Reader recommendation round-up: October 15

Plenty of Canadians across the country got their book recommendations in before our polls closed at midnight last night for Canada Reads: True Stories.

Here are some of the highlights:

Janet from Toronto, Ontario recommended: Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner

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"Some memoirs make you wonder how people survived their abusive or neglectful parents; Gildiner's memoir makes you wonder how she and her parents managed to survive herself. She is an outrageous little girl: mad, bad and dangerous to know but thoroughly engaging and delightful."



Vicki from Utopia, New Brunswick recommended: The Bear's Embrace by Patricia Van Tighem

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"This book is a powerful story of survival by a first-time author. Anyone who has experienced a chronic illness or isolation and betrayal by people or systems of culture (for example, the medical system) will be moved and transformed by reading her story. I felt honoured to have read this book, and am grateful for her heroic spirit."

 

Shelley from Toronto, Ontario recommended: Hot Art by Joshua Knelman

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"It is a great read and a true story and a rare investigative peek into the global world of stolen art with many Canadian connections."



 

Tracy from Fort Frances, Ontario recommended: Never Shoot a Stampede Queen by Mark Leiren-Young

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"Never Shoot a Stampede Queen is a highly entertaining tale of a how city boy, Mark Leiren-Young found himself trying to adapt to life in Williams Lake, B.C. in the mid-eighties. From the very moment he hits town, Mark's world is turned upside down. Never Shoot a Stampede Queen is witty, compelling and completely hilarious. It's a must-read that you won't be able to put down until you've laughed your way to the very last page."



Corinne from Vancouver, British Columbia recommended: The Tiger by John Vaillant

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"This is quite simply the best non-fiction I have read. Superbly researched, crisp writing, riveting, personal, absolutely unforgiving. The Russian communist history depicted along with bordering China, the desperation of people living off the land, but in abject poverty and then this Tiger. Wonderful!"



Jonathan from Regina, Saskatchewan recommended: Lines on the Water by David Adams Richards

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"David Adams Richards is a wonderful, evocative writer, but he trades his trademark morose social commentary for something a bit lighter in Lines on the Water. The recurring CanLit theme of how individuals are shaped by the landscape of this country comes through in his eloquent exposition of the Miramichi River as the cultural centre of the community. He explores the meaning of the Miramichi to the fishers, both local and sport, to whom it means so much. I am not nor have I ever been a fisherman, but this book clearly articulates many of my feelings about my childhood home."



Jackie from London, Ontario recommended: Letters from the Lost Helen Waldstein Wilkes

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"This is an amazing story that unfolded because after Helen retired she opened a box of letters from her family that was left in Sudentenland in l939 despite trying to leave. Helen was three when she and her parents left Sudentenland and they were likely the last of the Jewish families to be allowed into Canada. The beautifully written letters from Helen's family members who were swept up in the Nazi regime are gripping and memorable in their realistically descriptive powers."



Laura from Red Deer, Alberta recommended: The House with the Broken Two by Myrl Coulter

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"It is a wonderful memoir that can speak to many people. The author, Myrl Coulter, writes her memoir around a central event that changed her life--giving her baby up for adoption. The memoir goes back and forth between private, personal thoughts, and more public events. It is grounded in 1950s and 60s Winnipeg. Many Canadians will be able to relate to this beautiful and moving memoir."



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

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"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."



 

Heather from Winnipeg, Manitoba recommended: Honeymoon in Purdah by Alison Wearing

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"This is an exceptional book about embracing the other. Through the account of Alison's journey through Iran, we learn very different stories of Arabic people than we would normally hear about in the news. This is the perfect book for the Canadian identity of being peace-loving, open-hearted people embracing diversity in our world."



Willy from Toronto, Ontario recommended: Belonging by Isabel Huggan

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"Any Canadian who has spent some time away from home will instantly recognize the mix of emotions that the experience conjures in this mesmerizing book. Huggan has a keen eye for the simple yet profound moments that make one feel extremely far from home or unexpectedly at home in a completely foreign place. I defy any Canadian reading this book not to recognize the nostalgic glee in Huggan's description of a snowfall far from home."



Kim from Toronto recommended: A Brief History of Anxiety (Yours and Mine) by Patricia Pearson

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"I loved this book: It is an intelligent, witty account of the author's own struggles with anxiety, relieved by her well-placed, welcome and wicked sense of humour."



Jennifer from Hamilton, Ontario recommended: Chimo by David Collier

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"This book is a brilliant yarn about a mid-life crisis and the Canadian army. It is a truly original Canadian story."



Julia from Whistler, British Columbia recommended: White Planet by Leslie Anthony

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"Quite simply it's an exciting, page turning, adventurous read - even if you're not a skier. I'm partial as I'm a skier but gave to non-skiing friends and they loved it. He is a hilarious writer as well. I could go on. Brilliant writing. Leslie Anthony is an author that needs to be - and deserves to be - recognized as one of Canada's finest."



Janet from Toronto, Ontario recommended: Into the Blue by Andrea Curtis

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"I loved this book. Very canadian, very real, very well written, historical and informative. I just loved it."



John from Edmonton, Alberta recommended: Payback by Margaret Atwood

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"Atwood is deep, thoughtful yet deliciously funny as she traces an anatomy of debt. Not just financial debt--though that does play a part in the book--she also psychological, religious and literary debts as well. The book began as the 2008 Massey Lecture, and was later published as a complete work. It our postmodern world of intellectual self reference, and our currently financially debt-crippled world, Atwood gives us much to consider, much to rethink, and the historical reminder that we are not unique or alone."



Paul from Oakville recommended: Behind the Eyes of Hate by Kelly Roberts

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"A very thought provoking look at hate and racism in North America. Well laid out, fascinating look at an issue that needs to be explored and dealt with. A must read."



Elizabeth from Toronto recommended: Egg on Mao by Denise Chong

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"Against every influence in his life, a young Chinese mechanic with a deep inherent sense of justice, travels to Beijing to support the Tienamen Square protests. His statement? To throw paint-filled eggs at the huge portrait of Chairman Mao. He is turned in to the authorities by the students themselves, who doubt that he really supports them. He is imprisoned for years for his beliefs. In itself, that's a great story. Bigger than that, even, is the story of how Canadian businesses have been pressured by Chinese colleagues to remove support of this book and it's author. The book itself is so fine that it is a shame that the issue of chinese government censorship in our country might overshadow the story of one brave, pilgrim soul."



Landa from Powassan, Ontario recommended: A History of Mistresses by Elizabeth Abbott

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"I hardly ever read non-fiction but Elizabeth Abbott's trilogy of histories (celibacy, mistresses and marriage) changed that. They are page turners with every page containing fascinating facts about topics that you think are everyday but somehow assume a thrilling new level of detail."



Pat from Powell River, British Columbia recommended: Sleeping Buddha by Hamida Ghafour

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"A well written and insightful perspective on the history of Afhanistan. A young woman who emigrted to Canada with her family at the age of four is working as a correspondent during the Afghan elections around 2005-2007. While working there , she also undertakes a search for for her relatives (both present and past) and visits their homes and communities. After returning to North America, she interviews other exiled relatives. These woven stories provided provided me with a greater understanding of a complex and ancient culture."



Lisa from Winnipeg, Manitoba recommended: Foxy Lady by Dave Kattenburg

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"It's a topic first and foremost off the beaten path. It is exhaustively informative about the method and madness of the Khmer Rouge's detainment camps (read: stunning investigative journalism) and it retraces the last years of a young Canadian traveller who reminds us of our own youthful and impetuous days and serves as a counterpoint to the torture and insanity of those days in Cambodia. Tireless work by Mr. Kattenburgh."



Agnes from Toronto, Ontario recommended: Phoenix by Sharon and Roderick Steward

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"This McGill-Queens University Press biography by accomplished historians Roderick Stewart and Sharon Stewart is the kind of page-turner where you're so embroiled in the reading of it, you don't even notice you're involved in the act of reading; rather, you are taking flight, then burning, and then rising from the ashes again and again in perfect step with Bethune's own erratic journeying - LIVING his life right alongside and WITHIN him. This is achieved through exhaustive research and tightly structured and concise writing about a most complex and exciting life - no embellishment needed or offered here - and a refreshingly objective standpoint that leaves room for the reader to make up her own mind about the man behind the twin masks of propaganda and misperception. An intriguing read that leaves any pre-conceived politically-minded notions in the dust. A masterful and most revealing portrait of an extraordinary and iconic Canadian doctor and humanitarian known the world over, moreso than even here in Canada. This is the book that could change all that and likely will. Definitive and astounding. Most highly and deservedly recommended."



The Canada Reads: True Stories Top 40 will be revealed on October 18! Stay tuned!

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