My Life in Books

6 books that inspired Ron Sexsmith

The Canadian singer-songwriter and author of Deer Life loves the classics.
Deer Life is Canadian musician Ron Sexsmith's first foray into fiction. (Dundurn Press)

Canadian musician Ron Sexsmith is making his literary debut with the short novel Deer LifeThis quirky fairytale follows a charming, but a hapless boy named Deryn Hedlight who accidentally gets on a witch's bad side.

Below the prolific singer-songwriter, whose discography includes The Last Rider and Carousel One, shares six books that have shaped his life.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

American author and Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (1902-1968) wrote many classic novels, including East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"One of the first novels I ever read, and it still one of the most profound. It pretty much gave birth to my love of fiction and set a very high bar."

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

British author Charles Dickens, pictured circa 1860, a decade before his death. (Hulton Archive/Charles Dickens)

"My favourite writer, truth be told, is Charles Dickens. I've read almost all of his books and thoroughly enjoyed them. With Dickens I always feel he's on the side of goodness, and has a wonderful way of creating memorable characters with humour and compassion for the downtrodden and ridicule for self-important and the petty."

Sabbath's Theatre by Philip Roth

American novelist Philip Roth, pictured above in 2011, won the National Book Award for the book Sabbath's Theater. (Jim Watson/Getty Images)

"I've read a few books by Philip Roth but this is by far favourite. It's absolutely outrageous, funny and touching. Sometimes I could hardly believe what I was reading."

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

Mark Twain, pictured here circa 1900, published A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in 1889. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"I'm a great admirer of Mark Twain and this book, which I've read twice, never fails to amuse. His wit and wisdom is fully on display here."

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Legendary sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury, pictured above in 2004, published Something Wicked This Way Comes in 1962. (Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

"This book captured my imagination in my mid-teens and scared the hell out of me. I've since read it a few more times and though doesn't scare me like that (at least not as much). It's a beautiful and poetic story about good and evil and the magic of boyhood. But mostly it's about the eternal love between a boy and his father."

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

American novelist Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was the author of The Secret Garden and Little Lord Fauntleroy. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"I didn't get around to reading this book until I was in my 20s, but every book seems to find you when you need it most. I found it incredibly moving, just the idea of bringing a garden back to life while in the process making a house a home again. Beautiful and poetic."


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