Stephanie Nolen's five novels that could change Canada


Since Canada Reads is about finding novels to inspire change, we thought we'd turn to people actually making positive change in the world to share their book recommendations with us! 

Today we turn to journalist Stephanie Nolen, who is currently the Latin America correspondent for the Globe and Mail. She's also a bestselling author -- her book, 28 Stories of AIDS in Africa, was called "the best book ever written about AIDS" by readers.

Here are Stephanie's choices for novels that could change Canada:

  • A Blade of Grass by Lewis DeSoto
  • Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje
  • What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin
  • Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb
  • The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly

Here's what Stephanie had to say about making these choices:

"This was a painfully difficult request. It came just as I was unpacking my books from our move from Delhi to Rio de Janeiro to open the Globe's new Latin America bureau -- our books finally arrived last week, and we managed to get some bookshelves, and at last my Alice Munro and and my Joseph Boyden and my Timothy Findley and my Thomson Highway are going up on the walls and it's beginning to feel like home. But how to pick one book, a book that could "change the world"? Anyone who writes a book hopes it will do that, I think; but it's such a slippery intangible thing -- what changes a world? Which world? How do we tell when it's changed? My first instinct was to suggest Scott Fotheringham's The Rest Is Silence, which has a powerful message about the construction of gender and a terrifying one about pollution -- it's haunted me since I read it last year.

So I picked five novels I love, books from places I've lived and worked, books that I've read repeatedly, that take us to very far away, very strange places, and make those worlds intimately knowable. They're all very worthy contenders."

Since all of Stephanie's picks pass the Canada Reads test, we have to turn to you, Canada: which of these novels is the one that could change Canada? Vote in the poll below by Sunday, October 20, at 11:59 p.m. ET to have your say.

What is the one novel that could change our nation?

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

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