10 Books TED Speakers Want You To Read This Summer

I know you have a mountainous TBR pile, but it never hurts to take down a few new book recommendations, especially from your teachers and other heroes. TED recently released a list of 101 books that TED speakers want you to read this summer, and I'd say that's a pretty good place to start looking for new reading material, wouldn't you? I've picked out 10 books, all written by familiar women writers, for you to check out below.

Are you behind on your reading this year? So am I. So is, well, everyone. No one reads as much as they should, and every book-lover has a TBR pile they'll never finish. But that's OK. Even if you read one long-awaited book and pick out three more to read later, you're accomplishing old goals and setting new ones.

Whether you've got a reading challenge you want to knock out, or you're just looking for something to read on the flight to your sunny summer destination, the books on the short list below are sure to delight you. Memoirs, fiction, poetry, nonfiction — this reading list has it all!

Check out my list of 10 books TED speakers want you to read this summer, and be sure to look over the full summer-reading list on the TED website.


'The Ordering of Love: The New & Collected Poems of Madeleine L'Engle' by Madeleine L'Engle, Recommended by Amy Green

Even if you adored A Ring of Endless Light and A Wrinkle in Time, you might not know that Madeleine L'Engle wrote her fair share of poetry as well. This 2005 collection compiles almost 200 of the author's poems, including 18 previously unpublished works.

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Watch Amy Green's TED Talk, "A Video Game to Cope with Grief."


'The Glass Castle' by Jeannette Walls, Recommended by Daniel Levitin

How do you reconcile your parents' refusal to grow up? That's what memoirist Jeannette Walls and her siblings are forced to do after they leave the nest of their sometimes absent, always negligent parents to build their own lives.

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Watch Daniel Levitin's TED Talk, "How to Stay Calm When You Know You'll Be Stressed."


'The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi' by Elif Shafak, Recommended by Lara Satrakian

The Bastard of Istanbul author Elif Shafak weaves together two narratives — one of the modern day, the other in antiquity — in this stunningly beautiful work of literary fiction.

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Click here to watch Elif Shafak's TED Talk, "The Politics of Fiction."

Click here to watch Lara Setrakian's TED Talk, "3 Ways to Fix a Broken News Industry."


'Barefoot Contessa’s Parties! Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties That Are Really Fun' by Ina Garten, Recommended by Wendy Troxel

Everyone should know how to entertain, and Ina "Store-Bought Is Fine" Garten is here to rescue your summertime fun with this book of party ideas you can throw together on the fly.

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Watch Wendy Troxel's TED Talk, "Why School Should Start Later for Teens."


'Bad Feminist: Essays' by Roxane Gay, Recommended by Sofia Jawed-Wessel

What does it mean to be a feminist in the world when every movie, show, and celebrity is oh-so problematic? Let Roxane Gay explain all the fun and pitfalls of being a "bad feminist" in this 2014 essay collection.

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Watch Sofia Jawed-Wessel's TED Talk, "The Lies We Tell Pregnant Women."


'A Great and Terrible Beauty' by Libba Bray, Recommended by Alix Generous

Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy begins with A Great and Terrible Beauty, in which the 16-year-old protagonist leaves colonial India for a British boarding school, plagued by terrible visions that come true.

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Watch Alix Generous' TED Talk, "How I Learned to Communicate My Inner Life with Asperger's."


'Kindred' by Octavia E. Butler, Recommended by Lucianne Walkowicz

In this classic science-fiction novel from Octavia E. Butler, a young black woman is yanked backward in time and space to the Maryland plantation where her ancestors lived.

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Watch Lucianne Walkowicz's TED Talk, "Let's Not Use Mars as a Backup Planet."


'Mindset: The New Psychology of Success' by Carol S. Dweck, Recommended by Eduardo Briceño

Social psychologist Carol S. Dweck argues in favor of a "growth" mindset — one that believes people's abilities can improve significantly over time, even without innate talent — which she says will allow individuals to lead more fulfilling, happy, and stress-free lives.

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Watch Eduardo Briceño's TED Talk, "How to Get Better at the Things You Care About."


'The Light of the World' by Elizabeth Alexander, Recommended by Caitlin Doughty

Written in the aftermath of the unexpected death of the author's husband, The Light of the World probes the experience of a widowed poet and mother of two as she tries to move past the trauma.

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Watch Caitlin Doughty's TED Talk, "A Burial Practice That Nourishes the Planet."


'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood, Recommended by Sofia Jawed-Wessel

With themes of oppression and sexism, Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel reads like a dire warning to any woman today. Pick it up this summer and come away refreshed and ready to resist anew.

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