Adrienne Clarkson's bookshelf Live



The book that every Canadian should read

"Anne of Green Gables says something quintessential about the Canadian psyche and spirit: the fact that Anne is an orphan. That she’s not sure that she’s loved. That in the end she is loved, but by somebody very stern and who needs her and who she gives back to by putting off her own career and by becoming a teacher… For me, it’s a history of Canada in a very real way and in a little place where all Canadians like to think that they’ve come from: a small community where everybody is always nice to everyone." 
  
by CBC Books

The book that every new Canadian should read

"A Fine Balance is, to me, the greatest novel ever written by a Canadian. There’s an extraordinary ability in Rohinton Mistry's work to encompass human nature, which comes out of being Canadian. Mistry came out of a nice middle-class background in Bombay. He had a good education and then came to Canada on his own and became a bank clerk in Brampton, after which he started to write. I’m sure he would have written in India, but he would have not been able to take this point of view and create these characters without becoming a Canadian—somebody who could take that distance." 
 
by CBC Books

The best short story written by a Canadian 

"Everything of Alice Munro’s could be listed in this category. When I get a new collection I read them one at a time, and I only read one a week because each of them is like a novel to me. I usually read it and then reread it within two days. One that made a huge impact is called 'Amundsen,' in her book Dear Life. It’s about a girl who goes to work at a TB sanitarium in a small Ontario town and has an affair with the doctor. The story is extraordinary because the writing is extraordinary."
by CBC Books

The book you may be surprised that she's read

"I’m not embarrassed about reading 50 Shades of Grey. It's a bad book, but I’m not embarrassed about reading it. I don't have a secret life."


by CBC Books

The next book she's planning to read

"The next one sitting here, looking at me, is Personal by Lee Child. A thriller. I read every single one of Lee Child's books; I am very fond of Jack Reacher. I don't read a lot of murder mysteries, but there are people who are superb at it. And Child is superb. And I will go with him even though Tom Cruise played Jack Reacher in a movie. Even that did not discourage me." 

 
by CBC Books

The book that got her through a hard time 

"Anna Karenina got me through my divorce. On first glance, I thought Anna Karenina’s story was completely opposite to my own, and she lived in a time that was so different. But I sympathized with her because of her suffering, and then I realized that she didn’t know what she was going to do. I knew she was going to throw herself under a train at the end of it... but to read it! And to read her mind and to read about what she went through..."
by CBC Books

The book that's had the most profound effect on her life

"I bought Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises as a teenager after reading A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. When I read The Sun Also Rises, I’d say my life opened up. Every word is a jewel, and the book also boasts the greatest last three paragraphs in American literature."
by CBC Books
 
 

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