My Bookish (and not so Bookish) Summer 2016

The title of my post is inspired by the meme Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts, which, as far as I can tell, originates at Bookishly Boisterous.

1) The annual book sale. This is usually in May, but this year it had new organizers, a new location, and a new time. But I was still there. And, as in all the years past, I assumed there wouldn’t be much for me to find. And, as in all the years past, I was wrong.


Canadian finds

Non-Canadian finds

Non-Canadian finds

A closer look at the cute little Penguin short stories I found.

A closer look at the cute little Penguin short stories I found.

2) Camping trips. Most ofΒ our vacation time has always been reserved for summer camping with the kids. And, now that they’re older, I can sometimes get some reading done while we’re camping. There’s nothing better than reading in the woods, by the lake/ocean, or in the tent.

White Point Beach Resort. A quick trip with my parents. Beaches and bunnies!

White Point Beach Resort. A quick trip with my parents. Beaches and bunnies!

Our bike trip in the Annapolis Valley. The book I had with me was The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake.

Our bike trip in the Annapolis Valley. The book I had with me was The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake.

Endless treasures and Endless Shores. Bridgetown, NS. A quick stop on the way home from the Valley.

Endless treasures at Endless Shores. Bridgetown, NS. A quick stop on the way home from the Valley. Finally, Glass Voices!

Fundy National Park. Located on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy. Where I read This Marlowe by Michelle Butler Hallett.

Fundy National Park. Located on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy. Where I read This Marlowe by Michelle Butler Hallett.

Prince Edward Island National Park. Where I read *Congratulations On Everything by Nathan Whitlock.

Prince Edward Island National Park. Where I read Congratulations On Everything by Nathan Whitlock.

 I won this in a giveaway at 49th Shelf, and it was sent to me by the folks at ECW Press. A smart and entertaining novel about the service industry and some of its pitfalls. And a lot of drinking. (Maybe that's one of it's pitfalls?)

I won this in a giveaway at 49th Shelf, and it was sent to me by the folks at ECW Press. A smart and entertaining novel about the service industry and some of its pitfalls. And a lot of drinking. (Maybe that’s one of its pitfalls?)

Kejimkujik National Park. This is our favourite place to be. Ever.

Kejimkujik National Park. This is our favourite place to be. Ever. Where I read The Fortunate Brother by Donna Morrissey, Unless by Carol Shields, and Dogs at the Perimeter by Madeleine Thien (reviews to come).

More Keji. Just because.

More Keji. Just because.

And more. Because Keji is the best!

And more. Because Keji is the best!

Thomas Raddall Provincial Park. Where I read The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis (review to come).

Thomas Raddall Provincial Park. Where I read The Hidden Keys by Andre Alexis (review to come).

3) A visit with TJ from My Book Strings. TJ and her family vacationed in Nova Scotia this summer, and although I have no proof (why didn’t we take a picture?!), we met for a quick visit. I can now say for sure that there is a person behind the butterfly. πŸ™‚ Come again, TJ!

4) Thrift store finds. We have a good spot to find books for $1 each in our town, and I have a hard time staying away for it for more than a few weeks at a time. Here is my summer pile:


5) New book shelf. My 13-year-old son built me this book shelf all by himselfΒ using leftover wood he found in the basement, and I couldn’t be more delighted. It holds almost all of the books I had floating around in piles. The shelves are deep and sturdy, so I have books behind the books.


6) My 10 Books of Summer. This was my first year joining in on the 20 Books of Summer, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. I fully read and reviewed 8 out of 10 of the books on the list – and I liked (or loved) them all! To read my reviews, just go to my list of books and click on the titles.

I also read my extra bonus book, Unless by Carol Shields, but haven’t reviewed it yet. Hint: It’s lovely.

I partly read The Motorcyclist by George Elliott Clarke. I read about 50 pages in, and although the writing was poetic as always, the subject didn’t appeal to me (there’s a lot about the love he has for his motorcycle, as well as the love many women apparently have for his motorcycle, or him because he has a motorcycle. Also his love for women. But it is based on the real diary of a young man, so…) and I had no great desire to keep reading. But I did want to know how it ended, so I skimmed through the rest of it and read the end. I think the best thing about it is the look you get at the life of a young black man in 1959 Halifax. I’d love to know what you think if you’ve read the whole thing!

I did also (mostly) read through his poetry collections, Blue and Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues, and would recommend them for fans of poetry and George Elliott Clarke. I find them a mix of bold, confident, sensual, and uncomfortable (in a good way).

I recommend the poetry collections Blue and Saltwater Spirituals and Deeper Blues for fans of poetry and George Elliot Clarke. I also read my bonus book Unless by Carol Shields. Review to come. Hint: It's lovely.


Looking forward to the Fall:Β 

I was excited and honoured to be asked to participate in this year’s Giller Prize Shadow Jury that takes place every year at the blog Kevin From Canada. (You can read about the history of it here.) Β A big thanks to Kim from Reading Matters for carrying on the tradition that Kevin started.

It feels bittersweet to continue what has become an annual tradition without Kevin steering the ship, but we felt it was the best way to honour him and I’m sure it’s something he would like us to do given that championing Canadian literature was so dear to his heart. And, as the kicker says on Kevin’s banner above, β€œthe show must go on…”

See the 2016 Giller Prize longlist here.

More on the Giller Prize to come…

Tell me about your summer – what did you do? What was your best book of the summer?


70 thoughts on “My Bookish (and not so Bookish) Summer 2016

  1. Valorie Grace Hallinan says:

    What a great post, I love all the pictures and the place names, many new to me. I think I actually was in the Bay of Fundy on my honeymoon. I love reading in a tent in the woods, too, miss doing that with the boys. I love summer reading on special trips and vacations, too.

  2. BookerTalk says:

    Thanks for those stunning pictures of the national park. If there is one thing you can be sure of in the US is thet the scenery will be on a mega scale. My gosh you have bought a lot of books, no wonder you needed the new shelving.

    • Naomi says:

      It’s true – I buy a lot of books. But I can’t leave them there when they’re only a $1! Luckily, my son has proven his worth – he better look out – I’ve got plans for shelves that hang from the ceiling. πŸ™‚

    • Naomi says:

      Thank you! I was also impressed. The only problem was that it was a project I thought might be fun for him to work on over the summer, but he finished it in one day! πŸ™‚

  3. JacquiWine says:

    Wow, that’s quite a haul, and nice to see a Colette there. I’d like to get back to reading her at some point, maybe for next year’s Women in Translation feature. Great pics too, thank you for sharing.

    • Naomi says:

      I’m really excited about those Penguin books. A few of them will be my first time reading the author’s work. They’re like perfect little bites. πŸ™‚

  4. Rebecca Foster says:

    Awesome hauls from the book sale and thrift store! Looks like you managed to get a lot of recent books in near-new condition. It sounds like you had an exciting summer of wilderness travel plus some bookish civilization πŸ™‚

    Congratulations on getting to do the Giller Prize shadow panel. Looking forward to seeing your reviews of those books plus the ones you read this summer. Unless is one of the few Carol Shields novels I have yet to read — I’m saving it up!

    I think the overall best book I read this summer was A Time of Gifts, the classic travel book by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Followed by Stir by Jessica Fechtor, a foodie memoir.

    • Naomi says:

      I’m really excited about the being part of the shadow Giller – can’t wait to get started!
      You read so many books – I’m impressed that you’re able to choose a couple of favourites. I was planning to choose one off my 10 Books of Summer list, but it was too hard, so I didn’t. Instead, I asked everyone else to do it. πŸ˜‰

  5. Sarah says:

    Wonderful post Naomi! Those pictures had me dreaming of lakes and sunsets and reading in the great outdoors – bliss! And what a great bookshelf – mind you, you probably needed it with all those lovely new books! πŸ™‚

    • Naomi says:

      I’m still dreaming…I always hate to leave. But we do have one more trip booked for Thanksgiving weekend – it eases the pain of leaving, but is also very weather dependent.
      And, yes, I was in dire need of that shelf!

  6. Sarah Emsley says:

    There are so many things in this post that I want to comment on. First: Glass Voices, at last! Let’s discuss. And George Elliott Clarke! Looking forward to that conversation as well. And you visited so many beautiful places in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI this summer. Gorgeous photos. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world. I’ll be watching for your review of Unless. Carol Shields is one of my all time favourites. Exciting news that you’re on the Giller Prize Shadow Jury. Congrats!

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks Sarah! It will limit some of my other reading, but how could I resist? πŸ™‚

      Hopefully soon we’ll be discussing George Elliott Clarke – as long as I can still make sense of my notes by then. And, yes, Glass Voices has been so hard for me to get my hands on, so I was very happy to find a copy! Now, to read it… πŸ™‚

  7. Elle says:

    Beautiful pics and oh my goodness, those book piles ❀ Also, major props to your son for that bookshelf – it's a beauty! The best book of my summer might have been The Tidal Zone (by Sarah Moss), or The System of the World (by Neal Stephenson), or maybe the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard. All fabulous.

  8. AYearOfBooksBlog says:

    Great vacation pictures and I enjoyed the commentary on which books you were reading. The book piles make me jealous!! Can you share a bit more detail about what being on the Giller Prize Shadow Jury means?

    My best book of the summer was The Medicine Walk!

  9. Rebecca Foster says:

    I’ve still never been to Canada but would love to do a thorough road trip tour of it someday. I wanted to ask, is there one George Elliot Clarke poetry collection you’d recommend to a beginner? He has so many!

    • Naomi says:

      Well, I’m far from an expert, having only (mostly) read three of them, but my favourite so far (I think) has been Blue. I would also recommend one that I haven’t read yet (probably because it’s the one I own – ha!) – Whylah Falls. That one’s probably his most popular and well-known. It’s like a novel written in poems.

  10. Sarah's Book Shelves says:

    I love your new blog design! And I too love reading by water, outdoors, etc.
    That’s pretty awesome your son built those shelves for you!

  11. Bibliobroads says:

    Naomi! Thank you! It’s a joy to see your bookish/ non-bookish summer. A wonderful feeling to know a like-minded soul who loves the East Coast as much as I. Beautiful words; sublime images. You are talented girly. Keep writing, Kelly

  12. whatmeread says:

    What a summer! Your description of the motorcycle book made me laugh. It sounds like you went to lots of marvelous places. I would love to go up there some time and check out all the natural beauty. Since we’re moving to Washington, though, it’s probably less likely to happen than before. Maybe BC instead!

  13. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    Naomi, I wish I could come back right now! πŸ™‚ I love looking at some of your pictures and think “Oh, I’ve been there.” (Though our pictures aren’t as pretty as yours…) Can’t wait until one of my kids builds me a book shelf!!! Kudos to your son!

  14. Brian says:

    Thanks for sharing your blog with us. What a lot of book you found. You will treasure that book shelf your son built. Also, I love your new look; it’s simple, bright and easy to read.

  15. FictionFan says:

    Woo! Please send your son round to my house – and tell him to bring plenty of wood! Great pictures – looks like you had a brilliant summer! Being on the shadow jury should be fun – looking forward to being introduced to some new-to-me Canadian authors. I forgot to mention, by the way, that following your recommendation I managed to snaffle a review copy of Debra Komar’s new book, Black River Road. Hopefully I’ll be reading it later this month. πŸ˜€

    • Naomi says:

      Oh, Yay!! I can’t wait to hear about it. Except that if you don’t like it, maybe I don’t want to know? πŸ˜‰
      Next time we’re in Scotland, we’ll bring my son and some wood!

  16. Cathy746books says:

    I love this post Naomi. I love those little slim Penguins (I inherited my Dads collection); I love your photographs; I love your camping trip and I love your bookcase! What a great summer. And thank you for joining in with 20 Books x

  17. lauratfrey says:

    Thanks for this post Naomi! You have my pining for the Maritimes! It’s been 3 years since I’ve been out, and I’m planning a trip for next summer, to Saint John and probably Inverness as well. Unless is such a great book. And I can’t wait till my children can build me bookshelves πŸ™‚

  18. kimbofo says:

    I’m not much of a camper but I’d come along in a heartbeat if the scenery was as gorgeous as your pictures! I love the sound of the cycling trip, too, seeing as it’s my favourite thing to do (after reading, of course).

    And I’m so pleased your doing the Shadow Giller; I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! πŸ˜„

    • Naomi says:

      Our bike trips have been a lot of fun! This was our third time doing it with the kids, and they love it.
      I’m really excited about the Shadow Giller – I’ve bombarded my library with many requests!

  19. Carolyn O says:

    Thank you for catching us up on your summer! The books and the scenery are fantastic—you made such good use of the time! And all hail your son’s magnificent bookshelf.

    Also, huzzah for the Shadow Giller!

    • Naomi says:

      Yay for so many things! Of course, I could have mentioned my son’s wipe-out, our trips to the hospital, the dog’s illness, the scramble to find someone to take care of the guinea pigs, and the sun-induced migraines – but those all seem so insignificant now. I have chosen to ignore them. πŸ™‚
      I hope your summer was also wonderful!

  20. Jenny @ Reading the End says:

    You’ve clearly raised a good egg! Building you a bookshelf and all! And you’ll need it with all the book sales you’ve been hitting. I am dying of envy. Summer is the time of year when I used to go to all the book sales in the greater New York area — I’d take the train out to my sister and we’d drive all over hitting up book sales in surrounding states. Absolute heaven. V. perilous for my bookshelf overstuffedness situation.

  21. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    What a beautiful summer you had. I love all the camping pictures, now I really want to visit the Maritimes. And the book shelf, wow! Your son did a great job.

    My favorite book of the summer, hm….I read a lot of wonderful books this summer, but I feel like I spent the most time with the two volumes of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing. It changed my perspective on the American Revolution and I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.

    • Naomi says:

      The funny thing is – even though I know the Maritimes and New England are very similar scenery-wise, New England is very high on my list of places to visit. πŸ™‚
      Octavian Nothing sounds like the kind of book to spend some time with and think about!

  22. Read Diverse Books says:

    What were the prices of the books from the annual sale? I’m particularly curious to know how much you paid for that copy of Ruby!
    I’m glad you had a good summer and got to meet TJ! Make sure you take a picture next time, though. πŸ™‚
    Your son is awesome! I could never built a shelf that didn’t come with instructions and pre-packaged materials. haha. It’s nice to know that you don’t always have to spend money on bookshelves when you need them, just give your son build you another! I imagine the issue will be finding space for it in your home, though.

    • Naomi says:

      Yes, space is the biggest issue. Lucky for my son, or else I would have had him building bookshelves all summer!

      The book prices at the annual sale range from $1 to $3. And, sometimes less, if you come back later when most of the people have gone home. πŸ™‚

  23. Shaina says:

    What a glorious summer you had! So much camping. I can’t wait to get up to more camping now that my butt is firmly planted in the Pacific Northwest.

    Also, the national park where you read The Hidden Keys looks just perfect for a Treasure Island-style book. πŸ™‚

  24. The Cue Card says:

    Great post Naomi! Beautiful pictures. So glad you had a good summer in the Tent. Sounds like you had a flashlight for reading out in the Woods. How did the biking part go? That’s neat you got to meet with TJ.

    • Naomi says:

      Sometimes it’s hard to remember a flashlight for each of us, and then we have to fight for them. That gets messy. But, then we don’t forget them again.

      The biking is a lot of fun (as long as I don’t think about the danger). This was our third summer in a row trying it with the kids, and they love it! We just go for around 4 nights – not so long that they’re tried of it before we’re done, but long enough to feel like we’ve accomplished something.

      Meeting up with TJ was a lot of fun. I wonder who’s coming next? πŸ™‚

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