30 Books You Should Read Before You’re
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.
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
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.
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
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.
— 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.