Curating the perfect summer reading list

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel

Curating the Perfect Summer Reading List - Lindsay Zier-Vogel

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a cottage, and because my mom was a teacher, we’d leave the city in late June, and return with just enough time to set up her classroom before Labour Day. I read a lot as a kid, and my favourite pre-cottage tradition was going to my local library, and getting out the biggest stack of books possible (Did my dad return them to the library when he’d come back to the city during the week? He must’ve…there’s no way my mom was going to be complicit with late returns!)

Curating a huge stack of books for a summer vacation is still one of my favourite June activities and I’m particularly excited about this year’s list (that yes, I started dreaming about while there was still snow on the ground).

I often just read fiction, the longer the book the better, but I’ve decided this year is my year of branching out genre-wise, and I’ve added some non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and YA titles to my summer list. I cannot wait to be sitting next to a lake, book in hand…



Big Shadow by Marta Balcewicz

And the Walls Came Down by Denise Da Costa

In a Land without Dogs the Cats Learn to Bark by Jonathan Garfinkel

Lump by Nathan Whitlock

The Private Apartments by Idman Nur Omar

Junie by Chelene Knight



Crying Wolf by Eden Boudreau

BLEED: Destroying Myths and Misogyny in Endometriosis Care, by Tracey Lindeman 



Lent by Kate Cayley

Passengers by Michael Crummey

Continuity Errors by Catriona Wright


Middle grade graphic novels and YA

Living with Viola written and illustrated by Rosena Fung

Stealing Home written by J. Torres and illustrated by David Namisato

River Mermaid written by Christy Goerzen


Now, the only problem is going to be not reading these gems until my vacation starts…

The views expressed by Open Book columnists are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Lindsay Zier-Vogel is an author, arts educator, grant writer, and the creator of the internationally acclaimed Love Lettering Project. After studying contemporary dance, she received her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. She is the author of the acclaimed debut novel Letters to Amelia and her work has been published widely in Canada and the UK. Dear Street is Lindsay’s first picture book, and is a 2023 Junior Library Guild pick, a 2023 Canadian Children’s Book Centre book of the year, and has been nominated for a Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award. Since 2001, she has been teaching creative writing workshops in schools and communities, and as the creator of the Love Lettering Project, Lindsay has asked people all over the world to write love letters to their communities and hide them for strangers to find, spreading place-based love.