Good choices for a long, lazy day
A mash-up of genres and styles to satisfy any reading mood
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.