Book recommendations by Charlotte Stein, owner of Parry Sound Books

Edited by Janet Irving, Education Committee.

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – like reading a book on a summer’s day on Georgian Bay! This summer we suggest some books that are literally set on the Bay – or feel so much so that we just had to include them.

Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving,
has Georgian Bay and a writing shack on an island in Pointe au Baril at its heart. The winter scenes describe the isolation and the fury of a storm in a place unlike any other. One of his best, and all our own!

The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Great Vegetables by Lorene Edwards Forkner
provides everything you need to know to grow beautiful, healthy, delicious veggies and herbs. Not only useful in the growing season but all year round as you plan – and dream – about the coming summer and all that you can grow for yourself!definitive book on the history, the culture, the natural history and ecology of the Bay. Richly illustrated, with each chapter written by an expert in their field. 

Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye
 is not set on Georgian Bay but it feels like it is! This is the story of the final illness of a father, and his estranged son who returns to do his duty. The son discovers the truth of his father’s experience as the survivor of a tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat. Beautifully written and moving.

The Orenda is Joseph Boyden’s Georgian Bay novel, about which he said, “It was difficult to capture the beauty of the place … this is where my heart is”. This novel takes place in the 1600s, on the land along the shoreline between Midland and the French River – the Sweet Water Sea that was the route of the native people, and the early explorers and settlers who came after.

100 Plants to Feed the Monarch from the Xerces Society, a book that encourages creating healthy and sustainable habitats. We all watch for the Monarch butterfly migration through the islands, and this is an excellent book about the many plants we can grow that will encourage you to restore the habitat by planting the native wildflowers, shrubs and trees that monarchs depend on.

Big Water by Andrea Curtis is a novel for teens by a writer who knows the Bay well. She tells the story of the wreck of the steamship Asia from the perspective of the two teenage passengers who were the sole survivors of this shipwreck.

Midnight Sweatlodge

Indigenous author, Waubgeshig (Waub) Rice of the Wasauksing First Nation, who began writing while still in high school, studied Journalism at Ryerson, then worked for the CBC. He now divides his time between Sudbury and Wasauksing. His first short story collection, Midnight Sweatlodge, was inspired by his experiences growing up in an Anishinaabe community.


Waub Rice knows well the importance of storytelling, “a crucial practice that has kept our culture alive in our communities”. Midnight Sweatlodge was followed by his debut novel Legacy, a story of tragedy and family legacy, at once heart – breaking and uplifting. 

Moon of the Crusted Snow

His second novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, is set somewhere in the north, in an Anishinaabe community struggling without electricity and without contact with the rest of the world. In a place where some know how to live off the land and have the resilience to survive, others do not. This post-apocalyptic novel is both chilling and terrifying, and hopeful.

A Perfect Likeness, two novellas by the late Richard Wagamese, are “poignant stories about young Indigenous people navigating their way through urban life while staying true to their roots.” Waubgeshig Rice writes in his forward to A Perfect Likeness about the influence of this iconic writer, “He’s gone now, but lives on through his work and the spirit of understanding he helped foster”.

Camp Cooking in the Wild is a guide to eating well in the great outdoors by Black Feather Wilderness Adventures. Operating from the Parry Sound area for decades, Wendy Grater has vast experience and some absolutely delicious recipes and information about how you can successfully plan and prepare meals for camping trips of all kinds.