When it comes to the summertime, there aren’t many things we love more than going outside and losing ourselves in a good book. Whether it’s lounging on a sandy beach, curled up under a giant tree, or sitting dockside in a Muskoka chair, outdoor summer reading is pure bliss. To help you add some more books to your “to read” pile, here’s what the members of the Cityline Book Club are reading (or have just finished reading!) this summer.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri – A friend recommended this book to me a full year ago. I picked it up, read a few pages, put it down and basically thought my book relationship with said friend was over. She had never (EVER) recommended anything to me that I didn’t absolutely love by page 2. I picked it up again at the beginning of summer and slogged through some way too detailed Indian/Pakistani history to finally get to the good stuff. The story is rewarding, sad, thoughtful, reflective and timeless. I’m happy to say my bookie friend still has an amazing eye for books I’ll love.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – This book has been my favourite summer read so far. It has all the elements I love: an angry, sarcastic, acerbic protagonist, a super intelligent child, an unlikely love story and most importantly, it’s a book about…books! Highly recommended.
No Relation by Terry Fallis – I thought I’d love this book more. It is funny, but the plot and writing takes the easy route by being overly obvious too often. I was expecting a little more introspection. No biggie. I still laughed out loud enough to make this enjoyable summer read.
One Plus One by Jo Jo Moyes – A tech-savvy millionaire meets a single mother going through hard times. Really hard times. A crazy road trip, financial destruction and sex ensues. Oh and there’s also a math competition. Loved it.
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski – Kind of eerie but beautifully written. This is a book that doesn’t spare any detail while taking you on a journey to beautiful places in the post-war south. You’ll take the trip through the eyes of both redeeming and ugly characters. I truly loved Bonaventure Arrow — the young boy with a special gift who navigates this tale. It also open your eyes to the depths of grief and guilt. I really liked this book.
The Steady Running of The Hour by Justin Go – I’m reading this epic tale now about a university student who is told he could be the lawful heir to millions of dollars…if he can prove who his grandmother is. This is trickier than it sounds and so far has me stuck in World War I England with a record-breaking alpinist and a bohemian socialite. This could be the beginning of a really cool story. I’ll let you know!
Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – I just finished this charming summer read. I couldn’t wait to read it and didn’t want it to be over.
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett – I’m wading through this — my friend assures me it gets better. I hope so, because I don’t actually like her so far and it’s a memoir…
Dear Life by Alice Munro
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris – Who makes me laugh out loud — I’m a fan!
Going Home Again by Dennis Bock – I looked at the first page, thought it looked good.
Suzanne Ellis, managing editor, Cityline.ca:
Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald – Several friends raved about MacDonald’s previous novels, Fall On Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies, but for whatever reason I never got around to picking them up. So when an advance reading copy of MacDonald’s first novel in 10 years, Adult Onset, landed on my desk last week, I decided to just dive right in. It centers around a YA writer who’s now a stay-at-home mom juggling two kids, aging parents, her career-consumed partner, and the possible reoccurrence of a medical condition she battled as a child. I’m about 100 pages in, and completely engaged in the plot and MacDonald’s words.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen and French Milk by Lucy Knisley – Relish: My Life in the Kitchen is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read, and I have to say, I loved it! Lucy tells the story of her food-centric upbringing through colourful and hilarious tableaus featuring her caterer mother, restaurant enthusiast father, and friends she’s shared pivotal foodie moments with. I especially loved Lucy’s rebellious phase when she’d eat fast food in front of her horrified parents. The recipes interspersed throughout – everything from herb pesto, to spaghetti carbonara, to huevos rancheros — are also cleverly illustrated. I can’t wait to read Knisley’s previous graphic novel, French Milk, about her travels in Paris with her mom.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon – I’m a bit stalled out on this book at the moment, but not because it’s not brilliantly written. Chabon is one of the most talented writers I’ve ever come across. Sometimes I just get in moods where as good as a book is, I’m not feeling it. Case in point here. But I’m nearly halfway through this tale about two Jewish cousins who become major players in the comic book industry in WWII-era New York City, and determined to finish it by the end of the summer.
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan – I’m admittedly hot and cold on McEwan. He’s a fabulous writer, but sometimes I have trouble getting into the plot. Loved Atonement and Saturday, didn’t care for Solar. This summer I’m taking a stab at his 1998 novel Amsterdam.
My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz – Yes, this is a cookbook, but it’s also an ode to one of my favourite cities in the world. Lebovitz, who also wrote The Sweet Life in Paris, intersperses more than 100 recipes with stories about the city and its culture. The photos are stunning and make me want to buy a plane ticket, tout de suite!
Need to finish:
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris
Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World by Janet E. Cameron
Longbourn by Jo Baker
At the cottage I want to sharpen my photography so I have two books that I am planning to read through:
The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design by Michael Freeman
Better Photo Basics by Jim Miotke
Suzanne Gardner, web content creator, Cityline.ca:
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – My summer reading list is largely made up of new books by some of my fave authors, or, in this case, an old book by a fave author! I read Rowell’s Eleanor & Park last year and absolutely loved it, and now I’m finally getting around to diving into Fangirl. I’m a bit of a fangirl for many TV shows, books, and movies myself, so I have a feeling I’m really going to relate to this one!
The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman – I’m a huge fan of Kaufman’s quirky yet introspective writing style. His novel All My Friends Are Superheroes is one of my all-time favourite books (and my constant example of an amazing story told is less than 150 pages), and I also really enjoyed The Waterproof Bible and Born Weird. Now (finally!) the novella he published a few years ago in the U.K. has made its way to this side of the pond and I can’t wait to devour it.
No Relation by Terry Fallis – I don’t tend to read a lot of comedic novels, but when I do, they’re usually by Terry Fallis. I’ve laughed my butt off while reading all of his previous novels, and the protagonist of this novel (a copywriter named Earnest Hemmingway – no relation!) has won me over already.
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki – A book with the word “summer” in the title seems appropriate for this list, no? I’m really excited to read this graphic novel from the same cousin duo who created the breathtakingly beautiful Skim back in 2008. The Tamakis just get teenagers in a way that isn’t always consistently seen in young adult lit. I’m expecting some mega-nostalgia while reading this one.
The Bear by Claire Cameron – While the plot of this book makes me a bit uneasy (two young children have to survive in the woods after watching their parents get attacked and killed by a bear during their camping trip), I’ve heard that the storytelling (all from the point of view of 5-year-old Anna) is absolutely riveting and I’m sure I’ll love it once I get over the frightening factor. I’ll just be sure not to read it while out in the wilderness.
What are you reading this summer? Share your picks with us in the comments below!
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