Five Life-Changing Books to Read This Summer

Yesterday, my sister Nikki took it upon herself to dish out the titles that the readers among you really need to seek out in these times of social isolation. Ugghhh. She so often copies me 🙂 As not to come across as the less well-read in this household, I need to feel like I’m contributing to the re-stocking of your bookshelves as well.

When was the last time you read a book that changed your life? Never? In middle school? Well, this home-bound isolation is your chance to pick up a book that may change the world as you know it. 

In the last decade, time spent on social media has increased. The exponential growth of technology has taken a toll on readership; According to the American Psychological Association, less than 20% of U.S. teens report reading for pleasure. In the late ’70s, 60% of high school seniors reported reading a book or magazine every day, but by 2016, only 16% did.  Despite the emergence of electronic books, readership has still declined. 

 I asked students at Singapore American School about whether they think reading is important. Junior Amber Heaney says, “Yes because it allows individuals to expand their language and vocabulary, but also to attain a strong imagination that can allow one to think more deeply, openly, and creatively instead of just a narrowed conscious on whatever the problem is.” Senior Casey Sturgeon says, “I think it’s important to read because it helps improve our minds and the speed we comprehend the things we learn in school. Yes, reading is boring, but if people don’t read outside of school, when it comes to reading assignments in classes, they’ll have a harder time as their brains aren’t used to processing all the information as quickly.” Senior Tina Gupta says, “I think it’s important to read because it improves our vocabulary, and the ability to comprehend complicated texts.”

“I think it’s important to read because it improves our vocabulary, and our ability to comprehend complicated texts.”

– Tina Gupta

Why is reading so important? Being able to focus on long texts is a skill needed to develop critical thinking skills. What will society become if young people are unable to understand and analyse complex issues? Reading is also proven to increase conversational skills, focus, and intelligence. So for these reasons, I advise everyone to take a few minutes out of their day to read a good book. Out of the 25 books I read last year, five books made a significant impression on me. If you read a book from this list, I guarantee that you won’t be wasting your time. Bestselling and highly rated, these books are devoid of boring and frivolous content.

GoodReads Rating: 4.5/5

The Help is a story about three women who risk everything to start a movement in a town plagued by racism and bigotry. Told in the perspective of loveable, funny and passionate characters, this book is profound yet easy to read. 

Image result for when breath becomes air
GoodReads Rating: 4.3/5

When Breath Becomes Air is a non-fiction autobiographical book about a young neurosurgeon called Paul Kalanithi who learns that he has stage four cancer. Paul’s acceptance of imminent death and his attitude towards his profession is inspirational. This is a must-read for aspiring medical students, and for philosophical pessimists who enjoy a heartfelt memoir.

GoodReads Rating: 4.0/5

The Picture of Dorian Gray is a philosophical masterpiece. Dorian is handsome, pleasure-seeking, and the muse of the painter Basil Hallward. Beautiful and terrible, with incredible perspectives on life and humans. Dorian Gray is disgusting yet fascinating. An absolute masterpiece of a book. This book will be adored by art lovers and deep thinkers.

GoodReads Rating: 4.2/5

The Glass Castle is heart-wrenching and riveting from beginning to end. In this 2005 memoir, Jeannette Walls tells the story of her poverty-stricken childhood. Readers will fall in love with her unorthodox family and the dreams that they have.  

Image result for the great alone
GoodReads Rating: 4.3/5

The Great Alone is a survival story in the physical and emotional sense. A family learns how to live in the Alaskan wilderness, where abuse, danger, and love reign the lives of the characters all at once. This story is heartbreaking, in the best possible way. 

Perhaps reading is beyond this generation, but such a beneficial activity should not cease to exist. On average, people in the U.S. read 12 books a year, but how many books do successful people read? Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Elon Musk was “raised by books,” and read for 10 hours straight as a kid. Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day and says: “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.” 

“Reading allows individuals to expand their language and vocabulary, but also to attain a strong imagination that can allow one to think more deeply, openly, and creatively.”

– Amber Heaney

Author: Tia Remedios

Tia Remedios is a senior at Singapore American School and this is her first year working with The Eye. She was born in Melbourne and raised in Mumbai, but she considers Singapore her home. She spends her time reading, painting portraits, and listening to rap music. You can contact her at remedios45830@sas.edu.sg

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