We have all, at some point, promised ourselves a fruitful and educational summer of reading.Whether our reading list consists of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, our student selves often resent the novels pushed on us from a course syllabus.
Instead of feeling the pressure this summer, feel free to spend your free time delving into what Journal staff see as worthwhile summer reads.
A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer
This novel is a compiled collection of Mercer’s favourite rants, as well as a few reflections on the impact of said rants. He also touches upon his day spent with Rick Hanson, a Canadian Paralympian and an activist for people with spinal cord injuries. This book will make you a better citizen.
— Erin Sylvester
The Best of Down Goes Brown: Greatest Hits and Brand New Classics-to-Be from Hockey’s Most Hilarious Blog by Sean McIndoe
Ottawa-based hockey blogger McIndoe provides a great read for any fan of the sport. A satirical look at all things NHL, The Best of Down Goes Brown is a mix of McIndoe’s best blog posts and new content. A highlight of the book is the final piece, in which McIndoe explains to his son what being a sports fan is truly all about.
— Sean Sutherland
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita is a disturbing tale about a middle-aged man’s obsession with a 12-year-old schoolgirl. While the plot details can be gruesome, Nabokov creates a narrative that’s filled with delicate prose. This isn’t exactly a light summer read, but it’s enough to make you appreciate poetic language.
— Janina Enrile
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
A basic understanding of Hemingway’s works will enhance The Paris Wife, but is certainly not required to fully enjoy it. This work is a fictionalized account of the real-life relationship between Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. This novel could be of particular interest to Queen’s students, as at one point in the novel he travels to Kingston Penitentiary to write a story about an escaped convict.
— Megan Scarth
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A novel advertised as a coming-of-age story is, in reality, so much more than that. Written entirely in letter format with seemingly simplistic language, the novel takes a bit of getting used to. Simply put, it’s a unique, fantastic and very believable tale of this troubled boy’s life in terms of education, friendships and interpersonal growth.
— Anisa Rawhani
Run With the Hunted: a Charles Bukowski Reader edited by John Martin
This compilation is a unique way to get familiarized with Charles Bukowski’s work while taking a glance into his personal life as he struggles with alcohol abuse and poverty. Martin has compiled the works in chronological order to map out Bukowski’s life, using his poetry, prose and short stories. It’s a read that the reader must emotionally invest in.
— Meaghan Wray
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Set on a Royal Canadian Air Force base in the 1960s, this work is a fictionalized perspective of the Steven Truscott case — one that had a 14-year-old boy convicted of murder, and then acquitted of the crime more than 40 years later. While the subject matter is unsettling, and at times tragic, it’s a captivating read for those interested in Canadian military history.
— Alison Shouldice
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