Books to read during the summer

Logan Metzger

With classes over and summer rolling in, students are gaining free time. What can they do with that time? How about finally reading that one book that’s been sitting on a shelf since last summer, or finding a new one?

“Reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures and there’s nothing quite like being immersed in a story,” said Cathy Cooney, adult services librarian at Ames Public Library. “You can also get involved in a book club and explore societal and cultural issues through the lens of a book with your friends. If nothing else, it’s a source of entertainment like watching television except that you can cast the characters and direct the cinematography.”

Cooney also suggested six summer reads for college students, in a wide range of genres.


“The Daevabad Trilogy” by S.A. Chakraborty (Book #1 is “The City of Brass”)

If you’re looking for something to fill that “Game of Thrones” void, this might be the perfect series for you. Set in 18th century Cairo, this epic fantasy features a complicated political framework and plenty of magic.


“An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green

A graduate student and her friend capture the sudden appearance of a large robotic statue, one of dozens around the world. Their video goes viral, leaving the student to contend with her sudden internet fame. This novel is a must-read for fans of the vlogbrothers or young adult author John Green.

“Queenie” by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie Jenkins, a twenty-something Jamaican-British woman, is doing the best she can despite having a rather awful year. She struggles with a series of bad dates, maintaining friendships and a journalism career that is disappointingly shallow. Reviewers are calling it a modern take on “Bridget Jones,” perfect light reading for summer.


“Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-to Guide” by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

Perfect for fans of the podcast “My Favorite Murder,” in this book the hosts describe their lives to date, offer a wealth of self-help advice and discuss a murder or two amid plenty of their trademark witty banter.


“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang

This novel follows Stella, an economist on the Autism Spectrum, who hires an escort to help her navigate the world of romance. The escort, Michael, who is half Vietnamese and supporting his family, can’t afford to jeopardize his job. While dealing with serious issues like mental health, sex work and relationships, this is a compulsively-readable romantic comedy.


“The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides

Six years ago, Alicia murdered her husband and since that day has not said a word. Psychotherapist Theo, struggling with his own issues, attempts to get her to speak. As the professional lines begin to blur, will the truth of what happened that day be revealed? This is one of the most popular thrillers of the summer and promises an edge-of-your-seat ride.

“Leisure reading is important for so many reasons,” Cooney said. “Whether you’re reading fiction or nonfiction, you are increasing your vocabulary and being introduced to a variety of words we don’t often use in everyday conversations. Recent studies have shown that reading fiction also increases empathy, as it helps us experience the thoughts and emotions of other people. Reading increases your knowledge on a topic, can help you relieve stress at the end of a long day, and is just plain enjoyable.”

Donna Niday, associate professor of English, said reading helps us expand our horizons and think about what is happening in other parts of the world.

“I think it helps to empathize with people and understand what other people are going through,” Niday said. “I think it makes us better people to hear about what other people have occurring in their lives.”