Michael and Susan Hare of Owl’s Nest Books share their Shelfie

Of course . . . owners of an independent book store are book lovers! And, Michael and Susan have been champions of Calgary Reads programs and events for many years.  They also host three great book clubs for children. We asked them to share their favourite reads with you.

Susan’s favourites:

The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay

“One of the best fantasy series I have ever read. The characters inspire, the writing is mesmerizing, and the settings are fantastic. Kay’s books allow others to see the possibilities of life, no matter where it may end up. The sacrifices that the characters make create strong beautiful scenes that are heartbreaking in all the right ways.”

Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

“Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books for adults can be even more compelling than the Anne of Green Gables books that are so beloved. Blue Castle is my favourite book by Montgomery – Valancy has suffered from the tyranny of the weak, and doesn’t see any other possibilities. A health issue prompts her to dream and to become the person she always should have been.  Valancy inspired me when I read Blue Castle in my 20s, and still resonates with me today.”

Flying Time by Suzanne North

“Saskatchewan writer Suzanne North grew up in Calgary, and her love of our city shines throughout this book. The story is mostly set in Calgary in 1941, just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbour. A young woman goes to work for a Japanese expatriate, and gets involved in helping him with his life in Calgary and Japan. Suzanne’s sense of humour abounds, but the story of prejudice and sacrifice resonates with the reader.”

“As you see, the sense of possibilities and sacrifice are common themes in these books. As a child and young adult, reading was a way of experiencing what was and is possible in life – thus opening up my life to what I could achieve. That sense of possibility still keeps me reading today.” Susan Hare, Owner, Owl’s Nest Books

Michael favourites:

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“When you read a good book it makes you curious. What was life like for an orphaned boy in mid nineteenth century London England? Dickens’ most autobiographical novel launches the reader into a lavishly constructed world of grief, misfortune and misery.

As a young teenager I embraced learning about surviving in a world more hazardous than my own.”

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Iriving

“This is a BIG book fashioned after the great writers who toiled in the eighteenth century. Looking back from 1987 we dive into the world of two boys growing up in a small New Hampshire town in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Irving, our modern day master story-teller is not shy about sharing ideas on a diversity of themes including social justice, fate, war, religion, sex, politics, death, Christianity, non-conformity and more.”

Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald

“Follow the Piper family through four generations of family strive in Cape Breton at the turn of the 20th Century.

My best friend has read this book three times and I’ve talked to others too who think it takes that many readings to grasp and absorb the mine-field of racial tension, isolation, domestic abuse, forbidden love, incest and death.”

“Having to choose three of the most important/influential books in my life resulted in a realization of a very clear and obvious pattern. The overarching theme is surviving in the face of severe family dysfunction. It may not be exaggerating to say that reading Dickens as a young teenager helped to save my life. At the very least, each and every book read over a lifespan of 35 years had some bearing on who I was to become, and played a very crucial role in how I view the world at large.” Michael Hare, Owner, Owl’s Nest Books