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Introducing: Our Amazing 2022 Summer Reading List (Part Two)!

The summer's flying by, and so the stakes are high—you want to make your summer reading count. And so, to that end, we're pleased to boost your summer reading list with eight more amazing recommendations and (even better!) three copies of each book up for giveaway.

Don't miss your chance to win!

*****

Night in the World, by Sharon English

A tender ensemble novel about coming home to oneself and one's family through the beauty and soulfulness of Earth, even in an age of unravelling.

Brothers Justin and Oliver have never been close. Justin owns an iconic Toronto restaurant and lives with his wife and daughter in Baby Point. Oliver, a former environmental reporter, does admin for a local gym and rents an attic apartment. Yet both men know their worlds stand on the brink. With their mother's abrupt death, each sets out to set things right: Oliver to reclaim a beloved home, Justin to save one that's falling apart.

Intersecting Justin's and Oliver's journeys is Gabe: a budding biologist enchanted by the underappreciated beauty of moths, and conflicted by the demands of scientific scrutiny. As the brothers' pursuits take them from Toronto Island to the Humber River, from drugs and transgressive art to meetings with imperiled activists, Gabe stakes everything on a glimpse o …

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Introducing: Our Amazing 2022 Summer Reading List (Part One)!

We're so excited to help you line up your perfect summer reading list with these fantastic recommendations—and to also feature three copies of each book up for giveaway. (Watch out for Part Two coming in August.)

Don't miss your chance to win!

*****

A Convergence of Solitudes, by Anita Anand

About the book: A story of identity, connection and forgiveness, A Convergence of Solitudes shares the lives of two families across Partition of India, Operation Babylift in Vietnam, and two referendums in Quebec. 


Sunil and Hima, teenage lovers, bravely defy taboos in pre-Partition India to come together as their country divides in two. They move across the world to Montreal and raise a family, but Sunil shows symptoms of schizophrenia, shattering their newfound peace. As a teenager, their daughter Rani becomes obsessed with Quebecois supergroup Sensibilité—and, in particular, the band's charismatic, nationalistic frontman, Serge Giglio—whose music connects Rani to the province's struggle for cultural freedom. A chance encounter leads Rani to babysit Mélanie, Serge's adopted daughter from Vietnam, bringing her fleetingly within his inner circle.

Years later, Rani, now a college guidance counselor, discovers that Mélanie has booked an appointment to discuss her future …

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"Love Song," by Theresa Kishkan

Book Cover the Summer Book

Theresa Kishkan weaves a gorgeous narrative out of light and time in her beautiful essay, "Love Story," which opens the newly-released non-fiction collection The Summer Book, edited by Mona Fertig. Reviewer Howard Stewart calls the The Summer Book "a masterpiece collection of finely crafted and evocative reminders of why summer is such a special season"; read this essay for a taste of just how right he is. 

*****

On an early summer morning, I wake to the sound of Swainson’s thrushes. Beyond my bedroom window, beyond the house, they sing where the woods begin. And there are robins, vireos, the long whistle of a varied thrush. My curtains are rough white linen, and they filter light, the light at dawn, coming from the east, pink and golden as the sun finds its way over Mount Hallowell. My husband sleeps closest to the window, and he pulls the curtains aside to let in more song. There is honeysuckle blooming, and dog roses, trumpet vines. Hummingbirds bury themselves in the flowers. The pink throats of the tree frogs inflate, a loud vibrato close enough to touch. A face peers in the window through the lattice of vines, and it’s a weasel, as surprised to see me in a bed with pillows and a log-cabin quilt as I am to see a weasel among the dog roses. That’s what I …

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2017 Summer Books

Winter is good, autumn is nice, spring is okay, but there is nothing else quite like reading in the summer. Except for, perhaps, reading about summer, books about road trips, swimming, canoe paddling, long lazy days, and even a little bit of summer intrigue. The books in this list, out now or coming soon, have all of this, and they run the gamut of fiction, non-fiction, YA, and a most excellent picture book. These are books that mean summer starts NOW. 

****

The Last Wave, by Gillian Best (Out in August) 

About the book: A beautifully rendered family drama set in Dover, England, between the 1940s and the present day, The Last Wave follows the life of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times, and the complex relationships she has with her husband, her children, and her close friends. The one constant in Martha’s life is the sea, from her first accidental baptism to her final crossing of the channel. The sea is an escape from her responsibilities as a wife and a mother; it consoles her when she is diagnosed with cancer; and it comforts her when her husband’s mind begins to unravel.

An intergenerational saga spanning six decades, The Last Wave is a wholly authentic portrait of a family buffeted by illness, intolerance, anger, failure, and regret. G …

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Summer Covers, Had Me a Blast

All right, it's True Confessions time: I'm a sucker for books whose covers scream, "Summer!" 

My all-time favourite summer cover is Alice Petersen's short story collection, All the Voices Cry, and when the book came out in 2012, I cooked up reason after reason to feature that gorgeous cover on the 49th Shelf main page. Because I loved that cover—the lake, horizon, the just-perceptible haze. I loved that leap, with arms and legs outstretched—a moment in midair. This is summer: ephemeral, soaring, perfect. 

 

Some of this year's best summer covers take a similar approach, and the results are just as pleasing, such as the bestselling graphic novel, This One Summer, by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki:

 

 

Mating for Life, by Marissa Stapley, features raft-leaps as well, perhaps fitting for this novel about mothers, daughters, and sisters and the chances we take in our lives. 

 

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If You’re Going to Read Just One Book This Summer, Why Not Read Two?

Photo Beach Reading

Every year during summer holidays, the jackets on the beach are all the same. It was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, then last summer it was The Help, and all this summer’s books are already bedecked in 50 Shades of Gray. The monolithic nature of the summer read certainly comes with its benefits—all these book sales keep booksellers and publishers afloat, and books in common create connections between readers. But as for fostering a vibrant literary culture, the one-book-per-summer approach is having us come up seriously short.

What does a vibrant literary culture look like, is a question you may ask, which is a question best answered by taking a peek at the 49thShelf main-page anytime. This is what a vibrant literary culture looks like, books and books, side by side, mingling forms and genres, illuminating connections, contrasts, big presses and small presses. In literature as in biology, diversity is the way to sustaining life, books of all sorts, some familiar and some obscure, off the wall and, yes, some according to formula because it’s true that a little bit of formulaic fiction is nice to encounter in the summer. We work hard enough the rest of the year that we can be permitted some indulgence lake-side, a beach-read and a glass of wine on a Wednesda …

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