9 Summer Reads to Enlighten, Empower, and Entertain

summer reading

Summer is here and so is our summer reading list. PTK members, international officers, and HQ staff shared some of their favorites, past and present, with us. From self-help to sci-fi and history to the future, our list includes topics to expand your way of looking at the world.

Click on the titles to purchase these now on Amazon, or pick them up at your favorite local bookstore. *All book descriptions are from Amazon.

1. Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni
In Choosing Civility, P.M. Forni shares 25 rules for connecting effectively with others — at home, at work, and in our daily encounters. In clear, witty, and, well… civilized language, Forni covers topics that include Think Twice Before Asking Favors, Give Constructive Criticism, Refrain from Idle Complaints, Respect Others’ Opinions, Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame, Care for Your Guests, and Accept and Give Praise.

Recommended by Catreese Qualls, International Vice President, Division III, Michigan

2. The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race by Walter Isaacson
(The Code Breaker) is a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner (and creator of the DNA editing tool CRISPR) Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

Recommended by Dr. Johannah Williams, Associate Vice President of STEM and Workforce Programs 

3. Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Adrian Tchaikovksy’s critically acclaimed stand-alone novel Children of Time is the epic story of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet. Who will inherit this new Earth? Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?

Recommended by Loren Ledenham, Beta Chi Zeta Chapter, Tarrant County College, Texas

4. Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
The author discovers after completing a DNA test that her biological father was an anonymous sperm donor, not her beloved deceased father. The book is a fascinating account of what happens when she finds out who her biological father really is and what it means to her own self-identity.

Recommended by Jennifer Stanford, Associate Vice President of Program Implementation

5. You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want (and) create a life you totally love.

Recommended by Taylor Fukunaga, International Vice President, Division IV, Hawaii 

6. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek
In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation, and failure. Why? Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.

Recommended by Stevi Berry, Vice President, Alpha Psi Tau Chapter, Ozarks Technical Community College, Missouri 

7. Just as I Am: A Memoir by Cicely Tyson
In these pages, I am indeed Cicely, the actress who has been blessed to grace the stage and screen for six decades. Yet I am also the church girl who once rarely spoke a word. I am the teenager who sought solace in the verses of the old hymn for which this book is named. I am a daughter and mother, a sister, and a friend. I am an observer of human nature and the dreamer of audacious dreams. I am a woman who has hurt as immeasurably as I have loved, a child of God divinely guided by His hand. And here in my ninth decade, I am a woman who, at long last, has something meaningful to say.” –Cicely Tyson

Recommended by Tobey Garner, Alpha Sigma Pi Chapter, Chesapeake College, Maryland 

8. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
In Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with (a) decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Recommended by Susan Edwards, Associate Vice President of Honors Programming and Undergraduate Research  

9. The Bible Told Them So by Rusty Hawkins
(The Bible Told Them So) dives into the connection between biblical literalism and segregationist politics and offers some understanding of how white southern evangelicals came to embrace a politics of racial resentment. It offers to deepen our understanding of southern politics during and after the Civil Rights movement.

Recommended by Dr. Blake Ellis, Vice President of Student Engagement

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