Summer Reading

This past summer I made it my own personal goal to read more. Read anything I could get my hands and read as much as I could, when I could.

I had some light reading, heavy reading, readings that made me think, required very little thinking… a variety.

Here is a quick list:

  • Tomson Highway’s play “Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing”
  • Tomson Highway’s play “The Rez Sisters”
  • Candace Bushnell’s “Trading Up”
  • Terry Fallis’ “The Best Laid Plans” Thanks Neechie for this recco!
  • Edward Benton Banai’s “Mishomis Book”
  • Collection of essays/authors: “Restoring the balance : First Nations women, community, and culture”
  • Frances Henry and Carol Tator’s “Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press”
  • Drew Hayden Taylor’s “Funny Me”

I know that if I was a bit more committed to this personal goal that I probably could have read much more but as I finished my last book, I thought to myself, “Man, I am going to be starting classes soon with a lot of reading to do, I better give my brain a break” 😉

Updated August 25, 2011 Well, I decided to do some more reading after completing this list and I came across some very good plays all written by Drew Hayden Taylor. I like his plays and that is because I can say that there is a lot of truth to them. His plays use a bit of humor added into the seriousness of issues that First Nations people face. My favourite play was “AlterNative” which takes place in a dinner-party setting and the characters are 3 Aboriginals, 1 Jew, and 2 White Vegetarians. Yeah, the groups that you would least expect to be sitting down at dinner together. It’s comical, eye-opening, and honest. I could relate to a lot of the topics that came up for discussion among the dinner guests like “What tribe are you from?” And I know that a lot of other Aboriginals out there today have these similar experiences. It is a really good play for both Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals. And if you are a non-Aboriginal and you think you won’t get the humor….there is something for everyone in there.

Here are some of the other books/plays I read/currently reading:

  • Indian School Days by Basil Johnston What is interesting about this book to me personally is that I read this book back in High School and I did a book report on it. I remember my teacher said to me that she wasn’t sure if this book was “appropriate.” I asked her why it wasn’t and she couldn’t really give me answer. I ended up doing the book report on this book anyways. What is more appropriate than a First Nations person’s own story about the residential school system? I know that my high school textbooks weren’t appropriate because they didn’t even say anything about the residential schools.
  • Two one act plays: Education is Our Right and Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock by Drew Hayden Taylor
  • Just Another Indian by Warren Goulding This is a story about John Martin Crawford and the fact that he was considered as horrible as Clifford Olson but did not receive as much media or police attention until it was too late. I cried. A lot. While reading this book.
  • News: A Collection of Essays by Drew Hayden Taylor
  • Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman by Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson (This book is about Yvonne Johnson, a Cree Woman who is a serving a life sentence for murder. It tells the story from her perspective and from her eyes. I guess I will comment more on this book after I am done with it. It has already spoken to me in a way that I cannot explain right now, being that I am not done the book).

Anyways, just thought I’d give a bit of an update. I took a bit of a break from blogging, Facebook, and twitter for a while and this is what I did. I just read. I cannot stress the importance of reading or being able to read to anyone but to put it plainly, the ability to read and write gives you a power over your own self. A professor came into Indigenous services at my university and I just so happened to be sitting there talking to a counselor when she walked in. She asked if Indigenous services had a list of “essential readings on Indigenous peoples.” There was no list but because I just finished these books/plays written by Indigenous peoples on Indigenous issues, I was able to give her some feedback. Feedback that I would not have been able to give had I not chosen to read these books/plays. So, go out and read. Get a library card, take out some free books and read, and read a lot!

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