My Life in Books

7 books Olympic Games Overnight host Kelly VanderBeek loved reading

The CBC host and Olympian shares the books that inspired her life and work.
Kelly VanderBeek is a retired alpine skier and co-host of Olympic Games Overnight. (CBC)

Kelly VanderBeek is a retired Canadian alpine skier originally from Kitchener, Ont. The Olympian and World Cup medallist is part of the CBC broadcast team covering the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.

VanderBeek hosts the CBC Sports PYC Podcast and helms Olympic Games Overnight alongside co-host Craig McMorris from Feb. 9 to 25, 2018. 

Below, she reveals seven books that fuelled her love of literature. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Garth Stein is an American author and film producer. (HarperCollins/

"This book resonated with my husband and me, and there's an unlikely quote that has become part of our regular dialogue. In the book, it describes driving a car as if the pedal is made of eggshells. When we discuss driving habits — I have a heavy foot, I like speed! — it often comes up."

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan is an English novelist and screenwriter. (Knopf Random Vintage Canada/Annalena McAfee)

"I read this book when I was 21 years old and it had a profound impact on me. It was mesmerizing in a way that transported me into the characters' world. Note to self: time to read this again."

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-born American novelist and physician. (Penguin/Elena Seibert)

"I read this book last year on a recommendation from a friend. I have a few key friends as my source for book recommendations. The way Hosseini wove the storylines of so many characters, over such a long time, was a work of art."

The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

Lawrence Hill is a Canadian novelist, essayist and memoirist. (Wikimedia Commons/HarperCollins)

"This Canadian author found a way to mention Tim Hortons in his novel — what can I say, that hooked me! But seriously, I was pulled in by how Hill emotionally put me into the shoes of an 'illegal,' humanizing the process and fear so many displaced people in our world face. It was an emotionally powerful reminder of how our actions contribute to the world we share and the societies we collectively build."

Dojo Daycare by Chris Tougas

Chris Tougas is an award-winning author and illustrator. (Owlkids Books Inc.)

"This is one of my favourite books to read with my four-year-old son. The award-winning Canadian author, Chris Tougas, smoothly harnesses the childlike energy of 'Kaboom! Kapow!' into the strength found in repeating the words 'Honour, Kindness & Respect.'  My son and I smile, laugh and hug while reading this together, a priceless gift in my books."  

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon & The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 

Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon & Graeme Simsion's are books about understanding human emotions. (Doubleday Canada/HarperCollins)

"I loved these books on their own merits. However, they're on my list because they helped me to better understand my husband. He is talented, introverted and intelligent, while also being somewhere on the spectrum. He jokingly said after I finished reading these books, 'Now you understand what I face. It's amazing I'm as normal as I am!'"


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