Summer Reads

Our writers have picked their fave books out to help you pick your summer reading material. Happy reading!

Annie Briard

Ecoholic: Your guide to the most environmentally friendly information, products and services in Canadaby Adria Vasil

Since getting this book, I swear I’ve been opening it every time I’m about to hit the shops. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed tree-hugger or you just plain care about having a future healthy place to live on this Earth, this book has everything you need. After the frustrating reports on our environmental situation, Adria Vasil has done her research and gives us actual solutions to lighten the problem. It’s simple and witty information will teach you all you need to know about everyday ways to lessen your impact on the environment; from food, to clothing and makeup, health care, transportation, offers of ecologically-inclined jobs and more. Not just perfect for reading on the mountain to the beat of the tams.

Melissa Gendron

Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
– by Barack Obama

Someone recommended it to me. I’m told the book is part-memoirs part-policy but that it is written in non-partisan prose moving beyond the American political divisions. I’m a fan of this presidential candidate so I just hope I won’t be disappointed by his ideas.

Maria Giuliani

Hitching Rides with Buddha
by Will Ferguson

The plight of the non-Japanese pilgrim or expatriate living in Japan is that they simply never will be Japanese. One of the themes actively pursued in Will Ferguson’s Hitching Rides with Buddha, this book is downright laugh-out-loud hilarious while also existing as a self-reflective study on one person’s place within a country so absolutely polar to what he is culturally accustomed to.

Combining historical accounts, factual tips, drunken antics and an entertaining side-cast of characters picking him up and dropping him off along the way, Hitching Rides with Buddha is not your typical travel guide. Written with the accessible lingo of a bona fide story-teller, this book is recommended to anyone looking for an adventurous ride.

Andrew MacPhee

Cities for a Small Planet
by Richard Rogers

Richard Rogers’ Cities for a Small Planet is a love song to cities. Prescient and passionate, it is the manifesto for low environmental impact, beautiful urban spaces. Good design can make your life better, he claims. Critics agree – Rogers won the 2007 Pritzker Prize, the Nobel of architecture.

Geneviève Marshall

Assassination Vacationby Sarah Vowell

If you’re a fan of David Sedaris, you’ll love Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation. In this hilarious book, Vowell gives us a taste of her obsession with American history, or more specifically, presidential assassinations.

Perfect for the summer, you can follow Vowell as she retraces the steps of Lincoln, McKinley and Garfield and their untimely demise. A great, funny read.

Adam Robinson

Hallucinating Foucault
by Patricia Dunker

My kind of summer action blockbuster comes with the thrills of sexual ambiguity, the dangers of rare book rooms in libraries, and crazy, brilliant and unapologetically gay French writers breaking out of insane asylums. This novel, sometimes bordering on free verse, sinks into a dark and erotic adventure between a Ph.D. student who becomes obsessed with his subject; or what could be described as the twisted love affair and adventure between writer and reader.

It will make the bitter feel free and romantic and show the innocent the beautiful and simple edges of madness. Thoughtful adventure, without Tom Cruise jumping onto helicopters.

Crawling at Nightby Nani Power

The passion of preparing maki. An aging chef lost in food, the past and the seductive memory of an accidental Lolita. An alcoholic young waitress working hard and living hard.

If you like a short read that messes with time, changing points of view and pretty much everything else, but is written by a firm lyrical hand then this favourite book of mine is for you.

It is a rich and delicious (lots of Japanese food!) portrait of lonely interiors, layered to perfection by a master chef.

Paul Stathakis

Game of Shadows
by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams

In 2003, San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds became implicated in one of the most mediatised scandals in sports history. The well-known baseball player who set out to break homerun records established by baseball legends lived a hard year in which he saw his popularity slip away.

The scandal involved a company named BALCO and the story about Bonds using illegal performance-enhancing supplements surfaced at a period when he was engaged in a fierce competitive run with St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire. Game of Shadows is written by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, two reporters on the investigative team at The San Francisco Chronicle. The book is detailed, carefully written, and in many ways tragic. A great read for those who don’t normally watch baseball or for those who are not familiar with Bonds turbulent career.

Sylvain Verstricht

Your Secrets Sleep with Me
by Darren O’Donnell

The most unknown literary masterpiece I have had the chance to come across, Your Secrets Sleep with Me manages the impossible: to seduce from its very first page. Following an eclectic group of children in Toronto who discover life as the world crumbles around them, O’Donnell makes humanity’s beauty manifest in the most unlikely places. The best Canadian fiction I have read since Timothy Findley’s The Wars.


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