Looking for a Great Summer Read? We Got You

This list has something for everyone

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Four books are featured overtop of a pink and blue backdrop. They are part of Chatelaine's "summer beach reads" list.

There’s nothing better than devouring an entire book in one dock-side session. Get ready for new books by heavy-hitters Miriam Toews, Lauren Groff and JP Delaney, and to be swallowed up by stories about time-travelling couples, painful family reunions and (wait for it!) sink holes. Here are 18 of the buzziest reads of the summer.

"An Ocean of Minutes," by Thea Lim.

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
June 26, 2018

Toronto-based Thea Lim’s debut novel centres around a couple, Frank and Polly, during a deadly flu pandemic in the U.S. When Frank is infected, the pair hatch a radical plan involving time travel to try and save him. With praise from the likes of authors Omar El Akkad and David Chariandy, and comparisons to Station Eleven, Lim’s debut could prove to be the must-read CanLit offering this summer. —Sadiya Ansari

"The Book of M" by Peng Shepherd.

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
June 5, 2018

This sci-fi debut follows a couple running from a horrific plague that steals the afflicted person’s shadow and memories. Max and Ory resettle in an abandoned hotel in the woods and find a new normal, until Max’s shadow disappears. She leaves to save her husband from the danger she poses, but he follows her in an effort to salvage the time they have left together. —S.A.

"Florida" by Lauren Groff.

Florida by Lauren Groff
June 5, 2018

Bestselling author Groff’s latest offering is a collection of 11 stories centred in Florida where danger lurks in the form of hurricanes and sinkholes, among other things. Given that Groff counts Barack Obama as a member of her fanclub, and that some of these stories have already been published in the New Yorker, it’s unsurprising that this book of short stories is one of the most anticipated of the year. —S.A.

"My Year of Rest and Relaxation" by Ottessa Moshfegh.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
July 10, 2018

Ottessa Moshfegh’s reputation as a young literary star was cemented when her last novel, Eileen, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2016. Her latest features a Columbia grad living in Manhattan in a pre-financial crash, pre-9/11 world, where anything seems possible. But what she really wants is to take a year away from life—so she spends under the influence of as many drugs as her psychiatrist agrees to prescribe. She’s forced to re-enter the world when her best friend’s mother dies. —S.A.

"Kudos" by Rachel Cusk.

Kudos by Rachel Cusk
June 5, 2018

Two-time Giller Prize nominee Rachel Cusk completes the trilogy that includes Outline and Transit with Kudos. The Canadian-born, London-based author centres this story around the same character, Faye, a middle-aged divorcee. In this book, Faye heads to a literary festival in a southern European city, starting as Outline did, with a confession from Faye’s seatmate on the plane. —S.A.

"Women Talking" by Miriam Toews.

Women Talking by Miriam Toews
August 21, 2018

Miriam Towes’s latest work is based on real events that happened in a remote Mennonite community where the drugging and assault of more than 100 girls and women was repeatedly dismissed as the work of “demons.” Toews’s novel considers the aftermath of a similar horrific circumstance and takes place in the 48 hours following the attackers’ arrests, with the women gathering to debate their next move—forgive these men and stay in their community, or leave? —S.A.

"When Life Gives You Lululemons" by Lauren Weisberger.

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger
June 5, 2018

From the writer who gave us the gift of The Devil Wears Prada 15 years ago comes a new book exploring what happens to power editor Miranda Priestley’s other assistant, Emily Charlton. Working as an image consultant to celebs, Charlton feels left behind in the social media era—until a former supermodel’s DUI charge provides a perfect opportunity to get back in the game. —S.A.

"All You Ever Wanted" by Emily Giffin.

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin
June 26, 2018

Best-selling author Emily Giffin’s books are frequently slapped with the label “chick lit,” but her latest novel once again proves easy-to-read isn’t always equivalent to superficial. The story centres around Nina Browning, whose seemingly perfect life starts to quickly crumble when her 18-year-old son Finch is accused of circulating a graphic photo of an underage girl, Lyla, at his school. The story is told from alternating perspectives: Nina’s, Lyla’s and Lyla’s father, Tom. —S.A.

"The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
June 5, 2018

Helen Hoang introduces readers to Stella, a 30-year-old woman who is really good at work, but not so good at romance. Hoang has openly talked about how she mined her own experience with autism to create this character. In the book, Stella is determined to improve her relationship skills. She hires an escort, Michael, to get her up to speed, but their professional relationship is quickly muddled with personal complications. —S.A.

"Ayesha at Last" by Uzma Jalaluddin.

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
June 12, 2018

Uzma Jalaluddin’s debut has been billed as a modern Pride and the Prejudice, but instead of Elizabeth and Darcy, we’re introduced to Ayesha and Khalid. Set in Toronto, the plot follows Ayesha, who is both suppressing her dreams to be a poet and her attraction to conservative Khalid. —S.A.

"Old in Art School" by Nell Irvin Painter.

Old in Art School by Nell Irvin Painter
June 19, 2018

Retired Princeton history professor Irvin Painter’s last book, The History of White People, attracted attention for being an interrogation of whiteness as a concept. Her latest is a memoir about the ageism and racism she faced as a misfit in art school. —S.A.

"The Terrible" by Yrsa Daley-Ward.

The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward
June 5, 2018

Yrsa Daley-Ward is a British writer and model. The success of her first self-published book of poetry, bone, landed her a reprint deal with Penguin. The Terrible is a memoir that plays with poetry, prose and point of view, covering the challenges of having to grow up too quickly in a small English town. —S.A.

"Sick" by Porochista Khakpour.

Sick by Porochista Khakpour
June 5, 2018

Earning praise from Cheryl Strayed, Khakpour’s memoir about late-stage Lyme disease takes readers through her journey through misdiagnosis, mental illness, addiction and coping with a chronic illness that has no cure. —S.A.

"Believe Me" by JP Delaney.

Believe Me by JP Delaney
July 24, 2018

An actress gets sucked into the hunt for a serial killer in the latest from the author of last year’s chart-topper, The Girl Before. You could call this a guilty pleasure, but why feel guilty about a read so addictive you devour it in a single dock session? — Courtney Shea

"Heartbreaker" by Claudia Dey.

Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey
August 20, 2018

When her mother disappears barefoot in the middle of the night, Pony Darlene Fontaine is dragged into a mystery where every character holds a piece of the puzzle. The Hollywood Reporter compared the latest by Toronto author and designer Dey to the supernatural Netflix sensation Stranger Things. —C.S.

"Invitation to a Bonfire" by Adrienne Celt.

Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt
June 5, 2018

This historically inspired mystery about a brilliant author, a love triangle and an all-girls boarding school in the 1920s is told through a series of letters and diary entries and based on the marriage of the Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Véra. —C.S.

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza
June 12, 2018

The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s new publishing imprint tells the story of an Muslim-Indian-American family reunited before a wedding. Like most family reunions, this one doesn’t go smoothly. —C.S.

"No One Tells You This" by Glynnis MacNicol.

No One Tells You This by Glynnis McNicol
July 10, 2018

When she turned 40, MacNicol had a successful career and great friends. She still felt out of step in a world where her peers were focused on their relationships and motherhood. Her memoir chronicles a super honest and totally hilarious journey or self-discovery. —C.S.

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