Decoda’s #TopTen4Literacy + Two

Decoda has been BC’s provincial literacy organization for 10 years! We’re celebrating with a #TopTen4Literacy Contest.

Poster explaining the instructions to enter the contest (same as text on page)

While Decoda staff can’t win the TopTen4Literacy contest, we couldn’t resist participating. So, each of us chose our top book to make a Decoda #TopTen4Literacy + Two list.

Can you match the title to the Decoda staff member? The titles are organized in alphabetical order, so no clues there. Scroll down to the end of the post for the answer.

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

It is beautifully set in the 19th century parlour rooms and opera houses of upper class New York where “scandal is worse than disease.” I love the witty and brilliant Madame Olenska who sees her world perfectly, and when Newland speaks the most romantic lines ever written, “Each time you happen to me all over again.”

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver, which I first read in grade 5, was the book that made the speculative fiction genre my all-time favourite. The idea that the world is not what it seems, and one child can see what others cannot, spoke to me in a way no other book had. I return to read it every few years.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I love how interesting of a narrator Nick is, and how you need to give the books several reads before you can figure out his bias towards the other characters.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester

This book describes the unlikely collaboration in drafting the first edition of the OED between a scholar overseeing the project and a man who submitted over  10,000 entries – a man who, it turns out, was imprisoned for murder. The process for building and cataloguing this massive tome is fascinating.

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

This book is series of fables, told with incredible kindness and insight. It brings me comfort, clarity, and a sense of belonging. I’ve kept a copy on my shelf for decades and return to it again and again.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

I read this book when I was 9 or 10 and I’ve read it again almost every year throughout my life. I am captivated by the strong, honest, witty main character, Cassie, a 9-year-old black girl in Depression-era Mississippi.

 A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

I rarely read books more than once. But I do reread A Room With a View by E. M. Forster. I find it endlessly entertaining; the social commentary is sharp, but not unkind. I always laugh out loud in my favourite parts.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My sisters and I enjoy reading and have quite different reading tastes. This is one of my favourites because it’s one of the few books we all enjoyed.

Slammerkin by Emma Donaghue

I love how this novel was created based on a small piece of history where the main character was sentenced to execution for murdering her employer at the time. I love how Donoghue creates a story from a tiny piece of history and creates these vivid characters set amongst drab 1700s England.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

This book is full of fables, fantasy, metaphor, mystery, adventure, danger and magic! The weaving of stories through stories through more stories results in a beautiful, like none other, tapestry. Oh how I want to find one of those doors that leads to the Starless Sea!

Untangled by Lisa Damour

Dr. Damour offers deep insight into teenage psychology with real-life examples. This book helps to understand the transition through developmental stages that girls experience as they grow from childhood to adulthood. I felt this book is written for me!  It helped me ease my mind, giving me more confidence and better prepared to face the challenges of raising my pre-teenage daughter into a good person.

Anything by Malcolm Gladwell or Agatha Christie!

Join us in celebrating and make your own list. Details here.


Who chose which book?

  • The Age of Innocence – Gail Hanney
  • The Giver – Lea Edgar
  • The Great Gatsby – Felisha Chuter
  • The Professor and the Madman – Heather Deal
  • The Prophet – Christie Case
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Trish Weatherall
  • A Room with a View – Margaret Sutherland
  • The Secret Life of Bees – Tina Chau
  • Slammerkin – Natasha Loh
  • The Starless Sea – Maureen Kehler
  • Untangled – Aliza Dhungana
  • Anything my Malcolm Gladwell or Agatha Christie – Fanny Romeyn

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