Get to know the Top 40: 5 Books that will change your perspective on the world

There are 40 books on the Canada Reads longlist. Where should you begin? How should you cast your precious votes? Don't worry: we're here to help.

Each one of the books on this list will change your perspective on some aspect of the world, and all week, we'll be exploring which is which. So check back with us every day and pretty soon you'll know the Top 40 like the back of your hand.

Today: Books that will change your perspective on the world.

The Disappeared by Kim Echlin


A young Montreal woman falls in love with an exiled Cambodian musician. When he leaves to seek out his family in the aftermath of Pol Pot's revolution, she doesn't hear from him for a decade. So she travels to Cambodia in search of him, and what she discovers will change her forever.

The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam


Set during the Vietnam War, Vincent Lam's first novel is about Percival Chen, the headmaster at a private English school in Saigon, a proud Chinese man who prefers high-rolling at the mahjong tables to reading the news of the troubled country. But when his son gets in trouble with the authorities, and Percival is unable to help bail him out, he finds solace in a relationship with a beautiful woman of French and Vietnamese heritage, and finds that he can no longer ignore the troubles of the world he lives in.

The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly


Poet and travel writer Karen Connelly's first novel is set in a Burmese prison (the "cage" of the title), and chronicles the life of Teza, a protester and songwriter who is serving a 20-year sentence in solitary confinement, even while his words and songs continue to inspire people in the outside world.

Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb


Lilly is "born in Yugoslavia, breast-fed in the Ukraine, weaned in Corsica, freed from nappies in Sicily and walking by the time [they] got to the Algarve...." But she is orphaned at age eight and then raised to be a devout Muslim by a sheik in Tangier. Sweetness in the Belly is a multicultural adventure through Africa and England about faith, love, and identity.

The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce


A surreal history of a small fictional island in Atlantic Canada that declares sovereignty in the 1960s, The Republic of Nothing is about a world of "deliberate eccentricity" and what happens when it eventually succumbs to the influence of the outside world.

Do any of these books get your vote? Or are you waiting to hear about the other 35? Vote now!


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