Okay, so I know I blogged a few days ago about how I wasn’t going to have a summer reading list this year–and technically I’m not. My to-be-read pile is massive and I like the wide variety from which to choose on sheer whim when looking for the next book to read.
However, I thought I would offer my two cents on five books that you ought to consider reading this summer. I can’t really say whether these are beach reads as such, but these are books that I have either read and enjoyed thoroughly this year or am set to read very soon.
#5: The Bishop’s Man by Linden McIntyre – This was last year’s Giller Prize winner (a Canadian award for literature). I don’t think I’ve ever read a Giller winner, and if I have it was purely incidental. And McIntyre is a fellow Maritimer, so there’s one more reason to place this book on my library queue. The subject matter is a bit bleak, dealing with a priest called in to deal with accusations of child molestation by another priest in a Maritime parish. Timely by accident, as it was published before the whole fiasco involving the Vatican this year.
#4: The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman – Sarah Silverman is adorable and unassuming, but that girl has a real potty mouth. I think that’s why I love her. I have enjoyed her stand-up and her canceled-too-soon sitcom, and now she’s written what might best be described as a memoir–though I think this will be a more entertaining read than anything the self-indulgent celebs could write.
#3: Sparrow Rock by Nate Kenyon – It’s a wonderful thing when you can watch a horror film or read a horror novel involving teens and not feel like your intelligence has been insulted. It’s even better when the story is riveting from the get-go and manages to ramp up the tension with each chapter. Kenyon managed to tip-toe around a lot of possible clichés and offer an apocalyptic tale that feels fresher than most.
#2: Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky – This book came out of nowhere–well, it actually came out of Germany. Bronsky (a pseudonym) offers a very good debut effort with the story of a teenage girl named Sascha and her sullen existence in a seedy part of the city lovingly known as Broken Glass Park. One of the main things getting her through the day is a seething hatred for the man who killed her mother, the father of her two step-siblings–and the promise to herself that she’ll kill him as soon as he’s out of prison. Grim subject matter, but an engrossing read.
#1: Black Hills by Dan Simmons – This is my favorite read of the year so far. Dan Simmons somehow managed to blend the supernatural with a literary piece of historical fiction. After a young Sioux boy touches the body of a freshly killed General Custer, he becomes haunted by the war hero’s ghost–or something of that sort, it seems–through the rest of his life. The book jumps back and forth through time, showing Paha Sapa’s formidable youth, blossoming romance with a white woman, and his dying days as he plans to blow up Mount Rushmore on the day of its unveiling. It’s a gripping piece of work that you definitely ought to read.