The Student Union Ultimate Summer Reading List for Fun and Learning

It’s no secret that we here at the Student Union love books, and for the past few days we’ve been thinking about what to read over the next few months before school starts up again. Yesterday we shared some of the reading lists American students have been assigned this summer, which also make for great summer reading for international students looking to practice English, prepare for next year’s classes, or just relax with a good book.

So what will our Student Union community be reading this summer? We asked you to share your picks and recommendations. Here’s the result, which we’re humbly titling: THE STUDENT UNION ULTIMATE SUMMER READING LIST FOR FUN AND LEARNING (because why not?). Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Javaria’s picks
Inferno, by Dan Brown
And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

I really want to read Inferno by Dan Brown and And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. Not so much because of the commercial value that these books are carrying with it, but because Dan Brown’s books always let me learn something new and unique and Hosseini’s books reinstate some very touchy concepts and ideas.

Another book that I really want to read and sadly have never read is The Great Gatsby! Because I have always heard about how great it is but never really got a chance to read this one classic. And now I have promised myself that I will not watch the movie till I read the book!

Anna’s pick
Why Nations Fail, by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

This summer I am preparing my graduate school applications, so I am reading books related to my discipline in order to be able to write a well-informed and thoughtful personal statement.

One I’ve just finished was published last year by a professor from Harvard and a professor from MIT (it took the two professors 15 years to finish the book!), and it has really influenced what I see myself doing in 10 years from now.

Promise’s picks
Becoming Dr. Q, by Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa
The Pelican Brief, by John Grisham

Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa’s story is quite similar to mine. He is an immigrant who is now living the American dream and now a reputable surgeon at Johns Hopkins.

A premed doesn’t probably need to read John Grisham, but I love suspense and legal thrillers and reading the book is a good pastime for the hectic summer I have ahead of me.

I also think it’s wise to start practicing for the MCAT a year before I actually take it.

Rin’s pick
Somalis in Maine: Crossing Cultural Currents, by Kimberly A. Huisman, Mazie Hough, Kristin M. Langellier and Carol Nordstrom Toner

This summer I will TRY to complete all books I’ve got for classes. Usually I skimmed some chapters during the semester, but I’d like to revisit because I liked all of them. If I pick up one book, it’ll be Somalis in Maine.

My college town, Lewiston, is known for secondary migration of Somalis, which I didn’t know at all before. This book not only widened my view on immigration issues in the U.S., but also opened up my eyes to the local community of the college. I think it was one of the most precious experience of the year.

Phillip’s picks
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe
Sutton, by J.R. Moehringer
The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers
Young Gerber, by Friedrich Torberg
Istanbul: Memories of a City, by Orhan Pamuk

Paula’s picks
IQ84, by Haruki Murakami
Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

I really miss reading novels, so I’m going to read four (even though it’s going to be winter for me– and no vacations).

I’ve read Murakami before and I’m fascinated by his style. Besides, one of my favorite books ever is 1984 by George Orwell and I heard that this book plays on Orwell’s a little bit.

I bought Under the Tuscan Sun for someone else, read the first couple of pages, couldn’t stop.

And On the Road is one of those classics you have to read some time in your life, especially if you’ve been to some of the places described in the book.

I’m also going to pick something by Isabel Allende to read. She is by far my favorite Spanish-speaking author and I’m really looking forward to reading whatever she’s written lately.

I have other books in mind, some of which I’ve started already, but which I like to read in random order, all at the same time, depending on my mood.

Those are:

Everything but the Coffee, by Bryant Simon
It’s about how the American culture and values are reflected through the consumption of products and added values from Starbucks and other corporate companies.

Will Write For Food, by Dianne Jacob
While in Portland, Oregon, city that inspired me to the max and brought out my artistic self, I decided I would take up food blogging, so I hope this book, full of advice for writers of all levels, helps me out a little bit.

I still have other stuff in mind, but I think it would be unrealistic to think I’ll be able to cover more than this in just a couple of months. I just love reading so much that I can barely stop!

Shree’s picks
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, by Mohsin Hamid
Catch-22, by Joseph Conrad

I’m reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist because it is in my incoming freshman summer reading list. I’ve heard that there is a movie released in 2013 based on this book. This book is really unique in terms of the voice of the author and it clearly reveals a South Asian type of character. Though I have only read through a few chapters and so far I’ve only got to the part of the book where the protagonist of the story just starts falling in love, I really love reading this book and hope to complete it soon.

There is another book, Catch-22, which I read after reading reviews of it in U.S. News. After reading through the first 50 pages, I find the book hilarious and very very interesting. However, the characters in the book are a bit hard to follow because there are just too many of them. So far, the book makes me want to read it more! I recommend you read it too!

And I assume course books don’t count, or else there would be a long list of books that I’m reading right now 🙂

Annisa’s picks
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

I have heard really great reviews of this book, especially by people who I know to have excellent taste in literature and don’t just pick up ANY book. I don’t read just to read, but to go on an adventure (pardon my corniness). My bookworm sister persuaded me to read it by saying, “You will LOVE Night Circus because you love Harry Potter.”

I have no idea how she related the two stories because when I read the summary, Hogwarts did not pop up even once in my mind. But I cannot deny the rave reviews ir has gotten and will definitely be picking up a copy.

Success Sei Kamara’s pick
Doomsday Conspiracy, by Sydney Sheldon

I have grabbed a copy already. And interestingly it reveals a whole lot of Western intelligence secrets and presents a story line that cuts across love, science, espionage, weaponry, betrayal, disobedience and loyalty. So it’s a whole kind of mind bluster and I wanna know whats its all about…the intense…the suspense…the climax and all…

Thanks again to all the recommenders. Will you be reading any of these this summer? What other books are on your summer reading list?