July is the time to settle into summer, to take it easy on hot days and relax before the pressures of Fall return. One of our favourite ways to while away the hours on slow summer days is to get stuck into new book from the comfort of your cottage deck, city balcony or public beach. Whether you are a fan of epic fantasies or non-fiction, the 5 books below are bound to give you the summer adventure you crave from the comfort of your favourite lounger. Of course, all of these books can be found at Indigo, which is now open for in-store shopping along with all retailers throughout the shopping centre (for complete details about Stage 2 reopening at Manulife Centre check out our previous blog). As a bonus, we’ve included some pairings from some of your other favourite retailers to enhance your overall reading experience.
For the Modern Philosopher
New York Times Bestselling Author of The Fault in our Stars and beloved “Internet Dad” John Green’s first collection of essays, The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centred Planet, can be considered essential reading for the modern age. Each essay takes the form of a review of various aspects of our humanity in this geological age that are both hilarious and profound. While Green’s writing style makes the book itself unputdownable, the nature of an essay collection makes it the perfect summer read for the busy person who is always chasing after kids or coworkers as you can easily read through a complete essay in a short 20 minute break.
We recommend that you pair The Anthropocene Reviewed with a cold, refreshing can of Diet Dr. Pepper from Bay Convenience. Just trust us – we promise this will make more sense when you read the book!
For the Gardener
Whether you’re a gardener yourself or you’re just a fan of a good garden, we think you’ll love The Last Garden in England by Julie Kelly. Even if you lack a green thumb, you’ll enjoy this novel for its superb take on historical fiction and its 3 converging story lines. The Last Garden in England is the perfect read to bring along on a weekend getaway to a cottage or a bed and breakfast in a small Ontario town, and will inspire you to get out in your own garden (or at least to visit one of Toronto’s public gardens) despite the summer heat.
The perfect pairing for this book is the quintessential beverage of British Summer Time: a Pimm’s cup! Pick up a bottle of Pimm’s from the LCBO and the various accoutrements from Indepdendent CityMarket and follow this recipe to create the perfect summer sip.
For the Budding Mycologist
Mushrooms are having a moment, and when you read Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures you’ll wonder why their moment has only just arrived. This book, while firmly rooted in scientific research, reads as a little bit memoir and a whole lot of of philosophy. It will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about Fungi and then some, and with a mind-blowing fact on nearly every page you’ll find this one hard to put down.
While Entangled Life is only in part about fungi you can actually eat and is in no way a field guide to mushroom foraging (friendly reminder to not forage for mushrooms unless you are versed in identification or are with someone who is), it’s hard not to crave delicious, umami-forward sautéed mushrooms while reading this book. That’s why we recommend heading to Eataly and adding heaps of mushrooms to your basket (they have an incredible selection of varieties hard to find at your regular grocery store) alongside some arborio rice, Parmigianno Reggiano and white wine to make a delectable mushroom risotto to satisfy your cravings.
For the Fantasy Lover
If you’re tired of waiting for the next Game of Thrones book or the conclusion to the Kingkiller Chronicles, but have also been craving more fantasy stories centred on strong female characters, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon is for you. This 800+ page epic will keep the average reader gripped all summer long and is the perfect companion for beach days and rainy afternoons alike.
If you want to make room for this tome among other books this summer, we recommend dividing and conquering your reading experience with the audio book on long walks through the city. That’s why we recommend pairing The Priory of the Orange Tree with a slick new pair of headphones from Bay Bloor Radio. We’re currently loving the Campfire Audio Satsuma In-Ear Monitor Headphones, that will bring you the handcrafted quality you expect from the indie audio brand at a wallet-friendly price.
If you haven’t yet read Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Summer 2021 is your time. This book has a little something for everyone – at once a coming-of-age tale, an ode to nature and a compelling mystery – which is probably why it has spent 124 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list since its release in 2018. This summer read with substance will keep you gripped even when July’s humidity wants to lull you into an afternoon nap.
When taking on such a gripping read it’s important to optimize your snacking and hydration game. There’s no better snack for keeping you fed and watered through a backyard reading session than with watermelon from Independent CityMarket. Sure, the pages may get a little sticky, but a well-loved book is one that’s a little rough around the edges, right?
What are you reading this summer? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram @ManulifeCentre for the chance to be featured in our stories.