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Summer Reading: 10 Guaranteed Beach Pleasers

Dig out the sunscreen, pack your bathing suit and head to the beach with one of our picks for summer's best novels / BY Nathalie Atkinson / June 24th, 2022


You’ve bookmarked our Zed Book Club listicles. You’ve put yourself in a beachy mood with our Downton Abbey-inspired Riviera Reading List, and refreshed your memory by reading about the irresistible fiction we’ve already covered this season (like the runaway hit Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus) on my April, May, and June recommendations. But as promised in The Big Read: In Praise of Summer Reading, here are 10 more picks guaranteed to please everyone under the summer sun.

Obsessive Book Buyers: Zoomer editors have carefully curated our book coverage to ensure you find the perfect read. We may earn a commission on books you buy by clicking on the cover image.

1Trustby Hernan Diaz

Is there anything more satisfying than warm sunshine and narratives about wealthy people who are utterly miserable? This page-turning saga is a cleverly plotted, Rashomon-like, Russian nesting doll of a novel, with eccentric moguls worthy of Succession, and has a heartless powerful Manhattan financier and philanthropist at its heart. It’s a shrewd novel of tricks, snobbery and several unreliable narrations that only a Pulitzer Prize finalist could pull off.


2Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith

This novel doesn’t need a push from us – it’s already the June selection for the Barnes & Noble Book Club and Amazon Books’ just-launched monthly group. But we’re recommending the latest from Kentucky-based homemaker (who Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller’) anyway. The story of a middle-aged woman, who – after her husband’s betrayal – relocates to Paris for a fairytale year of European pleasures while reassessing her life, scratches the itch for both wanderlust and wish fulfillment.


3The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Set around a crowded reading room table at the Boston Public Library, this Australian lawyer-turned-writer’s metafictional romp is easily the most satisfying mystery-within-a-mystery of the year. It’s structured as chapters of a novel by, and about, a mystery writer, who’s swapping draft notes with her assistant proofreader from afar when a real homicide (or is it?) takes place. As everyone present becomes a suspect, asides in the margins of their correspondence address pandemic precarity, the unhoused, racial inquality – and whodunit.


4The Latecomer by Jean Hanff Korelitz

The New York Times bestselling author of many page-to-screen novels, including HBO’s The Undoing with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, is back with another multigenerational character study about – what else? – a rich but dysfunctional New York family. The IVF-conceived Oppenheimer triplets and their parents don’t like one another much, and that is exacerbated when they go off to college, and their lonely mother opts to have another child with the spare fourth embryo. The slow-paced novel grapples with the challenges of their campus lives and balances the drama happening at home, across three timelines.


5A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Huntingby Sophie Irwin

Here’s a cure for Bridgerton withdrawal. Step 1: see Mr. Malcolm’s List (in cinemas July 1), the Jane Austen-inspired comedy with colour-blind casting and racially blended aristocratic families about the upper-class mating rituals of Regency-era England. Step 2: Stretch out on the chaise lounge with this delightful comedy of manners, a debut by a former assistant publishing editor that’s a whirl of high-stakes scheming social climbers and barbed bon mots. (July 12)


6Once a Thief by Christopher Reich

The Swiss-American’s novel was fresh in my mind when a 1955 Mercedes-Benz sold for a record-setting US$143 million at auction in the spring, because the similar sale of a rare 1963 Ferrari is what sets his breathless thriller in motion. It’s a classic premise: suave private spy Simon Riske (i.e. Cary Grant, if he’d been 007) follows the money. But Reich’s execution is equal parts Bond and Bourne, by way of filmmaker Guy Ritchie’s self-consciously slick aesthetic. The prose’s action is vivid and so are the Russian oligarch henchmen, and it all hinges on suspenseful forensic accounting (yes, really) as Riske gallivants from California to Switzerland, Sardinia and Corsica, with the help of a deftly purloined American Express Black Card and untraceable operatives over WhatsApp. I don’t know how I missed this fantastic series before, and although it totally works as a standalone, I’ll be reading the rest this summer.


7The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick

A mysterious and reclusive bestselling author dies, leaving her house cleaner to dispose of her extensive library. The will’s other proviso is a bigger ask: Liv, the maid (and aspiring writer), is also required to complete her final manuscript. This uplifting dive into the writing life – by an English author whose stories have been made into Hallmark movies – is peppered with both hope and literary references. It’s the stuff bibliophile dreams are made of, and will leave you grinning. (June 28)


8You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

This sultry novel follows Feyi, a young widow, as she gets back into the dating (and hookup) scene. The queer Black woman’s search for healing from grief and trauma takes her on a complicated whirlwind romance from New York to the Caribbean, where Nigerian author Emezi (The Death of Vivek Oji) is especially alive to the particulars and healing rhythms of island culture. A vein of melancholy courses through it and keeps it grounded, but fair warning: You’ll need a cool dip or two while reading this explicit, sex-positive romance.

 


9A Shoe Story by Jane L. Rosen

This charmer unexpectedly disarmed my baseline cynicism. As Esme dog-sits for a high-powered woman (with a Carrie-worthy walk-in closet), each chapter takes her on an excursion around New York in a different pair of designer shoes (Chapter Five: The Lanvin Black Patent Leather Mary Janes). Underneath the American author’s fabulous descriptions of fabulous footwear is a heartwarming story about second chances at life and love, brought about by the unlikely cross-generational friendship between Esme (whose promising career was derailed by years of caring for her father) and nonagenarian Sy, the locally famous founder of a legendary New York deli.


10George Michael’s Faith by Matthew Horton

The latest 33 1/3 title is for culture vultures short on concentration or simply craving something light to toss into the beach tote. Each book in the series goes behind the scenes of a single major album. Here, music journalist Horton delves into the making of Michael’s landmark Faith, after the singer took a risk leaving Wham! at 23, and the 1987 solo album went on to sell 25 million copies. Horton analyses song themes and critical response against the background of Thatcher-era British politics, but if this Gen X icon isn’t your jam, the series has previously turned its lens on Kraftwerk, Celine Dion, Neil Young and Donna Summer’s anthemic Once Upon a Time.


THE SCROLL

Here are the 5 Books on Bill Gates’ Holiday Reading ListThe billionaire philanthropist is giving hundreds of copies to little libraries around the world


Sheila Heti and Eli Baxter Among 2022 Governor General’s Literary Award WinnersToronto writer Sheila Heti took home the fiction award for 'Pure Colour,' a novel the GG peer assessment committee called "a work of genius."


Suzette Mayr Wins $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for ‘The Sleeping Car Porter’The 2022 Giller Prize jury called Mayr's novel "alive and immediate — and eerily contemporary."


Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards: Authors Nicholas Herring, Dan Werb Nab Top PrizesThe Writers' Trust of Canada awards amounted to a combined monetary prize value of $270,000.


Bob Dylan Releases ‘The Philosophy of Modern Song,’ a Book of Essays Dissecting 66 Influential SongsIn his new book, Bob Dylan offers up both critique and historical insight into various musical recordings of the last century by a variety of popular artists.


Prince Harry’s Memoir ‘Spare’ Will Be Published in January 2023The long-awaited memoir will tell with "raw unflinching honesty" Prince Harry's journey from "trauma to healing", his publisher said on Thursday.


Sri Lankan Author Shehan Karunatilaka Wins 2022 Booker PrizeKarunatilaka won the prestigious prize on Monday for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’, about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.


Canadian Council for the Arts Reveals Governor General’s Literary Awards FinalistsThe finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards spotlight books in both the English and French language, as well as translated works.


New Penguin Random House Award Named After Michelle Obama Will Honour High School WritersMichelle Obama Award for Memoir will provide a $10,000 college scholarship to a graduating public school senior based on their autobiographical submission.


French Author Annie Ernaux, 82, Becomes First French Woman to Win Nobel Prize for LiteratureThe author said, of winning, that "I was very surprised ... I never thought it would be on my landscape as a writer."


Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


Prince William “Cannot Forgive” Prince Harry, According to ‘The New Royals’ Author Katie NichollPrince William “just cannot forgive his brother,” according to Katie Nicholl, author of 'The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.'


Five Finalists Announced for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for NonfictionThe winner — to be announced on November 2 — will take home the annual $60,000 prize.


Peter Straub, Bestselling American Horror Writer, Dies at 79Friend and co-author Stephen King has said the author's 1979 book, "Ghost Story," is his favourite horror novel.


Rawi Hage, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Sheila Heti Make the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Long ListThe jury read 138 books to choose 14 titles for the long list, one of which will win the $100,000 prize, one of the richest in Canadian literature


Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


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