Janet's Pick: Lightning by Fred Stenson
I’m a sucker for a western, and when you give me a western with a hero who loves Whitman I’m pretty much a goner. So I loved Fred Stenson’s gorgeous Lightning, and if you haven’t read it, run right out and get it. Right now. Lightning is the story of cowboys driving a herd of cattle north through Wyoming and Montana and into Alberta, settling in Calgary in the late 1880s. Lightning has a compelling story, characters that will stay with you forever, and poetic sentences that will have you calling your friends saying “listen to this.”
Lahring's Pick: The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
It engages with the first sentence, it continues to engage, then knows when to quit. It addresses big questions deftly and lightly. There is not a single wasted or jarring word; indeed, there are so many pitch-perfect turns of phrase that you want to stand up and cheer, but don’t because it would interrupt the pleasure of the reading experience. It is affectionate without being sentimental, serious without being ponderous. It is not self-consciously Canadian, which is perhaps its greatest strength. It is a man’s story written for women, which makes it accessible to a wide range of readers.
Maylin's Pick: No Fixed Address by Aritha van Herk
This continues to be one of my favourite Canadian novels of all time, and has only further endeared itself to me since I became a sales rep myself (although I've never remotely had the types of experiences that our heroine has on the road). This road novel gets full marks for originality and sheer, delicious adventurousness as we follow Arachne (what a great name) as she travels around the Prairies selling lingerie out of her back trunk. She's feisty and funny and one of the most unexpected characters in the whole of Canlit.
Saffron's pick: Louis Riel by Chester BrownI loved this book because it was such a gripping read; the story goes to the heart of our Canadian identity and a conflict that some would say is still with us. The illustrations are phenomenal. Because of it’s graphic nature, it is accessible to a wide range of readers. I think Canada should read it because it was a compelling time in our history and it is just darn unputdownable!
Susan's Pick: The City Man by Howard Akler
This wonderfully evocative noir novel takes readers into Depression-era Toronto’s mysterious criminal underworld. Eli Morenz is a reporter who covers crime and becomes tragically involved with Mona, a beautiful pickpocket.