October is always an exciting month when the winners of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, The Man Booker Prize and Governor General’s Literary Awards are announced. Although there were three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, no one was awarded the prize for 2012 – something that has not occurred since 1977. There is no doubt some of the nominees, finalists and award winners will end up on our to-read shelves! Here’s what we are reading….
Susan Wortzman – “ Canada”, by Richard Ford. As a fan of Ford’s earlier novels, I am happy to say that this one does not disappoint. Although my reading time has slowed down, this story of twin teenagers whose parents are arrested for bank robbery has been suspenseful throughout. When the son Dell is shipped off to Canada, his life moves to the prairies, where references to Winnipeg schools and other things Canadian are chillingly familiar.
Susan Nickle – “Paris to the Moon” by Adam Gopnik, because I love all things Paris. It is about Adam Gopnik’s move with his wife and infant son to Paris in 1995. Gopnik is a writer for the New Yorker. This book mixes tales of parenthood with the sights and experiences of Paris, along with the trials and tribulations of assimilating to a new life in a new city.
Chuck Rothman – I’m reading the first book in the alternate history series that I started this past summer (I discovered I was reading them out of order). The series is based on the premise that the south won the U.S. Civil War and formed their own country. The first book in the series, entitled “How Few Remain”, takes place in 1881, and deals with the USA (the north) fighting another war with the CSA (the south). It’s intriguing, not the least because a lot of the battles between the states introduce modern warfare tactics that really didn’t appear on the scene until World War One (like trench warfare, massed machine guns, artillery barrages, etc.). The politics, especially with the European countries, reflect the real situation at the end of the 19th century, much of which lead directly to the First World War. This is the second series I’ve read from Harry Turtledove, and although the book is classed as a sub-genre of science fiction (because it’s an alternate history), it is much more a commentary on the actual state of the world in the latter half of the 19th century. I highly recommend this to any student of history.
Rachael Chadwick – I just finished “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, a book written in staccato style in the form of letters to a ‘friend’. While intended for Young Adults, I have moved the book further to the back of the bookshelf hoping my son doesn’t notice it for another couple of years. Reading the reviews for this book is quite interesting due to the diverse opinions about the style and content of the book. Now I’m starting “Ru” by Kim Thuy, which won The Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction among numerous other awards.
Christine Quinlan – I’m reading “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin, the first book of five, with another two expected to be released in the coming years. I picked up this book because I’ve been enjoying HBO’s “Game of Thrones”, a TV series based on the books. As in most cases, I’m loving the book even more! It tells a fascinating and well-rounded story by presenting each chapter from a different character’s perspective.