The hosts recently shared the books that have been the most meaningful to them, which got us talking upstairs about the books that have been the most significant to us. From titles by Paolo Coelho and Junot Díaz to J. D. Salinger and Anne-Marie Slaughter, here they are:
1. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
"I read this book as a kid and it had a profound impact on me. It taught me about the importance of selfless love and it helped me realize how much happiness I could feel from the simple act of giving."
Amber Buchanan, Senior Segment Producer
2. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
"The book is narrated by an eighth grader, Phoebe, who is dealing with the death of her younger brother who died in a bicycle accident. Phoebe talks about coping with his death and getting back into daily life. I came across it when I was in the sixth grade, right before my grandmother died. I was really close with her and reading this book played a huge role in helping me grieve."
Caitlin Connelly, Web Producer
3. Inherit The Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee
"I was raised Catholic. I was even in the St. Anne’s Church Choir for a time in my youth. Nobody in my life dared speak ill of The Bible. The first time I’ve ever heard anyone point out a discrepancy or two in what I thought was an air-tight infallible book was Inherit The Wind. Everything I’d believed up to that point was altered. (pun intended) I don’t think there has been (or will be) a piece of literature that changed the trajectory of my life so profoundly."
Derek Forgie, Audience Coordinator
4. Unfinished Business, by Anne-Marie Slaughter
"This book changed the way I thought about my future as a worker, partner and (hopefully!) a parent. It was the most refreshing, useful book I’ve ever read about managing both work and life and I’ve found myself quoting Anne-Marie Slaughter more times than I can count."
Kate McKenna, Senior Segment Producer
5. Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
"My dad gave me his copy of this book when I was 21—and filled with all the ennui that you’d expect from that age. I read it three times that year, and probably every four or five years after that. I still have that copy, in which I underlined meaningful sentences and made notes in the margins (!!!) It introduced me to the fictional Glass family, to Buddhism, to Epictetus, and to the clearest, most concise writing that still managed to be embedded with so much thrust and beauty."
Jess Allen, Digital Correspondent
6. The Nancy Drew series
"Because it really ignited my love of reading."
Jen Barnes, Producer
7. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
"I first read this book in high school and it was the first novel in the curriculum that I actually could relate to. Being your typical angst-filled teenager, it was a revelation for me to connect with Holden Caulfield’s alienation and cynicism, and also heartbreakingly optimistic when he is overwhelmed by the pure joy of his sister riding the carousel. This book entered my life at the right time, and demonstrated that you don’t need pretentious language or fantastical worlds to be entertained. All you need is a well-written character to reflect your own hopes and fears."
Brian Lloyd, Field Segment Producer
8. The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho
"Mine might be a cliché, but it really did transform me during high school, and I’ve carried it with me since then. I read it in Grade 10, and because I was such a dreamer in high school (I was on 13 different councils, rewrote the curriculum for Grade 10 mathematics with the Ontario ministry, and was elected "Student Trustee" for my school board and then later on, the province), the book motivated me to keep dreaming and going after my goals. For me it was always normal to think of an idea and pursue it no matter what. I was never discouraged by the word “no” because I knew every idea I came up with might be ridiculous but I was always motivated by proving others wrong. The feeling of accomplishment when you achieve your goals is something no one can take away from you. It’s funny, because I don’t know when the shift into adulthood creates a certain doubt in us to stop dreaming, I may have to reread it to re-inspire myself!"
Nancy LeNeve, Production Coordinator
9. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
"To this day it is the only book that has made me cry. I learned something of the cost of putting others before yourself, and how it could lead to a lifetime of regret and unfulfillment."
Sean Lewis, Graphics Guru
10. A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson
"This book is significant for me because it turned me on to science. Up until that book, I had no idea science could be so accessible. Now, I gravitate toward books about the history of the Earth, dinosaurs, space, evolution, animals, insects, elements and the like."
Melinda Wilson, Managing Show Writer
11, 12. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao + This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz
"I read both of these books pretty much in succession a couple of years ago, and for the first time in my life I felt what it was like to see parts of my experience as a young Latinx person living with one foot in North America and one foot in Latin America, reflected in literature. In the simplest ways this book made me feel understood, starting with the very language Junot’s characters speak in: Spanglish and heavy on slang. It felt like someone had put on paper the way the world is translated in my head. Without knowing it at the time, these books showed me how important representation is in art and life."
Denise Reyes, Field Segment Producer
13. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
"As a kid, this was the book that really sparked my love of reading. Every page evoked such vivid imagery and I honestly couldn’t put it down!"
Julie Hamulecki, Segment Producer
"I give credit to this C.S. Lewis creation for turning me into a consistent daydreamer. I read it for the first time in fifth grade and it breathes nostalgia every time I think of it. This book taught me that my imagination is boundless beyond the confines of any enclosed space (or wardrobe) and that all anyone needs to create an entirely new world is the courage to dream."
Abigale Subdhan, Social Media Coordinator
14. White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
"I was 14 years old when I first read White Teeth and decided that Zadie Smith is a brilliant freak of nature/ gift to literature that we should protect at all costs. As a teenager struggling with my own identity and angsty self-esteem issues, reading about Irie’s struggles to fit in were so real and relatable. This book is flawless"
Kathleen Newman-Bremang, Segment Producer
15. Shortcomings, by Adrian Tomine
“Adrian Tomine beautifully illustrates—both with words and pictures—the intersection of modern romance, race, identity and lonely everyday mundanity. This book was my first introduction to Tomine, and like a lot of his work, it’s a thoughtful, quiet and nuanced slice-of-life portrayal of characters, who as Tomine says, ‘happen to be Asian.’”
Andrea Hoang, Segment Producer
16. Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss
"I remember vividly as a kid the orange cover. Dr. Seuss’ books were also one of the first books I started reading as a kid because my mom subscribed to his books for me. So every month in the mail I would get a new book. Dr. Seuss opened my eyes to his clever rhyming, unique illustrations and imagination."
Dorothy Harding, Intern
17. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
"This is one of those super relatable books I read in high school that made me realize it’s okay to be shy, but I should also start living in the moment and be open to new experiences. The movie is also one of my favourites!"
Amy Mergianian, Intern