Reading remains an enduring pleasure.
But in this age of smart phones and video game consoles, of PVRs and Netflix and iPods, it's sometimes hard to remember how people amused themselves before they had an Internet connection.
That's especially true at this time of year when people traditionally head to the beach or cottage to enjoy some peace and quiet with a good book for company.
Here are some recommendations for hot summer titles, the ones people will be talking about, in both fiction and non-fiction.
A word of warning. Many are in stores now but several are still coming down the pike. Note the publication date in brackets following each title.
By Karen Thompson Walker (available June 26).
This debut novel, about a California family at a time when the Earth's rotation has slowed down, has been sold in 27 countries, as well as to Hollywood.
By Daniel H. Wilson (available now).
The Robopocalypse author returns with another techno thriller, this one about a civil war between regular citizens and people who've been neurologically enhanced.
By Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (available now).
The latest novel from The Nanny Diaries duo follows the life of a troubled actress who may bear a coincidental resemblance to Britney Spears.
By Hilary Mantel (available now).
The English novelist follows up her British Booker Prize-winning title Wolf Hall with the second volume in her fictionalized life of the Tudor era figure Thomas Cromwell.
The Fallen Angel
By Daniel De Silva (available July 17).
The American thriller writer's protagonist, former Israeli intelligence officer Gabriel Allon, gets embroiled in Vatican mysteries.
The Family Corleone
By Ed Falco (available now).
Published under the late Mario Puzo's imprint, this Godfather drops in on Vito Corleone near the end of Prohibition and in the middle of the Depression.
By Eoin Colfer (available June 20).
In the eighth and final instalment of the Irish writer's insanely popular Artemis Fowl youth series, the evil pixie Opal Koboi is wreaking havoc yet again.
The Lost Souls
By Linda Holeman (available July 3).
The former Winnipegger's latest historical movie, and first to be published by the world-dominating Random House empire, tells the story of a Russian woman in the 1860s whose husband is killed and son is kidnapped.
One Good Hustle
by Billie Livingston (available July 24).
The Vancouver author of Going Down Swinging and Cease to Blush returns with a tale of the daughter of two con artists who must use her wits to survive.
Barack Obama: The Story
By David Maranniss (available June 19).
This biography is purported to delve deeply into the formative years of the current U.S. president.
Destruction, Days of Revolt
By Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco (available now).
A fiery American leftist teams up with a prominent cartoonist to illustrate how the U.S. economy is creating a permanent underclass.
By Jeff Rubin (available now).
The Toronto economist lays out the facts as to why the world is in for a prolonged period of financial flatness. But he stresses that worse things could happen.
I Suck at Girls
By Justin Halpern (available now).
The author of the bestselling comedy title Sh*t My Father Says mines his failed love life for additional humour, if not pathos.
by Jenny Lawson (available now).
The popular American blogger's memoir uses comedy and vulgarity to tell an eccentric story of her family and career.
Love Is the Cure
by Elton John (available July 17).
In his ongoing effort to rid the world of AIDS, the British pop star recalls his own experiences during the epidemic years of the '80s, including his friendships with fellow celebrities like Freddie Mercury, Princess Diana and Elizabeth Taylor.
by Charles H. Ferguson (available now).
The director of the Oscar winning documentary Inside Job argues that the financial elite has taken over the U.S. lock, stock and barrel.
by Penny Junor (available now).
This biography is being billed as the first in-depth portrait of the man who will be king of England and includes details of his relationship with his princess, Kate.
by Leanne Shapton (available July 2).
The Toronto-born artist and writer weighs in with a meditation on swimming and other aqueous activities, perfectly timed to the summer Olympics.
by Cheryl Strayed (available now).
This memoir of hiking the U.S. Pacific Coast Trail became Oprah Winfrey's first pick in her revived TV book club.