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Read ‘em and reap

Halifax authors share their must-read books of the summer.

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You know the feeling when you meet your friend’s friends, and you hit it off better than you hoped? The welcome wave of realization that soon, these witty and warm people might be your friends, too? That’s the vibe that spreads, sweet as honey, when you get to read your favourite author’s favourite book. It’s at once prescriptive to you and descriptive of them. Suddenly, you’re reminded of all the newness in the world you’ve yet to see, of all the art and beauty and weirdness and understanding that—until this very second—were doors hidden behind the curtains of your everyday life. Here, we’ve asked a handful of Halifax’s best writers to pull the curtain back, let the hot sun shine in, and tell us all what we should read this summer:

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“For me, summer means a kind of never ending 2SLGBTQ+ Pride season: June is Pride month and here in Halifax, Pride is usually in July. (This year, though, it’ll be in August due to COVID-19.) Mark this Pride by reading Ma-Nee Chacaby's A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder. The sheer breadth of this book—spanning the 150 years between Ma-Nee's Cree grandmother's childhood in the mid-1800s to MaNee's life as a 2-Spirit elder in Thunder Bay in the 2010s— is, in itself, extraordinary. In A Two-Spirit Journey, Ma-Nee is radically honest about some of the hardest moments of her life and also shares her greatest accomplishments and joys: Falling in love, getting sober and healing from PTSD, finding and creating 2SLGBTQ+ community and much more.” —Rebecca Rose, author of Before The Parade: A History of Halifax's Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Communities, 1972-1984


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“I would suggest picking up the debut novel of Chad Lucas, Thanks A Lot, Universe, then take it down to the waterfront and meet the wonderful cast of characters that Chad has created for us to enjoy.” —Andre Fenton, author of  Worthy of Love and Annaka


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“My summer read is Return of the Trickster by Eden Robinson. It is the third and final book in the Trickster series. I love this book because it's a YA thriller that focuses on Indigenous characters and weaves in Indigenous culture from the west coast of Canada. Even though I'm from the other side of Turtle Island and from a completely different nation, I see and relate to the parallels so many Indigenous people experience. The best way to take in this book is from the biggest chair in your house, folded into a pretzel with an iced coffee—and, for me, never too far from my smudge bowl in case a few spirits try to escape the pages.” Rebecca Thomas, former Poet Laureate of Halifax and author of I’m Finding My Talk and I Place You Into The Fire


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“I’ve been finding I want to sink into books that know what they’re doing with words as I’m reckoning with being in the company of other people again. The poets I’m turning to are Liz Howard (Letters to a Bruised Cosmos) and Margaret Christakos (Dear Birch). I’m reading them in the good company of some trees that aren’t asking too much of me but are letting me know that they are with me: The perfect site for practicing being in company again. Which will soon feel glorious, I’m sure.” —Sue Goyette, Halifax Poet Laureate and author of Penelope: In First Person, Antithesis: A Memoir and more


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"The Second History by Rebecca Silver Slayter is a post-apocalyptic story which explores the devastating effects of environmental catastrophe on human relationships. Let this hauntingly beautiful novel sweep you into a hot summer afternoon in the Public Gardens. Or, make like Judy and Eban in the in The Second History: They set off on a journey to the fabled colony of the original mountain settlers in hopes of finding the answers they need. You, too, can flee the city and read this spectacular book on the North Mountain at the edge of the Bay of Fundy. —Christy Ann Conlin, author of The Speed of Mercy, Watermark, The Memento and more

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