Here’s our 2nd post from our celebrity guest blogger: actress Sara Canning! You may recognize Sara from TV shows like Global TV’s Remedy and The Vampire Diaries. Over the next couple months, Sara is going to share her love of reading, and posts about her favourite books here on the Savvy Reader. Read her first post here.
Now here’s Sara!
In honor of the 50 Book Pledge, I’m sharing a few favourites. Herewith, some of the books that have influenced me throughout my life.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Reading this book changed the way my inner monologue narrates the world around me (and yes, I’m cool with casually chatting about my inner monologue.) A fictional journal, it’s a charming 1930s account of an eccentric family living in the crumbling ruins of an English castle. It inspired my teenage self to pick up a pen and attempt to capture everyday experiences and people with some of the protagonist’s flourish. If you’re looking for a love story that’s balanced with wit, glorious characters, and whimsy just beyond reach of our modern lifestyles, give this one a read.
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
The first time I read Rilke’s letters, I took them so to heart that I probably looked over my shoulder to look for an apparition of him, nodding pure encouragement. Though written to a poet, I suspect these letters speak volumes to any artist. The desires for critique and evolution, the doors to the sprawling galaxy that art encompasses, are all addressed beautifully. Though the letters deal specifically with writing, I believe they apply to all forms. “Must I write? Must I act? Paint? Create music? Dance?”
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
From the time I was nine years old, I was enthralled with Anne Shirley: a character completely curious and self-deprecating, yet beguilingly self-realized. I don’t think I recognized it as a kid, but I fell in love with her because she was flawed and insisted so formidably on being better. On being her own ideal. Anne was one of my first leading roles in high school, my first box of bright red hair colour, and my first deep connection to a character.
It Chooses You by Miranda July
True to style, Miranda July’s collection of interviews is odd and wildly moving and completely surprising. This book sprung from the author feeling at a standstill with a project she was working on, and I could only dream of finding an outlet half as illuminating to battle writers’ block or procrastination.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
My high school copy of this classic is filled with highlighted passages and margin scribbles. They are some of my first meditations on the potential of humankind to keep moving forward despite dire circumstances.
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Though alarmingly dysfunctional, this memoir doesn’t seek sympathy. It skillfully weaves addiction and neglect with charisma and tumultuous adventure. Walls gives us a very honest account of her childhood, balanced between the frank terrors she experienced and the misguided vision of a glass castle – an ideal life – that her father painted for her family.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
This epic family saga is the most intimate and beautiful reading I’ve experienced on gender identity.
ANYTHING by Margaret Atwood or Roald Dahl
I’d love to hear about the books that have influenced all of you. Please share! I’m always adding titles to my To-Read pile (mountain!)
Sara’s Pick of the Month
This novel is a glance at post WWI England through a feminist lens. The story follows Charlotte Brown as she settles back into her ‘normal life’ after nursing wounded soldiers. Though, as the book reveals throughout, there is no true normal to return to, as the ravages of war are felt in every aspect of daily life. There’s intrigue, but it fits well within the era. Her reunion with a past flame doesn’t lead the protagonist into heart fluttering and daydreams, but rather fuels her as a developing activist. I think this novel will very much appeal to fans of historical fiction and Downton Abbey (which I binge watched.)