The following is a selection of the current titles Crestwood’s teachers are reading. If you are looking for something to peruse over the March Break, these works are to be recommended!
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami
Toru Okada begins the story unemployed and searching for his lost cat; however, soon Toru finds himself searching for his wife in the city’s seedy underbelly and encounters a bizarre cast of characters. Murakami’s narrative style is fascinating, and unlike most novels that you might read. If you are looking for something different and interesting, then this is the book for you.
Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov (translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)
Famed translators Pevear and Volokhonsky render Chekhov’s heartbreaking short stories in plain and direct English, conveying the subtleties of Chekhov’s artistic realism in ways that make you forget you are reading, and not being read to by Chekhov himself. These stories show the ways in which everyday people go about attempting to deal with change and hardship in unanticipated ways. Vignettes of life lived a world away that you won’t soon forget.
Wool Omnibus (Silo Saga), by Hugh Howey
It is a post-apocalyptic tale about survivors living a in an underground silo and conspiracy to keep them in there. I really enjoy speculative fiction and this is a really good example of that genre.
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
Spurred on by a few of my homeroom students, I recently finished reading John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. The novel follows Hazel as she navigates the complex relationships of young adulthood while fighting an ongoing battle with cancer. Living a life described as terminal, her story takes an emotional turn when she meets Augustus Waters, a member of her Cancer Kid Support Group.
The Orenda, by Joseph Boyden
This incredibly grim, but incredibly important novel is a narrative set in the early days of European colonization of Upper Canada, and tells the story of the decline of a civilization by a military, spiritual, and pathological invasion. We all need to read this novel to claim our historical place in a narrative of Canada that began long before Champlain.
Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson
Train Dreams is the story of a labourer in the American West during the time of the railroad’s westward expansion. It captures the tension between a rapidly disappearing life of isolation and individualism with the modern interconnectedness of the 20th century. Train Dreams offers a glimpse at what has been lost in our world of modernity, technology and convenience. The novella is brief enough to finish in one reading and so well written that you wish it was longer. Train Dreams is about as perfect a story as I’ve ever read.
The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes
First published in 1986 and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, among other accolades. Half of the book is a long, detailed and laborious journey of identifying and manufacturing the stuff of ultimate destruction. The other “half” explores the lives and ambitions of nuclear physicists who knew they were on the path to Armageddon, but rationalized and sanctioned their work by “beating the Nazis” to the bomb and saving the west during World War II, and hoping that the inevitable proliferation of nuclear weapons would make further wars unthinkable.
Orr: My Story, by Bobby Orr
It’s a fascinating personal reflection on his life story, beginning from his childhood in Parry Sound and continuing through his experience as one of the greatest NHL players of all time.
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
A young boy in New York City, Theo Decker, miraculously survives an accident that takes the life of his mother. Alone and determined to avoid being taken in by the city as an orphan, Theo scrambles between nights in friends’ apartments and on the city streets. He becomes entranced by the one thing that reminds him of his mother: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that soon draws Theo into the art underworld.