2013 11 Jun

Staff picks for summer reading

Friends, we share below a list of staff picks for your summer reading pleasure, edification and mental ammunition. La lucha continua, as does the noble tradition of kicking up yer heels and renewing your imagination in that oldfangled device, a book.

Enjoy! - and please get in touch if you'd like to grab any of these from our humble shoppe. 

Ben’s picks

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz won the Pullitzer Prize for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a multi-generational novel taking place in the US and the Dominian Republic. It's a story of love, politics, a family curse that has persisted for generations, and a nerdy love of sci-fi and fantasy. What more can you want?

Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa

Moving between Palestine, Lebanon, and the US, over three generations and six decades, Susan Abulhawa's Mornings in Jenin portrays the diversity of the Palestinian experience in a way that's rarely been done in English-language fiction. If you're interested in learning about the modern history of Palestine, reading a page-turning book that you can't put down, or some great character-driven prose, this book is for you.

The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, by Thomas King

This is no dry and plodding historical account! In The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King puts his considerable writing talents to 500 years of indigenous-settler relations in North America. Looking at 500 years of colonization and resistance with biting satire, a keen historical eye, and a “what is to be done” sensibility.

David’s picks

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson

So this little thing called The Internet forever changed how we communicate, learn, play, work and share photos of our cats. Now, digital is going to change manufacturing. Read all about it now to understand the future of making stuff – and what it means for communities and nations around the world.

The Bond: Connecting Through The Space Between Us, by Lynne McTaggart

We don’t need no WiFi. We don’t need no devices. Humans have always been connected by virtue of being alive. Now science is backing that up. I love this book. Lynne tells us the story of the real impulse of living things – to connect, not to compete. We are “born to belong, born to agree, born to give.” Bring it.

Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business, Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends On It, by Mitch Joel

Digital marketing luminary Mitch Joel spells out how digital is rewiring the world. He documents the shifts underway amongst businesses, people, people who work at businesses (you), people who spend money at businesses (also you) – and the wider implications for institutions and communities. Don’t dismiss this out of hand because it’s by a – gasp – marketer. Montreal-based Joel has been in the centre of the digital mix for years and kinda knows what’s going on. Business models will never be the same. 

Dax’s picks

Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, Ian Christie

Yes, I know this isn't your average Octopus title but I couldn't resist. If heavy metal leaves you scratching your head, this is an accessible guide to explaining its musical roots, its often misunderstood virtuoso practitioners, and the continuing cultural influences of heavy metal.

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, by Deepa Kumar

In this book, Kumar offers an historical analysis of how Islamophobia has often served the needs of empire. It is essential reading for those seeking a deeper understanding of the 'War on Terror's' ideological underpinnings.

History of Economic Thought: A Critical Perspective, by E.K. Hunt & Mark Lautzenheiser

It's not very often that I buy a textbook from a class that I'm not in but this is a solid exception. For those interested in economic history and philosophy, this book offers an excellent overview of the history of economic thought.

Gabrielle’s picks

In The Body of the World: A Memoir, by Eve Ensler

In this touching memoir, author of The Vagina Monologues and feminist activist Eve Ensler relays her lifelong struggle to connect with her body in a positive way in the wake of sexual abuse. Raw but ultimately uplifting , Ensler doesn't hesitate to talk about very real, harrowing experiences, most notably her own battle with uterine cancer. A must-read for any woman who has struggled with her body, or any person (gender notwithstanding) seeking to understand the personal and powerful experiences driving contemporary feminism.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, by Anthony Marra

Heart-wrenching and poetic, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena tells the story the Chechen conflict of the 1990s through the eyes of  two refugees: eight-year-old Havaa and her father's close friend, Akhmed. Anthony Marra, who spent a number of years living in Eastern Europe and researching Chechnya, brings humanity and poignant realism to the devastation caused by an oft-forgotten war. An important and stunning first novel.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

This book has received rave reviews, and it's not wonder why. Susan Cain details,  with knowledge, compassion and patience, the ways in which society has consistently undervalued introverts - as well as how to fix them. A fantastic read for anyone, from the naturally introverted to employers who want to maximize the comfort and potential of their quietest (and potentially brightest) workers.

Lisa’s pick

The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe

This book is awesome...I don't know who it's for but it's for someone, and I think it's an important book. It’s all about the joy of reading and the ways that joy is multiplied when we share it with others. Maybe you are the "someone"? Maybe this book is for you? Do you like to read? Do you like books? This might be one for you. This might be it. What are you waiting for?

Tanya's picks

Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver

Just out in paperback is Barbara Kingsolver's latest work of beauty, Flight Behavior.  Here Kingsolver ambitiously addresses climate change through the personal story of Dellarobia Turnbow, an unsatisfied small town farmers wife, looking for change in her own life.  A powerful, compelling novel whose story is situated at the convergence between science, global environmental catastrophe and the individual desire for growth, escape and enlightenment. 

The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai

Almost two decades after his stunning debut novel Funny Boy comes The Hungry Ghosts, Shyam Selvadurai's intense and beautiful story of family, immigration and identity. The novel follows Shivan Rassiah, our young protagonist, as he emmigrates to Canada from Sri Lanka, leaving behind his beloved grandmother, with whom he and his family share a torrid relationship.  Selvadurai's voice is ripe with reflection, maturity and beauty, as he writes of struggle, growth and pain with wit and lightheartedness. 

What do you think?: