Tuesday, October 19, 2010 |
Can you believe there are only seven days left until we reveal the Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade? if you haven't had your say yet, you'd better hurry up: use our online form or get in touch through Twitter or Facebook to let us know what novel deserves to be on that list!
And while you're thinking about which novel to pick, check out the reader recommendations below! Maybe one will inspire you!
Steven Mayoff recommends: Falling by Anne Simpson
Anne Simpson's writing style combines clear prose with a gift for poetic metaphor. This story of loss, grief and hard-won forgiveness deals with the tragic death of a young girl and how it impacts on her mother and brother. It moves from Nova Scotia to Niagara Falls and back, in a structure that allows her flawed characters to find themselves coming full circle without resorting to any kind of neat-package ending.
Stuart Ross recommends: Sandra Beck by John Lavery
After two brilliant but mostly unnoticed short-story collections, John Lavery has written his first novel, and it features the same kind of inventiveness, adventure, and word acrobatics. Lavery follows no trends or formulas; he is entirely unpredictable, and this book — like the work of Nabokov or Anthony Burgess — offers up surprises on every page. Lavery has invented his own genre and he has invented a new way for readers to read fiction. Sandra Beckis at once complex, deeply moving, and wildly entertaining. It pushes Canadian literature in ways it has never before gone.
Desarai Mosher recommends: Twenty-Six by Leo McKay Jr.
I purchased this book for myself and my husband to read, as my husband is from Stellarton, Nova Scotia — the equivalent of Albion Mines in this book. The Westray Mine disaster had a profound impact on many native Pictou County families, and this book is written with appropriate consideration for how those families must have felt, and the real lives that corresponded with the loss of so many good men. It takes the base technical reports and non-fiction novels associated with the tragedy, and pushes further to give substance and heart to a story that seemed far too remote in media. The novel, although fictional, could easily depict the day-to-day lives of some of the men lost, and makes the tragedy all that more real. For those from the area, who experienced the event, the realism is top notch...Leo McKay Jr. has created a novel that means something in Atlantic Canada, and which will always be a staple on our family's bookshelf here in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.
Rae Brown recommends: The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly
I LOVED THIS BOOK! It explores the extremes of hope and despair, my heart was bursting throughout. My imagination was transported to Burma in the midst of the 1989 political upheaval. I felt like I knew the people in the story. I don't know what else to say: The Lizard Cage is brilliant!
Julie Glaser recommends: Heave by Christy Ann Conlin
Conlin's acclaimed debut novel, through the character of Seraphina Sullivan, could very well be a metaphor for the last decade, waking up from its 1990's hangover from its 1980's excess, trying to figure out who the hell it is and where its going to go from here. Perhaps even more so, it speaks to the situation of Nova Scotia, mired in history it would soon rather forget, trapped by its own fear of possibilities (and frequently soaked in drink) but with a beauty and spirit so startling that renewal occurs in spite of itself.
Bob Curry recommends: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
Often in folksy phrases, history is revisited, the land that is Newfoundland is shown in both its glory and its wrath, the intrigue throughout, from the everyman to the gentleman, all are in this book, a story based on the life of the iconic Joey Smallwood. For anyone who loves this country, the variations that brought us all together, Colony offers perspectives that are relevant to all Canada. Colony is not a perfect book nor somehow do I think it could be. The story is so broad, to encompass all with certainly diminish the humanity. Too few good books tell the story of Newfoundland with as much candor as Johnston's Colony.
Mary Burkholder recommends: The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
This book is a beautiful, poignant novel about the war in Sarajevo. Based on a true and random act by a cellist Galloway fashions a thought-provoking study of three personalities and the impact the war is having on their lives. Beautiful and a must read!
Janice Cournoyer recommends: Toss of a Lemon by Padma Viswanathan
Really gives amazing insight in the path one woman took growing up in India.
Laura Thomson recommends: The Girls by Lori Lansen
I LOVED this book about co-joined twins — a wonderful completely convincing love story. this was my favorite book of 2006.
Don Moore recommends: The Last Hand: A Charlie Salter Mystery by Eric Wright
Why not a cozy whodunit? Eric Wright is a great writer in an often overlooked genre. We have the Giller, the Booker, and GGs to reward writers of high brow lit. It is time to recognize authors in other genres. Wright follows closely to Dame Agatha Christie's template and produces very readable whodunits.
Maria Elena Abraham recommends: Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
I read this book for an English course in college and I loved it. The family depicted in the story goes through a tremendous loss and you see how several members must sacrifice something in order to ensure their survival. I would say the major themes of the book are acceptance and perseverance. As the story develops several characters must come to terms with tragic events in their past and move on.
John Moore recommends: Orphans of Winter by Rob Ritchie
I picked this book initially because the cover and title drew me into a story of enduring the elements while burdened and alone. This is a brilliant entrancing story that takes you across Canada on the difficult and mystical journey of a guy whose thoughts could be any of ours, and who bears more than many of us could.
Jennifer Wellon recommends: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is CANADA's author in the same way as The Tragically Hip is Canada's band! After an amazing and diverse career, I think Ms. Atwood's will be culminated through this trilogy. Oryx and Crake is our introduction to the dystopian world of our future...or is the future now? (Chickie nobs anyone?)
Colleen McBroom recommends: The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
This is a brilliantly written, humorous and satirical look at Canadian politics. It leaves you thinking...""What if??"" as in What if politicians really were honest and put the good of all Canadians above themselves.
I laughed out loud, I could hardly put it down, I recommended this to all my friends. Right along with the sequel, The High Road.
Christine Rinaldi recommends: Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey
Donna Morrissey is one of Newfoundland's best authors. (Let's not fault her for currently living in Halifax.) Her novel, Sylvanus Now, provides a wonderful look at life Newfoundland, as well as gives a clear description of the province's evolving Newfoundland fishing industry. As a "born and bred" B.C. resident, I fell in love with Newfoundland and this author during my first (of many) visit to the province. I think this book should be required reading for every Canadian. The writing is exceptional and the story of a wonderful province and its people needs to be shared widely.
James Harper recommends: Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen
This book is one of her best. The premise, the virgin Mary appears to a 40ish writer and spends a week or so living and relaxing at the writers home. It is a story of faith but also an examination of the meaning of truth. It is a novel that inspires more than a little soul searching for most readers. I believe this could be a great book to discuss and debate.
Jocelyn Heisel recommends: The Outlander by Gil Adamson
I normally wouldn't choose a book that has already been a Canada Reads contender, however I make an exception with this book. The Outlander was wonderful and captivating from start to finish. I loved it! I've recommended it to many people since reading it. It focuses on a strong tough female character in the old Canadian wild west (which I'd never really considered before reading this book). A Canada Reads must read!
Tapanga Koe recommends: Green Music by Ursula Pflug
Rarely do I find a book I can read more than once. But this, this is one. I can read it for the story, rich, intertwining lives, different worlds, complex versus simple living. And I can read it for the prose. Unique perspectives, objects, events, psychological insights all presented in beautiful words I can linger on. Proof that writing can be more than just a good book, it can be a work of art.
Mary Jane Copps recommends: Quintet by Douglas Arthur Brown
This novel deals with the relationship between brothers through the sharing of a journal. The characters are strong, the story compelling. It was a joy to read. Douglas Arthur Brown has a unique literary "voice" and writes of his roots in Nova Scotia while including his knowledge and experience of the world.
Jacqueline Maloney recommends: Fauna by Alissa York
I read this book over the summer months and it truly made me reflect on the peripheral lives of people and animals in our city. Whether describing stray pets, animals whose habitats have been encroached upon or people who have been marginalized by tragedy or bureaucracy, Alyssa York exposed a powerful connection between the species.
C. Dow recommends: The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
This is my favourite of all the books written by this extremely talented author. It is entertaining, well-written and full of insight. The characters are real and stick with you when the story is done. I don't think that Kay, an international award winner, gets nearly enough recognition here in his own country.
Paul Gvildys recommends: The Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee O'Malley
I picked this series because it threw me for a loop and also its impact on the pop culture world has been great. They even made a movie. I liked that it starred real Toronto places too.
Erin Balser is an associate producer with Canada Reads.