The Leisure Seeker – Michael Zadoorian

It is a funny and touching read about an elderly couple, who have been happily married for more than 60 years. Now in their 80s and in failing health, they sneak away from their adult children and their doctors, and away from their home in the Detroit suburbs for a forbidden journey of rediscovery. I felt as if I really knew the characters and that they were people I could encounter in real life. I loved this book. (submitted by DD)

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Bet Me – Jennifer Cruise

This is one of my favourite books.  I have read it at least another half-dozen times since I first read it. It is a “chick lit” novel, but don’t let this genre scare you off. The main story is focused around Min Dobbs and Cal Morrisey, who meet because of a bet made by Min’s ex-boyfriend. At  times the book reads like a modern day fairy tale, including villains that try to keep them apart and a fairy godmother.  If you are looking for a light feel-good read, definitely place this book on your list. (submitted by SC)

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Unshelved

I love this great graphic novel series about life in a public library and its library workers at the Mallville Public Library. I especially like how Dewey the Youth Librarian does everything but properly help the public. It is a humorous read about what the library staff deals from the public on a daily basis, and how you can expect not to be treated.  You can also read it daily here – including the archives. (submitted by MH)

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The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein

If you ever wondered what your dog is thinking, this book is for you!  I fell in love with Enzo the lab-terrier mix, as he cheerfully fit into the Swift’s family life. What follows is heartbreak, loss, and ultimately, redemption. This book is a page-turner, easy to read, and captivating. A must-read for a dog lover or someone who dreams of becoming a car racer! (submitted by IM)

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Come, Thou Tortoise – Jessica Grant

I read this book recently during one of those day-long rainy days and found it a welcome follow-up to a long stint with sober non-fiction. The cast of characters reads like the dramatis personae of a Canadian indie film – tortoise, Newfoundlander, lopsided man, Brits, inventor, and man with Rip-van-Winkle beard – and maybe that’s why this book is so charming. The offbeat writing also has a lot to do with the appeal. The narrator – Audrey “Oddly” Flowers – has a quirky relationship with words that makes the book read like she thinks, complete with self-edits. The other narrator is a tortoise. If you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, you’ll like this book. Even if Haddon’s writing was not your cup of tea, consider picking up Come, Thou Tortoise for the airplane scene, at least – it’s hilarious. (submitted by LH)

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A Plague of Doves – Louise Erdrich

It’s about the brutal murder of a white family in the fictional town of Pluto, North Dakota, and the only survivor was a baby girl.  Three Ojibwe men are wrongfully convicted and hanged for the crime. The murders and lynchings affect the entire community of white and mixed-blood residents of Pluto for generations.  The story is tragic, but the storytelling is in parts comical and poetic.  I found the characters very believable, almost alive, so it’s very easy to empathise with them. Although the lynching happened in the past, it’s still a living memory for the characters and shapes their life and how they feel in the present. The writing is so evocative that you feel as if you are there as both the past and present events take place. (submitted by RB)

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Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. But long after I’d read the last sentence, the story was on my mind – and now I already want to read it again. Mitchell weaves a complex story about life, love, and human progress spanning centuries. The story is told through a series of separate, distinct voices, each with their own story to tell. In the beginning, it’s difficult to see how these stories fit together, but slowly we begin to see a picture of the connections between each character and their actions across time and space. The narrative is filled with uncertainty, some of which is never resolved – so those who like neat endings, beware! Yet Mitchell is an incredibly talented writer who brings this ambitious and captivating story to life. (submitted by AA)

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