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Summer Reads: What Our Experts Are Reading

Summer Reads: What Our Experts Are Reading

We’re big readers here at Speakers Spotlight and often turn to our incredible roster of speakers to find our next great read. From the best of literary fiction to self-care, political intrigue, and one of the most enduring detectives in American crime fiction — happy reading!  

Astronaut Chris Hadfield Recommends:

Unnatural History by Jonathan Kellerman

Colonel Chris Hadfield

Right now, I’m reading Her Space, Her Time: How Trailblazing Women Decoded the Hidden Universe by Shohini Ghose. It’s a fascinating insight into the stories of pioneering women who both discovered fundamental rules of the universe and challenged social rules about what women could and should do. It’s really well-written, and I’m learning a lot too! It comes out publicly in October thought so while you’re waiting, I recommend Jonathan Kellerman’s latest in the Alex Delaware series, Unnatural History. A good summertime read!

A bestselling author himself, make sure to check out Chris’ second book in The Apollo Murders Series, The Defector, available October 2023!

Olympian Clara Hughes Recommends:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Clara Hughes

I always read the latest selection of Canada Reads’ books in the summertime. This is the national book debate hosted each year on CBC radio. I had the chance to defend the brilliant novel The Illegal by Lawrence Hill in 2017 and ended up winning! After this experience, I’ve always looked to Canada Reads for a great variety of stories.

This year, I’m looking most forward to Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. My husband’s family is from Mexico and I’ve been so fortunate to marry into the wonderful Mexican culture, and thus I’m passionate about all things Mexico! This book scares me a little because I’m not a big suspense or horror kind of person, but I think it’s going to be a thrilling read full of the magic realism Latino writers are so famous for. This story will undoubtedly take me somewhere I’ve never been and I’m looking forward to the literary ride!

Mental Health Advocate Anthony McLean Recommends:

Trust by Hernan Diaz

Anthony McLean

Reading good literary fiction is an entertaining exercise in empathy. When I find a book I love, I walk in someone else’s shoes, I experience their plight, and I imagine what I might do in a similar situation. Literary fiction that has taken my breath away recently includes The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng. Next up on my bookshelf is Trust by Hernan Diaz.

One non-fiction book that delighted me recently was Thinking with Your Hands by Susan Goldin-Meadow. It turns out that hand gestures are the “tells” that reveal what a person is thinking. Your child’s gestures can tell you if they’re on track with their development, a student’s gestures can reveal if they’re grasping the material, and your co-worker’s gestures might unveil thoughts they’re not voicing. As a speaker, I think a lot about the words I use on stage. Thinking with Your Hands has convinced me to consider my gestures as well.

Geopolitical Expert Janice Gross Stein Recommends:

Chip War by Chris Miller

Janice Gross Stein

A really readable, fun, and important book is Chip War by Chris Miller. It’s an in-depth exploration of the decades-long battle to control one of the world’s most critical resources — microchip technology. The book explores its critical role in modern life and how the US became dominant in chip design and manufacturing… until recently as China has been catching up meaning America’s military superiority and economic prosperity could be at risk.

Comedian Jessica Holmes Recommends:

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

Jessica Holmes

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. This book could also be called “how to make your life WAY easier with honesty”. The agreements are about not making assumptions in what others say or do and being accurate in all you say (although I hope he doesn’t mean us comedians have to stop exaggerating for the sake of a laugh).

I’m reading it for the second time right now because years ago it had such a great impact on my clarity and assertiveness across every relationship. I stopped filling in the blanks to guess what people mean, or colouring up an excuse to control what people think (which always backfires anyway. Sorry, USUALLY backfires. See, there’s the honesty coming out!) It’s an easy, enjoyable self-help book. Plus, Ellen recommended it first, so… Enjoy. Or don’t. I’m no longer trying to control whether you like my choices.

Future of Work Expert Hamza Khan Recommends:

Stress Wisely by Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe

Hamza Khan

Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe has gifted the world with an original, refreshing, and empowering perspective on how to be well in an unwell world. Her latest book, Stress Wisely, is candid yet comforting, nuanced yet holistic, scholarly yet colloquial, and timely yet timeless. It’s a sprawling journey that oscillates between micro and macro contexts, uplifting and challenging wellness seekers from every walk of life. For everyone experiencing stress and burnout, despite the plethora of solutions in the surging global wellness industry, Stress Wisely is what you’ve been waiting for.