Escape in your Backyard: 7 Books You'll Actually Enjoy for Summer Reading

Summer is a time for adventure and activities, but sometimes you don’t need to head outside or book a trip to have the adventure. A good book can take you to far off places, show you a whole new side of things, teach life lessons and entrap your mind.  Not to mention that books are the perfect companions for travel, outdoor time, boat rides, beach days and every other summer activity.  Here are a few summer reading choices we’ve picked out for you to enjoy this season.

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

The Tao of Pooh - Summer Reading Let’s start light with a little Taoism; don’t skip ahead! This book is actually a pretty easy read, and lays out the basics of Taoism using Winnie the Pooh. That’s right, like the cartoon from your childhood. It’s a book that introduces Westerners to the Eastern belief system or philosophy of Taoism. This non-fiction short takes old literature from the masters of Taoism and combines it with illustrations and narrative from Winnie the Pooh and his friends, to make it easy for everyone to understand. If you’re looking to practice your meditation, become more mindful, or just introduce a little peace into your life, this book is a great start.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Summer Reading

Do you ever wonder about the answer to life, the universe, and everything else? Well if so, this is the book for you! Luckily, it answers all those questions in a concise and utterly bizarre way.  This fictional novel couples beautiful metaphors and thought provoking imagery with sentences that have probably never been uttered before the writing of this book. It follows an earth man, (er, uhh, just a man) on a wild, radical ride through the universe after earth is destroyed with a space hitchhiker named Ford; yep, like the car. To be honest, this is just one of my favorite books in the world and would probably make it onto any book list anywhere. It’s just that good.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living - Summer ReadingIf you haven’t heard of Nick Offerman, perhaps you’ve heard of Ron Swanson? He’s the “manliest of men” type character on the beloved show Parks & Rec. Not to mention he knows everything there is to know about food, the outdoors, building things, and just about everything else.  Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living chronicles the life of Offerman in a small town and the principles he has set forward to live his life.  Although this book may not be everyone’s glass of whiskey, it does offer some deep wisdom and profound notions, along with some profanity.  But just because this book covers things like how to build a table, cut down a tree, and properly groom a beard, doesn’t mean you have to have any skills in any of those areas to enjoy this book.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Princess Bride Okay, if you’re reading this list and you haven’t seen the movie adaptation, drop everything and go see it. Now. I’ll wait.  Alright, now that we’re on the same page (no pun intended), it is completely worth reading the book. It takes a classic fairy tale and gives it a satirical spin that would make even George Carlin proud. Reading the book gives this tale a new spin, and is even funnier than the movie at times. It’s the perfect book for summer, even if you haven’t seen the movie. It’s a great story to get lost in, laugh out loud, and relive a tale of a princess, knights and a castle.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders What would this list be without at least one crime mystery?  I love a good mystery novel in the summer, The TaoThe Tathey’re so enthralling and you’re constantly SO eager to find out the next clue. Magpie Murders is no exception. This riveting thriller starts with a classic mystery; a murder in an old mansion and a detective hell-bent on finding out the truth. But the twists and turns throughout his investigation lead down a much darker and stranger path then the slew of suspects he encounters.  You might even find that you, as the reader, become the detective unraveling a mystery much deeper than you expected.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods This book has been considered a travel book, a memoir, a humor book, and all of the above.  My vote is you read it and decide for yourself. In this book, Bill Bryson decides to connect with his homeland again by through hiking the Appalachian Trail after years of living in Britain. Sounds pretty straightforward, right?  The trail leads him far past the ordinary oohs and ahhs of nature and fellow backpacker encounters; and into the land of bizarre characters and jaw dropping realizations. This book is considered one of the funniest travel books ever written, and it’s a great armchair adventure for summer reading.

The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History by Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman, and Matt Lamothe

The Who, The What, and the WhenLet’s wrap up this summer reading list with a picture book, of sorts. This collection of stories weaves the untold sides of classic tales,  by illustrating the sidekicks or others who helped famous people become great. The authors of this book invited various artists to draw out these other perspectives into a graphic novel portraying other viewpoints such as John Ordway who accompanied Lewis & Clark on their entire journey. This fascinating collection of stories is a treasure trove for those who love history, but even if you’re not a history buff, the illustrations and sidekick viewpoints offer a compelling story on their own merit and make this book easy to enjoy for anyone.

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