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May Book Recs!

Patricia Nagle

May 12, 2023

Three Supreme Choices!

Spring weather has arrived in Northwestern Ontario, and I find myself in a bit of a lull. It’s too warm to go out skiing, but too cold to go kayaking, fishing, or running. This leaves me with plenty of time to read until the warm weather comes. Here are three more book recommendations to help you through the cold, unpredictable weather.


1) The Pirate’s Wife: The Remarkable True Story of Sarah Kidd by Daphne Palmer Geanacopoulos

The Pirate’s Wife: The Remarkable True Story of Sarah Kidd by Daphne Palmer Geanacopoulos is a non-fiction book about the life of Sarah Kidd. Sarah was the wife of Captain William Kidd, a privateer during the late 1600s.

When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be about Sarah Kidd’s life on a pirate ship and her interactions with the crew. However, the focus of the book was on the trial of her husband after a privateering assignment had gone wrong.

The book provided information on the home life of a pirate’s wife. The author mentions how Sarah would have to run the businesses and raise the children in William’s absence, not knowing when he would return or if he ever would. The author also touches on life on a pirate ship. She describes how there was a hierarchy of elected officials, how the money was divided up, and why people would choose pirate life over that of privateering.

My only complaint with this book is the author’s interpretation of some of the material. There were instances where the author inferred how Sarah was feeling or what she would have done. At times, these inferences felt exaggerated or clichéd, and more appropriate for a historical fiction novel. These clichés took away from the factual information the author provided. Despite this, the author had clearly done her research on this topic and provided an abundance of useful information.

This book is 288 pages, and available in the audiobook format.


2) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón is one of my favourite novels. This was actually my fourth or fifth time reading it through (my first for the audiobook version). I enjoy re-reading this novel because it seems each time I open it up, I connect deeply with a different character and the events going on in their lives. 

The novel takes place in Barcelona, Spain during the Spanish Civil War. It is about a boy named Daniel Sempere who finds a book that takes him deep into the story of the author’s mysterious past. So really there are two stories: that of Daniel who faces obstacles to uncover the truth of the mystery and that of Juln Carax, the author with the complicated past. This book demonstrates how closely linked the past is with the present as these two stories eventually intertwine.

The story is full of mystery, romance, friendship, heartbreak, loneliness, and comedy. The author writes beautifully as he describes the characters and the emotions that they have. This makes it easy to connect with each of them. The book also delves into different types of relationships (two friends, a father and son, and two lovers) and the complications that each of them bring. I strongly believe that there is something for everyone in this book.

The novel was originally written in Spanish. It is 486 pages and available in audiobook format. This novel is the first of three in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The other two novels are the prequel The Angel’s Game, and the sequel, The Prisoner of Heaven.


3) Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga is a non-fiction book about the seven deaths of Indigenous students attending Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay, Ontario in the early 2000s.

Talaga describes the lives of each of these students. She mentions how they travelled great distances from their families to get a decent high school education, some traveling as far as 500km when they were just 14. They travelled this far because of the poor conditions of schools in Northern Ontario. This makes one realize how privileged they are to have a good education, and one so close to home. Talaga goes into detail of the events surrounding the deaths of these students, and how poorly they were handled by the Thunder Bay Police at the time.

This is a hard read. I had to put this book down a few times and watch a comedy or read something light-hearted like Anne of Green Gables. Often when reading it, I had to remind myself this is not fictional story with the worst possible outcome. These are real stories of real people and the tragedies they faced.

The book is 363 pages; which is also available in audiobook format.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any more suggested books this month as I encountered a few I didn’t like. With that being said, I hope these three recommendations help you decide on your next read!


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