Reader Recommendation round-up: October 12

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

Check out more of the highlights:

Margaret from Halifax recommended: Paper Shadows by Wayson Choy


"Wayson Choy's memoir of growing up in Vancouver's Chinatown is at least as compelling a narrative as his novels. His is an authentic Canadian story, about a boy who wanted to blend in to Canadian society in his Roy Rogers suit, but could not avoid the influences of his Chinese family."

Dan from Morris, Alberta, recommended: Motorcycle Therapy by Jeremy Kroeker


"True, exciting and hilarious. Well-written."



Christine from Edmonton recommended: The Night Shift by Dr. Brian Goldman


"One of the points about Canada we all pride ourselves on is our healthcare system. However, many don't know the experience of working in an Emergency Department. This book helps to enlighten the reader on the experiences of those working within the Emergency Department and the stresses placed on this service."

Wendy from Waterford, Nova Scotia, recommended: Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir by Heather Summerhayes


"An excellent read but also brings to the forefront what the whole family experiences when a member is ill. Very poignant. It also gives good insight into Cystic Fibrosis."


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


"Well, to be honest, because I'm in it. And because the author is my friend Birgit. But those reasons are secondary to this: The Rescue of Belle and Sundance is a real story based on real people and their compassion for a couple of doomed critters, whose owner gave up on them. The book is not only informative and well researched, as the author was actually involved in the rescue, but it is full of all the aspects that make a good book. There is suspense, emotion and well, what's a book without a happy ending, right? Especially when the happy ending is as real as the rest! The story is heart-warming in itself, and I believe that Birgit Stutz with Larry Scanlan have achieved to portrait it as that, without embellishing or exaggerating and have made it into an entertaining and fascinating read."

Marcia from Plattsville, Ontario, recommended: The Year of Finding Memory by Judy Fong Bates


"The Year of Finding Memory, by Judy Fong Bates, grabs your heart and never lets go. Want to appreciate your life and family more? This book is a definite must read. I recommend it highly. Rarely delve into non-fiction? No problem. You too will not be disappointed."

Sally from Vancouver recommended: Gold Diggers by Charlotte Gray


"I think it is so clever that Gray has told fascinating stories about five people whose experiences weave together to give us a sense of Dawson City and the whole amazing period of the Klondike gold rush. We get a sense of the life of women during the time, something we never read about in traditional history. She moves you along with rollicking good tales and when you finish the book you own a piece of Canada without realizing you've been learning."

Thelma from North York, Ontario, recommended: Lifting the Veil by Karen Cole


"I have a close personal friend who entered St. Joseph's Convent on Bayview Avenue in Toronto when she was 26. She left two years later. She is 77 now and has never talked about this experience, not one word. I appreciate Karen Cole's forthrightness and openness. This is not an easy topic. Personal religious decisions are hard to share. I think non-Catholics are very interested in why a woman makes the decision to enter a religious life, virtually abandoning her personal identity. And even more so, why after such a sacrifice of time and devotion does she decide to leave this lifestyle. I found this book well written and enlightening."

Jori from Pembroke, Ontario, recommended: Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer


"Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd by Karsten Heuer is an inspiring adventure of a book. The book celebrates the life of a timeless caribou herd that could be destroyed by our lust for very short-term oil profits."

Frank from Halifax recommended: 1494 by Stephen Bown


"This is an incredible account of a true story that affected the entire globe. It's hard to fathom that this is what really happened, and not fiction. Stephen Bown's writing is captivating and makes me want to stay up late to read more. In short, this book makes me want to read more non-fiction - and that, I think, is what the Canada Reads program is all about."

Susan from St. Albert, Alberta, recommended: Village of the Small Houses by Ian Ferguson


"A wonderful book that describes growing up in the small northern village of Fort Vermillion. Writing about both sad and humorous incidents, Ferguson aptly paints a picture of a Canadian place most of us will never visit."

Dari from Castleton, Ontario, recommended: The Camino Letters by Julie Kirkpatrick


"I was moved by Julie's transparency as she insightfully and bravely delved into her inner world -an undertaking all the more courgaeous and powerful as this was not Julie's usual method of processing her experiences. I was also highly sympathetic of her loving/conflicted relationship with her teenage daughter. I loved the daily challenges she undertook on her journey, making long time friends a part of her journey. I read it soooo slowly, not wanting to reach the end of the book!"

James from Toronto recommended: Damned Nations by Dr. Samantha Nutt

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"If you want to laugh, cry and leave wanting to change the world, then this is the only book you should read. It is the story and thoughts of a truly inspiring Canadian."

Linda from Mississauga, Ontario, recommended: I Am My Father's Son by Dan Hill


"The book is well-written and touches on so many emotions - growing up in Dan's circumstances, whether it is because of his sometimes tumultuous relationship with his father, or of growing up the eldest son in a human-rights-championing family, or of achieving international fame. It also provides a behind-the-scenes look at life in the fast lane in the music world. I feel it is an interesting and compelling read."

Susan from Bedford, Nova Scotia, recommended: Tommy Douglas by Vincent Lam


"This book is so well written. It brings you in to the younger years of Tommy douglas so well that you really feel that you know him. The description of Winnipeg in the early 1900's is so clear, that you feel that you are there. The book also allows you to understand the beginning of the most wonderful social conscience that became so much a part of Tommy Douglas. I have just bought this book for my daughter who lives in Philadelphia as a great example of what I love about Canada."

Larissa from Montreal recommended: Ghost Pine by Jeff Miller


"Filled with stories and observations that span the years between teen and adult, from self-publishing zines himself to getting published. Jeff Miller recounts the time he spent growing up in Ottawa, to moving to Montreal; creating the Social Justice Club in High School, to having a conversation with his 18-year-old self once he's thirty and visiting the streets of his youth. All told with humour and humanity."

Delaine from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, recommended: Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser


"While going through the menu of a dinner, the author, Margeret Visser explores so many details about the nine foods and their ingredients, details which reveal beliefs, practices, taboos, and other intrinsic values that come from many cultures and understandings regarding the foodstuffs and our attitudes toward them. Margaret Visser allows drama to take it's part in the making and consuming of dinner."

Laura from Charlie Lake, British Columbia, recommended: Trauma Farm by Brian Brett


"This book is a marvellous memoir, framed by the dawn and dusk of a Saltspring Island summer's day on one small farm on the largest of B.C.'s gulf islands. It's a portrait of the island, present and past, of farming under the handicaps and pressures exerted by industrial-farm minded bureaucracy, of life and living in a community of independent individuals, best read in sips of a paragraph or a page or two so it can be savoured fully. Even with the bitter overtones of progress whittling away at the sustainability of small farming - and Brian Brett has much to say on that head - there is nevertheless a kind of magic throughout his narrative."

Kim from Toronto recommended: Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat

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"It is an unforgettable memoir about Marina Nemat's experience of being arrested at age 16 and put in the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran where she was tortured, forced to marry her executioner and narrowly escaped execution more than once. Marina's book is a testament to breaking the cycle of violence. Marina didn't speak about what happened to her for over 20 years until one day while living in Aurora, Ontario and working at Swiss Chalet she began to have flashbacks and sat down and started to write."

Sally from West Vancouver recommended: We Watch the Waves by Susan Riley


"The book's subtitle, "Unravelling the Mystery of a Father's Death", is an apt description of the theme of this book. I found it fascinating. The author tries to come to an understanding of her father's suicide, which was never discussed by her family while she was growing up."

Carol from Edmonton recommended: Reading the River by Myrna Kostash


"This beautiful story by Myrna Kostash takes the reader on a modern and historical journey through western Canada along the North Saskatchewan River. Excerpts from explorers' journals and adventurers' diaries help the reader feel the emotions of these travellers as they experience the wonders and challenges of the river and river environs. Not only does Kostash brings Canadian history to life in this very readable book, she reminds us of how important river systems are to our world."

Adrienne from Toronto recommended: Stung by Gary Stephen Ross


"It's a gripping true story that reads like a suspense novel. (And no surprise that it was made into a movie, Owning Mahoney, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.) Stung exposes the world of a young, unassuming assistant bank manager, who appears to be making his way up the corporate ladder. He also happens to be stealing millions from his employer, the CIBC. Taking place in the 1980s, long before anyone labelled gambling an addiction as dangerous as drugs or alcohol, Stung is a gut-wrenching ride with a gambler spinning out of control. The risks he takes are inconceivable, and they only grow as his flawed mind believes he will win back all of the money he “temporarily borrowed. With today's glamorization of poker (and casinos), the controversy of government-subsidized lotteries, and the frightening fact that Canadians are struggling with the highest household debt levels ever, this book is a poignant reminder of just how susceptible we can be to the lure of the win."

Barry from Eston, Saskatchewan, recommended: Maurice Richard by Charles Foran


"The book includes The Rocket's accomplishments with the Montreal Canadiens: the goals, the Stanley Cups, the fights but it is the personal look at the man in the context of his times that intrigued me most. Growing up in working class Montreal Richard saw Quebec move from a Catholic, socially-conservative province, through the Quiet Revolution and the FLQ to a secular, progressive one. Through it all he was a non-political hockey player and although used as a symbol of the advancement of French Quebec, he was indifferent to it all. He was pure hockey. Author Foran's background to the Richard Riot of 17 March 1955 illustrates the clash of French Quebec, as represented by The Rocket, and the Anglo establishment, led by the imperious Clarence Campbell, the president of the NHL. As Foran writes, "It was a long time coming and probably unavoidable". As well, the description of the eight minute standing ovation given to Richard on 11 March 1996, the last game played at The Forum, is a highlight of the book. A great book about and extraordinary Canadien."

Mary from Vancouver recommended: Something Fierce by Carmen Aguirre


"Can you imagine being yanked from your comfortable life in Vancouver and being thrust into the Chilean resistance movement and a new identity in Latin America as an 11 year old? This is a coming of age story like no other. Fear, subterfuge and suspense mixed with dark humour and adolescent love make this a real page turner. It's no wonder that the author, Carmen Aguirre, became one of Vancouver's most notable actors and playwrights."

Adrian from Winnipeg recommended: Around the World in 57½ Gigs by Dave Bidini


"I love everything Bidini has written but this book is especially great, revealing the best of Dave's rich qualities as both a musician and a hugely talented writer. The demise of the Rheostatics interwoven with his own tentative solo explorations gives Bidini lots to work with in this book and he works it really damn well. Great read by one of Canada's very best cultural polyglots."

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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