Whether you find yourself stuck at home due to travel restrictions or lucky enough to be sat by the beach on holiday, reading is the perfect hobby to pick up during the lengthy days that summer provides. Reading can provide an escape from reality or can serve to educate, inspire or move you. The act of reading is also scientifically proven to stimulate brain connectivity, improve communication skills and reduce stress. This list of short reads contains plays, poetry, fiction and non-fiction, meaning there is sure to be something for everyone!
Fear and Trembling by Amélie Nothomb
This number one international bestseller is translated from French, the language Belgian author, Nothomb, originally wrote it in. The story follows a young girl Amélie who moves to Japan to work in a large company. The book ultimately explores the difficulty westerners face when attempting to integrate with Japanese culture. Nothomb has chosen to give the main protagonist her own name, reflecting the idea that the book is based on many of the experiences of the author herself. Although Fear and Trembling has received much criticism for its ignorance or over exaggeration of Japanese culture, it forces you to engage on your own work experiences and morals, while simultaneously reflecting on the question of whether foreigners are ever truly at ease in any culture.
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
This classic comedic play is only three acts long and a very light read. If you are looking for a quick holiday read to provide some humour, Wilde is able to provide that for you! We are transported to the Victorian age, which the playwright does not fail to poke fun at, and follow the intersections of several love triangles as they slowly merge together. Wilde’s use of dramatic irony in this play keeps the reader engaged, as we wait for all to be revealed to the naïve characters.
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
This collection of short poems is the perfect summer read if you are seeking some motivation. The soothing metaphors of Rupi Kaur act to convey emotions which are otherwise difficult to put into words, while challenging patriarchal and Eurocentric standards for women. The poet is successful in giving women a voice and empowering them, a reason she quickly rose to fame. This collection is a sequel to Milk and Honey, and both are considered essential reads for women of the twenty-first century.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Summer, for many, is a time to reflect on the previous year and look to any changes that need to be made. If you are starting a new job, university or are just looking for some wisdom to get you through the next half of the year, The Secret is the perfect summer read. Byrne uses examples from history and famous people to demonstrate how powerful your mind is in controlling every aspect of your life, and how simple it is to manifest anything you desire by believing that it is possible.
The Sun on my Head by Geovani Martins
Martins sets this collection of short stories in Rio de Janeiro, exploring themes of love, race, class, masculinity and relationships through the lenses of teenage boys. Each bildungsroman gives readers an insight into the culture of the city in which these boys live and the dangerous reality for young people. This collection is perfect for summer because each story is short, keeping the readers’ attention and allows you to take breaks without forgetting what has happened previously.
With the upcoming heatwave that is about to hit the UK, why not catch a tan, engage your mind and educate yourself about something new.
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