The Cathedral Reading Group has been reading together for over 35 years

We were founded by The Rev'd William Derby, Vicar at the Cathedral in the 1980's.
The focus of the Reading Group has been to read good fiction rather than non-fiction, although there have been a few exceptions. See our book choices below.

Black Lives Matter - What to read

Reading suggestions are now available on the Black Lives Matter page.

Interested? Find out more – send us a note

Cathedral Reading Group Booklist

DateTitleAuthorPublisherPublishedStarsComments (by Jane)
2024 perhaps SeptDemon CopperheadBarbara KingsolverHarper Collins2022Awaiting Books in a Bag.
2024 AugustEvery time I go on vacation, somebody diesCatherine MackMinotaur Books2024Zoom meeting: August 4
2024 JulyThe Sleeping Car PorterSuzette MayrCoach House Books2022Another Canadian story. Most of us liked the book and we had a good discussion about how she got us to feel sleep-deprived! Here is a link to the NFB documentary, thanks to Yevgeniya Road Taken
2024 MayTom LakeAnn PatchettHarper Collins2023***We had a great discussion! Ann Patchett is a favourite for many of us. We discussed the characters in particular - so well drawn. Also talked about the reasons the author wrote the story.
2024 AprDo You Remember Being Born?Sean MichaelsRandom House Canada2023Sean Michael is a Montreal author we have read before. Loosely based on the life of poet Marianne Moore. Good discussion.
2024 MarBury Your DeadLouise PennyLittle Brown2010**Many Penny fans in the room! This one takes place in Quebec City and involves the small English community there, and its history. And another dog!
2024 FebLessons in ChemistryBonnie GarmusDoubleday Canada2022****A great book and we had a great discussion around the progress or lack thereof of women's rights and gender equality. With a very intelligent dog.
2024 JanOur Missing HeartsCeleste NgPenguin Canada2023****A book about the manipulation of a society through the treatment of people's children and the scapegoating of the 'other'. Chilling. So well written. Highly recommended.
2023 DecMovie Night!As always, the eggnog was 'frothy' and the movie (about popes) well done and highly entertaining.
2023 OctRemarkably Bright CreaturesShelby Van PeltEcco2022**We had a great time discussing the book. We found the characters to be very well drawn.
2023 SeptSea of TranquilityEmily St. John MandelHarperCollins2022**Our second book by this author. We quite liked it; well written and edited better than a lot of books these days. Time travel!
2023 JulyThe Starless SeaErin MorgensternDoubleday Canada2019Quite convoluted; a huge imagined world. Lots to discuss.
2023 MayStrange Bewildering TimeMark AbleyHouse of Anansi Press2023We were joined by Mark and had a great discussion.
2023 AprilMaureen: a Harold Fry novelRachel JoyceDoubleday Canada2023A slender book with lots to talk about. The first novel we have read with a look back at our Covid lockdown experiences.
2023 MarchJackMarilynne RobinsonMcClelland & Stewart2020The discussion was lively. Some had little sympathy for Jack and wondered what Della saw in him - a project? We agreed that the writing was terrific, capturing the 50's so well.
2023 FebThe Ministry for the FutureKim Stanley RobinsonOrbit Books2020**Could we really make a better world if we were able to eliminate carbon? Robinson imagines what it would take - socially, scientifically, economically, politically. A book that left us with a lot of images and ideas about the future. Well paired with McKibbon's visit and his book Eaarth.
2023 ?PalmaresGayl JonesBeacon Press2021Zoom date: TBD - waiting for the paperback to come out...
2022 DecSupernovaWe were few in number - the eggnog and popcorn was good!
2022 NovHouse on Endless WatersEmuna ElonAtria Books2020Very well written; much to learn and discuss about the fate of the Jews of Amsterdam during WWII.
2022 SeptSweet Sweet Revenge LtdJonas JonassonHarperCollins2022Everyone enjoyed the book - it made us laugh out loud! We were a bit nervous about racial stereotyping. Someone on Goodreads called it the 'Swedish equivalent of a French farce'.
2022 AugBurnt SugarAvni DoshiHamish Hamilton2020Good discussion; it was well written. It was also hard to read; the damage of abandoning a child reverberating across the years between mother and daughter.
2022 JulyBook LoversEmily HenryBerkley2022A fun summer read. The characters and dialogue were well done. Some thought they would read another of hers!
2022 MayCloud Cuckoo LandAnthony DoerrSimon & Schuster2021**Interwoven stories across six centuries all about the same book. We found it enthralling. Recommended.
2022 AprThe 7 Deaths of Evelyn HardcastleStuart TurtonHarperCollins2018We all finished the book; whether we all really understood what was happening is another thing altogether! Lots to discuss and to try and figure out.
2022 FebFight NightMiriam ToewsKnopf Canada2021Bit of a wacky book, but we enjoyed it
2022 JanDiscussion of the Rich Orloff plays - Unmute Me!Rich OrloffPerformed by Dramatis Personae on Zoom - January 13,14, 15 and 16 at 8:00 pmWe were joined by two of the actors - great fun to dissect the plays!
2021 DecDeparturesA film by Yojiro TakitaRegent/Here Films2008We enjoyed the movie almost as much as seeing each other and drinking eggnog!
2021 Nov Erotic Stories of Punjabi WidowsBalli Kaur JaswalWilliam Morrow2017Interesting book! The experience of immigrants and cultural integration, or not. We had a good discussion.
2021 OctThe Night WatchmanLouis ErdrichHarperCollins2020We generally liked it, although some found it too long. It did teach us a lot about the fate of Indian tribes in the U.S. And about indigenous spirituality and family roots.
2021 AugThe Midnight LibraryMatt HaigHarperCollins2020**Another good read and good discussion. Jane particularly liked the librarian and her library - of course!
2021 JulyHamnet
(aka Hamnet and Judith)
Maggie O'FarrellKnopf Canada2020***An excellent book. It made us cry.
2021 JuneKlara and the SunKazuo IshiguroKnopf Canada2021It's complicated. His world didn't hold together very well, we didn't think. Maybe that was why we had lots to discuss!
2021 MayButter Honey Pig BreadFrancesca EkwuyasiArsenal Pulp Press2020We all enjoyed the book; it made us want to visit a Nigerian restaurant together!
2021 MarThe Dutch HouseAnn PatchettHarperCollins2019Excellent book, great discussion. The power of real estate!
2021 FebStation ElevenEmily St John MandelHarperCollins2017We liked this book as well, if we nitpicked a bit. Some of us had read it pre-Covid. On re-reading it, it became more telling!
2021 JanThe Jane Austen SocietyNatalie JennerSt. Martin's2020We all enjoyed the book - it was good to read a lighthearted book. We all had a favourite character. Interesting how she used some of the real history of the actual society!
2021 JanAn Epiphany get-together.Bring along a glass to toast the new year.Also, a brief reading - your favourite poem or inspirational thought.I think we forgot to toast the New Year! but we heard some great prose and poems, including Edward reading from a novel he wrote - fantastic!
2020 DecSongs for the Cold of HeartEric DupontQC Fiction2018A good, long "Quebec" read. It was fun finding the common threads across the different voices.

Originally published in French as "La Fiancee americaine"

2020 OctGirl Woman OtherBernardine EvaristoGrove Press2019**We had a very enjoyable discussion about Girl, Woman, Other which we found both touching and entertaining - highly recommended.
2020 AugThe Fire Next Time

Between the World and Me

James Baldwin

Ta-Nehisi Coates


Spiegal & Grau



Good discussion.

We were struck by the similarity across the decades of  black parents fearing for and trying to protect their sons. Also the delusional American Dream of 'the people who think they are white' and the assumption that blacks buy into this dream.

2020 JuneThe Casual VacancyJK RowlingBack Bay Books2013Characters very well drawn; not many to love. The best of them dies at the beginning of the book and the fallout ensues.
2020 MayMemoirs of an Imaginary FriendMatthew DicksSt. Martin's Griffin2013***Ann redeemed herself with this month's book recommendation (after May's less than successful one). We all loved the imaginary friend; the book asked a lot of good existential questions. Could become a classic!
2020 MayReproduction: A NovelIan WiliamsVintage Canada2019We wondered why it won the Giller. The author is a poet; his playing with text doesn't work in this novel... maybe he should have called it Reproduction: An Experiment!
2020 AprilProdigal SummerBarbara KingsolverHarper2000Three intertwined stories about a mountain and valley in Appalachia. Themes include ecological balance, subsistence farming and family bonds. Both nature and people are compelling.
2020 FebIndian HorseRichard WagameseDouglas & McIntyre2012Wonderfully told - more intense than the movie - that is good writing!
2019 DecIndian HorseMovie NightDevonshire Productions2017Based on the novel, Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese. How one young man survives residential school through hockey. A must view for Canadians, and we should read the book!
2019 NovThe BreakKatherena VermetteHouse of Anansi Press2016An intense read. Multi-generational story of Métis women and their families, coping with violence and the struggles of their lives. An important read for Canadians.
2019 OctWashington BlackEsi EdugyanKnopf2018A story of a young slave on a Barbadan sugar plantation (early 19th century) 'rescued' by his owner's brother - a naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist. The adventures are many and far flung. We were not happy with the way it ended!
2019 SeptThe Organist: Fugues, Fatherhood and a Fragile MindMark AbleyUniversity of Regina Press2019***What a treat - Mark came to our meeting and talked about how he came to write this memoir of his father. We discussed music, memories and time, and changing relationships between parents and children. Mark also read us a few of his poems. It was a lovely evening.
2019 JulyEducatedTara WestoverHarperCollins2018**Another book about a person triumphing over their circumstances. This story is a true one. What was amazing to all of us was the fact that, out of such a dysfunctional family, emerged 3 children who ended up with PhDs. The book is a memoir of one of those 3. Excellent read.
2019 JuneA gentleman in MoscowAmor TowlesViking2016****What a charming novel! Count Alexander Rostov, an aristocrat in Tsarist Russia is sentenced by the communists. Sentenced to remain forever in the Metropol Hotel. His reaction: "if a man does not master his circumstances then he is bound to be mastered by them.” Masterful story telling, great characters.
2019 AprilThe Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympicsJames Daniel BrownPenguin Books2013***An amazing story about the University of Washington's rowing program during the depression years and the team that made it all the way to the Olympics. You know how it ends, but the author is such a good writer that the story is full of suspense.
2019 MarchAcross the China SeaGaute HeivollGraywolf Press2017Set in Norway, a story about family and 'respecting the dignity of every human being', as our baptismal phrase entreats us. The setting is a remote house; the place that five foster children and three men labeled “mentally disabled” call home for many years.
2019 FebLear's ShadowClaire RothmanPenguin Random House2018A father/daughter/sister story, set in Montreal, complete with 'Shakespeare in the park' drama.
2019 JanCancelled due to snow! A first.
2018 DecOur Souls at NightMovie NightNetflix2017We read the book back in February 2017. The movie was quite faithful to the book's atmosphere, but it did wimp out on the ending. Some were okay with that, others not.
2018 NovMy OctoberClaire RothmanPenguin Canada2014A French/English family enduring various separations echoes the tensions in Montreal during the October crisis. Very interesting for those of us who lived in Montreal when this happened.
2018 OctAnnabelKathleen WinterHouse of Anansi Press2011***Based in Newfoundland, this novel is about gender identity and social conformity. The descriptions of the people and the land are powerful. Recommended!
2018 SeptLet the Great World SpinColum McCannHarper Perennial2011Interlocking stories all in some way connected to Philippe Patel’s famous tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. The characters were very well drawn.
2018 JuneThe Summer Before the WarHelen SimonsonRandom House2016It felt very much like Downton Abbey. An interesting part was the treatment of the refugees from Belgium.
2018 AprMap of GlassJane UrquhartMcClelland & Stewart2005A family history on the waters of eastern Ontario, with the story moving back into the 19th century.
2018 FebThe Essex Serpent Sarah PerryCustom House2017 A 'Victorian novel' written today. Interestingly, we compared it to Eliot's Middlemarch and also to Gilbert's The Signature of All Things. Good discussion.
2018 JanCoventryHelen HumphreysHarperCollins Canada2009Coventry was bombed to the ground on November 14, 1940. Humphreys places her characters smack in the middle of it all and describes it vividly.
2017 DecClick!Movie NightSony Pictures2006A harried workaholic who uses a magical remote control to 'fast forward' through the bad parts of his life, and speed towards the good life.  A bit of a morality play - success is achieved at the cost of his humanity. But it's Hollywood, so redemption is possible... Not as good a movie as Groundhog Day, but it reminded me a bit of that movie.
2017 NovThe Women in the CastleJessica ShattuckWilliam Morrow2017The castle is in Bavaria.  The story centres around 3 widows caught up in Hitler's Reich and how they survived the war and its aftermath.
2017 OctFifteen DogsAndré AlexisCoach House Books2015A group of dogs are given human intelligence and the ability to speak by 2 Greek gods, who bet that animals, on their deaths would be just as unhappy as humans. One reviewer called it a blitz through Philosophy 101, as the dogs work to figure out what life is all about.
2017 SeptMiddlemarchGeorge Eliotvarious1871 This classic was our big summer read. Often called the best novel in the English language. We all enjoyed it and had lots to discuss!
2017 JuneA Constellation of Vital PhenomenaAnthony MarraHogarth2014This book is about the war in Chechnya and how people struggle to survive in intolerable situations. Another tough read like City of Thieves.
2017 AprilThe Love Story of Queenie HennessyRachel JoyceBond Street Books2014And then we thought the 'sequel' to Harold Fry would be lighter. It's about death in a hospice. But actually really well done.
2017 MarchLittle BeeChris CleaveSimon & Schuster2010We thought we would read another by Chris Cleave. Little Bee is a refugee in England whose life is tangled up with a couple after a violent episode in Nigeria.  Cleave looks at 'the Queen's English' in interesting ways...
2017 FebOur Souls at NightKen HarufPenguin2016His last novel, written as he knew death approached, written for his wife. Love in the final chapter of life. Beautiful.
2017 JanEveryone Brave is ForgivenChris CleaveSimon & Schuster2017A Word War II love story based on that of the author's grandparents. The siege of Malta was particularly interesting. We all thought the book was very well written.
2016 DecThe Course of LoveAlain de BottonSimon & Schuster2016The story of love in a marriage, told with accompanying psychological analysis. Extra copies were bought to hand out to others! We also watched a movie - The Lady in the Van - starring Maggie Smith, based on a true story.
2016 OctThe Housekeeper and the ProfessorYoko OgawaPicador2003An ode to the beauty of mathematics (and baseball) and friendships built in spite of the Professor's memory problems.
2016 SeptThe Dust That Falls From DreamsLouis de BernièresVintage Books2015Edwardian family saga covering Word War I and its aftermath. The flying bits were well done. Some of us were annoyed at how it ended.
2016 June Finding Home Eric Wright Cormorant Books2007Where is home for a Brit who  has lived in Canada for decades? Or an American for that matter? A light book after the last two, but we had an interesting discussion on the topic of home.
2016 May City of thieves David Benioff Penguin Books2009 Absorbing but tough read about the siege of Leningrad and survival WWII in Russia.
2016 AprilPreparation for the next life Atticus Lish Tyrant Books2014 A very hard read about dysfunctional America. Interesting, some critics compared its examination of the underbelly of NYC with Dickens' of London.
2016 March Mister Pip Lloyd Jones Vintage Canada2006 Teaching Dickens in Papua New Guinea, in the middle of a civil war.
2016 FebruaryAll my puny sorrowsMiriam TeowsKnopf Canada2014Annoying at first, but it got better.
2016 JanuaryTwenty-One CardinalsJocelyne SaucierCoach House Books2015No every one was convinced about the ending.
2015 DecemberInterstellarMovie NightA Christopher Nolan film2014An interstellar journey to save the world. Science fiction with the emphasis on science. The organ in the  Temple Church, London is the instrument in the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. Great film!
2015 November All the light we cannot seeAnthony DoerrScribner2014****We all enjoyed the book very much. A reviewer compared the author with Louis de Bernières; I imagine with Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – both a war story of innocents and soldiers. The writing is equally marvellous.
2015 OctoberUs ConductorsSean MichaelsRandom House2014Fiction about a real person – well done, although Jane of course had to look up stuff about the real Lev Termen.
2015 JuneThaliadMarly YoumansPhoenicia Publishing2012Another dystopian future, done in blank verse. So interesting how that changed the story telling – much more left to one’s imagination! Beth, the publisher joined us and we had a great evening.
2015 MayLife After LifeKate AtkinsonRandom House2013Time travel, of a sort. The main character is born and reborn and reborn… Jane loved it!
2015 MarchThe CircleDave EggersKnopf2013Social networking and mind control – A book we had strong opinions about, so our discussion was lively.
2015 FebruaryThe Storied Life of A. J. FikryGabrielle ZevinAlgonquin Books of Chapel Hill2014A lighter read – good characters.
2015 JanuaryThe Return of the SoldierRebecca Westvarious editions1918As Jane was taking a course on World War I, we read this short classic about a soldier who has returned from the war with no memory on the last 15 years of his life. The recommended edition is that of Broadview Press, 2010, which contains excellent accompanying material about the English class system at the time, shell shock and its treatment, and WWI art and poetry.
2014 DecemberMovie night – I amA fascinating documentary, trying to answer the question of what is wrong with the world and what can we do about it. Highly recommended.
2014 NovemberSecond Person SingularSayed KashuaGrove Press2012The author is an Israeli Arab. The protagonist of the book is an Arab lawyer living in Jerusalem so the novel might be of particular interest to people who have visited Jerusalem or are interested in the tensions in this city.
2014 OctoberIn the Garden of the BeastsErik LarsonCrown2011****One of our rare non-fiction reads. But it read like a good novel! The author was brilliant at evoking the atmosphere of pre-WWII Nazi Germany during Hitler’s rise to power – all seen through the eyes of the American ambassador in Berlin, William Dodd. I’m giving it 4 stars!
2014 SeptemberThe Signature of All ThingsElizabeth GilbertPenguin Books2013We liked this one – a good big summer read. A good portrait of the times, we thought.
2014 JuneThe Light Between OceansM. L. StedmanScribners2011Was it a realistic hypothesis? Why do people do the things they do?! If something is done because of love, does that make it all right? Boy, lots of discussion for this one!
2014 MayZealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of NazarethReza AslanRandom House2013We thought it painted a vivid picture of the times. Weren’t sure of his premise that Paul and James were in opposition.
2014 MarchThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And DisappearedJonas JonassonHarper Perennial Canada2012**A fun read! He is a bit like Woody Allen’s Zelig.
2014 FebA Hologram for the KingDave EggersMcSweeney’s2012Well… not one of Dave’s best. We have lots of problems with this book, but that lead to lots of discussion! A present-day Willie Loman. Also reminded people of ‘Waiting for Godot”.
2014 JanIl pleuvait des oiseaux And the birds rained downJocelyne SaucierXYZ Coach House Books20112013We all liked the book; the characters were well drawn. Lots of discussion. We thought the translator had done an excellent job.
2013 DecThe WayDirector: Emilio Estevez2010A movie about the Camino de Santiago. Well received.
2013 NovLucifer’s FloodLinda Rios BrookRealms2008Lots of discussion, as always when opinions are mixed. Some wondered about the author’s agenda. There are 3 more books in the ‘Reluctant Demon Diaries’ series.
2013 OctBeautiful RuinsJess WalterHarper Collins2012The setting in Italy got me hooked… That’s why it is on this list!
2013 SeptThe Elephant Keepers’ ChildrenPeter HoegOther Press2012Weird and wacky. Jane got a kick out of it, others just found it strange.
2013 JuneThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryRachel JoyceRandom House2012****What a fascinating read! Highly recommended by the group.
2013 May22 Britannia RoadAmanda HodgkinsonPamela Dorman Books2011Britain after the war, as experienced by Polish immigrants – with a history…
2013 AprilTestament of MaryColm ToibinMcClelland & Stewart2012A fascinating idea – Mary’s life after the Crucifixion, from her viewpoint.
2013 MarchState of WonderAnn PatchettHarper Collins2012Another good read from Patchett.
2013 FebThe DovekeepersAlice HoffmanScribner2012
2013 JanHalf Blood BluesEsi EdugyanThomas Allen Publishers2011
2012 DecBest Exotic Marigold HotelMovie Night20th Century Fox2012Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, among others. What’s not to like?!
2012 SeptRunning the RiftNaomi BenaronAlgonquin Books2012“A genocide is a poisonous bush that grows not from two or three roots, but from a whole tangle that has mouldered underground without anyone noticing.” ~Claudine, genocide survivor. About the genocide in Rwanda.
2012 JuneRuKim ThúyRandom House Canada2012As a congregation who sponsored a Vietnamese family back in the 1970’s, this book of memories brought back memories for us as well.
2012 MayLeft NeglectedLisa GenovaGallery Books2011An intelligent novel about an over achiever stopped in her tracks after an accident leaves her with neurological damage. Author is actually a neuroscientist.
2012 AprilShip FeverAndrea BarrettHarperCollins1999Short stories with an historical/ scientific bent. We quite liked them.
2012 MarchOpen CityTeju ColeRandom House Trade2012We liked the book, but thought it felt less like a novel than a collection of blog posts; i.e. there were quite a few continuity problems.
2012 FebThe SentimentalistsJohanna SkibsrudGaspereau Press2010Mixed reviews, which led to some good discussion…
2012 JanCutting for StoneAbraham VergheseVintage Canada2010****A great read! Terrific story and characters. And with Fred and John having been to Ethiopia as doctors, that made it extra special.
2011 DecThe King’s SpeechMovie NightAnchor Bay Entertainment2010This was a ‘encore presentation’ for all but one, but all really enjoyed it. And a December eggnog party with no snow-boots!
2011 NovPlayer One: what is to become of usDouglas CopelandHouse of Anansi Press2010The CBC Massey Lectures: a novel in Five hours.Some were not impressed by it as a apocalyptic tale. Although we disagreed over its merits, we certainly has a good discussion about the characters.
2011 OctFar from the Madding CrowdThomas Hardyvariousc. 1874Unusually for us, a classic…And on October 23 we went to see the play put on by Persephone Productions – very well done.
2011 SeptThe LacunaBarbara KingsolverHarper Collins2009A good summer read.
2011 JuneRoomEmma DonoghueBack Bay Books2011The reviewers said it was riveting, and they were right. We had a good discussion.
2011 MayThe Thousand Autumns of Jacob ZoetDavid MitchellRandom House2010**Well worth reading.
2011 MarchOld FilthJane GardamEuropa Editions2006***We all really enjoyed this book. Quite a character. And were happy to learn there is a second novel – The Man in the Wooden Hat – that tells Betty’s story.
2011 FebruaryMajor Pettigrew’s Last StandHelen SimonsonDoubleday Canada2010Enjoyed by all; quite witty, although some of the characters weren’t altogether believable.
2011 JanuaryMotherless BrooklynJonathan LethemVintage1999An American detective novel with a Tourette’s twist. Jane liked it a lot; the others, not so much.
2010 DecemberThe GhostwriterMovie nightA Roman Polanski film.2010A mystery/thriller.
2010 NovemberIsland Beneath the SeaIsabel AllendeHarper Collins2010Another historical novel. An interesting part of history – Häiti and its independence from France. Some thought the characters weren’t very nuanced.
2010 OctoberWolf HallHilary MantelHenry Holt2009A good book – and a good discussion on the fictionalization of history. It is written in the present tense – some didn’t like this; felt the author intruded too much because of it.
2010 JuneSnowflower and the Secret FanLisa SeeRandom House2005Foot-binding – eech!
2010-MayNever Let Me GoKazuo IshiguroKnopf Canada2006We had a lot to discuss about this book; the way the reader slowly comes to the realization of what is happening in the same way the youth in the story come to realize what they are. A very skilled author.
2010-FebThe Elegance of the HedgehogMuriel Barbery and Alison AndersonEuropa Editions2008The beginning is a bit slow, but it turns into a great read.
2010-JanHow Reading Saved My LifeAnna QuindlenBallantine Books1998As expected, we all told our stories about how reading changed our lives!
2009-DecMiss PotterMovie NightPhoenix Pictures2007We enjoyed the movie and its portrayal of an independent woman fit right in with the previous book.
2009-NovThe Heart SpecialistClaire RothmanCormorant Books2009Much enjoyed, especially the scenes of Montreal and McGill.
2009-OctThe White TigerAravind AdigaAtlantic Books2008Interesting. We discussed at length whether it had a different message than other books of India that we have read.
2009-SeptThe Book of NegroesLawrence HillHarperCollins2007It well deserves the awards it has received.
2009-MayThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyMary Ann Shaffer and Annie BarrowsDial Press2008Seems the mail then was almost as fast as email today! Telling the story via correspondence reminded us of 84 Charring Cross Road.
2009-AprThe Magician’s AssistantAnn PatchettHarcourt1997Not as good as Bel Canto, but we had a good discussion.
2009-MarThe Tenderness of WolvesSteff PenneyQuercus2006**A mystery in Canada’s north circa 1867. We had a lively discussion. The fact that we discussed the characters so much must have meant they felt very real to us. And they did. Or maybe it was because the book was all about the classic Canadian theme of survival.
2009-FebWhat is the WhatDave EggersMcSweeney’s2006The story of a lost boy of the Sudan. Very well written and an amazing story.
2008-DecWALL*EMovie night:Disney-Pixar2008Great movie, and the special about the sound design was especially interesting.
2008-NovThe Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle EastSandy TolanBloomsbury USA2007***A very good book to help one understand the situation.
2008-OctLate Nights on AirElizabeth HayMcClelland & Stewart2008We thought the canoe trip was the best part.
2008-09Seven Years in TibetHeinrich HarrerHarpercollins Canada1997A good discussion about Tibet. Jane had watched the film, and recommended it, even though it added ‘human interest’ (i.e. females) not in the book.
2008-06Three Cups of TeaGreg MortensenPenguin2007It made us want to read ‘Seven Years in Tibet’…
2008-05Bloodletting and Miraculous CuresVictor LamAnchor Canada2006
2008-04Bel CantoAnn PatchettPerennial Classics2005****We all enjoyed this book a lot. The fact that many of the things that happened really occurred in the real event hostage taking in Peru made it even more intriguing. We all said we wanted to read more of her books.
2008-04Last SamuraiHelen DewittHyperion2002Quite an interesting book – lots to talk about. Plus we watched the first half of the film, ‘The Seven Samurai’.
2008-03View from Castle RockAlice MunroPenguin2007We don’t often read short stories, but Alice Munro’s are the ones to read when you do. We had an interesting discussion around her portrait of life in Northen Ontario and how it compared with Mary Lawson’s recent novel.
2008-01InfidelAyaan Hirsi AliFree Press2007***An amazing autobiography – very topical re reasonable accomodation. Highly recommended.
2007-12The Secret Life of BeesSue Monk KiddPenguin Books2002***We all enjoyed this book and found it very well written.
2007-11Tea with MussoliniMovie nightFranco Zeffirelli, director1999Apparently the story is based on Zeffirelli’s childhood.
2007-10The Memory Keeper’s DaughterKim EdwardsViking2005Another book for which we asked – why did the character do that?!
2007-09Three JunesJulia GlassPantheon2002Most of us quite liked the book; lots of discussion about the story and how the reader’s expectations were not necessarily followed.
2007-06The Birth of VenusSarah DunantVirago2004We also discussed ‘Arthur and George’, about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Both books are recommended.
2007-05Arthur and GeorgeJulien BarnesVintage Canada2006Meeting Date: postponed…
2007-04The Journey Prize Stories 18Steven Galloway, editorMcClelland & Stewart2006**We don’t usually read short stories, so we had an interesting discussion about which we liked best – and our choice wasn’t the one that won the actual Journey prize!
2007-02Pastwatch: the redemption of Christopher ColumbusOrson Scott CardTOR Books1996An intriguing idea – what would happen if you could change a pivotal event in history? The book went over well, even with members who don’t usually read science fiction.
2007-01Birds without WingsLouis De BernièresRandom House2004***A great turnout and discussion. Those of us who had read ‘Paris, 1919’ found the interspersing of Ataturk’s story with the fictional characters particularly interesting. Some felt it made the book too long.
2006-12Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)Movie nightNord-Ouest Productions2005The moving story of the soldiers’ truce in the trenches during Christmas 1914. The music is particularly good. Some critics think it merits annual Christmas viewing.
2006-11Last CrossingGuy VanderhaegheMcClelland & Stewart2003An interesting work. We talked about the character development. Its grittiness was off-putting to some, yet it seemed to grow on us. It is interesting how some books generate discussions more about why and how things were written, than about the story itself.
2006-10A Thread of GraceMary Doria RussellRandom House2005****A powerful, fictional retelling of a part of World War II history we didn’t know much about – the sheltering of Jews in Italian mountain villages. Highly recommended.
2006-09Mr. Golightly’s HolidaySalley VickersHarpercollins2004****Good book and good discussion. The layers are many and fascinating to explore.
2006-06The NamesakeJhumpa LahiriHoughton Mifflin2004***We all liked this first novel very much and were amazed at how the author bought such vivid pictures to mind with so few words.
2006-05SaturdayIan McEwanKnopf Canada2005***A great discussion, thanks for our having to recap the story for Marjorie. An interesting way to discover how each of us interpreted what was happening, and why.
2006-03The Spiral StaircaseKaren ArmstrongVintage Canada2005***A fascinating read. We all felt that Oxford owes Karen Armstrong an honourary degree at the every least!
2006-02GileadMarilynne RobinsonHarpercollins Canada2004Feelings were mixed about this book. Some appreciated the quiet, meditative feel to the book; others found it lacklustre. A good discussion ensued!
2006-01The Time Traveler’s WifeAudrey NiffeneggerHarvest Books2004****One of our best – one of those books that you give away copies of, you like it so much.
2005MillionsMovie night:2005We enjoyed the movie very much. The saints were especially well done.
2005A Complicated KindnessMiriam ToewsAfred A. Knopf Canada2004Well written, but some felt the main character’s thought process was too mature, improbable at times for a sixteen year old.
2005Cloud AtlasDavid MitchellVintage Canada2004**We discussed the ‘mechanics’ of the book; some liked his technique and others didn’t. We felt it had been worth reading.
2005Everything is IlluminatedJonathan Safran FoerHoughton Mifflin Co.2004
2005The Kite RunnerKhaled HosseiniRiverhead Books2003**An excellent read – recommended.
2005Kim (the movie) Starring Errol Flynn and Dean Stockwell as Kim.Rudyard KiplingMGM1950Finally got to see the video!
2005Brick LaneMonica AliSimon & Schuster2004We enjoyed the book, but were not sure if the ending rang true.
2004AtonementIan McEwanVintage2002***Recommended. This book provoked a lot of discussion, especially after everyone helped Jane figure out what the last chapter meant!
2004The Da Vinci CodeDan BrownDoubleday2003**We agreed it was a highly entertaining read, with every quasi-christian conspiracy theory there is included in the mix.
2004The Dream of ScipioIain PearsRiverhead Books2002***3 stories linked across time – times of social disintegration. How much would you compromise to save your ‘civilization’? It provoked a good discussion.
2004The Lovely BonesAlice SeboldLittle, Brown2002Uneven, but it certainly makes you think about what Heaven would be for you.
2004A Gesture LifeChang-rae LeeRiverhead Books1999Slow at the start, but a good read.
2004An Unequal MusicVikram SethMcArthur & Company2000We had mixed feelings. Some thought it captured the life of musicians superbly; others thought it a tad melodramatic.
2004Snow Falling on CedarsDavid GutersonHarcourt Brace1994We enjoyed the book and all thought he really knew how to describe snow beautifully.
2004Crimson Petal and the WhiteMichel FaberHarcourt2002**A big ‘Victorian’ read which we all enjoyed.
2003Family MattersRohinton MistryMcClelland & Stewart2003Real estate really makes a difference in India!
2003Crow LakeMary LawsonVintage Canada2003***An excellent read.
2003My dream of youNuala O’FaolainRiverhead Books2001****Wow! A great summer read. Two of us have already followed the priest’s advise.
2003The Mark of the AngelNancy HustonMcArthur1999Our pot luck supper was as enjoyable as the book discussion.
2003Life of PiYann MartelVintage Books2002***A fascinating book. Worth the read.
2003Girl In Hyacinth BlueSusan VreelandPenguin Books2000We had an interesting discussion about art and its value.
2003Our Lady of the Lost and FoundDiane SchoemperlenPerennialCanada2001***This was one of those books where we read out our favourite bits – always a sign that we like the book.
2003Isobel GunnAudrey ThomasPenguin Books1999***A glimpse of life at a Hudson’s Bay Company fort, and on Scotland’s Orkney islands. Is it true Orcadians joined the Company to come to James’ Bay to warm up? We all found it a fascinating glimpse into Canadian history. The audio book is excellent and we have no doubt it will make a good movie.
2002The RusslanderSandra BirdsellMcClelland & Stewart2002Interesting for its historical glimpse into Revolutionary Russia especially.
2002The House of Sand and FogAndre DubusW.W. Norton1999***A compelling read. It isn’t happy books that provoke discussion – this is a truly tragic story, and we found lots of ‘whys’ to discuss.
2002Last OrdersGraham SwiftSony Pictures – video2001Unlike Hollywood films, this British production remains true to the book and how the story is told with many voices. We were most impressed.
2002Last OrdersGraham SwiftVintage1996**A good discussion book – what is your ‘ashes’ story? (A review by Adrian Poole from The Guardian)
2002Miss Garnet’s AngelSalley VickersHarper2001****Another tale set in Venice. Lots of things to discuss in this book. We all enjoyed it very much. Her web site is incredible.
2002Kim (the movie) Starring Errol Flynn and Dean Stockwell as Kim.Rudyard KiplingMGM1950Viewing date: to be re-scheduled – the video was out, so we watched ‘Oh Brother, where art thou?’ instead.
2002No Great MischiefAlistair MacLeodMcClelland & Stewart2001The closeness of the clan.. them and us .. together in music?
2002The Garden of EdenSharon ButalaHarper1998A good turnout on a snowy night and a good discussion.
2002KimRudyard KiplingPenguin1989Much enjoyed – the way of action and the way of contemplation. We plan to watch the video on May 5th
2002The Red TentAnita DiamantPicador1997Lots to discuss – we liked it, and thanked God we live in this century.
2001Calculating GodRobert SawyerTOR2000We liked the swipes at Canadians’ foibles. Good humour and generated discussion about the scientists’ views of God.
2001Girl with a Pearl EarringTracy ChevalierDutton2000We thought it a very good period piece. And the movie is amazing!
2001Moonlight on the Avenue of FaithGina NahaiHarcourt Brace1999**Great story telling – Iran through the eyes and tears of Iranian Jewish women.
2001PilgrimTimothy FindleyHarper1999Should you believe a person, even if they seem crazy? – Some of us liked the book, some did not.
2001The HoursMichael CunninghamPicador1998Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. About Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway then, and Mrs. Dalloway today, living in New York… Very cleverly done. Read Mrs Dalloway again first, to get the most out of it.
2001PilateAnn WroeVintage2000***‘The biography of an invented man’. A fascinating look at all the speculations about Pilate across the ages, from mystery plays to Hollywood movies. An excellent book to have read over Lent.
2001DisgraceJ.M. CoetzeeVintage2000**Sparsely written, yet the characters are vivid and the feel of a new South Africa is real. We found lots to discuss.
2001Stone VirginBarry UnsworthPenguin1985***Lots of layers in Unsworth’s works, and he always provides a mystery – we had a good discussion
2000The SparrowMary Doria RussellBallantine1996****A Jesuit mission to another planet. One of the best.
2000The Poisonwood BibleBarbara KingsolverHarperCollins1998****Top notch. A view of Africa like no other.
2000After HannibalBarry UnsworthNorton1998***The Italian landscape. Another multi-age story from Unsworth, one of our favourite authors.
1999The Kiss of the Fur QueenThomson HighwayDoubleday1998***Read this to understand what havoc the residential schools caused.
1999Behind the Scenes at the MuseumKate AtkinsonSaint Martin’s Press1999Another dysfunctional family.
1999Memoirs of a GeishaArthur GoldenVintage1997Most interesting is the glimpse of what it was like in Japan during the Second World War.
1999Cold MountainCharles FrazierVintage1998***National Book Award Winner. A civil war soldier’s trek back home. Stunning images of the land.
1999RegenerationPat BarkerNAL1993**A British officer denounces the war (World War I) and is sent for ‘rehabilitation’.
1999Larry’s PartyCarol ShieldsVintage1997**
1998The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal GuzmanLouis De BernièresVintage1993South American surrealism.
1998Fall on Your KneesAnn-Marie MacDonaldVintage1996
1998The Sixteen PleasuresRobert HellengaDelta1995Art and love in Italy.
1998The Shipping NewsE. Annie ProulxSimon & Schuster1993***Pulitzer Prize Winner
1998The Bone PeopleKeri HulmePicador1986****Searing. One of our best reads.
1997The Tortilla CurtainT. Coraghessan BoylePenguin1995The Mexican/US border and lives of contrast. Something to re-read now that Bush is President?
1997Stones from the RiverUrsula HegiScribner1994Examines the lives of the people in a German town as the time moves from the first to the second world war.
1997Knowledge of AngelsJill Paton WalshGreen Bay1994***An examination of faith and intolerance, told as a fable.
1997Remembering BabylonDavid MaloufKnopf1993
1997Fugitive PiecesAnne MichaelMcClelland & Stewart1996****Reads like poetry. Orange Prize winner.
1997Morality PlayBarry UnsworthNorton1995***A medieval murder mystery. Unsworth explores the medieval morality play and the roles played by those in medieval society.
1997Captain Corelli’s MandolinLouis De BernièresVintage1994****An unlikely but beautiful love story set on the Greek island of Cephallonia beginning during the Axis occupation in the late 1930s.
1996Angels and insectsA.S. ByattVintage1992
1996The Piano Man’s DaughterTimothy FindleyHarperCollins1995
1996The Rest of LifeMary GordonViking1993
1996The ChoirJoanna TrollopeBlack Swan1988
1996A Thousand AcresJane SmileyFawcett Columbine1992
1995Open SecretsAlice MunroPenguin1994
1995A Suitable BoyVikram SethHarperPerennial1993A long read, but if you just let it flow over you…
1995HappenstanceCarol ShieldsVintage1982Her story/his story – which one did you read first?
1995Midnight’s ChildrenSalman RushdiePenguin1980****The best Booker!
1995The Stone DiariesCarol ShieldsVintage1983
1995Children of MenP.D. JamesA.A. Knopf1993What would happen if we could no longer procreate?
1994The Volcano LoverSusan SontagAnchor Books1993
1993Mystical PathsSusan HowatchFawcett1993An Anglican Church reading group has to read at least one Susan Howatch. A good discussion about good and evil.
1993SilenceShusaku EndoTaplinger Publishing Company1980Jesuits in Japan
1993Black WaterJoyce Carol OatesPlume1993
1993UtzBruce ChatwinPenguin1988
1993Palace WalkNaguib MahfuzDoubleday1990Fascinating glimpse behind veiled lives. Some of us also read the other 2 volumes of the Cairo Trilogy: Palace of Desire and Sugar Street.
1993The Dark is RisingSusan CooperCollier1973Magical struggle between good and evil.
1993BelovedToni MorrisonPlume19881988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
1993A Brief History of TimeStephen HawkingBantam Books1988
1992The Color of BloodBrian MooreMcClelland & Stewart1987
1992Such a Long JourneyRohinton MistryMcClelland & Stewart1991The movie is excellent as well.
1992The SpireWilliam GoldingFaber and Faber1964***We read this not long after the Development underneath and behind the Cathedral. And kept a close watch on our Dean…
1992The Age of InnocenceEdith WhartonCollier1992A Pulitzer Prize book, first published in 1920. We also watched and enjoyed the movie.
1992Waiting for GodotSamuel BeckettFaber and Faber1965
1992Disturbing the PeaceVaclav HavelVintage1991
1992The Famished RoadBen OkriVintage1991****There isn’t another book like this one. You are transported to a surreal, spiritual world.
1992Measure for MeasureWilliam ShakespeareCambridge U.P1969We had a fun time trying to figure out what Shakespeare was getting at.
1992The Invisible WormJennifer JohnstonPenguin1992The first in the genre of dysfunctional families?
1992A History of the World in 10 1/2 ChaptersJulian BarnesVintage1989If you only ever read one Julian Barnes, why not try this one? Highly entertaining.
199?The ReaderBernhard SchlinkPantheon Books1997
199?The Master and MargaritaMikhail BulgakovVintage1996
199?The Republic of LoveCarol ShieldsFawcett1992
199?Possession: a romanceA.S. ByattVintage1991
199?The Kitchen God’s WifeAmy TanIvy Books1991
199?Lives of the SaintsNino RicciCormorant Books1990Winner of the Governor General’s award
199?The Remains of the DayKazuo IshiguroPenguin1990
199?A Prayer for Owen MeanyJohn IrvingBallantine1989****What a great character!
199?Tiger MoonPenelope LivelyPenguin19881987 Booker Prize Winner.
199?The SonglinesBruce ChatwinPenguin1987
199?The Handmaid’s TaleMargaret AtwoodBantam-Seal1986Apparently written after a visit to Afghanistan.
199?Speaker for the DeadOrson Scott CardTOR1986Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards. A science fiction treat.
199?Not Wanted on the VoyageTimothy FindleyViking1984The tale of a woodworm on Noah’s Ark! Great discussion.
199?Monsignor QuixoteGraham GreenePenguin1983
199?The Mists of AvalonMarion Zimmer BradleyDel Rey1982The Arthurian legend, re imagined from the perspective of the women.
198?All Hallow’s EveCharles WilliamsEerdmans1982
199?The Mismeasure of ManStephen Jay GouldW. W. Norton1981****One of our rare non-fiction titles. An important book whose points you don’t forget – the misuse of science and the fallacies of reification.
198?Who was Oswald Fish?A.N. WilsonPenguin1981
198?The Healing ArtA.N. WilsonPenguin1980
198?The BellIris MurdochPanther1976
198?NightElie WieselAvon1960
198?Till We Have FacesC.S. LewisCollins1956