With three months to go before the beginning of the school year, incoming and returning students are working, traveling and seeing friends and family before the coming departure for the next city.

In addition to serving as a much-needed break from school, the summer months provide ample time to read.

The following is the Quest’s take on a summer reading list for Minerva students:

  1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac Typed on one scroll in 1951 and first published in 1957, On The Road is considered the defining novel of the post-war Beat generation. Kerouac writes about his travel across the United States with a host of colourful characters, listening to jazz, smoking, drinking, and rebelling against the society they are expected to take part in, culminating in San Francisco. 
  2. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Published in 2007, this novel looks at the relationship between an immigrant and America in a different and unexpected way, highlighting the struggle to become part of where you are while being true to where you are from. In this story where a Pakistani immigrant finds himself surprised by his reaction to the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers and how it subsequently changed his place in American society.
  3. Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton Published in 1948, this novel explores the relationships between brothers, neighbours, fathers and sons in the political turbulence of South Africa. Where a young man is sentenced to death for the murder of another and their fathers must find a way to move forward.
  4. Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood Published in 1939, this semi-autobiographical novel is perhaps best-known in the form of its musical adaptation, “Cabaret.” Set in pre-Nazi Weimar Republic Germany, This novel tells the story the group Isherwood was closest with during his time in Berlin, a group also at greatest risk of Nazi intimidation.
  5. Fall of Giants by Ken Follet Published in 2010, this novel gives a comprehensive and engaging history, told through fictional characters, of America, England, Germany, and Russia before, during, and after World War One. For anyone interested in knowing more about the history of the relationships between England and Germany, this novel is a good place to start.
  6.  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett Published in 2001, and based on the Japanese Hostage Crisis in Lima, Peru in 1996-1997, this novel is set in an unspecified South American country and tells the story of what happens when people from different countries, with varied and complicated relationships are confined to each other over the course of several months.
  7.  Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar Published in 1966, this stream of consciousness novel can be read in multiple ways, containing expendable chapters that can be read to fill in the gaps in the main storyline. The story follows an Argentinian intellectual’s experiences in Paris, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo.
  8.  Shogun by James Clavell Published in 1975, Clavell writes a high-speed history of 1600s Japan and the precarious peace between the Feudal lords, and their attempts to grapple with Spanish, Portuguese, and British missionaries and explorers who are attempting to change their culture and social order. On top of providing an interesting history of an insular country, this novel explores the way our perspective of other cultures changes with time, exposure, and knowledge.
  9.  Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick Published in 2009, this part novelization of interviews with North Korean refugees, highlights the struggles they faced under an oppressive regime and the moments of light they found within. Written in a journalistic style, this novel captures realities of life in North Korea and the absurdities its residents must accept.
  10.  Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz Published in 2017, this novel is set in post-war Korea and follows the lives of three students at Seoul National University from different socioeconomic backgrounds as they prepare for their graduation and the next steps in their lives in a country that has not yet reached the first-world status it holds today.
  11.  The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy Published in 1997, Roy tells the story of fraternal twins in Kerala, India whose lives are torn apart by the “Love Laws,” which determine “who should be loved, and how. And how much.” This novel tells the story of a family while touching upon the caste and political struggles of the time.
  12. Persuasion by Jane Austen Published in 1818, this is was Austen’s last completed novel. Set in various parts of England, this work tells the story of a young woman recounting her former lover seven years after breaking off her engagement due to social status’, now reversed. Persuasion reminds us of how circumstances change, and we must be true to ourselves and honest in our affections. 
  13.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte Published in 1847, Bronte tells the story of a young woman making her way in the world. The novel tells the story of a young governess and her complicated relationship with the master of the house and mysteries hidden therein. Jane Eyre reminds us that people are imperfect, love is imperfect, and we need to take control of our lives and the situations we allow ourselves to be in.