A few months ago I read a magazine article featuring Crazy Rich Asian-worthy leather bags with the hottest spring novels poking out of them. I’m pretty sure they were capitalizing on the idea that in the last year or so every celebrity has started a book club and many are choosing to be photographed with book in hand. It looks like books are a go-to accessory. Well, we always knew that in the library!
Of course a sturdy, stylish bag is required to carry these important items. I approved of their thinking until I checked out the prices on the suggested handbags! One carried the caption “price available upon request” which is never a good sign if you are budget-minded. Now if you are the Duchess of Sussex then any bag is a possible purchase. Her bags will need to be roomy and practical for a while and the books she is more likely to carry will be board books. Or maybe she could look into reading Weird Parenting Wins? Perhaps she will be able to enjoy a novel once in a while if Harry shares the parenting. I do hope so.
If you are looking for some fabulous summer reads to carry around in your beach tote, here you go (they are also gorgeous so you will look extra snazzy just in case you happen to be caught by Waterloo paparazzi):
Roselle Lim’s debut novel is going to check several boxes for delightful summer reading because she is from Scarborough (let’s celebrate reading a Canadian author), and the book takes place in Montreal AND in San Francisco so it feels like taking a book vacation. Also, her main character struggles with some mother-daughter-grandmother guilt and then falls in love giving us a prize at the end of all of that painful family reflection. In Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune, Natalie has to return to the apartment she shared with her mother to tidy up, plan her mother’s funeral and decide what she will do with her legacy – the family restaurant. There is a love story in this book, the grief of losing her mother, and the excitement of lots of cooking (the author includes recipes) all set in a cozy San Francisco neighbourhood. I can’t think of anything more delicious – just look at that cover.
The last book that Blake Crouch wrote was so much fun to read that I am planning to pop some popcorn before I sit down with this one. Reading Dark Matter felt like watching a film with a full on thriller plot plus a touch of romance for balance and it looks like Recursion shares some of that same mix. Crouch has a neuroscientist researching false memory syndrome as a way to help Alzheimer patients but the wealthy tech guru who is funding her project might not have the best motives. Fantastic! In combination with this plot we have a NY detective investigating crimes that are linked to false memory syndrome and the thrills just keep piling on. It might be worth popping two bags of popcorn (or use any manner of snack preparation you feel is appropriate in your home) because with a story like this you will not want to leave the couch for a moment.
Roya and Bahman meet at the stationery shop in 1953 Tehran and slowly fall in love after an introduction by the owner, Mr. Fakhri. They start meeting weekly and agree to marry despite the protests of Bahman’s mother. One night he doesn’t appear at their agreed time and after several attempts to contact him Roya must eventually give up and move on with her life. Sixty years later they meet in Boston and she is able to find answers to the questions she has carried with her for decades. It’s a vibrant, lush story by Marjan Kamali of a young woman’s life and how she tries to move on from heartbreak. You can’t help but wonder what their first conversation will be like after those years apart.
And in the category of books I would have wished to be written if I knew that I should have been wishing for them is Evvie Drake Starts Over. This novel about an unlikely friendship between a grieving widow and a former Major League pitcher who has lost the ability to throw a baseball is going to be the highlight of my summer (even though I didn’t know that I could have been wishing for it). Baseball novels and summer go together like peanuts and Cracker Jack and their unlikely friendship turns into a romance. How do these people become friends and possibly more? They are introduced to each other by a mutual friend because Dean (the pitcher) needs somewhere to hide away from the New York media and a small town in Maine seems like the place. The best part of this remarkable summer read is that this is the first novel from NPR Host Linda Holmes so we know it is going to be warm, quirky and filled with authentic baseball references as she is known to frequent sports podcasts as a guest. Batter up! Evvie and I are going to be such good friends – I just know it.
Who wouldn’t want to read a thriller about a book club where too many bottles of wine are enjoyed and a game of never-have-I-ever goes too far? In the hands of Joshilyn Jackson I know that I am going to be invested in her characters but also a little bit tense because I will constantly worrying about them. This is the perfect book recipe for a summer afternoon read on a porch, dock or extra-long soccer practice. According to early reviews the main character, Amy Whey, is the perfect hostess, the kind of person who bakes cookies for new neighbours, and gets along with everyone (she is also a part-time diving instructor which is surely going create scenes which terrify me at some point) but finds herself on edge when a new book club member obviously knows too much about her secrets. Yes! How will it end? I couldn’t possibly guess but the publisher used the words “betrayal, deception & temptation” so you know it’s going to be great. I just hope it doesn’t cause me to worry when new people join our book club. Maybe I’ll just discourage everyone from playing ‘never have I ever’ after we talk about the book.
You might not be thinking like Emma or SJP and carrying books around strategically or basing your next project on a novel like Reese does but you still need something wonderful to fill your book bag. We have shelves filled with the latest choices for summer reading and would also be happy to help you out with a bargain of a stylish bag. For just $3.00 you can carry one that proudly says “Waterloo Public Library” and holds at least eight hardcovers and twice as many paperbacks. Come on summer – we are ready for you.
— Penny M.