This has been a very difficult two years for everyone, to say the least. Books and Netflix have been our escape.
Streaming apps provide an enormous amount of home entertainment to laugh and cry at the latest movie or your favourite show or series.
But books provide an escape into your imagination, a time to quiet the noise around you and travel into someone else’s world. Books teach about cultures and history. Immerse yourself in the beauty of words and adventures. Let books enrich your soul.
Like she has for over a decade, avid reader Monique Tamminga, editor of the Penticton Western News and the Keremeos Review is pairing 2021’s best books with some of Okanagan’s best wines, beer and sweets. So put up your feet, pour your favourite and escape the world for a while.
The Apollo Murders by famed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Is there nothing this man can’t do?! He sings, plays guitar, has lived in space and now he’s written a book and it’s good.
A secret flight to the moon during the Cold War as Russian and American astronauts race to find the the bounty hidden on the moon. That when things get dangerous. While offering a lot of technical talk that Hatfield can speak from experience, the storyline keeps you glued to your seat even though there is no gravity in space.
**** pairs nicely with Castoro de Oro’s (Oliver) award winning Heart of Gold white blend in the can. Beautiful fruit flavours with a slight cotton candy flavour finish that you can take ice fishing, on the chair lift or anywhere.
Best Historical Fiction
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn, the bestselling author of the Alice Network and The Huntress brings readers to England where three very different woman find themselves working as the top codebreakers to help end the Second World War.
Quinn is a master at weaving beautiful and page-turning stories that pair the courage of humanity, the power of women with the horrors of the war.
**** Pairs well with Township 7’s 2019 Merlot (Naramata and Langley). Pair Merlot with 70 per cent dark chocolate. Complexity and depth with overtones of cocoa makes this a classic merlot to come back to time and time again.
Books about the Love of Books
Midnight Library by Matt Haig is a quaint and unique story about the possibility of opening up chapters of your life and being able to live it over again? Nora has lived a life of self-misery and regret until she finds herself in the Midnight Library where she can undo her regrets and live her best life instead. But life doesn’t work that way as she finds out along with other life lessons.
**** Pairs joyfully with Penticton Tin Whistle Brewery’s Peach Ale which is infused with real Okanagan peaches.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – this book just came out in paperback. This might just be the sweetest story you’ll love to read right to its very last page. A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner on a tiny island in the U.S. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But then a baby is dropped off in his bookstore with a note attached asking him to raise her.
***** pairs perfectly with a fuzzy blanket, fireplace and glass of Rudy Blues Red Stiletto (Naramata)
Best Biography of 2021
Rez Rules: My Indictment of Canada’s and America’s Systemic Racism Against Indigenous Peoples by Chief Clarence Louie (available on Amazon at Chapters). At the age of 24, Clarence Louie was elected chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Nineteen elections later, Chief Louie has led his community for nearly four decades transforming the band’s capital ventures into over $120 million in revenues and an economic powerhouse in the Okanagan.
In this book he pulls no punches in telling his stories and the stories of Indigenous people. Louis is a fascinating man and leader.
**** Pairs perfectly with Osoyoos Indian Band’s own Nk’Mip Cellars 2020 Dreamcatcher – a floral white blend with aromas of pineapple and mandarin.
Best Children’s Book
Harry the Musical Ride Horse by Penticton’s own Kate Hansen, retired RCMP officer and city council hopeful. After 25 years with the RCMP, and 20 years with the Musical Ride, Hansen retired and took the time to write up the stories she had been working and thinking about for years, about Harry the Musical Ride Horse. Harry has now been on four adventures across Canada. You can order a copy at themountieshop.ca
**** Pairs perfectly with Ogo’s chocolate ice cream in downtown Penticton.