Friday June 17, 2016

Should I Read It: The Day 6 ultimate summer reading list

((Photo by Caiaimage / Getty Images))

Listen 10:49

Summer is here so Day 6 books columnist Becky Toyne is back with her annual Should I Read It? Summer Reads edition. This year, she's picked five new novels including a big award winner, a scary debut some of the season's biggest buzz books.  

Imagine Me Gone

Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett (Little, Brown)


Imagine Me Gone, by Adam Haslett

American author David Haslett's second novel tells the story of a troubled family through the voices of the parents and each of their three children. The five different perspectives span decades and focus, primarily, on 'The Beast', the name given to the severe depression suffered by the father and his eldest son.

Becky says: " The author is amazing at crafting these very different perspectives and the way you see this family deal with this tragic presence that's always there and how they try to deal with it. Michael's voice, the oldest son, is really quite extraordinary."
 

Homegoing

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Bond Street Books / Doubleday Canada)


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The debut novel by 26-year-old Yaa Gyasi begins in 18th century Ghana and ends in the present day. In between, we explore the lineage of two sisters and their personal history with slavery. One of the sisters marries the white British governor while the other is holed up under her sister's castle, about to sent to North America as a slave.

Becky says: "What's extraordinary about the book is that it gives you a family tree, which is something that slavery wiped out and this novel gives us one."


On the Shores of Darkness There is Light

On the Shores of Darkness There Is Light by Cordelia Strube (ECW Press)


On the Shores of Darkness There Is Light by Cordelia Strube

Cordelia Strube's latest novel takes us to Toronto where we meet a precocious 11-year-old artist named Harriet, who lives with her mom, her mom's boyfriend and her sick younger brother Irwin in a small apartment. The adults are too busy for the kids who mature beyond their age but lean heavily on the kind of youthful imagination necessary to turn a subsidized housing development into opportunity and whimsy.  

Becky says: "It's this sassy voice and not really like an 11-year-old would actually speak but it completely works. What is so beautiful about this story is that - at its heart - it's a story about the relationship between siblings."

 

SOMETHING SCARY FOR SUMMER
 

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (Simon & Schuster Canada)


I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Another debut novel from a Canadian writer, Iain Reid takes on the thoughtful thriller genre (is that a thing?) in "I'm Thinking of Ending Things". The story is about a road trip, a relationship, and driving down dark roads at night, literally and metaphorically.  There is an element of the unexpected so there's only so much we can say here.

Becky says: "It's a book with short sentences and fast chapters. It's the kind of book you can whip through if you don't get too scared. I was reading it at night and had to put it aside until the next day. You will find yourself thinking about it after and wondering how he did that." 


NEW AND NOTEWORTHY IN PAPERBACK

The Sympathizer

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press)


The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
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How's this for building buzz: Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize the same week it came out in paperback. The third debut novel on our list explores the aftermath of the Vietnam war. The narrator is a Vietnamese captain who is living in America after the war. He's a communist spy educated in America so he has sympathies for both sides and the story is his confession.  

Becky says: "It's a spy novel, it's a literary novel, it's a historical novel, it's a novel about assimilation and learning to be American but still trying to fight for the company you came from."


THE DAY 6 ULTIMATE SUMMER READS GIVEAWAY


Becky Toyne is a sucker for a good gold rush story so she would visit the New Zealand of  The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Brent is also ready to travel through time. He would visit the India of E.M. Forrester's Passage to India.

Now it's your turn. What book setting would you visit if you could?  Tell us and you just might win Day 6's Summer Reading List Giveaway!

For your chance to win all the books on Becky's 2016 summer reading list, think of your answer to the question: what book setting you would visit if you could? Then e-mail us at day6@cbc.ca. Put BOOKS in the subject line and please remember to include your mailing address with your answer.

We'll pick two winners at random.