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.

Interested? Find out more – send us a note

Cathedral Reading Group Booklist

Date Stars Author Title Publisher Published Comments (by Jane)
2020 June JK Rowling The Casual Vacancy Back Bay Books 2013 Zoom meeting: June 28 at 7 pm
2020 May *** Matthew Dicks Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend St. Martin's Griffin 2013 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 May Ian Wiliams Reproduction: A Novel Vintage Canada 2019 We 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 April Barbara Kingsolver Prodigal Summer Harper 2000 Three 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 Feb Richard Wagamese Indian Horse Douglas & McIntyre 2012 Wonderfully told - more intense than the movie - that is good writing!
2019 Dec Movie Night Indian Horse Devonshire Productions 2017 Based 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 Nov Katherena Vermette The Break House of Anansi Press 2016 An 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 Oct Esi Edugyan Washington Black Knopf 2018 A 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 Sept *** Mark Abley The Organist: Fugues, Fatherhood and a Fragile Mind University of Regina Press 2019 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 July ** Tara Westover Educated HarperCollins 2018 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 June **** Amor Towles A gentleman in Moscow Viking 2016 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 April *** James Daniel Brown The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Penguin Books 2013 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 March Gaute Heivoll Across the China Sea Graywolf Press 2017 Set 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 Feb Claire Rothman Lear's Shadow Penguin Random House 2018 A father/daughter/sister story, set in Montreal, complete with 'Shakespeare in the park' drama.
2019 Jan Cancelled due to snow! A first.
2018 Dec Movie Night Our Souls at Night Netflix 2017 We 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 Nov Claire Rothman My October Penguin Canada 2014 A 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 Oct *** Kathleen Winter Annabel House of Anansi Press 2011 Based in Newfoundland, this novel is about gender identity and social conformity. The descriptions of the people and the land are powerful. Recommended!
2018 Sept Colum McCann Let the Great World Spin Harper Perennial 2011 Interlocking 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 June Helen Simonson The Summer Before the War Random House 2016 It felt very much like Downton Abbey. An interesting part was the treatment of the refugees from Belgium.
2018 Apr Jane Urquhart Map of Glass McClelland & Stewart 2005 A family history on the waters of eastern Ontario, with the story moving back into the 19th century.
2018 Feb  Sarah Perry The Essex Serpent Custom House 2017  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 Jan Helen Humphreys Coventry HarperCollins Canada 2009 Coventry 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 Dec Movie Night Click! Sony Pictures 2006 A 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 Nov Jessica Shattuck The Women in the Castle William Morrow 2017 The 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 Oct André Alexis Fifteen Dogs Coach House Books 2015 A 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 Sept George Eliot Middlemarch various 1871  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 June Anthony Marra A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Hogarth 2014 This book is about the war in Chechnya and how people struggle to survive in intolerable situations. Another tough read like City of Thieves.
2017 April Rachel Joyce The Love Story of Queenie Hennessy Bond Street Books 2014 And then we thought the 'sequel' to Harold Fry would be lighter. It's about death in a hospice. But actually really well done.
2017 March Chris Cleave Little Bee Simon & Schuster 2010 We 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 Feb Ken Haruf Our Souls at Night Penguin 2016 His last novel, written as he knew death approached, written for his wife. Love in the final chapter of life. Beautiful.
2017 Jan Chris Cleave Everyone Brave is Forgiven Simon & Schuster 2017 A 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 Dec Alain de Botton The Course of Love Simon & Schuster 2016 The 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 Oct Yoko Ogawa The Housekeeper and the Professor Picador 2003 An ode to the beauty of mathematics (and baseball) and friendships built in spite of the Professor's memory problems.
2016 Sept Louis de Bernières The Dust That Falls From Dreams Vintage Books 2015 Edwardian 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  Eric Wright  Finding Home  Cormorant Books 2007 Where 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  David Benioff  City of thieves  Penguin Books 2009  Absorbing but tough read about the siege of Leningrad and survival WWII in Russia.
2016 April  Atticus Lish Preparation for the next life  Tyrant Books 2014  A very hard read about dysfunctional America. Interesting, some critics compared its examination of the underbelly of NYC with Dickens' of London.
2016 March  Lloyd Jones  Mister Pip  Vintage Canada 2006  Teaching Dickens in Papua New Guinea, in the middle of a civil war.
2016 February Miriam Teows All my puny sorrows Knopf Canada 2014 Annoying at first, but it got better.
2016 January Jocelyne Saucier Twenty-One Cardinals Coach House Books 2015 No every one was convinced about the ending.
2015 December Movie Night Interstellar A Christopher Nolan film 2014 An 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 **** Anthony Doerr  All the light we cannot see Scribner 2014 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 October Sean Michaels Us Conductors Random House 2014 Fiction about a real person – well done, although Jane of course had to look up stuff about the real Lev Termen.
2015 June Marly Youmans Thaliad Phoenicia Publishing 2012 Another 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 May Kate Atkinson Life After Life Random House 2013 Time travel, of a sort. The main character is born and reborn and reborn… Jane loved it!
2015 March Dave Eggers The Circle Knopf 2013 Social networking and mind control – A book we had strong opinions about, so our discussion was lively.
2015 February Gabrielle Zevin The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2014 A lighter read – good characters.
2015 January Rebecca West The Return of the Soldier various editions 1918 As 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 December Movie night – I am A fascinating documentary, trying to answer the question of what is wrong with the world and what can we do about it. Highly recommended.
2014 November Sayed Kashua Second Person Singular Grove Press 2012 The 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 October **** Erik Larson In the Garden of the Beasts Crown 2011 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 September Elizabeth Gilbert The Signature of All Things Penguin Books 2013 We liked this one – a good big summer read. A good portrait of the times, we thought.
2014 June M. L. Stedman The Light Between Oceans Scribners 2011 Was 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 May Reza Aslan Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Random House 2013 We thought it painted a vivid picture of the times. Weren’t sure of his premise that Paul and James were in opposition.
2014 March ** Jonas Jonasson The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared Harper Perennial Canada 2012 A fun read! He is a bit like Woody Allen’s Zelig.
2014 Feb Dave Eggers A Hologram for the King McSweeney’s 2012 Well… 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 Jan Jocelyne Saucier Il pleuvait des oiseaux And the birds rained down XYZ Coach House Books 20112013 We all liked the book; the characters were well drawn. Lots of discussion. We thought the translator had done an excellent job.
2013 Dec Director: Emilio Estevez The Way 2010 A movie about the Camino de Santiago. Well received.
2013 Nov Linda Rios Brook Lucifer’s Flood Realms 2008 Lots 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 Oct Jess Walter Beautiful Ruins Harper Collins 2012 The setting in Italy got me hooked… That’s why it is on this list!
2013 Sept Peter Hoeg The Elephant Keepers’ Children Other Press 2012 Weird and wacky. Jane got a kick out of it, others just found it strange.
2013 June **** Rachel Joyce The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Random House 2012 What a fascinating read! Highly recommended by the group.
2013 May Amanda Hodgkinson 22 Britannia Road Pamela Dorman Books 2011 Britain after the war, as experienced by Polish immigrants – with a history…
2013 April Colm Toibin Testament of Mary McClelland & Stewart 2012 A fascinating idea – Mary’s life after the Crucifixion, from her viewpoint.
2013 March Ann Patchett State of Wonder Harper Collins 2012 Another good read from Patchett.
2013 Feb Alice Hoffman The Dovekeepers Scribner 2012
2013 Jan Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues Thomas Allen Publishers 2011
2012 Dec Movie Night Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 20th Century Fox 2012 Judy Dench and Maggie Smith, among others. What’s not to like?!
2012 Sept Naomi Benaron Running the Rift Algonquin Books 2012 “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 June Kim Thúy Ru Random House Canada 2012 As a congregation who sponsored a Vietnamese family back in the 1970’s, this book of memories brought back memories for us as well.
2012 May Lisa Genova Left Neglected Gallery Books 2011 An intelligent novel about an over achiever stopped in her tracks after an accident leaves her with neurological damage. Author is actually a neuroscientist.
2012 April Andrea Barrett Ship Fever HarperCollins 1999 Short stories with an historical/ scientific bent. We quite liked them.
2012 March Teju Cole Open City Random House Trade 2012 We 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 Feb Johanna Skibsrud The Sentimentalists Gaspereau Press 2010 Mixed reviews, which led to some good discussion…
2012 Jan **** Abraham Verghese Cutting for Stone Vintage Canada 2010 A great read! Terrific story and characters. And with Fred and John having been to Ethiopia as doctors, that made it extra special.
2011 Dec Movie Night The King’s Speech Anchor Bay Entertainment 2010 This was a ‘encore presentation’ for all but one, but all really enjoyed it. And a December eggnog party with no snow-boots!
2011 Nov Douglas Copeland Player One: what is to become of us House of Anansi Press 2010 The 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 Oct Thomas Hardy Far from the Madding Crowd various c. 1874 Unusually for us, a classic…And on October 23 we went to see the play put on by Persephone Productions – very well done.
2011 Sept Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna Harper Collins 2009 A good summer read.
2011 June Emma Donoghue Room Back Bay Books 2011 The reviewers said it was riveting, and they were right. We had a good discussion.
2011 May ** David Mitchell The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Zoet Random House 2010 Well worth reading.
2011 March *** Jane Gardam Old Filth Europa Editions 2006 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 February Helen Simonson Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Doubleday Canada 2010 Enjoyed by all; quite witty, although some of the characters weren’t altogether believable.
2011 January Jonathan Lethem Motherless Brooklyn Vintage 1999 An American detective novel with a Tourette’s twist. Jane liked it a lot; the others, not so much.
2010 December Movie night The Ghostwriter A Roman Polanski film. 2010 A mystery/thriller.
2010 November Isabel Allende Island Beneath the Sea Harper Collins 2010 Another historical novel. An interesting part of history – Häiti and its independence from France. Some thought the characters weren’t very nuanced.
2010 October Hilary Mantel Wolf Hall Henry Holt 2009 A 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 June Lisa See Snowflower and the Secret Fan Random House 2005 Foot-binding – eech!
2010-May Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go Knopf Canada 2006 We 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-Feb Muriel Barbery and Alison Anderson The Elegance of the Hedgehog Europa Editions 2008 The beginning is a bit slow, but it turns into a great read.
2010-Jan Anna Quindlen How Reading Saved My Life Ballantine Books 1998 As expected, we all told our stories about how reading changed our lives!
2009-Dec Movie Night Miss Potter Phoenix Pictures 2007 We enjoyed the movie and its portrayal of an independent woman fit right in with the previous book.
2009-Nov Claire Rothman The Heart Specialist Cormorant Books 2009 Much enjoyed, especially the scenes of Montreal and McGill.
2009-Oct Aravind Adiga The White Tiger Atlantic Books 2008 Interesting. We discussed at length whether it had a different message than other books of India that we have read.
2009-Sept Lawrence Hill The Book of Negroes HarperCollins 2007 It well deserves the awards it has received.
2009-May Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Dial Press 2008 Seems the mail then was almost as fast as email today! Telling the story via correspondence reminded us of 84 Charring Cross Road.
2009-Apr Ann Patchett The Magician’s Assistant Harcourt 1997 Not as good as Bel Canto, but we had a good discussion.
2009-Mar ** Steff Penney The Tenderness of Wolves Quercus 2006 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-Feb Dave Eggers What is the What McSweeney’s 2006 The story of a lost boy of the Sudan. Very well written and an amazing story.
2008-Dec Movie night: WALL*E Disney-Pixar 2008 Great movie, and the special about the sound design was especially interesting.
2008-Nov *** Sandy Tolan The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East Bloomsbury USA 2007 A very good book to help one understand the situation.
2008-Oct Elizabeth Hay Late Nights on Air McClelland & Stewart 2008 We thought the canoe trip was the best part.
2008-09 Heinrich Harrer Seven Years in Tibet Harpercollins Canada 1997 A 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.
2008-06 Greg Mortensen Three Cups of Tea Penguin 2007 It made us want to read ‘Seven Years in Tibet’…
2008-05 Victor Lam Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures Anchor Canada 2006
2008-04 **** Ann Patchett Bel Canto Perennial Classics 2005 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.
2008-04 Helen Dewitt Last Samurai Hyperion 2002 Quite an interesting book – lots to talk about. Plus we watched the first half of the film, ‘The Seven Samurai’.
2008-03 Alice Munro View from Castle Rock Penguin 2007 We 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.
2008-01 *** Ayaan Hirsi Ali Infidel Free Press 2007 An amazing autobiography – very topical re reasonable accomodation. Highly recommended.
2007-12 *** Sue Monk Kidd The Secret Life of Bees Penguin Books 2002 We all enjoyed this book and found it very well written.
2007-11 Movie night Tea with Mussolini Franco Zeffirelli, director 1999 Apparently the story is based on Zeffirelli’s childhood.
2007-10 Kim Edwards The Memory Keeper’s Daughter Viking 2005 Another book for which we asked – why did the character do that?!
2007-09 Julia Glass Three Junes Pantheon 2002 Most of us quite liked the book; lots of discussion about the story and how the reader’s expectations were not necessarily followed.
2007-06 Sarah Dunant The Birth of Venus Virago 2004 We also discussed ‘Arthur and George’, about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Both books are recommended.
2007-05 Julien Barnes Arthur and George Vintage Canada 2006 Meeting Date: postponed…
2007-04 ** Steven Galloway, editor The Journey Prize Stories 18 McClelland & Stewart 2006 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!
2007-02 Orson Scott Card Pastwatch: the redemption of Christopher Columbus TOR Books 1996 An 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.
2007-01 *** Louis De Bernières Birds without Wings Random House 2004 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.
2006-12 Movie night Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) Nord-Ouest Productions 2005 The 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.
2006-11 Guy Vanderhaeghe Last Crossing McClelland & Stewart 2003 An 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.
2006-10 **** Mary Doria Russell A Thread of Grace Random House 2005 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.
2006-09 **** Salley Vickers Mr. Golightly’s Holiday Harpercollins 2004 Good book and good discussion. The layers are many and fascinating to explore.
2006-06 *** Jhumpa Lahiri The Namesake Houghton Mifflin 2004 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.
2006-05 *** Ian McEwan Saturday Knopf Canada 2005 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.
2006-03 *** Karen Armstrong The Spiral Staircase Vintage Canada 2005 A fascinating read. We all felt that Oxford owes Karen Armstrong an honourary degree at the every least!
2006-02 Marilynne Robinson Gilead Harpercollins Canada 2004 Feelings were mixed about this book. Some appreciated the quiet, meditative feel to the book; others found it lacklustre. A good discussion ensued!
2006-01 **** Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveler’s Wife Harvest Books 2004 One of our best – one of those books that you give away copies of, you like it so much.
2005 Movie night: Millions 2005 We enjoyed the movie very much. The saints were especially well done.
2005 Miriam Toews A Complicated Kindness Afred A. Knopf Canada 2004 Well written, but some felt the main character’s thought process was too mature, improbable at times for a sixteen year old.
2005 ** David Mitchell Cloud Atlas Vintage Canada 2004 We discussed the ‘mechanics’ of the book; some liked his technique and others didn’t. We felt it had been worth reading.
2005 Jonathan Safran Foer Everything is Illuminated Houghton Mifflin Co. 2004
2005 ** Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner Riverhead Books 2003 An excellent read – recommended.
2005 Rudyard Kipling Kim (the movie) Starring Errol Flynn and Dean Stockwell as Kim. MGM 1950 Finally got to see the video!
2005 Monica Ali Brick Lane Simon & Schuster 2004 We enjoyed the book, but were not sure if the ending rang true.
2004 *** Ian McEwan Atonement Vintage 2002 Recommended. This book provoked a lot of discussion, especially after everyone helped Jane figure out what the last chapter meant!
2004 ** Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code Doubleday 2003 We agreed it was a highly entertaining read, with every quasi-christian conspiracy theory there is included in the mix.
2004 *** Iain Pears The Dream of Scipio Riverhead Books 2002 3 stories linked across time – times of social disintegration. How much would you compromise to save your ‘civilization’? It provoked a good discussion.
2004 Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones Little, Brown 2002 Uneven, but it certainly makes you think about what Heaven would be for you.
2004 Chang-rae Lee A Gesture Life Riverhead Books 1999 Slow at the start, but a good read.
2004 Vikram Seth An Unequal Music McArthur & Company 2000 We had mixed feelings. Some thought it captured the life of musicians superbly; others thought it a tad melodramatic.
2004 David Guterson Snow Falling on Cedars Harcourt Brace 1994 We enjoyed the book and all thought he really knew how to describe snow beautifully.
2004 ** Michel Faber Crimson Petal and the White Harcourt 2002 A big ‘Victorian’ read which we all enjoyed.
2003 Rohinton Mistry Family Matters McClelland & Stewart 2003 Real estate really makes a difference in India!
2003 *** Mary Lawson Crow Lake Vintage Canada 2003 An excellent read.
2003 **** Nuala O’Faolain My dream of you Riverhead Books 2001 Wow! A great summer read. Two of us have already followed the priest’s advise.
2003 Nancy Huston The Mark of the Angel McArthur 1999 Our pot luck supper was as enjoyable as the book discussion.
2003 *** Yann Martel Life of Pi Vintage Books 2002 A fascinating book. Worth the read.
2003 Susan Vreeland Girl In Hyacinth Blue Penguin Books 2000 We had an interesting discussion about art and its value.
2003 *** Diane Schoemperlen Our Lady of the Lost and Found PerennialCanada 2001 This was one of those books where we read out our favourite bits – always a sign that we like the book.
2003 *** Audrey Thomas Isobel Gunn Penguin Books 1999 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.
2002 Sandra Birdsell The Russlander McClelland & Stewart 2002 Interesting for its historical glimpse into Revolutionary Russia especially.
2002 *** Andre Dubus The House of Sand and Fog W.W. Norton 1999 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.
2002 Graham Swift Last Orders Sony Pictures – video 2001 Unlike Hollywood films, this British production remains true to the book and how the story is told with many voices. We were most impressed.
2002 ** Graham Swift Last Orders Vintage 1996 A good discussion book – what is your ‘ashes’ story? (A review by Adrian Poole from The Guardian)
2002 **** Salley Vickers Miss Garnet’s Angel Harper 2001 Another tale set in Venice. Lots of things to discuss in this book. We all enjoyed it very much. Her web site is incredible.
2002 Rudyard Kipling Kim (the movie) Starring Errol Flynn and Dean Stockwell as Kim. MGM 1950 Viewing date: to be re-scheduled – the video was out, so we watched ‘Oh Brother, where art thou?’ instead.
2002 Alistair MacLeod No Great Mischief McClelland & Stewart 2001 The closeness of the clan.. them and us .. together in music?
2002 Sharon Butala The Garden of Eden Harper 1998 A good turnout on a snowy night and a good discussion.
2002 Rudyard Kipling Kim Penguin 1989 Much enjoyed – the way of action and the way of contemplation. We plan to watch the video on May 5th
2002 Anita Diamant The Red Tent Picador 1997 Lots to discuss – we liked it, and thanked God we live in this century.
2001 Robert Sawyer Calculating God TOR 2000 We liked the swipes at Canadians’ foibles. Good humour and generated discussion about the scientists’ views of God.
2001 Tracy Chevalier Girl with a Pearl Earring Dutton 2000 We thought it a very good period piece. And the movie is amazing!
2001 ** Gina Nahai Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith Harcourt Brace 1999 Great story telling – Iran through the eyes and tears of Iranian Jewish women.
2001 Timothy Findley Pilgrim Harper 1999 Should you believe a person, even if they seem crazy? – Some of us liked the book, some did not.
2001 Michael Cunningham The Hours Picador 1998 Winner 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.
2001 *** Ann Wroe Pilate Vintage 2000 ‘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.
2001 ** J.M. Coetzee Disgrace Vintage 2000 Sparsely written, yet the characters are vivid and the feel of a new South Africa is real. We found lots to discuss.
2001 *** Barry Unsworth Stone Virgin Penguin 1985 Lots of layers in Unsworth’s works, and he always provides a mystery – we had a good discussion
2000 **** Mary Doria Russell The Sparrow Ballantine 1996 A Jesuit mission to another planet. One of the best.
2000 **** Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible HarperCollins 1998 Top notch. A view of Africa like no other.
2000 *** Barry Unsworth After Hannibal Norton 1998 The Italian landscape. Another multi-age story from Unsworth, one of our favourite authors.
1999 *** Thomson Highway The Kiss of the Fur Queen Doubleday 1998 Read this to understand what havoc the residential schools caused.
1999 Kate Atkinson Behind the Scenes at the Museum Saint Martin’s Press 1999 Another dysfunctional family.
1999 Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha Vintage 1997 Most interesting is the glimpse of what it was like in Japan during the Second World War.
1999 *** Charles Frazier Cold Mountain Vintage 1998 National Book Award Winner. A civil war soldier’s trek back home. Stunning images of the land.
1999 ** Pat Barker Regeneration NAL 1993 A British officer denounces the war (World War I) and is sent for ‘rehabilitation’.
1999 ** Carol Shields Larry’s Party Vintage 1997
1998 Louis De Bernières The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman Vintage 1993 South American surrealism.
1998 Ann-Marie MacDonald Fall on Your Knees Vintage 1996
1998 Robert Hellenga The Sixteen Pleasures Delta 1995 Art and love in Italy.
1998 *** E. Annie Proulx The Shipping News Simon & Schuster 1993 Pulitzer Prize Winner
1998 **** Keri Hulme The Bone People Picador 1986 Searing. One of our best reads.
1997 T. Coraghessan Boyle The Tortilla Curtain Penguin 1995 The Mexican/US border and lives of contrast. Something to re-read now that Bush is President?
1997 Ursula Hegi Stones from the River Scribner 1994 Examines the lives of the people in a German town as the time moves from the first to the second world war.
1997 *** Jill Paton Walsh Knowledge of Angels Green Bay 1994 An examination of faith and intolerance, told as a fable.
1997 David Malouf Remembering Babylon Knopf 1993
1997 **** Anne Michael Fugitive Pieces McClelland & Stewart 1996 Reads like poetry. Orange Prize winner.
1997 *** Barry Unsworth Morality Play Norton 1995 A medieval murder mystery. Unsworth explores the medieval morality play and the roles played by those in medieval society.
1997 **** Louis De Bernières Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Vintage 1994 An unlikely but beautiful love story set on the Greek island of Cephallonia beginning during the Axis occupation in the late 1930s.
1996 A.S. Byatt Angels and insects Vintage 1992
1996 Timothy Findley The Piano Man’s Daughter HarperCollins 1995
1996 Mary Gordon The Rest of Life Viking 1993
1996 Joanna Trollope The Choir Black Swan 1988
1996 Jane Smiley A Thousand Acres Fawcett Columbine 1992
1995 Alice Munro Open Secrets Penguin 1994
1995 Vikram Seth A Suitable Boy HarperPerennial 1993 A long read, but if you just let it flow over you…
1995 Carol Shields Happenstance Vintage 1982 Her story/his story – which one did you read first?
1995 **** Salman Rushdie Midnight’s Children Penguin 1980 The best Booker!
1995 Carol Shields The Stone Diaries Vintage 1983
1995 P.D. James Children of Men A.A. Knopf 1993 What would happen if we could no longer procreate?
1994 Susan Sontag The Volcano Lover Anchor Books 1993
1993 Susan Howatch Mystical Paths Fawcett 1993 An Anglican Church reading group has to read at least one Susan Howatch. A good discussion about good and evil.
1993 Shusaku Endo Silence Taplinger Publishing Company 1980 Jesuits in Japan
1993 Joyce Carol Oates Black Water Plume 1993
1993 Bruce Chatwin Utz Penguin 1988
1993 Naguib Mahfuz Palace Walk Doubleday 1990 Fascinating glimpse behind veiled lives. Some of us also read the other 2 volumes of the Cairo Trilogy: Palace of Desire and Sugar Street.
1993 Susan Cooper The Dark is Rising Collier 1973 Magical struggle between good and evil.
1993 Toni Morrison Beloved Plume 1988 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
1993 Stephen Hawking A Brief History of Time Bantam Books 1988
1992 Brian Moore The Color of Blood McClelland & Stewart 1987
1992 Rohinton Mistry Such a Long Journey McClelland & Stewart 1991 The movie is excellent as well.
1992 *** William Golding The Spire Faber and Faber 1964 We read this not long after the Development underneath and behind the Cathedral. And kept a close watch on our Dean…
1992 Edith Wharton The Age of Innocence Collier 1992 A Pulitzer Prize book, first published in 1920. We also watched and enjoyed the movie.
1992 Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot Faber and Faber 1965
1992 Vaclav Havel Disturbing the Peace Vintage 1991
1992 **** Ben Okri The Famished Road Vintage 1991 There isn’t another book like this one. You are transported to a surreal, spiritual world.
1992 William Shakespeare Measure for Measure Cambridge U.P 1969 We had a fun time trying to figure out what Shakespeare was getting at.
1992 Jennifer Johnston The Invisible Worm Penguin 1992 The first in the genre of dysfunctional families?
1992 Julian Barnes A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters Vintage 1989 If you only ever read one Julian Barnes, why not try this one? Highly entertaining.
199? Bernhard Schlink The Reader Pantheon Books 1997
199? Mikhail Bulgakov The Master and Margarita Vintage 1996
199? Carol Shields The Republic of Love Fawcett 1992
199? A.S. Byatt Possession: a romance Vintage 1991
199? Amy Tan The Kitchen God’s Wife Ivy Books 1991
199? Nino Ricci Lives of the Saints Cormorant Books 1990 Winner of the Governor General’s award
199? Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day Penguin 1990
199? **** John Irving A Prayer for Owen Meany Ballantine 1989 What a great character!
199? Penelope Lively Tiger Moon Penguin 1988 1987 Booker Prize Winner.
199? Bruce Chatwin The Songlines Penguin 1987
199? Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale Bantam-Seal 1986 Apparently written after a visit to Afghanistan.
199? Orson Scott Card Speaker for the Dead TOR 1986 Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards. A science fiction treat.
199? Timothy Findley Not Wanted on the Voyage Viking 1984 The tale of a woodworm on Noah’s Ark! Great discussion.
199? Graham Greene Monsignor Quixote Penguin 1983
199? Marion Zimmer Bradley The Mists of Avalon Del Rey 1982 The Arthurian legend, re imagined from the perspective of the women.
198? Charles Williams All Hallow’s Eve Eerdmans 1982
199? **** Stephen Jay Gould The Mismeasure of Man W. W. Norton 1981 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? A.N. Wilson Who was Oswald Fish? Penguin 1981
198? A.N. Wilson The Healing Art Penguin 1980
198? Iris Murdoch The Bell Panther 1976
198? Elie Wiesel Night Avon 1960
198? C.S. Lewis Till We Have Faces Collins 1956