BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
The books have been chosen in the inaugural Grey County Reads program scheduled to begin on January 8. This fun and interactive literacy contest will see five local celebrities, each advocating for one of the final selections, promoted by all seven Grey County Library boards and published exclusively on SouthGrey.ca.
Everyone is encouraged to participate by reading the books themselves, following along with the celebrity takes and voting on behalf of their community for their favourites.
In the end, one community will win $200 worth of books for their library and three random voters will win gift certificates from Speaking Volumes Books and Audio in Flesherton.
Here’s a quick rundown of the books selected for the Grey County Reads program with excerpts from author and publicist websites.
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
– defended by Sharon Sinclair
Mary Lawson was born and brought up in the small farming community of Blackwell, near Sarnia, Ontario. Her family had a summer cottage in the heart of the Canadian Shield in northern Ontario. It remains, Lawson says, her favourite landscape, and it has played a major role in her writing.
Crow Lake was her first novel, published when Lawson was 55, sold in 25 countries. It spent 75 weeks on the bestseller list in Canada, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by the New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail.
Set in the harsh and beautiful landscape of the Canadian Shield, Crow Lake tells the story of a family bound together by loss. Orphaned young, the four Morrison children – Kate, Matt, Luke and Bo – struggle to stay together as a family and to fulfil the dreams passed down to them from their parents.
The Wonder by Emma Donaghue
– defended by Kim Peeters
Born in Dublin in 1969, Emman Donaghue is an award-winning writer, living with her family in London, Ontario.
She gained worldwide fame with her novel Room, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and has sold over two million copies. She adapted it into her first feature film. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Picture, and garnered the award for Best Actress won by Brie Larson.
The Wonder is her most recent novel, about a 'fasting girl' in 1850s Ireland. It was shortlisted for Ireland's Kerry Group Novel of the Year as well as Canada's Giller Prize, and she is currently adapting it for the screen.
The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King
– defended by Aly Boltman
A member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of an award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Thomas King has taught at the University of Lethbridge and was chair of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota before moving to the University of Guelph, where he taught until he retired. He lives in Guelph with his partner, Helen Hoy.
He is an award-winning writer whose fiction includes Green Grass, Running Water; Truth and Bright Water. His novel The Back of the Turtle won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 2016. His non-fiction book The Truth About Stories won the Trillium Book Award, while The Inconvenient Indian won the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the RBC Taylor Prize.
Showcasing King’s brilliant wit and trademark wordplay, The Back of the Turtle is a funny, smart, sometimes confounding, and altogether unforgettable tale of betrayal, salvation, and the resilience of life.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
– defended by Jenny Parsons
She is a staff writer for The Millions, an online literary magazine. Mandel was born and raised on Denman Island off the west coast of British Columbia, Canada and currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 27 languages.
It is about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North America. It's also about friendship, memory, love, celebrity, our obsession with objects, oppressive dinner parties, comic books, and knife-throwing.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
– defended by Rebecca Hergert
Alan Bradley was born in Toronto and grew up in the pleasant lakeside town of Cobourg. He has published many children’s stories as well as lifestyle and arts columns in Canadian newspapers. His adult stories have been broadcast on CBC radio and published in various literary journals.
The first book of his Flavia de Luce series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie has won many crime and mystery writer awards including the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. It has also appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list as a Favourite Mystery of 2009. The audiobook version was voted Best AudioBook by iTunes.
The story follows eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. in the summer of 1950, he stumbles upon a man dying in the cucumber patch and Flavia watches him as he takes his last breath. Both appalled and delighted, his life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
All of these books can be found at your local library but if intending to read along with the program, you might want to get a jump on it! Call ahead for availability.
For an introduction to the program and the five local celebrities participating, visit Grey County reads promises to be a fun ride with five local personalities participating
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