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Reader Recommendation Daily: October 13

Let's get right to it, shall we? Here's today's round-up of recommendations sent in by you!


Cathy Ashley recommends: A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

It captures a keen sense of Canadian place — growing up in a small community in Canada. The rebellion and angst of youth and establishment comes alive in the quirky, feisty Mennonite teenager as she clashes with her strict Mennonite upbringing. Canada is a land of people from everywhere. This clash of values between past and present is something everyone can relate to.

Jacie Wiggs recommends: All That Matters by Wayson Choy

I'll keep this short and sweet, because I am not a writer. Two confessions: I loved Wayson Choy's characters ( I have been known from time to time to quote the wise and ever funny Poh- Poh) and I had my nose in this book even when I had pressing things to do.

Colleen Thomas recommends: Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill

It's a Canadian novel that has made the strongest impression on me in the last few years. It's got such a unique and heartbreaking point of view, but it manages to be really inventive and pretty funny at the same time. This book deserves to win!!

Fabienne Aubin Rapsey recommends: Ivor Johnson's Neighbours by Bruce Graham

I was hooked from the get go. The writing is crisp and inviting,as are the great array of characters whose lives you are invited into. One comes to love them all, warts and all, as no judgement is passed on them.They have the ability to surprise you though you think you might know them well...the ability to grow. Written with humour and love and great humanity...a book I will go back to for more.

Timothy Rapsey recommends: Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay

The writing is incredibly evocative and is centred around an important event in Canadian history which still resonates today, or should do so with all the questions surrounding the North, First Nations etc.,...the characters are rich and believable, the many storylines build naturally and there some passages which are so striking that I keep going back to them.

Krista Conway recommends: River Thieves by Michael Crummey

Why recommend this book? Why NOT recommend it? Pick it up and see for yourself: it's compelling — the tale of an adventurer hoping to make contact with the Beothuk, told from both perspectives.

Gemma Watts recommends: Blackstrap Hawco by Kenneth J. Harvey

A Canadian epic unlike any other I have ever read. It is brutal, poignant, beautiful, terrible, and truly human. A multi-generational masterpiece that leaves you wanting more of the main characters.

Warren Litwin recommends: The Rent Collector by B. Glen Rotchin

Well written — real and surreal at the same time.

Karen Holmes recommends: Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

If the idea of this program is really to encourage everyone in the country to read the same book, it should not be 800 pages long, or difficult to follow even for avid readers. Although the author of Crow Lake now lives in England, she was born in Canada and returns here regularly. The book takes place in rural and urban Canada, and has well-drawn characters and settings. It would make a good candidate for the programme.

Jenni Boles recommends: The Birth House by Ami McKay

I love this book because it is humorous although it covers serious issues. I love the actual ads from the early 20th century interspersed within the text. I also like the recipes. Our book club read this book while I was pregnant and another member even made me the birth cake after my son was born. This book was very memorable for me.

Laura Gaughan recommends: Blind Crescent by Michelle Berry

Vivid, bracing look at contemporary Canadian suburban life, with a mystery thrown in.

Lindsay Williams recommends: Before I Wake by Robert J. Wiersema

Quintessential Canada with a West Coast edge, and Wiersema's magical darkness. How can a plot so seemingly straightforward have so many layers and levels? I love how this novel can be read by your 17-year-old cousin, your 55-year-old mother, your 30-something co-worker, your 80-year-old mother-in-law.

Carol Brown recommends: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

This book is historic fiction at its best — it educates the reader on the brutal lives that Africans endured once stolen from their homeland. It taught me a lot about the history of slavery and of how Canada and the British were involved. It captured my attention from page one and I read this book in record time! An excellent book that everyone should read.

Laura Nerenberg recommends: The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland

This is an excellent book. It is written as the diary of a teenage Staples employee. One of her colleagues starts to not only read her diary (left in the staff room), but also to write in it himself — in her voice. This book is at once hilarious and bleak — not an easy line to straddle. But, Douglas Coupland does this deftly. I found this book very hard to put down. A great Canadian read of the past decade.

Rima Hammoudi recommends: Raymond and Hannah by Stephen Marche

Marche doesn't only bring us into an incredible love through an exciting storyline, but he also submerges us into the details through a uniquely captivating form. Hands down one of my favorite love stories.

Brian O'Neill recommends: Cockroach by Rawi Hage

This was the most relevant and forceful Canadian novel I've read, especially considering how multiculturalism is currently being hotly debated. In this novel Hage, with brilliant prose that is at times hallucinatory and scathing, conveys the experience of a jaded immigrant and gives us the best look we've ever seen at the "New Canada," urban, multicultural and fragmented.

Sherrie Charter recommends: Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

Imagine, a novel all in verse! A wonderful story that left me thinking in rhyme for weeks after. This is Rob's first published novel and well worth the read.

Derek Wilson recommends: A Little Distillery in Nowgong by Ashok Mathur

This novel is an emotional and often humorous chronicle of a family over three generations from its roots in India to its fateful date with tragedy in contemporary Canada. A skilful weaving of fantasy and daily life into a compelling "page turner." I look forward to future novels by this author.

Agnieszka Maksimowska recommends: Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb

Sweetness in the Belly is one of the best books I have ever read, and it doesn't have anything to do with the magical Mediterranean surroundings that I read it in. Even though the book is not set in Canada, it touches on so many themes that every Canadian deals with in his or her lifetime. The prose is stunning and the story absolutely engaging.

Linda Bien recommends: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Beautiful writing — stirs the emotions and the intellect. Traditional ways; relations with nature; family ties; heroic woman; residential school experiences; horror and healing.

Beautiful writing — Inspired by stories of real aboriginal World War I veterans.

Beautiful writing.

The narrative is truly Canadian in so many ways.

Beautiful writing.

So, do you think Canada is getting it right? Have we missed a book that should be a contender for Canada Reads? Share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitteror through the comments below! And don't forget to send in your own recommendation, we've got another 40-book library to give away this week!

Erin Balser is an associate producer of Canada Reads.

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