Pass Those Lazy Summer Days With 17 Books Suggested By the EdSurge Staff

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Pass Those Lazy Summer Days With 17 Books Suggested By the EdSurge Staff

By Jenny Abamu     Jul 5, 2017

Pass Those Lazy Summer Days With 17 Books Suggested By the EdSurge Staff

After spending so much energy anticipating summer, it is finally here—and with it, a sudden surplus of downtime. Sure, you might have a week-long vacation planned, but what about the other two months? Luckily we have a list of hot summer reads recommended by EdSurge staff to help you pass the time in style. Here are 17 of our favorites, ranging from the eye-opening to the entertaining. Be sure to tweet at us in the last week of August to let us know how many you read!


For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Emdin

Beacon Press

Christopher Emdin struck a few chords at SXSWedu this year when his speech “We Got it From Here, Thank You For Your Service” caused many in the crowd to reevaluate why they came to the conference. Just after his speech, this book—which touches on similar ideas around race, identity, and cultural inclusivity—sold out in under 2 hours. --Jenny Abamu

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Bloomsbury Publishing

This one never gets old for me, and I try to read it once every few years. Paulo Freire delves deep into the art of critical pedagogy, oppression and how to prevent the dehumanization of students and teachers. --Mary Jo Madda

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Alfred A. Knopf

Famed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami offers his take on the similarities between the mental and physical faculties involved in his two favorite activities: running and writing. By the end, you may just want to pick up a pen, tie up those shoelaces—or do both. --Tony Wan

A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell

Simon and Schuster

Who would have thought a book written over 60 years ago about Socrates, Plato and company would feel so relevant in 2017? This big, chunky trip through 2000+ years of history and human thought is not only a surprisingly easy read, but will have you nerding out about why civilizations rise and fall, the nature of reality, and what it means to be human. --Jen Curtis

The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Simon and Schuster

The famed Washington Post journalists who broke Watergate detail the final days of Richard Nixon’s presidency. A lot of people are saying things about impeachment right now, so why not read for yourself the story of the last time we got close? --Michael Winters

Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do About It by Larry Olmsted

Algonquin Books

If you’ve ever heard that someone has gotten food poisoning from sushi, it’s likely not due to food contamination, but rather from an unregulated (read: indigestible) fish being passed off as tuna or salmon. In Real Food/Fake Food, Larry Olmsted chronicles food crimes across the globe and exposes the lengths people will go to save a dollar or make a few more. This book will make you angry, but Olmsted provides advice for becoming a smarter consumer of fresh and sustainable food in America. --Meg Hamel

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America Hardcover by Nancy Isenberg


I was hooked by the new preface author Nancy Isenberg added to the paperback edition, which addresses the rise of Trump and attempts to put his campaign into the context of class history in America. An insightful and readable book. --Jeff Young

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson

The Crown Publishing Group

If you love history, international affairs and economics you will find this book fascinating. The authors go through a series of theories about why countries succeed and fail and whether you agree with their conclusions or not, it is interesting to compare and contrast the different ways societies came into existence. --Jenny Abamu

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Harper Collins

A former Marine and a Yale Law School graduate tells the tale of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town and offers his insights into the struggles of America’s white working class. This book offers a portrait of rural life that folks in urban environments rarely get to see/experience. --Mary Jo Madda

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

W.W. Norton and Company, Inc.

Why do people make decisions against all odds, data and convincing probabilities? This study on two Israeli psychologists shows why, to borrow a line from “The Martian,” humans cannot “science the sh— out of” every problem. --Tony Wan

Kids’ Letters to President Obama edited by Bill Adler

Ballantine Books

No matter what party you voted for, the influence of the country's leadership on youth is undeniable. I picked this book up in the the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. and found myself crying. It is literally just a book of letters from children all over the nation to former president Barack Obama, but when you read their words of hope, longing, and belonging, you understand how much we as adults influence the next generation. --Jenny Abamu


The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell


Sometimes you just need a good book to escape into, and I can think of none better than this one. Set in 18th century Japan, expect forbidden love, immortal high priests, and some of the most morally complex characters I’ve ever traveled with. --Jen Curtis

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Alfred A. Knopf

Looking to explore the cross-cultural experience of a Nigerian in America? Then this is the book for you. The awards and accolades speak for themselves. This book does an amazing job of bringing to life the complex experiences of people outside of their home countries. For those who want to go beyond dominant African narratives of poverty and hardship or as author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes it, ”the single story” that dominates Africa, this book will do just that. --Jenny Abamu

All American Boys By Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Co-written by a white and black author, this book shares how a fictional community reacts to a black teenage boy being beaten by a white police officer through two first-person narratives. Heavy but relevant to our times—and great for older students. --Alice Myerhoff

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

I’m just starting this classic novel, which is said to have new relevance in its examination of life in small-town America. --Jeff Young

News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles

William Morrow

Set in Texas just after the Civil War, this story is about a retired Army captain who makes a living by conducting readings of live news stories throughout rural Texas. This fast-paced story details his outlandish adventures as well as a moving relationship between the protagonist and 10-year-old girl. --Amy McHugh

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Faber & Faber

Looking for a dystopian alternative universe to take you away from reality this summer? Well, this book is certainly a “black mirror” worth looking into. Never Let Me Go is about a futuristic society where scientific successes have come, but the moral costs are high. --Jenny Abamu

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