Experts, psychologists, and authors agree that reading can make you more empathetic. Literary fiction helps us better understand each other and how we think. That alone is interesting and notable, but what does it have to do with summer?
Summer is here!
Because summer is traditionally a time to read lighter, more character driven books. Spend a moment or two on the web and I’m sure you’ll find more than a few “summer reading lists” or “best beach reads” articles. In fact, since you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’ve found at least one!
Make the most of your summer travels with a good book (or two or three). All the interesting scientific and educational reasons aside, reading a fun book on a beach—waves lapping gently, kids playing around you, sun shining—what could possibly be better?
You can always get caught up on some classic summer reading at the beach, but if you’re looking for something a little new or different, Lulu has got the Indie shopping list for you!
Summer is always a time for travel and exploration. Indie writers are great for these kinds of books, since the most well-traveled among us are rarely the most literary as well. Lulu’s self-publishing gives them all an outlet for their awesome stories. Here’s a few of our favorites.
98 Days Of Wind: The Greatest Fail Of Our Life by Ras & Kathy Vaughn
A husband and wife team set out to break a world record, hiking the Grand Enchantment Trail. Here is a book about the absolute limits of our bodies and our relationships, all set against the challenge of overcoming a harsh environment. The story is exciting, inspiring, and delightfully human.
In the Driver’s Seat: An American Road Trip by Dan Murphy
Road trips. One of the more powerful and well-used tropes in American writing. Murphy sets out to see all 50 states in the USA. Inevitably, he encounters all sorts of adventures along the way. What makes a story about travel really potent? Leaving the reader with a desire to travel themselves. That’s what “In the Driver’s Seat” achieves that other books of this sort don’t.
My United States Travel Journal by Carolyn Cole
This one is a little different. I’m guessing a few of our intrepid travelers have kids in the backseat staring at their iPhones or Nintendos while the miles roll by. Cole’s travel journal is designed for youths, inspiring them to enjoy the journey. And years from now, they’ll have the journal to look back on and remember the adventures they had!
These are the books we pack into our beach bag alongside some SPF-50, a bottle of water, and our beach blanket. While the day beautifully passes us by, we get lost in a story. Beach reads are the purest essence of summer. These are the books that stay with us, even the most pulp of adventures or mysteries become vital during those warm and sunny hours spent at the beach.
Miss Understood by Lynette Greenfield
Poetry that firmly lands us in a place and time, Greenfield’s poems use setting to juxtapose her take on modern language. Exploring how a poet (and aren’t we all poets to some degree?) must interact with a world disinclined to elegant language using only words and images, Greenfield’s vibrant prose is engaging and enlightening without being oppressive.
A Trufflesome Murder by Cliff Robison
A clever “whodunit” story set against the back drop of an international culinary event, Robison spins out well defined characters who keep you guessing throughout the story. In the grand tradition of detective stories, “A Trufflesome Murder” builds on the depth of characters to create a captivating and exciting story.
Steel Town Shootout by David Lonich
Another mystery story, Lonich sets us in turn of the century steel town. Pairing deep and conflicted characters with a strong sense of place and time, “Steel Town Shootout” has all the elements to keep you reading during those mellow summer afternoons.
Get Real Reading
While the beach is historically the place to sit and dive into a lavish fictional world, some readers prefer keeping it a little more real. Memoir and creative nonfiction are both growing genres with excellent authors telling deeply personal stories of their trials, successes, and lives. If you’re more of a memoir reader, we’ve got you covered with these great titles.
From Fatherless to Fatherhood by Omar Epps
Renown actor Omar Epps recently released a memoir about his childhood and his transition to fatherhood. At once touching and heartbreaking, Epps tells his own story growing up without a father, and relates that experience to his own efforts at understanding what fatherhood means.
Entrepreneurial Life: The Path From Startup to Market Leader by Robert L. Luddy
Don’t let the title fool you. Entrepreneurial Life is much more than a treatise on successfully starting and growing a business. Rather, this is the personal story of Luddy, a lifelong entrepreneur, and the many hurdles and challenges he overcame to find his success. Expertly blending personal narrative with business acumen, Entrepreneurial Life is captivating and informative.
Amdist Latvians During the Holocaust by Edward Anders
Straying from the lighter side of summer reading, the Kirkus Review called Amidst Latvians During the Holocaust “a testament of remarkable clarity and humanity, wrung from dark experience.” Tracing the history of his survival during World War II, Anders takes readers on a brilliant emotional journey filled with intrigue and danger, but never straying from the essential humanity of the author.
Keep the Kids Reading
While you’re kicking back, soaking in the sun and deep in your summer reading list, what are your kids up to? Are they staring with hunched shoulders at a screen? If so, get them off that device and give them some reading too! There’s never been a better time to start a vacation reading tradition than now!
The Art of Being Here by Pluto Irving & Ileena Irving
A story told through the perspectives of five individual teens, The Art of Being Here examines the very real and immediate concerns of young adults coming into their own. Fast paced and clearly written, this is a story your teen will not only relate too, they’ll find irresistible.
The Wailing by Jennie Ford
Written in the burgeoning tradition called “relevant reads,” The Wailing is a tool for learning about writing and literature wrapped into a compelling and heartfelt story of one family struggling for a better life. Donating proceeds to crowd source new relevant reads, The Wailing is a powerfully emotional story with a great cause behind it.
Who Rescued Who?: Sashi’s Story by Juliana Morgan
Filled with important and relevant lessons for young readers, Who Rescued Who? is the story of a young girl and her desire for a family pet. While the story doesn’t go exactly as our young hero might have hoped, Morgan never-the-less proves that love knows no bounds. Based on a true story.
Your Reading List
Lulu’s Bookstore is jammed full with new and independently published books covering a truly wild range of topics. When I think summer reading, it’s character-driven stories that take me to another world. I want to leave my day to day concerns behind and immerse myself in the story.
That’s not for everyone though. And that’s exactly what makes the Lulu Bookstore so awesome. You can find so many different kinds of books. History. Fiction. Fantasy. Memoir. Journals. Poetry. If you can imagine it, there’s a good chance a Lulu author has a book about it.
Share your summer reading list in the comments and help inspire other readers!
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.