Summer 2023 Media Recs
BY MADDY BROWN '25 & TIFFANY VALKOVA '25
A summer breeze rustles through your curtains on an early morning; the sun beams down on your tanned (or tragically burnt) back; the waves roll onto the shore as you watch the sunset paint the sky with streaks of pink and orange after a long day. With an endless amount of time on your hands, feel-good films and lighthearted literature, spending late nights binging entertaining shows, and beach day reading are all necessary to fulfill the summer experience.
Call Me By Your Name (director Luca Guadagnino)
Set in Northern Italy in 1983, this film encapsulates every expectation of a dreamy summer: linen shirts and volleyball, bike rides, late night affairs, and daydreams of unrequited love. Adapted from André Aciman’s novel of the same name published ten years prior, the release of the 2017 film, Call Me By Your Name, is a modern romance between two young men. Elio and Oliver spend an intimate summer together, discovering their identities and the fragility of their time together. Oliver entered Elio’s life as a grad-student assistant to his father over the summer, and their relationship quickly evolved. Teleporting its viewers to the small city of Crema, Call Me By Your Name is a two-hour-and-ten-minute combination of summery cinematography and a romance brimming with emotions—a perfect choice for a night in curled up with ice cream and a blanket after a long day in the summer sun (and full disclosure, you’ll be ending the night in tears).
Jaws (director Steven Spielberg)
The sound of the oh-so recognizable theme curated by renowned John Williams rings of tragic death served by an even more tragically unrealistic mechanical shark—and to nearly all Americans’ ears. “Dun un.. duuun un.” Could you hear it? This 1975 blockbuster set in Amity Island, a fictional town off the coast of New England, was adapted from Peter Benchley’s novel. The familiar summer feel this film provides is composed of high-waisted denim cutoffs, Fourth-of-July celebrations, and many horrific beach trips. Three men voluntarily and courageously navigate Jaws in open waters in hopes of reopening the beaches that had been closed under threat of the infamous great white. From its skin-chilling storyline to fun summer feel, this film is perfect for anybody who enjoys a classic movie, captivating thriller, or nostalgic summer theme!
Mamma Mia! (director Phyllida Lloyd)
Known and loved around the world, this musical is a true summer movie. From the catchy tunes of ABBA which are bound to be stuck in your head for days, to the breathtaking Grecian scenery in some of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, Mamma Mia! has it all. The movie spans one hour and forty-eight minutes, but it’ll turn into a die-hard favorite; by the end, you’ll fall in love with the story and characters. Frequently breaking into song, Sophie invites three mystery men, all a distant part of her mother Donna’s past, in hopes of uncovering who her father is before her wedding. The energy is contagious, and this ultimate summer musical will most definitely lift your spirits.
People We Meet on Vacation (author Emily Henry)
Filled with all of your favorite tropes: from strangers to friends… to forgotten friends…to lovers? It’s hard to keep track of it all. This swoony book, by Emily Henry, (also author of popular book Beach Read), tells the familiar story of two friends, Alex and Poppy, slowly realizing they’re made for each other despite their differences. Their relationship grows amidst time-jumping summer vacations filled with cocktails, laying by the pool, and endless you-can’t-put-the-book-down moments. This book is perfect for anybody who enjoys a unique yet familiar romance and summery storyline!
The Great Gatsby (author F. Scott Fitzgerald)
A hazy New York summer in the 1920s filled with raging parties, classy jazz, gin cocktails, and a story of Jay Gatsby’s long-lost love across the bay is a timeless must-read, and conveniently set in the summer! Although a shorter read in my opinion, a mere 180 pages, the contrasting “old money” and “new money” settings of fictitious East Egg and West Egg draws you in. The deeper meaning behind Gatsby’s desperate attempts to regain his lasting love begs you to keep turning the pages and enjoy the captivating plotline. Extravagance and affluence oozing from the parties is a perfect mirror of the Roaring Twenties. For those into classics, this novel is a good change of pace from your usual summer rom-coms; it is a true page-turner, definitely worthy of a place on your summer reading list!
The Summer I Turned Pretty (author Jenny Han)
This bestselling book series, recently re-introduced as an Amazon Prime original show which is soon releasing its second season, (bonus media mention!) captures the true essence of youthful, innocent, and fun summers. As Isabelle, or “Belly”, returns to her family friend’s first home for summer break, she finds herself torn between the sons of her mother’s best friend. The sons find Belly particularly more attractive than she was the previous summer, inducing family drama amidst drives around Cape Cod, races to the beach, and fireworks within the dramatic relationships and hot summer nights.
The sound of peepers and cicadas hush you to sleep through the soft, humid breeze coming through your window. Now that you’ve had a full day of endless summer films and literature, you’ll find yourself in a desire to do nothing more than simply lay down your head, shut your eyes, and allow the contents to roam in your dreams…