For those of us “too busy to read” during the school year, the summer, with its longer days and relaxing rhythms, is the perfect time to pick up that long-forgotten book. However, if you’re in need of a new summer read, check out our staff recommendations below!
Shereen, Writing Coach: “I just finished reading Inua Ellams’ scripts for ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’, ‘Three Sisters’, and ‘The 14th Tale’ last week. I would say his works are must-reads (and must-sees if you ever get the chance to see the performances on stage), especially for anyone interested in postcolonial African/African diaspora literature.”
Megan, Writing Coach: “This summer, I’ve been re-reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Lyrical, surreal, and subversive, this novel explores what it means to write a ‘biography.’ Spanning centuries, the story follows Orlando’s life as she navigates gender, love, and writing. It can be a bit difficult to get into the flow of Woolf’s writing, but once you do, you won’t regret it; I definitely recommend reading this book!”
Marisa, Writing Coach: “I’m finally going to dig into The Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector, translated from Portuguese by Katrina Dodson. I once took this book out of the library, foolishly thinking I could read it in two weeks, but alas. Now that I own a copy, I’m excited to immerse myself in Lispector’s off-kilter world. She writes strange stories in a unique, if sometimes elliptical, voice. You can read one of her stories here, for a taste.”
Monika, Educational Consultant: “I borrowed Middlesex from a friend and have enjoyed diving in without really knowing anything about it. This Jeffrey Eugenides novel, published in 2002, was a bestseller and Oprah Book Club read; it also won the Pulitzer Prize. What I am enjoying most is the interweaving stories — the narrator’s grandparents immigrate from Greece to America, eventually settling in Detroit. They establish their family against the backdrop of the Greek expat community and race riots and white flight to the suburbs. Woven in is the coming of age story of the narrator — first Callie then Cal — which is both shaped by and a reaction to the family history. I recommend this book for its deeply personal storytelling and as an opportunity to learn about history in a fictional context.”
Katherine, Educational Consultant: “I would recommend The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. The story takes place in 1950’s India, only a few years after independence. Lakshmi Shastri, at just 17 years old, has fled her village and an abusive marriage. Out on her own, she becomes a highly requested henna artist for the wealthy women of Jaipur. However, things shift when Lakshmi’s husband arrives in Jaipur needing money. With him is a young travelling companion, a sister Lakshmi never knew about. Their presence threatens all the independence Lakshmi has accomplished for herself. Overall, a beautifully told story to dive into this summer.
Lynne, Educational Consultant: “I just finished reading The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham, and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a moving, historically significant and beautifully written story. Through the eyes of home child Winnie at ages 97 and 15, I learned about courage, injustice, belonging and family as well as something about Canada’s history I hadn’t known before. Next on my list is Diamond Boy by Michael Williams — a book my son said I just had to read!
Melodie, South Surrey Office Manager: “Lately, I haven’t had the focus to read long fiction, so I reread The Indispensable Book of Useless Information by Don Voorhees. It’s a great book if you only have time to read snippets here and there as there’s no real plot, just themed chapters.