Canada Reads 2016

Adam "Edge" Copeland on 9 books that totally reek of awesomeness

Besides being one of the most decorated wrestlers of all time, Orangeville, Ontario native Adam "Edge" Copeland is a bestselling author and avid reader. As a Canada Reads 2016 panellist, he'll be defending work by another accomplished Canadian: Michael Winter, whose Minister Without Portfolio was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

In anticipation of Canada Reads 2016, we asked Copeland to reflect on his life in books. He shares nine unforgettable reads, from the wolf story that's his definition of "Canadian" to the dystopian novel that blew his mind in high school.


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HIS "DESERT ISLAND" BOOK

I took Solitude by Robert Kull with me on a sojourn in the Alberta Rockies. This was my companion. A book about solitude as my only companion. Huh. This book helped me find what I was looking for. Or getting away from. Or both.

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THE BOOK THAT SHATTERED EXPECTATIONS

Think about when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. Think about how this must have shaken the foundations of... everything. Think about the first time you heard Hendrix destroy a Strat, Janis Joplin's whiskey-soaked voice or the first chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." This is the equivalent of that, and then some.

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THE BOOK HE LOVES TO READ TO HIS DAUGHTER

Becoming a father has caused me to broaden my horizons when it comes to the written word. This not-so-little gem - Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go - has some of the most fun cadence in print, with an amazing message that I hope my daughter one day takes to heart. Kid, you can move mountains.

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HIS FIRST TEENAGE DYSTOPIAN OBSESSION

Before there was The Hunger Games, and every other dystopian story about games that put teenagers through the ringer until death, there was The Long Walk. Stephen King (using the pen name Richard Bachman) is the Bruce Springsteen of writing. If given the chance, everyone gets it. This was his first book, and one of the first books that I truly remember devouring - which tells you what kind of teenager I was.

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THE BOOK THAT MADE HIM WANT TO JOIN A GANG... AND THEN CHANGED HIS MIND

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I'm going back to some of the first books that I remember, which always shines rose-coloured light on them. As a teen, the idea of gangs struck a chord. Like being on the football team, but cooler because you got to wear leather. However, the idea of dying for the gang scared me, nullifying the romantic vision of my daydream greasers.

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THE BOOK HE READ IN HONOUR OF CANADA'S NORTHERN WEATHER

The Call of the Wild by Jack London. I enjoy the writings of Emerson, Muir and Thoreau, plus I'm Canadian and proud of it. Because of this I try to live up to every stereotype the rest of the world (but mostly Americans) believe about us. So yes, I enjoy books about wolves, the forest and the frozen tundra of the north. But I don't talk about only hockey, always say "eh" and live in an igloo.

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THE BOOK THAT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Bleak. Dreary. Clipped. Sparse. Barren. Real. And I loved it.

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THE BOOK THAT BROUGHT THE PAIN, LITERARY STYLE

Ghost Rider by Rush drummer Neal Peart is such a journey into mourning that I actually felt the pain he was going through. We've all lost someone. This book was trying to find the little piece of him that died, only to realize you can't replace it, you just live with memories. Fighting guilt for forging a new path and realizing it's okay to do so.

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THE BOOK THAT REMINDS HIM OF HIS OWN JOURNEY

Get in the Van by Henry Rollins. Some books you relate to your own experiences. Young, lean, hungry, actually most times starving, you just get in the van and go to the next show. You against the world, feeling like nothing can stop you. Except maybe yourself.

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