Lawrence Hill, author of the Commonwealth Prize-winning The Book of Negroes (HarperCollins Canada): The following six books are on my bedside table and will constitute my first forays into summer reading. There are five novels and one work of literary non-fiction. A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam, Unconfessed by Yvette Christianse, Asylum by André Alexis, Beyond a Boundary by C.L.R. James, The Stone Raft by Jose Saramago, and Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee. (I must confess that although summer has not yet formally begun, I have already read the first 50 pages of A Golden Age and find Tahmima Anam’s novel quite extraordinary.)
Michael Crummey, author of The Wreckage (Doubleday Canada): Couple of recent novels for summer reads “ The Drowned Lands by Stan Dragland and The Darren Effect by Libby Creelman. Also planning to reread One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez. And one non-fiction book on my list “ Making Witches: Newfoundland Traditions of Spells and Counter-Spells. That oughta get me to Labour Day.
Ray Robertson, author of the Trillium Award-nominated What Happened Next (Thomas Allen Publishers): When I’m working on a novel, as I am now, I rarely read fiction, so this is what I plan to tuck into in the backyard this summer: The Classical Tradition by Gilbert Highet, Vinyl Junkies by Brett Milano, and Dickens by Peter Ackroyd.
Pasha Malla, author of The Withdrawal Method (House of Anansi Press): A lot of people seem to like doing their summer reading in hammocks. I don’t. I tend to fall out, and there are usually bees. Of a Fire on the Moon by Norman Mailer, Black Friday and Selected Stories by David Goodis, Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag, Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol, and The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems by Albert Goldbarth.
Sky Gilbert, author of Wit In Love (Quattro Press): Non fiction “ Shakespeare’s Wife by Germaine Greer, Gay Artists in Modern American Culture by Michael S. Sherry, Serious Pleasures by Philip Hoare, Reading Boyishly by Carol Mavor, Florence, A Delicate Case by David Leavitt, Johnson on Shakespeare. Fiction “ The Sacred and Profane Love Machine by Iris Murdoch, Monsieur Quixote by Grahame Greene, The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West, Jakob Von Gunten by Robert Walser
Carmine Starnino, author of A Lover’s Quarrel (The Porcupine’s Quill): Right now I’m trying to finish up (which should be easy since I can’t put it down) Mark Abley’s book on the future of English, The Prodigal Tongue. In the next few weeks, I plan to turn my attention to Robert Lowell’s selected letters. Between these meals, I’ll snack on three books of American poetry: Time and Materials by Robert Hass, Nomina by Karen Volkman, and Azores by David Yezzi.
Claudia Dey, author of Stunt (Coach House Books): The Maytrees by Annie Dillard, Do the Windows Open? by Julie Hecht, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy, On Bullfighting by A.L. Kennedy, Otherworld Uprising by Shary Boyle, The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod by Isis Aquarian, Linger Awhile by Russell Hoban, Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith, Them: A Memoir of Parents by Francine du Plessix Gray, and anything I can find on George Ivanovich Gurdjieff.
Corey Redekop, author of Shelf Monkey (ECW Press): I’m always flexible in my reading habits, which helps to explain why I own hundreds of novels that I have not yet read. But if I have to choose… I think I’ll start by going back a few decades and reading Philip K. Dick’s novel Ubik. I am eagerly awaiting the newest from Neal Stephenson, but as it does not arrive until autumn, I’ll go to the backlist and read Snow Crash and The Diamond Age, two novels I really should have read by now. Since I’ve already finished Chuck Palahniuk’s latest, Snuff, I’ll take up either Choke or Lullaby. Sean Cullen just released his third children’s novel, Hamish X Goes to Providence, Rhode Island, and I’m eager to see how he wraps it all up. (That, and I’m a real fan of his obscure, Monty-Pythonesque asides.) I think I’ll reread Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions, just to celebrate his genius. And I really should examine an author or two that I’m not yet familiar with, so I think I’ll look up anything by George Pelecanos, and Elizabeth Hay’s Late Nights on Air.
Christine Walde, author of The Candy Darlings (Penguin Canada): I’m going for the ridiculous and the sublime of canonized literature this summer. Including Mrs. Dalloway “ which has been lying open, face down, beside my bedside table for a week now. And Leonard Cohen’s Beautiful Losers, which I have always wanted to read. Poetry, however, will be my main squeeze this summer, with my ongoing research obsession into the collected works of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. On a related note, guilty pleasures will include reading Janet Malcolm’s The Silent Woman and Jillian Becker’s Giving Up. The book that I will start and try to read again (but inevitably never finish) is John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. And The Decameron, which I do hope to read before I die.
Brett Alexander Savory, author In and Down (Brindle & Glass): Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, Rant by Chuck Palahniuk, Dhalgren by Samuel Delaney, Cat’s Cradle and Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan, Neuropath by Scott Bakker, Major Karnage: Karnage Behind Bars! by Gord Zajac, lost boy, lost girl by Peter Straub, The Last Witchfinder by James Morrow, and The Terror by Dan Simmons.
Robert J. Wiersema, author of Before I Wake (Random House Canada): Aside from the inevitable seasonal rereads (including John Irving’s The World According to Garp and John Crowley’s Little, Big, which I tend to re-immerse myself in every summer), it’s been strongly suggested by someone whose opinion I trust that I should give Jane Austen another try, so I’m going to put aside my long-standing loathing and give Persuasion a shot. And to balance that off, Sebastian Faulk’s crack at the Bond mythos, Devil May Care, might be just what I need.
Taras Grescoe, author of Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood (HarperCollins Canada): One of the advantages of going on a book tour is that you get to visit, sometimes for the first time, great bookstores”and bring back books you’ve been having trouble finding at home. At Powell’s Books in Portland (amazing “ an entire city block of books), I picked up Bohumil Hrabal’s comic novel I Served the King of England, ably translated by Toronto’s Paul Wilson. In San Francisco, I hit City Lights and got Denis Johnson’s collection of tightly crafted short stories, Jesus’ Son. And in New York, I made it to the Strand”which now claims to have 18 miles of books, up from eight “ where I found a copy of Harold McGee’s The Curious Cook, a collection of essays from the most inquiring mind in gastronomy.