Summer Reading: 8 Must-Reads Inspired by Our Test Subjects

If there’s a perfect time of year for kicking back with a good book, this is it. To help celebrate the age-old tradition of summer reading, we’ve put together a list of book recommendations loosely inspired by a few of our test subjects. Some are serious, and some are fun, but we’re certain all of these books will keep your fingers busy. And who knows- maybe one will give you the extra knowledge you need to earn college credit with a DSST test. Enjoy!

1. Personal Finance

The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack

Based on an index card that went viral, this accessible guide to personal finance offers refreshingly simple advice when it comes to keeping your bottom line in order. And for the fun of it, here’s a link to the index card that started it all.

2. Substance Abuse

Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

by David Sheff

On the heels of Beautiful Boy, a heartbreaking account of his son’s addiction, David Sheff explores the fundamental issues of American’s drug crisis in captivating form.

3. Introduction to World Religions


by Herman Hesse

An epic tale of an Indian boy’s journey during the time of Buddha, Siddhartha is a must-read for anyone striving to understand the role of spirituality in their own life.

4. Criminal Justice

Old Filth

by Jane Gardam

The first book in the Old Filth trilogy, this charming British novel follows the life of Sir Edward Feathers, QC, a brilliant judge with a lot of baggage. The story is told in a series of flashbacks, as a retired Feathers is forced to take refuge and reminisce with his neighbor —and longtime legal nemesis— because of a snowstorm.

5. Here’s to Your Health

Big Girl: How I Gave Up Dieting and Got a Life

by Kelsey Miller

Kelsey Miller, Creator of Refinery29’s The Anti-Diet Project, offers a hilarious, heartfelt memoir on finding her best physical and mental self.

6. Principles of Statistics

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

by Michael Lewis

A fascinating look at the 2002 Oakland Athletics and its numbers-obsessed General Manager Billy Beane, Moneyball posits that when it comes to winning in the majors, statistics could be the real MVP.

7. The Civil War and Reconstruction


by Geraldine Brooks

By re-visiting the life of March, the absent father from Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has created an entirely original, cleverly composed tale set against the brutal reality of the Civil War.

8. Ethics in America


by Hillary Jordan

Set in Mississippi in 1946, this debut novel from Hillary Jordan touches on the many layers of prejudice. A young family is thrown into a heart-wrenching series of events when the husband’s brother returns from war having befriended an African American soldier.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.

Neil Gaiman

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