25th Trillium Award

Open Book Recommends: Satisfying Summer Reads

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By Maeve O'Regan

Summer is finally here! Curl up in a hammock, put your feet up on the front porch, grab a blanket at the park or lay out on the beach with one (or several) of these fabulous summer reads. With romance, mystery, poetry, history and options for younger readers, there's something here for everyone.

The Blue Guitar (Dundurn Press) by Ann Ireland

In Ann Ireland's latest novel, top musicians from around the world fly to the International Classical Guitar Competition in Montreal, where careers can begin or end. Judges and contestants alike conspire and fight for what they want most on a stage where much more than beautiful music is performed.

Read Ann Ireland's answers to Open Book's Proust Questionnaire.

The Lake and the Library (ECW Press) by S.M. Beiko

Ash is counting down the days until she and her mother move from their small prairie hometown. As she begins to say her goodbyes, a strange twist of fate brings her to a mysterious, condemned building on the town's outskirts. Inside, she finds an untouched library occupied by a captivating mute named Li, who becomes the attachment to her home that she never wanted. In this haunting YA debut, S.M. Beiko explores the complicated boundaries between the real and the imagined.

Chris Eaton, A Biography: A Novel (BookThug) by Chris Eaton

Based on the belief that we have all, at some point, Googled ourselves and found people who appeared to have something in common with us, Chris Eaton constructs a life using the details of the lives of dozens of other people. In the end, he determines, we all live the same life, experiencing the same hopes, fears, joys and tragedies.

Read Open Book?s Dirty Dozen interview with Chris Eaton.

Unlikely Radicals: The Story of the Adams Mine Dump War (Between the Lines) by Charlie Angus

MP Charlie Angus tells the story of the First Nations people, farmers, environmentalists, miners, retirees, volunteers, Anglophones and Francophones who defended their community for 22 years against the Adams Mine landfill project, which was proposed as a solution to Ontario?s garbage disposal crisis.

The Red Album (BookThug) by Stephen Collis

Fiction in the tradition of Borges, Nabakov and BolaƱo, The Red Album questions historical authenticity and authority. The book is divided into two parts: an edited and footnoted narrative of uncertain origins, and a section of documents that seek to shed light on that narrative. Mysterious characters and authors emerge to populate the threads of this captivating story.

Read Open Book?s On Writing interview with Stephen Collis.

Need Machine (Coach House Books) by Andrew Faulkner

In the insightful poems of Need Machine, Andrew Faulkner offers a portrait of modern life that is candid and cheeky and will leave readers absolutely in awe.

Andrew Faulkner is Open Book's June Writer in Residence. Visit his WIR page to read his blog and his WAR (Writers As Readers) interview, and to check out his reading and website suggestions.

Fear of a Black Nation: Race, Sex, and Security in Sixties Montreal (Between the Lines) by David Austin

In October 1968, well-known Black thinkers and activists from Canada, the United States, Africa and the Caribbean gathered in Montreal for the Congress of Black Writers. It wasn?t long before a Black-led protest broke out and state security began to fear that Montreal might have become the new centre of international Black radical politics. David Austin carefully documents this period while exploring the history of Black internationalism.

Little Cat (Coach House Books) by Tamara Faith Berger

Tamara Faith Berger?s first two novels about young women at the frontiers of sex, Lie With Me and The Way of the Whore, are brought back to print in Little Cat — and they are just as scandalous and riveting as they were upon first publication.

Read Open Book?s WAR (Writers As Readers) interview with Tamara Faith Berger.

Life Without Death (Cormorant Books) by Peter Unwin

In Peter Unwin?s latest short story collection, men and women hunt for meaning in lives that are subject to change, chance and catastrophe. Each story introduces readers to complex characters who, although they may not find the simple answers they seek, gain valuable perspective in their quests.

Hooked: When Addiction Hits Home (Annick Press) edited by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes

Based on interviews with people who lived with an addicted parent or sibling in their youth, this collection of 10 true stories reveals personal coping mechanisms and explores the range of emotions experienced in such situations. Teens going through something similar will be comforted by the storytellers' maturity, sensitivity, humour and the realization that it is possible to break free of the shackles of someone else's addiction.

Lawyers, Families, and Businesses: The Shaping of a Bay Street Law Firm, Faskens 1863-1963 (Irwin Law Inc.) by C. Ian Kyer

Lawyer and historian Ian Kyer gives a compelling social history of one of Canada?s most prominent law firms, which began as two young lawyers practicing in a single room in Toronto and evolved into an international firm of over 700. He tracks the changes in the practice of Canadian law and explores the relationships between law and family connections, politics and local businesses.

Read Open Book?s On Writing interview with Ian Kyer.

fur(l) parachute (BookThug) by Shannon Maguire

Inspired by Old English poetic forms, fur(l) parachute is Shannon Maguire?s first full-length collection. Poetry enthusiasts will be hooked on her surprisingly playful treatment of everything from fly fishing to knot tying.

Read Open Book?s WAR (Writers As Readers) interview with Shannon Maguire.

The Whisper of Legends (Dundurn Press) by Barbara Fradkin

The newest installment of the Inspector Michael Green series finds Green on a hunt for his missing teenage daughter in a Northwest Territories wilderness park. The 30,000 square kilometers of the park are rampant with grizzlies, and Green soon discovers that his daughter has not been honest about her reasons for being there. It doesn't take him long to realize that the situation is far more dangerous than he thought.

The Small Nouns Crying Faith (BookThug) by Phil Hall

Phil Hall?s new collection undermines standard poetic forms and tropes, but contains poems — on frogs, carrots, local noises, partial words, remnants, dirt roads, deep breath and hope — that still sing in chorus.

Read Open Book?s On Writing interview with Phil Hall.

The Instructor (Dundurn Press) by Ann Ireland

At just 19, Simone Paris leaves her small town with her art instructor, Otto Guest, and heads to Mexico. Their affair is loaded with both physical and intellectual desire that turns to obsession. Several years after their relationship ends, Otto reappears and vivid memories are triggered for Simone in this novel of passion, art and the complicated relationships that exist between men and women.

Buy these books at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Maeve O'Regan, a former student of the Ryerson Publishing Program, is an avid reader and occasional writer. She has just completed her editorial internship with Open Book: Toronto and is now employed as a communications and marketing coordinator at Authors at Harbourfront Centre.

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