Tag Archive for: reading list

Summer Reading List

by Paula Gail Benson

Mary Lee Ashford has already visited this subject in her excellent post from June 6 (‘Tis the Season … for Summer Reading). I particularly like her tips for choosing a summer read. She also has a list of guides with current reading lists.

I’ve always enjoyed reading, but I admit that summer allows for greater leisure and flexibility in choice. Every year, in May or June as school recesses for the summer, libraries offer reading programs to keep young minds occupied during the warmer months. When I was growing up, I remember trying to be diligent in meeting the requirements (dependent upon age and comprehension level) so I could qualify for the certificate or award being given.

During high school, I found a list of great books that a person should read to be considered, ah—well-read. I tried to follow it. While I didn’t succeed getting through the list, I did find some different authors to enjoy.

I’ve seen several online lists this summer, many of them with the same or similar recommendations. Here are three you may wish to consider:

17 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die (msn.com)

18 must-read classic books that have remained popular years after their original publication (msn.com)

Read or Regret – 21 Books You Absolutely Must Tackle Before Your Time’s Up (msn.com)

On June 9, 2024, the online Readers’ Digest featured an article by Leandra Beabout entitled 100 Best Books of All Time. I found the selections she recommended to be inclusive of classics, favorites, fiction and nonfiction, children’s and young adult books, and plays, as well as representative of diverse cultures and literary forms (short stories by Alice Munro and David Sedaris and even a graphic novel published in 2000, Persepolis: the Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi). Among the authors included are Steven King, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Zora Neale Hurston. There also is what I considered a surprise inclusion: Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls (1966).

Please take time to peruse Ms. Beabout’s list. Here are a few of her suggestions:


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1878)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1861)

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll (1865)

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller (1962)

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (1915)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Warton (1920)

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926)

Hamlet by William Shakespeare (1603)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847)


My Favorites:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (1997)

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (1989)

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (1995)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)