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Kristine Scarrow: Books to Get Away With

Book Cover If This is Home

Across the country, very slowly, spring is creeping in. It's becoming the season for weekend getaways, trips up to the cabin to escape into another world for a while. And is there any better time than this for reading? In her list for us, YA author Kristine Scarrow, whose new book is If This Home, recommends a stack of books to take you away—or to take away with you when you're taken away, even.


My husband and I bought a small cabin at a popular northern Saskatchewan lake last summer. It’s a shack, really, and when we bought it, it looked as though it had been largely abandoned for several years. With its peeling paint and breezy interior, it wasn’t the idea of anyone’s dream but ours. Nestled in the trees on a huge lot, all we could picture was us cozying up in our own relaxing retreat. Thankfully it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Besides swimming in the lake, staring at the stars, and sitting by the fire, with gobs of elbow grease and the magic of big box home improvement stores, our little cabin in the woods is turning into the magical vacation spot we’ve dreamed of. Part of that dream is bringing stacks of books and burning through them while nestling in a hammock under the trees. Here is a list of books that make for perf …

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Marissa Stapley's Perfect Dock-Side Reads

Book Cover Mating for Life

Looking for your big summer read? Then look no further than Marissa Stapley's Mating for Life, an absorbing novel of tangled family ties, with a Joni Mitchell soundtrack and a perfect cottage setting. It's a novel in which characters get up to their own summer reads, characters perching on the ends of their docks, paperbacks in hand. It's a ritual that Stapley knows something about, as she tells us here, sharing her own favourite setting for summer reading and some books that would make for great reading there.


Every July we rent a cottage in Muskoka. It’s a place my husband and I have been visiting since before we were married, and it’s the place I modeled the cottage in Mating for Life after. There are many ideal reading spots here, but my favourite is the end of the dock. (I sometimes imagine I’ll look up and over at the dock next door and my character Laurence will be sitting there, reading Junky, by William Burroughs.)

I know there are many other beautiful places in the world, but none touch me quite the way this property does. It feels accessible, like I belong in it, like I don’t have to leave it to go home because I already am home. Also, being Canadian, I understand how important it is to savour these moments of warmth under the sun. Too soon, …

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