Tutor Ted’s Summer Reading List

I’ve had students ask me for years for books I recommend reading over summer break. My goal is always the same: to pick books that students will enjoy reading. Here and there, you have to do something to improve yourself, your grades, or your skills, that is not entirely pleasant. We can avoid that altogether with reading! Don’t suffer–learn and enjoy!


So here it is: the books I recommend to entertain you AND make you smarter at the same time.


Tutor Ted’s Summer Reading List To Keep You Entertained And Make You Smarter


First up, two all-time classics:
“Emma” by Jane Austen

You know an author is good when readers actually get addicted to reading her.

Go ahead and include every other Austen book (“Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility”) on this list too.


“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens

This is the most difficult-to-read book on this list. That means more payout when it comes to the making you smarter part of the equation. This book, if you get into it, is really entertaining–it’s hilarious, even. For those of you who are advanced readers already, give this one a try. It’s worth it.


Next, two contemporary classics:


“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver

I hope this book makes it to the all-time classic list in, oh, fifty years. It’s that good.


“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov

Yeah, the subject matter is on the controversial side. But the book is so good!


Last, some very entertaining contemporary books:


“No Country for Old Men” by Cormac McCarty

Cormac McCarthy is one of my favorite authors, and this book is a barnburner. Be ready to sit down and read this in one setting–it’s that entertaining.


“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

A terrific book: thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking.


“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer

I resisted this one for awhile; it was so popular I thought it must be trashy. Au contraire, this guy is a hell of a writer. Go on a ride with this book–it’s smart and provokes a lot of tough questions.


“A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving

What a story. Hilarious, tragic, surprisingly magical. Just… be ready to cry.


“The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” by Haruki Murakami

Murakami’s got a singular voice. It might work for you, it might not. It works for a lot of people, many of whom end up reading all his books after picking up one.


And so many more… if you want any additional recommendations, comment and let us know. And tell us what you thought of the books on this list!






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