Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

Summer Time Reading Recommendations – Part 2

“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.” Hypatia

Okay, so I can see I haven’t left Greece completely behind. I continue to quote Greek philosophers. Following on last week’s blog of my recommendations for works of short and long fiction, this week, I’ll recommend a few books of poetry and non-fiction I read and enjoyed very much. This list will be a little shorter as I typically read more fiction. Still I hope it helps.

Here are my picks by category and in no particular order.


The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown The account of nine rowers who won the Gold Medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It was an enjoyable read. I particularly liked the history strewn throughout, the personal lives of the rowers, and what was happening in the world pre-second-world-war. The descriptions of the races were so vivid, I could feel the excitement in my chest as I read on.

The Dogs are Eating Them Now by Graeme Smith A view of Afghanistan from the point of view of a Globe and Mail reporter. Fascinating read, but bottom line, we’re not really learning our lessons from the history of various invasions in these countries. Depressing to say the least.

The Unwinding by George Packer A history of the unwinding of the United States including the market crash of 2008. You can’t call this an enjoyable read, but it is informative and gives you some perspective about our southern neighbour.

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro A fun, easy read with reminders of what it means to live a writer’s life.

Cease by Lynette Loeppky A memoir about the life and death of Cec, Lynette’s partner. I loved the brave honesty, wonderful insights and humanity. So many scenes reminded me of the time I spent in Calgary at the Peter Lougheed hospital with my mom. She passed away four years ago in March. Reading this book took me back to my own experience, how far I’ve come since I lost my mom and how much I miss her still. I’m getting teary-eyed writing this. 


North End Love Songs by Katherena VermetteA collection of poems that chronicles the life of aboriginals living in a north-end Winnipeg neighbourhood. A moving and raw account that sheds some light into the struggles of our First Nations people. Absolutely beautiful and horrifying all at once.

Songs and Spectacle by Rachel Rose I loved how the poems dealt with everyday things, motherhood, relationships, life, and spoke to the larger political issues in our world. I loved all the emotions stirred, from the quiet to the rage, from love to disappointment and everything in between. I loved the poems that took the individual and said something about the universal. Very well done. Evocative and satisfying.

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