Brace yourself: what I’m about to say may be shocking.
Are you ready?
In fact, it’s not just May – it’s the May long weekend. Go ahead, check your calendar. You’ll see.
Yes, the May long weekend. Victoria Day. The May 2-4. The unofficial start of Canada’s summer.
Well, most years. This year? Perhaps not so much. It’s been a very strange spring across the country. Virtually non-existent in some places. And now it’s time to open up the cottage? To chill out on a dock? To meet friends on a patio?
Fear not – we’re Canadian. We can do all those things, no matter the weather. We’ll just have to remember to pack a raincoat. And possibly a parka. And definitely a book. Or two.
For readers, Canada basically has two seasons: indoor reading, and outdoor reading. And while the variability of the weather might blur those seasons a bit this year, we’re nothing if not adaptable: sunglasses and cold drinks al fresco when the sun is shining, a cozy quilt and a hot beverage indoors when the skies turn grey. It all works out in the end.
But what to read?
Funny you should ask.
To kick off the summer reading season, Canada’s dedicated (and compulsive) independent booksellers have compiled a sterling selection of possibilities, from a Canadian icon to a hot new must-read, from a business visionary to a stunning short story debut, and more. A word of advice, though, given the weather? You might want to pack a couple of books. Just to be safe.
Research shows that most of the books we read are the result of one thing: someone we know, trust, and/or admire tells us it's great. That's why we run this series, The Recommend, where readers, writers, reviewers, bloggers, and others tell us about a book they'd recommend to a good friend ... and why.
This month, we're pleased to present the picks of authors Yaskuko Thanh (Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains), Mark-Leiren Young (The Killer Whale That Changed the World), Danila Botha (For All the Men and Some of the Women I Have Known), Melanie Martin (A Splendid Boy), and Mia Herrera (Shade).
Yasuko Thanh recommends Anosh Irani's The Parcel
Sometimes you read a book that understands you. Where you find yourself dog-earring pages that were written so truthfully or that speak to you like you’re the only one in the room that you can’t let them go. Anosh Irani’s The Parcel recounts the story of Madhu, a retired transgender sex worker living in Bombay’s red light district. The tragedy of Madhu’s life is felt in every line. Every third sentence or so I had to check my heart because the story kept stopping it.
But the power of this work goes beyond its subject matter. There is an urgency behind each word driving the narrative that makes this book m …