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Remember grade school, when your teacher would hand you a list of books to read over the summer? No matter which books were on that list, whether you’ve heard of them or not, you rolled your eyes and groaned, if you’re anything like me. I’ve since come to love reading books, even when I wasn’t required to.

If you’re planning on returning to school in some form or another next fall, creating a summer reading list can be a big help. In addition to looking around for employment opportunities, updating your resume, and networking, spending some time reading books, articles, magazines, and other material are worth it. And beyond the help that a summer reading program can give your career, you can build your overall skill set and expand your imagination by reading the classics of literature and the new releases promising to change the literature scene.

Starting a summer reading list is as simple as jotting down several books you want to read. Be sure to give yourself enough time to read all (or most of) the books on your list, and don’t feel ashamed if you don’t quite get to everything. It’s summer, after all.

Here are a few suggestions, from new releases to great works of the past, to books to boost your career, to get your summer reading list going:

  1. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. Giffin is the author of the bestselling book Something Borrowed. She’s back at it again this summer with her latest release, about a photograph that intertwines several influential families in Nashville’s upper crust.
  2. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. The debut novel by Stage is a domestic horror story that takes the anxiety inherent in raising children to a twisted new level. Hanna, seven-year-old, has increasingly violent tantrums, speaks in the voice of a 17th-century girl who was burned at the stake, and plots ever more demented ways to “step up her game against Mommy.”
  3. The Girls by Emma Cline. The novel about a young woman swept up in Manson Family-Esque madness took the literature world by storm back in the summer of 2016. Cline’s debut novel is shocking and astonishing, and you won’t be able to put it down.
  4. Industry help or instructional book of your choice. I wanted to save a place on this list for the books that will help you directly when you return to class in the fall. As painful as it is to think about reading textbooks during the summer, getting supplemental information about your studies and keeping yourself in that frame of mind will keep you sharp over the summer when everyone else is losing their skills for lack of practice.
  5. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… and Maybe the World by William H. McRaven. In the world of cheesy self-help books, this light, fairly easy, brisk, 144-page book will tip you off to small habits that can make a big impact. Try it!
  6. On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Now, I know that not everyone will love this book as much as I did—it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But, as residents of Colorado, where Kerouac famously wrote and stayed during his many restless travels, we should all at least give it a try. If you can find your way in Kerouac’s breathless pace, you might find a rebellious streak you never thought you had, and a will to be yourself above all else.

Nourish your brain by reading while you sunbathe this summer, and get started with these six great books.