The seven books Bill Gates thinks you should read this summer

Microsoft co-founder recommends books based on webcomics

Summer is just a month away, so it's time to start thinking about which books you're going to dive into when the days start getting longer. If you haven't compiled a list of beach reads yet, though, don't worry: Bill Gates has got your back.

The Microsoft co-founder recommended seven books on his blog Tuesday, some of which could plausibly be considered light summer reading. (Vaclav Smil's "Should We Eat Meat?: Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory" is probably not one of them, unless you prefer a dose of anthropology and philosophy with your grilled veggie dogs.)

Gates seems most taken with Allie Brosh's "Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened," a graphic memoir based on Brosh's webcomic of the same name.

"You will rip through it in three hours, tops. But you’ll wish it went on longer, because it’s funny and smart as hell," Gates writes. "I must have interrupted Melinda a dozen times to read to her passages that made me laugh out loud."

He's also partial to two books from another webcomic artist, Randall Munroe of xkcd. Gates recommends Munroe's collection of comics, "xkcd: volume 0" as well as the author's "What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions."

"It’s an entertaining read, and you’ll also learn a bit about things like ballistics, DNA, the oceans, the atmosphere, and lightning along the way," Gates writes about the latter book.

Rounding out the list are three other, perhaps less funny, volumes: "On Immunity: An Inoculation" by Eula Biss, "How to Lie With Statistics" by Darrell Huff and "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True" by Richard Dawkins.

Gates' summer reading list is much more poolside-friendly than the one he published last year, which, he notes, contained "only one book ... that you could reasonably call a beach read." That would be Graeme Simsion's novel "The Rosie Project," which is probably at least a little lighter than another one of his 2014 picks, Ezekiel J. Emanuel's "Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve Our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System."

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