KT Reads staff picks

Since this issue is all about summer book lists, we thought it would be fun to share what Kitchissippi Times staff and contributors are reading as well. 

Dave Allston, Contributor
I’m reading Whiskey and Wickedness – Rideau Valley by Larry Cotton, the newest volume in his series profiling the local history of small towns in eastern Ontario, particularly recounting the prevalence of alcohol and taverns in the 19th century. With stories in bite-size format, Cotton details the most interesting bar fights and liquor-related deaths, making for truly captivating local history!

Judith van Berkom, proofreader and contributor
Reading choices this summer centre on three areas of my life: the unexplored, copy editing and proofreading, and my inner, spiritual life as a Christian. Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English by Patricia T. O’Conner, published (2nd ed.) in 2003 by Riverhead Books is a light, witty look at common grammar problems encountered everyday – an excellent refresher. I’ll be rereading C.S. Lewis’s children’s books and adding Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (1966) which describes his conversion to Christianity. The unexplored is a book recommended by my daughter, Tamar. Written by an American humorist, David Sedaris, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, published by Little Brown in 2004, is a collection of 22 autobiographical essays.

Ellen Bond, photographer
I’m in the process of reading All The Way: My Life on Ice by Jordin Tootoo. I love hockey, I love the far north and Inuit people fascinate me. They are part of Canada and many still live a traditional lifestyle. Not to glorify and say all is good, this book looks at the dark side of life in the north too, where it is very likely you know someone who has taken their own life. It’s about someone beating the odds and that type of story always attracts me. Every time Jordin steps on the ice, he does so where very few other Inuit have travelled. What a story!

Anne Boys-Hope, contributor
My summer read is My Dyslexia by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz. It’s a moving memoir of his lifelong battle with dyslexia, and how it helped him to succeed as a writer. Once a bullied boy, he overcame his challenges through sheer determination (amazingly, he taught himself to read at age 11), creative thinking, and the love and support of his immigrant mother. Heart-breaking, engaging and inspiring—it is all of these things. I can’t put it down!

Tanya Connolly-Holmes, art director
I am currently reading the July/August 2016 issue of The Walrus. Why did I pick it up? The cover … the reality of crazy drivers, distracted drivers and construction galore. Will a morning drive ever go back to smooth sailing in this city? Lots of great summer reading here.

Andrea Cranfield, contributor
Things are so busy for me right now that I hate to admit I am not reading anything at the moment. Well, that is not entirely true. I am pregnant and due October 14. So if I ever do pick up something to read it is 100,001 + Best Baby Names, The Complete Book of Baby Names. But that’s about it. And we still don’t have names picked.

Eric Dupuis, sales and marketing
I am currently reading The Bad Guys Won, by Jeff Pearlman. This is the story of the 1986 New York Mets of Major League Baseball, the rowdiest team to ever put on a new york uniform and maybe the best. The 1986 Mets won 108 regular season games and the 1986 World Series, one of the most memorable ever. As good as they were on the field, they were equally as bad off it. Known as the Scum Bunch this team left a trail of wreckage in their wake: hotel rooms, charter planes, a bar in Houston and much more. It is a critical look at baseball’s last “play all day, party all night” team. It’s a team that could have won multiple championships if not for some poor off-field decisions by several of their best players.

Bhavana Gopinath, contributor
I’m reading Kamila Shamsie’s Salt and Saffron right now. This Pakistani author has a deft touch with words and an uncanny ear for nuance.  Warning: a talented chef is a key element of the story, so there are incredibly mouth-watering descriptions of pulaos and kababs. This book made me ravenous not just for food, but also for more of Ms. Shamsie’s writing.

Joseph Hutt, contributor
Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf is one of those books whose meaning changes whenever I read it. Harry Haller, the Steppenwolf, is caught between two worlds, two competing desires, finds himself utterly miserable and acts accordingly. A dash of mysticism, a touch of nihilism, and two heaping spoonfuls of existential angst, it will always be at the top of my To Read list.

Shaun Markey, contributor
I’m reading My Cross to Bear, by Greg Allman. This memoir of the cofounder of The Allman Brothers Band is rife with all of the excesses and drama one would expect from a rock and roll legend. Still, it is clear that Allman remains solidly in touch with the important things in life: family, friends and his music. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable, at times shocking, rock and roll read!

Alyson Queen, contributor
I’m currently devouring All the Light We Cannot See. Anthony Doerr vividly paints the lives of two young characters – one French, one German – running in parallel during World War II. It’s easy to become attached to Marie-Laure and Werner, whose stories alternate in short chapters with hauntingly beautiful prose.

Paula Roy, contributor
I’m currently reading The Paris Architect, by Charles Belfoure. It’s set in France during World War II and tells the story of a talented architect who is enlisted to craft ingenious hiding places to protect Jews from the Nazis. The characters – both the good guys and the bad guys – are fascinating and Belfoure does an excellent job of building tension and suspense.

Ted Simpson, contributor
I’ve just started on Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky because I feel like I’m overdue for a “Russian authors phase” in my life. What really drew me to this one right now is that it was published in 1866, and I’ve not read much from that time period aside from a few token Mark Twain stories. I’ve got War and Peace by Tolstoy on deck, that is a spectacularly thick novel, but I feel like it is a mountain I must climb, with any luck, I’ll find some form of enlightenment at the top.

Also, I’ve still got the Game of Thrones books on the go; it’s quick easy reading for when my mind needs a break. I’ve already seen the show, so I know what’s gonna happen, reading the books is purely self-indulgence.

Mark Sutcliffe, CEO
When I told my wife I had started a new book called “How Not to Be Wrong” she responded dryly, “I’m not surprised you would read a book with that title.” Jordan Ellenberg’s fascinating book, however, isn’t a tool for people who like to win arguments. Subtitled the “Power of Mathematical Thinking,” it’s surprisingly accessible and free of jargon and it’s about how the basic rules of math play into a wide range of everyday topics, including obesity, art and lotteries.

Andrea Tomkins, Managing Editor and Associate Publisher
I recently finished The Widow, by Fiona Barton. If you enjoy thrillers such as The Girl on the Train you should definitely consider this one. It was an express loaner from the Ottawa Public Library, which meant I only had seven days to read it. I needn’t have worried because I couldn’t put it down. It’s the best kind of book for summer lists; a quick read that keeps you turning the page.

Bradley Turcotte, contributor
After fulfilling my summer 2015 pledge to read J.G. Ballard, I sought out spicier stories than the British writer’s dry, competently written sci-fi. Montreal author Daniel Allen Cox’s 2015 novel Mouthquake is a   blistering read, detailing a gay stutterer’s sexual exploration and unexpected relationship with a deaf man. Next up in the pile on my bedside table is local author Kate Reid’s Lost in Time and The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.

Jackie Whalen, Controller
I am reading A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking. It is fascinating to read it now, almost 30 years after it was written. Hawking is a brilliant individual, who is able to effectively communicate his message to the masses, about our universe, and where it may be headed.

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