Summer reads: Part 5

Summer reads

We’ve got words from the West: Three excellent recommendations from Freehand Books in Calgary, two novels and one memoir that all tell tales of the lessons we learn from hardship and the beauty found in letting go.


by Ali Bryan

While Claudia’s ex has happily moved on to a sexy new single life, she’s stuck with two young children, pining for her freedom while discovering bananas in the sock drawer and doodles on her MasterCard bills.

Then, to make matters worse, her mother dies unexpectedly and the cracks start to show, not only in Claudia’s life, but her father’s and brother’s as well. Told with honesty and humour, Aly Bryan crafts a heartfelt story of grief, motherhood, and finding acceptance for your own flawed life.

Read it: When the kids are down for a nap.

Not Being on a Boat

Not Being On a Boat
by Esme Claire Keith

Not Being on a Boat tells the tale of Rutlege, an aging divorcée on a high-end cruise around the world. But the smooth sailing is interrupted when a few passengers don’t make it back on board after a day trip in the Caribbean. Rutledge hardly notices – he’s just happy to have less competition for the treadmills. But soon even the crew members start to disappear and our hero feels that something strange is going on.

This 2012 McNally Robinson Book of the Year is a cunning, dystopic parody of modern luxury and excess, told from the blunt point of view of a man blinded by his own selfishness.

Read it: On the barge, in a fancy hat.

Every Wolf's Howl

Every Wolf’s Howl
by Barry Grills

Barry’s on the ropes, both physically and financially, when he meets Lupus, a wolf-German Shephard cross. Despite the nagging feeling that he probably can’t take responsibility for another living thing, Barry adopts Lupus from an animal shelter and takes him home.

The two become inseparable, venturing back and forth across the country enduring poverty, heartache, and illness. And though Lupus’ wild side can never truly be tamed, man and dog form an extraordinary friendship. Eventually, Barry learns something invaluable from his new friend: it takes a certain feral courage to lead an authentic life.

Read it: With your dog by your side.