Summer is a lot about catching up with things that were ignored throughout the year. Whether this is traveling with friends or family or just merely sleeping through the day – the 50 days of summer are always the most sought-after time of the year. This is why we’ve come up with 9 books that are a must read if you want your creativity to take a trip. Here are our top picks to kick-start your summer break:

1) Letters to a young poet by Rainer Maria Rilke 

This easy read is the perfect blend of simplicity, romanticism, and philosophy. This thin novel reads in a set of letters being sent by Rainer Maria Rilke to a young officer called Franz Xaver Kappus. The latter writes to Rilke asking for advice, the novel is a compilation of the letters written in response. The letters are sincere, solicitous, and incredibly encouraging. This is especially true for young writers seeking advice from their mentors while also feeling like a pest. Rilke explores his own realms of writing and asks the young officer to seek himself within his poems. The letters are relatable with each sentence sending the reader to a transcendental state of inquiry.

 “Don’t think that the person who is trying to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes give you pleasure. His life has much trouble and sadness and remains far behind yours. If it were otherwise, he would never have been able to find those words.”

2) Dozakhnama – Conversations in Hell by Rabiśaṃkara Bala

Dozakhnama was all the rage this year and it defies all sense of realism but with a heightened sense of awareness. This incredible story revolves around imagination and creativity serving the perfect escape from the real world. Bringing to life Manto and Ghalib, Rabisankara Bala does what others only aspire to accomplish. Dozakhnama is the perfect story from beyond the grave – a conversation between two timeless writers as they discuss life in India. Channeling his inner Marquez, Bala provides a novel that reads like a dream. With incredibly creative finesse, it is a must-read.

Anyone can write history. All it needs is memory. But to write a story you must have the power to dream.”

3) The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

Now if you’ve read any previous books by Khanna, then you need no convincing why this one is a must-read. Her witty and almost uncanny feminist approach manages to break stereotypes yet again. Khanna fights for women’s rights while managing to sustain a humorous narrative style. Her characters set examples for readers to follow. The story ends with a victorious protagonist – who doesn’t like a happy ending? Khanna manages to deal with the controversial “feminist” approach. The book is a bestseller for all the right reasons.

 “Women have been looking for a cape and have been handed an apron for centuries. But here was a man who wanted to help women swing their apron around and watch them soar through the clear blue skies.

4) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand creates magic through each character with her book. As a reader, you may not agree with her approach or her philosophy towards work ethics, love, relationships, or one’s profession. However, it is equally impossible to put this book down once you’ve started. Based in 1943 Rand manages to introduce objectivism through an incredibly powerful narrative and profound characters. As a reader, you laugh, feel frustrated, empathize with and relate to the likes of Howard Roark and Dominique Francon. Rand manages to squeeze in a heartbreaking love story in a narrative that revolves around a cutthroat professional world.

There’s nothing as significant as a human face. Nor as eloquent. We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him.

5) The House Of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

Set in the 1980’s, Joseph Cassara provides his readers with a narrative rich with splendor and discomfort. A fictional narrative of a trans-woman’s struggle to build a home for herself, this book is a very relative contemporary read. With the development of the “House of Impossible Beauties,” Cassara manages to add layers of depth to his characters. They are vivacious for the imagination. Through a metaphor, Cassara turns the house into a place of acceptance and love where the trans-woman finds herself most comfortable. It a story that serves a mix of everything; joy to sorry and everything in between.

He always comes, and he’s usually quiet about it. But life, boy. She is loud and fast and—vicious.”

6) The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

If you’ve read The God of Small Things then you already understand the anticipation behind Roy’s second book. A narrative that was 20 years in the making, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a must read. Like Cassara, Roy serves a unique narrative of a Eunuch struggling to find life in a world where acceptance seems impossible. It is a detailed series of political events with Anjum’s narrative side by side. Roy manages to pull an extended metaphor through this remarkable novel turning a graveyard into a life-affirming place for all the misfits of the world. This books will leave you heartbroken, forcing you to stare into space as you fathom the way the world works.

How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody? No. By slowly becoming everything.

7) All About Love by Bell Hooks

All about love is a profound experience of love in its truest and unequivocal form. This novel is a subjective narrative defying all that we believe in love. Hooks takes on the challenge to defy that love is not a passive experience but a very active one. She believes that love is a voluntary choice one makes and not nearly as concrete and intangible experience that people tend to believe. She writes of love as a clear and distinct guide and challenges the cultural understanding of the notion through examples. The book is an answer to all the possibilities why a relationship falls into shambles.

 “Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue.

8) A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

This short story collection written in 1955 is a timeless collection of brave stories. O’Connor is a literary god when it comes to creating characters that are curious, lost, contemptible, and almost tragic. Through enthralling short stories, she captures characters in their true essence through tragedies one is forced to relate with. Each story unfolds a series of rather misfortunate events – however, is a pleasure to read. She toys around with a unique sense of humor, drama, and imagination that is almost redolent. This is a novel that begs to be read.

He had a look of composed dissatisfaction, as if he understood life thoroughly.”

9) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Based on the infamous television show, The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel based on a petrifying place depicted as America’s future. Atwood toys around with a time when women have lost all sense of identity leaving the reader awestruck and terrified at the same time. Her depictions of routine life with realistic excerpts based on violence, sex, and a time gone by.  This book is a ray of hope shedding light on the several women’s rights issues that exist today.

 “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

Let’s put our summer reading caps on and get started on an imaginative journey like no other.

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