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Reader Recommendation Daily: October 21

Another day, another daily round-up! Check out today's fab 20 below!



CR-20-1.jpgLisa Dalrymple recommends: Amphibian by Carla Gunn

Both Carla Gunn and her narrator, 9 yr old Phineas Walsh, are fresh unique voices in Canadian fiction. Funny, serious, and always memorable, this book has not been on my shelf since I bought it. I am constantly recommending it to friends.


Merle Bolick recommends: Ragged Islands by Don Hannah

Hannah easily enters the world of the very old and the young, depicting the real relationships of the generations, and anchoring all this to unforgettable characters, times and places we all recognize. His prose is elegant without being pretentious.


Sheila Barta recommends: The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

Beautifully written and reflecting a deep love, respect and understanding of the development of southern Ontario, and of the experience of war, and most poignantly of the passion that created the Vimy monument. Epic and evocative of many aspects of the origins that resonate in Canadian hearts. I love it more each time I read it.


Cassandra Zita recommends: Oryx and Crake Margaret Atwood

This book is a timely exploration of where our society may be headed. Atwood raises difficult questions about what our actions and decisions will lead us.


Stacey Madden recommends: Muriella Pent by Russell Smith

It's about time Canada read a satire. Muriella Pent is sharp, funny, culturally relevant, and stylistically gorgeous. A novel about what "The Arts" should, could, and do mean to Canadians.


Dawn Leslie recommends: The Sea Captain's Wife by Beth Powning

This book is an epic tale in the best sense, and Powning is a powerful writer. Also love her Hatbox Letters but not sure of when it came out. Her characters come alive and the sense of place is strong. Since shipping was so important to Canada's development and relations with other countries, the historical background of this novel is fascinating, but her great storytelling skill is what makes her novels a memorable reading experience.


Wade Kearley recommends: Inside by Kenneth Harvey

This is a book that tackles a very real issue in NL taking the reader inside the head of a damaged person who has been further damaged by his incarceration for a crime he did not commit. This is an unflinching and almost clinical dissection of a life done in a style which Harvey seems to have developed exclusively for this story -- a clipped and stilted voice that is perfect for the story which it tells.


Britt Santowski recommends: Mostly Happy by Pam Bustin

This is a magical piece of literature that is capable of dipping into the bleak misery of childhood vulnerability while still lingering perpetually on the realm of possibility. More than impossible to put down; I stayed up all night to read it, and then when the characters were finished with their play upon the pages, I mourned their departure from my life. Pam Bustin is truly a gifted messenger who can translate a story from her imagination onto paper that again leaps into life when the book lands in the hands of the reader. Look out Canada, for there is a new capital-A Author in our midst!


Loni Bowers recommends: Free as a Bird by Gian McMurchy-Barber

"I would like to nominate Free as a Bird to the Canada Reads 2011 long list. This book has recently been nominated for a Governor General's Award. I teach speech arts to young people (poetry, prose, monologue etc.) and am always on the look out for good prose about young people and their different worlds. This book by Gina McMurchy-Barber took me into an entirely new world. The main character is a mentally disabled girl, and we see into her world, her family, her life in a BC institution for such children and we see into her mind. The book is never maudlin, sentimental or tragic. It is an honest depiction that teaches us about the experience of some of our fellow humans, those who take the time to look and to listen to them and to believe in them. The note of hope in the end is so appreciated, and inspires one to contribute the well being of such people. I am sure that your panelists will enjoy it.


Janice Krieger recommends: The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

This book, almost lyrical in writing style, tells the story of life under siege in Sarajevo. The author uses a few short weeks in the lives of his key characters to bring to life what indeed it is like to live through a war ... a war being wreaked on civilians, where going to fetch water or stand in a bread line can cost you your life. I loved the brevity of the book and the clarity of the writing, I was completely moved, and am proud to have this on my Shelf of Favourites!


Ellen Nodwell recommends: Elle by Douglas Glover

I know this book already won a GG but that was because it was a really amazing treatise of what it could have been like when you don't behave the way you are expected to behave and you are dumped off from a ship in the middle of the St. Lawrence on an island as punishment, and left to survive, except it's the 16th century and Canada the country as we know it, is barely a thought. I think everyone needs to read this book!


Matthew Sibiga recommends: Consumption by Kevin Patterson

"This is the most powerful and moving book (Canadian or otherwise) I have read in the last ten years. On the surface it is, a contemporary story of Canada's native people; dig a little deeper and it is a universal tale about the human condition. I think about this novel regularly -- something, for me, most works of fiction rarely accomplish. Full disclosure: I work for the publisher of said book; objectively, this should disqualify me -- but damn objectivity!!! The fact that prize juries totally overlooked this tells me the following:

1. Literary prizes are subjective and almost totally arbitrary.

2. The proof of this is the complete lack of jury acclaim for this extraordinary book.


Katrin Ragaz recommends: Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

This book is unlike anything I have ever read. Jessica Grant's new voice is so funny, smart, poignant and above all unique. The book made me smile, laugh out loud and at the same time reflect on how touched I was by it. I also immensely enjoyed the "word play" she engages throughout. I first read it on loan from the library but have since purchased it so I can pass it on and share it with all the bibliophiles in my life:) It would warm my heart to see and hear people talking about and reading this book!


Barb Matthews recommends: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden successfully educated a nation about its own history. This story about two Cree snipers in WW1 is captivating and moving. Typically I don't enjoy war novels but this one was completely different. I enjoyed it immensely even when it became difficult to read because of the brutality of war that is honestly described. The characters were raw and believable. No other book in the last ten years touched me as much as this one.


Cheryl White recommends: The Good Lie by D.F. Bailey

This book was one of the best books I have read recently. It held my interest from the first paragraph and never let me go until the surprising ending. A wonderful, intense and gripping psychological mystery.


Gwen Walker recommends: Still Life by Louise Penny

This is the first book in a series, not only written by a Canadian writer, but also each subsequent book is set in Canada. Richly drawn characters and atmospheric writing makes the reader believe that they know the small village where the characters reside. We need a good Canadian mystery on Canada Reads!!


Allan Pero recommends: Heave by Christy Ann Conlin

I read this novel once a year. It is one of the most moving, black-humoured, and wryly witty Canadian novels I have ever read. Seraphina's story is approached with a kind of sensitivity that one rarely encounters in novels about trauma and addiction. In addition to falling in love with several of the characters (I have a particular crush on Serrie's grandmother), I also longed to move to Nova Scotia after reading it -- the writing about its beauty and its many moods were so evocative -- nostalgic without being sappy, stoic without being flinty -- and so beautifully and finely observed. I genuinely think that Heave is not merely one of the best Canadian novels of the past decade, but is also a great contribution to world literature. We are lucky to have writers like Conlin in this country. Period.


Sarah Thomson recommends: Drive By Saviours by Chris Benjamin

This book is written by a Canadian, for Canadians, and explores the unique multicultural atmosphere created in Canada's urban centres. It is fabulously written and details the new reality of living in Toronto, where many cultures are learning to grow and co-exist with each other.


Candice Youngdale recommends: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Fantasy is my release from reality. A very enjoyable read. I look forward to the rest of the series.


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.


Still haven't gotten your recommendation in yet? You better hurry, time is running out! Send us your top choice for "essential novel of the decade" through our online form, Facebook or Twitter!

Erin Balser is an associate producer with Canada Reads.

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