Saturday, October 9, 2010 |
It's a holiday weekend, but never fear! Reader recommendations aren't going anywhere. That's how dedicated I am to the Canada Reads cause! Below are 15 reader recommendations we've received in the last week.
Louise Woods recommends: Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall
I thought this was such an impressive and well-written story, especially so since this book is, I think, her first novel. The characters are so well drawn by her portrayal of them that the reader becomes emotionally drawn into their story, and the author makes insightful observations about a difficult period in Montreal's history. As her main character comes of age and embarks on a journey of self discovery the city also experiences the tumult caused by the growth of the separatist movement in Quebec province. Zoe's book is an engrossing and enjoyable read.
Alana Bevan recommends: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden
I feel pretty strongly that this is one of the best books I've read this decade from any author of any nationality. I'm rather notorious for failing to retain plot lines; I joined a book club once and came off as a total oaf, because inevitably I'd have finished the book three weeks in advance (an oaf, but a keen oaf) and I'd have no recollection of any particular details of the book. Three Day Road has been a rare exception for me...it haunted me for a long time and I still recall strongly the images of both northern river and European battlefield. I also feel that it has a universal significance and applicability and is a book that Canadians who enjoy reading shouldn't miss. The book has really enriched my life and, to me, everyone should have that experience.
Heidi Hamilton recommends: Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
Ondaatje is one storyteller that will never disappoint his reader. The characters you meet in this story will hangout in your thoughts like old friends. It's the only novel I have read twice. It is masterful!
Mark Lefebvre recommends: The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
This satirical tale of a burnt-out political adviser's life being thrown into turmoil when an unlikely candidate he supports unexpectedly becomes popular with the voters won me over on the first page and Fallis's classic John Irving-style dark humour had me giggling throughout the book.
Here is also a great example of an author using social media and podcasting to democratize the slush pile, as this fantastic self-published novel won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour before landing a well-deserved publishing deal with McClelland & Stewart.
I first discovered this wonderful novel through the free audio podcast the author produced, and, after enjoying the novel completely for free, I purchased a hard copy of it because it was one of those books I knew I'd want to own and reread...
Heather Walter recommends: Conceit by Mary Novik
I recommend Conceit because it is far and away the best and most ambitious novel on a literary theme that I have read. It won the Ethel Wilson Prize for the top work of B.C. fiction and was longlisted for the Giller.
Gregory Paciga recommends: The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald
It's a great story from a very interesting time in Canada's history with some great characters. It's been years since I read it but I can still remember it like I finished it yesterday.
Barbara Bovaird recommends: Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay
Captures the spirit of solitude of the north and the connectivity we experience when we listen to the radio and imagine there's others listening to exactly what we are hearing...it culminates in the trek of a lifetime through the northwest passage and repeats the tragedy and victory of those early explorers in this land. Man vs. Solitude and Man vs .Nature = Canada
Diana White recommends: The Kingdom of Strange by Shula Klinger
It is a fantastic story about a teen girl's struggles with teenage drama! A very good read indeed!
Josh Tibbetts recommends: The Logogryph by Thomas Wharton
It is intellectual; it is emotional; it is confounding; it is obvious; it is a small book in size but each word lifts 10 times its body weight. Most importantly, it is a mind-blower.
Mary Mascarenhas recommends: Belle Falls by Sherri Van der Veen
This was an engaging first novel from a Toronto novelist. Thoughts of the crisis point still come to mind at random times.
Ben Ziegler recommends: The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
I love her books, and as I had to pick one, I thought why not this one! Her science fiction works are great. This book combines insight, passion, darkness, humor, and brilliantly dovetails with a previous novel of hers (Oryx and Crake). And it inspired me to write a related blog post, offering up my own speculations on the future...
Margriet Ruurs recommends: Throwaway Daughter by Ting-Xing Ye and William Bell
Because it touched me, made me think, made me realize how different lives can be. A book all Canadians should read. I run Between The Covers, a book lovers' B & B on Salt Spring Island where we have rooms full of books and people always coming here to read!
Jennifer Heyns recommends: Heaven Is Small by Emily Schultz
Very witty and insightful book that explores spirituality, materiality and everything in between.
Angie Abdou recommends: Every Lost Country by Steven Heighton
Every Lost Country is a novel written by a poet — beautiful, startling, and deeply moving, it addresses philosophical and ethical issues central to contemporary Canadian existence.
Don Kerr recommends: Stunt by Claudia Dey
It is like an epic poem, incredibly dense with imagery and story development that drew me in and kept me reading...slowly so I wouldn't miss a thing.
Wayne Arthurson recommends: The Coyote Kings of the Space Age Bachelor Pad, by Minister Faust
Not only does it have a great title and the author is a well known radio/TV personality, teacher and activist. It's a fantastic book, about two African-Canadian underachievers and fanboys drawn into a search for a mysterious artifact. It's set in Edmonton and describes my home city as the place it is, one of the coolest cities in the world and is filled with great pop culture and fanboy references. Black-Canadian culture has never been examined liked this. The New York Times called it "fresh and stylish," the Hollywood Reporter said the author "writes like Kevin Smith as if he'd grown up in an African immigrant neighborhood," Publishers Weekly said Minister Faust was "a sharp-edged new voice" and Nalo Hopkinson said it was "off the freaking hook." Unfortunately it was pretty much ignored in Canada, which is very sad.
Amanda Barros recommends: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Poignant, detailed and clearly showing Canadian cultural depth as we move into the 21st century where 1/5 of all Canadians identify as having roots outside our borders.
Bonnie Stewart recommends: Heave by Christy Ann Conlin
Heave is the most vivid, most laugh-out-loud, most heartrending book I've read in ten years. It brings to life the clannish culture of the Maritimes and the rootless worldliness its younger generation trade for, one foot in both worlds.
Wendy Barker recommends: The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens
This book won the GG when it came out (2006 I believe) but never seemed to get much hype. It tells the story of a young Irish boy who is orphaned in the Potato Famine and finally makes his way to Canada. Since Canada is a nation of immigrants (mostly) this is a story that resonates with lots of people. And the portion set in Ireland during the Famine was horrifying but also wonderful in that it shows how potent is the will to survive.
Is your essential read not here? Why not make your own recommendation right here right now. Go on, I dare you. And if you want to share your thoughts with the world,. hit up our Facebook and Twitter or simply leave a comment below!
Erin Balser is an associate producer of Canada Reads.