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These are the classics, according to me. I have reread Dandelion Wine more times than I can count. My copy is worn around the edges, loved in the sun at the end of every May since 8th grade. A new release can be exciting, but we can’t forget the ones that came before them.
Dandelion Wine (1957)
by Ray Bradbury
This novel is the ultimate symbol of summer. Dandelion wine is a concoction that represents everything good about summer sealed into one bottle. The main character, Douglas Spaulding, spends his 12th summer enjoying the simpler things in life that the ’20s offered. Bradbury’s words create the perfect feelings of warmth and freedom that the summer months supply. Here’s a taste:
“Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered.”
Eat, Pray, Love (2006)
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Summer is often a time for vacations. Vacations are a time for self-discovery. We all have a memory of “that summer,” – the first love, an incredible trip, learning something new. Eat, Pray, Love offers a trip in three parts that caters to mind, body and soul. The novel refreshes and really helps you reflect on your own life. Plus, if summer reading isn’t your thing, you can check out the movie. Fair warning: sand might be harder to get out of a DVD player or iPad than a book.
Motorcycle Diaries (2003)
by Ernesto “Che” Guevara
This memoir provides more travel, this time around South America. Guevara’s story will definitely fulfill your wanderlust. It’s just two men on a motorcycle, with no plan. They frequently run out of food and money and are always looking for a place to rest their weary heads. The journey takes about 9 months, but the book will leave you plenty of time for your own travels.
Great Gatsby (1925)
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The mint julep says it all: it’s summer. Warm nights, extravagant parties, dangerous drives and love affairs to last the ages. This is a classic, there is no debating. If you haven’t read this yet, this June, July or August is the time.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001)
by Ann Brashares
Yes, this is probably the most flippant of all my picks, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good read. Geared for a younger audience, there are lessons in life that we could all maybe do to remember. Four high school girls are bonded through a pair of jeans. I would like to know how much all this international shipping cost. I also wouldn’t mind an Italian love affair.
The Awakening (1899)
by Kate Chopin
This novel is no beach read, even though it takes place on the beach – a beach house in New Orleans to be exact. What is it about summer that elicits forbidden romances? Maybe it’s the heat. The main character is Edna Pontellier and the theme is feminism. She questions what it means to be a wife and mother and if the role is something she was ever meant to play. If you want to flex your philosophical muscles over vacation, this is your pick.
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