Reader Recommendation round-up: October 11

Recommendations continue to roll in from across the country for Canada Reads: True Stories.

Check out more of the highlights:

Jane from Vancouver recommended: What Disturbs Our Blood by James FitzGerald


"This is a wonderful book about a man's discovery of the background of his Grandfather who established The Connaught Laboritories where all vaccines were made in the early days. It is a true story, so carefully researched and tells the importance of Public Health in Canada. It is riveting - and it is revealing about depression. I thought it was terrific and wish more people could be encouraged to read it."

Melissa from Toronto recommended: Burmese Lessons by Karen Connelly


"Travel, romance, political repression, hope and despair are just some of the themes found in this 2009 travelogue written by G-G award winner Karen Connelly. I was captivated by Ms. Connelly's journey into the lives of political dissidents, activists and monks during her stay in northern Thailand and Burma in the 1990s. Her vivid prose evoked strong images in my mind: I was right there with her in the dense, wet and punishing Burmese jungle as she joined political dissidents in their war against Burma's cruel dictators; I squirmed in my chair as she described with such intimacy her feelings for her Burmese lover; I feared for the lives of the monks protesting in the street. Her prose is poetic and beautiful; it transported me far from my life in urban Toronto. I LOVED this book from the very first sentence. I could not put it down! Ms. Connelly is a remarkable writer and more Canadians should know this book. Burmese Lessons has to be on your list!"

Chris from Kitchener, Ontario, recommended: Baltimore's Mansion by Wayne Johnston


"Wayne Johnston is a beautiful writer and he's at the top of his game in this memoir. It has unforgettable characters set in an important and often forgotten piece of Canadian history."


Gwen from Toronto recommended: The Year of Finding Memory by Judy Fong Bates


"This book is a Canadian immigrant story. Judy's parents came to Canada from China to Acton to own and operate a laundry in the 1950s. It tells of their toil and existence in Canada and of their earlier lives in China. Judy went to China to meet her family for the first time. Her journey of discovery tells her parents story as well as previously untold family secrets. This memoir is unique. However, Canada was built by immigrants who made lives in their new country, but also left behind individual stories that shape their children and our society. This book is one such story ... a must read for Canadians."

Elaine from Brockville, Ontario, recommended: Into the Blue by Andrea Curtis


"I loved this page turning, exciting adventure through the eyes of the author, who left the reader thinking that he/she was experiencing the adventure first hand, while the book's writing took place at the turn of the 20th century. This book is not only a history lesson, but a read-it-all-over-again, gripping story - in fact this is what I did, I read it all over again, after my first read. Then I gave it to my 89 year old mother, who also could not put it down!"

Trish from Duncan, British Columbia, recommended: The Rescue of Belle and Sundance by Birgit Stutz and Lawrence Scanlan


"Amazing community, heart wrenching story, happy ending."


Mitchell from Halifax recommended: Welcome to the Departure Lounge by Meg Federico


"My own mother had Alzheimers. As I've aged and my friends have aged, this whole theoretical issue has become much less theoretical. This book, for me, brings out the horror, the humor, and the humanity of caring for our aged parents."


Caroline from Toronto recommended: Finding Rosa by Caterina Edwards


"This beautifully written book is both heartbreaking and uplifting. The sad journey of a mother's dementia motivates Edwards to explore her family's roots and resettlement. She discovers the tragic loss of a home, a community, and even a language when her mother's homeland passes from Italy to Yugoslavia as a consequence of war. Understanding the pain of this forced departure helps the writer understand the suffering in her mother's youth, manifested in her senior years by anger, outbursts, and difficult behaviour. Caterina Edwards is an accomplished writer; this personal story demonstrates her skill and her deep compassion. It is a brave, honest, gripping, and enlightening book that deserves a wide audience."

Chris from Halifax recommended: African Chronicles by Burris Devanney

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"The book provides a uniquely Canadian outlook of Africa in the 1960's, it's problems, it's potential and it's peoples. It also provides a scathing criticism of Canadian consular staffs and the international aid community."


Victoria from Hamilton, Ontario, recommended: Foxy Lady by Dave Kattenburg


"Because it is a compelling story about someone who just disappeared off the face of the earth .. until now. A mystery not exactly solved, but closer to being solved because of Kattenburg's book. Also, because we Canadians don't really know a lot about the post-Vietnam war era. Important reading for anyone who likes to be well-read about modern history."

Robert from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, recommended: The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant


"A riveting true story about a golden spruce on the Queen Charlotte Islands cut down by an ex-logger in protest to the clear-cutting destruction by the forest industry. Unfortunately this action also was a devastating blow to the Haida nation who revered the massive spruce in a mythical way. The book not only deals with a fascinating character but covers the history, ecology and exploitation of the Great Bear rainforest of coastal British Columbia."

Katie from Toronto recommended: Kenk: A Graphic Portrait by Richard Poplak et al.


"Kenk was by far one of the best books I have read in years. I am someone who traditionally reads novels, and never before had picked up a graphic novel. The story, combined with the artwork, led to the ultimate presentation. And a book about a notorious Toronto man (who may have in fact stolen one of my bikes) combined with living in the neighbourhood in flux was a read I could relate to. I also went from hating Igor to actually listening and relating to many of his ideas!"

Dorothy from Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, recommended: Lighthouse Chronicles by Flo Anderson


"If you want to know what life was like being the wife of a lighthouse keeper and trying to raise 4 children on various rocky islands off the west coast of British Columbia, you must read this most gripping account of how Flo Anderson coped. Every lighthouse island house provided by the Federal Government was supposed to be equipped with decent living conditions but sadly that was not always the case. Home schooling was mandatory, some kitchen stoves did not come with a supply of fuel, bathroom conditions were rustic and often the supply ship would be late due to inclement weather. The children happily discovered unique marine life, invented games to play and enjoyed most every moment of life on the islands. The Andersons were credited with saving the lives of many people and of boats in distress. Flo became adept at baking bread, growing her own vegetables and planting flowers in a span of twenty years of life as lighthouse keepers. A great, great read on a topic that has never been so well documented before."

Kathryn from Kitchener, Ontario, recommended: Through the Glass by Shannon Moroney


"Beautifully written and shows the true power of forgiveness. Shannon has shared her most traumatic experience and that a person can rebuild their lives once forgiveness is given. Excellent true story."

Sylvie from Ottawa recommended: Not Done Yet by Laurie Kingston


"I recommend this book as wonderful reading for anyone who is faced with the reality of cancer. There is nothing pink-ribbon about it. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry and most of all, it provides insight into what everyday life becomes when a young woman is diagnosed with cancer and life must go on in a home with a husband and two young boys."

Rich from Regina recommended: The Klondike by Zach Worton


"I found it very enjoyable tale and very interesting format by a young Canadian writer."


Jill from St. Albert, Alberta, recommended: The House with the Broken Two by Myrl Coulter


"This book is the author's autobiographical account of being an 'unwed mother' in the early 60's. Myrl Coulter touched me in a very real way with her writing and her personal experience. It is a book that I will keep forever."

Eftyhia from Toronto recommended: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje


"Ondaatje writes, not just a personal memoir, but a familial memoir. The form that the book takes echoes how our memories work - through anecdotes, interviews with family members, memories of stories when we were young, pictures, and snippets. The book is not chronochological, nor is it in traditional fiction form. It is broken and incomplete; true but also embellished - just as our memories are. It is both a travel book and a biography. It contains the history of his family, but also of life in Sri Lanka in the early 1900s. Memoir, or creative non-fiction, is my favourite to read, especially from Canadians with multicultural backgrounds, and this book was the beginning of that. As a person with a multicultural past, it also inspired me to write my own family history."

Margaret from Halifax recommended: A Great Feast of Light by John Doyle


"John Doyle's television column is the first part of the Globe and Mail I read daily. A Great Feast of Light is about television, about the advent of television in Ireland, and the social changes it ushered in. Doyle also follows his adolescent development as accompanied by world-wide television coverage, culminating in a decision to emigrate to Canada based on the televised presentation of the country."

Ami from Canning, Nova Scotia, recommended: Grain of Truth by Ross Laird


"An artful meditation on the creative process, it's the kind of book that will cause readers (no matter their professions or endeavors) to stop and think about the bigger picture."

Jean from Edmonton recommended: The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet


"The beauty and the magic of the west coast is tangible as the author describes her summer explorations with her five young children aboard a 25 foot boat. The fabulous scenery surrounds the reader as travels the Northwest coast. We read of waterfalls and bears. Her bravery is incredible as she faces widowhood and bad weather with remarkable courage. Written 50 years ago, this book is a classic!"

Katherine from Toronto recommended: Locavore by Sarah Elton


"This was an excellent read, and so important in learning about our choices in foods, sustainability, supporting local foods, and it was really changed the way I felt about my food for myself and my family. I believe that it is a great way to introduce how farming is affected and how it is changing within our own local scene. I know that I've recommended this book to others around me, and they've recommended it to others!"

Sue from Lanark, Ontario, recommended: Sisters in the Wilderness by Charlotte Gray


"This book is a fascinating history lesson about Susanna Moody and her sister Catherine Parr Trail. It depicts the incredible challenges faced by early settlers to Upper Canada. It is non-fiction that reads like a novel. A great read."


Riva from Montreal recommended: The Love Queen of Malabar by Merrily Weisbord


"Merrily writes an intimate account of her relationship with Kamala Das, a woman from a very different culture and background from Merrily's. They start off as strangers but before long the relationship evolves into a true friendship. Merrily's account of this development is honest, touching and offers more than a glimpse into the life of a woman, celebrated and scored by her own community. A truly enjoyable, interesting and instructive read."

Stephen from Vancouver recommended: Soul of the World by Christopher Dewdney


"This book takes us deep inside of something that pervades us but is rarely ever thought about. It brings us to examine the nature of time through the eyes of science, philosophy, poetry and the unique mind of the author."


Don from Cranbrook, British Columbia, recommended: The Game by Ken Dryden


"The Game is considered the best book about hockey. It follows the life of Ken Dryden as he tends the goal for the Montreal Canadiens. What is more Canadian than a hockey book? Many will scoff at the idea of a sports memoir veing considered for this award. If you give the book a chance, than you will be surprised by Dryden's writing."

Have a great true story you can to recommend for Canada Reads? You have until midnight ET on October 14 to get your submission in. Head over to the Submit Your Recommendation page now!

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