Angie Abdou shares her Canada Reads book choices


Angie Abdou is familiar with Canada Reads: she's been an active participant in the conversations online and she was a contending author in Canada Reads 2011, when Georges Laraque championed her novel The Bone Cage. So we asked Angie to share her picks for the latest edition of Canada Reads. Here are her choices:

  • Afterlands by Steven Heighton
  • Happiness Economics by Shari LapeƱa
  • Annabel by Kathleen Winter
  • Every Happy Family by Dede Crane
  • The Blue Light Project by Timothy Taylor

Here's what Angie had to say about her choices:

"I want to recommend books that are good, not just good for you. For a book to change Canadians, it has to be one they will actually read, admire, and enjoy, one that will inspire passion, one that will make them laugh, that will move them. A book they will turn off the TV and the iPad and the stereo to finish. A book that will have them cancelling meetings and dates and dinners.

A book that will change Canadians has to have a story that readers cannot wait to talk about. I want a book that Canadians will force on their family and friends: 'You MUST read this!'

I have done exactly that with all of the books below. These are writers who expand our understanding of the world and of human nature, and in so doing make us more empathetic and better people.

Until I read Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, I could never answer the question: "What is your favourite book?" I thought it impossible to narrow the answer to one. A Fine Balance, though, changed the way I look at literature. Through that book, I inhabited the skin of a human being whose life is entirely unlike mine, a person I might have crossed the street to avoid. I would have assumed his suffering had nothing at all to do with me. His pain was not my pain. Mistry's magic is that for the space of A Fine Balance, I was that person, his suffering was my suffering.

That is what the best books do: they create empathy. And what a difference empathy makes.

Because of Rohinton Mistry, I believe that a single novel could change Canada. The books I have chosen move me in a similar way. Read well, these novels will inspire social change, political change, and spiritual change. They will make better people."

So which book will it be, Canada? Cast your vote for your favourite of Angie's choices by Sunday, October 20, at 11:59 pm ET. The more votes a book gets, the better chance it has to move on!

What is the one novel that could change our nation?

Once you've voted, don't forget to submit your own recommendations here and enter our inspiring reads contest here!

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