As there is one month left of summer, it is the perfect time to recommend a few books. The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and the moment right now is perfect to curl up with a good book before the demands of school come crashing down in the fall.

I have divided some of my favorite books into a variety of categories in the hopes that you find something that sparks your interest.

Nonfiction

  • “The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats” by Daniel Stone: This book follows the adventures of David Fairchild, a botanist and food explorer who forever altered the American appetite by introducing a variety of foreign foods, including kale, mangoes, peaches and seedless grapes.
  • “The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court’s Assault on the Constitution” by David A. Kaplan: This book offers a look at each of the current Supreme Court justices and the true reach and power of the judicial branch.
  • “The Third Bank of the River: Power and Survival in the Twenty-First-Century Amazon” by Chris Feliciano Arnold: The author follows the war happening over Brazil’s Amazon River. His starting point involves an Amazonian tribe that emerged out of isolation during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after loggers were cutting down the land they had been living in.
  • “Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich” by Norman Ohler: The author exposes the true role that drugs played in the Third Reich. Not only were the soldiers and their commanders reliant on drugs, but Hitler himself ultimately came to rely on a cocktail of drugs. Ohler’s research is enlightening and gives readers a glimpse of what was truly going on behind the scenes in Nazi Germany.

Memoirs

  • “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII” by Chester Nez: This memoir follows the life of Nez, who joined the Marines. Prior to the introduction by Navajo soldiers of using their people’s code for military messages, the Japanese had broken every code the U.S. had used in the war. To this day, the Navajo code is the only unbroken code in modern warfare. Nez chronicles his time living on the Navajo Reservation, his years with the Marines, and his time as a code talker with astonishing clarity and emotion.
  • “Endurance: My Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery” by Scott Kelly: Kelly chronicles his life leading up to becoming an astronaut. He delves into the challenges he faced in space, as well as the aftereffects of spending a full year there. Kelly’s story is poignant and insightful.
  • “The Boy on the Wooden Box” by Leon Leyson: This book follows Leyson, who was a young child when he was put on Oskar Schindler’s famous list. Leyson’s story is the only memoir published by a Schindler’s List child. This story is as hopeful and inspiring as it is heartbreaking. You cannot help but be moved by this book.

Classics

  • “Animal Farm” by George Orwell: In this novel, Orwell tells the story of a farm that has been overtaken by the animals that live there. After driving out the humans, the animals strive to create a utopia where justice reigns and equality is held in the highest regard. Orwell’s masterpiece is as relevant today as when he wrote it.
  • “The Beautiful and the Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald’s second novel is heavily based on his own relationship with Zelda Fitzgerald, to which there are many parallels throughout the story. The novel follows Anthony Patch and his unstable relationship with Gloria. Fitzgerald explores themes of materialism and the impermanence of beauty with incredible skill, while drawing the reader further into the character’s lives.
  • “The Long Good-Bye” by Raymond Chandler: Chandler is known for noir crime novels, and this is one of his best. When Terry Lennox’s wife, who happens to be a millionaire, is murdered, he turns to private investigator Philip Marlowe. However, before Marlowe can help his friend, Lennox commits suicide. Chandler’s writing entices the reader into the story and forces you to keep turning the pages.

Young adult fiction

  • “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness: The story was originally conceived by Siobhan Dowd, and was then adapted into a book by Ness after her sudden death. The book follows a young boy, Conor, who one day finds a monster outside his bedroom. He has been dreaming about a monster every day since his mother started treatment; however, this is not that monster. Ness has reimagined the classic “monster tale” into a haunting story of loss and the power of the truth.
  • “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo: This story follows Kaz, a criminal prodigy living in Ketterdam. Kaz is offered a chance at the greatest heist; however, he cannot do it alone. Kaz enlists the help of a convict, a sharpshooter, a runaway, a spy, a thief, and a being known as a Heartrender. Bardugo pulls the reader in with complex and detailed world building, while intertwining humor, magic, and romance to build a multi-layered story that leaves the readers guessing.
  • “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Bejamin Alire Sáenz: The author portrays the haunting story of two boys growing up in Texas, next to the Mexico-U.S. border. Aristotle, known as Ari, is self-conscious and guarded, whereas Dante is well-read, poetic and confident. Although these two boys seem like opposites, they ultimately form a bond, which teaches them truths about themselves and each other.

Cara Elzie is a 2019 graduate of Riverside Christian School.