Now that my university days are behind me, and along with them, the endless supply of required course reading — some good, some sleep-inducing — it’s a wonderful luxury to be able to read for pleasure. With a considerable amount of time on my hands and few friends to share it with due to odd working hours, I’ve been making frequent trips to the library, eager to catch up on some summer reading. Learning is a lifelong process, after all. Below are just a few books I’ve enjoyed reading so far:
The Comeback by John Ralston Saul
As Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission report looms large, this book provides an excellent insight into our country’s coloured history with its First Nations peoples — offering a reminder of unfulfilled treaties and broken promises, but also a glimpse at how things could be done differently, lessons could be learned, and amends could be made. With a federal election in October, it’s something all Canadians should consider — especially those looking to represent our country.
On the Shoulders of Giants by Kareem Abdul Jabbar
As a basketball fan, I was expecting and hoping for a look into the life of one of the greatest basketball players of all-time — not to mention one of the most intellectual athletes in the history of sport. What I got instead were snippets of Kareem’s life, placed into the context of African-American history — maybe not such a bad thing to learn about after all. The book delves into life in Harlem during the Civil Rights era and onward, and highlights the work of some of the most influential Black writers and jazz musicians of all-time: Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Miles Davis, and Louis Armstrong.
Man in the Middle by John Amaechi
Did I mention I’m a basketball fan? This one’s about the life of the first former NBA player to come out as gay after retirement. I wasn’t familiar with his career until his recent appearance on Sportsnet’s Tim & Sid, which left me impressed with his character and drove me to pick up his book. After all these years, he’s still only one of the few athletes who have come out during or following a career in one of North America’s major sports leagues.
The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
This one offers an interesting look into the mind of a chess prodigy and world tai chi champion. It was fascinating to read about how Waitzkin was able to master new learning techniques and trigger “the zone” in competition.