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Reader Recommendation Daily: October 18

Another week, another 40-book library to give away! Congratulations to Michael Dawson! He'll receive 40 books courtesy of six great publishers: Cormorant Books, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Goose Lane Editions, HarperCollins Canada, Invisible Publishing, Penguin Canada, Random House of Canada and Simon & Schuster Canada.

Here's Michael's winning recommendation:

Michael Dawson recommends: Happiness™ by Will Ferguson

What would happen if you wrote a self help book that actually worked and for everyone. This is the premise of this work by Will Ferguson. The characters are great and it pokes some fun at the self help industry. Then it also has the age old warning be careful what you wish for — if something works for everyone what problems will it cause. I read this years ago and it still has stuck with me. A fun read that also makes you think. Just what you want from Canada Reads.

We still have one more 40-book prize pack to give away! Be sure to get your entry in using our online form, or via Facebook or Twitter!


Here are the rest of today's reader recommendations:

Kendra Howard recommends: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Stunning, achingly beautiful writing. The fresh perspective on World War I, such a pivotal part of Canadian history. The healing, the pain, the redemption. A lovely novel that had me transfixed.

Adam Rickard recommends: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

This book was interesting, funny, and terrifying. Sometimes all at the same time. It is not difficult to imagine this happening to us and our planet in the not to distant future. I have read and re-read this book several times, and it continues to fascinate me. I can hardly wait for the third installment.

Lisa Cole recommends: Hide Your Life Away by Carol Little

This little book packs a big punch! It's got quirky characters, colourful dialogue, and a fast-acting plot that takes you from cover to cover in one sitting. It's a clever satire on popular culture, with far-reaching themes and hilarious scenes. Highly recommended.

Alexa Delroy recommends: Pirate's Passage by William Gilkerson

This book won the GG's Award for children's lit in 2006. Like all good children's books, it has an appeal far beyond its genre. This is an edgy tale of a 12 year old boy in the Nova Scotia of the 50's. In the middle of a late Autumn storm, an old man expertly pilots his boat past the breakwater and into fatherless Jim's life. From the beginning, the Captain is a rule-breaker, drawing Jim into an outlaw hinterland, where it's far from obvious who's good, who's bad, what's right and wrong. Jim is fascinated and frightened, especially when the Captain's stories seem to give him first hand experience of long dead pirate life on the high seas.

Contrasted with this thrilling world is his mother's imperative of uprightness and duty, which Jim, being an affectionate and loyal son, wants to fulfill. But their old inn must be saved, and mother's way is not working very well.

Personal, historical, and thoroughly Canadian, this book will open the eyes of everyone who seeks adventure to the places where adventure (and pirates) is to be found. Who knew we have a true history of pirates' plunder on our own shores!

Maggie McDonnell recommends: Black Bird by Michel Basilières

This is a must-read for Canadians. Basilières takes extraordinary liberties with Montreal history, but taps into our municipal psyche rather well. Nationalists may find the book a little offensive, but no one on either side of the debate walks away unscathed. The family at the center of the action is the DeSouche clan, half French, half English, all nuts in their own special ways. The setting is downtown Montreal, just before the October Crisis. There are some extremely funny moments, and some even more extremely disturbing ones. There's an anglo doctor creating his very own Frankenstein, using Brother Andre's heart, no less. There's a crow (hence the title) who plucks out the patriarch's eye. And above all there are myriad references that make a Montrealer all warm and fuzzy.

Ellen Woodsworth recommends: The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky by Karen Tulchinsky

This book captures a period in Canadian history played out in Toronto. It is very well written capturing both the characters and the period. She describes immigrants, anti Semitism, families and workers struggles in a dynamic style.

Aleksandra Martyn recommends: The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Although the setting and historical context of this great novel is uniquely Canadian, the human affliction and the complex psychological portrayal of the characters are utterly universal. Most of all, The Way The Crow Flies is a beautiful, compelling story, intelligently written and immensely captivating.

Julie Cameron recommends: Life of Pi by Yann Martel

An essential experience on the power of diversity: religious, cultural, imagination-wise. I've had many an intimate chat over this book's themes.

Alyson MacGregor recommends: The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

This book treats the Vimy memorial carvers with the respect that they deserve. I don't read war novels but Jane Urquhart put a totally different spin to the story and times the characters lived in. Each time I see the Vimy Memorial I am taken back to the characters developed in this novel and remember their stories. Jane has an amazing way of creating intertwined stories with strong characters, both male and female.

Karen Wickstrom recommends: The Horseman's Graves by Jacqueline Baker

It is a sweeping epic of life on the prairies that spans several generations without making you feel like you just read a dissertation on dirt. It is the best Canadian book I read all decade, and I manage a bookstore! Why was she never nominated for a Giller? This is the question that haunts me.

Marika Warren recommends: Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay

This has been recommended by others, but it's a recommendation that bears repeating — it's a Canadian story in many different ways and the writing is so evocative and engaging. A beautiful book!

Dave Bartlett recommends: Spook Country by William Gibson

"Gibson backed science fiction into the present with Pattern Recognition. He wasn't the first but he was the one who had the weight to make a splash. This is the follow-up, the second book in his present time trilogy.

Meticulous descriptive prose, odd angles and juxtapositions of perception and context, dry humour, big and small themes and just the right amount of walking, driving and talking. Great book.

Sharon Lax recommends: Annabel by Kathleen Winter

I chose this book, because it is such a moving, stylistically beautiful story about something that is becoming, in our media circles, quite well known these days: the issues transgendered people face and the stigma of growing up transgendered. In this haunting story, the child is born a hermaphrodite and is raised as a boy, though deep inside a girl. With all that transgendered, hermaphrodite and gay people face in our society still, it is absolutely critical, I believe, to bring this story to public attention. As well, of course, it is so well written.

T.J. Noonan recommends: Cease to Blush by Billie Livingston

It has everything — humor, poignancy, glamour, the Rat Pack, the Kennedys — all brought to vivacious harmony by the unique talent of Billie Livingston. After reading the scenes in this book, I often felt I'd seen them on the screen rather than the page. A testimony to how startlingly vivid her writing is.

Wendy O'Brien recommends: Gratitude by Joseph Kertes

A novel which offers insight into part of the story of WWII often overlooked. At one and the same time it is an examination of the darkest of times in human history and a celebration of the power and resilience of ordinary people who lived through them. It is a poignant and deeply moving story that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

Tim Schobert recommends: Ragged Islands by Don Hannah

This is definitely one of the greatest unsung books of the decade. The author's use of memory and dreamscapes of an old woman dying is unforgettable. My question is why this novel is so overlooked by everyone.

Dana Mills recommends: Lenny Bruce Is Dead by Jonathan Goldstein

This is the wittiest book I've ever read, while also being the most honest and tender. I love the author's short sentences, and the structure of the book. The characters are wonderful.

Dawne Clarke recommends: Amphibian by Carla Gunn

Who couldn't fall in love, albeit a frustrated love, with the equally charming and iracible Phineaus Walsh? How could you not be enchanted with a child who is so committed to protecting the environment he is willing to sacrifice his sanity, along with his mother's, for his cause? Reading Amphibian will cause you laugh out loud, shed a tear, and marvel at how children see the world. Gunn's gift is her ability to see the world from a child's eye view, a perspective most of us sadly lose as we get older. Read this book. Choose this book. You will be entertained and educated simultaneously, and how could that possibly be anything but beneficial?

Lindy Pratch recommends: Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Emotionally evocative combination of art and text in a coming-of-age story set in Toronto in the 1990s.

Erin Balser is an associate producer of Canada Reads.

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