Books·My Life in Books

5 books that inspired Run the Burbs star Rakhee Morzaria

The comedian and star of the CBC comedy series Run the Burbs shares the books she loved reading. Run the Burbs is airing now on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

Run the Burbs is airing now on CBC TV and CBC Gem

Rakhee Morzaria is a Canadian actress and comedian. (Submitted by Rakhee Morzaria)

Rakhee Morzaria is a Canadian comedian, writer and actress most noted for her starring role as Camille Pham in CBC TV's Run The Burbs.

Run The Burbs follows the Phams, a young, bold Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest, while changing the way we think about contemporary family values and life in the 'burbs. It stars Morzaria along with actor and executive producer Andrew Phung of Kim's Convenience fame.

Run The Burbs is airing now on CBC TV and CBC Gem. Morzaria connected with CBC Books to talk about the books she loved reading.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of Nigeria's most prominent and celebrated writers. ( Michael Loccisano/Getty Images, Vintage Canada)

"I read this book in my book club when it first came out in 2013 — humblebrag — and remember being completely in awe of the main character, Ifemelu. She's so bold, confident and unafraid to speak her mind. 

"It inspired me as a young comedian and actor. Whenever I was feeling nervous or timid about sharing my opinions, I'd think, 'What would Ifemelu say to me right now?'"

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks to guest host Kevin Sylvester about her latest book "Americanah," a story about love, race, and the politics of hair.

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin

American writer James Baldwin published the novel Giovanni's Room in 1956, (Jenkins/Stringer/Getty Images, Everyman's Library)

"I mean, what can I say? Possibly one of the greatest and most heartbreaking novels ever written? This story is a complete experience. It's poetic, lyrical and full.

"I couldn't tell you how it impacted my career as an actor but I can tell you it changed me as a human being and I think everyone in the world should read it.

"There, I said it!"

Writer James Baldwin on race in America

3 years ago
Duration 2:59
In 1968 James Baldwin talks to interviewer Moses Znaimer about the future of race relations in America.

The Actor's Life by Jenna Fischer

The Actor's Life is a book by Jenna Fischer. (BenBella Books, David Livingston/Getty Images)

"Legit. One of the best resources out there for an actor. It has so many helpful tips about the industry and acting that no one tells you.

"Like, how to take good headshots! Who knows how to take good headshots? I looked like I was a real-estate agent selling townhouses in Markham, Ont., until I read this book. 

'Highly recommended for actors early in their career or for parents of actors who are curious what the heck it is they do all day."

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is a book by Balli Kaur Jaswal. (ballijaswal.com, William Morrow)

"This book really resonated with me on a cultural level. It's a story about the immigrant experience, rebelling against traditions and ultimately about family.

"It taught me to bring my experiences, stories and culture to my work so that one day I might be able to come up with something half as entertaining, funny and smart as this." 

Columnist Aparita Bhandari on the Canadian novel that makes a good companion read for Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was one of Russia's most cherished writers. (Penguin Classics)

"Yeah, I've never finished reading this book. It's so long! I've always gotten about halfway through and then stopped. Look, I know I should — and trust me, one day I will finish it — but for now it stands as a nice reminder that I make choices in my life.

"I'm not forcing myself to finish it just 'cause everyone else has. I'll get to it in my own time, but for now, I think I'll go back and reread Giovanni's Room." 

Inspired by literary classics, the Serbian-British writer engages with life in London through the lens of Eastern European and Russian characters. She talks to Eleanor Wachtel about her latest novel, Monsieur Ka.

Watch the trailer for Run the Burbs now

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