Summer is not summer without taking time to relax with a good book. Here are some suggestions for novels to read at the cottage by the lake or in the backyard under a shady tree.
Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson is the debut novel of a 70-year-old. It is a warm-hearted, charming book featuring a correspondence between a farmer’s wife in England and a museum curator in Denmark. The two develop an unlikely friendship. If you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, or 84, Charing Cross Road, pick up this one.
Mysteries make for great summer reads so why not choose one by a Canadian. I recommend DreadfulWater which is the first of a trilogy by Thomas King; it is a comic mystery featuring an Indigenous ex-cop. Another suggestion is one of the Rachel Getty/Esa Khattak books by Ausma Zehanat Khan which feature a Muslim detective and his female partner. There are five books in this series beginning with The Unquiet Dead. The great thing is that if you fall in love with a series, there are even more books to devour.
Anyone looking for a more serious read should try Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. It’s a murder mystery, a courtroom thriller, and a family drama in the aftermath of an explosion at a special treatment centre. And then there’s Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens which is a coming-of-age story, a survival tale, a romance, and a murder mystery. A man is found dead and the immediate suspect is Kya who has grown up alone in the marshes of coastal North Carolina. A film adaptation is being made of this latter book, so read it beforehand.
People who enjoy historical fiction should consider The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. It is a wonderfully researched book about the blue-skinned people of Kentucky, the Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, and life in Depression-era Appalachia.
Romantic comedies make for great summer reads. I recommend Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. This Pride and Prejudice retelling set in the Muslim community in Toronto has humour and romance but is also thought-provoking.
While some people prefer light, breezy reads for the summer, others like to dive into really ambitious books. If you like a challenge, consider Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker, a character study of a man whose public persona is nothing like his private life. If you liked Herman Koch’s The Dinner, this novel is for you. Bina: A Novel in Warnings by Anakana Schofield is narrated by an old woman who writes her life story on discarded envelopes and receipts in order to warn people not to make her mistakes. Hers is a voice you will not soon forget.
Complete reviews of all these books can be found on my blog: https://schatjesshelves.blogspot.com/.
Happy summer! Happy reading!
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