The Altitude Summer Reading Guide

From playful fiction to a new take on the world economy, this summer brings with it a captivating crop of brand new page-turners. These seven books will make short work of your next flight.

Warlight

By Michael Ondaatje

Dripping with mystery and suspense, Michael Ondaatje’s latest masterwork tells the story of 14-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel, who, in 1945, find themselves left behind in London when their parents move to Singapore. They’ve been put in the care of an enigmatic man known as the Moth, whose eccentric crew of friends seems to be united by a shared history of unspecified service during the Second World War. One thing is sure: They are all oddly invested in Rachel and Nathaniel’s protection and education. Things get even more strange when Mom suddenly returns without Dad, and without an explanation for his disappearance… The novel is set 12 years later, as Nathaniel recalls and investigates this period of his life, unravelling – as we read with bated breath – the hard facts behind his murky childhood recollections.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore

By Kim Fu

If you’ve ever been to summer camp, you’ll be transported back with this fresh novel by the award-winning author of For Today I Am a Boy. In gripping, richly imagined prose, Fu takes us to Camp Forevermore, located somewhere in the remote Pacific Northwest, where life is filled with friendship bracelets, forest hikes, singalongs and s’mores. Until, that is, an overnight kayaking trip turns sour and the five main characters find themselves stranded and facing danger. Fu shows us how one loaded moment can shape a life by following the five girls as they become teens and then women, through the ups and downs of relationships and love affairs.

WEconomy

By Craig Kielburger, Holly Branson and Marc Kielburger

“Purpose” is the biggest transformation to happen to the business world since the assembly line, say this book’s authors. Today’s workforce is looking for more than a paycheque, and expecting to see their careers reflect their personal values. The proof is in the pudding: Analyses show customers will support products that do good, as well as companies that work to make a positive impact in the world. Supported by thorough research and numbers, WEconomy proposes an interesting new spin on the business model: disrupting expectations with a community-first perspective. More than that, it’s an actual guidebook filled with tips and tricks to inject meaning into your professional life.

The Punishment She Deserves: A Lynley Novel

By Elizabeth George

Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley is back for the 20th time in George’s latest nail-biter, as he joins Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers in the unravelling of an intricately layered crime in the bucolic medieval British town of Ludlow. George graces us with her signature sense of place, bringing Ludlow and its rogues’ gallery to life: Everyone has something to hide here, it seems, so when the local deacon turns up dead while in custody on charges of child molestation, the verdict of suicide doesn’t quite ring true. This deeply complex story about the lies we tell, the lies we believe and the redemption we need, features many of George’s recurring characters and entertains with its deft approach to charged social issues.


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Things Are Good Now

By Djamila Ibrahim

This young Canadian author’s debut collection of short stories provides a kaleidoscope of perspectives on the immigrant experience. Her bevy of characters move from place to place around the globe, taking us from Ethiopia to Canada to Dubai. Through their distinct voices, Ibrahim explores the challenges of creating a place for oneself in an alien land. Loaded with political insight, Things Are Good Now is astute in its ability to cross borders, genders and ideologies with an artful and measured tone that slips in insights in a subtle fashion. Ultimately, this eminently readable collection asks thought-provoking questions about deep issues, like belonging, acceptance and the precarious nature of progress.

Young Frances

By Hartley Lin

Graphic-novel fans will relish the fact that this handsome hardcover brings together the previously uncollected stories of Lin’s character Frances Scarland. But even newbies to the genre or Lin’s work will appreciate his ability to tell a story and hit the oddness of young adulthood right on the head with casual charm and resonating insight. As Frances, a twentysomething Toronto law clerk, navigates a period of personal upheaval when an unexpected promotion throws her insecurities into overdrive, it’s hard not to sympathize and chuckle. Not that this is a knee-slapper comic book: Lin’s style is subtle, accessible and just cartoony enough to be expressive, but also surprisingly true to life in its frank analysis of what is most people’s day-to-day. Work, eat, sleep, fret… isn’t there more to life? Frances is on the case to find out.

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail

By Scott Jurek

Feel the wind in your hair as you vicariously experience the inordinately adventurous life of ultra-runner Scott Jurek. Renowned for his remarkable endurance and speed, all accomplished while on a strictly plant-based diet, Jurek takes us through the ups and downs of his award-filled racing career. This book comes as the result of a course-changing event, when after two decades of racing, training, speaking and touring, he suddenly felt the need to stop and discover something new about himself. How would a world-class athlete invite introspection? Why, by hiking the Appalachian Trail, of course. And not only that: by doing it faster than anyone else, ever. North is an intense, bare and brutal story of the 3,523-kilometre journey that nearly broke him.

Looking for more books? Check out our French-language recommendations.