I got gift cards for Chapters/Indigo for Christmas. I used them at New Year’s and have spent the last three weeks reading whenever Flora was sleeping or hanging out with Sean. Below is the list of what I bought with my thoughts. I recommend all these books, so if you need new reading material, any of these would be a fun place to start.
The Average American Male: A Novel by Chad Kultgen
Being neither American or male, this book certainly was not written for me. I probably should have been offended by it. I still laughed out loud in several places and giggled in my head for many others. As I read it, I kept thinking “I know guys like this” (even though the guys in question aren’t American either). While most of the average [Canadian] males I know well enough to see this side of them are now married and have children, I see them say or do some of the (tamer) things the protagonist of this book does. I passed this book on to my husband telling him he had to read it. He’s not finished yet, but he does see certain aspects of himself and others we know described in this book. I don’t think he could have missed them – subtle this book ain’t. To get an idea of what this book is like, check out the promotional videos on the book’s website (definitely NSFW).
The Garneau Block by Todd Babiak
I love my CanLit! This was a fun read with a great mix of characters all coming together for one common purpose. It takes place in Edmonton, and is a bit of a love letter to the city even though several of the characters are often disappointed with their lot in life there. A group of neighbours come together to save their homes after a shocking event takes place in their neighbourhood. The author does a good job of telling several character’s stories and bringing them all together despite their varied backgrounds. This book was first serialized in the Edmonton Journal. Learn more about the author here.
Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott
More CanLit here. This book was nominated for the 2008 Giller Prize, and it certainly earned that nomination. The protagonist, Clara, gets into a car accident with the car containing the Gage family. When the mother is brought to the hospital, they discover that her bruises are actually from undiscovered late-stage cancer rather than the accident. Clara ends up taking the rest of the family (two children, a baby, a father and mother-in-law), who she had never met before the accident, into her home to stay while the mother recovers. A single, childless woman, Clara’s life is obviously turned upside down during the family’s stay with her. A good read, and it made me wonder if I could do something like that. Read more about the book and author here.
The Hour I First Believed: A Novel by Wally Lamb
When I saw that Wally Lamb had written a new novel, I was really excited. I enjoyed his last two books, as well as the book “Couldn’t Keep it to Ourselves” that he edited for the class he teaches at a women’s prison near his home in Connecticut. I enjoyed the story, but found some of the plot to be a little too similar to I Know This Much is True. I enjoyed that book as well, so it didn’t stop me from reading this one – I had a hard time putting it down. I also enjoyed that some characters from his other books make cameo appearances in this one. Makes sense since they all take place in the same town (or in the case of She’s Come Undone, nearby). Find out more about the author here.