Some Sweet Summer Reading Recommendations

Graphic by Sam Shepherd, images courtesy of Canva

Summer is finally here! Whether you’re working, taking a summer course, or giving yourself a well-deserved break, it’s important that we all take the time to step back and relax. It’s been a difficult year for everyone and indulging in things that make you happy is so crucial to maintaining your mental health. 

When it comes to self-indulgence, my two main mechanisms  have always been eating lots of ice cream and reading a ton of books. A day in my life isn’t complete until I’ve eaten copious amounts of ice cream on my kitchen floor, and my personality tends to revolve around whatever book I’m currently reading . While I do both of these things all year around, summer serves as the perfect opportunity for me to enjoy my two favorite activities even more. There’s nothing quite like reading a book in the park on a cool summer day, or splurging on an artisanal ice-cream cone. 

Below are five book recommendations, each paired with some of my favorite ice-cream flavours. Even if you don’t consider yourself an avid reader, I guarantee you that one of these reads will strike your interest!

  1. If you like Neapolitan ice-cream, try The Brown Sisters Trilogy  by Talia Hibbert

As a kid I loved Neapolitan ice-cream, because instead of having to limit myself to one flavour, I could have vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry all in one delicious bite. The Brown Sisters series is great for a similar reason; her vibrant world isn’t limited to one book, but you still get to explore a wide range of perspectives and narratives. The series follows three sisters in their late 20s as they navigate their way through their personal and professional life. My favorite part about this series is the humour that fills every page. Each book follows a different sister, and the author does an excellent job of creating  a unique and entrancing voice for each woman.  Though this trilogy is predominantly centred around romance , Hibbert also expertly depicts topics such as chronic illness, grief, and racism. This series will leave you wishing that you had a trio like the Brown Sisters in your own life. 

    E-books are available through the McGill library.

  1. If you like green tea ice-cream, try The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

This book is set in a world filled with magical people who are cast to the outskirts of society. The story follows Linus, a straight-laced case worker who works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He clings to the belief that the government has these children’s best interest at heart, but his ideals get flipped upside down when he’s given a classified mission to investigate an orphanage for dangerous children located on a secluded island . As he comes  to know these remarkable children —  who are not dangerous, per se, but just misunderstood — and the extraordinary man in charge of these kids, Linus starts to realize that the system he has always believed is only harming these vulnerable children. Klune crafts an intricate world filled with whimsy, in which  kindness prevails over hatred. The fantastical elements are exquisite, but what really shines through is the complexities  of each character and their relationships with one another. Just like green tea ice cream, this book is a comforting and cozy release  on a rainy day. 

E-book is available through the McGill library. 

  1. If you like Rocky Road ice cream, try When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole.

Each bite of rocky road is a surprise, which is the best part of a thriller.  Every page is filled with unexpected twists and turns. When the businesses in Sydney’s Brooklyn neighborhood go up for sale, and the neighbors she’s known forever inexplicably move away, Sydney thinks nothing of it. She’s certain that it’s just a product of gentrification, and now  there’s nothing she can do to stop it. To distract herself from all of this change, Sydney throws herself in research for a walking history tour, and she uncovers information that leads her to believe that something much more sinister is going on in her neighborhood. Cole does an excellent job of integrating important social issues such as racism and classism into this gripping thriller. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, as I tried to figure out the mystery alongside Sydney. So often characters in thrillers feel peripheral  to the plot, but in this book there’s a great balance between an intriguing storyline and well-developed characters. 

E-book is available through the McGill library. 

  1. If you like mango sorbet, try The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

In the literary world, poetry is to prose as to what sorbet is to ice cream. If you’re in the mood for more poetic flavours, The Poet X is the perfect book for you. It’s a coming-of-age novel told in verse which tells the story of Xiomora, a young girl who finds her voice through writing slam-poetry. Every word Acevedo uses is carefully chosen to evoke intense emotions. She depicts Xiomora’s struggles with objectification, her Afro-Latina identity, and religion in a lyrical and heart-wrenching manner. Though this is a young adult book, I think it’s one that everyone can relate to, as finding your place in this world is a universal experience. 

E-book is available through the McGill library. 

  1. If you like coffee ice-cream, try Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng   

Rich and delectable. These words can be used to describe both a good scoop of coffee ice-cream as well as  the masterpiece that is Everything I Never Told You. The novel follows a Chinese-Americn family in the 1970s who are faced with the death of their beloved daughter, Lydia. The novel alternates between past and present, exploring both the events leading up to her death and each family’s reaction to this loss. While the cause of her death is a mystery that the author gradually reveals d, the story primarily focuses on the complex relationship dynamics in this family. Ng thoroughly explores each character’s perspectives and depicts their flaws and mistakes in  a raw and honest matter. Her intricately crafted writing transports you right into this small-town mystery, and it’ll be difficult to extract yourself from this world once you’re done. Like a shot of affogato, you may stay up all night reading this.

E-book is available through the McGill library. 

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To get you started on your reading and ice cream extravaganza, here are some great bookstores and ice cream shops in Montreal.

Bookstores

  • Argo Bookshop — 1915 Rue St. Catherine, MTL, QC.
  • Drawn and Quarterly Bookstore — 211 Rue Benard, MTL, QC.
  • Encore Books and Records — 5670 Sherbrooke West.
  • The Word Bookstore — 469 Rue Milton

    Ice-Cream Shops

  • Ripples — 3971 Rue St Laurent
  • CA LEM Crèmerie — 6926 Sherbrooke
  • Crèmerie Meu Meu — 71 Boulevard de Maisonneuve E
  • Havre aux Glaces — Jean Talon Market, 7070 Henri Julien

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