Top 10 Entertaining Summer Reads
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
July 26, 2011
Filed Under Books
Contributed by Tim Brugger, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Family vacations, BBQs and kids’ soccer games are all great summer activities, no doubt.
But even if you don’t have a hammock out back, relaxing with a great book in the summer shade is as close to Nirvana many of us will get without actually, you know, dying. And THAT would definitely put a crimp in summer.
One of the best way to take advantage of balmy summer days is to slip a good book in your all-about-work briefcase and head to the local city park, bench or outdoor cafe for your mid-day break. Don’t let being caught in an office all week let you miss out on summer reading.
So in the interim, here are 10 of the best summer reads to sit back, sip lemonade (with or without Jack Daniels) and enjoy.
10. Sundays at Tiffany’s
This one from James Patterson was a bit of surprise; not the usual Women’s Murder Club or Alex Cross type of stuff we’ve come to expect from him. If you haven’t already, take a couple of days (it’s a quick one) and settle in for one pleasant summer read. While it has it’s moments of angst, an overall light-hearted story for the kid (that remains) in all of us.
9. Pillars of the Earth
Of course you already read it; I’m pretty sure it was an act of Congress that mandated all literate adults over the age of 21 read this instant Follett classic. But another constant for a great summer read is settling in with a War and Peace-like tome. At just under 1,000 pages, Pillars isn’t exactly the proverbial quickie, more like a summer romance.
8. Bossy Pants
Classics, new and old, are great for summer and you’ll find several on our Top 10 list. But settling in with a hot new book that provides a good chuckle or six is a productive use of idle time. Tina Fey’s bestseller fits the bill nicely. It shouldn’t be surprising really; Fey started as, and still considers herself, a writer first and foremost. Her penchant for the written word has never been more evident than with this summer read.
7. The Outsiders
It seems impossible that S.E. Hinton was all of 16 when this classic tale of rival gangs in Smalltown, Midwest U.S.A. was released in 1967. Who can forget Sodapop and Ponyboy? Eventually this became required reading for a lot of high school students, which certainly ruined it for many. It’s impossible to enjoy a book in high school when it’s forced upon you, we all know that. If this describes you, give it another chance; you’ll be glad you did.
6. Water for Elephants
Well, they went ahead and made a movie of this 2006 wunderbook; the kiss of death for many. Haven’t seen the movie and don’t necessarily care to; the book by author Sara Gruen provides all the visual needed. Some may find the underlying story a bit heavy for a summer read, but it is done so well and the story so rich it easily makes our Top 10 list.
5. What I Learned When I Almost Died
Okay, consider this a gift from me to you this summer. An inspiring real-world tale from a VP at CBS News, Chris Licht shares a harrowing experience that changed his outlook, and ultimately his life. I say “gift” because personally I’m a fiction guy come summer, but for those that appreciate inspiring, real-world tales it’s hard to get any better than this.
If you aren’t fortunate to have read this hilarious tale of Biff, Jesus’ best friend, confidante and defender from Christopher Moore, do yourself a favor. You may want to consider reading this in the solitude of your own backyard though. While good summer reads are perfect for the park or beach, bystanders will most certainly gawk as you sit turning pages and laughing uproariously; all by yourself. I mean, they used to call the paddy wagons with the guys in the white coats for that sort of thing.
3. The Haunted Mesa
One way or another, it was imperative one of the great Westerns found its way on our Top 10 List of Entertaining Summer Reads. When it comes to great westerns, it’s hard to argue with most anything from Louis L’Amour, perhaps the greatest writer of his genre ever. Though, Zane Grey and Max Brand fans may have an argument, but I digress. The Haunted Mesa is an absolutely stunning depiction of the little-known Anasazi; a group of cliff-dwellers who mysteriously disappeared hundreds of years before the west was settled.
2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
There have been numerous scientific studies, costing tax payers billions of dollars, but nothing conclusive as to why Twain works so well as a summer read. Personally, I think it’s the carefree, little or no responsibility of youth that he captures so well that grabs us during the summer months. Whatever the reason, this is one of many that belongs on our list, but I didn’t want this to become the Top 10 Twain Summer Reads, so there you go.
1. The Deathly Hallows
You don’t have to be a die-hard Harry Potter fan to appreciate the climactic 7th and final installment in the series. J.K. Rowling does a masterful job of tying up the mini-wizard’s saga. What puts this one at the top of our list is that it coincides with the mega-ginormous (my son’s word; but pretty descriptive really)-blockbuster movie in mid-July. For many, reading the Potter book has become a ritualistic exercise prior to seeing the release of the coinciding movie. With the end near, never has it made more sense than this summer.