man reads while soaking in a lake

Reading is one of summer's great pleasures

Looking for more great book ideas?

Check out these curated lists from UC campuses: 

UC Berkeley’s Fiat Lux summer reading list

The UC Davis Book Blog

UC Irvine summer reading list

Popular sciences books, compiled by UCLA Science Libraries

Books that explore the great outdoors, courtesy of UC Press

There’s nothing better than a good book for that long road trip, cross-country flight or lazy summer afternoon basking in the sun.  

We asked a few UC faculty, staff, students and alumni for their ideas about some great summer reads and came back with a bounty of recommendations. Whether you’re a fiction lover, outdoor enthusiast, science buff or curious about what makes people tick, there’s something here for everyone:  

  • In “My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs,” Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro recounts moving to a town in England where he and his family were the only people of Japanese descent and shares how the experience shaped him. 
  • For those interested in the dark underbelly of today’s healthcare landscape, try “Doing Harm” by Maya Dusenbery.  
  • The Hacking of the American Mind” by UCSF pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert H. Lustig delves into the corporate scheme to sell pleasure, driving the international epidemic of addiction, depression and chronic disease.  
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award. In announcing the award, the National Book Foundation wrote: “Through fully imagined characters both living and dead, this road novel moves beyond the road into the bigger story of what it means to be an American in the rural South both now and decades before this moment. … The living and the dead confront racism, hope and the everlasting handprint of history.” 
  • For you wine — and glass — lovers, UC Davis scientist Jim Shakelford digs into the role of glass as a material of critical importance to the wine industry in his book “The Glass of Wine: The Science, Technology and Art of Glassware for Transporting and Enjoying Wine.” 
  • Outdoor enthusiasts may enjoy “Big Sur: The Making of a Prized California Landscape” by Shelley Alden Brooks. 
  • Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren was the 2018 selection for UCSB Reads, an annual “one book” program in which the campus and Santa Barbara communities engage in intellectually stimulating dialogue about important issues that are raised in a common book.