In the spirit of Canada Reads, Canada's biggest battle of the books, CBC
Manitoba is proud to present Manitoba Reads, in partnership with
McNally Robinson Booksellers and the Winnipeg International Writers
Our panel of experts has selected these 12 books - including some
familiar favourites and a couple local gems waiting to be discovered -
to vote on, to help decide what is the best Manitoba book for your summer reading pleasure.
Twelve Drummers Drumming, by CC Benison
The Reverend Tom "Father" Christmas has escaped city violence and the crushing loss of his wife, and become the newest vicar of Thornford Regis, an idyllic rural community where life is safe and predictable. Tom turns detective when one of his parishioners turns up dead in a drum at the town fair, and soon learns that everyone in Thornford Regis has a secret to hide--infidelity, theft, even past murders. Twelve Drummers Drumming
, nominated for the Margaret Laurence Award
, showcases a lovely place to live and/or die, and marks the debut of a mystery series featuring the brilliant Father Christmas.Winnipegger Doug Whiteway, who publishes under the pen name CC Benison, has worked as a writer and editor for newspapers and magazines, and is an award-winning mystery writer.A Stone Watermelon, by Lois Braun
Nominated for the 1986 Governor General's Award, A Stone Watermelon
is a collection of unsentimental, passionate stories of modern life in rural Manitoba. Retired farmers cruise and booze around the countryside, a farm wife contemplates an affair with the hired hand, a crop duster opens the No Place Bar and Grill--these beautifully-crafted portraits of rural people and places are tough and tender, delicate and direct.Lois Braun's stories have been nominated for numerous literary prizes, including the Governor General's Award, the Journey Prize, and the Manitoba Book of the Year Award. She was born on a grain farm in southern Manitoba and lives in Altona.
Summer of My Amazing Luck, by Miriam Toews
Shortlisted for both the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award
and the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
, Miriam Toews' debut novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck
, tracks Lucy Van Alstyne - aka Single Mother on the Dole - and her flamboyant friend Lish, mother of four, as they navigate the humiliations and hilarity of life with too little money and the boundless chaos of young children. When they all take off in a van held together with coat-hangers and electrical tape and crammed to the hilt with kids and toys, it dawns on Lucy that this may be the summer of her amazing luck.Miriam Toews is one of Canada's most celebrated writers. She has won the Governor General's Award, the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and been nominated for the Giller Prize. She lives now in Toronto.The Man From Glengarry, by Ralph Connor
Met with international acclaim when published in 1901, The Man from Glengarry
is a tale of courage and an exciting portrait of life in 19th-century Canada. Ranald Macdonald's roots are in the forest of Ontario's easternmost county and his character was forged in the small Presbyterian church near his home. When he leaves to test his idealism and faith in the rough world of the lumber business, he brings pride to the minister's wife who was the model for his life.Charles William Gordon was an ordained Presbyterian minister who moved to Winnipeg in 1894 after serving a stint as missionary to the lumber camps and mining villages around Banff. Writing under the pen-name Ralph Connor, his three novels sold more than five million copies. The Ralph Connor House on East Gate is maintained as a museum.Autumn, One Spring, by Patti Grayson
Shortlisted for both the Mary Scorer and Margaret Laurence Awards
, Autumn, One Spring
explores the tangled relationship history of Autumn Greene, a world-weary single working mom. Showing up uninvited to her sister's wedding with a daughter conceived with her sister's ex-fiancé, Autumn come face to face with her high school crush, and brings about a near-nuclear explosion of emotion and confusion among the family and wedding party. In the fallout of this strangest of romances, forgiveness emerges as the biggest challenge.Patti Grayson has worked as a school librarian, advertising copywriter, puppeteer, and actor, and has published short fiction and a novel. She lives in St. Andrew's MB.Ysabel, by Guy Gavriel Kay
Winner of the 2008 World Fantasy Award
follows 15-year-old Ned Marriner to Provence, where his father is shooting images for a glossy coffe-table book. As Ned strolls along roads walked by Celtic tribes and Roman legions, he discovers a very old story playing itself out in this modern world of iPods and cell phones. On one holy, haunted night of the ancient year, when the borders between the living and the dead are down and fires are lit upon the hills, Ned, his family, and friends are shockingly drawn into this tale, as dangerous, mythic figures from conflicts of long ago erupt into the present, claiming and changing lives.Raised in Winnipeg and now living in Toronto, Guy Gavriel Kay is an internationally bestselling author whose work has been translated into 25 languages. As well as the World Fantasy Award, he has won the International Goliardos Prize for literature of the fantastic, and two Aurora Awards.The Linnet Bird, by Linda Holeman
India, 1839: Linny Gow, a respectable young wife and mother, settles down to write her life story. To outside appearances Linny is the perfect colonial wife: beautiful, gracious, subservient. But appearances can be very deceptive... The Linnet Bird
is the spellbinding story of the journey of Linny Gow--child prostitute turned social climber turned colonial wife turned adventuress. Frequently disturbing, often moving and always enthralling, it is that rare thing: a once-in-a-lifetime read.Linda Holeman has published two collections of short stories, five sweeping historic novels, and fiction for young adults. Her work has won several awards and appears in over a dozen languages. A long-time resident of Winnipeg, she now divides her time between Toronto and Santa Monica, California.Joe From Winnipeg, by Ian Ross
Joe from Winnipeg, a phenomenally successful radio persona created by playwright Ian Ross, offers acerbic and perceptive social commentary on every imaginable topic, from moose on the road, immunization, and peekaboo, to little dogs wearing nail polish, spring rolls, and odometer checks. Joe is a funny, plain-speaking, compassionate and curious Everyman. His humour makes you feel welcome, but his sharp observations will give you pause. Ian Ross created a stir when his first play, fareWel, won the 1997 Governor General's Award for Drama. He has had several other plays produced across Canada, including a couple of plays for children. Ross was born in McCreary, Manitoba, and now calls Winnipeg home.
Automatic World, by Struan Sinclair
The main character of Automatic World
is a patient in rehabilitation from an accident that leaves him stuck in present tense. Unable to recall who he is, where he is from, or who he knows, and determined to access his history, the patient harvests and assembles the narratives of his friends, family, and other witnesses. Between these threads is the story of a train crash and of three minutes lost--three minutes that will prove a turning point in the lives of all the characters caught in this complicated clockwork.Originally from Toronto, Straun Sinclair is now the director of the Department of English Media Lab and Writing Program/Focus at the University of Manitoba. Automatic World is his first novel.The Stone Angel, by Margaret Laurence
With Hagar Shipley, the stubborn, querulous, self-reliant 90-year-old, Margaret Laurence created one of her most memorable and compelling characters. As she takes a last bold step toward freedom, she retrieves memories of her uncompromising childhood in the prairie town of Manawaka, her stormy marriage, and her difficult relationships with two sons. We learn with her that it is possible for an obstinate old woman, isolated by pride and fear, to find a connection with her world.Margaret Laurence is one of Canada's most esteemed writers, whose many honours include two Governor General's Awards and more than a dozen honorary degrees. She was born in Neepawa in 1926, and died in Lakefield ON in 1987. The Knife Sharpener's Bell, by Rhea Tregebov
Ten-year old Annette Gershon is content enough growing up in her father's delicatessen in Winnipeg's Jewish North End, but for immigrant families scratching out a living in the Dirty Thirties, even subsistence is a delicate balance. Everything changes when her parents decide to take the family "home" to the Soviet Union to escape the devastation of the collapsing capitalist economy. The Knife Sharpener's Bell
is the seldom-told story of a doomed return, and a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit.Rhea Tregebov is an award-winning poet and picture book author who has proven just as adept at writing fiction. Rhea grew up in Winnipeg, wrote and taught in Toronto for several years, and now lives in Vancouver where she teaches creative writing at UBC. Shadow-Town, by Duncan Thornton
Cousins Jack and Rose have been sent to live on their grandmother's farm for the summer. Jack likes to terrify Rose with stories of Shadow-Town, where creatures called Whisperers force the zombie-like victims of the Sleeping Sickness to work for them. When they defy their grandmother's warnings and lose their friend Tam, they end up matching wits with the Dickensian Speculators, bunking with the mysterious Red Man, and riding the rails with the inhuman Clatterfolk who run the coffin-train. Loosely based on Manitoba's Carberry Sandhills, Shadow-Town
is moody, intense, and wildly exciting.Duncan Thornton has written several award-winning young adult novels, including Kalifax, which was nominated for the Governor General's Award. He was born on a fly-in reserve in northern Manitoba, spent much of his adolescence in Ireland, and lives now in Winnipeg.
Book descriptions have been provided by the publishers. CBC is not responsible for this content.