Summer Entertainment Round-Up: Books & Music

The eight books and albums we can't wait to dive into this summer

It seems there is nothing better then getting lost in a captivating read or blissfully taking in a soulful new record during a sunny summer day. Get inspired by our list of beautifully crafted forthcoming books and music we can’t wait to get our hands on.


Big Brother: A Novel by Lionel Shriver, Released June 4

Author of We Need to Talk about Kevin and other impressive literary hits, Lionel Shriver brings us a fascinating read on “fatness” and family dynamics. Set in Iowa, the characters in Big Brother feel real and relevant as we see the extremes of American culture:  the protagonist’s husband is a cycling-obsessed fitness addict, while her visiting older brother has become shockingly overweight. Tensions rise when the newly reunited sibling overstays his welcome and the two lifestyles clash. Get your summer reading started now with this totally captivating new novel.

Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano, Release Date: July 9

The ballet dancer-turned-author’s literary debut tells the story of an imaginative young girl, Luz Castillo, whose older sister is in the ICU and father is in jail, leaving her in state custody. Luz becomes mute and consumed with her diary and a deck of lotería cards, a bingo-like Mexican game. Colourful images of lotería cards, with a diverse number of illustrated depictions from mermaids and spiders to death and stars, are featured throughout the haunting novel. Each illustration sparks a random memory for the young girl and readers gradually learn of the immense beauty and tragedy she has experienced in her short life.

Courtesy of penguin.com

Courtesy of penguin.com

The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury and Obssession On the Trail of a $50,000 Coat by Meg Lukens Noonan, Release Date: July 16

Meg Lukens Noonan unravels the rich history behind an entirely handcrafted overcoat that a fourth-generation tailor had made for one of his longtime clients. Moved “by the work of many hands to make a single perfect thing,” the author takes her readers on a mesmerizing trip to discover where and how the bespoke coat come into being. From travelling to Peru to find the exotic animal used for its wool, to learning how the silk lining was produced and the merchants involved in its trading, Noonon weaves together a dynamic story that honors the craftsmanship behind quality clothing.  The book will be sure to have you thinking about the histories behind your beloved heirlooms and prized possessions.

Falling Into The Fire: A Psychiatrist’s Encounters With The Mind In Crisis by Christine Montross, Release Date: August 1

Practicing psychiatrist Christine Montross reveals the complex and oftentimes contradictory nature of mental illness in her moving forthcoming book. Through telling the true stories of her patients in moments of profound crisis, readers will come to understand that each case and illness is uniquely individual. It becomes clear that there is no neat and tidy procedure for diagnosing and treating people in need and that an immense level of empathy and compassion is required to work with those in such a lost and vulnerable state of being. Get a copy this summer and uncover just how mysterious and unpredictable the human mind can be.


Courtesy of ssense.com

Black Atlass Photo Courtesy of ssense.com

Fool’s Gold EP Black Atlass, Released June 11

With his slick style and gritty R&B vocals, this devilishly handsome and demure Canadian talent is set to blow up big time.  Alex Fleming, who performs as Black Atlass, just released his first EP at 19 years of age and is already getting international attention. His modern ballads seem to beautifully fuse soulful melodies with electronic elements.  We also love how Black Atlass keeps things Canadian: his first video Paris was styled by Montreal-based boutique SSENSE. The newcomer is definitely on our music radar as we wait longingly for a full-length album.

Magna Carta Holy Grail Jay-Z, Release Date: July 4

Despite its imminent launch date, little is known about Jay-Z’s forthcoming album. Perhaps a hint of what’s to come: in his newly released promo clip, which has been splashed across a big screen in Times Square, we hear big time thumping beats that sound like the beginnings of instant hip-hop mega singles (but is anything less expected of Jay?). In the promo, Mr. Carter can also be seen hanging out with high-profile friends Pharrell, Rick Rubin and Swizz Beatz, suggesting something about potential collaborations. With talk of a new Beyoncé album and her world tour also on the horizon, it looks like our favourite music power couple is only growing stronger.

Self Titled Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Release Date: July 23

After having exploded onto the music scene in 2009 with a unique sound and internationally adored single, Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros have garnered an impressive music following. The eclectic and cool group seems to have an ever-growing number of bandmates who play every instrument under the sun. They also have a self-titled third album coming out and a new single This Life. Part indie pop/part neo-psychedelia, if the recently released track is any indication of what’s to come, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros will be rewarding their fans with a beautifully crafted set of dreamy songs perfect for long summer days.

Courtesy of Braids Facebook Page

Blaids Photo Courtesy of Braids Facebook Page

Flourish//Perish by Braids, Release Date: August 20

Montreal-based indie band Braids has seemly grown a lot while writing and recording their anticipated sophomore album.  Having lost one member and shifted from a guitar-based group to one focusing on synths and computerized electronics, Braids has progressed to become more experimental with their music.  The band has disclosed that they felt the shift towards electronic music made sense in keeping with the technologically focused world we live in. Through their newly released songs In Kind and Amends, the delicate lead vocals of singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston can be heard over ethereal electro beats. We can’t wait to hear the rest of this infectious album.

See our picks for the movies and TV shows on our summer must-watch list.