Best 2021 Summer Reads

Intimations by Zadie Smith | Source: CBC

Whatever you did this summer, I hope you all did it with a book in hand. Now, although I had a long to-be-read list for this summer, I didn’t hit very many of those books since the list was long and, frankly, a little scary. The following novels are the books I managed to read this summer. 


Intimations by Zadie Smith

I bought this book with very high hopes. Written during the early months of lockdown, Intimations is a small collection of short essays that explores the ideas and questions that surfaced at the start of the pandemic. Although I had gone into the book thinking it would be very interesting, it was just not my taste. Smith seemed to use large words just for the sake of using large words, which I have never appreciated. I give this book a 2/5. Although I disliked it, it was relatable and quite short. 


Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riodran

This series will forever be one of my favorites. It is a series that follows the lives of teenage demigods whose parents are Greek gods. I reread it over the summer just to make sure I was reading, but I still loved it more than anything. It has an amazing plot all the way through and has great character development. Riordan does a great job of making sure the characters develop throughout the series. The series gets a 5/5 from me. 


A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

This book follows the story of a young Black man who was wrongfully accused and convicted of the robbery and murder of a white man and therefore sentenced to death by electrocution in the late ‘40s. His family wants him to know that he is a true man before he dies. It is a wonderfully written and truly amazing book. The characters were described beautifully, and the overall story has a great message. It gets a 5/5 from me. 


The Flame by Leonard Cohen

This book is the last work by Cohen and includes poems, excerpts from his personal notebooks, lyrics, and hand-drawn self portraits. It offers an intimate look into Cohen’s life. Although I’ve never read anything by Cohen beforehand, he is a beautiful writer, and I plan to read more of his work. I give this book a 4/5. I loved it, but I think I would have appreciated it more if I had read some of Cohen’s work beforehand. 


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This novel is set during Afghanistan’s last thirty years and is a story of two generations’ worth of characters that are brought together by war. I’ve had experience with Hosseini’s writing — one of my favorite books of all times is “The Kite Runner” — so I really enjoyed this book. He knows how to really bring a set of characters to life. His use of life and human emotions and experiences opened me to a brand new type of fear and love. This novel gets an astounding 5/5 from me, as I loved the plot, and I love Hosseini’s writing style. 


tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

One of Albom’s university professors was his guiding light, and this story describes Albom’s return to said professor. Albom makes his way back to Morrie, and they spend the rest of Morrie’s life together. Their relationship leads to the life lessons presented in this book. Albom is one of my favorite authors, so I will always appreciate his work. This book gets a 4/5 from me, simply because it took me a while to read, even though I loved it. 

About the Author

Lily Powell
Lily Powell is a junior from Channahon, IL. She is a returning staff writer for the Acronym. Find her in 06D to hear about whale documentaries, get some great novel recommendations, or to just chat!

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