Novel Ideas For The Summer!

Uncorked - Summer ReadsMy addiction to reading has reached a new level. I read before bed, I read before my work shifts start. I read at the dentist’s office, while my laundry is drying, at my yard sale between customers and lately, I’ve started reading while walking to work. I can’t chew gum and walk at the same time, but I can get through at least 20 pages of a novel between my place and Il Dolce each morning. I love to read and I love to promote reading. Soon the true warmth of summer will be in the air and people will be heading to their cottages and campsites, or sitting out on their porches with a good book. I thought I would pass along some fantastic summer reading suggestions to you. This is one of my favourite articles to write (next to the Spring, Autumn, or Winter reading articles).

Sam Bissix, my Main Street squeeze at Box of Delights, in Wolfville, assisted with some of these selections. Pop in and take a peek at their glorious inventory, or take advantage of the multitude of yard sales, garage sales and fundraiser “junk” sales going on in your area. There’s always a book table! And don’t forget The Odd Book on Front Street, Wolfville, or Reader’s Haven in Windsor for used books.

I always start my summer off with a re-reading of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (easily one of my favourite novels) and I will end my summer with The Color Purple by Alice Walker, because I always do. Michael Chabon is one of my favourite authors and his new novel Telegraph Avenue is at the top of my list. I also highly recommend his earlier work Wonder Boys. Check out Lauren B. Davis’s Our Daily Bread, a novel based on the Goler Clan, or Leo McKay Jr.’s gripping novel Twenty-Six, about the Westray mining disaster.

Some new releases to look out for are Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim, Jonathan Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, Mary Kay Andrews’ Save the Date, or Herman Koch’s Summer House with Swimming Pool. Koch also wrote The Dinner, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I push strongly for young adults to read so here are a few titles to keep them busy. Before you see the new film, grab a box of Kleenex and check out The Fault in our Stars by John Green. And if you’ve already read that one, his other works, including An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, are just as good. I just finished an incredible young adult novel called Creeps by Darren Hynes, which I encourage all parents to buy for their kids ages 14 and up, as it pertains to bullying, indifference and tolerance. It’s a must-read! Hynes also has another novel called Flight, which I recommend. I also just re-read one of the best young-adult novels, Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, because (and I was overjoyed) he just released the sequel, Hollow City, which you must check out.

And maybe pick up a classic like Emma or Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, or The Princess Bride by William Goldman! Summer is also a nice time to dive into the Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings or the Harry Potter series. Some other classic reading on my list for the summer would be The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or even a classic play like Death of a Salesman or A Streetcar Named Desire. Grab some friends, head to the park, each take a character and pore over a Shakespeare play such as Hamlet or The Taming of the Shrew.

Take a peek at Philip Roy’s Me and Mr. Bell, a delightful book I just finished, or No Ordinary Day by Deborah Ellis. Some books by local authors would be Robin McGee’s The Cancer Olympics (released last month) and Celine Gabrielle’s Baby Got Back–How I lost 52 pounds in 52 weeks with 52 baby steps, became a happy healthy hot mom & you can too!, being released on June 18 through Amazon but hopefully at your local bookstore soon as well. Check out her website for more details. This is a very exciting new adventure for both Robin and Celine!

And my final recommendation: With the recent passing of beloved poet and author (and so much more) Maya Angelou, I am making a push for you to pick up one of her acclaimed works of poetry or her autobiographies I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or The Heart of a Woman. They’re inspirational and a showcase of her talent.

Have a great summer, everyone!!

Mike Butler