It’s be­gin­ning to look a lot like…cozy read­ing time! As the chill winds blow, we’re gear­ing up to hun­ker down with the lat­est in thought­pro­vok­ing books that en­ter­tain and em­power. Sara’s PICK

Canadian Living - - Contents -

Kick off your fire­side read­ing with these en­ter­tain­ing picks

The Trav­el­ling Cat Chron­i­cles FIC­TION (VIK­ING CANADA) BY HIRO ARIKAWA, $25.

A crooked-tailed stray cat used to life on the streets, Nana re­luc­tantly al­lowed him­self to be­come a happy house cat after his hu­man, Sa­toru, saved him. Now, Sa­toru is tak­ing Nana on an epic road trip across Ja­pan, though he’s not clear why. To­gether, they visit Sa­toru’s old­est friends and marvel at the chang­ing land­scape as they travel from moun­tain to sea and form that im­pen­e­tra­ble bond that only ar­dent pet lovers un­der­stand. Beaut­ifully told, this is a heart­warm­ing (yet heart­break­ing) story of love, loy­alty and loss. I laughed, I read funny quotes aloud to friends...and I wept. Like re­ally, re­ally wept. —SC


“My hus­band did not mean to kill An­nie Doyle, but the ly­ing tramp de­served it.” So be­gins Liz Nu­gent’s sopho­more ef­fort—a novel of dark, des­per­ate psy­cho­log­i­cal sus­pense much in keep­ing with the pace of her de­but, the best­selling Un­rav­el­ing Oliver. In this book, Ly­dia and An­drew Fitzsi­mon seem to have it all, un­til one night An­drew mur­ders a down-and-out Dublin junkie, and the cou­ple’s life, along with that of their son, Lau­rence, takes a sin­is­ter turn. This is a topsy-turvy thrill ride that will make you ques­tion the ve­rac­ity of each char­ac­ter right up un­til the chill­ing end. —SM


Chan­nelling He­len Reddy’s clas­sic song “I Am Woman,” Cecelia Ah­ern has cre­ated a pow­er­house col­lec­tion of sto­ries cen­tring on women in var­i­ous stages of flux in their lives, from re­turn­ing to a job after ma­ter­nity leave to ques­tion­ing the longevity of a mar­riage to a spouse who ir­ri­tates more than in­trigues. By leav­ing all the women name­less, Ah­ern clev­erly in­vites us to re­late to the char­ac­ters; in­deed, their cir­cum­stances are uni­ver­sal and re­lat­able. And each is em­pow­ered to find a happy end­ing that al­lows her to roar. —SM

A mem­oir seems like a straight­for­ward thing: a life story told in nar­ra­tive form. But re­cently, me­moirs have been play­ing with that struc­ture and com­ing from peo­ple we didn’t ex­pect. This list fea­tures a small se­lec­tion of new works from women we find fas­ci­nat­ing: Pick up Michelle Obama’s hotly an­tic­i­pated chron­i­cle, opt for Reese Wither­spoon’s mem­oir-meets–hos­pi­tal­ity tome or laugh out loud at Anne T. Don­ahue’s es­say-form life lessons. All dif­fer­ent, but all can’t-put-down, in­spir­ing reads.


In­spired by Daphne du Mau­rier’s beloved 1938 novel, Re­becca, this slow-burn­ing thriller lay­ers in the com­plex­i­ties of mod­ern day— namely, so­cial me­dia—and feels con­tem­po­rary, fem­i­nist and po­lit­i­cal. After be­ing swept off her feet by a charm­ing state se­na­tor, Max Win­ter, the mod­est un­named nar­ra­tor moves to Ash­er­ley es­tate, where things just don’t feel right— whether it’s the mem­ory of Max’s late wife, Re­bekah, or his brood­ing teenage daugh­ter. The un­der­ly­ing mood of the story is de­cid­edly eerie, al­though you can’t quite put your fin­ger on why un­til the shock­ing con­clu­sion. —AE


James Frey’s per­sonal nar­ra­tive has been al­most as grip­ping as his nov­els, so it’s easy to see how one in­forms the other— whether the word “mem­oir” is stamped on the cover or not. In Ka­te­rina (a novel), you’ll find all of the things you love about Frey’s writ­ing: sex, drugs, re­gret. This time, the lo­cale is Paris (in 1992) and L.A. (in 2017) and the pro­tag­o­nist is (not-so­sub­tly named) Jay. He’s an as­pir­ing writer, div­ing deep into the strug­gling artist world in the early ’90s when he meets Ka­te­rina, a woman who cap­tures his heart. Twenty-five years later, Jay is suc­cess­ful, has weath­ered storms (some of them oddly fa­mil­iar) and has just re­ceived a blast from his al­co­hol­soaked past in the City of Light. —AD

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