In the seductive labyrinth that is The 49th Shelf, a chief delight is discovering books you didn’t even know you were looking for, and this is precisely what happens when you explore the site using “summer” as a title search term. The search reveals a wealth of literary treasures, including The Summer of Apartment X by Lesley Choyce, whose nostalgia is less sepia-toned than vivid 1970s’s orange, the story of three guys whose plans to take over a summer beach resort town don’t go remotely according to plan. Or Andrew Binks’ The Summer Between, a darker story which depicts a young boy struggling against homophobia and racism in contrast to its idyllic summer setting.
Miriam Toews’ acclaimed novel Summer of My Amazing Luck won the Governor General’s Award, and was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. This hilarious story of a single mother on welfare has all the humour, depth and emotion that fans of Toews’ writing have since come to expect (and, naturally, a road trip.). In Linda Hutsell-Manning’s That Summer in Franklin, two childhood friends come to terms with their youthful experiences in the process of caring for their aging parents. And more nostalgia abounds in Peter Robinson’s The Summer that Never Was, an Inspector Alan Banks mystery, as the Inspector grapples with the discovery of the body of a childhood friend who’d vanished more than thirty-five years earlier.
Matt Cohen’s The Sweet Second Summer of Kitty Malone is part of his Salem Quartet, and said to be “considered among the author’s finest works.” There’s The Kid’s Summer Games Book, which seems like a vital addition to any cottage library. And we’ve even got some summer poetry, Summer Grass by Marianne Bluger, whose poems “probe ‘midnight gravities’ with a light-suffused language born of faith.”
Inspired by the May 24th long weekend, we were talking about cottage books a few weeks back, and received some further suggestions via twitter that will also make for splendid summer reading. These included Elizabeth Hay’s award-winning Late Nights on Air, the short story "True Trash" from Margaret Atwood's Wilderness Tips, David McFarlane’s Summer Gone, John Bemrose’s The Last Woman, Peter Behrens’ upcoming novel The O’Briens, and Marthe Jocelyn’s amazing summer picture book Mayfly, whose essence is definitively summer, right down to the screen door slams, sunburns and mosquito bite itches.
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