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Shedoesthecity's Summer Reading List

Wanna join our summer reading club? Haley, Natasha, Caitlin and Zoe share their favourite books for lazy days on the beach. From flirty and fanciful to heavy text that will wrench your soul and flip you upside down, here is what Team Read recommends you get hooked on:

Haley Cullingham
Associate Editor, Shedoesthecity

Everything Matters!  A novel by Ron Currie, Jr. 
Everything Matters! is a novel about a boy, a comet, a love story, and the apocalypse. It’s a beautiful and succinct exploration of the modern human condition (uhh…), and a dystopian novel that is anti-dystopian in its emphasis on the persistence of humanity-not the human race, but the humanity in all of us. A fast, intelligent read that will leave you feeling counter-intuitively hopeful. Buy on Amazon

The Instructions by Adam Levin
The Instructions is a massive, beautiful book published by McSweeney’s that re-invents the word doorstopper. It is also a wonderful comment on so many things that are wrong with America, told in a heartwrenching, magical-realist way. The story follows Gurion, a twelve-year-old boy at Aptakisic high school who may or may not be the messiah. It’s the kind of book you’ll be (exhaustively, manically) talking about for months after you read it. I loved it so much I dragged it across the continent on a Greyhound bus and on three planes last year, and it was completely worth it. Buy on Amazon

Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane di Prima 
Diane di Prima is an inspiring artist, activist, mother, and woman. In this short, often erotic, novel, she remembers one summer in New York City when she was young and free and exploring her identity. It’s an excellent reminder that sometimes it’s good to just let go, and of the importance of making up your own way to interact with the world. Buy on Amazon

Zoe Shapiro
Marketing Coordinator, The Drake Hotel

State of Wonder by
Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett’s (‘Bel Canto’) latest novel takes Marina Singh, a medical researcher, to the Amazonian jungle to figure out what’s happened to her colleague and whether the Lakashi tribeswoman are actually able to procreate their whole lives (think 70 year old mamas). The writing is absolutely beautiful and the story is vivid, very exciting and often terrifying in a really great, captivating way. Perfect summer reading, I can’t put it down. Buy on Amazon

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman CapoteThis is the classic I’m currently revisiting. Despite a fair few Audrey Hepburn screenings,  I had no clue that Truman Capote had written the famous Holiday Golightly as a blonde! ‘Breakfast’ is really a novella at only 100-odd pages so it’s a perfect light character piece to pick up when you’re looking for a familiar face (with a new hairdo!) and a touch of summer style. Buy on Amazon

Just Kids by Patti Smith
This is the memoir/biography of Patti Smith and her relationship with the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Not only is the writing beautifully expressive and poetic (what else would you expect from such an accomplished lyricist!?) the story of this friendship is sometimes sweet and at times devastating but the book is such a tender and satisfying read. Be warned though; it’s going to make you wish you lived in the Village in 60s era New York! Buy on Amazon

Caitlin Agnew
Assitant Editor, Fashion Magazine

Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton
I can think of no better summer escape than following Canadian Sarah Thornton – who holds a PhD in Sociology and is a contributor to The Economist and Art Forum – behind the scenes for a week in the elusive, exclusive and expensive world of contemporary art. Talk about aspirational reading. Buy on Amazon

The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr
FASHION’s beauty director Lesa Hannah recently lent me this book and I could not put it down, or stop spritzing myself with perfume as I read it. Author Chandler Burr destroys the myths of mainstream fragrances, elevating perfumers to their rightful status as true artistes. I now have a “to-smell” list. Buy on Amazon

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
I’ve been obsessed with the decadence of Berlin in the ’20s for years, but after seeing Woody Allen’s latest, I realized that I’ve been missing out on a whole other pretty important ’20s scene: Paris! Like, duh. Time to play catch-up with Hemingway’s tales of cafes and salons. Buy on Amazon

Natasha Hunt
Fashion Intern, Shedoesthecity

Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche  
Nietzsche is one of those philosophers that people love to love, or love to hate. I have a complicated relationship with the dude; he gets attacked for being “juvenile”, but I like to think his entire oeuvre works as a lovely polemic on modern life. Zarathustra, is by no means an easy read…nor is it enjoyable at all times, but if you want quippy dinner party aphorisms and a ton of laughs, this is the book for you. Buy on Amazon

Play as it Lays by Joan Didion
Whenever anyone asks me to describe Play as it Lays, I always have to say “it’s like if Hemingway wrote Valley of the Dolls…but so much better.” Not being a Hemingway fan by ANY stretch of the imagination, I make the comparison because in this book Didion writes sparsely, and challenges you to delve under the surface. It’s the first piece of fiction I’ve read from her, and while it lacks some of the observational flair of her non fiction works–it’s still got the same beauty found within a state of emergency that I’ve come to adore from her. Buy on Amazon

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes
When we think of modernist literature, very rarely does Djuna Barnes’ name come up in the same circles as literary giants such as Ezra Pound, T.S Eliot and James Joyce. This is really, really, quite a shame–because Nightwood seriously packs a punch. With its dense prose style, and heavy emotionality, it’s definitely not a subway read (I’m only thirty pages in), but definitely a book to savour. Buy on Amazon

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