Now that I’ve become the official book person of the family, I’m expected to have an answer for every reading query. My mom is going through one of her big book hauls – my parents live way out in the boonies, so she puts in big orders with Amazon or the provincial library system in a planned, deliberate fashion. None of this willy-nilly wandering into the nearest warm bookshop because it’s raining or I have to kill 10 minutes or they have a great window display. I’m pretty sure that in the past, most of mom’s wishlist came from prize longlists (Giller, Governor General), magazine features (Maclean’s, TIME), and the odd breakfast TV show (Canada AM).
But this year, she’s turning the reins over to me. And, well, you. What books should she buy or order from the library this year? (it’s a pretty great system – if they don’t have it, they buy it and send it to her local branch. Then the lady at the local branch phones the house, and if you have any Sears orders to pick up, you can do that, too. Handy!).
I asked my parents to list some books they read and liked recently – a couple of these were already thanks to my booky meddling, but now they want more. So please drop some recommendations – old or new, fiction or non-fiction – down in the comments.
I’m having trouble remembering what my favourite reads have been. Geez!
Okay, recent reads I’ve enjoyed were Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden and The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews and also Everything is Illuminated by J.S. Foer. Of my all time favourites the first that come to mind are Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because it had a big impact on me, and Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. One of the best non-fiction books I’ve read both for the power and scope of the ideas and the beauty of its writing, with one of the most intimidating titles of all time, is called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes.
I’ll give you a list of books I read and enjoyed while we were in Italy.
- Sacred Hearts, Sarah Dunant
- Still Alice, Lisa Genova
- Late Nights on Air, Elizabeth Hay
- Legend of a Suicide, David Vann
- The Monster of Florence, Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi
- A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
- Strawberry Fields/Two Caravans, Marina Lewycka