Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers and other bookish bods to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is erudite blogger KevinfromCanada.
I first noticed Kevin’s comments appearing on many of the same book blogs I was visiting in 2008. At the time he didn’t have a blog of his own, but I was itching to know more about this chap because he sounded so knowledgeable — and opinionated — about literature.
When he did start his own blog, in 2009, I admit I didn’t exactly leap in and leave comments; I lurked for quite some time. And then one day Kevin emailed me (and a handful of other British-based book bloggers) out of the blue to discuss the ethics of reviewing free books. And a correspondence ensued. Which is how I found out he had once been a journalist and therefore we had quite a bit in common…
In fact, Kevin spent his career in newspapers. As well as being a journalist, he had been editor (of various departments), editor-in-chief and later publisher of the Calgary Herald in Canada. He left the Herald at the end of 1995, because, he jokes, “Conrad Black and I got sick of each other at about the same time.”
He then did some communications consulting work, lived in Pittsburgh for three years and then returned to Calgary in 2005.
“Since then, reading has been my main (pre)occupation and I started blogging as KevinfromCanada in January 2009 when I realised I was cluttering up a lot of other people’s blogs with comments,” he tells me.
Here’s Kevin’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
The novel is set in the India of Indira Ghandi and contrasts the terror of her repression with the joy and hope of two tailors (and a host of supporting characters) who somehow find their way through the morass that surrounds them. It is a long book, some 600-plus pages, but rewards that with an extensive cast of fully-developed characters and almost as long a list of equally well-done sub-plots.
The novel was the second winner of Canada’s Giller Prize (in 1995) and shortlisted for the Booker in 1996.
A book that changed my world
So many books have changed me that I would not even try to name a handful, let alone any single title. A couple of years ago, I did do a list of 10 “books for the island” for the Chapters.ca website that is probably as close as anything to a short list.
A haunting, short novel, set in British Columbia, it features a pair of androgynous central characters who, understandably, are alienated from the world around them and then takes off (literally) into a shaman-led experience. The book is out of print, but versions are available on most of the second-hand websites (including Abebooks).
Actually, I’d put Maillard forward as “most overlooked author”. Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, he came to Canada in 1970 and has been here ever since (I’ve always assumed that was Vietnam War-related). He is best known for his Raysburg books, set in and around a fictional community that is a thinly-veiled Wheeling (which is an industrial steel mill town in the rust belt, if you don’t know it). For my money, I can think of no author who did a better job of detailing the generation that grew up in the America of the post-War period (most of his novels do centre on younger people). A number are available at the Book Depository.
Thanks, Kevin, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
I’ve made a mental note to read A Fine Balance very soon, because I’ve heard so many great recommendations about this book in the past couple of years. Oh, and don’t forget to visit Kevin’s blog for further good reading recommendations if you haven’t already visited before…
What do you think of Kevin’s choices? Have you read any of these books?