The juicy books weighing down our canvas beach bags this summer.


Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

One of my favourite page-turners in the last year was Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, a great whodunit with helicopter moms and a trivia night that ends in disaster. Her latest—with the superbly I’m-reading-this-with-a-beer-in-a-lounger title Truly Madly Guilty—was just released this week, and it’s going to be my companion this long weekend. This time, it’s three supposedly happy families and one backyard barbecue. Or is it?!  I can’t wait to open a Park Life and find out. —Anicka Quin, Editorial Director


Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

I think of this as a hybrid book: on one hand it’s about surfing, which makes it perfect for the beach. On the other, it’s by New Yorker writer William Finnegan and at its heart it’s a beautifully written memoir about his life’s journey with surfing as a backdrop. And given that I read so few books these days I’m counting this one as two. —Neal McLennan, Food and Travel Editor

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Netflix has temporarily ruined my attention span for the long, slow-paced novel, so I find myself constantly Googling “ultimate best addictive page-turners.” The Thirteenth Tale was a top entry on several of these Internet lists—a pretty fat hardcopy to lug to the beach, and set in a gloomy, drizzly England—but the unsettling story and end-of-chapter cliffhangers were enough to keep me tearing through chapters well into the early morning, (even on school nights!). The book centres around a severe old dame—a famous and reclusive retired novelist—who’s asked a young amateur bibliographer to stay with her on her creepy property to write about her mysterious life story (a.k.a. her 13th tale) that involves murder, twisted twins and her dark family history. After keeping you guessing for 400-plus pages the ending doesn’t blow it either—this is the binge-TV patch to get you back on print, pronto. —Julia Dilworth, Staff Writer


House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

While I’m not sure it quite qualifies as a summer read, this time last year I devoured House of Leaves, an experimental, philosophical, literary horror novel. Or something. It takes place in a strange house that defies physics. A door appears in a wall that leads into a pitch-black labyrinth that never seems to end. The book is constantly analyzing itself, sometimes humorously so, and quite literally requires you to occasionally read things upside-down. In other words, you can’t enjoy this one on your Kindle. It’s a one-of-a-kind print experience. —Trevor Melanson, Senior Editor at Vancouver Magazine


The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

I’ll be honest: I haven’t read a book in about six months. I feel too guilty picking up a paperback when I’ve got a pile of unread New Yorkers that seems to grow every day. (I know it only comes once a week, but I suspect they’re multiplying in my magazine rack.) But I’ve got a long weekend Hornby getaway planned, and that means I’ve got some space and time to hunker down with a proper novel. I’ve got The Nest packed in my beach bag, ready to go—a story of four adult siblings and the inheritance that shaped their life. I love a multi-generational dysfunctional family, and this one even has a blurb from personal hero Amy Poehler on the cover, so my hopes are sky-high. I know it’s weird recommending a book I haven’t read yet, but listen: if you don’t love it, I’ll happily send you 17 recent copies of The New Yorker to read instead.

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