My #1 pick for you!
A dark and defiant book, White Lotus is a great read. Written during the US Civil Rights protests of the 1960s, author John Hersey envisions Americans enslaved by the Chinese. We become the subservients. The story follows a young Arizona girl renamed White Lotus. It's the closest you'll ever get to experiencing what it must have been like to become a slave in pre Civil War America. A better experience than "The Color Purple".
Hersey was born in Tienstin, China, in 1914, spent his first 11 years there, and spent much of his early adult life as a journalist in various places in the Orient, and this experience clearly lands on and illuminates these pages. And because the Oriental culture really is different, it provides an odd 'side' look at the whole issue, giving it a whole other dimension of realization. [Various Sources]
The Beautiful and Damned, first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Café Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their marriage and intimacy, much like how he treats intimacy in Tender Is the Night. The book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald.
#3 In "The Bonesetter's Daughter," set in San Francisco and in North China, Amy Tan tells the story of Ruth Young and her mother, LuLing, in a story that reflects much of her own background. In the story, Ruth is a successful "book doctor," a ghostwriter who translates other people's thoughts into a coherent book--a skill at which she is adept. She is the "as told to" name below the author's, although the real creative effort is her own.
#4 The Andromeda Strain (1969), by Michael Crichton, is a techno-thriller novel documenting the efforts of a team of scientists investigating a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism that rapidly and fatally clots human blood, while in other people inducing insanity, mostly ended in suicide or murder-suicide.
The Andromeda Strain appeared in the The New York Times Best Seller list, establishing Michael Crichton as a genre writer.  For the (*yawn*) 1971 movie, see The Andromeda Strain (film). For the 2008 miniseries, see The Andromeda Strain (TV miniseries).
Sources:  WikiPedia  Amazon
Tags: summer reading list, What are some good books to read?
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