For a lot of people, the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing guidelines mean we have a bit more time to read. So, we asked our team of writers, designers, educators and directors what books are on their nightstands right now. Here are their recommendations.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
“Bill Bryson is a wonderful non-fiction author that likes to take broad subjects and distill them into funny anecdotes and fascinating details to form a captivating narrative. I've read a few great books by him and my current read is The Body: A Guide for Occupants, which is a comprehensive, weird and at times laugh-out-loud hilarious overview of what we know (and what still baffles us) about the human body.” — Tanya Kirnishni, special projects editor
The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
“I love this book because it is the sequel to one of my favourite books, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The book revolves around the story of the main character Eddie’s reunion in heaven with Annie, a little girl he met on Earth.
Eddie is a rough-around-the-edges war veteran who eventually starts to work at an amusement park, where he dies saving the life of young Annie. They meet again in heaven on her wedding night after a terrible tragedy happens to her on Earth. The book and its prequel do an amazing job of reminding us to look for the good in all things, to remember that tragedy befalls each and every one of us in different but equally devastating ways, and to think about the bigger picture and what is most important to us during our short time on Earth. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s personal — I highly recommend it!” — Michelle Chaput, director of Canadian Geographic Education
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
“I'm working through Midnight’s Children. There’s a reason that it’s on many Best Books lists. But you need to be committed. It’s extremely dense, funny and informative and not a bedtime read.” — Sarah Legault, national director of development
The Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski
“I'm reading the Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski. It’s the fantasy series (upon which the video games and Netflix series are based) that tells the story of Geralt of Rivia, a ‘Witcher’ or monster hunter with supernatural abilities whose destiny is linked to a young girl named Ciri. If you enjoy fantasy and adventure, it's a fun read!” — Kat Barquiero, graphic designer
The Reality Bubble by Ziya Tong
“This non-fiction work from the science journalist and former co-host of Daily Planet on the Discovery Channel explores 10 of humanity's ‘blind spots:’ hidden things that shape our lives in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways. It was published a year ago, but some of the insights are particularly fascinating in light of the current pandemic.” — Aaron Kylie, editor-in-chief, Canadian Geographic
Agency by William Gibson
Christy Hutton, graphic designer, is reading this science fiction novel, just released this January. Somehow it’s both a sequel and a prequel to Gibson’s previous novel called The Peripheral. It uses technology from his first novel to explore an alternative 2017 where Hillary Clinton won the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Horizon by Barry Lopez
“This book is a reflection on a life spent working and writing across the planet, from Antarctica to the Great Rift Valley, Tasmania to Nunavut. Lopez writes about the lives lived in these places — now, and stretching back through time to the first humans. It’s packed with pain and wonder. In a planetary crisis, Lopez writes gently about humans pushed to the extreme by ourselves, our societies, and our surroundings.” — Julia Duchesne, editorial intern
Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict
“I always have a few books on the go, but I recommend Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict. Spanning numerous decades, this historical fiction book tells the story of Clementine Churchill, showcases her strength and ambition, as well as highlights the important role she played in history as the wife of Winston Churchill. This is a great read for history lovers, and those who like to learn about the hidden stories of women in history.” — Dominique Patnaik, education program coordinator
The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport and The Mosquito by Timothy Winegard
“I've been getting more and more into historical non-fiction; you start to realize that as much as our times may feel unprecedented, history does in fact repeat itself. I just finished Helen Rappaport’s The Romanov Sisters, a moving and humanizing portrait of the children of the last tsar of Russia as well as a detailed account of the events leading up to the revolutions of 1917. I’m the type of reader to always have multiple books on the go, so I'm also in the middle of Timothy Winegard's The Mosquito, a fascinating reminder that disease is humanity’s constant companion and frequently the arbiter of the conflicts that have shaped and continue to shape our world.” — Alexandra Pope, digital editor
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
“This work of fiction from the best selling author of Station Eleven is a story of both catastrophe and survival. At some points, I have to put it down — when it gets a little too ‘real’ for these pandemic times. Spoiler alert — it ends in a survival theme, which we could all use some of right now.” — Angelica Haggert, social media editor