Mike Butler Recommends: Summer Reading 2019
By Mike Butler
It’s the summer (finally)! I look forward to my seasonal reading articles and here is the summer 2019 edition of literature that I recommend you sit back and absorb.
We’ve all heard of binge-watching right? When you sit back and take in LOTS of TV at one time, usually polishing off a season of your favourite show or a bunch of shows. Well, there’s also binge-reading! I love binge-reading: when you pick an author and read through a chunk of their books. Two authors I am loving right now are an award-winning young adult novelist named Ally Condie, as well as famous literary novelist Ian McEwan (one of my favourites!).
Ally Condie is the author of a trilogy of books: Matched, Crossed, and Reached, and if you haven’t read them, go and find them! Also pick up one of her first efforts, Atlantia, and her latest, The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe, but brace yourself for her novel Summerlost. I read this book in Mexico this past April and was blown away! It’s the story of young love, theatre history, and so much more, as two teens work at Coney Island for the summer. It’s sweet and very well-written! Make Ally a binge-read must this summer!
And then we have the great Ian McEwan! For years, Ian McEwan has been my go-to for a great story and he never disappoints. Pick up one, two, or all of his efforts, including, Atonement, Amsterdam, Enduring Love, Sweet tooth, Nutshell, On Chesil Beach, Saturday, Solar, or his latest achievement, Machines Like Me, a must-read for 2019!
New releases to pick up include Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise, Sally Rooney’s Normal People, Thomas Harris’ Cari Mora, Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls, Kirsten Arnett’s Mostly Dead Things, Regina Porter’s The Travelers, Mona Awad’s Bunny or her critically acclaimed debut 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, or Candace Bushnell’s Is There Still Sex in the City? (peek at any of her Sex and the City novels for a good time!).
Other hot summer reads include The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, Going Dutch by James Gregor, The Warehouse by Bob Hart, With The Fire On High or The Poet X, both by Elizabeth Acevedo, Whisper Network by Chandler Baker, Paranoid by Lisa Jackson, or the incredible CHAOS by Tom O’Neill!
For a truly Canadian reading experience, snatch up Judith Love’s Watershed, a stunning novel about a character named Anne MacLeod and her trials and adventures from 1960 to contemporary Canada. It was a great read and a local author as well.
A really good friend of mine, David Wimsett, Wolfville resident, is releasing his latest literary work, Dragons Unremembered, and a book launch has been scheduled at The Box of Delights Bookshop for Saturday, August 10 at 3pm. David will tell stories, sing a song he composed for the book, and read from the book. I have been fortunate to read some excerpts, and it’s a fabulous read!
July was Pride month, but there’s never a shortage of great queer literature to keep you busy. Check out Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox, Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers, Rebecca Brown’s The Gifts of the Body, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty, Bill Konisberg’s Openly Straight, Sandy Hill’s A Little Something Different or her other great read Been Here All Along, David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy or his beautiful Two Boys Kissing, S.J. Goslee’s Whatever, Stephen McCauley’s My Ex-Life, and finally, the now classic youth read (that’s just as meaningful to adults) George by Alex Gino!
And with each summer, as much as I love to read new material, I always take a trip back to two of my all-time favourite novels: I start my summer with Alice Walker’s acclaimed The Color Purple, and then, to finish my summer (about late September), I dive into Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and I am surprised each time with new details I didn’t catch the first 18 times! Ha ha! If you haven’t read these classics, pick them up!
Even with the heavy construction on Main Street, Wolfville, The Box of Delights Bookshop is open and thriving with new titles arriving all the time, for all ages. So don’t forget to pop by and tell them Mike Butler sent you! You can also find many of these titles at The Odd Book and Rainbow’s End, also in Wolfville, Books Galore in Coldbrook, Shelf Life in Kentville , Reader’s Haven in Windsor, and Blue Griffin Books in Middleton: support local and read plenty! Enjoy these novel ideas! Have a great summer!