We're putting the call out to readers and bookclub aficionados across the country to help compile our summer list of good reading.
Fiction, non-fiction, classic, modern ...what book do you recommend?
With guest host Suhana Meharchand
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There are still lots of long, lazy days of summer left to enjoy. And what better way to spend the time than with a favourite book. Perhaps you like to indulge in your summer reading while lounging in a hammock in the back yard .. or perhaps on a blanket on a beach somewhere... or even on the bus ride into work.
Today we're collecting your recommendations as we compile our list of summer reading.
What book has grabbed your attention lately? We'd like to hear about your discoveries, whether fiction, non-fiction, classic, modern, poetry ...even reference.
The only rules... you have to be enthusiastic about the book and it has to be available - either in print or electronic form.
Perhaps you belong to one of the thousands of thriving book clubs across the country. Is there something you've all enjoyed reading and talking about? Maybe even a book you feel hasn't received the acclaim and attention it deserves? Or perhaps you've been reaching back into the classics and re-discovered a volume you read years ago, and found it ripe with new meaning.
Groucho Marx once said: Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
What book has been your best companion this past while? Call us and tell us why.
Our question today: "What book do you want to recommend for our Cross Country Checkup summer list of good reading?"
I'm Suhana Meharchand ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.
- Ellen Pickle
Owner of Tidewater Books in Sackville, NB.
- Emma and Julia Mogus
Founders of the Charity Books With No Bounds.
- Erin Woodward
Founder of the Girly Book Club. Twitter: @Girlybookclub
- Kathryn Drury
Acting CEO Brantford Public Library. Twitter: @kdruryshaw
- Howard White
Publisher of Harbour Publishing and Douglas & McIntyre. Twitter @Harbour_Publish
Globe and Mail
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I would like to recommend "Double Cross: the true story of the D-Day Spies" by Ben Macintyre.
It's an excellent read - you'll laugh out loud at the wild schemes and quirky personalities of the double agents that concocted a web of subterfuge and disinformation to sow seeds of doubt and false expectations about the timing, location and plans for the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
"Eat well, age better" by Toronto-based Aileen Burford-Mason. Only out a year, this highly-accessible book is already had three printings and with good reason as Burford-Mason, an exceptional science communicator in the field of nutrition and health, uses only evidence- based material to guide us on a path to maintain the mind and the body . Her mission is to tell us how to live the long and healthy life by making informed and educated decisions for our nutritional choices. Applauded by the Canadian Medical assoc. Journal, physicians and laypeople alike, this book is easy to read, the advice easy to follow. Knowledge is power and this book makes us powerful players in our life-long health. For readers of all ages and in all stages of life and health!
I have just finished reading "Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter" by Alison Wearing. I read it from cover to cover in a day. Great read. All about Alison Wearing at the young age of 12 finding out that ther Dad is gay. Great book written with much empathy.
"The Judas Apocalypse", similar to the "Da Vinci Code", set during World War II.
"Can't Buy Me Love" is McNeil's second novel. It's centered on a group of bank robbers who plan to break into a bank in New York City while The Beatles are performing for the first time on The Ed Sullivan Show, figuring that 70-million people would be watching, so getting away with it would be easy.
I've read both and endorse them entirely.
I agree that "Life After Life" by Kate Atkinson is a fabulous read If you're a Toronto Public Library user be prepared to wait a while for it - as of a few minutes ago, there are 986 holds for 191 copies!
I have a great suggestion for summer reading. A new author on P.E.I. Has written a wonderful series called Drifters. There are three books in the series, "A Song For Josh", "Promises", and "No Greater Love". They are receiving rave reviews and are difficult to put down. The first one is in print while the other two are in the process of being printed. All three are currently available for ebook downloads on kindle or kobo through amazon and ebookit. Definitely worth the read!
Summerside, Prince Edward Island
My book is Andrew Solomon: "Far from the tree". It's about parents who have kids with disabilities.
Richmond Hill, Ontario
I'd like to suggest "Dear of Winter" a police story set in Montreal to your readers. The pacing of this crime novel set in an extremely cold Montreal winter never lets up. Inspector Luc Vanier, a burnt out policeman with a drinking problem is extremely well drawn. The city itself becomes a character in this novel which is part of a trilogy. The publisher is Linda Leith Publishing of Mtl.
I'm presently reading '"Transatlantic" by National Book Award Winner Colum McCann written mostly in the progressive present this novel begins in St. .John's Newfoundland with the transatlantic flight of Alcock and Brown in 1919. It covers three other stories. A wonderful novel!
My recommendation is one of the most remarkable, memorable books I've ever read.
Within months of leading the expedition that conquered Everest, Sir John Hunt wrote a
short, self-effacing, first person account of the trip. Most people only think of Hillary and Tenzing. But the real answer to "who conquered Everest for the first time ?" is Sir John Hunt.
He planned it. He chose the men. He made the key decisions, including picking Hillary to climb-claw-crawl the final few feet, thus giving Hillary the glory.
This book reminds us of how little they knew about the mountain, and about dealing with altitude's effects, how great the danger and the consequences of each decision that had to be made along the way.
Published in 1953, the book itself is hard to find.
I would strongly recommend Norman Lamont's memoir, "In Office" for summer reading. His book is, as the title suggests, not the story of his life, but principally of his period in office as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1990 to 1994. However, it does cover in some detail his period in the backbenches after John Major dismissed him as Chancellor until his defeat in the May 1997 election, and there is a subsequent chapter on his life thereafter, including his appointment to the House of Lords.
It is hard to imagine a political memoir more richly rewarding than this one. It is chock full of insights about economics, politics and life in general. Dr. Johnson said that no man who ever read Paradise Lost ever wished that it were longer. But in many cases, in Lord Lamont's book, one really wishes he would expand on his views, as he must have much more to say. Near the end of the volume, for example, he mentions his work as an advisor to the Romanian government on the privatization of their economy. He writes that "the EU has been criminally indifferent to what is happening there, as it has been in so much of Eastern Europe." One feels that his experience in Romania might be the subject of a short book in itself, one that would be well worth reading.
I love traveling with my dog Lucy in a small rv across the land, taking my time, meeting people and really seeing the landscape. So a book I read and re-read, especially in the summer is John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley," my favourite road trip book, perfect for a lazy day on the beach. In 1960, Steinbeck wanted to reconnect with his country. And so. in his camper/truck, which he named "Rocinante", he drove for 3 months around the US with his blue French Poodle Charley. The book is the delicious story of his adventures as only Steinbeck could write it.
Another book I love is an another travel book but completely different from the first: P.W. Atkins' "The Periodic Kingdom", a fascinating, fun, easy too read, informative and truly entertaining journey through a strange landscape, the periodic table! Fun and chemistry don't always seem like compatible words for most people, me included, but Atkins book changes that. The periodic table is depicted as a Kingdom through which the reader journeys. Anyone, young or older who has difficulty understanding chemistry will be be pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoy learning about chemistry by reading this little book.
Victoria, British Columbia
"The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggar" by Glenn Taylor
This book had me from the first sentence:
"On December 3, 2010, the old man sewed his mouth shut with saltwater-rating fishing line."
An epic absurd life story of the oldest living man in W. Virginia.
"The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow."
This book is an astonishing first novel written by Rita Leganski. Rarely have I found a book so beautifully rendered and thought provoking.
Medicine Hat, Alberta
"Finding Emma" written by Steena Holmes from AB, is a fiction novel about a young mother with 3 young daughters (much like Steena herself) and the fear and fallout after her youngest Emma goes missing at age 3. The next book is "Emma's Secret" which was just released about Emma coming back to the family 2 years later after living with an older couple about 20 miles away. The subject matter, although fiction, really is something that resonates with me as a women, as a mother & grandmother, the fear that grips you when your child has disappeared in the clothing racks at a store or wandered away in the park. I first heard of the second book on Facebook as Steena's mom is my friend and co-worker so I looked up the book, read a preview online and was so intrigued I ordered it and its making the reading rounds with other friends and coworkers
I have enjoyed a Canadian writer - Terry Fallis and recommend three books:
"The Best Laid Plans", "The High Road" - both about the political scene in Ottawa and the trials and tribulations about electing a candidate and should be read in sequence.
"Up and Down" is about the space races in Canadian and the USA and the recruittment process to find an amateur astronaut for the combined space race. Hilarious and touching.
"Bury Your Dead (Chief Inspector Gamache)", wass an excellent book by Canadian Louise Penny, historical fiction based in Quebec City
"The Beauty of Humanity Movement" Adult novel by Camilla Gibb. About Vietnam and someone's search for the past. "Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace." Non-fiction by Kent Nerburn, about living with the Spirit of the St. Francis prayer. "Kids Who Grow Their Own Food, facts, notes, and helpful hints" non-fiction by Ann Alma for young or new gardeners.
"Miracle In The Andes" by Nando Parrado
A must read, the plane crash in the Andes told by one of it's survivors. Is absolute gripping, a real page turner and above all deeply insightful. I can not recommend this book enough.
"The Buddha In the Attic" by Julie Otsuka
This story sheds light on the Picture Brides sent to the US from Japan to marry Japanese immigrants. It is unusual in it's "we" writing style and certainly sheds light on the tremendous difficulties the Japanese immigrants faced in US in general but especially when WW2 started.
"Wild" by Cheryl Strayed
An addictive, gorgeous book that not only entertains, but leaves us the better for having read it. A story of family tragedy and triumph of hardship and adventure. I loved it.
"Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection" of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman
A view into a Hasidic community, an interesting, light read.
"The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis
A vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance.
"Escape from Camp 14" by Blaine Harden
This is a difficult read, the true story of horrific hardship and escape.
"The Bear's Embrace" by Patricia Van Tighem
A true story of a grizzly bear attack and an important reminder of what it means to be vulnerable in a world that has little patience for vulnerability.
Kelowna, British Columbia
Good reads : "The Woman She Was" and "Cuba Unspun" by BC author Rosa Jordan.
Very knowledgeable about her subject, has travelled Cuba end to end and written a cycling guide. Her novel is based on Celia Franca and her role in Cuba's revolution.
OK, I got this book from the library a couple of weeks ago, and after 20, 30 pages I realized I would have to possess it. I found a nice hardcover copy from a book seller in Texas and am now happily reading and annotating! Fascinating and funny, I highly recommend this book: "Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them." Author is Donovan Hohn.
Also reading "Maphead" by Ken Jennings. If you're a geogeek or you just love maps this is great stuff.
And "The End of Your Life Book Club" by Will Schwalbe. Heard this author interviewed on The Current, thank you CBC! Only a couple of chapters in, but this one looks like another winner!
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
I just finished a book this morning and loved it and learned a lot. Since Canadians have invested much in the country of Afghanistan (both in lives and money) we have the opportunity to learn more about it and its people in this book written by an Afghani man who writes about what the life of his family has been like since the occupation of the Russians, the Mujahadin, and the Taliban. It is a coming of age story written from a preteen perspective by the author.. We come to understand some of the complexities of the country.... about the importance of family ties, the uncertainties, fears, and hardships experienced by the people during civil war and invasions, and the joys and sorrows felt by the people of this complicated and war torn country. I highly recommend it.
" A Fort of Nine Towers, An Afghan Family Story" by Qais Akbar Omar
North Vancouver, British Columbia
I would highly recommend these two;
"The Testament of Mary", by Colm Toibin, which is a fictionalized, spare recounting of Jesus' resurrection from the point of view of Mary as mother. Moving but never mawkish.
"Zealot", by Reza Aslan, which is a well-written scholarly biography not of Jesus as saviour, but of Jesus as preacher and rebel during the Roman Empire. The historical, not the mystic, Jesus.
"Super Species: The Creatures That Will Dominate the Planet" by Garry Hamilton
This is a coffee table book about invasive species. Every invasive species has a fascinating store behind it, all different.I started this book and could not put it down until I had finished it.
If you want something heavier try "Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters"
by Dr. Daniel J. Fairbanks.
I learned all kinds of things about how genetics and DNA and evolution work, far more deeply than anything I have read before. Fairbanks is such a good writer that it all flowed into my brain effortlessly.
"Honeybears and Bumblebees". Young Writers of Canada. Book of Verses. Great book. Profound verses by students age 7-13.
Nanaimo, British Columbia
Shelagh Rogers stated that people are reading about money like never before. "Web of Debt" the shocking truth about our money system and how we can break free by American Attorney Ellen Brown is a totally engrossing and informative read. You can down load for free the Canadian "Conquest of Poverty" by Senator McGeer as well.
How about: Truth about Luck by Iain Reid. Give the first few pages a chance- You might find yourself really enjoying the story of this tiny granny with the grin, and the tall guy with the sort of umbrella, on their sweet little road trip.
North Battleford, Saskatchewan
I would recommend the book "Vietnam: The Ten Thousand day War" by Michael Maclear. Its an excellent book on the Vietnam war.
St. John's, Newfoundland
"An African Love Story" by Dahpne Sheldrick. This takes place in Kenya, her biography of her life in the nature world.specially about the very detailed life of elephants - far more than what the casual person might know about elephants. Not only that, Dapbne writes about the political, tribal lives including the rise and fall of the Mau Mau uprisings. She should be the one to know about Kenyan life, for that is her home and love of Kenya, Excellent, detailed reading,
Hi there, the book I will always recommend is "Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. It is unbelievable and the best book I've ever read. It takes you on a journey that you will never forget. Love and competition between 2 magicians, illusion, magic and love. Truly fantastic.
Sechlet, British Columbia
I highly recommend "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson. On a road trip this summer, I was reading to my friend who was driving and we both laughed until we had tears flowing down our cheeks. It is, literally, laugh out loud hilarious.
I've been a reader all my life and as I'm nearly 87 years old my list of favourite books is very long and includes many that no doubt will be mentioned by others.
Here is one writer who may escape mention by others.
Geraldine Brooks is, like me, Australian born and raised. She was the Wall Street Journal's correspondent in the Middle East, then in Bosnia; she married an American and now lives on Martha's Vineyard with her husband, son, and several dogs.
She is one of the most interesting writers now practising her art and craft.
She won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel "March", whose protagonist is Mr March, the shadowy figure who is the father and husband in Louisa May Allcott's Little Women.
March describes the social and cultural scene in the United States north and south before, during and immediately after the civil war, the superficially 'civilized' southern aristocrats whose genteel way of life rested on the obscenity of slavery, the more hard scrabble existence of northerners in the early stages of industrial development, the hard lives of slaves constantly threatened with brutality and pitiless tearing apart of families. The war itself was one of the first bouts of what john le Carre called the periodic madness that afflicts the American people. Geraldine Brooks deftly sketches enough details to reveal its horrors and the appalling mortality caused by infected war wounds: tetanus, gas gangrene and septicaemia were invariably fatal, and made this war more lethal than any before or since. American books and movies have romanticized the civil war, glamorized the warring factions and air-brushed away the sordid details. Geraldine Brooks has confronted these head-on and in this comparatively short book, has presented the most honest picture of the American civil war that I have ever read. Her book is a superb example of historical fiction at its best, she and her book are worthy recipients of this prestigious prize.
I've thought of Geraldine Brooks as one of the most interesting contemporary writers since I read "Year of Wonders", her imaginative story of the people of Eyam, the Derbyshire village that quarantined itself in an act of extraordinary altruism during an epidemic of the plague in 1665-66, and in particular, the story of Anna frith, a teen-aged girl who evolved into a healer during the period that her family, friends and others in the village were dying of the plague. I recommend this book to graduate students and residents in public health and preventive medicine because it provides insight into the impact of a terrifying natural phenomenon that strikes down people seemingly at random without any obvious cause, presenting vividly the point of view of the victims and their kin as well as the one who tries to care for them.
"Nine Parts of Desire" is non-fiction, a fascinating account of the sequestered lives of affluent women in Saudi Arabia.
"People of the Book" is another splendid story, this time about people who left a mark on a famous mediaeval illuminated manuscript, the Sarajevo Haggadah. Historical novels tend to be stereotyped as bodice-rippers and the like, but it's insulting to type-cast Geraldine Brooks as a historical novelist. She has sufficient stature and gravitas to be described as a scholarly writer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, forsooth.
I can unreservedly recommend Geraldine Brooks as a very interesting writer whose works deserve to be better known than they are.
In late June my wife, Ginny, and I traveled to Western Shore, Nova Scotia, about 65 km southwest of Halifax, to attend the wedding of a niece.
On the drive from the airport to the wedding location, we decided to go around the Aspotogan Peninsula to see the Atlantic Ocean and traditional fishing communities.
The tourist map identified a place called "New Harbour" as a "hidden gem". As we drove down the narrow lane into New Harbour we passed a local woman out for a walk.
A few minutes later as we were viewing the small harbour with its single fishing boat and a stack of lobster traps, the walker approached us, and after exchanging greetings, she commented that a thriving whaling station formerly occupied the opposite shore. She remarked that one of the local offshore islands, Ironbound, was the basis for a well-known book titled "Rockbound" written by Frank Parker Day.
As soon as we returned to the West Coast, I hurried to the Burnaby Public Library to borrow its copy of "Rockbound."It is a page-turning account of ambition, struggle, natural adversity, passion and tragedy in a tiny fishing community on an island off the southern shore of Nova Scotia in the early 1900s.
I'd never heard about this well-written and vivid Canadian novel. Why isn't it on the compulsory reading lists in our high schools?
After finishing "Rockbound", I dashed back to the library to borrow Day's first novel "River of Strangers" which is set in the boreal forest of northern Manitoba (or perhaps Labrador).
Port Moody, British Columbia
I am re-reading the Niven/Pournelle/Flynn novel "Fallen Angels." My only regret is I am almost at the end. The basic premise is humanity has split into two, half live on earth, the others live in the space habitats. Two space persons have crashed on earth and there is an attempt to return them to space. This is complicated by the Greens being in political power and all technology banned. There are stories within stories and others within those. It is a delightful book to read, full of irony and humor, the writers must have had a ball writing it and ferreting out all the nuances. Recommended for Science Fiction fans, political watchers, environmentalists, fans of humour and anyone who likes to solve problems.
McBride, British Columbia
Two books, highly recommended. One self-published by Maggie Ziegler of Salt Spring Island, a book called The Road to Keringet, which tells the story of Maggie's mother's astonishing life, in England, Kenya and then Canada, based on her voluminous and articulate letters and on Maggie's own relationship to her very complex and difficult parents. It richly deserves a mainstream publisher, but people can order it directly from Ziegler online.
The other is by another BC author, Bill Gaston, who won the Ethel Wilson prize for best BC novel in 2012 for The World, another multi-layered book, weaving together the stories of several "worlds" through the experiences of a struggling "everyman" character. All of the strands were thoughtful and interesting in their own ways -- but the eye-opening and heart-wrenching one for me was an historical strand set in a leper colony that existed on a small island just off the east coast of Vancouver Island in the late 19th and early part of the 20th century.
Try them both!
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Here are my suggestions to add to your summer reading list this year, as well as a few from my brother Eric.
I would like to suggest a book of poetry called "Life's Passions" by Lori Maurizi. This book is well written and the poems are stirring and heart-felt. I have found that some of them have very straight forward meanings, where as others take a couple of readings to really grasp what Ms. Maurizi is portraying. I actually read each of the poems in this book (approximately 150 pages) two or three times as I found that each reading revealed more to me. This book is not easily found on the shelves at stores, but you can get it by ordering at Chapters/Indigo or through Amazon. It is well written, and even if you are not a fan of poetry, you will enjoy reading it.
The second book I would like to put forward is a graphic novel that is published by Douglas McIntryre entitled "Canada At War: a graphic history of World War 2." This is written by Paul Keely and extremely well illustrated by Michael Wyatt. As you can conclude from the title it is about Canada's involvement, as a nation on it's own accord, in the Second World War from the time we joined the effort on September 10th, 1939, till the end of the war. The topics are very well covered, Mr. Keely makes the novel very easy to read and Mr. Wyatt's illustrations are exceptional. This book can be easily found at your local book shop in the Canadian History section,
Finally, my brother's suggestion is a set of three books by Richmond P. Hobson called "Grass Beyond The Mountains," "Nothing Too Good For a Cowboy" and "Rancher Takes a Wife". If one of these titles seem familiar it is because CBC did a short lived (about 2 seasons) series called "Nothing Too Good For a Cowboy" starring Yannik Bission, now of the Murdoch Mysteries. These books are about Rich's true life experiences in the interior of BC from the time he and Pan Phillips arrived on an instinct that the area that was on the map as unexplored would hold enough grass to start a cattle outfit till after Rich marries Gloria (the girl in his dreams). These books are still in circulation, and can be found at most book stores or online through Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.