The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson:
This nonfiction work depicts the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and the lives of two men who used the fair for their own ends. One man is a brilliant up-and-coming architect who wants to put himself and Chicago on the map, while the other man is a serial killer who uses the fair as a cover to lure his victims to their tragic deaths.
This book is the definition of a page turner. The author seamlessly incorporates both men’s stories. With such attention to detail as Larson uses, the reader may believe that they’re reading a work of fiction.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke:
Part historical fiction, part fantasy novel: this book has it all. It takes place in 19th-century England where the British are at war with Napoleon. Things are not going well until two gentlemen wizards come together to turn the tides of war. Their differences get in the way to the detriment of Europe and the wizard’s own loved ones.
All at once this story is funny, enchanting, and scary with some truly unforgettable characters that will be in the reader’s hearts long after the book has been finished.
The Shining by Stephen King:
This horror classic is perfect for summer night reading. The story follows the Torrance family to the Overlook Hotel after the father Jack, an aspiring author receives a position there as the winter caretaker. The family starts to notice strange behavior from their young son Danny who begins to see strange things at the hotel. Tempers fray and Jack’s alcoholism and violent tendencies spike in this chilling account of a family’s fight for survival.
You will want to read with the lights on for this one. Terrifying and thrilling, “The Shining” will keep you hooked until the end.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak:
Keep the tissues at hand for this beautiful and haunting story of one girl and her life growing up in Nazi Germany. Death narrates, recounting his dealing with a small German town and the cast of interesting characters who live there, especially Liesel, whose love of reading and stealing books leads her into trouble. More trouble finds its way to her family when her father hides a Jew in their basement.
At once, dark and uplifting, this story of a passionate little girl allows you to see the enduring humanity of a family, even in one of the world’s darkest points in history. This is a must read.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien:
If you have a few summer days to spend at your leisure I highly recommend you spend them reading the original fantasy epic. “The Fellowship of the Ring” starts with the discovery of a magical ring which comes into the possession of an unsuspecting hobbit, a small humanoid. He is told the ring must be destroyed for the sake of all the goodly folk of Middle Earth. So forms “The Fellowship of the Ring” whose story unfolds in “The Two Towers” and concludes in the masterfully written “Return of the King”.
The scale of adventure and danger captivates the reader and keeps the pages turning in arguably one of the best fantasy stories ever told.