The after-exam period is a time for transitions: changing from jeans to jorts, huddling indoors for warmth to patio season, reading long academic papers to tricking your friends into thinking you read for fun. Here at The Ubyssey, we’re transitioning to a new editorial and we like to think we have good taste. There’s a whopping 17 recommendations on this summer’s list — there’s bound to be one that you enjoy!
Outgoing culture editor, Bridget Chase: Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson
The bombshell sequel to Son of Trickster, this novel has it all: toe-sucking ghosts, revenge-seeking otters and BCIT. Couple the book’s magical-realism elements with themes of familial ties, addiction and Indigenous identity and you’ve got the second book in a soon-to-be timeless trilogy.
Incoming culture editor, Angela O’Donnell: How to Date Men When You Hate Men by Blythe Roberson
Now that you’ve gotten all of your exams out of the way, it’s time to start something new to test your patience: a romantic summer fling. While you may not need as much dating help as I need — dear lord someone please date me please — How to Date Men When You Hate Men is the perfect way to learn some keen romance tips. I would recommend this book for some light, fun reading — kind of like when you watch a 20 minute vine compilation to relax. It also gives off total big dick energy when you read it on the bus.
Outgoing features editor, Moira Wyton: This Wound Is A World by Billy-Ray Belcourt
Belcourt’s début poetry anthology may not be nearly as long as your readings this semester, but it’s anything but light. A writer and academic from the Driftpile Cree Nation, Belcourt lays bare the realities of how queerness and colonialism intersect in his own life. I’m glad this important, honest collection of poetry was on my syllabus this year, and my copy will be on my bookshelf long after the year is over.
Incoming features editor, Pawan Minhas: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
A sunflower-from-the-sidewalk tale of resiliency and personal growth, Walls’s life story really puts your own family squabbles into perspective with nail-biting recollections of her trial-by-fire childhood. This story is sure to have you reaching to call home with each and every chapter.
Outgoing visuals editor, Claire Lloyd: Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
Sex (a lot of it), a cross-class affair, swear words, disdain for industry and the aristocratic intellectuals that head it from afar — apparently there were ample grounds for this book’s censorship. Luckily, it’s no longer 1928. You can read it tonight.
Incoming visuals editor, Lua Presidio: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Why not finish off the term with a light-hearted novel about the apocalypse? The fight between “good” and “evil” was never this funny. Told from the perspective of Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, Good Omens puts into question just what makes us human. Despite being on opposite sides, both angel and demon are a little too comfortable with humanity and just don’t want to see the world end this soon.
Outgoing coordinating editor, Samantha McCabe: Educated by Tara Westover
Educated is a beautifully written memoir about a girl who was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Yeah, yeah, non-fiction can be boring — but Westover’s life story of breaking free from her survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho is sure to transfix and inspire until the very last page.
Outgoing news editor and incoming coordinating editor Alex Nguyen: Misery by Stephen King
Simply based on the title, this is probably not the most suitable book to celebrate the end of exams/the start of summer break. But I haven’t read for leisure in a while, so I’m dying to immerse myself in a solid, trustworthy page-turner before venturing onto new reading materials. Plus, Stephen King never disappoints as a storyteller.
Outgoing news editor, Zak Vescera: Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
When I think about summer I don’t think about the beach. I think about the heat. McCarthy’s books are like this: sticky, burning masterpieces that raise visions of deserts and cracked blood and make you feel all kinds of awful. This book is full of characters who kill for the worst reasons. It’s still a good read.
Incoming news editor, Emma Livingstone: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I read this book last summer, and it’s a cute and whimsical story about friendship — a nice break after reading textbooks all semester. I read it in English but read it in the original French if you can!
Incoming news editor, Henry Anderson: Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger
Looking for something short, quirky and poignant? You probably read The Catcher in the Rye in high school, but it turns out J.D. Salinger was more than a one-hit wonder. Nine Stories is filled with a number of digestible, yet thought-provoking ditties that will make for a rewarding read without feeling like an ambitious summer project.
Returning photo editor, Elizabeth Wang: Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
Published in 1971, Open Veins of Latin America is one of the most well-known piece of anti-colonialism non-fiction in South America. Written by someone with in-depth knowledge about the colonial history of Latin America and passionate love for his homeland, the book discusses why Latin America — despite its rich natural resources and wealth — continues to exist in a state of poverty and civil conflict. I recommend this book not only for the history or poli-sci nerd who just finished their exams and is looking for new course-related readings for summer, but also for general public who wants to get familiar with issues about labour and international relationships in a fairly understandable way. This book is heavy in terms of both weight and content, but it’ll definitely be worth a couple of relaxed summer afternoons.
Returning science editor, James Vogl: Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
While some elements have aged better than others, Abbey’s account of his season as a ranger in the desert of southern Utah will get even the most casual connoisseur of nature excited to get outside and enjoy the summer weather. Despite being written in the ’50s, many of the themes of the book, like the relationship between the state and the environment, are more relevant than ever — and at the very least, it might motivate you to avoid binging Netflix with the blinds drawn and go enjoy a sunset at the beach instead.
Returning blog and opinion editor, Tristan Wheeler: Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
Surfing, weed and people with names like Bigfoot and Doc, this book is a perfectly baffling summer read. While my journey through it has only just begun, Pynchon’s knack for serpentine plots, non-sequiturs and absurdism has already engrossed me. It’s the summer read you’d expect from a post-modern, reclusive writer whose most famous work mostly just gets people mad.
Outgoing sports editor, Lucy Fox: The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter — and how to make the most of them now by Meg Jay
For those of us heading into the abyss of 20-something post-undergrad, this book provided some great insight and a new perspective into why actively creating the life you want now is important. From career to relationship observations, Jay presents her own experiences and advice and allows you to reflect on why making those decisions now instead of waiting to figure yourself out in your 30s and beyond is so meaningful — especially for this generation.
Incoming sports editor, Micko Benrimoh: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Want to read an all-time classic? Don’t wanna spend hours doing it? The Old Man and the Sea is the book for you. Now, apart from being incredibly short, the novella is incredibly beautiful as it tells the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his quest to reclaim his lost honour and the lengths he’ll go to do so. It’s a perfect summer read and a great way to get into the literary world of beauty, anger and sadness that is Hemingway.
Incoming video editor, Jack Bailey: The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin
A mysterious radio antenna, an immersive video game and an impossible dilemma. The Three Body Problem is a masterwork of hard science fiction, with each successive page more shocking than the last. Liu Cixin’s meticulously crafted mystery and satisfying pay off will leave you pondering this book long after completion. Adapted from its original Chinese, this is a superb, mind-bending read and the sequels are even more insane.