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Grey County Reads 2020

Grey County Reads 2020

Posted by Mary on January 10, 2020

Grey County Reads is an exciting competition between five local celebrities, each defending a book that they believe Grey County needs to read right now. And YOU are the judge! Judges are the various communities of Grey County, who will vote using an online voting system. When you visit and vote you are entered in a draw for three gift certificate prizes courtesy of Speaking Volumes Books & Audio in Flesherton.

To top it all off The Blue Mountains Public Library could win $200 in free books thanks to your votes! To find more information on Grey County Reads go to

There's lots of time to read them all, as voting opens February 10th! For more contest updates, keep reading Staff Picks!

The five Grey County Reads books are:

Dance of the Happy Shades by Alice Munro

You might not be aware that celebrated Canadian author Alice Munroe actually grew up in Wingham, Ontario. Although she currently resides in Port Hope, her 1968 classic Dance of the Happy Shades brings the familiar countryside of Huron County to bear. In this collection of stories, the deceptive calm of small-town life is brought memorably to the page, revealing many small sufferings and unanticipated emotions. A master of the short story, Munroe received the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature for the body of her work. Her first short story collection, Dance of the Happy Shades was the winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction. Not too shabby! Find a copy here

 Open Up the Wall by Geoff Bowes

Another local celebrity, former thespian Geoff Bowes made his home in many other parts before finally settling on a farm near Markdale, Ontario. A veteran performer of stage and screen across North America, you might think that his acting experience carried very few crossover skills into an unlikely second career as a carpenter. But Geoff's drama background made him keenly aware of the characters he encountered, inspiring him to write about them. The result is a hilarious exposé of the trades and his own foibles as he learned about construction and how to think on both sides of the toolbelt. On Order - Place a hold here

 Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

Like all of the authors in this edition of Grey County Reads, Cherie Dimaline has a local connection, hailing from the Métis community of Georgian Bay. Her young adult novel The Marrow Thieves shot to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published in 2017, and stayed there for more than a year. Awards and accolades poured over her thereafter. Cherie was named Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier's Awards for Excellence in the Arts in 2014.

In Empire of Wild, a broken-hearted woman finds a charismatic preacher who strongly resembles her long-lost husband Victor. Although he has the same face, eyes and hands, his hair is short and he's wearing a suit. Despite her claim that he is her husband, he insists that he is the Reverend Wolff and his only mission is to bring his people to Jesus. But Joan soon discovers that's not all the enigmatic Wolff is doing. With only the help of Ajean, a foul-mouthed euchre shark who has a knowledge of the old ways, and her odd, Johnny-Cash-loving, 12-year-old nephew Zeus, she has to find a way to remind the Reverend Wolff of who he really is. Her life, and the life of everyone she loves, depends upon it. Find a copy here

 To the River by Don Gillmor

Recent winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction, To the River is an eloquent and haunting exploration of suicide in which one of Canada's most gifted writers attempts to understand why his brother took his own life. The quest leads him to another powerful question: Why are boomers killing themselves at a far greater rate than the Silent Generation before them or any of the generations that have followed? Reconstructing the last days of his life, Gillmor explores many theories about his brother’s disappearance but the author’s journey ends in an act of remembrance and mourning. Find a copy here

Midnight at the Dragon Café by Judy Fong Bates

Set in the 1960s, Judy Fong Bates’s much-talked-about debut novel is the story of a young girl, the daughter of a small Ontario town’s solitary Chinese family, whose life is changed over the course of one summer when she learns the burden of secrets. Through Su-Jen’s eyes, the hard life behind the scenes at the Dragon Café unfolds. As Su-Jen’s father works continually for a better future, her mother, a beautiful but embittered woman, settles uneasily into their new life. Su-Jen feels the weight of her mother’s unhappiness as Su-Jen’s life takes her outside the restaurant and far from the customs of the traditional past. When Su-Jen’s half-brother arrives, smouldering under the responsibilities he must bear as the dutiful Chinese son, he forms an alliance with Su-Jen’s mother, one that will have devastating consequences. Written in spare, intimate prose, Midnight at the Dragon Café is a vivid portrait of a childhood divided by two cultures and touched by unfulfilled longings and unspoken secrets. Find a copy here

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