This Earth Day, Read Your Way Across Canada

Hey Savvy Readers! This Saturday is Earth Day, and we think that the best way to truly connect with the natural beauty of Canada is to read, read, read!

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Some pretty incredible books have been inspired by Canada. The country boasts some of the most beautiful ecological attractions and inspiring communities. We’ve curated our favourite books to help you read your way across Canada and celebrate!

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Top 10 Books about Sisters!

Hey there Savvy Readers! This week is dedicated to our readers out there who have a sister, are a sister, or maybe even have a friend who is like a sister. These lovely books explore the depths of sisterhood – everything from psychological thrillers to warmhearted comedies.

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Thrillers

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Sisters Lydia and Claire are as different as night and day. Claire is the glamourous trophy wife of a millionaire, while single mother Lydia is tight on money and dating an ex-convict. The two are barely on speaking terms due to a tragic past, but when tragedy strikes again, will they be able to reconcile in order to find redemption?  International bestselling author Karin Slaughter has written a brilliant, heart wrenching story that fits our sisterhood theme beautifully. Continue reading

Inderjit’s 50 Book Pledge April Update

Inderjit (@InderjitDeogun) is an Art History graduate, an environmentalist and a loud-and-proud bookworm. When she’s not fighting against climate change, she has her nose stuck in a book. With a particular love for children’s literature, Inderjit believes a word can be worth a thousand pictures. This is her second year participating in the 50 Book Pledge. To visit Inderjit’s bookshelf click here and be sure to check back monthly for her 50 Book Pledge updates!

Where some people have a single passion that fuels their creativity, curiosity and imagination, I have three: The environment, books and art. My attraction to the latter was so great that I specialized in art history in university. And I’m still happy to spend endless hours wandering through galleries and museums losing myself in art, wanting to decipher the purpose of each brushstroke, colour, and gesture. There is a story behind every piece of art and it’s clear that Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls, knows just how true this is.

Unlike those classes I took, some of which gave but a glimpse into the artist, his life and inspiration, Buchanan ventures far deeper in The Painted Girls. She dives into Degas’ process and into the life of his subject matter. Degas aims to “capture the true story of a heart and a body” through his work and Buchanan does the same with her main characters — Antoinette, Marie and Charlotte van Goethem. The author masterfully dissects their thoughts and actions, all of which are influenced by a dead father, a drunken mother, a life of poverty and the ambition of becoming a ballerina.

These three sisters also bear “the burden of having what men desire, for the heaviness of knowing it is ours to give, that with our flesh we make our way in the world.” Both Antoinette and Marie must decide if the moral cost of prostitution is worth what a handful of francs can buy.

What struck me deeply is how these sisters perceive their own beauty and the beauty of one another.

My fingers go to my brow, drop to my jaw. I have peered into the looking glass above Papa’s sideboard and seen the beast staring back. I have seen it in the lowness of the forehead no amount of cut bangs can hide, in my protruding jaw.

A beast. That’s all Marie sees when she looks in the mirror. Not a girl who’s raising the ranks of the Paris Opéra or a girl who would deliberately cause a scene to spare her younger sister embarrassment, but a monster. I’ve been guilty of scrutinizing my reflection in the mirror. Who among us hasn’t? But, to see a beast? That broke my heart.

In spite of their many faults and hardships and the anger it all evoked in me, I still found myself relating to the van Goethem trio. More than anything else I understood the lengths each of them would go to protect the other. For example, as Antoinette makes a mad dash to find Marie in a time of need I was praying she would because, like her, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my sister.

I decided to read The Painted Girls because it’s based on Degas, a favourite of mine, and one of his most famous works, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. But what I found in its pages is artistic lyricism on a level I’ve never come across before. Each description, encounter, character realization is a painting all its own crafted not by brushstrokes but by words. It’s the most captivating book I’ve read this year and one I implore everyone read.

Inderjit
Follow me on twitter @InderjitDeogun!