Books / Leaders & People

What Are Canadians Reading?

Reading, a deeply personal moment of reflection, exposure and curiosity that may last a few minutes or a lifetime.  What books rest on the shelf as prized treasures?

Yann Martel, the Canadian author of Life of Pi and now a new book Beatrice and Virgil, is sharing a book every two weeks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada.  From the obvious to the obscure, Martel sends a book with a letter of explanation.  Book Number 73 is Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, which shares the Nigerian perspective to the white missionaries arriving in the 1930s to the reader.  In the course of introducing this book, Martel explains that he is at a book talk at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon and the audience also has favorite books to recommend to Prime Minister Harper.  A few of the books the audicence offers include:

A Woman in Berlin, anonymous

Foxfire by Joyce Carol Oates (Martel comments “The book I re-read when I want to remember why I write.”)

The Art of Japanse Bondage by Midori

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

L’Avalee des avales by Rejean Ducharme

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mern Fox

The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Guay (Martel again comments that the recommendation came with “It will answer many of life’s pressing questions, and bring a smile to your face.”

Martel is refreshing in his approach in book recommendations to Prime Minister Harper as they are fresh, unique and unscripted.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.

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