Reading with Friends

When I was younger I remember having an insatiable thirst for books, diving into stories and imagining the characters coming to life. After finishing epic books, there were times when I would be bummed that the book was over, essentially I wasn’t ready to let go of the story line and the characters I’d grown to love/hate/admire. 

Do you remember the first paperback novel you cracked open? 

I was a bit of a weird kid, I had a hamster named Squeaky (he was one annoying little rugrat, but we had a special bond) and I’d bring him outside with me into the woods behind our house where there was a broken down tree that doubled as the perfect reading nook. I’d pack some snacks, put Squeaky in his carry-case, grab a book and go on my adventure. This all sounds quite dramatic for a kid, and it felt like it at the time, but in all honesty it was probably a 5minute walk from our house. Fear not! 

The first series of books that truly left a mark in my hippocampus was a mixture of Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children. Sometimes I'd let my imagination run while and imagine solving mysteries out of an abandoned train car... Oh the possibilities! I ate those books up, every time I'd reach the last page, I'd jumped right into the next and become engulfed with the new story line. 

With the holidays around the corner, a common question that gets thrown around is “What’s the best Christmas present you ever received?” For me it’s a tie between two gifts on the same Christmas morning, it was 1999 and I was living in Seattle with my mom and brother when I got one of those science kits where you get to grow crystals on rocks (AH-MAZING, if anyone’s unsure of what to get me this year, that would most definitely do the trick) and the entire series of Narnia books. A kit to grow crystals AND a fantastical series of books?! I must have been a very good girl that year because a) there was no coal under the tree and b) now I could grow crystals in my reading nook in the woods with a brand new series! #winning

Since being out of school and being an adult with a job and life responsibilities, I’ve lost that insatiable thirst, but I’m making it one of my goals for 2016 to rediscover it. In honour of Regis Philbin, I’d like to call a friend. 

For the next 12 months, I’ll be poking around my friends brains and their favourite picks for reads. 

First up: Natalia Buia. 

Natalia Buia is a writer/producer with a gluttonous appetite for carbohydrates. During winter months she hibernates at home where she can read and drink her Scotch in peace. 

Natalia Buia is a writer/producer with a gluttonous appetite for carbohydrates. During winter months she hibernates at home where she can read and drink her Scotch in peace. 

#1 - Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

This thrilling page-turner has been dubbed by many as "the next Gone Girl" but don’t let such a comparison fool you. Luckiest Girl Alive, the debut novel from Cosmo editor Knoll, is in a league all on its own. This book has gotten so much buzz this year, that even Reese Witherspoon and her production company Pacific Standard bought the film rights. But before the dark drama comes out, do yourself a favour and pick up this chilling piece of fiction. You'll need something to talk about at your next Girls Night.

#2 - The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

With all my time devoted to memoirs or mysteries, I rarely have the urge to read fantasy. Enter Library at Mount Char. Picking up this book is like getting in a car with your friends and telling the one holding the keys, to “just drive.” With every turned page, you don’t know where the heck you’re going, but you sure are enjoying the ride. At times this bizarre horrorshow can be hard to follow, but down a couple glasses of Lagavulin and you’re good to go! 

 #3 - Dear Girls Above Me by Charlie McDowell

Before McDowell directed his acclaimed first feature, The One I Love, he wrote a book based on two noisy, dimwitted girls who lived above him. With his gift of comedic timing and great storytelling, Dear Girls Above Me is an essential travel book; on a plane, on a beach, or on your hotel bed waiting for room service. This is light reading at its finest. Prepare to laugh your as off as one lonely man attempts to make sense of all the rambunctious behavior coming from his female neighbours upstairs. Just don't soil your pants!