By: Megan Pasche
Some books seem like they are written just for summertime. For reading while lying on a beach towel in the sand, lounging on a dock while the water laps at your feet or all curled up in a cozy chair while a summer rainstorm pelts the outside world. Books that are easy to get lost in, and are such page-turners that hours seem to turn into minutes. The books you race to finish, but make you a little bit sad when they come to an end. Reading really is the perfect summer activity.
These are some of my favourite page-turners to date, as well as some upcoming books to look for in the summer of 2014.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
This book sat on the bestsellers list for 68 weeks, and inspired a movie of the same name. It’s a great summer read that tells the story of a life long friendship between four Southern women.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
This book tells the story of four Chinese American immigrant families, who start having regular meetings that they call ‘The Joy Luck Club’. The story focuses on the four mothers of these families and their American born daughters.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
This fascinating epic tells the story of the effect of a mutated gene on three generations of a Greek-American family. The protagonist is Calliope (Cal) Stephanides, who was born with alpha-reductase deficiency, causing him to be born with female characteristics. The latter part of the novel shows Cal’s journey from his hometown of Detroit out to San Francisco.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This book tells the story of Juliet, a newspaper columnist who receives a letter from a man on the island of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The correspondence continues, as Juliet is drawn more and more into the eclectic lives of the people on the island.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
This book focuses on the friendship between two girls: Victoria Leonard and Caitlin Somers. The novel traces their friendship as they spend every summer together as they grow up, and focuses on how their relationship becomes more complicated the older they get.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This fantasy novel tells the tale of a magical travelling circus that comes and goes with no warning. The Cirque des Reves is open only at night and it revolves around two young magicians-Celia and Marco, as they duel with magic.
Millennium series by Stieg Larsson
This series consists of three books: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. This page-turning crime series focuses on two main characters: Lisbeth Salander a girl genius with poor social skills and Mikail Blomkvist, an investigative journalist.
The Beach by Alex Garland
This book tells the story of English backpacker Richard, who is given a map to a hidden beach located in the Gulf of Thailand. The book traces his journey to the island and what happens once he arrives there.
The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner
If you have ever dreamt of throwing caution into the wind and going to travel the world, this book might be just what you need to convince yourself to take that leap.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Bryson uses his usual humour as he regales the reader with the tale of his attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Set in the 1930’s Southern United States in the middle of the Great Depression, this book follows Thea Atwell as she is sent to an equestrian boarding school for debutantes after her involvement in a family tragedy.
Other notable page turners that make for great summer reading: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.
Tons of great authors hail from the Muskoka area, and many of the books take place there. And what better time to read about Muskoka then when you are in Muskoka?
Providence Island by Gregor Robinson
Ray Carrier returns to the Northern Lakes of Ontario to bury his father, and his past comes back to him in the form of an old tangled romantic web and familiar natural settings.
The Muskoka Novels by Gabriele Wells
The trilogy includes The Summer Before the Storm, Elusive Dawn and Under the Moon, all historical fiction novels, that trace the lives of members of the wealthy Wyndham family during the dawn of the Great War, and beyond.
Muskoka Mystery Novels by Liam D. Dwyer
These murder mystery novels set in Muskoka include Murdoch in Muskoka, Muskoka Death and Diamonds, Muskoka Bound and Betrayed and Muskoka Rage and Retribution. They follow inspector Ian Murdoch as he investigates murders around the Muskoka area.
New Releases for 2014
I’ll Be Right There by Kyung Sook Shin
Release date: June 3
This South Korean author has been widely read in her own country for decades, but her books recently became available in North America. This book tells the story of Jung Yoon as she looks back on her crazy life in mid 1980s South Korea.
California: A Novel by Edan Lepucki
Release: July 8
This debut novel follows Cal and Frida after their escape from a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, when they go to live alone in the wilderness. When Frida gets pregnant, they decide to reenter society because they think it will be safer, but little do they know, that might not be the case.
Motor City Burning by Bill Morris
Release: July 15
This is the story of Willie Bledose, an activist in the 1960s who is trying to write a memoir about the 1960s in Detroit. While in Detroit, Beldose becomes the top suspect in an unsolved murder.
Friendship by Emily Gould
Release: July 1
This novel covers the friendship of two 30-year-old women, who have been friends for many years. Bev lives a fairly aimless life, and Amy has been coasting along so far. The book provides a great examination of the complexities of friendship.
Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro
Release: May 13
This book documents two summer days at a beach house, where a group of 30 something friends get together, only to realize that they aren’t happy with the direction their lives are taking.
Off Course: A Novel by Michelle Huneven
This novel set in the early 1980s is about Cressida Hartley, a PHD candidate who goes to live in her parents vacation cabin in the Sierras, and ends up getting caught up in the mountain community.
With all these options (and so many more) to choose from, your summer reading list should be a full one. So sit back in a comfy chair or hammock, grab a drink, enjoy the sun and have fun being transported to all the different worlds these novels bring to life.