Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunday April 9th What Writers are Reading

In February 2014, the Thunder Bay Public Library’s blog, TBPL Off the Shelf (, started interviewing authors. Since that time, there have been forty interviews with authors, poets, an artist, a director, and a local magician. At the end of the interviews, the authors are asked if there is a particular book or writer that they think everyone should read. Many don’t recommend anything in particular; they echo local author Amy Jones when she said: “I don’t think there is one book out there that will speak to everyone, but as long as there is one book that speaks to YOU, that’s what matters.”  And Emma Hooper, the author of Etta and Otto and Russell and James, stresses that “everyone should READ something!” Even with this shared sentiment, some of the authors did suggest books that they believe are very much worth trying, so let’s take a look at these suggestions.

Alison Pick was here in Thunder Bay for the 2014 International Festival of Authors (IFOA) Lit on Tour, promoting her memoir Between Gods. She highly recommends reading Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which she calls a remarkable “page turner for 800 pages.”

Alexander MacLeod was here for the 2015 IFOA’s Lit on Tour, promoting his short story collection Light Lifting. He highly recommends JM Barrie’s Peter Pan because it is “pretty well perfect for the way it balances the raw imaginative power of the story itself with so many wise and self-reflexive side comments that insightfully foreground the art of telling the story.” He has read it many times, and has shared it with his children.

Karen Connelly was here for the 2016 IFOA’s Lit on Tour, promoting her new novel The Change Room. She highly recommends reading The Global Forest by Diana Beresford-Kroeger because we all need to wake up to the reality of what we are doing to our planet.

Elizabeth Bear is a prolific science fiction and fantasy writer, the author of the Jenny Casey trilogy (Hammered, Scardown, and Worldwired), and the Edda of Burdens (By the Mountain Bound, All the Windwracked Stars, and The Sea Thy Mistress), among many other books. She believes everyone has different tastes in literature, but did say she has been enjoying the work of a few newer and lesser known writers like Monica Byrne, Max Gladstone, and Aliette de Bodard.

Christopher “Merk” Merkley is a local artist who illustrated the graphic novels Nowadays and Victor’s Legacy. He highly recommends everyone read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Ready Player One is being made into a movie, so you’ll have to grab it soon if you want to read it before seeing it on the big screen!

Shane Peacock is a young adult author originally from Thunder Bay. He wrote the Young Sherlock Holmes series and is now working on a new series, The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim. He recommends that everyone read Shakespeare, even though he is difficult for young people. As a close second, he also recommends Charles Dickens, who was a huge influence on his own writing.

Michelle Krys is a local young adult author, who recently released Dead Girls Society, a story about a teenager with cystic fibrosis. Krys thinks everyone should read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. an “utterly brilliant and heartbreaking and beautiful” novel.

All of these authors, and the thirty-one other people we have interviewed so far, also share the particular books that inspired them to write, some of their favourite books, and what they were reading at the time of the interview. If you’d like to read more of what they have to say, be sure to check out our blog at, which also has book reviews by library staff.

Shauna Kosoris

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