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Common Waters Reading List


Reading + Entertainment

  • Image by Julia Nakanishi and Tony Kogan 2019

Phil, Queen's Sqaure | June 14, 2019

Common Waters is a community project that explores our relationship with water and provides a platform for us to discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time. Looking for additional materials to read or watch even more deeply? Here are some additional resources to dive into.

Boiling Point is Maude Barlow’s latest book examining issues facing Canada’s water reserves. She’s spent the best part of the past two decades exploring water safety from a variety of angles.  Journalist, Jeff Goodell travels to twelve countries and reports from the front lines about the coming rising water levels around the world, in The Water Will Come. From Miami to Venice and beyond, it’s a clearheaded look at the risks to water adjacent cities.

Edward Burtynsky’s Burtynsky, Water is a pictorial document of water’s central importance to life, in a way that only Burtynsky’s photographic vision can. And make sure to check out Watermark , a DVD documentary of Jennifer Baichwal’s collaboration with Edward.

In The River, Helen Humphreys writes about living on a section of the Napanee River, studying the river through seasons and years, cataloguing its ebb and flows, while using fiction, non-fiction, maps and photographs to tell her story.

Both Bottled Life, a documentary of the global bottled water industry, and Water Warriors, a documentary about a successful campaign to maintain water quality in New Brunswick are recent films that tackle contemporary issues of large scale water use, and our need to conserve it.

Water is also central to several novels. In As Long as the Rivers Flow by James Bartleman, the river is both a real and metaphoric character in his telling of the story of the Residential School debacle. Whereas, Peter Heller’s The River follows two young men as they travel by canoe in Northern Canada; part thriller and part exploration of the power of rivers.

For the more pragmatic, The Art of Natural Building and The Water-Saving Garden offer practical solutions to reducing our water usage in our everyday lives.

And last but not least Laura Salas’s Water Can Be is a beautiful children’s picture book that is an exploration of the many roles water plays in our lives, with a poetic touch.