So, you’re a university student who loves the free time summer brings. You’re looking forward to sitting on a beach blanket with a good book. But you’ve got so many choices, so many things you could read. You don’t want something too dense, too heavy or too serious. It’s summer; summer books are meant to be light, easy reads, that give your brain a rest from all the academia you’ve subjected it to for the past eight months. But you’re not the kind of person who reads chick lit, romance or cozy mysteries that are the typical beach reads. No, you’re the kind of reader who wants a book with substance, but that’s still light enough to enjoy in the sun and short enough to read in between tanning sets. You’re looking for an alternative summer read.
Never tried a graphic novel? Well, summer is the perfect time to try a new genre. Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series are not only great graphic novels, but also perfect for summer. Averaging around 200 pages per novel, the series follows the life of Scott Pilgrim, a slacker and part-time musician who must battle Ramona Flowers’ seven evil exes. A quick read, with plenty of video game references, absurdity and comedy, these novels are sophisticated enough to keep your brain from wilting, but light enough to read on the beach.
Magazines are great reading material for the summer because they’re so portable and you don’t have to worry about them getting ruined by water or sand. If you’re looking for something with more substance than People or InStyle to read by the pool, try a literary magazine such as SubTerrain or Asimov’s Science Fiction. These magazines provide all the advantages of the magazine style, with more substance and stories. SubTerrain is a Canadian literary magazine out of Vancouver, which provides a combination of poetry and short fiction to feed your hunger for literature all summer long. Asimov’s Science Fiction features writing from the best writers of the genre, and it’s digestible in one sitting so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy other activities in the sun.
The best summer fiction is the kind that you don’t need to focus hard on to understand, but rather something that will keep you entertained. And what’s more entertaining than comedy? Christopher Moore is a talented comedic writer and any of his books would make for excellent summer reads. Try Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, the story of Christ retold like the Bible has never seen it before. The perfect alternative to church camp.
If non-fiction is your bag, then you may want to check out the work of Bill Bryson. Well-written and informative, his narrative style is easy to read and will make you laugh. He has a wide range of books from travel, to Shakespeare, to biography. Try The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir or Notes from a Small Island.
You can find these books at any fine book retailer or alternatively, you can try digging through one of Montreal’s excellent used bookstores. Happy Reading!