Reading is obviously not relegated to any one season. But there’s something about summer – maybe it’s seeing the year’s biggest titles propped up on beach towels and pool loungers, a kind of literary voyeurism – that can ignite a book-fueled frenzy. To get you started, we’ve rounded up our favourite reads of the season…
Look Alive Out There by Sloan Crosley
In this collection of 16 essays, Sloan Crosley attempts to climb a mountain in Ecuador without a proper coat (or any knowledge of climbing mountains), befriends a pair of swingers in remote Sonoma, California, and guest stars on an episode of Gossip Girl – all equally horrifying and hilarious experiences. If you read and re-read her first collection of essays, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, you won’t be disappointed by this latest book.
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Anyone dreaming of Morocco will appreciate this debut novel that takes place in Tangier in 1956. Alice and Lucy, former college roommates ensnared in a toxic friendship, take turns telling the story. Both are unreliable narrators, which adds to the suspense and may remind readers of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
Here’s a novel that’s especially thought provoking in the days of ‘locker room talk’, #MeToo and the reprise of The Handmaid’s Tale. The Female Persuasion narrows in on the relationship between a millennial feminist and her Baby Boomer mentor to tackle such topics as intergenerational politics, gender, power, and how to keep the bastards from grinding you down.
Calypso by David Sedaris
A good number of the stories Sedaris tells in his latest essay collection take place at the author’s beachfront vacation home, aka the Sea Section. But that doesn’t mean every account is carefree and breezy. They are, however, always engaging and alarmingly funny, even when Sedaris takes on some pretty dark topics (mortality, family dysfunction… in-flight bathroom disasters). If nothing else, you’ll walk away from this book with a newfound interest in turtles and tumors.
The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl
A meditation on leisure – who can’t get behind that? In this travelogue, Patricia Hampl takes a historic look at famous figures who have escaped the grind to seek true R&R. She also weaves in tales of her own travels and makes a case for setting aside time for some good ol’ daydreaming.
How to Eat a Peach: Menus, Stories and Places by Diana Henry
No, this book has nothing to do with Call Me By Your Name. It does, however, come packed with 24 seasonal menus, 100 recipes and a number of personal food memories from Diana Henry, the British culinary writer and James Beard Award winner. The recipes primarily focus on Mediterranean cooking.
Wander Love: Lessons, Tips & Inspiration from a Solo Traveller by Aubrey Daquinag
If you’ve heard tales of the mythical digital nomad and wondered what such a life truly entails, dive into Wander Love. Here, photographer and travel blogger Aubrey Daquinag offers plenty of intel, including packing tips, pointers on snapping ideal Instagram images, and even how to set up an office while on the road.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn 50 and he just got an invite to the wedding of the man he’s been dating for the past nine years. Instead of having a breakdown (or maybe this is a breakdown of sorts), he takes off on an around-the-world trip to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco and Japan. Insanity –and quite a bit of hilarity – ensues. If you’re still on the fence about reading this book, here’s the ultimate endorsement: Less just nabbed the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for 2018.