Perfect Books for Summer Reading I Oxford Open Learning
Reading

Perfect Books for Summer Reading


When the sun shines, it’s time to hit the outdoors and bury yourself within a good book. Many of us circle back to our own personal favourites, tabling fresh material for another time. But what if you’re looking to expand your reading?

A lot of us are looking for a way to jump-start our summers in these testing times, and a shiny new reading list is a great way to start. Dame Jacqueline Wilson has led the charge in this year’s summer reading challenge, with the theme being ‘Let’s Get Silly’ in children’s literature. Consequently, the benefits of a good book have never been more important!

We’ve come up with our own list to help you get reading again, covering everything from quick (but impressionable) reads to more challenging texts. Do browse our recommendations below, as there’s something for everyone.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Far from being an obscure story, The Little Prince is a delightful tale published in in the 1940s. Saint-Exupéry’s short and sweet novella can be easily read in one sitting, with the takeaway being just as profound as any lengthy novel out there today. Start your summer reading list here, particularly if you haven’t hit the books in a while.
The Little Prince is revered in France and has been translated into over 300 languages. Within a wholesome narrative, the themes of growing up and the power of imagination are masterfully written. If you’ve always wanted to read texts from another place and time, but are understandably daunted by that prospect, The Little Prince is the perfect text to ease yourself into that journey.

Girls Save the World in This One by Ash Parsons

Cracking title aside, Ash Parsons delivered a killer text last April. The action centres around June, who attends a zombie convention with her pals and, miraculously, winds up warding off a zombie horde at the very same gathering. TV actors become useless and need direction for survival, and this time, the fate of the world is in the hands of the fans.
It’s a quirky premise for sure, and it’s more than enough to keep casual and avid readers entertained alike. Girls Save the World in This One is also tight in terms of its plotting and pacing, so you can fit it in nicely with all your other activities. Once again, this is another great place to begin if you want to remind yourself how fun and bonkers reading for fun can be!

Nowhere on Earth by Nick Lake

Every great thriller starts with a bang. For Nowhere on Earth, a cargo plane crashes into the Alaskan mountains, and two teenage stowaways are thrust into a world of travel and adventure with the injured pilot. From here on survival is key, and much is required of you as a reader to undertake this journey with the characters.

Nick Lake’s effort here is far from a dull read. Mystery is at the heart of this compelling tale. Guns, aliens, and jaw-dropping reveals are all in play, but each are ultimately grounded in a tale that’s about self-preservation and secrecy. If you’re looking for a page-turner, your search is now over.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Many consider Patrick Ness to be among the greats of young adult authors, and More Than This is the proof in that pudding. Seth wakes up in a coffin and, upon clambering out, discovers that the world as he knew it is forever changed – everyone has seemingly disappeared. Well, everyone except Regine, Tomasz and a mysterious, deadly entity known only as The Driver.
Patrick Ness does a wonderful job here in making every single word count. Not a single sentence goes to waste, and every chapter ends with an appetising cliff-hanger. As there’re fewer characters than the typical story, you’ll come to know Seth, Regine, and Tomasz with a heightened sense of familiarity. Nothing is as it seems, and our protagonists must band together if they hope to uncover the truth behind the empty streets… and survive the enemy that’s relentlessly hunting them down.

The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery

The Last Paper Crane is a truly original work, told through a myriad of exquisite contradictions across two different times; 2018 and 1945. An innovative text, the horrors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb are retold through a beautiful blend of prose, poetry, and the Japanese Haiku verse form, never once allowing you to feel safe or unchallenged in your reading. There’s a lot to be learned here, both in terms of real history and in terms of what people are truly capable of.

Make no mistake, The Last Paper Crane is a heart wrenching and poignant read, so be sure that you’re ready both mentally and emotionally if you decide to take it on. Still, there’s also a lot to be enjoyed here in the way of hope, family, and loyalty, all of which are ultimately at the heart of an incredibly touching story. In the end, if you’re looking for a text that will test you, Drewery has you covered.

There’s a wide range of texts for you to enjoy this summer in our list and beyond. No matter what your interests are, books are there to be enjoyed and educated by and there is something for everyone. Find something you think you’ll like whether it’s by genre or premise, and happy reading!

See more by

I'm a freelance copywriter with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. I've written for many different outlets, including but not limited to marketing agencies, graduate recruitment websites, and online training companies. I've even interviewed a few famous actors for student and arts blogs too! Covering a wide span of material has been incredibly rewarding, as I get to turn my experiences in the arts, education and careers into helpful advice. I sincerely hope you'll find something to your liking here!