Coeur de pirate: 7 books that have shaped me

A self-avowed member of the Harry Potter generation, the Quebec singer-songwriter Coeur de pirate, who reads (and sings) in both French and English, always has a book on the go. And it turns out her literary taste is as wide-ranging and eclectic as her musical output.

In CBC Books' My Life in Books series, the artist named as one of CBC Music's 10 musicians who shaped 2016 shares seven of the reads that have influenced her.

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The book(s) she stayed up all night reading

I was a Harry Potter kid. I was 11 when the first Harry Potter book came out, and I'm the same age as the actors in the movies. I was lucky to grow up as part of the last kids in the Harry Potter generation who would actually go and line up at Indigo at midnight for the latest book. It was a big thing for me; I'd go with my dad. Now everything's so instant, and you can get it on your iPad. I stayed up all night reading every single Harry Potter book. That was me.

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The YA series the Harry Potter generation should all read

Before I hit full Harry Potter mania, when I was about 10, I got totally sucked into Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. To be honest, all the dystopian YA today totally sucks compared to this. It was so good and so challenging, and was such a good commentary on religion. I'll still pick this up once every couple of years. The series is about living in another dimension, which is very fashionable right now, but it blew my mind as a kid. This girl lives in a parallel universe, and her parents are evil, and she's one of the chosen ones with a whole mission around her. I can't wait for my own daughter, Romy, to be old enough to read it.

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Her first literary kindred spirit

My aunt, the author Martine Desjardins, was a big literary influence on me growing up. She gave me The Catcher in the Rye when I was about 12 or 13. I was all angsty and was talking about running away, and she just said "you should read this book." It was the first book that, in many ways, really got me to think for myself, to realize that I was my own person and was responsible for myself. I hope it's still a classic for me later on. It was the first time I could see myself in a book's protagonist, even with all of Holden Caulfield's bad decisions.

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Her favourite book on motherhood

I have a lot of friends who started having kids recently. And when I was having Romy, I found that I absolutely hated the books about motherhood everyone tells you to read. They're just horrible. Then I found this book by Pamela Druckerman called Bringing Up Bébé. I recommend it to everybody. It's about this journalist who moved to Paris and brought her kids up there. It's kind of a funny book about how kids in Europe are brought up very differently than in North America. They'll eat everything, they'll do everything. It's very reassuring. It made me feel much better when I was pregnant, like phew, OK, I don't have to be perfect as a mom.

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Her latest comic relief

I may be a musician, but I really don't like music memoirs. I tried reading Just Kids and stuff like that, the Keith Richards biography, and I'm not a big fan. But I have a thing for comedian memoirs. I love comedy, I'm obsessed with it. I do stand-up in my imaginary time. I loved the Tina Fey book, Bossypants - and I thought Mindy Kaling's book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? was hilarious. Now I'm reading this book of interviews by Judd Apatow called Sick in the Head. It's him interviewing comedians; it's pretty interesting. I just finished an interview with Steve Martin that I really liked.

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The last book that made her cry

This Simone de Beauvoir book I just finished, All Men are Mortal - wow, it's super sad. It's about a guy who can't die. It's one of de Beauvoir's only novels. It's kind of weird. It starts off really philosophical and French, and it's in Paris. And then all of a sudden, you're told this story of this guy who can't die. You go way back in time. He was an Italian lord, and he killed a bunch of people. For me it wasn't the end that got me - in fact, the ending was underwhelming. I hate that! What made me tear up was a passage at one point describing what it feels like to see someone for the first time and fall in love. That kind of thing always gets to me.

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The comic book that blew her mind

I read a lot of comics and graphic novels. My favourite comic is from France, straight out of the 1970s, and it's not talked about enough: Cast Away on the Letter A. It's the story of this guy who goes to the letters of the Atlantic Ocean as they appear on a map. He visits where the letters would be. One of my aunts lived in France, and she brought this back. I have this thing with going to different worlds, I just really love it. The idea that you could visit this world on a hidden piece of this map was so stunning. It was just really beautiful. Usually comics are about superheros - this one was specifically weird, mind-blowing and really beautiful.

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