Best Summer Reads: 12 Titles To Add To Your Collection

women having a picnic

Last year, I read 12 books in 12 months, this year I smashed that target by reading 12 books in 6 months. 

I must admit that I was something of a purist on the topic of reading, always preferring a physical book over a Kindle or audiobook. But recently, I’ve found that audiobooks can be a distinctly active experience, especially if the voice actor has a strong delivery.

Below is my ranked list of titles, that might help you find your next read for this year.

What’s to love? What should you avoid?

Find out here:

  1. 21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

For me, Harari is the master historian of popular literature. Granted, some are not a fan of his interrogative, opinionated style. However, I always find him refreshing, frank and transparent with his extensive knowledge of human history and even his personal writing process. He is fearless in admitting where his viewpoints have developed and changed, showcasing our understanding of the past as a collection of intertwining narratives.

While 21 Lessons didn’t provide totally new information, Harari expertly articulates an excellent framework for analysing humanity’s past.

Absolutely, give this one a read!

  1. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami 

Just as Harari takes the title of ‘master historian’, Murakami is a master storyteller, as far as I’m concerned. It’s hard to pin down what is truly so compelling about his writing.

Is it his insight into our vulnerable condition? Or his narrative style that never completely informs the reader? With each short story, the reader anticipates tangible and complex characters, participating in a single moment of their lives.

A thoughtful, pensive, essential read to add to your collection. 

  1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

I must admit, I had some premonitions about this book. The moment I mention the title, people are quick to tell me that it’s just a marketing ploy and not the kind of actionable lessons that will enhance my financial literacy. 

Despite the odds, I loved this book!

The conversational narrative kept me listening to the audiobook non-stop. This book is not about how to invest, it’s about how acquiring knowledge about money can be an emancipatory experience. `

If you want to understand how money can work for you, give this a read!

  1. The School of Life: An Emotional Education by The School of Life

As a frequent visitor of their blog and Youtube channel, I appreciate the linguistic style of The School of Life. They don’t shy away from using quirky elements of history or fine art to illustrate a point. 

There’s a lot to unpack here, but if you are seeking a stylistic tone paired with therapeutic philosophical questioning, then this could be the right title for you.

Above all, it has to be their logical and thought-provoking humility that makes this such a fascinating read. 

  1. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

Coming in at number five is Show Your Work, which I read at such a pivotal moment when I was debating the launch of this blog that you’re now reading. I reflected on the notion that creatives are those that create work, and artists are those that show theirs to the world. 

Anyone in need of a creative push up the arse, this is your read!

6. The Purple Palace & Other Poems by Shayna Klee

I read this in four hours.

A great read for a fleeting moment of pondering life.

Shayna’s poetry effortlessly conveys themes of loneliness, wonder, and invention. 

Brilliant to read as a short interlude to your next daily activity. 

7. 7 Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli

Having recently discovered Rovelli, I was pleasantly surprised to witness how accessible physics can be, but more so, how simply beautiful it is. I hated the subject in school, but part of me believes that I had the wrong teacher.

Rovelli surprises readers with his abundance of knowledge and wondrous way of explaining it. 

8. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Perhaps I felt the need to reject this title because of the idea that new art is never original but merely an extension of that which already exists. As we creatives steal from those we are inspired by, willingly or unwillingly we are creating art that responds to this.

A short, snappy read that liberates creatives to have influential heroes and make something that those heroes would be proud to call their own. 

9. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Honestly, this title was nothing like how I thought it would be.

Seeking to discuss the enduring experience of womanhood, Estés uses fairy tales to explore the notion and its wild nature. It was definitely an empowering mix between lyrical storytelling and her work as a psychologist. 

Again, it was another challenge concept for me: the return of women to nature and their wild surroundings, sparking the animal within. 

10. Anti-social: The Secret Diary of an Anti-social Behaviour Officer by Nick Pettigrew

The first half was utterly hilarious, but after that, the dark reality that this job is actually a deeply depressive one hits home. Sections of this made me cry and curse the state of this country, and after the initial cynical wit, I was thankful that I never chose to become a social worker. 

This is a great read to gain insight into the greatest social issues the UK faces on a daily basis. Definitely, not light reading. 

11. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Always political, Adichie utilises the geographical backdrop of America and Nigeria, to comment on the social ills and triumphs of the respective nations.

Honestly, I didn’t like this as much as some of her earlier work, namely Americanah, but her satirical tone definitely entices readers to consider cultural normality with fresh eyes.

12. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

And finally, we have Murakami’s ultimate guide to his writing process, which he claims is absolutely not an auto-biography!

He gives a huge insight into his disciplinary style and how he began writing in the first place.

This was a concise and informative read, but now I feel like I need to go on a run!


As always, thanks for taking the time to read this blog – all support is greatly appreciated here!

Let me know in the comment section what you’d like to see more of here!

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