What We're Reading

ReadingReading and writing are two sides of one coin. Improve your skill at one and you automatically improve your skill at the other. Here’s what we’ve been reading:

Andrea Davis

The stand-out book I’ve read most recently is not fiction. It’s Getting to Yes:  Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury and focuses on four principles for effective negotiation. It can be applied to professional or personal situations.

I loved this book because of its practical approaches to negotiating conflict that help readers focus more on shared interest and less on individual positions. I like it also because I can apply it to any kind of negotiation, whether these are at home, in the workplace, or at the mall.

Michael Dalmaridis

I recently finished reading The Bear and the Dragon by Tom Clancy. This book is part of a series of books that follow the main character, John (Jack) Patrick Ryan over many years. I highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series and reading each book in sequence. I find the series interesting for three main reasons.

First, I am drawn to this type of genre and the books are entertaining. Tom Clancy is a good story teller and knows how to work in the right details. A log falling into the water in the beginning of the book becomes significant by the end of the book. I find myself reading slowly just so I can absorb all the details.

Second, I enjoy how Clancy develops his characters over the course of several books. Clancy’s books span decades and his characters all grow and progress in their careers. Having read the series, I see that Clancy believes in the goodness of people and how they’ll get their eventual rewards. Jack Ryan has a strong commitment to honesty, integrity and doing what is right. He does what he believes is right no matter the consequences. Although it sometimes gets him in trouble, he ends up being right and characters with similar attitudes helps him in his career. Clancy certainly advocates the idea that the “good guy” finishes first; it just takes a while and a bit of difficulty.

Finally, I am amazed at the level of detail. When I started reading his books, I assumed Tom Clancy was in the navy and had served on a submarine because the level of detail. I later learned that Tom Clancy worked for an insurance company instead. I am amazed at the level of research and details he puts into his book especially for someone who never served in the military. It adds to the realism of his books.

If you like espionage genre, then you’ll enjoy Tom Clancy’s books.

Christine Fischer Guy

I’d happily recommend Michael Crummey’s Galore. It’s A Hundred Years of Solitude in rural Newfoundland. I loved this book for many reasons, but Crummey’s gift for rendering the local patois is the forerunner. He’s also a dab hand at magic realism, as this homage to Márquez demonstrates.

In nonfiction, I’d recommend Six Months in Sudan by James Maskalyk, a Médecins Sans Frontières doctor. Deeply atmospheric and affecting, the book chronicles his post in Abyei, Sudan with emotional honesty, startling poeticism, and humanity.

Paul Lima

Standing Naked in the Wings compiled and edited by Lynda Mason Green and Tedde Moore. It’s a funny, and sometimes moving, collection of stories by Canadian actors.

Beth Philp

I’m currently reading What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a series of his essays that were published in the New Yorker. I like it because Gladwell finds amazing stories in everyday items and situations.

Jody Bruner

I read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières during a rainy week at a cottage this summer. I found the beginning annoying—too many big words that got in the way, too many big words I didn’t know. In fact, this month’s quiz is a list of some of those words. But by the time I got to the end, I couldn’t put it down. I cried uncontrollably for the last 30 or 40 pages. Deliciously romantic but not too sugary.

More recently, I just finished Scar Tissue, the memoir of Red Hot Chili Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis. It’s 460 pages of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Especially drugs. Not something I would normally choose, but it was recommended by my 18 year old son. He’s not a big reader, and I read it to encourage and validate him. I enjoyed the book because it’s a story of personal triumph over addiction and I love being able to discuss it with my son.

How about you? Anything interesting you’d like to recommend?