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Reader Recommendation Round-Up: October 2

Recommendations are rolling in for Canada Reads: True Stories. Thanks to everyone who has submitted a title so far.

Check out these highlights:


Elizabeth from Vancouver recommended: The Tiger by John Vaillant

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Such impressive research about a fascinating topic, and well-written to boot. Definitely one of the best books I read in the past year.





Stacy from Vancouver recommended: Most of Me by Robyn Levy

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It's a heroic, poignant, funny and memorable story about one woman's journey through two terrible life changing medical conditions, both diagnosed in one year.





Cori from Peterborough, Ontario, recommended: Down to This by Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall

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I originally read this book about 5 years ago, I could not put it down. Since then have reread it 4 times. I have loaned my copy out so many times that I have bought a new one for me. It reminds me of why I began my work with the homeless. It is an amazing tale of the good, the bad and the ugly. A voice of the people, not exactly the people you may associate with, but people whose stories need to be told. The fights, the love, the friendships,suicide, the binges, good and bad intentions. The story of broken souls and healing.




Donnalu from Toronto recommended: The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant

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I never used to read non-fiction until about 12 years when I joined a book club that required that I read at least 4 titles per year. I know lots of other people who don't read non-fiction. But if they could read this book about The Golden Spruce, they would be hooked. Mr. Vaillant is an amazing story teller. He takes you into the life story of one man, one tree and a community. But at the same time, it's so much more than that. It's about history and geography: aboriginal, logging and natural resources, exploration. It is a book that I couldn't put down and can't wait to read again!




Paul from Vancouver recommended: Neil Young Nation by Kevin Chong

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Life is a journey, a search for self and our place within this world. This book explores one man's journey through the filter of a road trip whose purpose is nominally to scratch the itch of an obsession with the greatest Canadian musician -- Neil Young. But like all great road trip stories it is not the destination but the journey, both inward and outward, that makes this book memorable.




Don from Cobble Hill, British Columbia, recommended: Who Killed Mom? by Steve Burgess

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Really speaks to my demographic and the struggles we go through as our parents age and weaken, but told in such a humorous way that you are always laughing through the tears.




Ted from Oro Station, Ontario, recommended: The Madman and the Butcher by Tim Cook

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The Madman and the Butcher is as much an epic war story as it is a riveting courtroom drama. It is also a vivid exploration of two controversial Canadian characters during a time when Canada was only just coming to its own. The Madman, Sir Sam Hughes: newspaper publisher, Boer War hero, politician, Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence, accuser. The Butcher, Sir Arthur Currie: hight school graduate, the bite and hold WW1 Brigadier General, a mastermind of Vimy and the Hundred Days Offensive that finally won the war, Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University, plaintiff. This is not yawn-inducing history, folks. It is the haunting and heartbreaking biographies of not one but two men fighting for their beliefs and the country they love as it embarks on one of its greatest adventures, an adventure that would ultimately leave it reeling and nearly paralysed with grief. It is also a page-turner told in the clear voice of a master story teller -- the author, Tim Cook: Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum, adjunct professor at Carleton University, winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, family man. Whoever thinks Canadian history is dull, has never read even the opening sentence of The Madman and the Butcher -- There would be blood.




Jane from Toronto recommended: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll

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Andrew Westoll's The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is a heartbreaking but life affirming book about a Quebec sanctuary for chimpanzees who have retired from zoos, biomedical labs and other professional endeavors. Westoll goes inside the lab not as an investigative journalist, but as a former primatologist and animal lover. His goal was to report the facts of what happens inside Fauna, but what emerges in his pages is a riveting story of the personable chimps who readers cannot help but identify with by the end of the book. In the way that The Cove -- the Oscar winning documentary about the dolphin hunt in Japan -- this book changed the way that I view not only biomedical research but also zoos and animals working for entertainment. I hope that it makes the list for Canada Reads 2012.




Eric from Calgary recommended: The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

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It is Manguel's personal trek to express his ideas of what a library, personal or private, should be. He uses examples of historical and fictional basis to help explain his point of view and passion. I loved the book.




Kirsteen from Kingston, Ontario, recommended: The Love Queen of Malabar by Merrily Weisbord

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It's the most compelling book in any genre I've read in years. It's a biography of fascinating, scandal-inciting Indian poet Kamala Das, who was the first woman to write about female sexual desire in her traditional society. It's a portrait of a poet's ability to transform lacerating experiences into art. It's a moving adventure tale about the friendship that develops between two women, the book's author and the poet, and the resulting conversation between cultures.




Chelsea from Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, recommended Shake Hands with the Devil by Roméo Dallaire

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First off this is a great read, gripping and emotional. However it's true worth is in making the reader questionthe Canadian role in peacekeeping (& non-) roles and realize our default view of the canadians as the good guys is not always the case.




Jackie from Saskatoon recommended: Maternity Rolls: Pregnancy, Childbirth and Disability by Heather Kuttai

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This memoir moved me to tears -- several times. Heartbreakingly honest, insightful, and powerful, Kuttai's work is sure to spark thought and discussion about women with disabilities in Canada.




Mandy from Saskatoon recommended: The Perfection of the Morning by Sharon Butala

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This book captures the purity and spirit of prairie -- the land is the main character and speaks to a deeper connection of person to spirit to soil. We need more praise and appreciation of our landscape beyond the lame and unimaginative description of 'flat'. There is so much more here to be felt.




Tim from Edmonton recommended: More Money Than Brains by Laura Penny

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I am making this recommendation because with our current economic climate this book will help shine some light on why it is that a University education is no longer valued in our society. Laura Penny explains how the bullies have triumphed over the nerds in setting policy in the realms of both the economy and education. As an educator Penny is well versed on the issues but her writing has a very conversation style and she is also very funny.




Rose Lynn from Calgary recommended: Ride The Rising Wind by Barbara Kingscote

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In May 1949, at the age of twenty, Barbara Kingscote left her farm in Mascouche, Quebec, and set out for the Pacific Ocean on horseback. Amazingly, she and her horse Zazy reached the West Coast just over a year later having struggled through miles of empty country. With luck, pluck, and the generosity of strangers she completed this trip of a lifetime that prepares her for her career goal of becoming a vet.

It's a moving coming of age story that shouldn't be missed.




Ellen from Victoria recommended: Meeting Death by Heather Robertson

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This book combines poignant memoir about the death of the author's father with a journey of research and discovery inspired by the experience. Heather Robertson's writing is compelling; she is a wonderful storyteller, and her story has so much to teach all of us about meeting death in our own lives. She seamlessly weaves memoir with research and cultural commentary about how we deal with death in our society. Reading this book had a profound effect on me and I want to share it with everyone.




Susan from Fonthill, Ontario, recommended: Breakfast at the Exit Cafe by Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds

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A great travel story that pulls you along with this husband and wife team. The chapters are written indepently by either person. The book makes me want to travel again on a long road trip, maybe next year. I think I'll read it all over again.




Gavin from Regina recommended: Two Generals by Scott Chantler

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This moving and engaging graphic memoir is an incredibly accessible, touching book by a criminally underexposed creative treasure. You can't escape comics.





Coleen from Toronto recommended: The Life and Times of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake by Charlotte Gray

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Charlotte Gray is meticulous in her research of Pauline Johnson and weaves the most engaging story of a very important and brave Canadian. I learned SO much about her life and it left a deep impression on me. When in Vancouver, I always go to Ferguson Point in Stanley Park where she is buried and leave a cedar branch and cones on her memorial as do many others.




Carolyn from Toronto recommended: The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown

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One of the most moving, thought-provoking books I have read, not merely for the insight into raising a severely handicapped child, a seemingly impossible challenge in this case, but for the questions Brown raises about community and individuality.




Suzanne from Winnipeg recommended: Paddle to the Amazon by Don Starkell

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It is an incredible and inspirational story about what every day people can do when then challenge themselves and ignore the naysayers. A unbelievable story about a man committed to making a connection with his boys and taking an active role in the story of his life. A great story that all Canadians (especially Manitobans) should read. This book will make you dream big or at the very least, buy a canoe!




Jessica from Toronto recommended: Hot Art by Joshua Knelman

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Hot Art is a vivid and gripping account of contemporary international art theft -- sure to appeal to everyone from true-crime buffs to gallerists.





Dianne from North Bay, Ontario, recommended: Northern Light by Roy MacGregor

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I grew up spending my summers at Taylor Statten Camps on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. This is where Tom Thomson died. His death was a big topic of conversation every summer. (And, A.Y. Jackson used to come and talk to us!) The mystery surrounding his death is built into the fibre of my youth. I knew or knew-of a lot of the people in this book. Plus, my grandfather built the Empire Hotel in Huntsville.This book is fascinating. I love it!




Rebecca from Brampton, Ontario, recommended: Roughing it in the Bush by Susanna Moodie

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Roughing it in the Bush is a Canadian memoir classic that tells the story of settling Canada through the eyes of a woman -- something unique at the time of publication and that is still relevant today.




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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