Back-to-school time is around the corner, stores have already started to sell Halloween candy and Christmas decorations (*gasp!*) are popping up in stores across Canada. Maybe we’re in denial, but we’re still enjoying summer!
With that in mind, our team has pulled together a list of our favourite end-of-summer-not-quite-fall reads for 2014. Whether you’re hitting the beach, cottaging or just staycationing this Labour Day weekend, we hope you enjoy our recommendations of these new, and old, reads.
Share your favourite read with us in the comments section below.
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
Image: Indigo Books – Scribner
A House in the Sky is the memoir of Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who was taken in Somalia while working in the country as a journalist in 2008 and held hostage for 460 days. Beyond a story of her captivity, Lindhout’s memoir explores the meaning of forgiveness, finding the strength within oneself and the strength one must have to keep a mind on the house in the sky. A gripping account of Amanda’s experience and how it shows that people are products of their environment. (Amanda Lindhout has drawn from this experience and founded the Global Enrichment Foundation, which is dedicated to empowering women in Somalia.)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Image: Indigo Books – Little, Brown and Company
A beautifully crafted, can’t-put-it-down novel that tells the story of Theodore Decker, who as a young child loses his mother in a presumed terrorist attack and steals an important artifact from the scene which he carries with him, and which haunts him for many years. This is a story of loss and redemption, mystery and intrigue. The book is filled with vivid and unforgettable characters you’ll remember a long time after you finish this masterpiece.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Image: Indigo Books – HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Narrated by five-year-old Jack, Room is about a boy who was born into, and grew up inside, a man-made shed. He lives with his Ma, who has been held captive there for seven years by Old Nick, who visits at night and “creaks the bed” with her. The reader is invited into a private world where Ma and Jack share their own language, abide by a schooling schedule, and play together through song, phys-ed activities and story-telling. When Ma decides it’s time to escape and concocts a plan for Jack to run away and alert the authorities, she doesn’t fully appreciate her own mental preparedness (or lack thereof). Donoghue expertly weaves lightness and warmth into the pages, effectively holding you hostage until she deems it apt for you to spiral back down and experience their turmoil yet again.
A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt
Image: Barnes and Noble – Hyperion
Set in the fifties through the early sixties, this engaging yet shockingly honest memoir by Malachy McCourt chronicles the author’s journey from Limerick, Ireland back to the U.S., where he was born, and from poverty to success — fueled only by his own charm, wit and bravado. A highlight involves spending a week in the Hamptons without a penny to his name. An enjoyable summer read by the brother of Frank McCourt, who wrote Pulitzer Prize-winning Angela’s Ashes, this book picks up where Angela’s Ashes left off and is an amusing tale of (mis)adventures.
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
Image: McLelland.com – Vintage Books
This award-winning book is captivating. Set during the end of World War II, it tells the stories of four individuals — a nurse, a thief and a sapper, all of whom are haunted by the riddle of an English patient. Who is this nameless, burned man who lies in an upstairs room? His memories of passion, betrayal and rescue illuminate this novel.
Inferno by Dan Brown
Image: Random House
Released last year but new to paperback, this is the perfect read for a summer or fall day. The fourth book in Brown’s Robert Langdon saga starts with Robert waking up in a hospital room thousands of kilometres from home, with no memory of where he is or how he got there. What follows is a gripping journey as Robert re-traces his steps and tries to get to the bottom of a complex, international plot that may put billions of lives at risk.
Youtility by Jay Baer
Image: Barnes and Noble – Portfolio Hardcover
A compelling read for any marketing or communications professional, this book manages to be both entertaining and business-relevant. The result is a can’t-put-down read that will change how you look at your social and marketing strategy in an age where helping your customers trumps selling to them.
Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
A crazed mass killer. A cunning retired police officer. A game of cat and mouse. What more could you ask for in an end-of-summer read? While Stephen King is known for his trademark tales of horror, this is his first “hard-boiled detective tale.” He has created a memorable and exciting read, as we follow retired police detective Bill Hodges’ race against time to stop a killer from striking again. (The author also recently announced that this is the first book in a projected trilogy)
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Image: IndigoBooks – St. Martin’s Griffin
A must-read for those who indulge in Young Adult (YA) novels! Set in 1986, this is a touching love story about two very different misfits, Eleanor and Park. Captivating and heartbreaking, these amazing characters will draw you in and take you back to the first time you fell in love.