Despite TV live streaming, on-demand video providers like Netflix, and 24 hour access to internet, people still love to read. Whether you buy your books in a brick and mortar book store, cuddle up with a Kobo or Kindle, or have your own private parking spot at the local library, these 16 great books - fiction and non-fiction, read and reviewed by YMC writers and staff - should be the next stack of "to read" on your bedside table.
by Ben Stephenson
Read by: Nicole MacPherson
This story, told from three very different points of view, was captivating, heart breaking, and inspiring all at the same time. When a young boy finds a diary with a very disturbing ending, he is on a mission to find out what happened to the diary's author. But when you're a ten year-old boy, getting answers from adults is difficult. This book kept me turning pages long past my bedtime!
by Bruce Grierson
Read by: Sharon DeVellis
At the age of 77 Olga Kotelko entered her first track and field event. When she was in her 80s she broke close to 20 World Records. Olga competed well into her 90s (she passed away June 2014.)
This is a fascinating book that is part story, part science. Olga was a bit of an anomaly in that she got better as the years passed which begs the question...can we all resist (somewhat) the ravages of aging? It delves into how much a role genetics plays into living longer and healthier but also Olga's 9 rules for living which everyone of us should follow. I loved this book so much I read it twice.
by Anthony Doerr
Read by: Erica Ehm
Spectacular prose is what is most memorable about this beautiful and sad story that takes place during World War ll in Germany and France (is there ever a happy one?) You will get lost in the lives of Marie Laure, a blind girl from Paris and Werner, an oddball German boy who ends up in the Hitler Youth Army. The way their paths intersect will break your heart.
by Lawrence Hill
Read by: Ashley MacInnis
Have you ever read a book that was so good you couldn't bring yourself to put it down... but made yourself so you could read it for longer? That's what The Book of Negroes was for me.
I love reading. It's one of the simplest forms of entertainment, and it's a great way to inspire and inform yourself. Of the hundreds (probably thousands) of books I've read, none have moved me the way The Book of Negroes did. Shedding light on a dark part of our past (slavery), Hill really brings you to Aminata's side as she walks for months before crossing "the big river," and is ultimately forced into a life of slavery. You'll be cheering her on, feeling inspired by her unbreakable will and aching for her as she faces loss and hardship.
by Kate De Goldi
Read by: Cassandra Sadek
Delightful read. Simply. This is one of those books, like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, which delivers more of a message (and an emotional one!) to adults rather than to kids. The writing has a wonderful easy pace, and the illustrations are a perfect icing on this cake. For me, this book is a lovely haunting message - a reminder of my own Gran, and her unconventional ways. This fills my heart so much.
Love, love, love this book.
by Liane Moriarty
Read by: Deb Lowther
Moms of kindergarten kids all trying to get along. Fab book set in the present. Something goes terribly wrong. You will never guess the ending.
by Heather O'Neill
Read by: Julie Green
I'm lazy so I tend to pick up books by authors I've enjoyed before. I remember loving Lullabies for Little Criminals, and Saturday (also set in Montreal) packed the same punch. O'Neill is a true original. Her writing is quirky, seedy and lyrical all at the same time. The story follows the roller coaster life of a beautiful teen named Noushcka.
by Mark Frost
Read by: Katja Wulfers
The story, which begins in this book and continues as a series, centers on a teenage boy who has some remarkable talents. (No spoilers.) In the course of adventure, action, evading enemies, building friendships and alliances, we follow Will West as he comes of age and learns. The pace is fast, the characters are well drawn, and the story is fun. Is it a great work of literature? No, but it is written by someone who is deft at telling a story, and has lots of experience doing so - think Twin peaks, AND my teenage boy loved it. So much so that he insisted I read it too so we could discuss what could possibly be coming next for Will West. When an adolescent boy loves to read and wants his parents to share in the stories, you do it. PS. Now we're fighting over book two.
by Daniel J. Levitin
Read by: Dawn Levine
If you love being organized, psychology, or the psychology of BEING organized this science-based book will blow your (organized) mind. Levitin’s book gives a fascinating glimpse into how our weird, crowded, information-sorting brains work. More importantly, the book gives insight into how to make the most out of your weird little brain.
For science nerds, organized freaks, hoarders, purgers, and those who love to think they are multitasking, this is an absolutely must read. Levitin packs an overload of information into over 400 pages. The best part—you walk away knowing how to lighten the load on your overworked, overtired, under resourced brain.
by E. Lockhart
Read by: Jennifer Hicks
This book was everything I look for in a great sophisticated thriller. The characters were interesting and the story was spun out slowly like yarn from a ball. The ending was surprising and satisfying. The biggest favour I can do for you as a reader when it comes to this review is to not tell you anything about the plot, but to simply recommend that you rush out and read this book. It's not just one of the best Young Adult books I read in 2014, it was one of the best books I read!
by Rob Lowe
Read by: Jennifer Rathwell
Perfect vacation/beach read. Jam-packed with wonderful 80s' references and stories, with very little (OK, still some) of the self-serving crap you get in the usual celeb autobiography. Probably best if you were actually alive when the Brat Pack was a thing, but it's a great nobody-to-Hollywood memoir with a few surprising twists. Actually raised my esteem for him!
by Christina Baker Kline
Read by: Natalie Romero
The book is about the friendship that grows between an older woman and an 18 year old troubled teen. They become friends when the younger girl has to do community service and ends up helping Vivian, the older, clean out her attic.
We begin to learn about Vivian's past as a young Irish immigrant orphaned in NYC, put an an orphan train that travels to the Midwest and the families that she ends up with.
Molly begins to realize that their lives aren't all that different. It's a beautiful story and a well written novel.
by Graeme Simsion
Read by: Erin Chawla
I found this to be a delightful, heartwarming read. The protagonist does give a clichéd picture of someone with Asperger's, so don't read it looking for a depth of understanding into this condition. However, I found this a cute, funny, optimistic tale that explores human nature and examines what connects people. An easy, addictive read.
by Scott Feschuk
Read by: Joe Boughner
Do you fear progress of all sorts? Are you convinced there's a technological revolution at hand that humankind will come out on the bottom of? Scott Feschuk does. From robots to the TSA and all points in between, Feschuk will convince you that the falling of the sky is inevitable.
by Molly Peacock
Read by: Wanda Young
Alphabetique is a creative and captivating collection of "tales of the lives of the letters" featuring the 26 alphabet characters. This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys their literature with ample adventure and an abundance of alliteration!
By Mindy Kaling
Read by: Zeba Khan
I've loved Mindy Kaling ever since she was in The Office, and The Mindy Project is my favorite show. So of course it's no surprise that I find her book the funniest I've ever read. But in between all the laughs, there are some empowering lessons - like the dress/photo shoot incident where Mindy demonstrates that it's okay to be ""difficult"" sometimes, in order to be treated equally, and her story of 'faking it until you make it' during her Office days - where she assumed a confidence she didn't feel - resulting in a senior position on the writing staff.