When the pandemic set in, our daily routines were drastically altered. And although it’s been disruptive, a silver lining of the “new normal” has been having more time to do the things we love—like reading.

In this series, catch up with Tafelmusik’s orchestra, choir, and staff members, to hear more about what books they are reading, and how they reflect our current lives. In this first edition, hear about books which our musicians and colleagues feel are uplifting.

Have a recommendation in your own? Please share what books you are reading, and why, here.

Keith Lam, baritone

China Rich Girlfriend, Kevin Kwan

“I’ve decided to check out China Rich Girlfriend, the sequel to the wildly popular novel and movie Crazy Rich Asians. Part of the reason why I picked this book is because I don’t often come across a lot of stories related to my cultural background in North American literature (perhaps I could audition for the film version someday?).  The story is over the top, filled with humour and occasionally lovely mentions of delicious Asian foods that you wish you could have during these times of distancing.  But ultimately, it is really just an outrageous family drama with secrets we (Asian or not) can relate to. Also, this story is a trilogy, the final installment is just within reach!”


David Costello, production manager

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Alice Munro

“It’s a very intimate collection of short stories. You gain access to the wholeness of the character’s lives, and how those lives end up being reframed in quiet, personal moments that probably pass by unnoticed by others. It reminds me how much your life can be changed by things that seem almost trivial at the time.”


Katie Norman, associate development director

I’m happy to say that my daughter Isla loves books and I’m striving now, more than ever to provide a diverse collection for her. Here are a couple of recent reads:

I am Human, Susan Verde, art by Peter H. Reynolds.

“This book is part of a series of “I am” books written by Susan Verde, and I cannot recommend these books enough (we also have “I am Love”.) From the author “this picture book is a celebration of empathy and compassion that lifts up the flawed fullness of humanity and encourages children to see themselves as part of one big imperfect family—millions strong.” I love the message it conveys to children and is a good reminder to me as a parent, that nobody’s perfect.”


Carol Kehoe, executive director

Square Haunting, Francesca Wade

“The lives of five remarkable writers who all lived in London’s Mecklenburgh Square during the period between the two world wars are explored with wonderful insight on the expansion of women’s freedoms and rights as individuals. Who are these writers? Modernist poet H.D., detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power and author Virginia Woolf. A perfect read for further understanding why women seek equal rights.”


Lana Leprich, digital marketing manager

Moon of the Crusted Snow, Waubgeshig Rice

“When the pandemic first hit, I found myself reaching for post-apocalyptic films, shows, and books: something about seeing others experiencing civilization-threatening scenarios, and coming out the other end alright, felt oddly comforting. While dystopian literature is usually a downer, I found a book that was quite uplifting. Moon of the Crusted Snow is a very different sort of apocalyptic novel, with the characters being First Nations, and the setting being a Northern Ontario reserve. They lose power and communication, and have no idea anything is wrong outside their reserve’s borders… until visitors from the south start arriving. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that from catastrophe comes resilience, and an ultimately very hopeful, uplifting message.”


Image credit:
Still Life of Books by Jan Davidsz de Heem, 1628