This year, Coquitlam Public Library’s Adult Summer Reading Club theme is inspired by Canada’s sesquicentennial.
We want patrons to read some of our great Canadian authors. As a result, the to-be-read pile at my house is a varied assortment of new Canadian books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Here is a sample of what I have read so far and recommend to patrons:
• Mitzi Bytes by Kerry Claire. This is a dishy and modern Harriet the Spy for an adult audience. Sarah Lundy has been writing a blog since her single days under the pseudonym Mitzi Bytes. As with most writers, everyone and everything in her life is fodder for the blog. But no one in her life knows about this blog. She does not mention names but the situations and people in her life do become post-worthy material. Up until now, it has all been flying quietly under the radar despite some successful books and being a top-10 blogger of the decade. Out of the blue, she receives an email that threatens to expose her and the blog to the world. This book is a great read, with fun and relatable characters. Sarah Lundy is a Canadian everywoman with kid problems, parent problems and even friend problems.
• One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays by Scaachi Koul. Koul is a culture writer with BuzzFeed Canada and has an impressive Twitter following. This was my first introduction to Koul as a writer but I will be on the lookout for more. Her writing style is alternately self-reflective and LOL funny. Koul writes with frankness about her experiences and observations of the world; she dives into issues surrounding rape culture, online harassment and white privilege from her perspective as a woman of colour and the child of immigrant parents. She shows us her vulnerability and her biting wit. This is smart, funny must-read.
• Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. This story meets us at the junction of contemporary culture and First Nations mythology, and the result is a highly engaging coming-of-age story complete with otherworldly characters, hallucinations and plenty of foul language. The main character Jared is 16 and best known in his hometown for his special cookies. He’s trying to make everything work in his life but the real world has other ideas, and let’s not even talk about the spirit world. Add to this a lively cast of unforgettable characters and this book is magic.
• Little Sister by Barbara Gowdy. The main character, Rose, is transported during thunderstorms into the body of another woman in the throes of a passionate affair. These flashes of escape act as a catalyst and disrupt Rose’s life, unravelling the threads of her relationships, especially those with her mother and dead sister. This novel explores the complexity of female relationships, the legacy of emotional scars and the ways we try and often fail to protect ourselves from further harm.
• Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller. This is a charming book filled to the brim with wonderful stories of Canada, its diverse cultures, delicious food and interesting characters. I tried a few of the recipes and loved Beaton’s Mac & Cheese, inspired by the wonderful cheeses from Janice Beaton Fine Cheese in Calgary. I accepted the challenge of making the Yukon Sourdough Cinnamon Buns and very much enjoyed the Moroccan Chick Pea Soup from the Two Whales Coffee Shop in Newfoundland. This is two books for the price of one: travel guide and cookbook.
These books will make you proud of the diverse country that is Canada. I hope you will dive in and read one or all of them this year.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published on Wednesdays. Kathy Johnson works at Coquitlam Public Library.