By Shannon Culver
The summer season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for one of our favourite activities: reading books outdoors. Alright, so barbecuing, cottaging, and music festivals aren’t bad either, but really, what beats a good book on a park blanket or a lakeside dock? Putting a beer in your other hand, that’s what.
If you’re thinking this summer seems like a good time to finally check out that Life of Pi book everybody was so excited about a few years ago, we suggest saving yourself some time and just putting a sign on your forehead that says THIS IS THE FIRST BOOK I’VE READ IN 10 YEARS instead. Just watch the movie and move on. (Sorry, Yan, but summertime is just not about living in the past.)
If you want to look smart while you get smart, picking up one of these must-reads for summer 2014 is the only way to do it.
St. Martin’s Press
We loved Rainbow Rowell’s young adult novel Eleanor and Park so much that we’d read pretty much anything she writes. Landline is a book for grown-ups, but contains the same type of heartfelt, real human characters that make her novels for teens so endearing. In Landline, Georgie McCool, with her marriage on the rocks and her family across the country for the holidays, finds a way to communicate with a past version of her husband Neal. Think of the possibilities.
Random House of Canada
The Son is the newest thriller from badass Norwegian crime writer/rock star Jo Nesbø. Nesbø is best known for his Harry Hole series, but The Son is a stand-alone novel set around Sonny Lofthus, a falsely-imprisoned convict submerged in a corrupt justice system in Oslo. Drugs, deceit, revenge, and treachery: this book has all the elements guaranteed to keep you up way past your bedtime.
This One Summer
Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Rather than breaking out your dog-eared copy of Summer Sisters for another read at the beach this summer, try This One Summer instead. The beautifully illustrated graphic novel, from cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, tells the story of Rose and Windy, two friends who meet up at Awago Beach every summer. On the cusp of adolescence, the girls navigate family crisis and attention from boys as they dip their toes into the messy world of adults. Time to look up bildungsroman.
Raise Some Shell: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Here’s one for the children of the 80s. Raise Some Shell is the second entry in ECW Press’ Pop Classics, a “pocket pop” series. Rosenbaum, a self-professed, lifelong TMNT fan, chronicles the rise of the Turtles from its origins as a self-published black and white comic strip to the multimillion-dollar Nickelodeon franchise. Rosenbaum views the Turtles through a cultural studies perspective to explain the enduring popularity of the anthropomorphic heroes. If the phrase Turtle Power! has a special place in your heart, you’ll want to check this one out.
The Trouble with Brunch
Coach House Books
Ever waited in line for over an hour, hungry and bleary-eyed, for a plate of overpriced, overcooked eggs? If you’re an urban twenty or thirty-something, chances are you have found yourself in that situation within, say, the past week. Micallef, the author of Stroll: Psychogeographic Walking Tours of Toronto, looks at the popularity of our favourite weekend meal as an indicator of shifting ideas of class, consumption, and leisure time. Read this one over a $14 Caesar and a plate of buckwheat waffles with gooseberry compote.
The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue
McClelland & Stewart
Remember a few years ago when sweet potato fries suddenly appeared on the menu at every bar in the city as a side to your pulled pork sandwich? Or when you had to learn to pronounce “açai” to order your antioxidant super-food smoothie from the juice bar down the street? In The Tastemakers, David Sax delves into the ever-changing world of food trends to examine how they start, catch on, and where they end up. Before you trade your maple bacon cupcake (so 2013) for a gourmet ice cream sandwich (the next ‘it’ dessert, obviously), pick up The Tastemakers and delve into how exactly that decadent dessert got into your hands in the first place.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover image from: fanpop.com