Summer Reads 2023

Summer Reads 2023

English · 3 July 2023

I have very specific expectations of my summer reads. Only recently did I realize this when I had to explain to someone why I couldn’t possible take a hardcover fantasy novel set in winter on vacation. It’s not that I have anything against fantasy novels, hardcovers, or winter (well, that one a bit). But, summer reads just have a special place in my heart and therefore need to fulfill certain criteria. This started as a child, when I would try to cram as many books into my carry-on as possible, fully taking into account that these books would not survive the trip unscathed. That being said, here are my summer read suggestions that fulfill the following criteria for the perfect summer read!

  • The one thing I need my summer reads to be is “not brick-like”: If the book is the smallest format of paperback available and less than 400 pages, I’ll be a happy camper (sometimes literally)! This way, I can take multiple books along no matter what my luggage situation is. “Classic literature” is perfect for this as these works are usually shorter in length. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare doesn’t only fit in terms of length and format but also theme, which brings me to my second criterion.
  • What constitutes as a “summery theme” is, of course, different for everyone. Personally, I regularly find myself gravitating towards the same three genres: mystery, mythology, and romance. The novels One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus or We Were Liars by E. Lockhart both offer a short-form introduction to crime and mystery for young readers looking to get into the genre, with the latter even being set at a lake house in summer! Romance novels like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saéz are wonderful for readers looking for something light and cheerful. A fairly specific genre I really enjoy in summer time is fantasy novels that are loosely based off of Greek mythology! The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan is a great example of a novel suited for younger readers interested in this subject. More advanced readers may enjoy texts like the lyrically beautiful Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller or Ariadne by Jennifer Saint!

Now I, of course, understand that these suggestions only suit my idea of “summer reads”. How do you choose which books make the cut for your summer vacation? Share them with us!


Scorching sun and blistering heat, every now and then a few rain droplets here and there which only make the air muggier – sounds like your summer? This year’s summer is exhaustingly hot again so the grassland looks more like a desert now. So, there often comes a time when you don’t enjoy the warmth as much as in the beginning. And maybe you too have holidays or just less to do than usual and I myself thought about what I could read that wouldn’t serve any specific academic purpose only giving me a good time and leaving me more satisfied than sitting in front of the computer all day and watching movies and series. Although, I must admit, of course, that there are some pretty cool summery things to watch as well. So, I thought I’d share my list with you.

  • Skyward, Brandon Sanderson: Skyward is a dystopian science-fiction novel but I particularly like that the main focus lies on the social system. It follows 17-year-old underdog Spensa, a girl that lives on the planet Detritus in the shadow of her father’s alleged cowardice and treason when he turned against his people and died during an air battle. Yes, dystopian stories need an underdog who shows the faults in society and the political system, and yes, it might be a little exhausting from time to time to sympathize with someone who is always anti-everything and system breaking for the sake of it. However, I really liked the character development of the protagonists and I liked the twist when they suddenly notice that the concept of ‘enemy’ is very subjective and usually not well-reflected. In the end, I think the book is a valuable addition to school and/or university literature because it subtly breaks out of the black and white thinking also forcing the characters to acknowledge that there is more to reality than what they make of it. I would recommend it as school literature but I think it’s simply too long.
  • Book Lovers, Emily Henry: Admittedly, this one is quite cheesy but sometimes cheesy is exactly what you need. I was writing my term paper about a pretty depressing subject and this book was like a vacation. It’s like a Hallmark movie written out and with only slightly more juicy scenes and romantic tension. A classic predictable love story about enemies meeting under different circumstances and simply falling for each other – perfect summer read, love it.
  • Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro: This is one of my all-time favourites! It’s set sometime in the future and it’s normal for children to have an Artificial Friend. And I find it most intriguing that the novel is told from the view of one of those instead of a human narrator. Although it is quite absurd at times, it’s about coping with loss, about othering and exclusion, but also about hope, and about love and friendship without being such a feel-good read, and it leaves room for own thoughts and interpretations.
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty, Jenny Han: It is the first novel of a trilogy by Jenny Han but I only know the series which is super cute and gives me a feeling of nostalgia, but I guess I’m also old already. It’s about, well, the rollercoaster of feelings a 15-year-old girl might have when everything is suddenly different and romance is not an abstract faraway construct anymore. I think it’s really cute and would recommend it to anyone, young and old, who feels alone with all the complicated stuff in the world (this series is proof that there are others in the same boat), or who wants to sit back and say “Ah yes, being 16 again”.

Other summer recommendations: Holes by Louis Sacher (on my list every year), The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón,

Have a great August!


Summer Read 2020

English · 14 July 2020

Dear users,

As we prepare to lay back on that sunbed again, here are some suggestions for you this summer, for whenever you peel your eyes off your local ice cream store.

  • Rico’s picks: The Paper Menagerie is a short story about the struggle of a migrant woman between retaining her ‘old’ identity and simultaneously adopting a new one. Her son Jack re-tells several episodes of their lives, showcasing his mother’s special talent: When she folds animals out of paper, the little creatures come to life – a great tale for readers 14 years old and older. If, however, you are more in the mood for a scary tale, may I recommend Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz? A comprehensive collection of classic horror stories, this might just add the chills you need on a warm night outside but it is not for the faint of heart – campfire-roasted marshmallows anyone?!
  • Sarah’s picks: The novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher follows the story of Hannah Baker and the path that leads her to take her own life. On each tape that she leaves behind for her classmates, she offers a new perspective on the world of bullying and peer pressure in High School. The novel is best suited for young adults around the ages 14-18. For students wanting to delve more into the realm of Fantasy, The Witches by Roald Dahl is a great read for students around the ages 10 to 14. The novel is set in a world where witches hunt down children and make them disappear in mysterious ways. It is up to a young boy and his grandmother to stop them. Although a bit dark, Roald Dahl’s stories are full of imagination and interesting twists to the stories and myths we know and love. Don’t be alarmed if you start looking for children trapped in paintings afterwards
  • Simon’s picks: I do enjoy reading dystopian novels and short stories. VOX leads the reader down a dark path towards the perils of religion and an oppressive patriarchy. A religious shift in the US-American government calling itself the ‘Pure Movement’ results in women being stripped of their voices… Will the protagonist Jean McClellan prevent its rise? Saving Tally is an eco-critical story for elementary and early middle school classes. Tally, the little Turtle, and her friend Ara, a red lobster, are swimming through the Pacific Ocean when they come upon some funnily-shaped, colorful objects floating by. What seems like a dream turns into a nightmare: Tally gets trapped in trash… a heartwarming story on friendship, survival, and environmental pollution, that reminds us to keep trash out of the sea.
  • Sarah-Sophia’s pick: Holes – this award-winning young adult novel follows a teenage boy, who is sent to a juvenile corrections facility after being falsely accused of theft. At Camp Green Lake, the plot explores the background stories of different characters, touching on themes such as racism, homelessness, peer pressure, and illiteracy… a film adaptation is available, too.

Also, if you come across a brilliant new story which you think the world should know about, make sure to suggest it, so we can feature it in our next holiday reading list. Enjoy the time off!

The editors