The Books of Summer
How about you, any recommendations to share?
There's one summer tradition that no nasty weather can take from us: that feeling of sinking your teeth into a thick new summer book. Thus we here at The Tyee have compiled a list of the perfect summer reads for the perfect summer scenarios. And who knows? Maybe if we all pull out our books, and defiantly settle into the crook of our favourite tree, it'll be a kind of sun dance. The weather may just need a reminder that summer has arrived.
The perfect book to read after becoming frustrated with the cultural apathy of your friends/lovers/politicians:
A Report on the Afterlife of Culture by Stephen Henighan (Biblioasis)
The noted Geist writer has compiled a nice little bundle of rants, many of which are not attacks on Margaret Atwood, for which he seems to be most famous. If you are one of those people who can read non-fiction in the summer, please attempt this much-needed critique of Canadian culture. Then maybe we can all get together as Canadians and agree to start having more fun, instead of writing books about vast fields of snow and falling in love with animals.
The perfect book to read when it's light, in August:
Light In August by William Faulkner (Vintage International)
Summer is the best time to read Faulkner, but this is the only of his major novels to expressly require it. While Light In August hasn't attained the same canonization of, say, As I Lay Dying or The Sound and the Fury, nevertheless it's Faulkner at the height of his powers. Focussing again on his fictional Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi -- a microcosm of the racially-divided, post-Civil War south -- Faulkner chronicles the tragic life of the half-black, half-white criminal Joe Christmas -- a southern microcosm himself. Although Light In August sees Faulkner occasionally losing a grip on his syntax, with adjectives and adverbs cascading through his sinuous, image-soaked sentences, no one before or since locates the reader so vividly, so tangibly. Even the novel's most minor characters speak and breathe with startling clarity. As Joe Christmas pushes toward redemption, the south's history of violence bears down on the present, oppressing the "light" of the novel, and again proving one of the Faulkner's famous maxims: "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."
The perfect book to inspire doodling in your summer diary:
Lucky by Gabrielle Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)
Bell's growing skill at her craft is the journey that drives these cartoon-panel diary entries about preoccupation and artistic doubt. As her panels become less cluttered and more intentional, her line weight more varied, banal vignettes take on increasing profundity. Documenting a Williamsburg apartment hunt and a handful of shitty jobs (life modelling, tutoring, and a factory gig assembling cheap jewelry) with careful, almost diagrammatic staging, Lucky is an object lesson in how to make meaning out of everyday life in pictures and words, one page at a time.