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Open a book, just for the fun of it

A stack of books.

A stack of books.

Most students are required to labor over several English books during the steamy summer months, but reading just for fun can be a thrilling escape from the torpor of June and July. Not quite sure what novels to hit up next? Read below to discover titles that match your mood. If you're feeling particularly….


The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

This novel tells the compelling story of Henry Fleming and his introduction to brutality during the Civil War. Brimming with gore and thought-provoking scenes, Crane's masterwork is sure to whisk the reader away on a historical journey.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Follow Huck Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer, around the snaking Mississippi River with runaway slave Jim in this action-packed novel. Although the dialogue is sometimes difficult to understand, the story is timeless and vivid.

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

Although this is only a short story, the grim tale and bone-chilling events will certainly satiate one's daring spirit. Look out for the reoccurring symbols (e.g. the unnerving ebony clock).


The Prince by Niccoló Machiavelli

This short treatise was written in 1532 during the height of the Florentine Republic. Interested in cutthroat politics, dubious methods of obtaining power and wise (albeit somewhat unsettling) quotes? Pick up this gem today.

The Art of Wind Playing by Arthur Weisberg

This wins the title for the most random book in the list, but it certainly is a worthwhile read if one is interested in music, especially the wind instruments. Written by a master bassoonist, this guide is a holy grail for woodwind enthusiasts.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

This book is perfect for a short car ride or flight since it is only 128 pages. Detailing all the magical creatures inhabiting the world of Harry Potter, the words will be sure to excite the imagination and thrill the mind.


Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari

This guide to the best Italian artists of the pre-Renaissance and Renaissance eras was compiled in the 16th century and is considered a masterwork for its time. The individual accounts of the lives of Michelangelo, Masaccio, Giotto and many other fine artists are recounted fully.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Mind of the Renaissance by Alessandro Vezzosi

This work is a perfect companion read for the new Dalí and da Vinci exhibit that is currently being shown at the Dalí Museum. Full of glossy reproductions, quirky anecdotes and incredible detail, this pocket size book is a must-read for Renaissance lovers.

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Continuing the Renaissance theme, this novel is about a young Florentine girl bewitched by the artistic talents of those around her. She becomes captivated by the work of one artist in particular, but her wealthy parents have other plans as to her future marriage. The illustrious reign of the Medici bankers also is explored.


The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

This short read was originally written in French, but it was translated into English by Emily Boyce. A charming story about an abandoned handbag and the quest to find its elusive owner, this book will certainly appeal to lovers of all things Parisian.

Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles

Although this is a children's novel, the underlying story and moral message are worth examining, even for teen readers. The eventful summer of Ruby and her family of chickens is captivating, sweet and an easy read.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Steamy, passionate and overflowing with the charm of San Francisco, this young adult novel is a must-read for die-hard romantics. Lola, an artistic costume maker from the inner city, finds herself increasingly intertwined with the lives of Cricket and Calliope Bell, childhood friends with a mysterious past.


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

If you're feeling a little dull, pick up this novel to explore an interesting relationship dynamic that is rarely written about in literature. Humbert Humbert, an unsettling scholar from Europe, moves to the United States and falls wildly in love with his Lolita, a homegrown girl of 12 with a precocious spirit and dark childhood.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

This novel tests the limits of morality and tells the disturbing tale of Alex, an antisocial teenager with no regard for humanity or decency. Conditioned to feel physical pain when thinking about or inflicting violence, Alex struggles in a world dominated by criminals and a repressive government.

Paper Towns by John Green

Margo Roth Spiegelman is a shadowy mystery, even to Quentin (Q) Jacobsen who has lived next to her his entire life. After a thrilling night and unforgettable events, Margo disappears, setting off a quest by Q to find his illusive first love. Her character is so compelling that it's bound to color the reader's world with intrigue, passion and excitement.

Mackenzie Patel, Osceola High

Open a book, just for the fun of it 05/13/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 4:41pm]
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