Friday, July 2, 2010

CBC Information Morning - Summer Books

Two of our bloggers are slated to be on CBC Radio 1's Information Morning program this morning.

Kristina and myself, along with the lovely Lisa D. from Woozles Children's Bookstore, will be on air to offer our summer reading suggestions to listeners (90.5 FM in the Halifax area).

Listed below are the titles we suggested, plus a few others that we didn't get a chance to mention.

Kristina's Fiction selections:

The Moonstone (and the Woman in White) by Wilkie Collins - classics from a Victorian British author who is often credited with writing the first mystery novel.

The Lost Summer of Lousia May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees: in which the author imagines a romance featuring Alcott (author of Little Women) set in the town of Walpole Massachusetts, where Alcott really did summer in her youth. Light and romantic, a great beach read - especially for Alcott fans.

The Waterproof Bible by Andrew Kaufman: the publisher describes this as “a magical story of love and isolation that defines the modern condition”. Rebecca has the unique (dis)ability that her emotions can be felt by the people around her - and the more intense her emotions, the more intensely they are felt by others- and she is mourning the death of her sister. Aby is a giant and has green skin and gills. Normally she lives under the ocean, but she's driving to the Prairies on a mission to save her mother. Flipping between the stories of these two characters and a cast of others, this is a imaginative, endearing, sometimes whimsical, sometimes heart wrenching story about life, love and faith.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake - Historical fiction set in World War II era America and Europe. Tells parallel stories of a American radio journalist reporting the Blitz and of a postmistress working in a resort town on Cape Cod. Through her stories the journalist hopes to stir the American public and raise support for the US entering the war. The postmistress is a focal point for information coming in an out of a small Cape Cod town, especially for those with loved ones overseas. The author has said the central theme of the novel is "How do you bear news?"- both literally in terms of transmitting it and emotionally in terms of coping with it. Historical fiction with heart and a strong sense of place. This is almost certain to be a book club favourite in years to come.

The Passage by Justin Cronin - With a plot that brings to mind The Stand by Stephen King, but from an author whose previous works include the PEN/Hemingway award winning The Summer Guest, this has been one of most hotly anticipated books of the season. The first in a proposed trilogy, it spans 100 years and tells the story of what happens when a secret military plan to genetically create a super-soldier goes awry, creating a plague that turns people into vampire like creatures which overrun society. It's been called a thriller, science fiction, a horror story, and presents an interesting cross over between literary fiction and genre fiction.

David's Non-fiction selections:

Operation Mincemeat: how a dead man and a bizarre plan fooled the Nazis and assured an Allied victory,
by Ben MacIntyre.

A rollicking tale of WWII wartime espionage devised to fool the Nazis as to the Allies' plans for landing in Europe. In the hands of author/researcher extraordinaire MacIntyre, this recounting reads like a thriller. The plot, the eccentric mix of personalities and the rising tension make this a fantastic reading (or listening) experience. A Sunday Times No. 1 best seller for a very good reason. A great crossover choice for fans of thrillers. This story was also the basis for a 1955 movie, The Man Who Never Was, starring Clifton Webb.

I Shall Not Hate: a Gaza doctor's journey,
by Izzeldin Abuelaish.

A touching memoir of a father's journey through grief and anger to a place of hope and healing. The author tragically lost three of his daughters and a niece in an Israeli air raid in January 2009. A doctor whose job it is to save lives, both Palestinian and Israeli, Abuelaish digs deep to make something positive out the loss of his loved ones. Reading this book will make you feel sad, angry, conflicted and hopefully motivated to be part of a better solution.

Buried in the Woods: sawmill ghost towns of Nova Scotia, by Mike Parker.

A great addition to our local history collection. A rich treasure trove of hidden Nova Scotia history. The photographs are the true stars of this book. Mike Parker has compiled an absolutely fabulous collection of vintage pictures, properly fleshed out with intriguing facts and tidbits. This book will take you back to a time when lumber and shipbuilding were kings of Nova Scotia Industry.

Dead End Gene Pool: a memoir,
by Wendy Burden.

A darkly humorous look into the inner workings of a dysfunctional super rich family. The author is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt. She and her brother were largely raised by their eccentric blue blood grandparents and their staff of twenty. Readers will will be amused and shocked at the antics and choices made by this family. This book makes a startling contrast to last year's award winning bio of Cornelius Vanderbilt, The First Tycoon, by T.J. Stiles.

Sand: the never ending story,
by Michael Welland

A fantastic example of a microhistory, where an author focuses on a very narrow topic and delves deep into the history and the wider context of the subject. Sand actually makes for a very interesting topic of discussion. What is sand? How is it created? Do dunes actually move and sing? Why is sand so important to commerce. The author's passion comes through loud and clear in this near poetic treatise on a dirty subject.


  1. Thanks for that. Please proofread, though. Will look into some of these!

  2. And here are Lisa from Woozles' picks as listed on the Information Morning website:

    The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan
    Tumbleweed Skies, by Valerie Sherrard
    Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines, by Jo Ann Yhard

    Not mentioned on air:
    Paper Towns, by John Green
    The Thief, by Megan Whelan Turner
    The New Policeman, by Kate Thompson