> Zed Book Club / Buzz / Shelf Life / Marilyn Lightstone on Anne of Green Gables, a forbidden book and author Daniel Silva

A closeup portrait of Marilyn Lightstone

> Shelf Life

Marilyn Lightstone on Anne of Green Gables, a forbidden book and author Daniel Silva

An avid reader, the Canadian actress and podcaster describes her long association with Lucy Maud Montgomery's classic tale / BY Athena McKenzie / January 15th, 2021


Artist, singer, writer, producer and Genie Award-winning actress Marilyn Lightstone is known for her work on the stage, television and the big screen, particularly for her role as Miss Stacey in the Anne of Green Gables miniseries. The host of The New Classical FM program Nocturne and Vision TV’s Your All Time Classic Hit Parade, the author of the 2001 novel Rogues and Vagabonds brings classic literature to life with dramatic readings in her new podcast, Marilyn Lightstone Reads.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

It’s been a rather unusual year for me in the book department. I found it impossible to stay completely away from some of my current favourites such as Lisa See, Kate Quinn, Daniel Silva, Louise Penny, and Karin Slaughter (to name but a few), but the bulk of this past year has been spent in search of the best material for Marilyn Lightstone Reads, my new podcast.

After a perfect blitz of reading, I settled happily on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (written in 1847) as my first selection, a book I first read when I was 14, determined as I was then to read ALL of the literary classics. Frankly, I have no memory what I thought of it then, or why, but I certainly do now! The PERFECT first selection for the series! Mystery, drama, intrigue, and – most of all – a fascinating, complex heroine who is also the narrator.

What book can’t you wait to dive into?

Occasionally a title pops up that intrigues me, but I’m really more interested in following the work of my favourite authors, whatever the title.

New authors? I read the book reviews in the weekend paper and if anything looks interesting I’ll check to see if it’s available on my iPad, where I can then actually read a sample. If that finds favour, all it takes is a click or two to make it mine. What’s more, the screen is bright for the older eye and the font size is adjustable so you needn’t wear your reading glasses.

Do I feel guilty about not frequenting bookstores? Yes, I did; terribly at first. But my three neighbourhood bookstores dwindled to one, and when I tried to buy the books whose favourable reviews I had clipped so excitedly, I would frequently be told that it would have to be “special ordered,” with no guarantee as to when it would be delivered. I finally came to the conclusion that it was more important to support the writer than the bookstore. At least, that’s my story…

What book completely changed your perspective?

My mother loved to read as much as I do, though I’m fairly sure that she never ever entered a bookstore. Book clubs were her thing, where you signed on for a certain number of books that were sent to you by mail. She kept them in a small bookcase, which lived in our dining room, so they were perfectly accessible to me. Otherwise, it would have been rather unlikely that a 12 year old would find herself reading Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street or Marcia Davenport’s Valley of Decision.

Still, there was one book that was off limits: Kathleen Winsor’s Forever Amber. It was all about the raunchy court of England’s Charles II, post Cromwell and the Puritans, and – of course – the fact that I was told NOT to read it was the perfect guarantee that I WOULD. We lived with my maternal grandmother, which meant that our household mores were somewhat Victorian. Twelve year olds were not supposed to be exposed to Seduction and Immorality and the illicit pleasures of the flesh (nor was I in real life), but suddenly the world was changed forever!

What’s your favourite book of all time?

To ask a book lover “What’s your favourite book of all time?” is somewhat akin to asking a Mom to name her favourite child. Let me, instead, talk about the book – Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – that has played a fairly significant role in my life.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

First contact: when I was about 10 or 11. I remember taking the book out of the school library on Friday afternoon, but I still hadn’t finished it by bedtime on Sunday night. So what did I do? Shame on me, I pretended to have a sore throat so that I could stay home from school and finish the book.

Second contact: The Charlottetown Festival and the musical version of Anne in which I played Mrs. Blewitt, the nasty lady with WAY too many children.

Third Contact: The television miniseries in which I played Muriel Stacey, Anne’s beloved teacher.

Fourth Contact: Marilyn Lightstone Reads. What fun to get to play ALL the wonderful characters Lucy Maud Montgomery created!

If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would it be?

Daniel Silva. I am SUCH a fan! Mr. Silva writes political thrillers of which each and every one is a knockout. He is of the genre that uses the same characters in each successive book, so that you are keenly aware not only of what is happening currently, but also what has led the character to that moment in time. (This is an attribute of many of my favourite writers, such as Ian Rankin’s Rebus and Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford.)

His work encompasses and brings to life layers and layers of world politics and intrigues, all of which ring so true that you wonder where and how he gets his information. If you haven’t already discovered him you’re in for a treat, but do remember to read them in the order in which they were written!

 

Photography: Johnny Louis (Silva); Keystone/Getty Images (Winsor); Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SCROLL

Hilary Mantel, Award-Winning British Author of ‘Wolf Hall’ Trilogy, Dies at 70Wolf Hall, published in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies, released three years later, both won the Booker Prize, an unprecedented win for two books in the same trilogy and making Mantel the first woman to win the award twice.


Prince William “Cannot Forgive” Prince Harry, According to ‘The New Royals’ Author Katie NichollPrince William “just cannot forgive his brother,” according to Katie Nicholl, author of 'The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown.'


Five Finalists Announced for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for NonfictionThe winner — to be announced on November 2 — will take home the annual $60,000 prize.


Peter Straub, Bestselling American Horror Writer, Dies at 79Friend and co-author Stephen King has said the author's 1979 book, "Ghost Story," is his favourite horror novel.


Rawi Hage, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Sheila Heti Make the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Long ListThe jury read 138 books to choose 14 titles for the long list, one of which will win the $100,000 prize, one of the richest in Canadian literature


Salman Rushdie, Novelist Who Drew Death Threats, Is Stabbed at New York LectureThe Indian-born novelist who was ordered killed by Iran in 1989 because of his writing, was attacked before giving a talk on artistic freedom.


Raymond Briggs, Creator of Beloved Children’s Tale ‘The Snowman’, Dies at 88First published in 1978, the pencil crayon-illustrated wordless picture book sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world while a television adaption became a Christmas favourite in Britain and was nominated for an Oscar.


Canadian Author Emily St. John Mandel Makes Barack Obama’s 2022 Summer Reading ListObama's list includes everything from fiction to books on politics, cultural exploration and basketball.


Canadian Author Rebecca Eckler to Launch RE:books Publishing House Focused on Female Authors and Fun ReadsThe former National Post columnist says her tagline is ‘What’s read is good, and what’s good is read.’”


Brian Thomas Isaac’s “All the Quiet Places” wins $5,000 Indigenous Voices AwardThe B.C. author, a retired bricklayer, drew on his childhood growing up on the Okanagan Indian reserve for his coming-of-age story set in 1956


Canadian-American Author Ruth Ozeki Wins Women’s Book Prize for “The Book of Form and Emptiness”The UK judges said her fourth novel, inspired in part by the Vancouver Public Library, contained "sparkling writing, warmth, intelligence, humour and poignancy."


The Bill Gates Summer Reading List Includes a Sci-Fi Novel On Gender Inequality Suggested by His DaughterBill Gates' summer reading list includes fiction and non-fiction titles that cover gender equality, political polarization and climate change.


American novelist Joshua Cohen wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for “The Netanyahus”The 2022 Pulitzer prizes include this satirical look at identity politics, focused on the father of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a crucial time in the Jewish state’s history


Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro Among Canadian Authors Recognized in Commemorative Reading List Marking Queen’s Platinum JubileeThe authors are among six Canadian scribes included on the The Big Jubilee Read list.


Queen Elizabeth II’s Aide Reveals Details of Life in Royal Pandemic Lockdown in New Addition to BookAngela Kelly, who's worked for the Queen for 20 years, discusses everything from cutting the Queen's hair to "the light and laughter that was shared ... even in the darkest moments."


New Leonard Cohen Story Collection, ‘A Ballet of Lepers,’ Set for October ReleaseThe collection features a novel, short stories and a radio play written between 1956 and 1961.


Archived Letters Reveal How Toni Morrison Helped MacKenzie Scott Meet Future Husband Jeff BezosBezos hired Scott at the hedge fund where he worked after receiving a recommendation from Morrison. Shortly thereafter, the pair married and Scott helped Bezos launch Amazon.


Prince Harry’s Memoir is Set to Rock the MonarchyFriends say the California-based royal got a million-pound book deal to write "an intimate take on his feeling about the family."


European Jewish Congress Asks Publisher to Pull Anne Frank BookThe Congress says 'The Betrayal of Anne Frank' has "deeply hurt the memory of Anne Frank, as well as the dignity of the survivors and the victims of the Holocaust."


Canadian Author Details Anne Frank Cold-Case Investigation That Named Surprise Suspect in Her Family’s Betrayal in New BookAhead of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Frank's 'The Diary of a Young Girl' in June, a team that included a retired FBI agent and around 20 historians, criminologists and data specialists identified a relatively unknown figure as a leading suspect in revealing her family's hideout.


Man Who Tricked Authors Into Handing Over Unpublished Manuscripts Arrested by FBI in New YorkFilippo Bernardini, an employee of a well known publication house, has been arrested for stealing hundreds of unpublished manuscripts.


Hollywood Legend Betty White Has a Last Laugh in New Biographic Comic BookThe creators of the biographical comic book have released similar books about Hollywood legends like Carrie Fisher, Lucille Ball, David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor.


Barack Obama Reveals His List of Books That Left “A Lasting Impression” in 2021Obama's favourite 2021 reads include two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead's 'Harlem Shuffle' and 'Klara and the Sun,' by Nobel Prize-winning author Kazuo Ishiguro


“Interview With the Vampire” Author Anne Rice Dies at 80 — Tributes Pour in From Stuart Townsend and OthersThe author, who was best known for her work in gothic fiction, died on Saturday evening as a result of complications from a stroke.


Norma Dunning wins $25,000 Governor General’s English fiction prize for ‘Tainna’The Edmonton-based Inuk writer explores themes of displacement, loneliness and spirituality in six short stories


Omar El Akkad wins $100,000 Giller prize for “What Strange Paradise”The former Globe and Mail reporter, who published "American War" to acclaim in 2017, tackles the global migrant refugee crisis in his second novel


South African Author Damon Galgut Wins the Booker Prize For ‘The Promise’Galgut received nominations for his 2003 and 2010 works before finally taking home the prize this year. 


Hollywood Legend Paul Newman Discusses Life, Acting and Aging Gracefully in Newly Discovered MemoirPublishers of the newly discovered memoir say the Hollywood legend wrote the book in the 1980s in response to the relentless media attention he received during that time.


Here’s What You Need to Know About the Toronto International Festival of AuthorsDirector Roland Gulliver lands in Toronto to open his second, much-expanded virtual festival with more than 200 events


Tanzanian Novelist Gurnah Wins 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature for Depicting the Impact of Colonialism and Refugee StoriesGurnah, 72, is only the second writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win one of the world's most prestigious literary awards


Miriam Toews Garners Third Giller Prize Nomination for “Fight Night” after Shortlist AnnouncedSophomore efforts from novelists Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill join debut books from Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia and Angélique Lalonde


Tina Brown’s New Book, ‘The Palace Papers’, Covers the Royal Family’s Reinvention After Diana’s Tragic DeathTina Brown's sequel to her 2007 release 'The Diana Chronicles' is set to hit shelves April 12, 2022. 


Audible.ca Releases Andrew Pyper’s Exclusive Audiobook “Oracle” For New Plus Catalogue LaunchThe thriller about a psychic FBI detective is one of 12,000 titles now available for free to members


Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen to Release Book Based On Their “Renegades” PodcastThe new book will feature a collection of candid, intimate and entertaining conversations


Prince Harry Will Publish a Memoir in Late 2022Harry says he's writing the book "not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become."


> STAY UP TO DATE

Sign Up for the Weekly Book Club Newsletter