Sunday, October 24, 2010 |
There's only one week until Halloween. Do you have your costume picked out yet? Maybe one of the reader recommendations below can provide you with some creative costume inspiration!
Barbara Carter recommends: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
I am about to travel to Viet Nam. When I travel, my research always turns toward fiction depicting the people, the setting, the history of the country. When an author engages me in characters I want to know and makes me walk the streets with them, I go to the country feeling as if it is a place to which I am returning. Camilla Gibb's Sweetness in the Belly told me of an Ethiopia I knew little of and now, one that stays with me because of the uniqueness of the characters and the perspective of the country I could find no other way. I am barely into The Beauty of the Humanity Movement and already I am carried to foreign shores wanting to sample the pho pot of Hu'ng and to uncover his story. I am with Maggie as she hopes desperately that Hu'ng can tell her about her artist father and the secrets of his political and artistic past. I leave for Viet Nam on November 1. I began the novel last evening and hated to put it down. Already Camilla Gibb has beckoned me there through the humanity she gives her characters and their setting. Such a writer and such a novel have my vote.
John O'Connor recommends: Far to Go by Alison Pick
While it is hard, because of the subject manner, to say any Holocaust book is run of the mill, it is easy to say that Far to Go is not run of the mill. The dual structure in time and place magnifies the drama and suspense propelling this fiction seemingly into the world of non-fiction. Could not put it down. Deserves a second and third read.
Helen Palmer recommends: Afloat by Jennifer McCartney
By moving between a special summer for a young student and 50 years later, Jenn McCartney has written a book that can be enjoyed by women of all ages. Afloat is an extremely readable book that is hard to put down. It is peopled by complex characters that you want to learn more about. Will there by more from this author?
Janet Killoran recommends: The Navigator of New York by Wayne Johnston
It's just a great story, and beautifully written.
Donna MacKenzie recommends: Deafening by Frances Itani
This novel, set in eastern Ontario in the early 20th century, deals with the horrors of WW1 and its effects on those who served as well as their families coping and assisting the war effort back home.
Jillian Senkiw recommends: The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
This book brings together war, art, remembrance and the magnitude of Canada's contribution to a very difficult period in modern history in a very intimate and relatable story. It is a book that I continue to recommend to others.
Joyce Bayly recommends: Paradox and Rebirth by Ron Prasad
I picked this book because this is the author's first novel and I thought it was very thought provoking. It is very hard for new authors to gain notoriety and i would like to see the new authors get feedback from other authors.
Lynn Fraser recommends: The Ghost Brush by Katherine Govier
The novel is the story about a woman painter in feudal Japan, and shares the struggles and the inspirations that affected her life and art, and a very good read.
Jennifer West recommends: Necessary Larceny by Ian Stout
This is such a unique book in this day and age as it focuses on the Baby Boomer generation and how they come together with an ingenious plan to recover investments lost from a fraudulent group of thieves. Ian Stout's novel is humorous, touching, suspenseful, and true to life as unfortunately these crimes are all too common among the senior population. It gives seniors a voice and is definitely a must read for any adult and in particular any boomer! An excellent, well written novel that is a must!
Elizabeth Haynes recommends: All the Seas of the World by Gayla Reid
I read a lot of novels and I have to say, I don't always remember much about them. This book has stayed with me since it came out in 2001. The lives of the main characters, friends growing up in rural Australia and their involvement in politics in Vietnam and Argentina. It is a character driven book about big ideas, about risks and political choices, relationships and friendship. It was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize for fiction, and is most deservedly being republished as it will be by Cormorant in 2011.
Kathleen Olmstead recommends: Smoke by Elizabeth Ruth
This is both a sweet and sad story about small town Ontario in the 50s. There is a secret at the heart of the story but it's not about the big "reveal". Reading about characters learning who they are and learn how to become themselves was a wonderful journey.
Jeff Neal recommends: Cockroach by Rawi Hage
While ostensibly a testament to the plight of the emigre in Canada, this book offers myriad literary pleasures to the uninitiated. Dank in mood and as compelling in its narrative form as it is graphically daring in its language, Hage has woven what I consider to be a literary masterpiece of the last decade. Cockroach is so emblematic of living in, outside, and under the city of Montreal, you can simply taste it with all of your senses as you read. A filthy sensual Last Supper of a novel. Mmmmmm.....
Sandra Furlotte recommends: February by Lisa Moore
This is a book about family and tragedy and how a family handles tragedy. The characters are wonderful — real life people who have to deal with some extraordinary life events.
Lisa Whalen recommends: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
Unfortunately I myself am not a writer and cannot express properly the feelings and emotions this book evoked in me. It not only transported back in time, but really made me feel all the emotions the protagonist was going through. Not only was the historical component extremely interesting, but as a Caucasian Canadian whose relatives have been in Canada since the 1600s from the UK, it really expressed and led me to understand the real struggle many African Americans/Canadians must have experienced during that whole era. Not to take away from other stories from that time period, I felt that this one really made the reader empathize with the struggle and dilemmas the protagonist faced, and really made the reader cheer her along and wish nothing but for everything to turn up for in the end. Again, I wish I was more eloquent with my writing to express the feelings that this story left me with, but hopefully some of it came through in this quick recommendation.
Chris McAdam recommends: Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong
This is a story about Chinese immigrants who opened Chinese restaurants throughout rural Ontario. In the town I lived in and in every other small town I visited, there was always one Chinese restaurant and one Chinese family who lived in the community but did not assimilate. It is part of Ontario history and after reading this novel I understood how difficult it must have been for the children of those families whose culture was so very different than the environment they lived in. I believe this is a MUST READ as it is an important but seldom celebrated or acknowledged part of the Canadian immigrant experience.
Virginia Rankin recommends: De Niro's Game by Rawi Hage
This novel combines poetry and danger, mysticism and violence in its account of two young men growing up in Beirut during civil war. It speaks to what many new Canadians have left behind when they come to this country, but what they will always carry with them.
Susan Hoover recommends: The Lost Highway by David Adams Richards
I have loved everything he has written and he gets better with each novel. The Lost Highway shows a character on the slippery slope into evil better than any novel I can remember.
Margi Letts recommends: Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill
This is a beautiful, tender, provocative story as told by a naive, young teenage girl in a completely unashamed, matter-of-fact voice. This in spite of being drawn into the world of the streets —- the trade of sex for drugs,shelter and comforts. I believe this book should be used in classrooms to help kids and teachers see the very human face of those kids on the streets. Pious people of all stripes would learn much.
Carol Horbasz recommends: Lures by Sue Goyette
I am a huge fan of Canada Reads and have always hoped that this book, Lures, would be included. It is a beautifully written book that tackles a very difficult subject in a sensitive, lyrical way. I feel the characters are expertly and sensitively portrayed. But most importantly, to me, is that it really resonated with me and my teenagehood in the West Island of Montreal in the seventies. What a thrill to find a Canadian author who can perfectly capture the darkness of young Quebec adulthood in a time when nothing seems secure or completely safe. The scenes depicting the tensions between French and English in a small town are perfectly portrayed. In fact, the scene in the ice cream parlour is one of my favourites... it is perfect! I can't think of one other book, Canadian or other (and I am an avid reader) that made me feel as profoundly understood as Lures. It would be a book that would inspire much active and heated discussion, and I would be thrilled if it were chosen as part of this year's Canada Reads.
Michelle Latimer 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. As a first time novelist, Darren Hynes is a powerful new voice. With empathy, precision, and grace he breathes life into complex characters, and eloquently crafts a complex world of domestic abuse, love and loss. This novel is one that stayed with me. Beautiful and truthful work!
Get your own recommendation in. Fill out our online form, share it with us on Facebook or Twitter or simply let us know in the comments below! Remember, each recommendation counts as one point toward your title of choice! The 40 novels with the most points will survive to see round two!
Erin Balser is an associate producer with Canada Reads.