Tuesday, November 9

Recommended Reading for a Backwoods Getaway

Since November is the perfect month for a book-lover's getaway, I thought I'd share some of my favourite reads with you. The list of 'Books I've Loved Before' is far too long to trot out in its entirely, so I've chosen a handful that seem to me suitable companions for a quiet getaway here at the inn.

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast
by Bill Richardson
An obvious choice since it is about a (fictional) B&B, the brothers who own it (Hector and Virgil), their "gentle and bookish and ever so slightly confused" guests, and a cast of local characters. Originally published in 1993, The Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. Author Bill Richardson spins his tales with a wonderfully Canadian warmth and wit. Every time I read about Hector and Virgil, I want to check in and spend a week under their roof.

Crow Lake
by Mary Lawson
Set in an agricultural pocket of northern Ontario's Canadian Shield, Crow Lake is the story of a family touched by unexpected loss and the ripples of that loss through their lives. Canadian-born author Mary Lawson captures the multi-faceted spirit of a stoic yet compassionate northern community, resisting the urge to paint with broad strokes. It's easy to forget the book is fiction; I saw glimpses of my own family roots and values in her story.

Under the Tuscan Sun
by Frances Mayes
The non-fiction memoirs of an American writer who buys and restores an abandoned villa in Tuscany, Italy. Author Frances Mayes takes us with her on her incredible journey and shares with us the challenges, triumphs and tastes along the way. The book resonates with anyone who has ever followed a dream that others might call a folly; and it inspires those who have yet to take such chances. Mayes also shares her love of food and some authentic Italian recipes.

The Day of the Triffids
by John Wyndham
I found this book here when we moved in and read it that same winter. Perhaps reading about walking, carnivorous plants while isolated and surrounded by vast amounts of trees is not the brightest of ideas, but it certainly made an impression on me. First published in 1951, some aspects of the story are perhaps a bit dated, but it still provides a fascinating "what if" scenario that is excellent fodder for conversation when you're sitting by a fire in a little cabin in the woods.

Through Black Spruce
by Joseph Boyden
A beautifully told story that belongs on any reader's list, I add it here for its rendering of the north. Author Joseph Boyden creates a vivid picture of Northern Ontario at the southern tip of James Bay and the people who call that land home. The characters and the landscape come to life, making me yearn to sit down beside protagonist Will Bird and learn what he knows, to share in his world. The story lingered long after I turned the last page.

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw
by Will Ferguson
A wonderful, insightful, humourous collection of essays about this collection of places and people we call Canada. Author Will Ferguson shares his experiences from various outposts across the country, tying together the threads of our colourful national fabric. A great book for getting Canadians to look at ourselves, and a great look inside for visitors to the country.

All of these titles (and more!) are available to borrow during your bookish getaway. Or bring your own selection and recommendations for me to add to my ever-growing "must read" list!

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