Our Summer Reading List

By June 19, 2019 No Comments

Summer—a perfect time to catch up on reading!

At Galin Education, we’re fired up about the books we’ve selected to read this summer, and we want to share them with you! So whether you’re into fiction or nonfiction, mysteries or memoirs, new reads or old classics, we’ve got you covered.

As an organization built around improving our students’ academic success, we also know the importance of reading during the summer (and, frankly, any other time of the year). Not only does reading a quality book help defeat the dreaded summer slide, it is also one of the best ways to supplement prep for the SAT and ACT, as sustained and focused reading keeps you speedy and sharp for these timed standardized tests. We hope one of our picks may inspire you to crack open a new book!

Below our own summer reading list, we’ve also compiled a collection of books that colleges around the country have selected for their common read programs, such as UW-Madison’s Go Big Read 2019-2020 choice. These aren’t only interesting choices—they may laso help you strike up a conversation on your next college visit.

Happy reading!


Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Why Galin Tutor and Essay Coach Hannah Blaser is looking forward to this read: “I’ve recently gotten into books that seamlessly mesh genres and topics together. I’m excited to read this book because it combines nature writing with memoir, taking the author’s own unique experiences with nature and weaving them into what I’ve heard is a beautiful book. ”

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Why Galin Tutor Dan Marlin is reading it this summer: “I’ve heard a few interviews with the author, and I’m not terribly familiar with the Troubles, so it seems like reading this book would be a good way to close this particular gap in my knowledge of geopolitics. It also seems to be a relevant piece of history to understand with the centrality of the Ireland-Northern Ireland border in the Brexit debate.”

Educated by Tara Westover

Why Galin’s Director of Client Experience Lynn Kaplan recommends it: “I just finished this book and I can’t stop thinking about it. It is a true story like no other!”

The Truffle Underground: A Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and Manipulation in the Shadowy Market of the World’s Most Expensive Fungus by Ryan Jacobs

Why Galin’s Director of Essay Coaching Eric Lynne decided to give it a go: “Last year, an ACT student of mine got me really interested in mycology (the study of fungi). Since then, I’ve been listening to podcasts and reading articles about the wonderful world of fungi, specifically mushrooms. Last week I was in Marquette, Michigan strolling through some book shops when I came upon this non-fiction truffle mystery by Ryan Jacobs—and I just had to pick it up!”

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Why Galin Tutor Allie Cardiel wants to read it: “So I’m not very optimistic that I’m actually going to make time to read this summer, but one of my students has to read this book for AP Lang. I have heard of it before, and as an introvert, I’m excited to read it or at least discuss it with my student.”

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Why Galin’s Director of the Milwaukee Office Steven Flores is re-reading it this summer: “Rarely do I reread a novel, but when I first read this book five years ago, I thought that it was flawless. I remember being in awe of Harbach’s plotting and pacing as well as the depth with which he renders his characters. Harbach, a Wisconsin native and Harvard graduate, reportedly took ten years to write and publish this novel, and that level of care rings out in every sentence. Set on a small liberal arts campus in Northern Wisconsin, the novel revolves around a phenomenal shortstop whose genius on the diamond hardly translates to the outside world. With the help of his best friend, the team’s catcher, he navigates first love and friendship, all while suffering a severe psychological block resulting from a disastrous error. A beautifully rendered cast of characters populate this novel and their stories are orchestrated seamlessly into a compelling and deeply moving bildungsroman.”

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Why Galin Essay Coach Emily Bouza picked it up: “This has been on my to read list for a while and I think it is the perfect classic full of action to read during summer!”


Click the links to see an explanation for each college’s choice!

The Poison Squad by Deborah Blum

University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 2019-2020 Go Big Read selection

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Northwestern University’s One Book One Northwestern Selection for 2019-2020

Vengeance by Zachary Lazar

Tulane University’s Selection for the 2019 Reading Project

The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity by Kwame Anthony Appiah

Vanderbilt University’s Commons Reading for 2019-2020

Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes by Helena María Viramontes

University of Oregon’s Common Reading Selection for 2019-2020

There There by Tommy Orange

University of California–Berkeley’s On The Same Page Featured Text for 2019

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum

MIT Read’s Spring 2019 Book Selection

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Colorado College’s Common Read for all incoming first-year undergraduates

Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy by James Williams

Princeton University’s Princeton Pre-read Choice for the Class of 2023