Books·My Life in Books

5 books that are meaningful for Grant Lawrence

The musician and CBC Radio host has just released his memoir, Dirty Windshields.
Grant Lawrence is a musician, CBC Radio host and the author of three books. (CBC)

Grant Lawrence's latest memoir Dirty Windshields recounts the glory and misadventures of the Smugglers, a 1990s rock 'n' roll band that cut a chaotic path through Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Dirty Windshields is Lawrence's third book. When he's not writing books or performing on stage, he can be found behind the mic as a host on stage and on CBC Radio.

In his own words, Lawrence talks about the books that have been important to him at different points in his life.

The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Hergé, was a Belgian cartoonist. (Egmont UK)

"When The Smugglers would tour North America, we had a homemade wooden bookshelf in our van. It was filled with a lot of rock biographies and various counterculture staples. But for me, the best tour reading was my entire collection of Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin. It made me remember that I was on a wild adventure of my own."

SHOUT: The Beatles in Their Generation by Philip Norman

Philip Norman is an English author, journalist and playwright known for his critically acclaimed biographies. (Jessica Norman/Touchstone)

"As a young teen, I read a brilliant book called SHOUT: The Beatles in Their Generation. It was all about the very earliest days of the Beatles, when they played all-ages shows in Liverpool basements and tried to convince the local record clerk to help them out. It was all stuff I could immediately relate to as a young musician. There was plenty of Beatles artifacts in the book, which taught me at an early age to keep EVERYTHING. I did, and while we were no Beatles, the Smugglers artifacts now crowd almost every page of Dirty Windshields."

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien was an English writer and university professor best known for his contributions to modern fantasy literature. (HarperCollins)

"I think the first book I read was The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, at around maybe 8 or 9 years old. My dad would read me stories every night. This was the one where I believe I was so enthralled with what happened next that I just took over the book and read ahead at every chance I got, leaving dad in the dust."

The Killer Whale Who Changed the World by Mark Leiren-Young

Mark Leiren-Young is a journalist, screenwriter and playwright. He has received three Writers Guild of Canada nominations for his work. (Alex Waterhouse-Hayward/Greystone Books)

"Recently the book I find myself recommending is most definitely The Killer Whale Who Changed The World by Mark Leiren-Young, a brilliant re-telling of the tragic story of Moby Doll, the first-ever 'killer whale' to be captured alive, and how this gentle, highly intelligent creature changed our perceptions from 'killer whale' to 'orca'. This is a very important book filled with incredible realisations about a very highly intelligent life form right here on this planet that has been here a lot longer than us."

North of Normal by Cea Sunrise Person

Cea Sunrise Person is a writer, TEDx speaker and former model. (HarperCollins Canada)

"Cea Person's North of Normal is told from the perspective of an off-the-grid hippie kid in the B.C. wilderness. I was shocked that it appeared to be the exact mirror opposite of my first memoir Adventures in Solitude. When my conservative family would venture into Desolation Sound, B.C., we'd see these naked hippie kids playing on the rocks and I always wondered what their story was. North of Normal tells at least one of those children's stories and it's really shocking and very entertaining."

Grant Lawrence's comments have been edited and condensed.

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