No doubt you've heard of the 'eat local' movement. Well, here's a twist. I did a 'read local' experiment for the last three months. What an exotic, nutritional, and satisfying diet, it's been.
Back in September I did a group signing with local members of the Writers' Union of Canada. It was great to meet local authors and to learn about their past, present, and future projects. I've been engrossed in reading their wide-ranging works ever since. Having just finished five of their books, it's time for a breather.
It is just so much fun to read books set locally. Empowering, too. And while the streets, retail, geography, etc. might be places familiar to me, it's the characters and their experiences that are so universal. Reading these books has made me feel like Winnipeg really is the centre of the universe.
And then there's the authors. The talent is incredible. Of course, that's not surprising. I mean why shouldn't Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada have some of the best writers in the world? We've got all the proper ingredients - diversity of people, long winters, local publishers, active writing associations, and so many untold stories.
Here's my five great (local) reads.
An Ordinary Decent Criminal by Michael Van Rooy - funny and poignant. An adult crime novel
set in...Winnipeg...and why not! Lots of good stuff happening in Michael's career. Well deserved, too.
Out of the Fire by Deborah Froese This is serious stuff aimed at a YA audience. The book kept getting better. It's about being burned in a fire and about heavy stuff like guilt and moving on.
Driving Blind by Steven Benstead This adult character novel, again set in Winnipeg, twists and turns and always surprises.
The Salvation of Yasch Siemens by Armin Wiebe Speaking of surprises, this book was such a delight. Funny - like FUNNY! It was nominated for a Stephen Leacock Award, back in 1984 when the book first came out. He uses 'flat German' aka Mennonite low German speech patterns in the writing. Setting is rural Manitoba.
Five Years and Counting by Cendrine Marrouat This book of poetry had made me slow right down. I can't read more than a poem or two at a time - it's kind of like drinking wine. There's a lot of intensity here and I continue to sip and savour.
There is something so wonderful about reading books. I think it has something to do with the focus it requires. When you're in the middle of a good book - there's only silence and the power of someone else's imagination.