Books

The CBC Books 2022 Summer reading list roundup

Looking for a book to read before summer ends? Check out the CBC Books reading lists for mystery and crime, historical fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, rom-com, comics and graphic novels, middle-grade & YA and picture books!

Looking for a book to read before the summer of 2022 ends?

Click the genre links below to check out the CBC Books reading lists for mystery and crime, historical fiction, sci-fi and fantasy, rom-com, comics and graphic novels, middle-grade & YA and picture books!

Mystery and crime books

The Darkness in the Light is a book by Daniel Kalla. (Simon & Schuster, Michael Bednar)

Our top pick: The Darkness in the Light by Daniel Kalla

The Darkness in the Light is the latest thriller from internationally bestselling author and physician Daniel Kalla. The novel follows the aftermath of the suicide of Brianna O'Brien, a patient of Dr. David Spears, who blames himself for potentially missing crucial warning signs.

When David suspects Brianna's friend, Amka Obed — whom he's also been treating virtually — is in crisis, he flies to her remote Arctic community in Alaska, only to discover that she has disappeared. What begins as a missing persons inquiry and suspicion over a pharmaceutical cover-up quickly spirals into a dangerous investigation.

Based in Vancouver, Kalla is an emergency-room physician and the bestselling author of 13 novels, which have been translated into 11 languages to date, and his Shanghai trilogy has been optioned for film.

Daniel Kalla, author of The Darkness in the Light, takes The Next Chapter's Proust questionnaire.

Historical fiction

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch is a novel by Rivka Galchen. (HarperCollins Canada, Sandy Tait)

Our top pick: Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch takes place in a small German town in 1618, where an elderly widow is accused of witchcraft. In the German duchy of Württemberg, fear is palpable — the plague is spreading, and the Thirty Years' War has begun. So when a woman named Ursula Reinbold accuses widow Katharina of offering her a witchy drink that has made her ill, Katharina is in trouble.

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch was shortlisted for the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

Galchen is a Canadian American writer. She is also the author of the novel Atmospheric Disturbances. She lives in New York City.

The Canadian-born American novelist talks about magic and science and her new book about the real-life witch trial of the mother of 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler.

Sci-fi and fantasy

The Immortal King Rao is a novel by Vauhini Vara. (WW Norton, Andrew Altschul)

Our top pick: The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara

In the novel The Immortal King Rao, a precocious child is born into a family of Dalit coconut farmers in 1950s India. King Rao will grow up to be the most accomplished tech CEO in the world and, eventually, the leader of a global, corporate-led government. In a future in which the world is run by the Board of Corporations, King's daughter, Athena, reckons with his legacy — literally, for he has given her access to his memories, among other questionable gifts.

Vauhini Vara is an American Canadian writer and technology reporter. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and an O. Henry Prize winner.

Romantic comedy

The Stand-In is a novel by Lily Chu. (Sourcebooks, Fred Lum)

Our top pick: The Stand-In by Lily Chu

In The Stand-In, Gracie Reed's world is turned upside down when a mysterious vehicle pulls up beside her on the street, revealing its occupants to be Chinese cinema's famous couple, Wei Fangli and Sam Yao. Fangli asks Gracie to be her stand-in, due to how much they look alike, and attend public events with the incredibly attractive yet infuriating Sam. Gracie, who needs the money to get her mother into a new nursing home, agrees, and is thrown into a world of luxury, glitz and glamour. 

The Stand-In is Lily Chu's debut rom-com novel. Chu writes romantic comedies set in Toronto with strong Asian characters. The audiobook of her second rom-com, The Comeback, will be out in summer 2022 and in print in spring 2023. 

Graphic novels and comics

World Record Holders is a comic by Guy Delisle. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Our top pick: World Record Holders by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher

World Record Holders collects set pieces from Guy Delisle's illustrious career as a cartoonist. Delisle includes wistful memories from childhood, as well as awkward moments as a well-known artist. He writes about meeting an angry woman at one of his own exhibitions who claimed he destroyed her marriage, about a childish Bows and Arrows game that turns life-threatening and about how a coded message from space is received and debated.

Delisle is an award-winning artist, cartoonist and author who was born in Quebec City and now lives in France. His books include Factory Summers and Hostage and the travelogues Burma ChroniclesJerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy CityPyongyang and Shenzhen.

Helge Dascher is a frequent translator of Delisle's comic books. She's also translated Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet and Paul Goes Fishing by Michel Rabagliati.

Middle-grade & YA

Swim Team is a middle-grade graphic novel written and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas. (HarperCollins, Amanda Palmer)

Our top pick: Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Swim Team follows middle schooler Bree as she navigates swim class. 

Bree is excited for her first day at her new middle school until she's stuck with the only elective class that fits her schedule, Swim 101. Swimming makes Bree sick to her stomach, but she's forced to dive headfirst into her fear. With the help of Etta, her elderly neighbour and former swim team captain, Bree becomes good at swimming. Her swimming obsessed community is counting on her to guide her school's failing swim to a state championship, but first, they have to defy all odds and beat their rival, Holyoke Prep. 

Swim Team is for ages 8 to 12.

Johnnie Christmas lives in Vancouver and is a #1 New York TImes bestselling graphic novelist. He's the author of the sci-fi series Tartarus and Crema, the book Firebug and is working on three middle-grade graphic novels. He's best known for creating the Angel Catbird series with Margaret Atwood and adapting the lost Alien 3 screenplay into a graphic novel of the same name. CBC Books named him a writer to watch in 2022.

Picture books

Martin and the River is a picture book by Jon-Erik Lappano, left, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. (Groundwood Books)

Our top pick: Martin and the River by Jon-Erik Lappano, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

In Martin and the River, young Martin loves to play by the sparkling river near his house under the bright sunshine. He watches the great blue herons and looks for crayfish and otters, and lies in the tall grass near the water.

But one day Martin's parents tell him they have to move away. When he visits his future home, none of the city's urban charms compare with his beloved river. But when Martin's parents show him a small stream running through the park, Martin discovers that his connection to nature can be just as special in the big city.

Martin and the River is for ages 3 to 6.

Jon-Erik Lappano is a children's book author from Ontario. His picture book Tokyo Digs a Garden won the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature (illustration).

Since 2005, award-winning Quebec-based artist Josée Bisaillon has illustrated more than 30 children's books and contributed to newspapers and magazines around the world.

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