A Book about a Season: Picks for the 2022 TPL Reading Challenge

August 15, 2022 | Kasey K

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TPL Reading Challenge 2022

With the category of "a book about a season" as I write this in July, it's hard not to immediately think of classic summer reads. But, I'm not really a traditional summer reads kind of a person, so you'll not get much of that here, I'm afraid. There's so many other seasons to talk about, anyway! Here you'll get recommendations from me, other TPL staff, and the members of the  TPL Reading Challenge Facebook Group! I'll start with my own:


The Nest by Kenneth Oppel (illustrated by Jon Klassen)

A strange and mysterious novel, in which one anxious boy struggles to deal with the fact that his infant brother is very sick and may not survive. One summer night, a strange wasp-like creature - that he believes to be an angel - arrives and tells him they are there to save his brother. All he has to do is agree to their deal (without knowing the terms). A book from two beloved Canadian children's book creators, The Nest is sufficiently creepy (and weird) to satisfy a horror-loving adult audience too.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • a book about family


Staff Recommendations

And here are some of the recommendations from other TPL staff!

Peach Blossom Spring

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

The book is not so much about the specific season of spring, but there is an underlying theme of putting down seeds, roots, and sprouting new life. This novel is based on the experiences of the author's father, who was a survivor of war in China, military occupation, living in fear, immigration, and inter-racial family dynamics. I found it eye-opening and enjoyable.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • a book about family
  • a book about a refugee experience
  • a book published this year

— Catherine, Librarian


Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

The story may be a little bit outdated but it's a silly adventure of three friends on their summer holiday boating along the River Thames.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • a book in the public domain
  • a book written under a pen name

— Lucas, Librarian


Rules of Summer

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan

More surreal than straightforward, this picture book follows the summer adventures of two brothers. Mundane rules like "never leave the back door open overnight" are contrasted with imaginative illustrations of fantastical situations. Shaun Tan's weird and wonderful picture books leave readers young and old with more questions than answers (in the best kind of way).

— Myrna, Librarian


The Art of Fielding 

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

This one is about a specific kind of season - a baseball season! It takes place at a small college in Wisconsin where shortstop Henry Skrimshander is a defensive wizard. That all changes one day when an errant throw creates a mental block and he can no longer field the position. The leader of the team, catcher Mike Schwartz, is coming to the end of his playing days and dealing with the fact that his baseball career will soon be over. An atypical sports novel, the Art of Fielding is about how Henry, Mike and the other characters deal with failure both on and off the field.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • a book about mental health
  • a book  about family

— Mike, Digital Content Lead



The Shining by Stephen King

Winter plays a prominent role in King's classic horror story. During this season, the Overlook hotel shuts down and is in need of a caretaker. Jack Torrence moves in to maintain the hotel for the winter, bringing along his wife and young son, Danny. Isolated from the rest of the world, the family's fate comes into the hands of the sinister spirits who haunt the hotel. The only person aware of the hotel's presence is Danny who has a gift known as "the shining". There are some parts of the novel that I didn't like (e.g. the topiary animals coming to life is a little silly) but overall, it's a great horror read that makes you feel for the characters. The sequel, Doctor Sleep, was written decades later which I also enjoyed. On a side note, King had taken a strong stance against Stanley Kubrick's movie adaptation, but I think it's the best adaptation of all his work!

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • a book about family

— Rathees, Librarian



The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

This book from 1972 is about a special baseball team, the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s. Not only was this the team where Jackie Robinson debuted, breaking the racist "colour barrier" in baseball, it also featured many other memorably great players, including Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella. Being the team from Brooklyn, the Dodgers helped cement Brooklyn's identity within the five boroughs—which was why their departure for Los Angeles in 1959 came as such a blow. 

Kahn, who followed the team as a professional sportswriter, captures the agony and the ecstasy of being a baseball fan, living and dying with his team. Although dated in some respects and perhaps at times prone to sentimentality, this book remains a warm and loving book about a remarkable team and its time.

Other Reading Challenge categories:

  • a book written by a journalist

— Joel, Librarian



The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

Detective Elin Warner is invited to her brother's engagement party in the Swiss Alps. The party is in an old hospital for tuberculosis patients that was converted into a 5-star hotel. Elin is uneasy in the hotel with its minimalist decor and displays of antique medical equipment. Her concern increases as a snowstorm begins blanketing the hotel and making the treacherous mountain road impassable. It's already a bad situation and then people start disappearing. Is there a killer in the hotel?

My favourite type of mystery involves people trapped in winter so, this book ticked a lot of my reading boxes. 

— Margaret, Librarian


French Recommendations

If you like to read in French, check out the list of recommended books for "les saisons"—there's a mix of books, ebooks and digital audiobooks to try!


Recommendations from the Facebook Group

These are just some of the suggested titles from our Facebook TPL Reading Challenge 2022 discussion group:

You can read all of the responses in the original post. You do not need a Facebook account to read the suggestions.

What would you recommend for "a book about a season”? Suggestions for anything representing spring or autumn are particularly needed!