We’re a team of readers at Plank. So we thought we’d share some of our favourite discoveries. Whether it's on a screen or a page, we can all agree that reading keeps us sharp, and feeds the soul.
Erin Whitney, Marketing Coordinator
I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t been keeping up on the old book-reading as much as I’d like. My favourite book of the last few years has been Galore by Michael Crummey. It’s a remarkably rich tale woven with magic realism and a very particular Newfoundland character (I grew up there). I’ve read it twice, and I’d read it again. The only other book I feel that way about is Just Kids, by Patti Smith which, while a true story, is equally as magically told. A beautiful look at love, art, and New York in the 1970s. Last summer, I read The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes by Bridget Canning all in one sitting. I haven’t done that in a long time, but I really could not put it down. It’s a super contemporary story about the messy aftermath of a heroic act, and the unwanted attention it brings.
As for on-screen reading, I’ve become exhausted by the 24-hour news cycle and prefer to read longer analytical articles than breaking news. For that I find Aeon to be a great source for a variety of thoughtful topics, and The Conversation for a Canadian perspective. My Pocket app is full of articles from both of these sources.
Warren Wilansky, President and Founder
I actually recently wrote a full review of what I read in 2017 on my personal website, but I’ll share a few highlights. I do all my reading on a Kindle, for the portability it affords - a serious benefit since I’m a frequent traveller. Probably my favourite novel from last year is American War by Omar El-Akkad. It’s an eerily believable story set in a 22nd century United States. A much lighter read was Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night by Jason Zinoman. It was a great reminder of my sleep-deprived high-school years.
For news, I still maintain a list of about 100 RSS feeds from my favourite websites. Between these and my subscription to The Economist, my nightly reading routine is well-supplied.
Véronique Pelletier, Junior Interactive Designer
I love books, I get a couple new books every month and they’re my precious. I recently finished re-reading Dubliners by James Joyce. It’s a collection of 15 short stories that depict the middle class life in Ireland, specifically Dublin in the early 20th century. It’s a quick read, it makes you think and you can feel Joyce’s attachment and patriotism to his native Ireland. I’m currently reading The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. It’s a story that follows Lucy and Gabe’s relationship over the course of 13 years as they try and find their way back together. I’m really enjoying it so far. My favourite book of the past couple of years is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It’s a science fiction novel that takes place after a swine flu pandemic has killed most of the world population. I couldn’t put it down.
Courtney Trudel, Senior Back-End Developer
I’m a huge reader of fantasy of all kinds: epic fantasy, children’s fantasy, urban fantasy, and basically anything else that’s ever been shelved in that corner of the bookstore. I loved Howl’s Moving Castle, so when one of my friends was getting rid of her Diana Wynne Jones books, I bought them off her! My favourite so far is The Lives of Christopher Chant. It’s a cheerful, bite-size read, with an interesting setting. It also has one of my favourite magical cats in literature so far -- one of my new life goals is to get a grumpy cat and name it Throgmorton. In the same spirit of recommending books with magical cats, I’d also recommend A Night in the Lonesome October, by Roger Zelazny. It is much less of a children’s book, though it uses a similar style. It’s a humorous story from the perspective of Jack the Ripper’s faithful dog, Snuff. It’s like a more lighthearted Penny Dreadful in book form.
Jason Koskie, Project Manager
When my wife and I had our twins a couple years ago right away my reading time plummeted. 6 months later I discovered audiobooks and now they are a big part of my reading. I used to listened to dozens of podcasts on my commute, and now they’ve been whittled down to a handful while audiobooks from Audible and Overdrive have taken their place. I still like to read physical and eBooks but without audiobooks I’d likely get through 4 or 5 a year instead of the 32 I read last year.
Some of my favourites from last year were:
A Brief History of Seven Killings - Marlon James
Moneyball - Michael Lewis
Universal Harvester - John Darnielle
Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine - Joe Hagan
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann
Currently I am reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I attempted reading this infamously difficult book once a number of years ago. It’s not actually a difficult read in the way that say Gravity’s Rainbow or Ulysses is, but it was certainly difficult to carry around in its physical form. The ebook/audiobook combo makes it much more manageable. Even still I’m only about 20% in after a month.
Steve Bissonnette, Managing Partner
I’m almost 100% digital these days, mostly reading books on my iPad. On deck currently, are Pricing Creativity by Blair Enns (business) and Tomb of Annihilation, a Dungeons & Dragons game book (pleasure). I also read a lot of tech-related articles -- a recent favourite is this little thriller from WIRED: ‘I Forgot My PIN’: An Epic Tale of Losing $30,000 in Bitcoin.
I’m also digging into Chic-Chocs Backcountry Touring Guidebook. This time I bought a physical copy and I’ll be keeping it stuffed into my backpack soon enough. While the book might be primarily mountain maps and self-guiding information, it does contain a lot of critical safety advice written by people who’ve spent a lot of time out there. It’s not the kind of thing you want to lose access to if your device loses battery power.
We’re heading out soon for 3 days to backcountry skiing/snowboarding. Our large group is fairly advanced, but this area is particularly dangerous by QC standards. Avalanche beacons are a must.
Stéphane Boileau, Front-End Developer
I happen to spend ⅓ of my reading time on Medium (technical topics), ⅓ on Quora (more general topics) and ⅓ in books. The book I’m reading right now is called Tribe from Sebastian Junger. In a nutshell, it addresses how the difficulties many veterans face upon returning home from war can be partly explained by how the structure of modern society are at odds with our tribal instinct.