If you struggle to find time for fun reading, this is the spot for you. Niche Reads recommends novels that relate to academic (or other) interests so you can explore a new book while still feeling productive. Check back each week for more cool books.
For many college students, summer is the prime time of year to read for pleasure. In celebration of our upcoming freedom to read, here are a few books that are perfect for lying around on the beach. They are readable, not too heavy and just begging to get some sand between their pages.
“Swimming Studies” by Leanne Shapton
Leanne Shapton’s gorgeous memoir “Swimming Studies” is an exploration of her time as a competitive swimmer. This honest, personal account of a lifelong passion is a masterclass of observation. Reading it is almost a meditative experience, with Shapton’s soothing prose depicting the strange and beautiful solitude of swimming.
You don’t need to be a swimmer, however, to understand the all-consuming love Shapton feels for her sport or the bitter disappointments that go along with such devotion. While this is not a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat, it is a deeply absorbing and human read.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself on a beach this summer, bring “Swimming Studies” along. Its beautiful descriptions, photos and illustrations would be the perfect complement to a day spent oceanside.
You should read this book if you are looking for an introspective read, if you are interested in the limits of human devotion or if you enjoy books that deal with the visual arts.
“If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Calvino
If ever a novel has been structurally innovative, it’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler.” This is the story of a reader beginning a book and never being able to finish it. Made up of a string of first chapters connected by the reader’s fruitless search for resolution, the novel uses its unique form and second-person narration to explore the purpose of reading itself.
Cheeky, contemplative and at times audacious, this novel is perfect for a fun-filled summer day. The nature of the plot makes it easy to read piece by piece, and the individual chapters are full of suspense, humor and intrigue. This book is probably unlike anything you’ve read before, and its scattered storylines make for a scintillating reading experience.
You should read this book if you want something that’s light without being shallow, if you are interested in the nature of storytelling or if you can never make it past the first chapter of a book.
“A Room with a View” by E.M. Forster
Don’t be intimidated by the 1908 publication date; this book is a dreamy little romp through the Italian countryside. Forster’s relentless mockery of Edwardian society will leave you laughing throughout, and his beautiful descriptions of scenery are enough to make anyone swoon. The 1985 film adaptation is also great, perfectly capturing the book’s whimsy and wit.
When young, beautiful Lucy Honeychurch goes on a trip to Italy for the summer, she finds herself on the verge of scandal. Swept away by the strange and earnest George Emerson, Lucy begins to find the rules of propriety harder and harder to follow. As Lucy struggles to choose between her heart and her head, the reader is transported to a world of beauty, wit and, above all, romance.
You should read this book if you’re wanting a funny read, if you love love stories or if you want something light and fluffy.