Summer will be here before you know it. And if you can catch a day or a week to relax, you may want to kick back with a good book. With that in mind, here's our list of 12 great summer reads—ranging from the intellectual to the entertaining—all suggested by you, our readers.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carreyrou
Why do you want to read this book? "Sounds like a compelling story of greed, arrogance, and technology that's just too good to be true." — Physical medicine and rehab physician
Bad Blood (non-fiction) tells the unbelievable but true story of Silicon Valley CEO Elizabeth Holmes whose biotech startup, Theranos, promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a diagnostic machine that would use "one drop of blood" to detect a multitude of diseases. Bolstered by hype and investor confidence, the secretive startup's value rose to more than $9 billion, which put Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one big problem: The technology was a fraud.
More Than Human
by Theodore Sturgeon
Why do you want to read this book? "I have already read it several times, but its content and message is very human and profound." — Internal medicine physician
More Than Human (fiction) is considered one of the first literary science-fiction novels, winning the Hugo, Nebula, and International Fantasy Awards. The premise, at first, seems preposterous. A ragtag group of mutant misfits have more in common than just being outcasts. Together, they develop into a single organism that may represent the next step in evolution, and the final chapter in the history of humankind. As the protagonists struggle to find out who they are and whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it, the author explores questions of power and morality, individuality and belonging, with suspense, pathos, and eloquence.
Where the Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
Why do you want to read this book? "Just started it. Totally engaging from the get-go, and a complete escape!" — Internal medicine physician
The New York Times Book Review described this coming-of-age novel as "Painfully beautiful," and actress/producer Reese Witherspoon picked it for her book club. Where the Crawdads Sing (fiction) tells the story of Kya Clark, a solitary girl who roams the marshes near a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. When a handsome young man is found dead, the locals immediately suspect the "Marsh Girl." But Kya is not what they think she is. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the seagulls and lessons in the sand. When two men from town become intrigued by her untamed beauty, Kya begins to let her guard down—until something unthinkable happens.
The Grapes of Wrath
by John Steinbeck
Why do you want to read this book? "I believe it addresses the plight of and attitudes toward immigrants, whether they be heading toward opportunity, fleeing danger, or both. Given the probable effects of climate change on our coastal lowland dwellers or migrants from Central America fleeing crop failures, Steinbeck's bestseller should offer insight." — Pediatrician
The Grapes of Wrath (fiction) is compulsory reading in many middle schools and high schools, so if you haven't read it (or haven't read it since then), you might want to give it another look because it's still relevant today. Published in 1939, Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression tells the story of the Joads, an Oklahoma family forced from their farm by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Through a series of trials and tribulations, the Joads strive to eke out a living in California. Although Steinbeck tells their story in vivid hardscrabble detail, theirs is a tale that parallels the misfortune of many who sought to maintain dignity and justice in a land of great promise but in a time of great need.
The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland
by Jim DeFede
Why do you want to read this book? "Shows how people can come together with love of fellow man." — Unspecified physician
The Day the World Came to Town (non-fiction) may be the most uplifting story to result from the 9/11 attacks. On September 11, 2001, the population of Gander, a small Canadian town on Newfoundland Island, swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000 when 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport. As the passengers stepped from the airplanes, exhausted, hungry, and distraught after being held on board for nearly 24 hours, the citizens of Gander welcomed and took care of the stranded passengers, with an overwhelming display of friendship and goodwill. Over the course of the next few days, many of the passengers developed friendships with Gander residents that they expect to last a lifetime.
These Truths: A History of the United States
by Jill Lepore
Why do you want to read this book? "New American history written by a distinguished historian." — Endocrinologist
These Truths (non-fiction) is one of the few modern history books that's so compelling that it becomes a New York Times bestseller. The American government rests on three ideas, or "these truths," as Thomas Jefferson called them: political equality, natural rights, and the sovereignty of the people. This book examines our uniquely American history, and asks whether the events of the past five centuries have proven the nation's truths, or belied them. To answer that question, award-winning historian Jill Lepore traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology—from the colonial town meeting to the 19th century political party machine, from talk radio to 21st century Internet polls, from the Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News.
Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir
by Josie R. Johnson, with Arleta Little and Carolyn Holbrook
Why do you want to read this book? "Dr. Josie Johnson [is] a vibrant woman in her 80s who has been working for social justice for 7 decades." — Obstetrician/gynecologist
Hope in the Struggle (non-fiction) is a memoir that shines a light on the difference one person can make. For Josie Johnson, this has meant fighting to make a small difference as a young African-American girl in Texas, becoming one of the most well-known civil rights activists in America. Her memoir offers a close-up picture of what that struggle has entailed, from lobbying for fair housing and employment laws to creating the University of Minnesota's Office of the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, with a focus on minority affairs and diversity. Hope in the Struggle is both an intimate view of civil rights history in the making as well as a uniquely inspiring life story for these divisive and seemingly hopeless times.
Leonardo da Vinci
by Walter Isaacson
Why do you want to read this book? "Because the range of his interests is stimulating." — Ophthalmologist
Leonardo da Vinci (non-fiction) is a biography based on thousands of pages from the artist's astonishing notebooks, along with new discoveries about his life and work. Acclaimed biographer Walter Isaacson—author of bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin—brings the Renaissance master to life in this exciting biography. In a narrative that connects Leonardo's art to his science, Isaacson shows how the man's genius was based on skills that we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel
by Gail Honeyman
Why do you want to read this book? "Sounds fun!" — Pathologist
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (fiction) is a number one New York Times bestseller and (another) Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick. Although nothing is missing in Eleanor Oliphant's out-of-the-ordinary but carefully scheduled life of avoiding social interactions, everything changes when she meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue one another from their individual lives of isolation. And it's Raymond's big heart that ultimately helps Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
by Malcolm Gladwell
Why do you want to read this book? "To understand life's lessons." — Oncologist
David and Goliath (non-fiction) comes from author Malcolm Gladwell, the mind behind the bestsellers Outliers and The Tipping Point. Ever since a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. But in David and Goliath, Gladwell draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to challenge how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, and offers a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.
The 18th Abduction
by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Why do you want to read this book? "Anything Patterson is fast reading, incredible plot, perfect for the beach." — Family medicine physician
The 18th Abduction (fiction) is the latest thriller in James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series. Three teachers, out for a night after class, vanish without a clue. But when a dead body turns up, Detective Lindsay Boxer's investigation quickly escalates from missing persons to murder. As the chief of police cranks up the pressure and the press clamor for an arrest in the "school night" case, Lindsay turns to her best friend, investigative journalist Cindy Thomas. Together, Lindsay and Cindy take a new approach to the case, and unexpected facts about the victims leave them stunned.
People of the ER
by Philip Allen Green, MD
Why do you want to read this book? "I loved his first book, and I need to get around to reading his second." — Emergency medicine physician
People of the ER (non-fiction) reveals the true-life stories of the patients and staff who come and go in a small, rural emergency room, as told by a board-certified emergency medicine physician in Washington State. Written with candor, clarity, and empathy, Dr. Green's book offers eye-opening insights into the hearts and souls of people who are more than just the "next case": A survivor of domestic violence makes it to the hospital but cannot trust anyone; an anonymous man, whom no one can identify, passes away soon after his arrival in the emergency room; and the spouse of a cancer patient must decide whether to force her to undergo chemotherapy or to let her die in peace. These stories, among others in People of the ER, reflect what it means to be human in the face of trauma and death.