Wish List: 5 Books for Your Heart, Mind and Soul There is no better gift than a thoughtful book. It has so much power to move the reader.

You know what else? They’re the easiest thing in the world to buy. You can order online from Amazon or Indigo and have the gift delivered to their door. Or, their Kindle account. Be a hero without getting out of bed.  No excuses this year. A book for your favourite female is a sure thing.

Side question: what’s the rule on regifting books? I stumbled upon a used book sale recently and walked away with 10 mint condition books for less than $6.00.  Yes, a few will be wrapped and under the tree this year.

I’ve got an all time favourite list I’ll save for another post, but, if you’re looking for a perfect gift for your bff buy her one or all of these. And, share your suggestions  -leave a comment below or email here!

  1. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body– Roxane Gay

    book, roxane gay, hunger

    Hunger, by Roxane Gay

    In 2014, Roxnne Gay released the runaway hit Bad Feminist about the struggles and contradictions of identifying as a feminist but still liking things a ‘good’ feminist would never (like sexually charged rap music, or knowing how to fix her car). Hunger is (43 year-old) Gay’s memoir where she dives into her rape at 12, being fat, and bi-sexual.  Strong feminist voices that are funny, poignant and so so brave light a fire within me.

  2. milk and honeyRupi Kaur

    rupi kaur, book, milk and honey

    Rupi Kaur, milk and honey

    By far one of my favourite books to come across this year (I’ve already bought three copies).Canadian Rupi Kaur (What’s up, Brampton?) is a breakout illustrator/poet and young feminist voice, who hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. When poetry sales shot up by 79% in 2016, she was credited. If you think poetry isn’t your jam, you need to give milk and honey a read. Divided into four parts (the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing) it’s gut wrenching and it’s sexy.  She’s also just released a follow up called The Sun And Her Flowers. She’s got over a mil followers on instagram @rupikaur.  You might remember a few years ago Instagram bosses pulled down a post of a woman, fully clothed, showing a period stain on her pants? That was Rupi’s work. Instagram was called out, and reposted her image.

  3. The Joy of Creativity – Emma Hill and Jessica Singh

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    The Joy of Creativity journal

    As someone who makes a living in a creative field, it’s challenging to ‘be creative’ all day on command and then find time to recharge with something you do for pure pleasure. Slowly, my play time has been edged out, leaving me drained and less creative in the end.  This year I made the ‘non-productive-only-for-fun-creativity’ a priority, making sure I put down the work and take up the things that bring me happiness to refill the creativity tank. Sewing, building, writing, photography. As luck would have it, one of my dear friends gave this book to me on my birthday and I love it. It has clever writing prompts and thoughtful (but not difficult) questions that will stir your creativity.

  4. Option BSheryl Sandberg

    book, balloon, option b, grief, sheryl sandberg, white blouse, facebook, author, dave goldberg

    Option B, Sheryl Sandberg

    Facebook COO and Gen X superstar Sheryl Sandberg showed us her smarts and her leadership with her bestseller Lean In, and, then, after the death of her husband Dave Goldberg in 2015 she now shows us her vulnerability and heart and what it was like to lose him so suddenly and how she found a way to keep going. Option B talks about her journey with grief, building resilience and finding joy. Buy it for anyone who’s experienced a great loss this year.

  5. Feeding My Mother –Jann Arden

    book, singer, jann arden, canadian, author, feeding my mother, alzheimers

    Jann Arden, Feeding My Mother

    As we get older we see our parents get smaller and more vulnerable in so many ways. And, for a rapidly growing percentage – nearly 1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s- the disease wreaks havoc on it’s victims. Caregivers and  loved ones must cope and endure a brutal and heart wrenching decline. I’ve seen it first hand. It is uniquely devastating. Our delightful and frank Jann Arden shares her poignant and inspirational story of taking care of (and cooking for, obvi) her mother in the throes of Alzheiner’s. Every chapter includes recipes!

Now it’s your turn, book lovers. Share your favourites! The world needs more good book reccos.


Lit List: 12 Books to Celebrate ‘Canada 150’ There is nothing quite as juicy as a really good list of books, especially when it is from someone you know has impeccable taste.  Every month we’ll feature a Lit List by someone inspiring who loves books as much as I do.

Between her demanding editing schedule, traveling and being nominated for the prestigious 2017 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur award, Editor and Literary Agent, Faith Farthing of Edmonton, Alberta was nice enough to share a dozen of her all-time favourite books by Canadian authors. Some classics you’ll recognize, a few you may need to scour the used book store for, and, one I’m confident you won’t see on any other list (and, I’m so glad she recommended).

Fun fact: In true Canadian form 6 of the 12 books were written by immigrants to Canada. See if you know which ones.

“My favourite books usually inspire me to travel or change my thinking about something, laugh or sob out loud, stand in another’s unfillable shoes, temporarily escape my insanity, or visit my deep, dark side.”  -Faith Farthing


A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry

Set in “an unidentified city” in India, initially in 1975 and later in 1984 during the turmoil of The Emergency.The book concerns four characters from varied backgrounds – Dina Dalal, Ishvar Darji, his nephew Omprakash Darji and the young student Maneck Kohlah – who come together and develop a bond.

This book won Mistry the Giller Prize in 1995, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, the 1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the 1996 Man Booker. But, it became a household name when it was selected for Oprah’s Book Club in 2001 In 2005,  Source



The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt

If you’re looking for a book with awards-cred, The Sisters Brothers is a solid bet.  It won the Governor General’s Award for English language fiction in 2011, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and  the 2012 Stephen Leacock Award, On top of the wins, it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the 2012 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. NBD. The Sisters Brothers “is a genre bending Western about two sensitive cowboy brothers: the hit men Eli and Charlie Sisters. During the Gold Rush of the 1800s, they travel on horseback from Colorado to California on a mission to kill a prospector.” Source


The Stone Angel,Margaret Laurence

Published in 1964 when Laurence was 38, The Stone Angel is consistently listed as one of the greatest Canadian novels ever written. Hagar Shipley at 90 is a proud, powerful, tyrannical woman suffering the indignities of old age. She relives her life by narrating memories as she battles to come to terms with herself before she dies.. Hagar’s character and voice are justly praised as Laurence’s most inspired creations. Many readers find Hagar to be a rich fictional composite of actual women’s lives in small towns on the Prairies. Source



The Inconvenient Indian, Thomas King

Richard Wagamese in The Globe and Mail called The Inconvenient Indian, winner of the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize, “essential reading for everyone who cares about Canada and who seeks to understand native people, their issues and their dreams. We come to understand that Indians are inconvenient because, despite everything, we have not disappeared.

Thomas King is beyond being a great writer and storyteller, a lauded academic and educator. He is a towering intellectual. For native people in Canada, he is our Twain; wise, hilarious, incorrigible, with a keen eye for the inconsistencies that make us and our society flawed, enigmatic, but ultimately powerful symbols of freedom.” Source



419, Will Ferguson

Over the last decade, Will Ferguson has made the seemingly effortless transition from successful humorist and travel writer to successful comic novelist. 419 follows a Canadian editor from her comfortable life in Calgary to neo-liberalism’s lawless frontiers in the oil- and blood-drenched streets and backwaters of Nigeria. Source


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make aBig Difference, Malcolm Gladwell

Is there anyone left who hasn’t read at least one of Gladwell’s books? The Tipping Point became an international sensation, selling 1.7 million copies (not bad for a first time author) and, made us look at Hush Puppies in a whole new way. It also gave us some new terms for the lexicon – e.g. The Law of The Few, Power of Context. His breezy intellectual theorizing inspired a new genre of books like his, and placed him on Time’s 100 Most Powerful People list, multiple times.


Happenstance, Carol Shields

The first of two Carol Shields appearances on this list. These two unique novels tell the stories of Jack and Brenda Bowman during a rare time apart in their long marriage. In The Husband’s Story Jack is at home coping with domestic crises and two uncouth adolescents while immobilized by self-doubt and questioning his worth as a historian. In The Wife’s Story, Brenda, traveling alone for the first time, is in a strange city grappling with an array of emotions and toying with the idea of an affair. (BTW, Shields published her first novel (while raising 3 kids) Small Ceremonies , at 40.) Source


Larry’s Party, Carol Shields

The highly acclaimed novel Larry’s Party, is an exploration of the sensibility of an ordinary man in the last years of the millennium that traces the life of Larry, a florist-turned-maze-designer. Not for nothing, it won the Orange Prize (1998), and Le Prix de Lire (France, 1998), was short-listed for the Giller Prize (1997), and was in 2001 adapted by Richard Ouzounian and composer Marek Norman as a musical play. The beloved author and professor died in 2003. Source


Room, Emma Donoghue

No doubt you’ve heard of Room the book and/or the movie which won a bushel of awards (side note: Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson are amazing), and was nominated for dozens more, including Donoghue for Best Adapted Screenplay. Written by the uber-talented, brilliant and unstoppable Emma Donaghue when she was 41, Room is one of those books that shakes you up and you can’t put down. On top of the literary acclaim (shortlisted for Man Booker, Governor Generals Award, etc), it was recently was adapted for the stage and performed at Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.

Half-breed, Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell’s journey of self-discovery is traced in Half-breed (1973), a moving account of a woman who struggled with poverty, alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual abuse and prostitution to reach thirty-three years of age and begin her healing process. Campbell tells her story in the context of Métis culture and a forgotten history. She brings in myth and creates a distinctive voice for a people ignored by mainstream society. This book has been used as a texts in countless university and college courses across North America and translated in Europe. Source


The Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill

Something you may not know about Lawrence Hill’s gripping novel is that you can’t find it south of the border. At least not by that title. The name was changed to a more palatable ‘Someone Knows My Name’ for US readers. Either way, Hill’s novel received well deserved rave reviews, from both sides of the border (New York Times, Oprah) and beyond. The 8-part mini-series was also critically acclaimed.


The Survivors Speak:A Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

It might be an unusual entry for favourite books list, but, it’s definitely one of the most important. On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued an apology to the former students of Canadians Indian residential school system, calling it a ‘sad chapter in our history’.

Soon after, his government set out to do what was long overdue to help forge a new relationship between Canada’s indigenous peoples and other Canadians—to record the survivors’ stories and encourage Canadians to attend to these voices that had been ignored for far too long. The Survivors Speak was released in 2015.

I loved that these powerful voices were transcribed and shared in their raw, unedited form.

Editors note: You can download the Report for free here, or find it on Amazon.


Who’s Lit List are you curious about? Tell me!





A Good Book Is A Good Book


I‘m not overly fussy when it comes to good writing. Authors and protagonists can be male or female. Stories can be future dystopian, or historical. My tastes tend towards memoirs, business books and fiction. But, I need it to be good. I need it to move me.

But, a book written by a strong woman about strong women? That ticks all of the Fortyology check boxes. Check out Gillian Anderson’s (The X-Files, The Fall) book We, co-written with her friend Jennifer Nadel. And, read the Lennny interview, here.

Have you read it? Thoughts?