Summer vacations may be a chance to take a break from school, but it doesn’t mean that learning fun doesn’t have to stop! Did you know that school students that read more are more likely to score higher on tests like the SAT and ACT Exams? You will have to give those soon enough! Plus, novels and books included on summer reading lists can give you some major historical and social context for certain courses! You’d be prepared for the next class without even knowing it! Just like exercising keeps muscles in shape, reading is what you need to keep the brain in shape. Though yes, literary classics are extremely vital to developing written and verbal skills, your favourite contemporary novels can provide just as much help and influence in improving your reading ability!
So here’s Excelsior’s list of five good reads that will make you a literary savant (and also be fun) guaranteed! So Excelsiorites, indulge in some chicken soup for the brain this summer!
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Genre: Historical Drama
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Genre: Picaresque Fiction
A nineteenth-century boy from a Mississippi River town recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave, encountering a family involved in a feud, two scoundrels pretending to be royalty, and Tom Sawyer's aunt who mistakes him for Tom. Another immersive story experience by Mark Twain.
- The Grapes of Wrath byJohn Steinbeck
Genre: Realist Novel
The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers.
First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (The Harry Potter Series) by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter is leaving Privet Drive for the last time. But as he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the skies, he knows Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind. The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything he loves. And he knows he can’t keep hiding. To stop Voldemort, Harry knows he must find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them.
He will have to face his enemy in one final battle.
The seventh and final edition of the Harry Potter Series.
-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia Series) by C.S. Lewis
Lucy and Edmund, with their dreadful cousin Eustace, get magically pulled into a painting of a ship at sea. That ship is the Dawn Treader, and on board is Caspian, King of Narnia. He and his companions, including Reepicheep, the valiant warrior mouse, are searching for seven lost lords of Narnia, and their voyage will take them to the edge of the world. Their adventures include being captured by slave traders, a much-too-close encounter with a dragon, and visits to many enchanted islands, including the place where dreams come true.
The third edition of the Chronicles of Narnia Series.
This list is a suggestion (and a good one!) for summer reading. Take this opportunity to choose your own books as well, and share with us your learning post vacations! As important as reading is to develop your skills, there is no reason it cannot be absolutely fun. Plus a good read will definitely have you hooked and addicted to it. But trust us, that’s an addiction worth having. So read on!