Top 5 summer reads

Jeanette Cibelli

Whether you’re traveling, lying on a beach or relaxing at home, these books are a perfect way to spend your lazy afternoons this summer.

“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. They always say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but you can do just that with this book.  It’s just as beautiful on the outside as it is in the inside.  Spanning four decades, Walter’s novel tells the story of Pasquale Tursi, owner of a tiny Italian inn, and Dee Moray, the mysterious American actress that comes to visit.  The two instantly connect, and what follows is a tale of love and friendship that bridges the gap between a seaside Italian village and the busy world of Hollywood.

“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. When she realized she wasn’t as happy with her life as she should be, Rubin began her “Happiness Project,” a year-long journey to isolate the problems, insecurities and bad habits in her life and change them for the better.  This nonfiction book offers tips on how to improve little things to make you happy, such as organizing a cluttered closet and engaging more with family and friends. Summer is an excellent opportunity to take some time away from schoolwork and focus on your own happiness, and this book is a great aid.

“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. As one of popular young adult novelist John Green’s best works, this story will stick with you long after you read the last page.  It chronicles the relationship of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two teenagers battling cancer.  It’s far more than just a love story—it also captures the hardships of their disease, the closeness of family and the joy of life.  The film adaptation of this novel is being released on June 6.

“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. For mystery-seekers, this book is an excellent choice. This New York Times best seller explores the questionable disappearance of Amy Dunne on her fifth wedding anniversary.  Though her husband, Nick Dunne, is upset, he becomes the main suspect in the investigation of her disappearance for several reasons.  The rest of the plot has many unexpected twists and turns, and the ending will leave you utterly shocked. This book is also being adapted to film, set for an October 3 release.

“The Fellowship of the Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien. Many have seen the film adaptations, but nothing beats reading the first installment of “The Lord of the Rings.”  This novel is a classic tale of adventure, as Frodo and his fellow hobbits journey to destroy the all-too-powerful ring.  This book has it all—magic, suspense and evil—and it may be hard to put down.  Though written 60 years ago, this book doesn’t feel outdated in any way.