On the Page: LMPR’s Favourite Summer Reads

By the sea on a patio, in the forest at a campsite, or at the bottom of the garden, summer in Vancouver provides multiple opportunities to catch up on books we have longed to discover. The LMPR team shares their planned summer reading in the sunshine.

Rachel Lowry – The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls 

With my husband committed to a rigorous summer study regimen for his final Chartered Accountancy exams this September, our getaways will be few. My escape from the city heat will be reclining with a book and an umbrella drink on our breezy deck overlooking the scenic North Shore mountains.

One such book is Jeannette Walls’ 2006 memoir, The Glass Castle. The New York Times commends Walls’ “evenhanded and unjudging” recollection of her upbringing by an “excitement addict” mother and a father with a “little bit of a drinking problem.” Grandiose schemes give way to nighttime “skedaddles” in order to evade bill collectors. Walls and her three siblings incur neglectful injuries and a spotty education living a nomadic life through countless Southwest desert towns.

Rebecca Sharma – Counting New Beans, edited by Clayton Lord

At the top of a leaning pile of books on my bedside table is a paperback given to me by Cultch Executive Director Heather Redfern titled Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art. Published In 2012, this nearly five-hundred-page collection of essays, interviews, research, and statistics (the result of a two-year national surveying project) examines the way the arts community values and evaluates the art they make and consume.

Challenging the status quo, participating authors and organizations shake things up by looking at what we really get out of the arts (outside of dollars and cents) and how we might turn things around to create a truly sustainable ecology of arts.

Zoe Grams – Ragnarok, by A.S. Byatt

Summer, for me, is made for escapism and dreaming, whether that be escaping into the hills from the city, or falling into an imaginative story within a book. A.S. Byatt has been a favourite author of mine for as long as I can remember having favourite authors. Her work is highly intelligent, cuttingly observant, yet – at its heart – contains a poetic beauty that uplifts.

Ragnarok: The End of the Gods retells Norse mythology, interweaving the demise of Odin, Freya, and Thor, with the author’s own experiences of being evacuated as a young child in Britain during WW2. I’m drawn to this part-discourse, part-story that will keep me captivated… hopefully long enough to secure a summer tan, usually elusive to us Brits.

Brian Paterson – Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

Most of my summers are occupied with getting away from the city for backpacking and camping in the great outdoors. This year will be a bit different however, as I'll be travelling through cities – first in Edinburgh for the Fringe, then in the towns of Southern France.

To compensate for this, I'll be bringing a book I've long-intended to read: Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Combining diary, declaration, manual, and spiritual discovery, the work follows two years of Thoreau's life in which he left society to build a cabin in the woodland near Walden Pond.

Categories: MPMG