Good choices for a long, lazy day

A mash-up of gen­res and styles to sat­isfy any read­ing mood

The Hamilton Spectator - - BOOKS - DEB­O­RAH DUN­DAS

It may be too am­bi­tious a thing for sum­mer to pick a book for ev­ery sin­gle week­end; still, sit­ting in the shade with a good read is some­thing to aspire to. Here’s a lit­tle help: a sum­mer read­ing list with a mash-up of gen­res and styles to sat­isfy any sum­mer mood.

Saints and Mis­fits, S.K. Ali

This de­but novel is a lovely and im­por­tant ad­di­tion to the YA canon — you know, the kind that even adults will en­joy. In this first-per­son story, Janna, a Mus­lim teen, of­fers a com­pelling voice, a lik­able char­ac­ter and a story that teens and adults can re­late to. It’s also the first book in a new im­print from Si­mon and Schus­ter, called Salaam Reads, which fo­cuses on Mus­lim ex­pe­ri­ences.

New Boy, Tracy Che­va­lier

Don’t be put off when I say that this is a re­fram­ing of Shake­speare’s “Othello” — this highly read­able book is by the same writer who brought us “Girl With the Pearl Ear­ring.” Tracy Che­va­lier’s highly read­able and im­mac­u­lately re­searched his­tor­i­cal fic­tion this time takes place in 1970s Wash­ing­ton, D.C., at an in­te­grated school. Che­va­lier grew up in that en­vi­ron­ment; this book, though fic­tional, is a pow­er­ful ex­plo­ration of be­trayal and bul­ly­ing — and racism.

The Redemp­tion of Galen Pike, Carys Davies

Some­times you want some­thing that packs sat­is­fac­tion in a short burst of read­ing. This book is it. Welsh writer Davies’ short sto­ries are beau­ti­fully crafted and pull you in, de­liv­er­ing twists and in­sights that you sim­ply didn’t see com­ing. One of the best books to come out this year.

Amer­i­can War, Omar El Akkad

There are few books as pre­scient as this novel by Cana­dian writer El Akkad. It looks into Amer­ica in the near­ish fu­ture (2074) when a sec­ond civil war breaks out. The coun­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a dev­as­tat­ing plague, peo­ple are be­ing up­rooted from their homes and flee­ing to refugee camps. The book asks the ques­tion: what if what is hap­pen­ing in the rest of the world were to hap­pen in the U.S.? The an­swer holds up a mir­ror that doesn’t al­ways re­flect back a com­fort­able im­age.

The Only Café, Lin­den McIn­tyre (Aug. 8)

The au­thor of the Giller Prizewin­ning ‘The Bishop’s Man” is back, this time with a fam­ily saga. Cyril, an in­tern in a tele­vi­sion news­room, is delv­ing into his dead father Pierre’s mys­te­ri­ous past. The story takes us from present­day Toronto to Le­banon in the 1980s as Cyril tries to un­tan­gle the truth about his fam­ily.

The Good Daugh­ter, Karin Slaugh­ter (Aug. 8)

Slaugh­ter has such a fol­low­ing — her books have sold 35 mil­lion copies — peo­ple ea­gerly await her next story. This stand­alone novel be­gins in 1989 with a vi­o­lent tragedy that sees a mother die and two girls forced into the woods at gun­point. One of them — Char­lotte — gets away. We meet up with her again al­most 30 years later when an­other vi­o­lent act rips open old mem­o­ries.



The Redemp­tion of Galen Pike, by Carys Davies, Biblioasis, 176 pages, $17.95.


Saints and Mis­fits, S.K. Ali, Si­mon and Schus­ter, 336 pages, $18.99.

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