Living

Your summer reading list

A cottage essential: great reading material. Here are a few new releases to get you started

The Weekender: A Cottage Journal by Roy MacGregor (Penguin Canada)

This collection of essays from Cottage Life columnist Roy MacGregor is the perfect book to crack open your first weekend on the dock (beer in hand, of course). Written in journal form, The Weekender – which includes some of MacGregor’s writings from Cottage Life, The Globe and Mail and the National Post, as well as new material – covers all the joys and frustrations of summertime cottage living.

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House)

Don’t let the chick-lit title scare you away. This book is actually a thoughtful and funny coming-of-age tale you’ll want to swallow in one sitting (for those of you who’ve read Sittenfeld’s first novel, Prep, you know what we’re talking about). We meet Hannah Gavener when she’s 14, and watch her stumble through some messy, wonderful and heartbreaking experiences over the next 15 years, as she figures out just who she is.

Heat by Bill Buford (Doubleday Canada)

This is the story of Buford’s experience as an apprentice (he says “slave”) to Mario Batali in the kitchen of Batali’s famous New York restaurant, Babbo. The former fiction editor at The New Yorker describes three crazy years of trials and errors as he worked his way up the Babbo ladder from “kitchen bitch” to line cook. This expansion on Buford’s James Beard Award-winning New Yorker article is funny, fast-paced and truly a book to savour.

The Restoration of Emily by Kim Moritsugu (Dundurn Press)

Emily Harada spends her days restoring old Toronto homes and her evenings being a single mom to her 14-year-old son, Jesse. Her life, which she’d believed to be built on a solid foundation, starts to crumble when both her work and her authority as a parent are questioned. Funny, wise and sharp, this is a character all of us can see a little bit of ourselves in.

Life Swap by Jane Green (Viking Canada)

If you’re a fan of chick lit and reality TV, keep reading. Vicky Townsley is features director of British magazine Poise!. But this single girl would give up all the glamour of her successful career for a husband and kids. Amber Winslow, who lives in Connecticut, loves her husband and two children but wonders what life as a single gal would be like. So when she sees an ad in Poise! asking married readers to change spots with a journalist, Amber writes in. She never imagined she’d be chosen, but when she is, she and Vicky swap lives and get to see whether the grass is really greener on the other side.