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Summer Reading/Listening Series 2021: Part 2

Illustration of a person sitting cross-legged and reading a book
Illustration of a person sitting cross-legged and reading a book
Copyright: Evgenii Naumov

Some of the best book and podcast recommendations come from fellow editors. In a continuation of our summer series, we’ve asked two more members of our blog committee to share their latest picks.

Sue Bowness

Sue is the director of communications for Editors Canada, a freelance writer and editor at Codeword Communications and a part-time writing professor at Humber College in Toronto. She’s been a year-long member of the blog review committee and a frequent contributor to The Editors’ Weekly.

SB: I am a walker, and over the past few years, podcasts have replaced music as my go-to background as I wind my way around the ravines of Toronto. I keep up with the psychology podcast No Stupid Questions, general interest ones like Radiolab and other favourites I’ve added over the years. I’m probably most fond of SmartLess, where actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes interview celebrity guests. It’s all about the banter.

But if you’re most interested in writing podcasts, there are lots of those to explore as well. I dove into them about a year ago, and so far, my favourites are the following:

  • The Copywriter Club — Hosted by duo Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. While the podcast is focused on copywriting, I always learn something.
  • High-Income Business Writing Podcast — Hosted by Ed Gandia, a writing coach, but with often shorter episodes that offer good quick hit tips.
  • Hot Copy — Kate Toon and Belinda Weaver, two writers, chat about writing topics and invite guests on to do the same. Again, mostly for copywriters but good stuff on craft too.
  • Canadaland — A Canadian success story, these media criticism podcasts help me keep up with news and business. I mostly listen to Short Cuts, where hosts discuss media stories of the week (although there are others with a political focus), or limited series such as Thunder Bay and Cool Mules (the latter recently won gold in the National Magazine Awards’ Best Podcast: Arts & Culture category).

Laura Bontje

Laura is a freelance editor in London, Ont. She specializes in fiction editing, with a particular focus on children’s literature. The Editors’ Weekly welcomes Laura as the blog’s new proofreader and social media contributor.

LB: My summer reading begins with Matthew Salesses’ Craft in the Real World, a book that was recommended by editor Sangeeta Mehta in her session at the 2021 Editors Canada conference. I’m eager to learn more about the way that white, Western storytelling norms have informed the publishing industry, and to apply that knowledge to reduce unconscious biases in my own editing.

This summer, I also hope to catch up on reading for pleasure. I recently started Swimming Back to Trout River, which tracks a young girl and her estranged parents through the years following the Cultural Revolution. I was drawn not only to the plot, but also to the context, knowing that my education about this period in Chinese history has often offered only a single story. Linda Rui Feng’s writing is poignant and rich with imagery, and I look forward to diving deeper into the novel.

After Swimming Back to Trout River, I’m excited to read Canada Reads 2021 contender Hench (Natalie Zina Walschots), which I’ve heard so much buzz about since its release. I’ve been a data-loving office worker before, and the idea of spreadsheets and office politics combined with supervillains sounded too delightful to pass up.

Reader recommendations

Have you been reading more or less during the pandemic? What genres have you read? Do you have any book or podcast recommendations to share?


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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.

2 Comments on “Summer Reading/Listening Series 2021: Part 2”

  • I’ve been reading lots during the pandemic, and even more over the past couple of months while being laid up after foot surgery. One of the most absorbing novels I’ve read is Songs for the End of the World, by Saleema Nawaz. Remarkable for telling the story of a global pandemic before our real-life one descended, the book is so much more than a lucky bit of prescience. Its compelling characters and interlinked plot and time lines make for a saga you can really sink into.

    • Lucy Payette


      Thanks for that good recommendation, Frances. I’ll add it to my list. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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