Thursday, October 24, 2013

Family Reading List

We always have a bunch of books on the go in this house. Because many of you love books as much as we do, I thought I would share a look at what we are all reading right now.

Cataract City

Pop: The man of the house is reading Cataract City, shortlisted for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize. I brought this book to hubby's attention because the action unfolds in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We often spend time in Niagara Falls and I've never read a book that focuses on this fascinating little city. I thought the book got its title from all of the seniors who visit the casinos in Niagara Falls (trust me, there are many), but my mom (one of the aforementioned seniors) reminded me that a cataract is a large waterfall.

There is a good review in The Globe and Mail. But if you are short on time, the gist of it is: Owen and Duncan are two friends who have grown up together in Niagara Falls. Behind the gaudy storefronts and tourist shops live real people who toil at the Bisk, the local cookie factory. As Amazon describes it, "then there are the truly desperate, those who find themselves drawn to the borderline and a world of dog-racing, bare-knuckle fighting and night-time smuggling." Owen and Duncan become reluctant adversaries at opposite ends of the law. This one sounds intriguing. I plan to read it after the husband!

Author Craig Davidson's short story collection "Rust and Bone" was turned into a French-Belgian film starring Marion Cotillard in 2012. You can follow Davidson via his blog. See him use his Giller invite ribbon as a headband for his cute son.

Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity

Mom: I'm reading Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity. I don't often read non-fiction, but I am interested in this timely topic. Writer Emily Matchar's book is based on the premise that a groundswell of women (and some men) are embracing domesticity. As Amazon describes it, a generation of smart, highly educated young people is spending time knitting, canning jam, baking cupcakes, gardening and blogging about it, embracing the labour-intensive domestic tasks their mothers and grandmothers eagerly shrugged off.

Of course I have a personal interest in this, seeing as I quit my full-time job to work as a freelance writer and blogger from home. And my very first post is about being inspired by my grandmother, a domestic goddess. I think many of us are questioning whether corporate success is the desirable goal we once thought it was.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy

She: The little gal is reading Star Wars: Jedi Academy by New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Brown. This Scholastic title seems kind of like a "boy book," but my kids were fighting over who gets to read it first. Maybe I need to put my stereotypes aside.

The book has a Captain Underpants kind of vibe, with comics, journal entries, doodles, letters and newspaper clippings. It tells the story of middle schooler Roan, whose dream is to attend Pilot Academy like his father and grandfather before him. But Roan is denied admission to Pilot School and heads off to the mysterious Jedi Academy. Under the instruction of Master Yoda, Roan will learn to uncover his strength and potential. This is a fun one.

The Hypnotists: Book 1

Him: The pre-teen is reading another Scholastic gem - Gordon Korman's The Hypnotists: Book 1. The first volume in the Hypnotists series follows Jackson Opus, a descendant of the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. Jackson is thrilled to be accepted into the Sentia Institute, but soon realizes he might be in over his head. He'll have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents and the government. This adventurous tale is geared to kids ages 8 to 12.

Gordon Korman has written over 70 novels, including three titles in the bestselling "39 Clues" series. He grew up in Thornhill, Ontario and now lives in Great Neck, New York. He will be attending the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on October 26th.

What's on your reading list?

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  1. My son is reading the Jedi Academy as well which makes sense since he is obsessed over Captain Underpants. The book your reading sounds very interesting, thanks for the review. We are huge readers in this house and all three of us always have a book on the go.
    Have a great week-end Joann.


    1. I think Captain Underpants is great, so I understand his fascination!

      Books are just so much fun, eh Pia?

      Have a great weekend too!


  2. Cataract sounds interesting. I'd like to read it, especially since I have such an affinity for Niagara Falls..
    Having spent 9 years at home, with children, and 20 years working it would interest me to read Homeward Bound. My memories are that there was a lot of domesticity in both roles.

    1. You can definitely be the third one to read our copy! :)

      So true, whether you work outside the home or in there's always lots of "domestic" work to be done!!

  3. Sounds like lots of happy readers there, Jo! I read a book a few years ago the history of the electrical generating plants at Niagara Falls as the backdrop to the story. I can't remember the name - I want to say, 'City of Light', but not sure. Homeward Bound sounds interesting to me as I love the domestic arts, being a sort of stay at home Mom (off and on working while raising my 4). Right now I am reading a good memoir called 'Bootstrapper' by Mardi Jo Link, about a newly divorced Mom of 3 boys trying to hold on to her Michigan farm. I love it. Happy weekend! xo

    1. Hi Karen,

      Yes, I looked City of Light up and it looks intriguing - a murder mystery!
      The topic of Homeward Bound seems interesting. It remains to be seen whether I will agree with all her theories. ;) I think women have always enjoyed the domestic arts. We just don't have much time for them now!
      Bootstrapper sounds good too!
      Have a great weekend!