Summer reading list to educate, enrich and entertain

The long-lit hours of summertime lend themselves to leisurely mornings of reading on the deck or to relaxing evenings on a lawn chair being transported somewhere by a book.

I have a long list of “plan to reads” that I’ll share with you. I’ve started many of these local books and vow to keep going, but the calling of new titles has sometimes left these perfectly wonderful reads collecting dust.

I share them with you in the hopes that we’ll all get to read them in their entirety very soon:

Fiery Joe: The Maverick Who Lit Up the West by Kathleen Carlisle

This political biography delves into the life of Joe Phelps, one of Saskatchewan’s most colourful politicians and agrarian leaders. Elected in 1938 during the Tommy Douglas era, this maverick initiated the rural electrification program and championed causes such as rural education, health care, women’s rights and First Nations issues.

It is incredulous that the issues of the day in the 1930s so closely parallel the issues that are still paramount some 80 years later.

Claiming Anishinaabe: Decolonizing the Human Spirit by Lynn Gehl

I have not yet read this Saskatchewan Book Award-winning book, but the opening quote from author Lynn Gehl is enough to get me to take it on this summer: “Our Indigenous knowledge systems are the very thing that makes us human. We need to protect them, and hang on to them tightly. This work is dedicated to people who, due to the criminalization of their Indigenous knowledge, were denied the full expression of their spirit and, consequently, what it means to be a good human being. Unlike deer, trees, rock and water, who are all born with their knowledge and intelligence, humans are more pitiful in our need to learn. Unlike all the other orders of Creation, humans walk into being who they are with help from their ancestors, family members, and larger community, and the knowledge that they have, hold and share. European settlers and colonial oppressors had no jurisdiction to take away our right to be the good human beings Creator intended us to be.

It is hard to be human; just keep trying!”

Few and Far by Allison Kydd

The opening page of this book drew me in. Chapter 1 is set in Cannington Manor in southeastern Saskatchewan and is interestingly titled Humiliation.

“My invitation to the wedding of my cousin Mary Humphreys, a resident of Cannington Manor in the district of Assiniboia (part of the North West Territories of the newly minted Dominion of Canada), arrived at a most opportune time in my 23rd year. While I had not been jilted—not precisely, since there had been no formal engagement—I had recently suffered a most unhappy romantic adventure.”

With a full summer of reading ahead of us, these diverse titles are sure to educate, enrich and entertain.

Christalee Froese is a freelance journalist from Montmartre, Sask. Contact: chapters@producer.com.

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