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The ultimate summer reading guide: Top 8 picks from The Book Keeper

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Journal staff

Summer is here, and whether you’re heading up to the cottage, relaxing along Lake Huron, poolside or in the park, there’s no better time to escape into a great book.

We asked the experts at The Book Keeper — Sarnia’s independent book store — to recommend some great summer reads, and they sent us a few of their favourites, and why.

Check out their top 8 summer reads:

Julie’s picks:

Elin Hilderbrand’s The Five Star Weekend is everything a beach read should be. It has affluent characters, a beachy setting, fabulous food. When Hollis Shaw, newly widowed, gathers five friends from various parts of her life and has a “Five Star Weekend” at her beach house in Nantucket to document on her lifestyle social media platforms. Little does she know how healing this will be not only for herself but for her friends and daughter. Throw in an old flame and you’ve got yourselves a wonderful summer read.


The Whispers by Ashley Audrain is the second novel by this Canadian author. Whitney is a career-driven, perfectionist with a seemingly perfect family. That façade is cracked one evening during a backyard party when the guests overhear her screaming horrible things at her son for misbehaving. Soon after, the son is in a hospital room in a coma after falling (?) out of his bedroom window. The story follows the well-to-do neighbours and their own observations and secrets over the time Whitney is glued to her son’s bedside.


The Quiet Tenant by Clemence Michallon is a creepy thriller of a book involving the story of local kidnapper and serial killer, Aidan Thomas’ ninth victim. The catch? Aidan is an upstanding member of his community and beloved by all. Rachel, who is number nine, is his prisoner. This story is told through the eyes of three women – Rachel, Cecilia (Aidan’s unsuspecting daughter) and Emily (Aidan’s new girlfriend). This book will have you screaming in frustration and your heart pounding. If you love a good thriller and love to get into the mind of a psychopath, you will love this book.


Kendra’s pick:

A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon is a quirky, twisty mystery. Women are going missing in Linda’s neighbourhood and Terry, her husband, starts keeping odd hours at work around the same time women start to go missing. Linda longs for the glamorous lifestyle she sees in the fancy magazines sent to the old owner of the home. Linda is escaping dark events from her childhood and thinks if she finds Rebecca some of that perfection will rub off on her. Will Linda find Rebecca? What is Terry up to when he starts mysteriously missing work? This is the perfect summer mystery to read on the beach!


Laura’s pick

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. This campy horror is set in the summertime during the 1980s. A group of girls go away for a weekend at a friend’s cottage, and one gets lost in the woods. When they find her, she’s not the same and a comical race to save her ensues. This is a great summer read for anyone who loves horror because it’s nostalgic of summers from our childhoods-complete with scrunchies, sleepovers and Madonna. It is horror yes, but it’s fun and spooky and feels like a horror movie double feature at the drive in.


Jenn’s pick:

Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara is an epic tale of ill-fated love. Eros is the world-wearied god of desire; his services are continuously sought by mortals and immortals alike. All he yearns for is peace. Psyche, Princess of Mycenae, is a mortal woman who is prophesied to one day defeat a monster feared by the gods. All she craves is rebelling against society’s expectations for women. Soon, their love will be the only thing that they covet. Thrown together by fate and a curse, these two will find adventure, loss and experience a love that will shape them and the world around them. Perfect for fans of Madeline Miller, Natalie Haynes and all who enjoy a story of star-crossed lovers!


Ann’s pick

Monsters; A Fan’s Dilemma: If you read this in the summer it is a summer read. Summer is a good time to read this book because you are going to want to talk to people about it while standing at a barbecue, while inching your way into the lake, while waiting your turn on the pickle ball court. This non-fiction read taps you on the forehead repeatedly. It says, “Hey, what are you thinking about this or that talented genius (Michael Jackson, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen) and the terrible (or maybe you don’t think they were so terrible) things they did outside of their art?” No. Really. What are you thinking and why? No flippant one sentence answers allowed. Whew!

A quote from the book, “The way you consume art doesn’t make you a bad person, or a good one. You’ll have to find some other way to accomplish that.”

Do you believe this? Does this ring true? SEE!!?? You are going to need to read this in the summer when opportunities present themselves daily to talk to people about it or else you will surely burst.


Elise’s pick: Conspirituality is a timely in-depth dive into how wellness, alt-health, and modern spiritual culture shaped the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic for people in North America and across the globe. Told with an irreverent sense of humour, yet deep compassion for all those who were harmed (in the plethora of ways that was possible) during the pandemic and continuing today. A haunting and fascinating dissection.

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