The Library Student Workers Present… The Summer Reading List! (Part I)
By the Walsh Library Student Workers: Mackenzie Noonan, Lauren Walczyk, Allison Stover, Emma Liakos, Aurora Morales-Middleton, Zoe Karoub, Emily Anema, Natalie Kamble, Sabrina Fernandez, Michele Tran, Clovis Decarvalho Jr.
& Hannah Herrlich, Emerging Technologies Librarian
It’s hard to believe, but the Spring 2023 semester is quickly coming to an end. Most importantly, this means that… summer is just around the corner!
Though we know you will be hard at work in the coming weeks studying for finals, this is also a good time to start checking out books you plan to bring with you to the beach– or the couch, or the subway, or wherever you plan on spending the summer months ahead.
In the past we’ve featured blog posts about what our library staff likes to read, whether it be during winter break, or just in general and throughout the year. Undoubtedly, you would be hard- pressed to find a librarian who isn’t eager to share their reading list. But what do our library student workers read for fun? In this series, we will feature summer reading recommendations from yours truly (aka the student workers).
Keep reading to discover what the library student worker staff can’t put down and don’t forget to visit the Walsh Library atrium to check out these reading recommendations for yourself!
East of Eden is a richly compelling novel that follows the intertwined stories of two families as they live through versions of the most famous biblical stories. The novel explores the theological idea of fate, and questions if generational patterns can be broken. Characters within this book grapple with their own identities, fate, love and lack thereof. This is truly one of the most amazing books I have ever read, and I genuinely cannot recommend it enough!
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PS3537.T3234 E3]
The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated from the perspective of Enzo, a golden retriever, as he grows up with his owner Denny, an aspiring professional race car driver. The novel explores the complex family relationships that we all encounter, and how we get through them. If you’re a dog-lover, I couldn’t suggest this book more.
Find it here! [Walsh PS3569.T3712 A88 2008]
Was the hype for The Hunger Games trilogy deserved, or was it just plain overrated? Speaking from the perspective of a college student in 2023, I can truthfully say that these books have it all: a strong feminine protagonist (aka girlboss), a well-built dystopian world, and the trademark early-2000’s love triangle. These books arguably defined the YA genre, and I would argue that it broke down this categorization, with adult and middle schooler fans alike.
Though each novel can stand on its own (I would know, I read them out of order as an eighth-grader), the series is consistent in its theme of revolution. With each book covering its own “Hunger Games,” the stakes become higher as the series goes on.
Why read them now? Well, with the highly-anticipated prequel movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, being released on November 17 of this year, you’ll definitely want to add this trilogy to your summer reading list.
Find The Hunger Games here! [Walsh/Fordham Westchester PS3603.O5548 H86 2008]
Find Catching Fire here! [Walsh PS3603.O5548 C37 2009]
Find Mockingjay here! [Walsh/Quinn PS3603.O5548 M62 2010]
All the Light We Cannot See has a perfect mix of high action points and emotional moments. This novel follows three different characters in a German-occupied French town as they survive the war. The main story follows Marie-Laure who is a blind young girl who must survive as German tensions rise in the town she has grown up in. As the three stories intertwine, can they help one another to survive? Will everyone make it out of this disastrous time?
The Water Dancer is an emotional novel about a slave who discovers that he has the ability to walk on water. Using this, he helped slaves escape using a newfound passage. This novel stresses relationships with one’s family and what bond is formed in times of turmoil.
Conversations with Friends is the story of a young couple and their relationship with an older, married couple. Explores the complicated dynamic of female relationships.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PR6118.O59 C66 2018]
Braiding Sweetgrass compiles several personal reflection essays written by Robin Kimmerer. This book offers a heartfelt and insightful look at the relationship between humans and Mother Earth. With the growing concerns about climate change, deforestation and the depletion of our natural resources, it is more important than ever to reevaluate how we treat the world around us. I really enjoyed this book and learning about Indigenous wisdom and the importance of reciprocity towards the Earth. Overall, this is one of my favorite books.
Parable of the Sower is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth, heavily affected by climate change and social inequality. The novel follows Lauren Olamina, a young woman who can feel the pain of others and becomes displaced from her home. Lauren’s own sense of spirituality leads her to create her own religion, Earthseed, and these beliefs conflict with those of her father, forcing her to decide what she wants and what is right in her mind. I enjoyed this story because there was a lot of adventure and also allowed me to think about the importance of minding the environment and factors of climate change. It also shows the importance of pursuing and practicing your own beliefs despite the ideas or thoughts of others.
The Mercies follows a band of women in 17th-century Norway after a storm kills all the men in their island community. Two women, Maren and Ursa, must battle grief and the arrival of a controlling missionary in order to realize their true identities. This book is perfect for anyone interested in feminist perspectives on the witch hunts of the 1600s.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PR6108.A736 M47 2020]
I read The Secret Life of Bees in my freshman year of high school, but it still sticks with me as a heartwarming and lovely novel. In 1964 South Carolina, 14-year-old Lily Owens escapes her abusive father and the memory of her mother’s death in search of her former nanny Rosaleen. Arriving on the doorstep of three black beekeeping sisters, Lily is in for a summer of discovering female power, love, healing, and the magic of bees.
Find it here! [Walsh PS3611.I44 S38 2003]
Klara and the Sun is a dystopian novel set in a technologically grounded society where some children are genetically modified and Artificial Friends (AFs) can be easily acquired from stores. The book explores the relationship between a girl named Josie and her new AF, Klara. It’s a beautifully written book that raises important questions about what it means to be human and the role of technology in our lives.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a novel about a young girl’s coming-of-age in poverty-stricken Brooklyn during the early 20th century. The novel explores the power of education and imagination to overcome difficult circumstances, making it a must-read for anyone who appreciates a well-crafted, character-driven narrative.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PS3537.M3 T7 2006]
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao follows the story’s protagonist, Oscar, and his unrequited love for girls, his obsession with science fiction and fantasy, and his strained relationship with his family and cultural heritage. This novel is framed within the larger historical context of the Dominican Republic, with particular emphasis on the brutal dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in a totalitarian society ruled by the Party led by Big Brother, where individualism is suppressed, and the Party controls all aspects of people’s lives. The story follows the life of Winston Smith, a low-ranking Party member who starts questioning the Party’s principles and rebelling against its oppressive regime.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PR6029.R8 N5 2003]
If you’re searching for a spiritual guidebook that provides practical advice for cultivating mindfulness and finding inner peace, look no further than The Power of Now. The author argues that the mind is responsible for much of our suffering and that by focusing on the present, we can free ourselves from negative thoughts and emotions. He teaches readers to live in the present moment.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of an African-American woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge in 1951. Skloot explores the scientific, ethical, and personal implications of the HeLa cells, as well as the impact on Henrietta’s family. The book raises important questions about informed consent, medical ethics, and racial disparities in healthcare.
Find it here! [Walsh RC265.6.L24 S55 2010]
The Goldfinch is an excellent summer reading choice for its engaging plot, complex characters, and vivid descriptions of art and beauty. The novel’s exploration of themes such as loss, grief, and the search for identity will resonate with readers of all ages, while its fast-paced and suspenseful narrative will keep them hooked until the very end. Tartt’s beautiful prose and masterful storytelling make this a must-read for anyone looking for a literary escape during the summer months.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PS3570.A657 G65 2013]
The Bell Jar is an excellent summer reading choice for its frank and honest portrayal of mental health issues and the struggles of a young woman in the 1950s. The novel’s vivid and introspective writing style will immerse readers in the protagonist’s experience and provide a thought-provoking and relatable perspective on issues such as identity, social pressure, and gender roles.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PS3566.L27 B4 1999]
The Hate U Give is a modern novel and its take on police brutality and the abuse of power in the judicial system. All at the expense of the Black community who are mainly targeted due to the color of their skin. The story revolves around Starr and her fight for justice for her friend, Khail, who was killed at the hands of a racist police officer. All while having to deal with people who want her mouth shut and others who just don’t really get it.
Find it here! [Walsh/Quinn PS3620.H62463 H38 2017]
Whenever we think of the future, we think of flying cars. Being able to have an underwater home, talking animals. Things that go beyond our imaginations. Though, what if it was like that, but in a VR headset. Ready Player One tells the story of a boy named Wade Watts who participates in a scavenger hunt to become the new owner of the game “OASIS,” after the passing of the recent one. All while having to face evil businessmen and greedy players, but also making great allies along the way.
Find it here! [Walsh PS3603.L548 R43 2011]