Classic Literature to

Kick Off Your Summer

June 10, 2023

During the year, it may be pretty hard to just pick up a book. Whether it be your 9 to 5, managing a family, or a busy college schedule, reading for pleasure might not be a high priority in your day-to-day life. But that’s what summer is for. When the sun is warm and school’s out, vacationing is…well, expected, and having a reading list is much more attainable. If you’re struggling to know where to start, why not begin with a few tried and true classics that readers have timelessly enjoyed during those hot months? Here are five classic literature novels to kick off your summer: 


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 

Although I may be biased as it is one of my favorite books, nonetheless this epic by the same author as The Three Musketeers is one that will sweep you into a world of lost love, betrayal, and intrigue. The plot follows Edmund Dumas, a young man wronged and falsely sent to jail who then pursues a course of cunning vengeance against his accusers. Its length is perfect for long days by the beach or lounging by the pool.


Atonement by Ian McEwan 

Set against the backdrop of WWII, this drama complicates romance with destruction in an engaging story that will immerse you in its imaginative quality. After misinterpreting a private affair, a young girl’s actions are entwined with a couple fighting to be together against all odds. With the novel opening one summer’s day in the English countryside with an astonishing twist that will have you running towards the last page, reading while in a garden or sipping tea in the morning. 


The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Not only an easy read but also a compelling one, the novel follows the interwoven stories of Chinese women in the 1940s who explore their pasts. Intensely real and incredibly touching, you may need a box of tissues on your nightstand for this one. Read while on the plane to a warm destination or while sipping a cold drink at a cafe…at your own risk. 


The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy 

Set in a sweltering town in India, this fragmented novel is filled with sensuous and dreamlike prose that immerses you into every scene. It follows the lives of two twins and their complicated mother set before and after a tragic event unfolds which alters the lives of those around them. Even with the novel’s layered meanings and emotion, you will quickly be taken with its intricate and moving plot. 


One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Notorious for its convoluted and immense nature, this generational epic is just the thing to tackle with all the time you now have. It follows the Buendía and their lives through the rise and fall of the fictional Colombian town of Macondo as they navigate tradition, modernization, and trauma. The novel’s lush language and magical elements are just the thing to dive into on a lazy day with “nothing” to do. 


Bonus Poems

“A July Afternoon by the Pond, Warm Summer Sun”

“A Transparent Summer Morning”

“A Summer Invocation”  


If you’re looking for a shorter but still fulfilling summer read, try a few poems by Walt Whitman to put you in the mood. The vivid imagery of Whitman like the song of crickets, fleeting romance, and a spreading sparkling sea will fully immerse you into the beauty summer is well-known for.


No matter what you decide to pick up, take advantage of summer as a time to kick back, relax and get into a good book!

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