Cast Your Vote: Ronald Wright's picks

UPDATE: This poll are 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 renowned author Ronald Wright.


Ronald Wright is an award-winning author, adept at both fiction and non-fiction. His 1997 novel, A Scientific Romance, was chosen as a book of the year by the Globe and Mail, the Sunday Times and the New York Times. He is also a frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, and was the 2004 Massey Lecturer (in his essays, A Short History of Progress, he examined 10,000 years of human civilization).

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

My Father's Son by Farley Mowat


"Farley Mowat, who turned 90 this year, is Canada's greatest living non-fiction writer. His love of Nature and the North was shaped by his time in Italy in World War II — experiences he has written about in several books. Of these My Father's Son stands out for me because it is built of letters Mowat exchanged with his father at the time — giving an unusual intimacy, a powerful sense of being there as the young man risks and comes to understand his life."

The Water in Between by Kevin Patterson


"One of Canada's outstanding travel memoirs from any age, The Water in Between was a New York Times Book Review cover story and a Globe and Mail Best Book. The young author (now known for his fiction too) leaves behind the Prairies for the Pacific, a lost love for solo sailing, a career as an army medic for the silences of Polynesia. Intelligent, funny, wise, and a great adventure."

Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan


"Winner of three major awards, including the Samuel Johnson Prize, Paris 1919 is one of those rare works of history that is also literature, distinguished by MacMillan's elegant prose, wit, and deft characterizations of the people who made the '20 year truce' between the wars. A rich and fascinating read on many levels."

Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco


"A classic account of what it was to be a young Canadian writer in the Paris of the 1920s, in the orbit of Gertrude Stein. The wild parties, unorthodox couplings, all-night drinking, and artistic obsession are all here in a book that is often freer, fresher, and franker than Hemingway's A Moveable Feast."

Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen by Rosemary Sullivan


"Shadow Maker is a model biography — unflinching, affectionate, deeply researched, and very well written. Sullivan (a poet in her own right) evokes the brilliance, pain, and ultimate tragedy of one of Canada's finest and most troubled poets, who died at only forty-six."


Which one of Ronald Wright'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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