Hot Summer Reads: Magical & Dystopian Picks

For many of us, summer vacation is a chance to take a break from our regular daily schedule: wake up, shower, eat, work, eat, sleep, REPEAT. It can get pretty monotonous. But that doesn’t mean your summer reads have to be. We’ve picked a selection of five books beyond the ordinary that’ll give your brain a chance to stretch its legs while you stretch yours this summer.


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Portals by Bill Haugland(Véhicule Press)
When a Dalhousie newspaper reporter discovers a mysterious and seemingly linked series of disappearances dating all the way back to the 1800s, he’s left to question our fate–in biblical proportions and beyond. Prophecies, alternate realities, good vs evil…Portals has everything you could want from a dark dystopian read.Adjacentland by Rabindranath Maharaj (Wolsak & Wynn)
Writer’s note: I get excited when I get to refer to anything as “Kafkaesque”, and I’m certainly not missing this opportunity, so with that being said…) In this Kafkaesque tale, a man finds he has lost all sense of memory when he wakes up in a strange Compound. When its administrators try to convince him that he has gone insane, his skepticism leads him on a search for the truth and for memories of his past. What he finds is that only his imagination remains…along with a dark secret.Send More Tourists, The Last Ones Were Delicious by Tracey Waddleton (Breakwater Books)
A surrealist collection of stories about survival. Send More Tourists, The Last Ones Were Delicious sees reality on a weird and dreamy slant to get us thinking about how we respond to life’s greatest moments. Tarot cards, dismembered saints and more will take you from sun to strange in a matter of pages.The Plague by Kevin Chong (Arsenal Pulp Press)
The Plague is a modern-day retelling of Camus’ classic allegory of a city ravaged by a treatment-resistant disease. After rats and other creatures start dying by the hundreds, the disease begins to infect humans and the city is put on quarantine, leaving Dr. Bernard Rieux searching for a cure, and an answer to one of life’s greatest questions: is there meaning in suffering?Days by Moonlight by Andre Alexis (Coach House Books)
Travel through the underworld of Southern Ontario with botanist Alfred Homer and his friend friend Professor Bruno. Reality and imagination blend together on this dark and comedic road trip that sees the pair on a trip to uncover the story of a mysterious and maybe-dead poet. Much more interesting than your back-road drive to the cottage, you’ll find witches, werewolves and strange plants along this journey.* * * Follow along this week for more #aluhotsummer reads every day on All Lit Up!