Public Service Commission
What the deputies are reading
Winter is the perfect time to cozy up with a good book. Public Service Matters asked deputy ministers what their favourite read was in 2015. Here is how some of them responded.John MacQuarrie
My favorite read this year was The Scapegoat by Daphne duMaurier. It's a fascinating story of a man meeting his double. After a night of drinking together, one wakes up to discover the other has disappeared leaving him to play the role of the other. It's a classic battle between two sides of mans’ nature. Set in France in the 1950s it's a great read.
I enjoy reading short stories because of the variety , the time they take to read and the precision with which the plot and characters are developed. This year I read two books by the great American author, Jhumpa Lahiri. The books are Interpreter of Maladies (winner of Pulitzer Prize for fiction) and Unaccustomed Earth. Both books were well written; the stories were about families (dynamics and secrets) and the main characters were intriguing and effectively woven into all of the stories. Each story left me wanting to know more about the characters and anxious to read the next story. These were a great read.
The first is work related: High Tide on Main Street by John Englander. He is a marine science slash oceanography expert by profession, and an active consultant and author. He was in PEI at the end of July to do some public talks and I had the pleasure of meeting with him and Adam Fenech from UPEI's Climate Lab in my office for a fascinating 45 minute discussionn.
The other book which I pick-up over and over and re-read is Salmon on a Fly by Lee Wulff. It's 30 stories and as the subtitle says, contains the essential wisdom and lore from a lifetime of Salmon fishing by the world's first pioneer of the sport. I've fished many of the rivers his stories include...
Two books I enjoyed this year were Into the Wild, a true story about a young man's travels across North America, ending in the Alaskan wilderness, and Blind Descent, about an Everest climber who suffers snow blindness at the summit and must descend solo with virtually no sight. Both books explore the challenges and rewards of getting out of your comfort zone and self-supported wilderness travel.
My favourite read in 2015 was How To Run a Government So that Citizens Benefit and Taxpayers Don’t Go Crazy by Michael Barber. I read a lot through the year, both fiction and non-fiction. My guilty reading pleasures are police detective novels (Harry Hole, Joe Faraday and John Rebus are my favourite characters.) However, this book by a former teacher and senior mandarin in Tony Blair's government was the read that has stayed with me the most.
One of my 2015 favorites is A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. It is a brilliant story about an older man who confronts the inane challenges of life with a certain antagonism and hilarity. It made me laugh out loud!
In descending order, the most popular provincial public library borrowed items of 2015 were:
Gray Mountain by John Grisham
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
The Burning Room by Michael Connelly
The Lego Movie [DVD]
Hope to Die by James Patterson