What Do You Mean You Haven't Read?

Galwegians suggests the best books to read during the coronavirus restrictions

Anna McCarthy, lead singer/songwriter with indie-rock band, Dott

15 Dogs by André Alexis


IF DOGS had human intellect, would they be as miserable as humans? This is the premise for 15 Dogs, a novel that I couldn’t put down, and one I still can’t stop thinking about.

Two gods, Hermes and Apollo, are drinking in a Toronto bar, arguing over whether humans are a hopeless lost-cause or not. They decide to give fifteen dogs in a nearby veterinary clinic the ‘gift’ of human intelligence and observe how they get on.

'An allegorical look at topics such as Love, Power, and Religion, seen from a refreshingly warped perspective'

Apollo reckons they will end up happier than humans. Hermes disagrees. Then the narrative switches to the dogs and follows their adventures, and misadventures in a dog-eat-dog existence.

As a dog-lover, I was intrigued to read this book, but maybe you’d be better off being indifferent to them. The story is philosophical and funny. At times, it is completely heart-breaking. One dog falls in love with language, and becomes a poet. Another learns English, which creates the ultimate bond between master and ‘man’s best friend’. This is an allegorical look at topics such as Love, Power, and Religion, seen from a refreshingly warped perspective.

I happened upon this book while living in Toronto. I read some of it sitting in High Park; the very place the dogs escape to as they figure out dominance and rank in their pack. Reading on a bench in High Park, and watching pet pups play happily and worry-free, I had to wonder…is it better to leave sleeping dogs lie?

Tommy Walsh, producer The Dirty Circus

Into The Wild by Jon Krakuer

Tommy Walsh

THIS IS a very popular non-fiction book about the adventures of Chris McCandless as he leaves high school and sets off on a path of self determination and independence.

He journeys to the ultimate frontiers for all adventures - Alaska. I was doing some travelling and had journeyed to Patagonia. I had been travelling by myself so the spirit of solo adventure echoed with me, as did the notion of surviving and challenging yourself in a totally new environment. It was very appealing to a young Mayo man!

'His final destination of Alaska, where he would have to become self-sufficient, was a challenge I would have relished'

The romantic notion of being a tramp with your pole and hanky and the boyhood devilment of running away from home was further enhanced for me with the author’s moniker of "Alexander Supertramp".

His final destination of Alaska, where he would have to become self-sufficient and learn to eat and scavenge from the land, was a challenge I would have relished coming as I do from an agricultural background, and I would have backed myself to survive and thrive alone on the land.

Steve Bennett, comedian

The Disaster Artist - My Life Inside the Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell

A TELL-ALL biography about the making of a 2003 ‘movie’ by Tommy Wisseau, a man who exemplifies the American dream like no other. The author, Greg Sestero, plays Mark in the film, of “Oh Hai Mark!” meme fame.

The book has two story lines running in alternate chapters. The A story is Greg’s account of the filmmaking process, and the B story is 19-year-old Greg’s account of moving to LA to become an actor and meeting an unusual man named Tommy Wiseau.

'I don’t mean to sound like a hipster snob, but the book was better'

For me, at first, the A storyline was far more compelling so I was rushing through Greg’s boring backstory to get back to juicy gossip from on set of one of the worst films ever made. From the revolving door of film crews, the mysterious source of finances, to the vampire part, there’s plenty of beautiful bizarreness here for film fans.

Over time, I became more and more engrossed in the B storyline, finding out about Greg and Tommy’s history. That’s the mark of a truly great book - writing which proves me wrong as it pulls me in.

If you’re a fan of The Room, you’ll really enjoy this book because it hangs some humanity on the gaudy spectacle that is the movie and Wiseau himself.

There was a movie adaptation of this book in 2017. I don’t mean to sound like a hipster snob, but the book was better, but if you’d prefer to watch a movie, boy do I have a recommendation for you…


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