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Five Books to Read Beachside This Summer

With another COVID summer almost upon us, it’s likely that most of our vacation plans will be on hold again. That said, there’s certainly another way to secure yourself a sweet escape this season: by curling up under a cherry tree or on a beach blanket with a great book. 

I’ve rounded up the 5 best books I’ve read so far this year to help get you started!

Classic Lit: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I have a first edition of this novel and it’s a tradition of mine to pick it up every summer.

You may recognize the title from Netflix’s film adaptation that came out last year with mixed reviews. And in this case, the book really is better than the movie – I promise. Du Maurier is a master of description, and her beautiful language takes you away to the English countryside in the summer. Here, a newlywed wife who met and married her husband within weeks of knowing him learns that there is more to his life than meets the eye. 

Thriller: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Trigger warning: this book deals with graphic themes of sexual assault and murder.

Slaughter’s book is long, and I blasted through it in two days. Here, she unwraps the story of three sisters: one who’s been missing for twenty years and two who were left torn apart over the tragedy. When a new murder forces the two sisters to reunite, they end up uncovering the truth about what happened to their missing sister decades ago. What they find along the way is nothing short of shocking. 

Drama: Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook

Pull out a box of tissues if you’re going to pick this book up. The story chronicles a South Korean mother who goes missing in her elderly years. As they search for her, her children reflect on how they mistreated and abandoned her over the years, and how little they truly know about the woman they called mom. With Mother’s Day around the corner, this book is a poignant reminder of how easy it is for mothers to lose their personhood and meaning within a family, set against the beautiful landscape of South Korea. 

Short Stories: First Wives Club: Coast Salish Style by Lee Maracle

I’ve read a lot of short story anthologies in my day, but I love Maracle’s work in particular. As a Canadian poet, her stories reflect on the experiences of Indigenous women in Canada with a level of depth that’s impressive. In its portrayal of Coast Salish nations (the stolen land that SFU is located on), this collection is an amazing example of the way that fiction is so valuable in expanding our cultural knowledge and connecting us to systemic issues in our country.

Side note: Maracle is an SFU alum 

Nonfiction: AI and the Future of your Mind by Susan Schneider

With the race to colonize space and the technology era upon us, there’s no time like the present to get completely overwhelmed by what the future of our world may look like. Curious? As the chair of NASA’s Astrobiology division, Dr. Susan Schneider has some theories to satisfy you. We’re talking full on brain-implanted microchips, cyborgs, and robots capable of consciousness. Mind-blowing does not begin to describe the revelations within this book’s pages.

To top it all off, the books I’ve listed above are all available as audiobooks and/or Ebooks on Google and Amazon to suit all of your access needs. And to satisfy your social life, you could even get a couple of your friends together and meet up for a virtual book club to spice things up a bit. 

So there you have it, folks. Happy summer reading! 

Sydney (she/her or they/them) is a Psychology Major at SFU with a focus in Behavioral Neuroscience. She is passionate about women's physical and mental health and LGBTQ+ issues. In her free time, she is a classical musician and avid long distance runner.
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