The Martian by Andy Weir

 

Image result for the martian bookI was told to read The Martian by outside sources which initially made me resist the idea (as did the imminent movie and general dislike for mass consumption Sci Fi novels).  This was a mistake. By far my favourite read of 2015, The Martian exceeded my expectations. Told through the voice of Mark Watney, a sarcastic Botonist/Astronaut/General Fix-it Man, the reader is swept into a survival story like none before: survival on Mars! Mark Watney is abandoned on Mars after a sandstorm separates him from his crew. He must employ his considerable skills to survive and possibly make it back to earth. Andy Weir manages to combine plausible science and edge of your seat drama to write this compelling tale.  The constant cliff hangers and hilarious wit of Mark Watney made this not only a read all night book, but also a read twice in one week book! (Submitted by CB).

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The Golden Spruce: a true story of myth, madness, and greed by John Vaillant

Image result for golden spruceThis book was excellently written – it made a topic that I wasn’t too sure was all that interesting into a fascinating and page-turning true tale. Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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Gorge, my journey up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely

Image result for Gorge, my journey up KilimanjaroTo hike Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, is already an accomplishment. To do it twice is a triumph, but to do it while weighing 300 pounds, well, that was thought to be impossible. Kara’s struggling story of food addiction, family problems, low self-image, and her raw feelings of failure and shame are honest and unforgettable. The way that she was able to overcome these challenges are an inspiration. (Submitted by YR.)

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The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

A scam artist posing as a psychic latches on to one of her clients and gets much more than she bargained for in Gillian Flynn’s eerie, engrossing novella “The Grownup.” Fans of Flynn’s caustic wit, dark humor and very messed up female protagonists won’t be disappointed, and fans of ghost stories looking for a quick read will be satisfied as well. The story is fast paced (a very quick 63-paged read) and, in true Gillian Flynn fashion, full of twists. It leaves you on a “I’m not sure what I just read” kind of note.  Recommended for a rainy evening or a long bus ride! (Submitted by Mandi).

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Sophia: princess, suffragette, revolutionary by Anita Anand

This was a fantastic biography with great writing. It was super interesting–I absolutely loved it! If you want to read about an interesting life, this is a great choice. Sophia was born into Indian royalty and raised in an English palace. She surprised everyone when she returned to India as a revolutionary battling injustice.  Highly recommended. (Submitted by JF).

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The Queen of Water by Laura Resau

This is the story of Maria Virginia, who was born to a very poor farming family in a tiny Ecuadorian village. While she was still a child (she doesn’t know her real age, but estimates she was around 7), she was “sold” to a family of a dentist and a university professor to care for their baby while they were at work. The family doesn’t pay her, allow her to watch TV or to eat from their plates and all the mother tells her is how stupid, useless and unwanted Virginia is. The father is very kind to her, calling her his daughter, and eventually grows way too fond of her, so Virginia, now in her teen years, sees no other option than to escape and return to her family’s dirty house (we’re talking fleas here and such). However, during her many years with the doctor’s family, Virginia secretly learned to read and studied hard to catch up. So even though she never went to school, she was able to graduate shortly after she was given the chance and entered one of the most prestigious universities, disguising the fact that she is a longa (a native Indian). The truth come out when she enters a contest and becomes The Queen of the Water. (Submitted by Monika).

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Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz

Reading books set in Montreal always fill me with nostalgia, doubly so for the deep sensory memories evoked by the fact the sisters of this novel grow up over their father’s bagel shop in Mile End. Beena and Sadhana are closely linked together by tragedy as well as family bonds. In the wake of her sister’s untimely death, Beena must grapple with their past. Thoroughly engaging, and not just because of the thought of bagels. A Canada Reads 2016 pick. (Submitted by Meghan W).

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