Summer may very well be on the way but there is still time to lounge around and cuddle up to a book instead of mindless reality TV. If you’re anything like me and not too fond of rereading books you’ve already read you’ve landed in the right place. I’ve been searching high and low this summer for some great books to read while I lie around the house, on the beach or during my travels. I figured many other people were doing the same and instead of spending the entire summer searching for books to read I compiled a top 40 list of books for you to give a try this summer (you can read them anytime really but this is to help give your summer reading a kick start). I’ve read about half of the books on this list and the other half I’m looking forward to reading!! I figure this summer I’ll get through about 4-5 books in my down time post summer school, beach trips, and long flights to the west coast. So here you have it the top 40 books to read this summer. I provided little short summaries of the books for you to look into and labeled which books I’ve actually read with the symbol: MJBA (Mjb Approved). PS: June 15th is Prime Day so you can catch sweet deals/discounts on Amazon! If you are looking to buy amazing products or books I suggest possibly waiting till then! You can get a sneak peek glimpse into my full reading list/wish list here!
Top 4o Books To Read This Summer
1. #GirlBoss – Sophia Amoruso
#GIRLBOSS includes Sophia’s story, yet is infinitely bigger than Sophia. It’s deeply personal yet universal. Filled with brazen wake-up calls (“You are not a special snowflake”), cunning and frank observations (“Failure is your invention”), and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that being successful isn’t about how popular you were in high school or where you went to college (if you went to college). Rather, success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.
2. The Girl on The Train– Paula Hawkins
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.
3. Luckiest Girl Alive- Jessica Knoll
With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears. The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?
See the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey. In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world. This book is intended for mature audiences.
5. Half of A Yellow Sun– Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.
6. The Kite Runner– Khaled Hosseini (MJBA)
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.. A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.
7. A Thousand Splendid Suns– Khaled Hosseini
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.
8. The Glass Castle: Jeannette Walls (MJBA)
What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.
9. Flowers For Algernon– Daniel Keyes (MJBA)
Oscar-winning film Charly starring Cliff Robertson and Claire Bloom-a mentally challenged man receives an operation that turns him into a genius…and introduces him to heartache.
The phenomenal bestseller about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs from the author of the acclaimed biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson set down the riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Isaacson’s portrait touched hundreds of thousands of readers.
11. A Raisin In The Sun– Lorraine Hansberry (MJBA)
The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. Sacrifice, trust and love among the Younger family and their heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration. Winner of the NY Drama Critic’s Award as Best Play of the Year, it has been hailed as a “pivotal play in the history of the American Black theatre.” by Newsweek and “a milestone in the American Theatre
12. The Great Gatsby– F. Scott Fitzgerald (MJBA)
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
13. Of Mice & Men– John Steinbeck (MJBA)
Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.
14. Paper Towns– John Green
When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.
15. Feed- M.T Anderson (MJBA)
For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon – a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.
Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother’s words-Simply to endure is to triumph-and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision-will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life? Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.
17. The Fault In Our Stars– John Green (MJBA)
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
19. Catch A Fire: The Life Of Bob Marley– Timothy White (MJBA)
The classic biography of reggae legend Bob Marley, updated and revised for the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death. Bob Marley left an indelible mark on modern music, both as a reggae pioneer and as an enduring cultural icon. Catch a Fire, now a classic of rock biography, delves into the life of the leader of a musical, spiritual, and political explosion that continues today.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
21. Headscarves & Hymens– Mona Eltahawy
Drawing on her years as a campaigner for and commentator on women’s issues in the Middle East, she explains that since the Arab Spring began in 2010, women in the Arab world have had two revolutions to undertake: one fought alongside men against oppressive regimes, and another fought against an entire political and economic system that represses women in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and other nations.
22. Ebony & Ivy: Craig Steven Wilder
Many of America’s revered colleges and universities–from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton to Rutgers, Williams College, and the University of North Carolina–were soaked in the sweat, the tears, and sometimes the blood of people of color. The earliest academies proclaimed their mission to Christianize the “savages” of North America and played a key role in white conquest. Later, the slave economy and higher education grew up together, each nurturing the other. Slavery funded colleges, built campuses, and paid the wages of professors. Enslaved Americans waited on faculty and students; academic leaders aggressively courted the support of slave owners and slave traders. Significantly, as Wilder shows, our leading universities were dependent on human bondage and became breeding grounds for the racist ideas that sustained it.
23. Perfect Peace– Daniel Black
When the seventh child of the Peace family, named Perfect, turns eight, her mother Emma Jean tells her bewildered daughter, “You was born a boy. I made you a girl. But that ain’t what you was supposed to be. So, from now on, you gon’ be a boy. It’ll be a little strange at first, but you’ll get used to it, and this’ll be over after while.” From this point forward, his life becomes a bizarre kaleidoscope of events. Meanwhile, the Peace family is forced to question everything they thought they knew about gender, sexuality, unconditional love, and fulfillment.
In this chilling, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling Asylum, which Publishers Weeklycalled “a strong YA debut that reveals the enduring impact of buried trauma on a place,” three teens must return to the asylum that still haunts their dreams to end the nightmare once and for all. With the page-turning suspense and horror that made Asylum such a standout, and featuring found photographs from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that’s perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
25. The Five People You Meet In Heaven– Mitch Albom (MJBA)
In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you’ve ever thought about the afterlife–and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who lovedTuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.
Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.
27. A Street Car Named Desire– Tennessee Williams (MJBA)
Who better than America’s elder statesman of the theater, Williams’ contemporary Arthur Miller, to write as a witness to the lightning that struck American culture in the form of A Streetcar Named Desire? Miller’s rich perspective on Williams’ singular style of poetic dialogue, sensitive characters, and dramatic violence makes this a unique and valuable new edition of A Streetcar Named Desire. This definitive new edition will also include Williams’ essay “The World I Live In,” and a brief chronology of the author’s life.
28. Orange Is the New Black–Piper Kerman (MJBA)
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
29. The Hunger Games– Suzanne Collins
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.
30. Gentlewoman– Enitan O. Bereola II
Unlike any other book, the author along with Hill Harper, Meagan Good, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Michelle Williams & more share insight to inform, educate and empower womanhood. It’s fresh, fun and sexy uncommon sense advice designed to facilitate a necessary conversation amongst the sexes that leads to real solutions. Oh, and a man wrote it! “From selecting wines to selecting a mate, I am re-branding etiquette. Making manners beautiful, again.” –E.B. II CLASS is back in session! *GENTLEWOMAN is the #1 bestselling Etiquette Advice Guide on Amazon. Oprah Winfrey and The First Family are proud owners.
Now, Steve shares even more relationship wisdom. Does it feel like your man’s friends are against you? What should you know about being a wife, before you say “I Do”? Steve provides the answers to these questions and more, and offers new insights. With liberal use of his own adventures in love and courtship, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is an honest, compelling, and realistic examination of how men think about love and sex and what women need to know so that they can set realistic expectations of the men in their life.
32. The Book Of Negroes- Lawrence Hill
In this “transporting” (Entertainment Weekly) and “heart-stopping” (Washington Post) work, Aminata Diallo, one of the strongest women characters in contemporary fiction, is kidnapped from Africa as a child and sold as a slave in South Carolina. Fleeing to Canada after the Revolutionary War, she escapes to attempt a new life in freedom.
33. Song Of Solomon Toni Morrison
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
34. Their Eyes Were Watching God– Zora Neale Hurston (MJBA)
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
35. The Bluest Eye– Toni Morrison (MJBA)
Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing
36. Mastery– Robert Green
Mastery synthesizes the years of research Robert Greene conducted while writing the international bestsellers The 48 Laws of Power, The 33 Strategies of War, and The Art of Seduction and demonstrates that the ultimate form of power is mastery itself. By analyzing the lives of such past masters as Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, and Leonard da Vinci, as well as by interviewing nine contemporary masters, including tech guru Paul Graham and animal rights advocate Temple Grandin, Greene debunks our culture’s many myths about genius and distills the wisdom of the ages to reveal the secret to greatness. With this seminal text as a guide, readers will learn how to unlock the passion within and become masters.
37. The Secret Life Of Bees– Sue Monk Kidd (MJBA)
When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the town’s most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will continue to share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
38. I Found God In My Hair– Tanya Wright (MJBA)
Actress Tanya Wright (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, TRUE BLOOD) has naturally curly hair; for most of her life, her struggle to tame her curly mass has been the bane of her existence! She knew, though, that learning to love her locks would lead her to the other side of peace–that journey is chronicled in I FOUND GOD IN MY HAIR: 98 spiritual principles I learned from…my hair! Patience. Resilience. The importance–and power!– of letting go. Our hair has a lot to teach us! If only we will take the time to listen…
39. Rich Bitch– Nicole Lapin
Should you splurge on that morning latte? Likely yes. Instead of nickel-and-diming yourself, Nicole’s advice focuses on investing in yourself so you don’t have to stress over the little things. But, in order to do that you have to be able to speak the language of money. After all, money is a language like anything else, and the sooner you can join the conversation, the sooner you can live the life you want, RICH BITCH rehabs whatever bad habits you might have and provides a plan you can not only sustain, but thrive with. It’s time to go after the rich life you deserve, and confident enough to call yourself a RICH BITCH.
40. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang– Chelsea Handler
Family moments are fair game, whether it’s writing a report on Reaganomics to earn a Cabbage Patch doll, or teaching her father social graces by ordering him to stay indoors. It’s open season on her love life, from playing a prank on her boyfriend (using a ravioli, a fake autopsy, and the Santa Monica pier) to adopting a dog so she can snuggle with someone who doesn’t talk. And everyone better duck for cover when her beach vacation turns into matchmaking gone wild. Outrageously funny and deliciously wicked, CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG is good good good good!
That’s all I’ve got folks! If your favorite book didn’t make the list shoot us a comment below and we’ll be sure to update or add it to our next list! Hope you enjoy and find this helpful.
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Hey there! I’m Melissa, co-founder of Trials n Tresses, natural hair and beauty lover, binge tv watcher and lover of life. When I am not creating content for TNT, I’m busy teaching the future of society.