Though it might seem hard to believe, summer is already just about upon us. And, hopefully, that means we are going to be getting to spend a whole lot more time outside. But that doesn’t always mean taking part in crazy activities – like day hikes or jet skiing on the open ocean. Sometimes, we just want to relax and spend some time on the beach.
But, rather than just laying idle, it’s nice to be able to have something to keep yourself busy. And there are few things that can do that quite like a good book. So, whether you’re headed off to the Tropics, trekking out to your nearest ocean, or just hanging out down by your local lake, these are the 15 best books to read this summer.
This tome – part history, part cautionary tale – seeks to illuminate its readers to the very real looming threat of fascism by examining everything from the fall of ancient democracy, to the founding of the USA by our forefathers, to the current political climate. And it’s not just a bunch of hullabaloo, either. It was written by a bonafide historian and professor at Yale University. Whether you agree with author Timothy Snyder or you just want to look for holes in his arguments, this is an interesting read.
While the phrase “mind-bending thriller” might not rank up there in your expectations for a beach book, there’s no denying the psychological allure of this spooky science-fiction story that dabbles in quantum mechanics. Penned by the same author as the Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter forces us to ask what we might do if we were ripped from the world we know and thrust into another, how we might get back to those we care about, and how we might confront the darkest parts of ourselves.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the greatest living minds. His book, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, takes some of his biggest ideas and whittles them down into a much more easily digested formula. But, don’t worry – if you’re looking for the universe shattering revelations that Mr. Tyson has become known for – they’re all still there. Just in smaller doses.
Although this is hardly a new book, it has just been brought to the small screen by the Starz network. The reviews on the show are mixed, to be sure, but if you really want the essence of what that story entails, you need to read the original. Penned by Neil Gaiman, the same mind responsible for penning much of Dr. Who and the graphic novel series Sandman, this science-fiction fantasy novel is sure to keep you guessing until the very end.
Happy is the New Rich
The author of this book is named George Resch, but most people know him by his online tag, tank.sinatra. And no, this isn’t a book filled with his favorite tweets and memes, nor is it a self-help book. Rather it is a clever series of what he calls “lightbulb moments” – small realizations that help put his and the reader’s life in perspective. It is heartfelt, more than a bit autobiographical, and might just get you through your day with a knowing smile on your face.
Not to be confused with American Gods, this breakout novel from author Omar El Akkad has garnered comparison to the writings of Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road). That is to say, it is a bleak and gripping portrait of a post-apocalyptic United States and the tale of the poor folks left behind to pick up the pieces. Though not a happy read by any stretch, you’ll have a hard time putting this one down.
The full title of this memoir is The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. Yes, this book was actually written by a member of the now-famous SEAL Team that took out one of America’s greatest modern enemies. Apparently, he was also involved in the attempted rescues of “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and Captain Phillips, too. And while there is plenty of controversy surrounding the penning of this series of war stories, it’s an illuminating look into the mind of a member of the world’s most elite class of warrior.
For as massive and ubiquitous as it is, the internet is still largely shrouded in mystery when it comes to the population at large. We think people should be a little more informed as to how their information and everyone else’s is spread throughout this vast network and what, exactly, that says about us and the world that surrounds us. Well Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are is, at the very least, a step in the right direction in that regard. And, although it covers what might be considered a very dry subject matter, it still garners a few laughs thanks to the author’s quick wit.
Theft by Finding
If you’ve never read anything by David Sedaris, you’ve been missing out on some truly rib-tickling laughs. And, while this might not be the best book to get you started, it is a must-read for anyone that appreciates this author’s acerbic wit and power of observation. An insightful look at one of the funniest minds of our generation, this book is a collection of the author’s private writings and misanthropic commentary across the span of several decades.
The Cubs Way
108 years passed between the times the Chicago Cubs won the world series. That’s longer than most people live, even now. But, it happened, finally. And that means a legendary curse was broken. This documentary-style book tells that story – how one of the losingest franchises in baseball managed to make what seemed impossible come true. It’s an inspiring story and an interesting look into what it really takes to win everything in the MLB;
Michael Crichton has written some of the most gripping science-fictions and thrillers of all time – including Jurassic Park, Congo, Sphere, and Timeline. Unfortunately, he passed away tragically after a battle with lymphoma in 2008. Thankfully, for his fans, he still had some unreleased books already written. Dragon Teeth is one of them. The story follows the real life story of a pair of paleontologists (fossil-studying scientists) and their rivalry that was, at times, stranger and more thrilling than fiction.
Gear Patrol Magazine
We’d be remiss in our duties if we didn’t put Gear Patrol’s newest magazine on our list. Without fail, this collection of adventure photography and killer gear highlights is one that we can never put down until we read it from cover to cover. And then we read it again. And again. Just for the record, this one might be their best release to date.
Best Graphic Novels
If you like your books with a few more pictures in them, then check out our list of the best graphic novels of all time.
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