Summer Reads

In the heart of the summer, is there anything more relaxing than taking up residence in the shade with a glass of lemonade in one hand and a good book in the other? We share some page-turning reads from our 2019 Festival Reading List to keep you cool this August.

Hope Matters
by Lee Maracle, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter
Throughout their youth, Columpa Bobb and Tania Carter wrote poetry with their mother, award-winning author Lee Maracle. The three always dreamed that one day they would write a book together—and this book is the result. Having received accolades from authors, media, politicians and community leaders across the country, Hope Matters is quickly becoming a modern classic that focuses on the journey of Indigenous peoples from colonial beginnings to reconciliation. One of the country’s most celebrated Indigenous authors, Maracle and her family’s voice is a balm and a clarion call.

Lee Maracle is shortlisted for the prestigious 2020 Neustadt International Prize for Literature for her novel, Celia’s Song.

An Orchestra of Minorities
by Chigozie Obioma
Spanning continents, traversing the earth and cosmic spaces, and told by a narrator who has lived for hundreds of years, Man Booker Finalist Chigozie Obioma’s latest work offers a contemporary take on Homer’s Odyssey. The story of an impoverished poultry farmer who sacrifices all for the woman he loves, it has received adulation from the world’s literary media, heralded as “a historical treasure” by the Boston Globe and “gorgeously written, with a twist of magical realism and a heavy dose of sad reality” by the Washington Post. This is a must-read title in international fiction.

An Orchestra of Minorites is longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker Prize.

The Farm
by Joanne Ramos
Jane, an immigrant and struggling single mother, is thrilled when she’s selected for The Farm. For nine months, she’ll be paid lucratively to eat organic meals, receive personal training, and be endlessly pampered. In exchange, all Jane has to do is produce a perfect child for The Farm’s wealthy clientele. It should be paradise, but Jane soon becomes desperate to reconnect with the outside world—something she can’t do without losing everything she’s sacrificed to gain. Joanne Ramos’s suspenseful debut is a timely and engrossing interrogation of motherhood, class and the lengths we will go for love.

I Saw Three Ships
by Bill Richardson
One of Canada’s most appreciated personalities—and a Festival favourite—Bill Richardson illuminates the delights of the West End through these short stories set in the neighbourhood during the festive season. Belly-achingly funny, each story gives shelter to characters whose experiences of transcendence leave them more alienated than consoled—from Rosellen meeting her favourite ghost, to Bonnie writing to Peter Gzowski, to Leonard who ends up walking through the snow in a wedding gown. Twisted, tender and perfect for anyone who has complex feelings around the chilly season.

The Art of Leaving
by Ayelet Tsabari
In this unforgettable memoir, acclaimed writer Ayelet Tsabari paints an intimate portrait of displacement and grief. Shaken by the loss of her father, exiled from her Yemeni family and disconnected from her Mizrahi identity, Tsabari traveled the world, unable to settle. It was only by discovering an untold family history that that Tsabari was able to reconcile these complex and competing identities and move beyond her painful past. Frank and unflinching, The Art of Leaving takes readers on a powerful search for belonging.


Lauren Dembicky