Reader Recommendation round-up: October 14

Recommendations have been rolling in from across the country all week for Canada Reads: True Stories.

Check out some more of the highlights:

Cari from Toronto, Ontario recommended: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll


"It is a powerful book that tugged at the heart-strings, bringing to light a little-known issue about a species shockingly like our own. It foregrounds the need for us to show the compassion and respect these animals deserve to prevent / remove them from these terrible situations."

Carlos from Edmonton, Alberta recommended: Reinventing Gravity by John Moffat


"This is a great story about the evolution of what we know about gravity since Aristoteles and the new theory Canadian physicist John Moffat creates in order to solve some of the great issues the existing theories cannot explain."

Paul from Toronto recommended: The Masked Rider by Neil Peart


"Neil Peart is well known as the drummer and lyricist for Rush. What is less well known is that he is also a cyclist who has toured all over the world. In The Masked Rider he recounts his tour through West Africa. As it says on the book, Sometimes it's the story of a tour through hell - Dante on a bicycle - as he suffers the pains of dysentery and stares down the muzzle of a drunk soldier's machine gun. Other times it's a journey of exalted discovery and African adventure of the highest calibre. However, what makes it stand out from other travel books is that it is a book about group dynamics. It's about the relationships between strangers thrown together under harsh circumstances."

Linda from Petrolia, Ontario recommended: One Native Life by Richard Wagamese


"Richard Wagamese's beautifully written memoir is a handbook of how to survive the most challenging of life experiences and to look back with grace and acceptance at the lessons of life. Truly inspiring and touching stories of overcoming the odds, finding one's vision and purpose in life."

Sheila from Lasqueti Island, British Columbia recommended: River in a Dry Land by Trevor Herriot


"I was given this book by my brother. We both grew up in Saskatchewan, which this book lovingly describes. I was so moved by Trevor's writing that I spent a few weeks paddling across the province along the Qu'Appelle River. This journey became a CBC Outfront episode, Paddling the Qu'appelle and reconnected me with the landscape of my childhood. This book is both natural history and memoir written by a writer with integrity and knowledge."

Janice from Winnipeg, Manitoba recommended: What Disturbs Our Blood by James FitzGerald


"This was one of the most fascinating (and yes, disturbing) books I have ever read. Through his search for the meaning of his family history, James FitzGerald succeeds in unearthing the history behind the public health movement and the rise of psychiatry in Canada. It exposes the myth of the medical profession in general in terms of the illigimate stature it has created for itself. So many of these pioneer men were troubled and unhappy, and it enables us in the present to question the until now unquestioinable - were they really the wise forefathers, or were they simply troubled souls in a different era? An important book, one which allows me to recognize that much of what we accept today as gospel was indeed created by men running as fast as they could away from themselves An excellent book, so well researched, and a pleasure to read."

Carmen from Victoria, British Columbia recommended: Dead Man in Paradise by J. B. Mackinnon


"Because it has the best opening paragraph of any memoir/mystery I have ever read, setting the tone, pace and landscape of the story so perfectly. I was enthralled and had goosebumps as I traveled into the fog with him and the rest of the story delivered page after page of that same taut, anxious thrill."

Barbara from Unionville, Ontario recommended: After The Falls by Catherine Gildiner


"I have read both of Catherine Gildiner's books and find them touching, amusing, written from the heart and couldn't put them down until finished. I hope she will write many more."


Juleta from Calgary, Alberta recommended: There is a Season by Patrick Lane


"Patrick is one of Canada's most brilliant poets, but this is his memoir, and it is a luminous, wrenching and hopeful book. Patrick writes with an ear for magnificent language while addressing the darker side of his alcoholism and the healing power of his West-coast garden. This book is an important one. It is honest, it illuminates the journey of an addict as he puts his life back together, and it is a love letter to the plants and animals of a beautiful garden. This is a book for those who love language, those who have experienced addiction or live with an addict, those who want to know more about how addiction and healing work, or those who love gardening and birds."

Matthew from Vancouver, British Columbia recommended: Curtains by Tom Jokinen


"This is a behind-the-scenes look at the funeral parlor industry. Tom Jokinen, a former CBC journalist, found a job at a funeral home in Winnipeg He shares his insights into the quirky details of this unusual employment, and how it our society deals with the business of death."

Joan from Richmond Hill, Ontario recommended: Mordecai: The Life and Tiimes by Charles Foran


"This was not just a biography of one of our great writers of both fiction & non fiction, but a fabulous love story of Mordecai and Florence, a marriage that lasted over 40 years. Along the way Foran takes us through the Jewish neighbourhood of Montreal in the 30's to Paris,Spain, the south of France, and London in the 50's & 60's and back to Montreal where we laughed and rejoiced at the comic genius of Richler. I learned so much about this seeming curmudgeon that made me respect him all the more and immediately began picking up his novels and essays again and reading them once more!"

Karen in Victoria, British Columbia recommended: A Memoir of Friendship: The Letters Between Carol Shields and Blanche Howard


"An interesting read of the conversations of two women, two authors, over a thirty year period of time as they discuss their lives, their writing, their reading, and the state of Canadian publishing over this period."

Nathalie from Gatineau, Quebec recommended: An Imperfect Offering by James Orbinski


"A fantastic read. The real life story of a Canadian doctor who goes on to become President of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders). He recounts his desire to help throughout his missions in Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan, Zaire, Kosovo, and Sudan. The fine line between remaining apolitical in very stressful, political situations in order to be able to provide the humanitarian services so badly needed."

Gabe from Toronto, Ontario recommended: Damned Nations by Samantha Nutt

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"This book is a chilling account of the effects of war on local communities and on the world. Nutt doesn't shy away from controversial criticisms of the private sector, governments, and some large players in the not-for-profit/NGO sector. Her first-hand experience as a relief worker on the ground in some of the world's most violent places not only give her the credibility but the vocabulary to describe what she saw there in the most heartrending but powerful detail. This book will be a classic; I couldn't put it down."

Mary from Mount Albert, Ontario recommended: Victory at Vimy by Ted Barris


"I think Ted Barris is one of our most gifted writers of the Canadian story. He researches well and digs out the most interesting stories from people who were there. He makes Canadian history come alive. His books are keepers and worth reading over again. I am encouraging my grandchildren to read them so that they may know the incredible stories of many of those who have made Canada a great country. My husband and I have been privileged to be on tour with Ted - he made the experience for us unforgettable."

Paulah in North Vancouver, British Columbia recommended: What the Psychic told the Pilgrim by Jane Christmas


"I love this book because it speaks to middle-aged women trying to figure out what it is all about (yes, still) without getting all preachy in the process. To follow Jane's trials and tribulations as she accomplished a feat that so few of us could - walking over 800 kms in under a month, and then to fall in love with a man she met on the Camino, well it has it all! I find it harder and harder to relate to the protaganist in books. Jane re-defined the word protaganist which is defined as the leader of a cause, a champion. Well-written, gripping and a happy ending. I have read all of her books and hear there is another in the making. Bring it on!"

Barb from Calgary, Alberta recommended: The Boy by Betty Jane Hegerat


"An amazingly unique mix of historical fact (Robert Raymond Cook, the last man hanged in Alberta), memoir (the author's past and present connections to the murder),research narrative, and beautifully written literary nonfiction - all in one cover from one of canada's highest skilled, yet rarely heralded, writers."

Harry from Vancouver, British Columbia recommended: Welcome to the Departure Lounge by Meg Federico


"A very candid account of how difficult the role of cargeiver can be - in this case the daughter of an 81 year-old mother who has dementia and who lives with her even more impaired 82 year-old second husband. The memoir will poignantly resonate with all those caring for aging parents who are declining intellectually and/or physically. But it is the humour that makes this memoir unique - a valuable lesson as to how one can still laugh through the tears."

Heather from Toronto recommended: The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant


"This book made a huge impression on me; I consider it the finest non-fiction I've ever read. Here is a gripping Canadian true story, beautifully organized by the author in relentless pursuit of every shred of information, every detail of place and person, and crafted using beautiful writing, so that an emotional connection with the reader is unavoidable."

Barbara from Halifax, Nova Scotia recommended: Nervous System by Jan Lars Jensen


"I loved this book. It is an account of a psychotic break from the perspective of the recovered patient. I have worked with patients who were experiencing psychotic symptoms and had to work to find out about their thinking process . Jan Lars Jensen has described it in detail in a very detailed and entertaining way."

Rochelle from Edmonton, Alberta recommended: Finding Rosa by Caterina Edwards


"I am a psychologist at the Alzheimer's Society and I found this book absolutely beautiful. It was such an honest depiction of how the disease impacts the family and the inner struggle a daughter goes through to try to understand who her mother was. I would recommend this book to anyone and really hopes it is in the Canada Reads lineup in 2012!"

Denise from Belleville, Ontario recommended: Golddiggers by Charlotte Gray


"From the first page of her book, I think that Charlotte Gray did a wonderful job of bringing the history of the Yukon Gold Rush of the 1890's alive by weaving the stories of six people whose paths crossed during those very difficult times. They were so very different in their personalities and skillsets but who shared the same dream of making it in the Yukon. I cannot imagine the journey up the Chilkoot Trail and on the rivers in the dress of the day with the lack of creature comforts that would have had to be endured while carrying heavy loads etc. The development of Dawson City was incredible and the stories of the people's lifestyle there was captivating. I would highly recommend this book and have done so to many people.

Grace from Victoria, British Columbia recommended: Little Emperors by JoAnn Dionne


"JoAnn Dionne is the ideal traveller and observer of human nature and her stories of life in China are told with grace and gentle humour. She delves into daily life in a foreign land with open eyes and open heart, sharing her experiences and knowledge of this fascinating time in China's expansion. Her writing is smart, witty, fresh, and well-crafted. Everyone should read this book!"

Valerie from Stittsville, Ontario recommended: One Bird's Choice by Iain Reid


"It is a humorous story about a grown man returning to the farmhouse and way of life which he once knew, after living independently in the big city of Toronto.Many people can relate to the ups and downs of a grown child returning home to live. Life is seen through the eyes of the child (now a man) back in the role of the child again. This is a realistic, light- hearted story which appeals to the young and the old alike."

Asta from North Vancouver recommended: Snakebit by Leslie Anthony


"Imagination and intellect. A winning combo. This book is entertaining, humorous and had me thinking about my backyard critters in a new light. It is filled with science lingo but also tales of adventure which seem like science fiction. Increasing public awareness about these oft endangered creatures can only be a good thing and I think the CBC reading crowd would enjoy Anthony's amazing vocabulary!"

Megan from Calgary, Alberta recommended: My Imaginary Illness by Chloe Atkins


"This book was one of the most compelling books I have read in a very long time. It was pure entertainment on one page, and a tear jerker on the next. I could not put it down. I am the mother to an eight year old boy with health problems, both emotional and physiological and felt an immediate connection to the author; her frustrations with the healthcare system and the diagonosis of mental health issues when a physiological diagnosis is not close at hand."

Susan from Courtenay, British Columbia recommended: Raised by Committee by Carollyne Haynes


"This is a heart-wrenching as well as heart-warming story. I began reading Raised by Committee one rainy morning, and finished that night in a warm bath....I could not put it down. While the subject matter is upsetting, the author has managed to portray her character (herself) as an indomitable spirit, who shows the necessary strength and determination to rise above it all. This is a story that needs to be told and needs to be read. I am glad that I did and can only hope that others have ready access to this story as well."

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

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