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Summer Reading/Listening Series 2021: Part 1

Illustration of a happy woman wearing headphones and listening to an audiobook
Illustration of a happy woman wearing headphones and listening to an audiobook
Copyright: Irina Revina

Some of the best book and podcast recommendations come from fellow editors. It’s no surprise — we learn and refine our skills by reading and listening to content. We also read and listen for pleasure (or to make use of those long periods in lockdown). In the spirit of learning, summer and escape, we asked some of our blog committee members to share their latest picks.

Adrineh Der-Boghossian 

Adrineh is a freelancer based in Toronto. She provides editing, proofreading and writing services through her company More Than Words. The Editors’ Weekly thanks Adrineh for her year-long term as proofreader and social media contributor and for her updates to the blog’s style guide.

ADB: As a freelance editor who works with publishers, I read a lot of books! As a result, I’m always both offering and looking for book recommendations. I recently completed a line edit of a YA novel that I’d like to recommend, even though it won’t be published by Annick Press till 2022. The Queen of Junk Island, by debut author Alexandra Mae Jones, takes place at a cottage over a humid summer and tells the story of Dell, a queer Indigenous teen coming to terms with her sexuality while uncovering secrets from her family’s past. I was drawn into Dell’s story and it stayed with me long after I finished working on the book.

Other books (that you can pick up now) that I’d like to recommend are the Canada Reads 2021 contenders (I especially enjoyed Hench) and 21 Things You May Not Know about the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality by Bob Joseph (full disclosure: I work with the publisher, Page Two).

Lastly, on my TBR list is How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa, which won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was recently announced as the winner of the 2021 Trillium Book Award (English). I first came across Thammavongsa’s work in a zine called Big Boots, and even then I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. I’m so glad to see her getting the recognition she deserves.

Gael Spivak

Gael works in communications for the federal government, where she specializes in plain language writing and editing. She is also completing her terms as the Editors Canada past president and member of The Editors’ Weekly blog review committee. We thank Gael for her insights over the past year.

GS: I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of podcasts but never found the time for them. I don’t drive, so I don’t have that time in a car to listen to them. I ride my bike to work, and it’s too dangerous to listen to music or podcasts when cycling. In the winter, if I take the bus to work, it’s such a short trip that it’s not worth getting into an idea only to have to stop listening.

Then the pandemic came along. While working at home, I take my two allotted coffee breaks as a walk, which gives me time to listen to a good part of an episode.

I started out with Freakonomics because I loved the book. In spite of one fab episode (“How to Make Meetings Less Terrible”), I found it was too focused on the pandemic and the economics of healthcare. I wanted an escape, not more COVID.

So, I switched over to The History of English, a series I’d heard a lot about from Toronto editor Phyl Good.

I’m only on episode 43 (of 148) but I’ve learned so much. Some of the highlights include the following:

  • why we use the word “yard” in North America when the U.K. uses “garden”
  • how the genetic mutation of lactose tolerance in humans changed Indo-European languages
  • how religion played a role (over and over) in developing and changing English.

For anyone who loves words (hey, that’s us editors), it’s a series worth listening to.

Reader recommendations

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations to share? Let us know in the comments or contact us to share a post or a review.


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About the author

Lucy Payette

Lucy Payette is a Senior Technical Editor at StandardAero in Winnipeg. She has worked for more than 20 years in corporate and digital communications for companies based in Toronto and Montreal.

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