By Briana Brady—Asst. Features Editor

The summer is the only time of year that I have the availability in my schedule to read for leisure, which is something I yearn to do throughout the year. I read a lot of books this summer, but I wanted to highlight five of my favorites:

Where the Crawdads Sing: I would give this book the rating of “my overall favorite read” of this summer’s book selection. It had a little bit of everything in it; the storyline read somewhat like a coming-of-age tale for Kya, a young girl living alone in the poor areas of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but it also includes a twisted mystery that ties various parts of the story together. After the initial adjustment necessary to read the style of speech in which the characters speak, the book flows quickly, the writing is beautiful, and the twist at the end is absolutely breathtaking. 

Becoming: Okay, I know this came out well before the summer of 2019, but I didn’t get around to finishing the book until this past summer. I have always been inspired by Michelle Obama and was excited to read this book from the moment that it was released, and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed learning more about the adolescence of Mrs. Obama and her early years in which she met President Obama. The story moves quickly, is written wittingly with a bit of humor, but comes across as sincere, raw, and real. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a compelling and contemporary autobiography. 

Educated: This book received a lot of buzz over the past year, and in my opinion, the book lived up to the hype. In this memoir, Tara Westover documents an unbelievably detailed journey of her life from childhood to college and the immense and surreal challenges she faced growing up in an isolated Mormon community in Idaho. She acknowledges her naivetes that came from her childhood of abuse and sheltering from a bigger world, and the ways in which her decision to take a chance on pursuing an education allowed her to expand not only her knowledge, but her perspectives on the purposes of life, the limitations of religion, and the functions of family. 

My Own Words: If you are interested in Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, including the scope of her work on the Court, this book offers a glance into her perspectives on a multitude of current issues, relationships she cherishes, and ideals she aspires to work towards. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it as a page-turner, but the organization of the book into chapters that do not necessitate that someone read the book in a particular order makes it one that can be put down and picked back up at a leisurely pace. 

An American Marriage: A novel featured in Obama’s latest reading list, this book touches on the complex elements of a marriage that was put on hold because of the unexpected arrest and subsequent incarceration of Celestial’s husband, Roy. The novel follows his time in prison and the ways in which their relationship changes over the course of the many years he spends there. I found this novel to be one that truly examines the humanity in each person and the ways in which situations and experiences yield words and actions. 

Each of these books compellingly examines varying aspects of modern society in a meaningful and memorable manner. I hope that you’ll consider taking the time to read them and take from them the lessons they offer.

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