january 8, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 54  

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30 Books You Should Read Before You’re 30

Sea of Slaughter
— Farley Mowat

Typically excluded from Canadian literary circles, Mowat’s wonderful tales of the North are unfortunately often overlooked.

Sea of Slaughter is a grim recounting of the devastation suffered by the wildlife of the North Atlantic seaboard at the hands of European man. Mowat’s book argues how this slaughter has forever damaged the health of the planet as a whole. Mowat attempts to reconstruct and reveal the extent of the losses suffered by marine wildlife and denotes the need to become aware of the immense negative impact humanity has had on the environment.

Mowat’s passionate environmentalism and storytelling transcends throughout Sea of Slaughter, creating a masterfully executed work that is both seeringly disturbing and overwhelmingly effective in achieving its goal.

—Kelly Marcella

The Forest People
— Colin M. Turnbull

It’s not often that academic books in specific fields of study can appeal to a wider audience and tell a great story at the same time. Turnbull’s The Forest People, however, accomplishes just that.

Turnbull’s text is an anthropological study of his time spent living with the BaMbuti Pygmies in Africa. What makes his text so refreshing is that Turnbull is not simply a cynical observer, but becomes integrated into this African society.

His description of the customs and ceremonies of the Pygmies carries the reader into a world completely different from our own in a way that makes the reader feel present. As an academic study, this text provides fascinating information alongside Turnbull’s descriptions and storytelling, making the text an enjoyable read on all accounts.

—Kelly Marcella

The Tao of Pooh
— Benjamin Hoff

If you’re reading this, chances are pretty good you’re in university. If this is the case, do yourself a favour and pick this book up immediately. Most students would agree our lives here are full of stress. Balancing lectures, tutorials, readings, exams, essays and grouchy profs can sometimes drive us crazy.

The Tao of Pooh unites the principles of Taoism — an ancient Chinese philosophy that focuses on relaxation of the mind and spirit — with Winnie the Pooh, one of the world’s most beloved literary characters.

Hoff writes in the first person and structures his book as conversations with Winnie, Piglet, Tigger and all the rest of Pooh’s friends. This allows for an easy-to-follow question and answer tone that leads the reader through the details of Taoism.

—Maggie Wrobel

— Blake Nelson

This was my favourite book in high school and still rates as the book I’ve re-read the most in the last five years. The narrator is Andrea Marr, a teenage girl trying to find her identity in the midst of her ultra-suburban high school.

The most unbelieveable thing about Girl is that it’s not actually written by a teenage girl, but by a man in his mid-twenties. Nelson captures Andrea’s naive and angsty tone perfectly in this diary-style novel, as Andrea describes incidents such as her first sexual experience and her first “love.”

I think his novel is a seminal, must-read work because it describes adolescence so perfectly. It’s an achievement in narrative. The only book that beats it is my all-time favourite: The Catcher in the Rye.

—Maggie Wrobel



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