5 Must-Read Books on My Summer Reading List

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I’ve always been an avid reader, though I don’t have as much time to do it now that I’m raising two little ones. I still try to get my reading time in when I can, but I make sure I’m reading something that’s going to be worth my time.

That just means I have to focus on quality rather than quantity.

So, given that I don’t have time to read everything that piques my interest, here are the five books I absolutely HAD to read this summer.

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Thrawn: Treason (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn

The Gist: Grand Admiral Thrawn serves the Galactic Empire and has established himself as one of the most valuable tools in Emperor Palpatine’s arsenal. As a member of an alien race from the Unknown Regions called the Chiss, Thrawn joined the Empire believing he could gain influence that would help his people. As the secret Death Star project becomes a priority, Thrawn learns his home world is in danger. This new threat tests his loyalty to the Emperor and Thrawn is faced with a terrible choice that may end in treason.

Why It’s a Must-Read: This book is the third in a trilogy, and if you haven’t read the other two (Thrawn and Thrawn: Alliances), I highly recommend them. Timothy Zahn’s writing is some of the finest in the Star Wars new canon novels. Thrawn’s character is so unique and well-written; I love reading the passages that take you through his brilliant trains of thought. The Chiss are a fascinating race in the Star Wars universe since so little is known about the Unknown Regions. If you’re a Star Wars fan, Thrawn: Treason is required reading.

Starless by Jacqueline Carey

The Gist: Khai was selected at birth to be a protector for Princess Zariya, his soul’s twin, and to train as an elite assassin. A brotherhood of desert warriors prepare him for his role, but they keep vital secrets from Khai. While Khai learns to navigate court life with the Princess, Miasmus, an evil god from faraway seas, is preparing to rise and conquer. Khai and Zariya team up with a group known as prophecy-seekers for an epic journey across the oceans.

Why It’s a Must-Read: I adore Jacqueline Carey so much I have read her other series (Kushiel’s Legacy) more than once. She is an exquisite story-teller, building epic fantasy world’s that suck you right in. Starless is an engrossing adventure with a cast of characters that are so lovely to follow.

Why You Like It: The Science & Culture of Musical Taste by Nolan Gasser

The Gist: Dr. Nolan Gasser is a composer, pianist, and musicologist, and the creator of the Music Genome Project, the technology behind Pandora Radio. In this book, he uses science, psychology, and sociology to answer one question: why do you like the music you like?

Why It’s a Must-Read: I was literally walking out the door of my local library when this book caught my eye on a nearby shelf. I only had to read the title to know it was a book I would find fascinating, so I added it to my selections. Everyone likes music, but if you asked someone why they like the music they like, a lot of people probably wouldn’t be able to explain it better than, “I just like the way it sounds” or “I like the way it makes me feel”. Dr. Gasser proves there is so much more to it than that; there is a science and logic behind our musical tastes. Though Dr. Gasser intends the book to be readable by people with no musical background, there may be some musical theory sections that are a bit heavy-handed for the lay-listener. If you find your self lost in these sections, however, you can skip them without detracting from the overall read.

Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The Gist: Nahri’s life as a con artist on the streets of 18th century Cairo is disrupted when she accidentally summons a djinn, a mysterious and powerful warrior spirit named Dara. She learns that magic is more than children’s fairy tales and is swept up into the political intrigue of the enchanted city of Daevabad. Nahri must find her place in a dangerous world of spirits, kings, and the power of her own heritage.

Why It’s a Must-Read: Kingdom of Copper is the second book in the Daevabad Trilogy (City of Brass is #1). These books blew me away with their epic fantasy worlds and creative setting. The Arabic mythology is something I haven’t seen explored as much in fantasy, and Chakraborty’s take on it is fresh and intriguing. This story drew me in immediately and once I started, I couldn’t put it down.

Golden State by Ben H. Winters

The Gist: The Golden State is a nation in a bizarre alternate universe where the greatest crime a person can commit is to lie. As a veteran of the Speculative Service, it is Laszlo Ratesic’s job to detect and investigate untruths. Everything is recorded and monitored to establish the verifiable truth.

Why It’s a Must-Read: I always liked a good dystopian novel, and the concept of this book really gets you thinking. It explores the varying levels of truth that humans use to communicate and how the ability to lie is such an integral part of our freedom as individuals. If you’re a fan of 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale, you’d probably enjoy Golden State.


Now that you know what I’m reading this summer, tell me about your summer reading list! What books were you unable to put down? Tell me in the comments.


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