It’s warming up in Toronto, which means one thing: SUMMER READS.
Is there anything better than lying in the Grange or in the sand on Ward Island or basically anywhere in the sunshine, reading a great book? (Spoiler: no, there is not.)
So I wanted to share a few awesome recent reads, in case you’re looking for something to kickstart your warm weather reading. In no particular order, the best of what I’ve been reading lately:
Ann Patchett: Truth & Beauty, memoir
This book is utterly gorgeous. It tells the story of Ann Patchett and her best friend, the American poet Lucy Grealy. It’s a fascinating, hilarious, heart-breaking relationship and Patchett is a scorching good writer. My copy has copious tear stains all over the last thirty or so pages. Also an interesting peek into the American writing scene.
Meg Wolitzer: The Interestings, fiction
I reviewed this book for the National Post and it was an absolute treat to do so. Meg Wolitzer says so many smart, dead-on things in this book that I feel like you could write them all down and carry them around in your pocket like an inanimate therapist/best friend. If you want more, you can click through and read my review, which I was careful to keep spoiler-free. This is a big book, but it flies by. Not easy reading, but so, so good.
Carol Rifka Brunt: Tell the Wolves I’m Home, fiction
This is maybe the most interesting book I’ve read in recent years. It’s written effortlessly and never does what you expect it to. The simple summary is that it follows 14 year old June, an outsider in upstate New York, after the death of her beloved uncle. When she discovers her uncle had a lover for decades that she never met, she’s jealous and hurt. But soon June and the lover strike up a secret friendship that becomes one of the most moving things I’ve read in recent memory. I could rave about this book for too long so I’ll stop here, but: read it.
Vikki Vansickle: Days That End in Y, middle grade readers
Full disclosure: Vikki is one of my best friends. She’s also brilliant and has written FOUR books in the time that I’ve written one (what murderous jealousy?). This is the third and final instalment in her series that began with Words That Start With B. Her heroine Clarissa is completely irresistible, even when she is cranky and sometimes (a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do) sneaky.
Funny, achingly real and genuinely suspenseful — don’t miss it.
Cassie Beecham: The Modern World, short stories
These stories are sharp and raw, darkly funny, completely spot-on. Told in voices that are sulky yet vulnerable, unapologetic yet tentative, there’s so much real, real life here.
I hope you all find some great summer reads. I know I’ll be on the hunt for more!