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Rest, relaxation and something to read

Free Press Books editor Morley Walker offers tips on some hot summer books

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The lazy, hazy days of summer are when people have the most time to relax with a good book.
Whether you are at the cottage, at the beach or on your apartment balcony, you’ll need a guide to what the cool kids are reading.

No list can be all-inclusive. But here are 10 novels and 10 non-fiction books that are likely to be big this summer. Some are already available and others are coming in the next few weeks.


By Dan Brown (Doubleday, available now)

The latest adventure of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon has him racing against time to prevent a viral plague infecting the world.

Revenge Wears Prada:
The Devil Returns
By Lauren Weisberger (Simon & Schuster, available now)

Fashion mag wannabe Andy Sachs and her nemesis, editor Miranda Priestley, are reunited 10 years after the original novel became a bestseller and then a hit movie.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
By Karen Joy Fowler (Penguin, available now)

The California novelist, best known for The Jane Austen Book Club, tells an ambitious story about an unconventional American family.

J’Adore Paris
By Isabelle LaFleche
(HarperCollins, available now)

The Canadian corporate lawyer turned author returns with a sequel her 2010 chick-lit hit J’Adore New York. This time her heroine, Parisian lawyer Catherine Lambert, has landed her dream job with Christian Dior in the City of Light.

At the Edge, edited by Marjorie Anderson and Deborah Schnitzer
(Unlimited Editions, now available)

One of the more interesting experiments of the year, this collaborative venture, instigated by two Winnipeg English professors, involves some 14 writers who have each contributed a chapter and a character to a novel in which one character is destined to die.

The Shining Girls
By Lauren Beukes (Little, Brown, now available)

A little-known South African novelist is getting a big push from her publisher for this commercial novel billed as "The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in a story of a time-travelling serial killer.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
By Neil Gaiman (William Morrow, due June 18)

The highly popular British-born fantasy writer returns with his first adult novel since 2005’s Anansi Boys.

By Alison Nutting (HarperCollins, due July 2)

In this transgressive outing, a 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida recounts her seduction of a 14-year-old student.

Five Star Billionaire
By Tash Aw (Hamish Hamilton, due July 2)

This ambitious ensemble piece, by the London-based lawyer and author, focuses on a group of young people on the make in modern Shanghai.

Kind of Cruel
By Sophie Hannah (Putnam, due Aug. 6)

The popular British crime writer returns with a psychological thriller about a woman who undergoes hypnotherapy and finds herself arrested for the murder of a woman she has never heard of.


The Astronaut Wives Club
By Lily Koppel (Grand Central, now available)

The ’60s women who married the first adventurers in the U.S. space program could have stepped out of an episode of TV’s Mad Men, according to this work of contemporary history.

The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die
By Niall Ferguson (Penguin Canada, now available)

The controversial British historian’s is a short and probably depressing read. He accuses western nations of complacency and negligence in squandering "the institutional inheritance of centuries" while Asia in particular makes impressive gains.

Food Tyrants: Fight for Your Right to Healthy Food in a Toxic World
By Nicole Faire (Thomas Allen, now available)

A B.C.-based wife, mother and homesteader documents her family’s attempt to start a farm and become food self-sufficient.

American Gun: A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms
By Chris Kyle (William Morrrow, now available)

The former Iraq War sniper and author of the 2011 bestseller American Sniper was shot to death by a troubled fellow ex-soldier last February as he was finishing this book about the role of firearms in U.S. culture.

300 Years of Beer:
An Illustrated History of Brewing in Manitoba
By Bill Wright and Dave Craig (Great Plains, now available)

Two Winnipeg suds aficionados have put their heads together, perhaps to steady themselves, to gather all the facts about an ideal summer subject.  

Brick by Brick: How Lego Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry
By David Robertson (Crown, due June 25)

The Danish plastic building bricks are probably the most successful and long-lasting toy in history. Maybe there are some lessons here for Canadian businesses.

Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution — From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad
By Brett Martin (Penguin Press, due July 3)

The thesis of this American showbiz history is that viewers owe the new golden age of TV to a handful of headstrong executives, writes and showrunners.

I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)
By Chuck Klosterman (Simon & Schuster, due July 9)

The latest collection of essays from the North Dakota farm boy turned pop-culture commentator focuses on the role of bad guys in our culture.

Amy 27: Amy Winehouse and the 27 Club
By Howard Sounes (Viking, due July 23)

This music bio of the British soul singer Amy Winehouse is due for release two years to the day after she overdosed. The author, also a Brit, has previously penned revelatory bios of Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan, among others.

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson
By Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster, due Aug. 6)

This ambitious biography by a Texas journalist attempts to place the mastermind of the notorious Sharon Tate murders in the context of his time and place.

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