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What Is Stephen Harper Reading?: Yann Martel's Recommended Reading for a Prime Minister and Book Lovers of All Stripes Paperback – Oct 5 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; First Edition 1st Printing edition (Oct. 5 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307398676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307398673
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #146,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Aggie G on Nov. 30 2009
Format: Paperback
Yann Martel is brilliant (as always). Hilarious letters, excellent recommendations, and a quick and extremely satisfying read. I just finished and already I want to read it again.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pippa on April 22 2010
Format: Paperback
Now, if you haven't read Martel's 2001 novel, 'Life of Pi' I suggest you go and do so immediately.

Now that you've read 'Life of Pi' I can continue with my review of Martel's incredibly different work - this nonfiction, Canadian, political, epistolary novel. I don't know how to better categorize it. How does one categorize a book of letters about books that have all been sent by a Canadian Author to the current Canadian Prime Minister? Because that's exactly what Martel has done in this book. He started sending Prime Minister Harper books in April 2007, chosen all for specific reasons, to help with understanding, or governing, or culture. Martel picks a book every two weeks, writes a letter and sends it off to Harper.

In this book Martel has published all of his letters, and compiled a book of recommended readings for a prime minister of Canada. The project is still ongoing and current books & letters can be found at [...]

Some of the books Martel has chosen I have read, others I have heard of, and still others I have now added to my list of books to read in the future. I think that so far this has been a wonderfully crafted & thought-provoking project and I look forward to see what other works Martel chooses to send to Harper on a biweekly basis.

No matter if you're a Canadian, interested in Politics or Governance, or are simply looking for new & diverse book recommendations I would suggest starting here!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Clubmate on Aug. 18 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is interesting to compare Martel's views about the books that the reader already knows. On the other hand, most of the reviews concerning the titles that are unknown to the reader act as effective stimulus to new reading. The language is clear and lively. Some of the books Martel's chooses for the Prime Minister do not seem to have much to do with the cultural background that one would expect for a political leader.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Best Reason Yet to Get an Account at Amazon.ca Dec 9 2009
By Edward Meade - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you haven't done so already, here is the best reason yet to click on the link at the bottom of this page and get yourself an account at Amazon.ca, Amazon's slightly chillier version of everyone's favorite website.

Several year's ago Canada's then new Conservative Prime Minister bragged that he really wasn't much of a reader of literature. Quite a few northern book lovers bemoaned the fact but one of them, Yann Martel, Booker-winning author of Life of Pi decided to do something about it. Starting in April of 2007 he has sent a different book every two weeks to Mr. Harper with a cover letter explaining why he should read it. The letters have appeared (in English and en francais naturally) on his website. This volume collects and reprints the first 50 or so letters of the 70 delivered as I write this in Dec '09.

The collection is eclectic and covers of broad base of writers of all nationalities and styles, from Marcus Aurelius to the present. There are some kid's books and some (very) adult books. All are of uniformly high quality. For American book lovers it is interesting in that it gives us a peek into what is popular in a different but similar country. Many books (e.g To Kill a Mockingbird (#13)) are classics on both sides of the border but others such as the excellent The Tin Flute (#60) by Quebec writer Gabrielle Roy are so little known south of the border that you will have to order it from Amazon.ca.

Whatever you feel about the current resident of 24 Sussex Drive, Ottawa -- and given that I'm writing to an audience of fellow Americans I can probably assume you feel nothing one way or the other -- it's worth your while to peruse this one man's thoughtfully considered essays on what's worth reading.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Yann Martel's brilliance shines yet again April 24 2010
By Mi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
A jewel, a gem. Singularly captivating, the letters to the prime minister make the reader smile, pause and reflect. If Harper, or indeed anyone, takes any of Martel's suggestions to heart, he is the better for it.
Should be in every library and read by every politician Sept. 6 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across this book by accident and am so glad I did. Martel puts the motivation for this book quite succinctly:
"if you want to lead, you must read". The letters are often funny, always interesting and each are such literate descriptions of the books and authors. I have enough reading recommendations to last me for years.

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