Books

13 buzzy books you should read before summer ends

Here are the books making waves from Canada and beyond.

Here are 13 books making waves from Canada and beyond. Read them before the summer ends!

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Fleishman Is in Trouble is a novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Penguin Random House, Eric Tanner)

Taffy Brodesser-Akner's new novel, Fleishman Is in Trouble, is about a middle-aged doctor in New York named Toby Fleishman, who has just ended a 14-year marriage. He's pretty sure there's only one villain in his story. It's obviously his ex-wife Rachel, who always paid more attention to her high-powered career than to their family. Then one day Rachel drops their two kids off at his apartment and disappears. Toby is forced to deal with the fallout, and to consider the possibility that he never really understood the story of his own marriage.

Brodesser-Akner is a writer for the New York Times Magazine. Fleishman Is in Trouble is her first novel.

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Whisper Network is a novel by Chandler Baker. (Raincoast Books, Eryn Chandler)

Sloane, Ardie, Grace and Rosalita are colleagues at Truviv, Inc. where they work for a man named Ames, who has, for years, been trailed by rumours about how he treats women. When Ames emerges as the frontrunner to take over the company, the four women decide they can no longer afford to be ignored.

Chandler Baker is the author of five YA books and is also a corporate attorney in Texas. Whisper Network is her first novel for adults.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys is a novel by Colson Whitehead. (Madeline Whitehead, Doubleday Canada)

Based on a real reform school in Florida that operated for over a century, The Nickel Boys is the chilling tale of a young black man named Elwood Curtis who is sent to live at a juvenile reformatory after an innocent mistake. The Nickel Academy bills itself as a place of "physical, intellectual and moral training," but in reality it is a place where young boys are subject to physical and sexual abuse. Coming of age in the early 1960s, Elwood struggles to hold onto the words of his idol, Dr. Martin Luther King, in the face of cruelty.

Colson Whitehead is a celebrated American writer whose previous book, The Underground Railroadwon the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, Carnegie Medal for fiction and many other honours.

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Trick Mirror is an essay collection by Jia Tolentino. (Random House, Elena Mudd)

Trick Mirror is a collection of insightful and humourous essays from New Yorker staff writer Jia Tolentino. With each essay, Tolentino tackles some phenomenon of popular culture — from social media to female literary characters — and explores the way they interact with our own self-delusions.

Tolentino was born in Toronto, but grew up primarily in the U.S. Trick Mirror is her first book.

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy is a novel by Lauren Wilkinson. (Random House, Niqui Carter)

Inspired by true events and set during the Cold War, American Spy follows FBI agent Marie Mitchell, who is tired of getting passed over for assignments in favour of her white male colleagues. Mitchell ends up jumping at the opportunity to join a task force that will take down Burkina Faso president Thomas Sankara, a revolutionary that she secretly admires. Over the course of a year, Mitchell observes, seduces and plays a role in taking Sankara out — and learns about what she is truly capable of along the way.

Lauren Wilkinson is a writer from New York. American Spy is her first novel. Former president Barack Obama recommended it on his summer reading list for 2019.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Three Women is a nonfiction book by Lisa Taddeo. (Simon & Schuster, J. Waite)

For Three Women, journalist Lisa Taddeo spent eight years travelling across the U.S., hearing the stories of ordinary women from a variety of backgrounds and learning about their complicated perspectives on desire. Three women are featured in this book: Lina, a suburban mom from Indiana who ends up having an affair after her husband refuses to kiss her on the mouth, Maggie, a 17-year-old high school student from North Dakota who describes having a physical relationship with her married teacher, and Sloane, a successful business owner whose husband enjoys watching her have sex with others.

Taddeo lives in New England. Her writing has been published in New York Magazine, Esquire, Elle, Best American Sports Writing and best American Political Writing.

From the Ashes by Jesse Thistle

From the Ashes is a memoir by Jesse Thistle. (Lucie Thistle, Simon & Schuster)

Abandoned by his parents and raised by his difficult grandparents, Jesse Thistle struggled with addiction as an adult and spent 10 years homeless. Thistle is now a leading academic and expert on Indigenous homelessness. He has earned many honours for his work in academia, including the 2016 Governor General's Silver Medal. He is also a Trudeau and Vanier Scholar. He shares his story of overcoming his circumstances in the memoir, From the Ashes.

Thistle is of Métis-Cree heritage and is an assistant professor at York University in Toronto.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid is the author of Daisy Jones & The Six. (Doubleday Canada)

Told in a series of transcribed interviews, Daisy Jones & The Six tells the story of a legendary 1970s rock group that mysteriously broke up at the height of their fame. The two central characters of the book are Billy Dunne, the leader of The Six who has a drug problem, and Daisy Jones, a singer with a soulful voice and a gift for songwriting. Daisy Jones and The Six make it big together, but a power struggle over creative control creates tension in the group.

Taylor Jenkins Reid, a writer based in L.A., is also the author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Film and television rights for Daisy Jones & The Six have been acquired by Reese Witherspoon, who is producing a 13-episode adaptation for Amazon.

Love Lives Here by Amanda Jetté Knox

Amanda Jetté Knox is the author of Love Lives Here. (Submitted by Amanda Jetté Knox, Viking)

Amanda Jetté Knox chronicles the making of her loving family in the memoir Love Lives Here. Happily married with three children, Knox noticed that her middle child was struggling with depression and skipping school. After Alexis came out as transgender at the age of 11, Knox dove headlong into trans rights research and advocacy. Just over a year later, Knox's spouse came out as transgender, marking another, ultimately triumphant, transition for the family.

Love Lives Here is Knox's first book. She also blogs at The Maven of Mayhem.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang, pictured above at the premiere of the film adaptation Arrival, is the author of Exhalation. (Knopf, Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures International)

Exhalation is a collection of sci-fi stories from celebrated writer Ted Chiang. Stories include The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate, which sends a Baghdad fabric seller through a time portal, and Exhalation, the tale of an alien scientist's universe-altering discovery.

Chiang is the author of the novella Story of Your Life, which was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film Arrival. His work has won Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards. He lives in Washington.

Normal People by Sally Rooney  

Sally Rooney's second novel is Normal People. (Knopf Canada, Jonny L. Davies)

Normal People follows the lives of Connell Waldron, a popular football star from a poor family, and Marianne Sheridan, a teenage outcast from a wealthy background. Despite being opposites in many ways, Connell and Marianne form a lifelong friendship, straying in and out of romance along the way.

Normal People is Irish writer Sally Rooney's second novel. It won the 2018 Costa Novel Award and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a novel by poet Ocean Vuong. (Tom Hines, Penguin Press)

In On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeousa man in his late 20s writes a moving, history-spanning letter to his mother, who is illiterate. The narrator, Little Dog, looks back on his ancestors in Vietnam and examines how his family history has shaped him and the secrets he bears.

Ocean Vuong is a Vietnamese-American poet whose book Night Sky with Exit Wounds won the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award and others. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is his first novel.

Bunny by Mona Awad

Bunny is a novel by Mona Awad. (Hamish Hamilton, Brigitte Lacombe)

Scholarship student Samantha Heather Mackey feels like an outsider in her elite MFA program, especially when it comes to her fiction writing class. That's where she first encounters the Bunnies, a comically tight-knit group of annoying rich girls who invite Samantha to their exclusive "Smut Salon." Against her better judgment, Samantha is drawn into the Bunnies' orbit.

Mona Awad's previous novel, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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