People say you are what you eat. I prefer, you are what you read.
The books we choose reflect a tiny piece of us and the lessons we learn from them shape who we become.
Here's a list of my top five favourite reads from 2015, in no particular order.
1. The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by Augie Merasty with David Carpenter
Augie Merasty's story is one of courage and resilience.
The northern Saskatchewan trapper attended residential school, experienced abuse, and has struggled with addiction ever since. He was so determined to share his story he would send hand written excerpts of his life story on loose leaf by mail to David Carpenter who gently edited his words so they could be published.
I interviewed Augie's daughter Arlene who only fully understood her dad's story after reading the book. I will never fully understand the depths of a survivor's story but this book will stay with me forever.
2. A Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World by Susan Musgrave
I spent a year living in Prince Rupert, a six hour ferry ride from Haida Gwaii, B.C. I took two short trips to the area formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands and fell in love. So, I couldn't wait to take this book out from the library.
Part cookbook, part memoir, part travel guide, Musgrave reminded me of all the reasons a person should visit the edge of the world.
Go for the scallops, stay for the scenery.
3. Beyond the Pale by Emily Urquhart
You likely know Jane Urquhart. Now, meet Emily.
When I interviewed Jane about her new book The Night Stages she, like any good mother, started pushing her daughter's book.
Beyond the Pale is Emily's journey towards understanding her daughter's albinism. The book takes you to Tanzania where children are killed for their pale skin. On the journey through history, Emily discovers a distant relative with the disease. Jane was right, the book is excellent.
4. Daddy Lenin by Guy Vanderhague
You don't need me to tell you Guy Vanderhague's new collection of short stories is worth a read.
It won the Governor General's Award for English Language Fiction and is on many "best of 2015" lists.
Despite the accolades, Guy remains a salt of the earth Saskatchewan man who told Saskatoon Morning he will use the GG money to replace a car he wrecked on a drive to Moose Jaw.
5. Z: A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Ann Fowler
This book just fuelled my fascination with the period of wild parties, flapper dresses, and pixie hair cuts.
Z is a wonderful piece of historical fiction that tells the story of F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife who, despite being an equally talented writer, was always overlooked. Zelda embodied girl power and now I'll never read The Beautiful and Damned the same way again.