While I was putting together my list of recommended books for the summer, I realized that their topics seem pretty hard to read on vacation. There are books here about gender equality, political polarization, climate change, and the bitter truth that life never goes the way young people think. It doesn't quite look like beach reading stuff.
But none of the five books below feel heavy (although Lincoln Highway is literally heavy at nearly 600 pages). Each of the writers—three novelists, a journalist, and a scholar—has been able to take a debatable topic and present it convincingly without sacrificing complexity.
I enjoyed all five books and I hope you find something you like too. And feel free to share your favorite books you read recently in the comments.
I'm glad I followed my eldest daughter's advice to read this novel. He deftly uses a single idea - what if all the women in the world suddenly gained the power to emit deadly electrical discharges? — to explore gender roles and gender equality.
Reading The Power has given me a better understanding of the abuse and injustice many women face today.And I express my gratitude to the people who are working on these issues in the United States and around the world.
I'm generally optimistic about the future, but one thing that dampens that feeling a bit is the growing polarization in America, especially when it comes to politics. In this insightful book, Klein argues persuasively that the cause of this split is identity - the human instinct allows our group identity to drive our decisions.
This book is mostly about American politics, but it is also a fascinating look at human psychology.
Back in 2019, I included Towles’s Gentleman in Moscow on my summer reading list, but I enjoyed this sequel even more. Set in 1954, two brothers are trying to get from Nebraska to California to find their mother, but are blown off course by a teenager from their older brother's past.
Towles is inspired by the famous hero's journeys and seems to be saying that our personal journey is never as linear or predictable as we would like.
When I promoted my book on climate change last year, several people said that I should read this novel because it plays out many of the issues I wrote about. I'm glad I did because the book is amazing.
This is such a deep book that it's hard to generalize, but Robinson presents a fascinating history of decades and continents filled with exciting ideas and people.
Another masterpiece from one of my favorite authors. Unlike most of Smil's books, which read like textbooks and cover one topic in great depth, this one is written for a wide audience and gives an idea of the main areas of his knowledge.