Best-of Bookshelf

282dfbb332f3e97f754a2ff8042f68a7Hello fellow book obsessed people. In a fit of anxiety-fuelled fun, I decided that it would be a good idea to organize my bookcases by colour (ah, aesthetics), with one central book case being the my die-hard books, all of the ones that I stayed up all night reading. As summer is around the corner and we can all envision sitting in a Muskoka chair and reading all day, every day (no? just me?) here is a list of some great books to sink your teeth into for Summer 2017.

Book 1: Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

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If you’ve never read this, go out immediately, read and be obsessed. A book for people who love books, who are into dystopia but think it’s been a bit overdone, who think that art and literature have a value in and of themselves, or who just want to stay up all night reading.

The book starts on a snowy night in Toronto at the Elgin Theatre, when actor Arthur Leander dies on stage, while a man from the audience desperately tries to save him. That same night, an Ebola-like flu arrives in Toronto carried by passengers on a plane from Moscow – the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. 25 years later, one of the people who was acting with Arthur that night is part of something called the “Travelling Symphony,” a group who moves between the settlements in the New World (one without electricity, infrastructure, or many people) performing Shakespeare and other plays, because “survival is insufficient.” As they get caught in the crosshairs of a self-styled “Prophet” (the leader of a doomsday cult) this new world gets scarier, and the book flips back and forth in time through all the people connected to Arthur Leander to discover how deep the ties are that bind them all together.

2. The Martian, by Andy Weir 18007564

Okay, so this book isn’t exactly great literature. And the author isn’t exactly amazing at writing. But damn he can write a fun, entertaining story. This book is about Mark Watney, a man who is left for dead (accidentally) on Mars during a future Mars exploration mission, and is forced to come up with a way to survive on a planet. If you’re anything like me, you’ll still be up at 4 am waiting to figure out what happened.

3. Century Trilogy, by Ken Follett 6a00d8345175a969e201b8d241e992970c

Amazing historical fiction? Check. Lots of interesting historical facts? Check. Extremely steamy scenes that will make you think vaguely of Fifty Shades? Check.

These books (Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, Edge of Eternity) are as big as the 20th century that they cover. They follow five families in England, Wales, Germany, Russia and the United States through the First, Second and Cold Wars. Granted, this is not a stay-up-all-night kind of read (in that if you tried to do so, at 1000 pages each, that’s a lot more than one night) but they are an amazing read nonetheless.

4. Primates of Park Avenue51vDPuin9AL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

A fascinating analysis of women’s roles in the uber-wealthy life of the Upper East Side. Written by an anthropologist, it assesses how motherhood and marriage play out in a subsection of society that many of us have very little knowledge of. Sounds a bit boring and academic, but trust me, it’s amazing.

5. Little Princes, Connor Grennan download-2

What a fantastic book! Connor goes to Nepal on a volun-tourism mission that he now speaks out against, and discovers that the orphanage he’s working at is full of kids who were trafficked out of a remote region in Nepal. This heartwarming, touching story I first read in India, and I sobbed my heart out all over a restaurant in Udaipur.

6. Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty Big_Little_Lies_Cover

Do I love Australian accents, or what? To be honest, I love the audiobook version of this particularly because of that. Regardless, Big Little Lies is a fascinating story of three women and motherhood gone bananas. Made famous by the HBO series of the same name, trust me, the book is WAY better. You’ll stay up all night trying to figure out whodunnit, but also who died.

7. World War Z, Max Brooks World_War_Z_book_cover

Do you like Zombies? Are you interested in socio-political commentary? A book that you can’t put down? You’ll find all three here.

8. Road Trip Rwanda, Will Ferguson download-1

Amazing book about modern Rwanda, a country I went to last year and completely fell in love with. Yes, you may have read Shake Hands with the Devil, but you should read this as an excellent counterpoint and reflection on modern Rwanda, both influenced by the genocide and struggling to move beyond it.

9. Bossypants, by Tina Fey download

One summer in Jerusalem I accidentally got on a segregated by bus (men and women) in an ultra-orthodox suburb, sat in the wrong section, was surrounded by men who were staring at me like I had lost my mind, but didn’t mind because I had this book and was laughing so hard that I nearly peed my pants. That would have been the only thing that made me stand out more.

 

What other books have I missed that you should read this summer!?

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