By: Arts & Culture Staff  | 

Arts & Culture: What We’re Reading this Summer

Last summer while a friend of ours was in Paris, she visited a small bookstore. As she piled her history and philosophy books onto the counter, the clerk remarked that “summer is for fiction and for fun.” While we at Arts & Culture agree with that sentiment, we also think that summer is the time to put a dent into the “to be read” stack, and to finally read things outside of assigned course readings.

Below is the roundup of our summer reading list. Over the course of the summer we will be reviewing some of these books. 

Rebecca’s picks:

“Our Town” by Thornton Wilder

Why: In September, “Our Town” will return to Broadway for the first time in over 20 years. This summer, I'll read the 1938 play which follows the lives of two neighbors, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, who grow up together and fall in love in a small town. In his timeless classic, Wilder explores the significance of life's ordinary moments and the beauty and meaning of human connection. 

“Runaway” and “Dear Life” by Alice Munro

Why: On May 13, the great Canadian writer and Nobel Prize Laureate Alice Munro passed away, at the age of 92. I remember growing up with Munro's books on the highest shelf, always a bit out of my reach, until I finally entered my teenage years and was able to access her work myself. Her only novel, “Lives of Girls and Women,” is a favorite of mine, but this summer, I want to revisit Munro's work with two of her most famous short story collections: “Runaway” (2004), for which she won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and “Dear Life” (2012). 

Sam’s picks:

“Some People Need Killing” by Patricia Evangelista

Why: “Some People Need Killing” documents the crisis in the Philippines where the president has formed killing squads, resulting in the death of thousands of individuals. It’s a modern tragedy that has not gotten much airtime in our news sphere, and Evangelista genuinely risked her life to tell the haunting story.

“The Zionist Ideas” by Gil Troy

Why: “The Zionist Ideas” is a great sourcebook to get a survey on the different strands of thought and ideology that inform our understanding of Zionism. Troy collects many of the most canonical and informative texts and ideas that define what the Zionist mission genuinely is to different people.

Liev’s picks: 

“Underworld” by Don Dellilo

Why: I’ve read “White Noise” and liked it a lot. “Underworld” is considered his masterpiece so I wanted to give it a go. 

“A History of Western Philosophy” by Bertrand Russell

Why: They’re both pretty big books, so summer is a good time to undergo those types of projects. I’m studying philosophy and it’s a classic work you have to read. 

Rivka’s picks:

“The Last Thing He Wanted” by Joan Didion 

Why: I carried Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” throughout the fall, and wanted to read some of her fiction over the summer. “The Last Thing He Wanted” is set in the shadow of the Iran-Contra scandal and seems to weave a story of politics, family, and intrigue that seems perfect for a summer read.

“The Golem of Brooklyn” by Adam Mansbach 

Why: As a child I loved to hear stories about the Golem of Prague, so I thought I’d read a contemporary take on a golem story. The novel seems to be lighthearted while delving into questions about modern Jewish identity and how history plays into it.


Photo Caption: Summer is the time to catch up on one’s "to read" pile. 

Photo Credit: Evan Bench / Wikimedia Commons