My Best Page Turners of 2024…so far | Unpublished

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RobDekker's picture
Ottawa, Ontario
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Rob currently works on Parliament Hill and is on the Daybreak Non-Profit Housing Board of Directors.  He writes regularly on his blog #RedHeartBlueSign at on lifestyle, political and personal topics.

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My Best Page Turners of 2024…so far

May 17, 2024

In 2023 I set a goal of reading 30 books, I met and exceeded that by reading 31 books.  I set the same target for 2024.  As I reach the one third mark of the year how am I doing?  Well, I’ve completed 12 books and started reading “The Next Age of Uncertainty” by Former Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, it’s my 13th read of the year.  I am two books ahead of my goal.  Here is quick look at those 12 books.

As I look back to the past few months of reading, I’ll bunch a few books together, the first, the political and historical  books, here are three books: The Duel, Steve Paikin’s John Turner and the Biography of Senator Marie Charrette-Poulin.  

Of these, “The Duel” was my favourite.  It highlights how successive governments can work together and how they don’t.  From the Liberal PM Louis St. Laurent to Conservative Diefenbaker and Liberal Lester Pearson, there are threads to link each of the governments.  Author John Ibbitson take us from the earliest of Canada’s 13th and 14th Prime Ministers.  Here is a Steve Paikin interviewing the author on the TVO show The Agenda,

I really enjoyed this, the playing off of each PM was fascinating.  What would a Harper vs. Trudeau version of this look like?  

Speaking of Paikin he does a good job of telling the life story of another Prime Minister in John Turner in An Intimate Biography of Canada’s 17th Prime Minister.  Turner was a victim of circumstance of Pierre Trudeau coming out of Lester Pearson’s shadow in the Liberal leadership of 1968.  Those years of the late 60’s and early 70’s were golden years to be a Liberal in Canada.  There were many liberal bright minds who all could have served as PM after Pearson.  Turner had to wait until both Trudeau Sr. and Jean Chretien served to take his turn as PM. In this account of Turner’s life, we learn more about the Turner-Mulroney battles on Free Trade, elections, and the debates. We also read of his loyalty to the party and previous leader, even though it may have cost him the election in1984.

In She Dares to Succeed: A Biography of the Honourable Marie-P Charrette-Poulin, Fred Langan shares the story of a Senator and her rise through self-determination, hard work, kindness, and the appreciation of others.  I’ve known the Senator for a few years but got to ‘know’ Marie through this book;  Her trials, tribulations, and successes personally, professionally, and politically send a message that to succeed you must persevere and push on in what you believe.  On personal note, some of the accusation made of the Senator by the government cause me extreme discomfort and disappointment and disillusionment. 

The next stack of books would be under ‘autobiographies’, Here I have Bernie Taupin’s Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton and Me;   Draft Day: How Hockey Teams Pick Winners or get Left Behind by former NHL GM Doug MacLean and Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator  of Nike by Phil Knight.  

I picked up Draft Day after hearing him on the podcast “The Steve Warne Project”.  Steve Warne is an Ottawa broadcaster most known for his time on TSN1200.  It was a good read and the behind the scenes in hockey was fascinating to read.   A must for the hockey fan, especially while playoff are taking place.

Shoe Dog was recommended to me, and from the start this memoir read like a movie about a man (Phil Knight) with a dream and not allowing any country, person or other shoe stop him from what he truly believed in.  The determination of Knight was undeniable from the moment he realised what he was meant to do.  If you’ve never believed that hard work brings good luck and good luck comes to those that work hard, you must read Shoe Dog.  This will be one of my top reads of the year.

I wondered when, after Elton John published “Me” when I might be able to read Bernie Taupin’s take on the rise the two of them experienced. Scattershot: Life, Music, Elton and Me takes us behind the glamour of the 70’s and into a life fans of Elton never knew.  Taupin’s ride into fame not unlike Elton’s, each had demons they fought through.  Looking at life from backstage, as Taupin did was a unique look at the learning, the work, the songs, the fame, the loves he experiences.  

His tale seemed a bit darker and that was entirely expected as Taupin was the ‘writer’ of the pair and he use of words was more descriptive, for the better days and bad days.  I felt this was a realistic telling of what being a star was really like in the 70’s and 80’s with the booze, drugs and the life of a rock star.  Like Shoe Dog, this is top shelf book for my books of 2024 and recommended read for Elton John fans who want  tp know more about Taupiin.

Alright, in a few words here are my thoughts of the other six books I’ve read so far this year.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann, like Shoe Dog is the story of true-life events and is the basis for the heralded move of the same name.  Killers of the Flower Moon tells the story of the deaths members of the Osage nation in Oklahoma who became rich in the early days of oil in America.  The investigations of the US Marshall into the killings are the early days the FBI.  Read this book and then watch the movie.

Signal Moon (Kate Quinn) and A Very English Murder (Verity Bright) are period mysteries that were enjoyable.

Simple Lies another from David Baldacci I’ll keep reading his books as long as they remain page turners.

Libraianist from Canadian author Patrick deWitt, a story of…wait for it, Bob Comet, a Librarian .  I wish there would have been a turning point somewhere in the story.  Even the greatest surprise in the story didn’t affect the life of Bob.  Maybe the idea of The Librarianist is some lives just don’t have exceptional turning points.  I will give this to The Libraianist,  is a well written and I always felt the need to carry on until the end.

Murder Most Royal (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates #3) by S.J. Bennett is the third in a series and was published after the death of the Queen.  I’ve groewn fond of this series and look forward to the fourth “Death in Diamonds” reaching Canada soon as Bennett takes the storyline back to 1957 and the early years of her reign.

Now back to reading book 13, “The Next Age of Uncertainty” by Stephen Poloz.


May 17, 2024