Sunday, October 17, 2010 |
Is there a better way to spend a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee in hand reading some Canada Reads recommendations? I think not!
Cynthia Andrew recommends: The Birth House by Ami McKay
In The Birth House, Ami McKay gives voice to a woman who is still learning her own strength and finding her own way. She portrays early 20th century small town Nova Scotia with the perfect balance of grit and generosity — the characters might be found anywhere in Canada during that era. The story's focus on women's issues such as birthing, midwives, community roles and domestic violence is accurate without generalizing all men with the same brush. Yet the book remains light enough for humour and deep enough for substance. One of my all-time favourites.
Tom Noyes recommends: Moody Food by Ray Robertson
Loosely based on the life of Gram Parsons, this novel has a lot to say about the artistic process, the tenuous relationship between the artist and the marketplace, the risks and rewards of genius, and the redemptive power of music.
M. James recommends: A Forest for Calum by Frank MacDonald
It's a book that brought me home..to my roots and I think it's a book that resonates with many Canadians such as myself who find their history is firmly planted with both feet in this country but with memories from where we came. Lovely story. When I finished the last page and closed this book I brought it up to my chest and smiled.
Jane Starr recommends: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
The best book I've read in ages. Certainly the best this year. Beautifully written novel set in a fantasy version of ancient China.
Lisa Gayle recommends: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I picked this book because it is so unique in style and form. I forces you to reread it. I enjoy talking to people about their feelings about this book and also their perceptions. It is entertaining. It is educational without being pedantic.
Jane Starr recommends: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer
Besides the fact that I really liked it? It was the 2010 Aurora Award winner, and a 2010 Hugo Award nominee for best novel. Uses a blind girl and an emerging intelligence in the internet to explore perception and consciousness.
Helene Robb recommends: The Friends of Meager Fortune by David Adams Richards
I picked The Friends of Meager Fortune because it is an epic tale of a way of life that was an important part of New Brunswick's (and I'm sure other parts of Canada) history. It tells of the difficult lives of lumbermen in the early 20th century. Like many of Richards' novels, it is dark and somewhat depressing, but it is powerful and engaging.
Beth Pierson recommends: The Outlander by Gil Adamson
A wonderfully compelling novel that had one of the most satisfying endings I have ever come across. I do not hesitate to recommend this exhilarating read to anyone who appreciates great literature!
Joanne Light recommends: February by Lisa Moore
The most evocative story I have every read. An amazing feat of bringing the reader into the hearts of others coping with grief and survival in the most horrific of circumstances. Lisa Moore painted a portrait of human suffering from tragedy directly on my heart. Everyone needs to hear this book. Not to mention it is a universal theme of mens' sacrifice in order to put the paycheque on the table. How men (and women) lay down their lives for their families. In light of ll the industrial, political and military disasters taking place today, February makes us feel the horror of what can and does happen in a world where what has power over us doesn't care about us.
Melissa Remark recommends: Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden
I want to put forth Through Black Spruce. Rarely does a book move me to tears but I was so sad when I reached the last page, I cried. The protagonists, Will and Annie Bird, uncle and niece, stayed with me for so long and I still think about their stories from time to time. This book makes me want to see James Bay. It's so unique. Through Black Spruce is the Canadian book of the decade.
Stephen de Groot recommends: Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop
This was one of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time. The idea of the story and the plot was exceptionally unique. However, I could relate to it even though I am far from a bibliophile. This is what gave it depth and made it real. I believe anybody can relate.
The character development was phenomenal and the humour outstanding and unexpectedly witty even in pseudo-macabre moments. I found myself laughing out loud every several pages. I loved it and still talk about it all the time.
I hear there is a screenplay in the works and am excited to see what transpires.
I am also eagerly anticipating Corey Redekop's next book...wherever he may choose to take us!
Liz NIcholls recommends: Toby: A Man by Todd Babiak
How rare and special it is to discover a Canadian novel that embraces humour as a way to reveal complex truths about the human landscape! I love this smart, funny/sad novel for its witty dialogue, its theatrical sense of what makes a scene work, its dimensional characters led by the title quester, and its complex, nuanced tone.
Carolyn Steeves recommends: Mercy among the Children by David Adams Richards
This novel is a rich tapestry of characters and situations. The setting is real and gritty with people any one who has strayed out of Toronto can recognize.
Lindsay Roland recommends: Muriella Pent by Russell Smith
A brilliant Post-Colonial book that is well written and has an extremely witty and amusing take on the Canadian identity.
Frances Doig recommends: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
This book reads real. I was immersed from the onset in the lives of these two women — Kavita and Somer — from such different cultures whose stories were so entwined in motherhood. Ms. Gowda's telling is depicted with true sensitive heart, mind and soul.
Scotia Dunlop recommends: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
What a book, to say the least. Those who loved Oryx and Crake get a second look into the futuristic world that Atwood has created. I was unable to put it down, and read it cover to cover in a few days.
Lars Wessman recommends: The High Road by Terry Fallis
Fallis's writing is something like a warm room on a cold winter's night; it makes the rough patches of life smoother, and leaves you with fond memories of reading the book, whatever else may be going on around you.
Sandra Turnsek recommends: The Frumkiss Family Business by Michael Wex
Set in and around Toronto through the forties to present day, The Frumkiss Family Business explores the lives of the grown grandchildren of a prolific Yiddish actor and writer. Told in a style that reminds me of Woody Allen's Radio Days, this book made me laugh out loud as I followed these dysfunctional family members while they tried to locate their unique identities.
Nicole Bernou recommends: The Bishop's Man by Linden MacIntyre
The writer really captures the human side of priests. Being raised Catholic I was always in awe of these men whom I thought were perfect human, saints. The book makes me realise that even priests have all the little or not so little faults that afflict most human beings. I like Linden MacIntyre's style, it keeps us glued to the book and looking forward to the final development, without wanting the book to finish. Good and captivating read.
Laurel Taylor recommends: Flight by Darren Hynes
Set in a small Newfoundland town facing collapse, Emily sets into motion her escape plan. Hynes's novel chronicles the five days before Emily uproots her children to escape her abusive husband. Each day presents new decisions that will rock her family forever. Hynes captures the personality, fear and struggles of a women trying to find a better life for her family. This novel is difficult to put down (I read it in two sittings) and easy to get lost in. An insightful examination into the relationships we have with people and places and how fragile these can be.
Erin Balser is an associate producer of Canada Reads.