Summer 2022: ALU Staff Picks

We’re finally in those long summer days, and with sand and surf (or the lake equivalent to surf) on the horizon for our staffers, we ask what books are likely to grace their beach blankets this summer. Read on to see our summer 2022 staff picks!


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Dominecc’s Pick

The Castleton Massacre: Survivors’ Stories of the Killins Femicide by Sharon Anne Cook and Margaret Carson (Dundurn Press)
This book highlights the trauma that comes from domestic violence and how this tragedy affected the two survivors and their lives moving forward. The book serves as a remembrance of Robert Killins’ victims and a reminder of how rampant domestic violence is in our world. I am a big fan of true crime stories so The Castleton Massacre will be right up my alley. 

Laura’s Pick

Orion Sweeping by Anne Marie Todkill (Brick Books)
A guilty confession: I am judging this book by its cover, because it’s fantastic. I’ve been drawn to its dynamism – the fox seems to be in motion – again and again. The poems collected in Orion Sweeping move, too, across the strange and tender elements that make up a life, carrying the reader to new and sometimes startling insights. 

Lauren’s Pick

I Am Billy the Kid by Michael Blouin (Anvil Press)
My kingdom for a revisionist western, always; it’s why I was so thrilled to peep I Am Billy the Kid forthcoming from Anvil Press earlier this year. Michael Blouin’s take on the famed outlaw has him surviving his attempted killing from Sheriff Pat Garrett, but only just. Billy, aka William Bonney, falls into a terrible drinking habit after his narrow escape. Only through an unlikely partnership with tenacious young woman Turner Wing and her father will Billy – maybe – be pulled from his despair. Blouin has such a unique voice (Skin House, anyone?) and I can’t wait to soak up some sun and big gunslinger energy this summer.

Morin’s Pick

Grin Reaping by Rod Carley (Latitude 46 Publishing)
As someone who loves watching YouTube clips of the British television show Mock the Week (a topical satirical celebrity panel show), seeing a book description that says “Rudy tackles a range of topics with a wry, self-deprecating wit” had me immediately move Grin Reaping to the top of my TBR pile this summer. Plus, who could resist reading this comedic intertwining short story collection when there is an adorable cartoon dog on the cover? 

Tahmina’s Pick

In for a Dime by John Jantunen (ECW Press)
Imagine receiving a text that reads, “It has begun again.” That’s how Deacon, a small-town reporter, gets involved in the story of his life. As a huge horror (books, not movies) fan, In for a Dime is based on an interesting concept. Dylan brings his grandfather’s novels to life … except in this case, we’re talking about apocalyptic thrillers. He has already done something like this ten years ago and is now back at it again, and it is up to Deacon to stop Dylan’s savage attacks. I’m particularly excited to read about Deacon’s thought process in putting an end to the attacks … but I am also curious to see what type of “attacks” Jantunen refers to. Are we talking about harmless pranks or is this something much more terrifying? Says Robert Rotenberg (Downfall): “Jantunen writes with full frontal force and honesty … a horror film journey that is all too real, with a great Canadian twist.”

Tan’s Pick

Down Came the Rain and the rest of the Roxanne Calloway series by Raye Anderson (Signature Editions)
The hardest thing about being a mystery reader is waiting for the next book in a series you enjoy. It’s why, typically, I will wait until a few books are available before diving into a new series. There are now three books in a new mystery series in which Corporal Roxanne Calloway investigates crimes in and around Manitoba’s Interlake and capitol regions, and it’s high time I dig in. And We Shall Have Snow introduces Corporal Calloway: young, ambitious, and keen to make her mark in the RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit. The intensity ramps up in And Then Is Heard No More, driving Corporal Calloway away from Winnipeg, to the small town at the heart of Down Came the Rain. If you’re a fan of Janice McDonald‘s Randy Craig series, or Gail Bowen‘s Joanne Kilborne series, check them out with me this summer.

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What are you adding to your TBR pile this summer? Let us know in the comments or on social @alllitupcanada.