In a recent Holiday e-card to newsletter subscribers, Wordfest staff revealed some of the books they are most excited about this season. In response to our reading list, several friends and patrons of the Festival graciously shared their own suggestions. Below are some of their recommended books:
Books I would recommend: Modern dramas such as Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov, or A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen.
Books I would love to read: I am now revisiting Alice Munro, and picking up good second hand copies of her works for my niece, a grade twelve student, who will soon be checking out the parcel of wonder under her Christmas tree. Is there a better way to celebrate the great works of this year’s Nobel Prize winner for Literature — a well deserving Canadian no less?
A book I would recommend: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (Random House). This is a debut novel that became a bestseller. It is a gripping story and the book demonstrates creative formatting.
A book I would love to read: Book of Dreams by Jack Kerouac (City Lights Publishers). I’ve recently been getting very interested in the ways that dreams can be used to write stories/books.
A book I would recommend: Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese (Anchor Canada) is a beautifully written book about homelessness and striking it rich. I read this book a few years ago and still think about it today. It’s a realistic take on winning the lottery and life on the streets. A real page turner and I couldn’t recommend it enough! It’s also written by a Canadian author!
A book I would love to read: Come Barbarians by Todd Babiak (HarperCollins Canada). I read Garneau Block by the same author and thoroughly enjoyed it. I live in Edmonton and it was neat to read about my hometown and home province. So many familiar references that made me feel like I was reading a book written by a friend. This is why I am excited to read his next novel. I hear it’s a dark thriller novel that will make me hibernate for a few days until the book is done!
Laura G.’s Picks:
A book I would recommend: The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay (Macmillan). Looking for historical fiction about Paris, and finding Rutherfurd’s “Paris” somewhat lacking, The House I Loved evokes a visual and emotional depiction of Paris during the time of Hausmann’s massive reconstruction (and destruction) of Paris between 1853-1870. The story is told from the perspective of a Parisian woman mourning the imminent loss of her family home as her elegant, fascinating neighbourhood is destroyed around her.
A book I would love to read: The Kill by Emile Zola (Modern Library). Part of my current phase of reading about Paris, the great French writer, Zola, also writes of the period of reconstruction in Paris and his observations of the French Empire’s lustful appetites.
Laura W.’s Picks:
A book I would recommend: Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown and Company) is a masterpiece of imagination and beauty — raw and tender, real and unreal, and deeply resonant for me.
A book I would love to read: February by Lisa Moore (House of Anansi). I saw her at Wordfest three times, and I am looking forward to reading her work for the first time.
A book I would recommend: Clearwater by Kim McCullough (Coteau Books). I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. The story revolves around a family living in Clearwater, Manitoba and the bonds between family and friends after a tragedy. It is a great read by a local Calgary author.
A book I would love to read: Carried Away: A Personal Selection of Stories by Alice Munro (Random House). I bought this for my Mother for Christmas, and it looks like a great read.
A book I would recommend: 419 by Will Ferguson (Penguin Books). This is a very visual book. I could smell the gas fumes, feel the heat and terror. It was a believable book with the way it moved back and forth between familiar parts of Calgary and Africa.
A book I would love to read: Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks (NeWest Press). I have heard the author speak. I admire her chutzpah and the fact that she continues to work in a small town Saskatchwan Co-op store. She seemed humble and someone who has lived life and not always easily.
Wordfest Twitter Followers:
Wordfest volunteer @macphear recommended Going Home Again by Dennis Bock; The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri; Hellgoing by Lynn Coady; A Story For the Time Being by Ruth Oziki; and Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles.
@kelseyattard recommended The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton; Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson; Clearwater by Kim McCullough; The Most of Nora Ephron by Nora Ephron; and Bobcat & Other Stories by Rebecca Lee.
@kmgovier recommended NW by Zadie Smith.