I was out recently with a group of friends and talk turned to summer getaway plans. I heard about couples getting away to California, family reunions in Spain, and girls’ weekends in London and Paris. My own summer plans include a lot of driving to ballparks and soccer pitches, and avoiding the commuter nightmare that’s bound to come with the PanAm games in Toronto. I’m super fortunate to have a family cottage that I’ll escape to when I have a few days, and baseball tournaments will turn into family road trips, but Knoxville, Tennessee is no Paris, France.
Instead of turning green with envy, I’m turning to books. A wise anteater once rapped that “having fun isn’t hard if you’ve got a library card” (parents with kids who were fans of Arthur will thank me later for that ear worm). Here are two books I’ve loved lately that I can recommend for you. Reading these novels will offer you an escape from your own reality, and maybe you’ll feel like you got away for a few days!
by Sara Gruen Philadelphia
Society, war brides, Scottish highlands, bearded mystery men, monsters…there is so much to love in this wonderful new tale by Sara Gruen (author of the similarly lovely, but completely different Water for Elephants). Not only will you find yourself escaping to a different country filled with castles, pubs, Loch Ness monster searches, and rolling hills, but you’ll escape to a different time. Set in the final days of World War II, this novel is timeless and beautifully written, and I expect it will be a big summer hit.
by Lori Lansens
Excerpted from The Mountain Story. Copyright © 2015 Lori Lansens. Published by Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
A fantastic, brilliantly plotted survival novel. A beautifully written coming of age story. An amazing character exploration. Each of these is rare enough, but imagine finding all three rolled into one book? That's what Lori Lansens' The Mountain Story was to me. I'm a longtime fan of Lansens', from the time I picked up "The Girls" on a whim at an airport before a flight, (by the way, aren't those the absolute best surprises...when you know nothing about a book, buy it and fall in love with it?) and I think this is her best work to date. This may not be how you’d choose to spend four days in California, but you’ll be absolutely immersed in this adventure, and will never forget the time you spend on that Palm Springs mountain.
So save yourself a few thousand dollars and a trip to the continent. Find a shady spot in the backyard, pull out a book and plot your own escape.
And we're giving away **DESCRIPTION OF PRIZE(S**)! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me **YOUR QUESTION YOU WANT READER TO ANSWER**. You have until **DATE, 2012** to enter. You must be a YMC member and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.
Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a YummyMummyClub.ca member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until **END DATE, 2012**. Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Winners will be picked using www.random.org. See full contest rules.- See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogger-giveaway-standard-copy#sthash.84YE8KKf.dpuf
And we're giving away ONE AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF EACH BOOK! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me your favourite book to read when you want to escape. You have until July 10, 2015 to enter. You must be a YMC member and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.
Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a YummyMummyClub.ca member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until **July 10, 2015**. Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Winners will be picked using www.random.org. See full contest rules.
This time of year, we’re reminded of all of the wonderful things homegrown in our province, Ontario. I love bringing what’s fresh and local into my home so why not bring fresh and local homegrown bounty into your book club too? We often overlook the talent in our own backyard. There are amazing authors, novels, and non-fiction books to be found here in Ontario, and looking through the Trillium Book Award finalists list is a great way to start “reading local.”
Oftentimes, it’s not until we see that foil "Trillium Prize" sticker on a book in the local bookstore that we give it a chance. But what does that sticker mean? The Trillium Book Award was established to recognize excellence, support marketing, and foster increased public awareness of the quality and diversity of Ontario authors and their works. It also happens to be the province’s most prestigious award for literature.
Shortly after graduating university in 1992, I picked up that year’s Trillium Prize winner, a literary gem by Michael Ondaatje called The English Patient…and I realized I definitely still had the enthusiasm for reading (it was a genuine concern after four years of reading because I had to!). Some of my favourite books from that time on have been Trillium Prize winners and I look forward to adding a few to my own book club in the next while.
This year, six English and five French books (all books that would be great for your book club) have been shortlisted for the 2015 Trillium Book Award.
The English finalists for the Trillium Book Award are:
A full list of all finalists to consider for your book club can be found on the 2015 Trillium Book Award website.
My book club has a number of opinionated and political members, and I can’t wait to suggest Up Ghost River, Edmund Metatawabin’s memoir. The publisher describes it as “a powerful, raw and eloquent memoir about the abuse that the former First Nations chief endured in residential school in the 1960s, the resulting trauma, and the spirit he rediscovered within himself and his community through traditional spirituality and knowledge.” With last week’s closing ceremonies of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, this is an emotionally challenging, but critically important and timely book for all Canadians.
Choosing any of these books will give your book club local flavour, but for a true “pick your own” experience, if you’re in the Greater Toronto area, you’re in for a treat. The public is invited to attend a special event on June 16, 2015 where the finalists will read from their nominated works. How often do you get to see and hear amazing authors read directly from their work? This is an opportunity to hear masters speak and one not to be missed.
The free event will be held on June 16, 2015 in the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street (doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the readings begin at 7:00 p.m.).
Gather your literary friends or book club members and make a night of it! Click here to reserve your spots!
Feed your family with local goodies, but this season, consider feeding your mind with some local authors or adding a little bit of Ontario to your book club with one (or more!) of the Trillium Book Award finalists.