The Reading List: 13 Books to Enjoy in July

Freshen up your reading list with Emily Landau’s scintillating summer book picks. 

1 / 6

People Park
by Pasha Malla

Set in an isolated island city, this dystopian fable is a clever speculation on the dangers of extreme urbanism. Its inventive dialect evokes A Clockwork Orange; its menacing state police recalls The Man Who Was Thursday; and its intricate network of characters summons up Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town-yet the end result manages to be strikingly original.

2 / 6

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety
by Daniel Smith

This first-hand account is a sensitive and hilarious look at one of our era’s most common psychiatric complaints. It articulates perfectly how anxiety feels-the invasive, pervasive thoughts, the gut-wrenching physical panic and the certainty of catastrophe.

3 / 6

Above All Things
by Tanis Rideout

When George Mallory and his crew set off to conquer Everest, they took 44 tins of quail in foie gras and a case of champagne. Tanis Rideout chronicles the ill-fated expedition with a withering look at the fine line between heroism and hubris.

Sneak peek: “George imagined shapes in the ice. Outlines and memories. The seracs towered over him like the Manhattan skyline-great jutting façades of ice and stone, canyons thrown up around him. He was exhausted and sweltering. […] He felt as if he were dragging the line behind him up the mountain, up the side of a skyscraper.”

4 / 6

The secret guilty pleasure
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Women of all ages have been swept up in this erotic novel about a kinky relationship between a young college grad and her businessman lover. Even if S&M isn’t your thing, you’ll want to be in on the conversation.

Your teenage daughter’s next favourite
Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong, best known for her feminist YA fantasy fiction, wraps up her popular Women of the Otherworld series with-what else?-an epic battle between good and evil.

The can’t-miss science book
The Violinist’s Thumb by Sam Kean

Sam Kean does for DNA what Malcolm Gladwell did for statistics. His winning assessment of the double helix explains how genetics are responsible for everything from musical genius to crazy-cat-ladydom.

5 / 6

The all-nighter
The 500 by Matthew Quirk

Echoes of The Firm abound in this high-octane business thriller about a Harvard business grad who finds himself working for the most corrupt power broker in D.C.

Best consumed with a cold Guinness
The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa

The latest novel from the Peruvian Nobel laureate takes on an unexpected subject: the life of the little-remembered Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement, who was executed for treason in 1916 after trying to stage a country-wide rebellion.

Most eerily familiar dose of Canadiana
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Stephen Leacock

It’s been a century since Stephen Leacock published his charming story collection, and his characters can still be found populating small towns all over Ontario.

6 / 6

Perfect for a cottage weekend with the clan
The Red House by Mark Haddon

In his new novel, Mark Haddon picks apart the grudges and secrets plaguing a modern family when eight estranged relatives reunite for a tension-filled vacation at the summer home.

Quickest way to give your book club a jolt
The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The season’s buzziest book is far from feel-good. Charlotte Rogan’s debut, following a group of survivors on a lifeboat after their ocean liner has sunk, is a chilling parable that asks how far one should go in the interest of self-preservation.

Most satisfying superhero fix
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

This summer is packed with superhero movies, but the genre hit its creative peak with this dark, captivating graphic novel about a band of washed-up superheroes who don their masks when they realize they’re being targeted by someone determined to wipe out their kind.

Best portal to London
Bleak House by Charles Dickens

All eyes will be on London this summer for the Olympic Games. If you can’t be there, this masterful Victorian doorstopper is the next best thing.

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