Cast Your Vote: John Doyle's picks

Photo John's first choic[1].jpg

UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Check out our other polls on our featured polls page!

There are a lot of great Canadian true stories out there. How is the regular reader going to sift through all of them? Recall the non-fiction classics? Unearth the much-loved but overlooked small press memoir? It's a difficult task. Which is why we aren't going to leave you to do it alone. We asked people from all across the publishing spectrum — booksellers, bloggers, publishers and more — to build their dream Canada Reads: True Stories list. We will roll these lists out through the Top 40 campaign. They can be a source of inspiration and a fantastic reading list, and they give these books an extra bump to make it to the next round in this year's debates. But you also get to have your say.

One of the non-fiction buffs we turned to was TV critic and author John Doyle.

John Doyle is the television critic for the Globe & Mail and an accomplished non-fiction author in his own right. His 2005 memoir, A Great Feast of Light: Growing Up Irish in the Television Age, was a Globe & Mail Top 100 Book of 2005. His latest, 2010's The World Is a Ball: The Joy, Madness, and Meaning of Soccer, explores another of Doyle's passions, soccer.

When we asked John Doyle for his Canada Reads: True Stories picks, these are the books he chose and why:

The Game by Ken Dryden


Professional hockey made a human activity by that a rarest of people — a pro sports player who is genuinely thoughtful about his game and the life it commands him to lead. The story of a way of life that so few get to experience, told with a commonsense philosophical approach.

The Last Spike by Pierre Berton


Popular history at its best — a huge story of how an impossibly large country became unified, but told as a series of accumulated small stories of real people. The best book to give to a non-Canadian to help explain the country's fabulously mad past.

On a Cold Road: Tales of Adventure in Canadian Rock by Dave Bidini


A cross-Canada journey story but one about the seemingly least-heroic of Canadian heroes — the non-famous musicians who traipse from coast to coast in all weathers, searching for a place to play and to bring the joy of rock 'n' roll to places where it is most needed. Bidini's honesty and eye for the telling details about the dynamics of a band, and the dynamics of Canada, are unmatched.

Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid by Evelyn Lau


A classic Canadian story of survival. But so remote from the theme of "survival" as Margaret Atwood defined it as a Canadian literary trait. Lau's luminous, adolescent-manic prose is shockingly intense. And the story of vagrancy, drug use and prostitution in a Canadian city is a necessary correction to Canadian smugness about our urban life.


Which one of John Doyle's picks was your favourite? Vote for the book you'd most like to see on the Canada Reads: True Stories list. This poll closes on Sunday, October 16, at midnight ET.

Each vote counts as one point, and the 40 books with the most support will be named the Canada Reads: True Stories Top 40.

Want to submit a recommendation of your own? You can do so here!

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