One of the best things about summer is relaxing in the sun while you’re swept away by the magic of storytelling. All you need is a good book and a good place to read it! More than ever, the literary world is bursting with new and inspiring stories that place us in the shoes of people from all walks of life. So whether you’re a fan of speculative fiction à la The Handmaid’s Tale, coming-of-age journeys, or stories of corruption and justice, your new favourite book might be just around the corner. Let’s run through a few summer 2020 reads that are making waves and worth checking out!
Blue Ticket – Sophie Mackintosh
Sophie Mackintosh first came onto the scene as a novelist with 2018’s dystopian fable The Water Cure. Much like her debut, Mackintosh’s latest book Blue Ticket sits firmly in the realm of speculative fiction, drawing comparisons to the work of Margaret Atwood. In the world of the novel, all women are assigned either a white ticket, which confines them to raising a family, or a blue ticket, which offers them an independent, career-driven future. Blue Ticket has been hailed as a deep examination of motherhood, the pressures of society, and free will.
Must I Go – Yiyun Li
Having published three prior novels, a memoir, and over a dozen short stories, Yiyun Li has been an exciting literary voice for well over a decade. Her latest novel, Must I Go, is especially adventurous. In it, we follow the 81-year old protagonist Lilia Liska as she comments on the memoir of a former lover. She reveals the truth behind his less-than-accurate account of events, while also remembering their daughter Lucy, who took her life at the age of 27. Must I Go is regarded as a fascinating book-within-a-book that meditates beautifully on the nature of memory, family, and loss.
A Burning – Megha Majumdar
With her debut novel A Burning, Megha Majumdar has quickly established herself as an exciting new talent in the literary scene. Set in her native city of Kolkata, India, the novel follows Jivan, a woman who witnesses a terrorist attack at a train station. When she posts about the incident on social media and criticizes the government, she’s accused of the attack by police and suddenly depends on an unlikely pair of acquaintances to secure her freedom. An instant bestseller, A Burning is being lauded as a sharp and captivating exploration of contemporary India, class, corruption, and justice.
The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
Much like her debut novel The Mother in 2016, Brit Bennett’s recent follow-up The Vanishing Half has become a New York Times bestseller and confirmed her status as a highly celebrated new writer. It follows two twin sisters who grew up in the same southern black community but have grown up to lead very different lives, one of them still living in their native town while the other lives far away, secretly passing as white. The Vanishing Half has been acclaimed for its sprawling yet elegant interrogation of race, identity, and the complexities of life that reach across generations and great distances.
The Lightness – Emily Temple
The Lightness marks Emily Temple’s first novel and an entertaining take on both contemporary spirituality and the coming-of-age story. It follows Olivia, a teen whose father disappeared after attending a meditation retreat one year ago. When she enrolls in a program for troubled youth offered by the same organization, she befriends a small group of girls who seek to master the art of levitation. The Lightness has received much attention for its thought-provoking reflection on girlhood, friendship, and desire, striking a balance between darkly humorous and playfully mysterious.
What books have made their way onto your list of summer 2020 reads? Give us your recommendations in the comments!