Justine's Summer Picks
When you finally have some time off work this summer, grab a glass of wine or a pint and crack open a book. There is nothing more relaxing than that, in my world anyway.
And if you’re wondering what you should read when you’re at the cottage or relaxing in your backyard, I’ve picked my favourites of the season:
FICTION - must-reads this season
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout
This is a book by an author who was intensely passionate about writing it, and that is evident. It’s about obsession, and Tanis Rideout herself has been obsessed with the subject matter. In 1924, George Mallory and a team of mountaineers attempted to reach Mount Everest’s summit. But George and another team member disappeared. George’s body was just found in 1999. It’s a mystery to this day whether he ever made it to the summit, decades before the first recorded successful climb in the 50s. Tanis spent years studying the mystery, and reading personal letters between George and his wife, and she has put it into a beautifully written (fictional) novel. Click here for more on Above All Things, and to listen to my interview with the author.
The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam
Here is another book that deserves a lot of buzz. It’s a real page-turner. It’s suspenseful, intense, and full of unexpected turns. The book is based in Vietnam during the war in the 60s and 70s. It centres around headmaster Percival Chen, who has a weakness for women and gambling. Percival struggles between controlling his weaknesses and trying to save his son from the devastation of the war. I don’t want to sound too dramatic, but this book is like a symphony that builds up to the very last few bars. Click here for more on The Headmaster’s Wager, and to listen to my interview with the author.
Beerlicious by Ted Reader
You can't have a summer reading list without a cookbook, and you also can't have a proper summer without a BBQ and nice cold beer. This book combines all of that into one. Ted Reader knows meat and he knows beer. His recipes, each of which uses a different kind of beer from around the world, are not only delicious, but also incredibly fun to make. Who would have ever thought to inject a scallop with Moosehead? If you're thirsty and hungry, have a BBQ nearby, and are feeling adventurous - go get yourself this fantastic cookbook! Click here for more on Beerlicious, and to watch a video of my visit to Ted’s “Casa BBQ.”
Straphanger by Taras Grescoe
This is my summer travel selection. No, it's not a typical travel book. It's about some of the worst and best transit systems in the world. But it's written from the perspective of someone who has a unique understanding of how a city becomes more than just a series of buildings and a group of people. As someone who has never owned a car, and as someone who has an intense passion for subways, Taras Grescoe has an interesting perspective on what makes a city a community. Click here for more on Straphanger, and to listen to my interview with the author.
The Steel Seraglio by Mike, Linda and Louise Carey
If you're an adventurous reader and like books that are beyond unique -this is the book for you. I don’t even know how to categorize this one – there’s dark fiction, there’s adventure, there’s violence. At times it reminds me of Kill Bill. It’s brilliant. This book is about how a group of concubines creates a City of Women. And there is a lot of struggle along the way. It’s just such a fantastically strange book, for both men and women. Click here for more on The Steel Seraglio.
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