The Writer They Call Tay (awanderingbard) wrote,
The Writer They Call Tay

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Book Love

joonscribble does book rec's quite often and I'm always impressed with her well-readedness (well-readitivity?). I thought I'd offer a list of some of my favourite books of all time, not to show off my well-readedness, but to share the book love.

Most of these fall into the young adult/teen category, but don't hesitate to pick them up, because they still rock and are a great read.

“The Way to Schenectady" by Richard Scrimger
Jane Peeler is going from Toronto to Schenectady with her father, her chain-smoking, crotchety old grandmother and her two younger brothers, Bill and Bernie. Along the way she and Bill meet Marty, a homeless man trying to get to New York (I think) for his brother's funeral. Unbeknownst to their father or grandmother, they sneak Marty into the trunk of the car. Many hijinks ensue and the best part of it is just how perfectly true it all is. There are several 'omg, totally been THERE' moments along the way. It was the first Richard Scrimger book I read and have since read all his young adult books, twice. They are all just as hilarious.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel" by the Baroness Orczy
I first got into SP through the ill-fated musical of the same name (and staring Terrence Mann in its first run) and I picked up the book in the 'young classics' section of my bookstore. During the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, a mysterious figure known as 'The Scarlet Pimpernel' and his League have been rescuing ill-fated French aristocrats from the guillotine through cunning and cleverness (and very rarely violence). It's told from the point of view of Marguerite Blakeney, a former French actress now married to the terribly foppish Sir Percy Blakeney. When Chauvelin, an old friend arrives in England, he blackmails her into helping him find the identity of the Pimpernel. It's funny, exciting, and I remember reading the last half of it in one sitting, glued to the book. I've read a couple of the sequels as well and they aren't half-bad.

"After Hamlin" by Bill Richardson
On Penelope's 11th birthday, she wakes up to find herself suddenly deaf. This is the same day the Pied Piper comes and pipes all the children of Hamlin away. Penelope, unable to follow because she can't hear the music, has to 'deep-dream' her way into the Piper's world and rescue the children. Incredibly imaginative and fun. I really want to write a play adaptation of this book one day.

"Fifth Business" by Robertson Davies
Considered a 'classic' in the Canadian school system, I don't know if it's a classic elsewhere. We read this one in Grade 12 English. Dunstan Ramsey is retiring from his job as a school teacher and is unhappy with the way he has been represented in the little blurb about his life in the school newspaper (or similar publication, it's been awhile since I read it). He writes a letter to the headmaster to explain what his life was truly like, which is the way the novel is presented. Ramsey's life is full of adventure and travel and wonderfully eccentric characters. I love this book for many reasons - one is the obvious use of Jungian archetypes in the characters and other is the wonderful way the story is narrated, like your grandfather is sitting in his rocking chair, telling you a story.

"Dating Hamlet: Ophelia's Story" by Lisa Fielder
Hamlet, told from Ophelia's point of view and with a happy ending. Quite imaginative and gives Ophelia new depth and respect. Can get a little full of itself sometimes and it is as convoluted as a Shakespeare comedy, but hits the right notes and is a quick, fun read.

"The King's Daughter" by Suzanne Martel
One of my favourite things in Canadian history is the story of les filles du roi - the king's daughters. When Canada was first settled, there weren't a lot of women so the settlement didn't grow. The king of France offered any young girl willing to go to Canada free passage and a trunk of essentials (so many petticoats, so many dresses, silverware, etc.) for her to take with her. This was a great opportunity for young women with no prospects of marrying well and men were so desperate in Canada the girls were usually proposed as soon as, if not before, they stepped off the boats. This book is the story of Jeanne Chatel, an 18-year-old orphan who sets out for Canada. Her new husband is often away trapping, so she is left to keep house in the middle of nowhere, with strange and dangerous Natives around her, while looking after her husband's two children. Jeanne is adventurous, courageous and smart and a wonderful heroine. I want to turn this one into a movie. ;-)

"The Raging Quiet " by Sherryl Jordan
Marnie has been forced to marry an older, crude man in order to save her family from starvation. They move to a small seaside town and soon after they arrive, her new husband is killed in an accidental fall. The townsfolk aren't welcome to new people and suspect that the fall was no accident. Marnie is very much an outcast. She meets a young man who the villagers call 'the Raver' because they think he's mad. Marnie realizes he's deaf and befriends him, developing a sign language to communicate with him, which causes the villagers to suspect her of being a witch. Set in an anywhere, anytime setting it's somewhat Gothic, rather romantic and a great thriller.

"The Chronicles of Faerie" by O.R. Melling
A series of four books: The Hunter's Moon, The Summer King, The Lightbearer's Daughter and the Book of Dreams. The first two novels are about Canadian girls (Gwen in the first, Laurel in the second) who visit Ireland and encounter the faerie world. The third is about an Irish girl (Dana) about to move to Canada who encounters the faerie world. The Book of Dreams, the fourth, is probably my favourite book ever. It's about the same size as the first three put together and it continues Dana's story in Canada, forcing her on a magical journey all over the country and in and out of Canadian folklore. The books are a short read, but they are fun and exciting and all the characters return and join forces in the last book. I have the first three in an omnibus, but I have seen The Golden Book of Faerie at the book store, which is all four books in one.
Tags: misc./non-fic, rantage and randomosity

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