lindsay and his post-prison-break refuge in Bombay. He falls in with the Indian mafia, revels in slum-life, and explores the sights and sounds of a country known for it’s mellifluous and mirthful spirit.

Our Man in Havana – Graham Greene

Greene’s 1958 Cuban spy-parody is a comic romp through the eyes of vacuum cleaner salesman James Wormold as he’s accidentally thrust into the world of top-secret MI-6 espionage during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Certainly, one of Greene’s more uncharacteristically hilarious novels, it’s without question the light-heartedly perfect pool-side read.

The First Man– Albert Camus

Discovered in manuscript form amidst the wreckage of the car accident that prematurely took Camus’ life, The First man is a departure from his more intellectually weighty works. It’s the story of childhood, sun, sea, and the life of a small boy growing up amidst the turmoil of French colonized Algeria. The perfect read for the isolatory deep-thinker.

The Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac

The story of Ray Smith (Kerouac) and Japhy Ryder (Gary Snyder) as they explore the duality between aesthetics and buddhism, and how all ultimately converge with nature. Experience the free-wheeling world of youthful late night wine-drinking parties combined with the serenity that comes with supreme mountaintop isolation in this beautiful summer read.

The Complete Short Stories – Ernest Hemingway

Nothing spells summer like a good Hemingway story. Thus, why not read them all? From the bullfights in Pamplona to African safari mishaps, this essential collection is a perfect portrayal of a man who reached near-mythic status in his literary career. Far more accessible than one would think, The Complete Stories is the perfect beach companion for the serious literarist.

Note: these are my personal favorites, though I would be remiss not to include the glorious pleasure-filled reads of summer like Harry Potter, Stephen King’s It, and Dan Simmons’ Summer of Night, all of which come together as some of the best summer reads out there.

10 thoughts on “Summer Reading: My Ultimate Top Five

  1. The Dharma Bums has been on my TBR list for an embarrassingly long time, I almost bought a copy but after reading a few unfavourable reviews I got spooked out of it. But your blurb reminded me of why I wanted to read it in the first place; it sounds like a perfect read!

    Hemingway and summer, I had never thought of it before but this pair together perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shantaram is the most beautiful book I have ever read about India. I heard author is writing ‘follow-up’ for it. The Dharma Bums sounds interesting haha, don’t think I have read Kerouac before. Other good books as well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there! These suggestions look great! I’m really intrigued by the Camus one… Also, I’m new to your blog and really like your review style – just the right length and very thoughtful 🙂 I notice, though, that the vast majority of the books you review are by men. Was that a conscious decision or just coincidence?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally a coincidence and not one I’m very proud of. I’m trying to be more conscious of reading more women authors, but for one reason or another, their work seems to get pushed back by something more personally intriguing. Efforts will be made!

      Thanks for reading!


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