Each summer, 100.9 Canoe FM’s Haliburton County Reads runs a special five-week series that pits community members against each other in a “friendly” battle of the books competition. On July 10th at 6pm, the 2013 edition will begin and I am curious to see which of the following five books in contention will take the prize.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, the only book of the five that I have read thus far, is a British novel in the ilk of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. It follows an awkward elderly man named Harold as he walks across England to visit an old friend, Queenie, on her death bed. He has wronged Queenie and feels he must atone for his past. The reader only discovers, as the novel progresses, why exactly they were estranged.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is about the lives of Ursula Todd. Born in a snowstorm in England in 1910, Ursula dies before she can take her first breath. During that same snowstorm, however, she is born again and lives to tell the tale… over and over again. With each new life she is able to make small changes that send her on a completely different path.
The Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds centers around a legendary library that contains written works dating back to ancient Rome and Greece. The story begins with the assassination of a CIA agent. The agent’s son, Judd, learns that his father claimed to have information about the Library of Gold and joins forces with Eva, a rare-book expert, to find its location. It is more than your average ancient library, however, as it has a mysterious connection to a sinister terrorist plot.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is set at a boarding school for children. Our hero Taylor Markham resides in this school after being abandoned by her mother at a 7-11. Now, at age seventeen, she is a school leader but she must balance this responsibility with some added turmoil in her life: her friend and mentor Hannah has suddenly disappeared…and she believes the disappearance may be connected to her mother.
Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul by David Adams Richards, the only Canadian contender on this year’s show, moves back and forth between events in 1985 and 2006/7. In 1985, Markus Paul was a young man, living with his grandfather on a reserve. When a young Micmac man, Hector, is killed in what at first appears to be an accident, rumours start and soon fingers are pointed at white loner, Roger Savage. This novel follows the search for what really happened to Hector and how his death impacted the lives of so many.
Let us know which of these five books you will rooting for by participating in our Goodreads online book club. It is accessible through our website at www.haliburtonlibrary.ca. Reserve the Haliburton County Reads books today at your local library branch and, of course, be sure to tune in to 100.9 Canoe FM at 6pm on Wednesdays starting July 10th to see how the competition plays out.
*Originally published on July 4th in Haliburton County Living