It’s the summer now, and now that we have all the time we never had in school, it’s time to do the one thing we were most eager to stop doing in class.

Read.

Of course, now it’s different. This is for us- there’s no essay to write, no discussion to have answers in, no fear of being called on to propel you. It’s you, the warm sun, and the chance to read well. It’s a great way to spend a leisurely day with the added bonus of feeling smart. It’s pretty perfect, and I’m here to help.

 

1: Good Short Stories

A collection of good, classic short stories- say The Dubliners or any collection of great recent pieces (say The New Yorker ones) is a great place to start. They actually are good on there own- that’s how they became classic in the first place- and the variety lets you pick and choose. First sentence works for you? Good. If it doesn’t? Flip through it. This combines channel-surfing and reading, and makes it a perfect choice for the beach or porch.

 

2: The Book a Movie You Like was Based On

People always say “It was good, but the book was better” when watching movie adaptations. Don’t you want to see if they’re right? If you already like the movie, you know you’ll probably like the book, making any Michael Chriton book (Jurassic Park, anyone?) a solid option. Also, ready Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the novel that Blade Runner was based on. I just read it myself and it’s good. And if you can’t trust a random guy on the internet for opinions on vaguely nerdy things, who can you trust?

3: Some HBO Show

Finally watch The Wire. No it isn’t reading, but it’s awesome, culturally significant, and you’ve been putting it off. Might as well, right?

4: A classic

Lots of classics are rightly or wrongly considered boring. Well, it’s the summer. Hit up the library with an enormous list of whatever sounds vaguely interesting. If it keeps, keep with it. If not, don’t. Even if it doesn’t work, having read the first thirty pages of a bunch of classics can impress that cute girl at the bar…for twelve minutes. Hey, better than nothing, right?

5: A basic cook-book

With this spare time? You might get inspired to cook something fancy this summer. And if not? You might get the appetite to eat well. It’s the summer, you know- if you can’t lounge in the sun with pictures of food now, when can you?

6: Action!

If you’re reading a novel on the beach or lounging, it should keep your attention. People forget sometimes that art, for all it’s hype, can be entertaining. A book I like is The White Tiger. It’s pretty good, but not fancy. It’s like a literary hamburger: good, and done perfectly, even better. It’s the summer. Eat burgers. Read their literary equivalent and stock up on exciting and solid books.