Students find summertime is a great time of the year to pick up a good read.
Whether they find themselves in the library, at a local bookstore or reading their Kindle books, students can finally begin to think about “free time” as the semester comes to a close.
“Over 200 years ago, Samuel Johnson noted that students ‘seldom read any books but what are put into their hands by their tutors,'” said Pioneer Book store manager Travis Patten. “And they thus largely miss out on the thrill of independent discovery, which is always the most meaningful part of learning.”
Patten said this loss seems especially pronounced in students focused on graduation. Patten believes intellectual scenery is missed when students plow through assigned readings. He is concerned that many never discover the joys of simply browsing through the aisles of a bookstore and enjoying its atmosphere.
In Patten’s recent TEDxBYU talk, he quoted author Claire Barliant, who agrees with the follies of pre-compiled lists.
“What’s so great about browsing? I’m sure some people think of browsing as an invitation to distraction … but I like to think of it an intellectual stroll,” Patten said, quoting Barliant. “Some paths lead to meaningless cul-de-sacs, others to revelations.”
Patten also gave this advice, which coincides with his store’s philosophy, in his TEDxBYU talk.
“Set aside an afternoon (a rainy day works well). Clear your mind of the need to find anything in particular,” he said. “Be present. Inhale. Notice colors. Exhale. Chat with the nice booksellers. Think of them as literary Sherpas on your path to browsing nirvana.”
Pioneer Book recognizes that not everyone enjoys browsing; some would prefer to look at a book list or read book reviews. The Provo store compiled a 2016 reading challenge many students might find helpful in their search for a good book.
Summer readers who want to get straight to the goods can find lists of must-reads from popular booksellers such as Barnes & Noble, whose book list is based off the store’s best sellers and personal preferences.
The top 10 books Barnes & Noble employees suggest include the following:
1. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. This book is the first of a trilogy. Tim Burton’s motion picture adaptation, set for release at the end of the summer, has made it one of the most popular books in America. The haunting story draws in readers by the thousands. Barnes & Noble associate and BYU graduate Kelly Hayes said, “It has been our top-selling book since October in teen fiction.”
2. “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes. This romance novel is gaining popularity across the nation as readers prepare for the motion picture release on June 3, 2016. “A lot of people like to read books that have a movie coming out,” bookseller Samantha Garza said.
3. “Salt to the Sea” by Ruta Sepetys. Although originally written as a children’s historical fiction novel, the book is increasingly popular among young adults. Set during World War II, this book has six narrators and is exciting from start to finish.
4. “The Lunar Chronicles,” by Marissa Meyer. It’s a series of five fantasy novels that are modern-twists on classic fairytales. The novels include classics such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. The stories take place in a futuristic world where humans, cyborgs and androids exist.
5. “Thrown of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas. This series has become increasingly popular and is what Hayes described as “new adult.” She said the material is more mature than early teen and is popular among college-aged adults.
6. “Fifth Wave” by Rick Yancy is the first in a popular science fiction trilogy that critics have compared to “The Hunger Games.” The last in the series comes out this summer. The book has been adapted into a popular film.
7. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee. This book was released in summer 2015 and has become popular among readers. Young adults are raving about this new book featuring many of the iconic characters from “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
8. “Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This futuristic romance is a classic tale with a new twist. Hayes recommended it to all and said it’s a personal favorite of hers.
9. “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. This book includes helpful information on self-budgeting. “As college students it can be hard to make a budget and keep it, and it helps you to have better financial literacy,” Garza said. “So if you are 21 or 41 (this) is a great book to read.”
10. “The Selection” series by Kiera Cass. This four-book fairytale series includes princes and princesses. The series includes “The Selection,” “The Elite,” “The One” and “The Heir.”