by deb kozak
Whether you’re heading out to the lake, day tripping at the beach, or just hanging out and chilling (or trying to!) in the city, a good book – one that inspires joy, outrage, or action – can be a welcome companion for your summertime down time.
Here are some of our favourite reads for summer 2017.
Islands of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
In her debut collection of poems and short fiction, Simpson explores the lives of contemporary Indigenous peoples navigating experiences of personal and historical trauma. Invited into their inner and outer worlds, we become witness to their strength, resilience and hope as they mend their fractured selves, communities, and cultures through the course of daily living.
Drawing upon traditional Indigenous storytelling, each piece gives authentic voice to the unique and diverse individuals that make a community. The result: a poetic and profound work with the power to transform how we look at our world and each other. Many of these stories in Islands of Decolonial Love are available as spoken word or musical performances. Stream or download them for free here.
Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away with Another Spoon Coloring Book by Jacinta Bunnell
Whether you’re exploring the world of colouring books as a tool for managing anxiety or stress, part of a mindfulness practice, or just for fun, there’s literally something for everyone.
This activity book makes our list for its radical re-visioning of familiar children’s nursery rhymes and fairy tales for our times. Busting open the limitations of familiar gender stereotypes, each page is a celebration of real-life LGBTTQ** and gender-diverse narratives and situations we can all relate to.
Men Explain Things to me by Rebecca Solnit
Writing about power and gender in today’s society, Rebecca Solnit opens her compilation of essays with a funny anecdote about attending a dinner party where the male host took great lengths to explain the premise of a book to her.
Cut to the punchline: the book in question was one she wrote.
Solnit deepens her inquiry into gender politics across seven essays, exploring how male control of communication and social power serves to support every form of violence against women. Her work has received some criticism about its repetitive nature but that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? For most women, these are the stories of our lives… several times a day, every day.
You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
Peppered with contemporary pop culture references, hashtags, and frank language, this collection of essays from humourist Phoebe Robinson may not be for every reader. We encourage you to give a try, though. Tackling “old prejudices and fresh absurdities”, Robinson effectively uses her sharp comedic skills to offer a blistering take on some pretty important themes: race, bigotry, gender and cultural stereotypes.
Make no mistake; in spite of the laughs, Robinson’s explorations of life as a black woman in America is as pointedly political as it is personal… and very much necessary.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Why are we recommending a feminist novel first published over 30 years ago? To remind ourselves that only feminism can ensure Atwood’s chilling work of fiction remains fiction.
The Handmaid’s Tale has recently been made into a series starring Elisabeth Moss and is currently available on iTunes, CraveTV or Bravo.
So where can I get these terrific books?
All titles are available for purchase online; many can be found in local bookstores and libraries. While online shopping can offer hard-to-resist prices (especially appealing when we we’re making hard decisions about spending!), remember that even small, independent book stores can order titles you can’t find on their shelves. Supporting local businesses is just one way to contribute to the health of our community.