By Diana Tetterton
Whether your version of the perfect summer read gives your cerebrum a much needed breather or demands contemplation you don’t have time for in everyday life, here is a mix of both to consider for your summer reading this year.
If You Liked…
…A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, you should read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Themes of family, coming of age, poverty, and idealism provide the framework for both titles. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s tale of four spirited sisters growing up in Civil War-era Massachusetts, continues to charm readers nearly 150 years after its original publication.
…Interview with the Vampire, you should read Dracula by Bram Stoker. An obvious association, but if you gravitate toward vampire tales you owe it to yourself to read the book that paved the way for True Blood and Twilight, among many others. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, he is credited with introducing the character to modern storytelling. Told in epistolary form, the story follows Dracula from Transylvania to England and back, as he unleashes his terror on a cast of memorable characters.
…Bridget Jones’s Diary, you should read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The parallels between these two protagonists prove that universal themes such as love and the absurdities of dating can transcend centuries. Fans of Bridget Jones, who was in fact inspired by Pride and Prejudice, will find amusement and sympathy in the hijinks Elizabeth Bennett experiences in one of literature’s most enduring romantic and comedy classics.
…The Harry Potter series, you should read The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. J.K. Rowling herself has purportedly cited this timeless children’s classic as one of her first literary inspirations, read to her as a measles-stricken four-year-old. Like Potter, Wind in the Willows employs child-centric characters, adventures, and allegory to explore such adult themes as morality and sociopolitical revolution.
…The Da Vinci Code, you should read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Where Da Vinci Code’s treasure is symbolic in nature, Treasure Island’s booty takes a more literal approach. The book boasts the same page-turning suspense offered up by Dan Brown’s mega-hit, with some good old fashioned pirates thrown in for added fun. This edition includes a glossary of nautical terms, which will come in handy should you decide to take up sailing this summer.
…Jaws, you should read Moby Dick by Herman Melville. If you like to keep your holiday reading material thematically consistent with your setting, you may have read Jaws on a previous beach stay. For a more pensive and equally thrilling literary adventure, try Moby Dick. Where the whale pales in the body count comparison he surpasses in tenacity, stalking his victim with a human-like malevolence that will make you glad you stayed on the sand.
…Jurassic Park, you should read The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. Reading Jurassic Park without having read The Lost World is like watching the Anne Heche remake of Psycho and skipping Hitchcock’s classic version. Though most people are familiar with the book by Michael Crichton, you may not be aware that the blockbuster was inspired by a lesser-known original that dates back to 1912. And isn’t the original always better?
…The Hunt for Red October, you should read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Although an adventure of a different sort, Leagues takes readers on a similarly gripping underwater journey full of twists and turns. Verne was ahead of his time, providing uncannily prescient descriptions of submarines that wouldn’t exist until years later. For a novel that’s been around for over 150 years, it still has the ability to exhilarate.
For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter and Facebook.