Summer Reading List!

Summer is fast approaching—in the Northern Hemisphere, ahem—and that means lots of great booklists to browse.

What are Nat Geo staffers reading this summer? Let them tell you!

Illustration by James M. Gurney, National Geographic
Illustration by James M. Gurney, National Geographic

Two books that I return to summer after summer for their almost poetic clarity and ability to transport me away to another time and place are Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine and The Martian Chronicles. You can’t go wrong with these if you are between the ages of 10 and 100.
Benjamin Prince, Grosvenor Scholar

Right now I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Love it, but it’s so sad! Every night I have to put it down after a few pages so I don’t get too weepy. I cheer myself back up by reading It’s a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life, by Keith Stewart.
Mary Ford, senior manager


I plan to finally take the advice of Ta-Nehisi Coates (and many others) to sit down and read Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns. Each summer I launch a personal crusade to expand the scope of “beach read”—and I’m looking forward to reading the story of the Great Migration by a body of water.
Alexandra R. Perrotti, manager, Alliance Network


Currently reading The Twelve, book two in Justin Cronin’s immensely long but compulsively readable vampire trilogy. If I’m being honest, I’m not loving it as much as book one, but it’s still keeping me up past my bedtime and I’m excited to tackle the just-published third book next.
Lindsay Anderson, project manager
Speaking of which …
I’ve been waiting four years to finish out the trilogy of Justin Cronin’s The Passage series, and this summer is the summer to read the conclusion, The City of Mirrors. It’s one of the better “government-made-viruses-that-turn-man-into-vampires-that-creates zombies” stories of the 21st century.
Irene Yung, contracts manager


This summer, I’m aiming to read the first of Anjelica Huston’s two memoirs. A Story Lately Told includes her account of growing up in a rather dysfunctional family on a country estate in western Ireland.
Rosemary H. Martin, program manager, National Geographic Education Foundation


I am currently reading the sixth book in Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan series, titled Bare Bones. I love this series about a forensic anthropologist who always gets caught up in solving the murder mysteries.
Erin West Kephart, project specialist


Right now I’m reading Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. I can only read it in bursts and then have to put it down—this guy is exhausting! This summer I’m also hoping to read Infinite Jest. I’ve had it for quite a while but have been daunted by the size of the book and the writing style, as evidenced on first few pages!
Elaine Larson, manager of instructional design


I’m planning to re-read one of my childhood favorites, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I love it for its clever wordplay and fun parable-like chapters that have wisdom and humor for adults as much as kids.
Meghan Modafferi, editor/community manager


I’m in the middle of Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World, which is both a fascinating biography of a largely forgotten 19th-century adventurer/naturalist/scientist and an argument that his work is the foundation of modern environmentalism.
Andrew Rasner, assistant editor & digital producer


I’m currently reading the collection of short stories Fine Just the Way It Is by Annie Proulx. Through her masterful sense of place and succinct descriptions, Proulx turns the stories of everyday people like pioneers and nursing home patients into mysterious and haunting tales.
Anna Lukacs, executive assistant


Euphoria by Lily King is the fictional retelling of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead’s time in Papua New Guinea. The story revolves around both her work and the passionate love triangle she fell into during her time there, and I’ve found it to be the perfect combination of love story and historical work!
Katie Williams, project specialist


Maybe something by Jerome Bruner, who died a couple days ago at 100, maybe The Culture of Education? He had a huge impact on many areas of psychology including education.
Audrey Kremer, Ph.D., manager of evaluation


I’m looking forward to entering the mind of the wandering octopus! I love a good animal or adventure story and can’t wait to dive into The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery.
Jeanethe Falvey, senior manager


These are the books on the top of my list for this summer. They are all fairly different and none of them are particularly new—just ones I have always wanted to read!

Rachel Anderson, geography intern


I’ve just begun to read Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Weaving together entertaining stories and interesting research studies, the authors shed light on how we make decisions.
Chandana Jasti, instructional designer


I hope to finish Mary Beard’s slightly intimidating, endlessly engaging SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. So good, I don’t want it to end … and at 600+ pages, it might not.
Caryl-Sue, managing editor



Have a great recommendation? Have you read any of these books? Let us know in the comments or at!

5 thoughts on “Summer Reading List!

  1. National Geographic staff,
    Please, could you tell me if the art (Attic Scene by James Gurney) was published in some National Geographic magazine?
    Thaks a lot.
    Eduardo from Rio Brazil.

    1. Hi Eduardo: Yes, this illustration appears in the February 1989 and April 2000 issues of National Geographic magazine.

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