Summer has officially begun! I know that readers in some parts of the globe have already been experiencing significant sunshine and warm temperatures. In some regions, the effects have been devastating. In others, the heat has simply been too intense for comfort – or, in the case of London’s Tube, for commuters’ nostrils! On that note, I’ve been getting a kick out of the pics of Service Information signage displayed in London’s Tube this week.
Here in Vancouver, though, our early June has seen skies that live up to our Wet Coast moniker. It’s just in the last couple of days that we’re emerged from a series of grey or soggy days, so yours truly is loving the sunshine that’s come with the solstice.
While I almost always have a book on the go, the sunny days ahead will bring some time away from the office and more opportunities to dive into some great books. I enjoy both fiction (typically historical) and non-fiction, and recent reads have included titles published anywhere between 1958 and this decade. Here’s a sampling, and it’s pure coincidence that two of the authors are from or near what we call the Cascadia Region (aka the Pacific Northwest).
- Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania – I love Erik Larson’s narrative non-fiction; In the Garden of the Beasts was the first of his books I read. If you’re intrigued by history, you may also appreciate his work. Dead Wake takes us back just over a century and, courtesy of Larsen’s research, you’ll learn about U-boats, life on luxury liners and even a bit about what’s known as the Progressive Era, when an American social movement evolved into activism and political reform.
- Paris Letters – This is non-fiction by Canadian writer Janice MacLeod, a creative type who was working in the US when she decided to do something about the fact that the life she’d built just wasn’t working for her. She decided to make significant changes to her life, and I won’t be spoiling your read when I tell you she shares some hard yet practical truths that enabled her to begin a new chapter of life in Paris, France.
- The Greengage Summer – This and a couple of other Rumer Godden novels arrived on my shelves this Spring courtesy of my mum, who was lightening the load on her own bookshelf. The novel centres on English siblings unexpectedly somewhat on their own in and around a property known as Les Oeillets, in Epernay. Why, you ask? It’s all because of a darned horsefly. I can tell you that Godden’s writing added to the incentive to visit the Champagne region before too long … and can also tell you that the prefaces Godden wrote to each of her novels are as intriguing as the books themselves.
I’m only now getting into Mary Beard’s SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, and will certainly be balancing this non-fiction read with a bit of fluff reading this summer. Other possibilities? This morning, I listened to an interview with Canadian author Terry Fallis, who described how his experience of being an identical twin came into play in writing his new novel, One Brother Shy. I’m also thinking of a title with which Kemetia Foley has teased some of us recently: Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, by Whitney Johnson.
What about your reading plans for this summer?
Are you a fiction or non-fiction reader? Or perhaps you enjoy both.
Do you have some suggested titles or authors for fellow readers?
Do you have some preferred authors, or genres, for beach, poolside or back yard reading? That leads us to the focus of this weekend’s poll:
What are your Summer 2017 reading recommendations?
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below, and I’ll publish results next Tuesday. If you run out of space for listing titles, please click on the “Leave a Comment” option at the top of your screen; that will give you plenty of space for your entries.