07/16/2012 02:55 EDT

Summer Reading List: The Best Books So Far This Year


Summertime reading can take on so many guises, whether you're set to dive into indulgent beachy paperbacks or hardcover classics you never quite got around to reading in school. To each their own, we say, knowing full well that people's tastes in books can vary wildly from situation to situation -- and we've certainly read our fair share of titles we wouldn't be too quick to show off (cough, cough, Hunger Games).

Fortunately, summer vacations -- and even long weekends -- give us all a chance to make a dent in that stack beside the bed. Even for voracious readers, there's something particularly special about having the time to get completely lost in a book for hours on end.

And while it's been proven time and again that reading during the summer can keep kids from faltering when school begins again, the benefits extend to adults too. During the summer particularly, these advantages can include an even greater sense of relaxation, an increased level of empathy, and yes, sharpening the brain at a time when it may be easier to drift into mindless activities.

But how to choose? There are numerous lists out there, including Oprah's options (the books you'll be hearing about as movies next year), NPR's genre-specific choices, and even Bill Gates' choices for summer pages. put together their list of the best-selling books so far this year to serve as inspiration for your own literary plans. Have you read any of them? Have any recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments below:

Top Books For 2012 So Far