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Gail Bowen -- Night Table Recommendations

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 at 9:49am

Gail Bowen will be in our Winnipeg bookstore, Saturday May 8, 2:00 pm.

Gail Bowen -- Night Table Recommendations

For over thirty years, I led three lives: I was first, a wife, parent and grandparent; second, an academic, and third, a writer. By the time I'd finished with Walter, the Farting Dog (a book which, as the owner of a farting dog, I highly recommend); reviewed whatever was new, hot and student-friendly in Canadian lit and met my own writing deadlines, I didn't have much time to read the way I read when I was a kid - with passion and without plan.

Two years ago, I retired from university teaching. Since then, I've been making up for lost time. Here are some books that I've read and loved within the last month.

The Inner Voice by Renee Fleming (Penguin Books)

The Inner Voice, the autobiography of the brilliant, beautiful and very wise Renee Fleming, is short on titillating anecdotes about the extravagant world of opera and long on frank and intimate advice about how to channel our passions so they drive our careers and enrich our lives. Brava!

Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt (HarperCollins Publishers)

The power of Making Toast, New Yorker writer Roger Rosenblatt's unsentimental account of how he, his wife, his son-in-law and three of his grandchildren rebuilt their lives after the sudden and inexplicable death of Rosenblatt's 38 year old daughter, Amy, can be expressed in a single exchange between Rosenblatt (whom his grandchildren called 'Boppo') and his oldest grandson. The prodigiously talented and loving Amy has died on her treadmill. Rosenblatt and his wife drive hundreds of miles to do what they can. Rosenblatt's grandson asks: "How long are you staying, Boppo?" "Forever," Rosenblatt replies.

Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (HarperCollins Publishers)

A friend who writes for television in Toronto recommended Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty a year ago. The book is an account of the relationship between two female writers. It's stunning. My husband and I now own the complete Ann Patchett oeuvre. Patchett's books pass between our night-tables constantly. Her best book is Bel Canto, but all her books are magic.

The book I'm excited about reading next is Drew Hayden Taylor's Motorcycles and Sweetgrass. As someone who taught at First Nations University, I know how significant clever and honest accounts of First Nations life can be for us all. Please do, pick this one up.


Gail Bowen's bestselling mystery series featuring Joanne Kilbourn will number an even dozen titles with the publication of The Nesting Dolls in August 2010. The first six books in the series have appeared as made-for-television movies with world-wide distribution. Winner of both the Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award and the Derrick Murdoch Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Crime Writers of Canada, in 2008 Bowen was named "Canada's Best Mystery Novelist" by Reader's Digest. She will be joining us on Saturday May 8th at 2:00 pm in McNally Robinson Booksellers Grant Park in Winnipeg to sign copies of her entry in Orca Books' Rapid Reads series Love You to Death and reading and signing Love You to Death on Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30 in McNally Robinson Booksellers' Prairie Ink Restaurant in Saskatoon.

Categories: Reviews, Discussions, Authors, Mystery & Crime, Saskatoon, Winnipeg

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