Ahh… Summer is here! Vacations, sleeping in, lazy days in the sun, and, of course, summer reading!
Here are several of our favorite books to add to your summer reading list. But be warned—many of these books aren’t your typical beach reads. Rather, if you choose to pick one of these novels or nonfiction reflections off this virtual shelf, you’ll find that it is just as intellectually stimulating as it is a pleasure and joy to read.
Whether you didn’t have time to read everything during the last school year or you’re hoping to get a head start for this upcoming year, we hope you enjoy these fiction and nonfiction reads this summer!
Fiction Books for Summer Reading
After a school year of reading mostly textbooks, reading fiction during the summer offers a much welcome break for the mind. While many of the books in this list are recommended reading for our Challenge students, if you’re a homeschool parent feel free to read them aloud to your younger Foundations students.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Starting either with The Magician’s Nephew or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, this series is an obvious addition to any summer reading list. Perhaps you can take turns reading aloud passages from C.S. Lewis’s fantastic stories together as a family!
J.R.R. Tolkein’s prequel to The Lord of the Rings is a charming novel about bravery, adventure, and joy despite discomfort. Similar to the books in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit makes for an entertaining read-aloud with the whole family.
This Mark Twain classic about adventure on the Mississippi River is very characteristic of summer days. It will make you laugh, make you consider your own character, and make you want to build a raft and seek adventure.
Harper Lee’s beloved novel brilliantly addresses important issues such as racial inequality while leaving room for humorous and tender-hearted moments. Whether it makes your summer reading list or not, you’ll want to make sure to read this American classic at some point in your education.
The Phantom Tollbooth is an instant classic for lovers of adventure, irony, and wordplay. Upon reading this clever novel, you’ll be inspired to pursue knowledge, avoid jumping to conclusions, and realize the wonder of both letters and numbers.
Jane Austen’s classic is much more than a romance novel. It contains humor, familial conflict, social commentary, and of course, one of the most compelling love stories ever written.
Jane Eyre, another classic romance, is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a love story. As Jane grows up, she wrestles with psychological trauma, her desire for individualism, and morality.
Greco-Roman Epic Poems
For students looking to spend the hot days reading fantastic Greek and Roman epics, you can’t go wrong with either The Iliad, The Odyssey, or The Aeneid. Especially if you’re assigned one of these behemoths this fall, it’s a good idea to get started reading it now!
Nonfiction Books for Summer Reading
While the fictional stories above can certainly engage the intellect, sometimes there is no better way to understand an idea or concept than by reading nonfiction. The following brilliant reflections on life, society, and religion—though written years ago—are deeply relevant in today’s world.
With more time these days to ponder, consider adding the below books to your summer reading list to ignite critical thinking and evaluation of today’s world!
A perfect nonfiction read for this summer. Henry David Thoreau takes off to Walden Pond to live a simple life for two years. Walden is a collection of essays reflecting on nature, self-reliance, simple-living, and what it means to live a good life.
Published in the 1985, Amusing Ourselves to Death offers a concerning look at how the prevalent medium at the time, television, permeated and affected every aspect of society from politics to religion to education. Arguing that messages are influenced by the media through which they are communicated, author Neil Postman’s book is even more relevant today than when it was published over 35 years ago.
Originally a series of radio broadcasts, Mere Christianity provides a rational apologetic for the Christian faith. When you’re not absorbed by The Chronicles of Narnia, give this nonfiction C.S. Lewis masterpiece a read!
Happy Summer Reading!
There you have it—the best books to add to your summer reading list! While perhaps not the typical beach reads, these fiction and nonfiction books will keep you occupied, entertained, and intellectually engaged during these summer months.
Enjoy your summer reading!