What Writers are Reading: A Third Verb Summer Reading List

What’s at the top of your to-read pile?

Ah, June! The summer days stretch out ahead, the light will linger longer, and there’s hope you’ll finally get through that to-read pile, right?  We are curious: what’s on the top of your to-read pile for the next three (precious) months?  

Writers read. 

One fact that’s come up in the first two Third Verb workshops is this: writers read

Writers need to read—it’s an essential part of developing craft. Stories can serve to inspire us, provide models to learn from, and can give us new perspectives (especially if we seek out books that will challenge our thinking and push the limits of our worldviews). 

We would venture to guess that most writers have a tremendously tall pile of ‘to-read’ books stacked somewhere in their home. 

Third Verb asked authors we know to share what they will be reading next. (We didn’t dare ask a paralyzing question like: what are you most looking forward to reading this summer because we feared they may never get back to us!)

We’ve composed our very first Third Verb Reading List from the top of their to-read piles. 

The best part? There are really two lists here: the books these authors are READING, and the books these authors have WRITTEN! If you haven’t yet picked up copies of these authors’ books, we suggest that you swing by Audreys (maybe even find a signed copy or two!), and make use of the extra hours of daylight ahead.

Here’s what some of our favourite authors are reading…


Angie Abdou

Book selection: Brown by Kamal Al-Solaylee.

Synopsis: Brown is an experience, a state of mind. Historically speaking, issues of race and skin colour have been interpreted along black and white lines, leaving out millions of people whose stories of migration and racial experiences have shaped our modern world.  Al-Solaylee fills in the narrative gap by taking a global look at the many social, political, economic and personal implications of being a brown-skinned person in the world now.


02Jason Lee Norman

Book selection: Invincible Summer by Alice Adams.

Synopsis: A dazzling depiction of the highs and lows of adulthood, Invincible Summer is a story about finding the courage to carry on in the wake of disappointment, and a powerful testament to love and friendship as the constants in an ever-changing world.



Michael Hingston

Book selection: Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet.

Synopsis: The series follows the lives of two perceptive and intelligent girls from childhood to adulthood as they try to create lives for themselves amidst the violent and stultifying culture of their home–a poor neighborhood outside Naples, Italy. (Ferrante is a pseudonymous Italian novelist whose true identity is not publicly known).


Janice MacDonald

Book selection: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves.

Synopsis: The Crow Trap is the first book in Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series. In this book, three very different women come together at isolated Baikie’s Cottage on the North Pennines, to complete an environmental survey. Three women who each know the meaning of betrayal . . .


Troy P

Troy Palmer

Book Selection: We’re All in This Together by Amy Jones.

Synopsis: Like all families, the Parkers of Thunder Bay have had their share of complications. But when matriarch Kate Parker miraculously survives plummeting over a waterfall in a barrel — a feat captured on a video that goes viral — it’s Kate’s family who tumbles into chaos under the spotlight.


Roberta LaurieRoberta

Book Selection: Counting Teeth: A Namibian Story by Peter Midgley.

Synopsis: In his book, Peter Midgley travels the byways of Namibia, his childhood home, with his teenaged daughter, Sinead, as his companion. Along the way they examine the layering of culture and history, and the author introduces his daughter to this complex country while renewing his love of the land and its people. 



Lisa Martinlisa

Book Selection: The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel.

Synopsis: By the author of the bestselling novel, Life of Pi, this story is a suspenseful, mesmerizing story of a great quest for meaning, told in three intersecting narratives touching the lives of three different people and their families, and taking us on an extraordinary journey through the last century.



David Leachdavid

Book Selection: Central Station by Lavie Tidhar.

Synopsis: When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the data stream of a mind with the touch of a finger. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik—a damaged cyborg soldier who might as well be begging for parts. His father is terminally ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return.


Aaron Shepard

Book Selection: Serious Sweet by A.L. Kennedy.

Synopsis: In this book two decent, damaged people trying to make moral choices in an immoral world, ready to sacrifice what’s left of themselves for honesty and for a chance at tenderness. As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London―passing through twenty-four hours that will change them both forever―they tell an unusual and moving love story.


Jalal BarzanjiJalal

Book Selection: Adultery by Paulo Coelho.

Synopsis: provocative novel by the best-selling author of The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, this book explores the question of what it means to live life fully and happily, finding the balance between life’s routine and the desire for something new 


YasukoYasuko Thanh

Book Selection: God Help the Child
by Toni Morrison.

Synopsis: A searing tale about a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish….



Theresa Shea

Book Selection: My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout’s .

Synopsis: Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.


So what will you be reading?

Whichever books end up on your summer reading list, we hope you get inspired and use what you’ve learned from those pages to get writing.

For those who do want to read through Third Verb’s Summer Reading List, click  HERE for a printable list.

Share, read, repeat.

We would love for you to leave a comment below, sharing what’s on the top of your own ‘to-read’ pile! Even better, head over to our Facebook page and post a picture of your book pile, showing us what’s on top.

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Third Verb presents intensive workshop experiences for writers of all skill levels in the Edmonton area.
Email: info@thirdverb.com
Edmonton, Alberta