Books to Kick off Your Summer: The June Brilliant Reading List (You’ll Wish You Read #2 Months Ago)

It’s been a challenging few months for everyone, but it seems like we are finally seeing the glimmer at the end of the tunnel…maybe?

So here’s your usual quintet of recommended books to accompany you as you unfurl your wings and plan your next steps.

This month, we have:

  • a book that will help you write your own stories (I’m sure people have a lot of stories to tell, after what we’ve all been through),
  • a book that will teach you how to learn like a maniac (the good kind of course),
  • a ridiculous yet funny fictionalized story of a college campus phenomenon or two (or more) that some may find offensive (don’t say you haven’t been warned!),
  • and more…

Naked, Drunk, and Writing by Adair Lara

Naked, Drunk, and Writing by Adair Lara

This semi-edgy memoir about — what else? — writing memoirs is a great tool for all aspiring memoirists out there.

Okay, okay, Naked, Drunk, and Writing is not so much a memoir as a how-to book.

But using her skills as a storyteller and memoirist, Adair Lara teaches autobiographical nonfiction writers how to tell their personal stories honestly with flair.

Even if you’re not really that into memoir writing, this book will still help anyone who wants to learn to write a good true story. So give it a try!

And I promise I won’t use the word “memoir” anywhere in the rest of this article.


Ultralearning by Scott Young

Ultralearning by Scott Young

Anytime you’re forced off your usual schedule of work and school and whatever else your daily schedule consists of, it’s a good time to consider learning something new, in-depth.

In Ultralearning, blogger and learning experimenter Scott Young shares his strategies and philosophy for, well, “ultralearning” — a type of “aggressive, self-directed learning.”

Based on his own experiences teaching himself the MIT undergrad computer science curriculum in one year, learning another 3 languages in one year, and other “ultralearning” experiments/experiences by others like himself, Young lays out the principles for mastering and self-teaching a new skill, whether it’s giving speeches, learning an instrument, or whatever!

Now, don’t you wish you had read this book months ago?


Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan and Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne

This classic book for business owners of all stripes was first published in 2004, yet still relevant today. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s worth a read. And if it’s been a while since you’ve read it, it’s worth a re-read/reminder.

The fundamental purpose of Blue Ocean Strategy is to encourage creative people not to fight for a space in the “red oceans,” niches where there are already too many people competing for the same audience/customer base.

Rather, create a “blue ocean,” go where no one has gone before and carve out your own unique space where you can attract people to you because you have something no one else does.

How, exactly do you do that? Read Blue Ocean Strategy and find out!


Campusland by Scott Johnston

Campusland by Scott Johnston

This is an…interesting fictional take on the current state of some liberal arts colleges in America.

Irreverently funny and tightly plotted, Campusland follows an associate English professor as he is accused by a social-climbing young student of a crime he did not commit, and must navigate the bizarre university political machine to try to save his reputation and his job.

Although of course the ludicrous and ridiculous elements of the story are played up for laughs, those who are familiar with how certain colleges work might find this eerily reminiscent of their own experiences…

WARNING: this book contains quite a bit of dirty language and people behaving very badly. Do not read if you’re squeamish or easily offended. And if you ignore this warning and read it anyway, I don’t want to hear about it. You brought it upon yourself.

The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss

For the final book on the list this month, I point you to the great Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book.

But Scylighter! you cry. Why are you recommending a children’s picture book on this list? I’m not a child!

Because, dear one, the best children’s writers tend to be some of the best writers in the world. They know how to tell entertaining, yet enlightening and positive stories to young minds, and Dr. Seuss is one of the those who does this best, with his skillful wordplay, imaginative world-building, clever rhymes, and meaningful stories.

The Butter Battle Book exhibits all of these qualities. It’s a quick read, but this book is a highly relevant story for our time (actually, for any time). The plot is basically contained in the title, so I won’t give away much more. Read for yourself and see!

And that’s the book list for June ~

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