Revamp Your Summer Reading List with These University-Approved Picks
Whether you’re graduating or simply transitioning to the next grade or class year, it’s essential for students to stay academically sharp throughout the summer break. Reading is one of the most impactful ways to fight summer brain drain and it can also be one of the most fun, as long as you choose the right books!
To take your independent reading game to the next level, consider selecting books that take center stage on university lists. Keep reading for some must-read books that will keep you engaged and entertained all summer long.
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
This national bestseller, which was included on UMass Amherst’s most recent summer reading list, explores the author’s life and discoveries as a geobiologist. While students with a diverse set of interests will be captivated by the author’s storytelling, Lab Girl is a must-read for nature lovers and aspiring scientists.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
This captivating novel, Ward’s second text to receive a National Book Award, is an intimate portrayal of three generations of a family and the ongoing struggles they face. A special edition of the coming-of-age tale was mailed to incoming freshmen in Duke University’s Class of 2022.
Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera
Yuri Herrera’s book about the border between the United States and Mexico is a full-blown exploration into the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they transition from one nation to another, often without any possibility for return. This novel was also part of Stanford’s Book Salon in 2018.
The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Another must-read for science lovers and aspiring researchers, The Gene chronicles the history of the gene and genetic research from Aristotle to Watson, Crick, & Franklin and then to 21st century scientists who mapped the human genome. Additionally, The Gene provides an in-depth look at the power of genetics in determining people’s well-being and traits. The book was included in reading lists for USC and the author was also the institution’s commencement speaker in 2018.
Dust Tracks on a Road: An Autobiography by Zora Neale Hurston
Learn more about legendary author, folklorist, and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston through her autobiography, which is equal parts bold, poignant, and funny. Students who fall in love with her writing may wish to consider picking up some of her other texts, including Jonah’s Gourd Vine and Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith
Students with an infinite curiosity for all things futuristic should take note of this fascinating book, which investigates how technological innovations such as cheap space ships and 3D organ printing will impact society. The book, which was part of Washington State University’s required reading for the 2018-2019 school year, also includes fun illustrations and is co-authored by the creator of the web comic “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal”.
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
This captivating book takes readers on a journey as the protagonist rises from his rural and impoverished childhood to a full-blown corporate tycoon. The novel is written entirely in the second-person perspective and takes place in an unnamed country that resembles the author’s native Pakistan. How to Get Filthy Rich is Rising Asia was required reading for Occidental College students.
While independent reading is a phenomenal way to stay academically sharp over the summer, it shouldn’t be the only item on your agenda. If you are looking for last-minute summer guidance or wish to get a jumpstart on fall planning, our team of admissions experts are here to help.