> Zed Book Club / Bonnie Stern on Her Favourite Thriller, a Newfoundland Novel and Leonard Cohen

Cookbook author and culinary educator Bonnie Stern loves good books as much as she loves good food. Photo: Courtesy of Bonnie Stern

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Bonnie Stern on Her Favourite Thriller, a Newfoundland Novel and Leonard Cohen

The Canadian culinary queen can't wait to read 'What Strange Paradise', a new novel from Omar El Akkad that humanizes the global refugee crisis / BY Shinan Govani / August 12th, 2021

One of Canada’s consummate culinary teachers, Bonnie Stern founded and operated the Bonnie Stern School of Cooking in Toronto from 1973 to 2011. She has authored 12 bestselling cookbooks, hosted three national cooking shows and penned a popular column in the National Post for nearly two decades. For Stern, eating well is as important as reading well. Bibliophile Bonnie fills us in!

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

Paula McLain


When the Stars Go Dark by Paula McLain. I loved reading The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin, so I was excited to see how McLain could switch from historical fiction to a thriller. I literally could not put this book down. And the fact that it was partly biographical made it even more interesting and important in a way, considering McLain is such an incredible person who has gone through so much, especially early in life.

What book can’t you wait to dive into? 

I am really looking forward to reading Omar El Akkad’s new book What Strange Paradise. He’s a journalist and tackles some extremely important issues, like climate change, and writes fantastic books about it. This book is about the global refugee crisis, and the way he fictionalizes today’s problems makes the issues resonate with readers.

What’s your favourite book of all time?

I don’t think I would ever be able to settle on one, but one of my favourites is Michael Crummey’s Galore. Because Newfoundland is one of my favourite places, getting to understand it better through storytelling (a big part of their culture) has been so meaningful to me.

What book completely changed your perspective?

Ta-Nehisi Coates



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a book that was recommended by my daughter, Anna Rupert. It really changed the way I think about my privilege, the experiences of others, and how much more I have to learn.

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

I think it would be Leonard Cohen. His poetry saw me through my high school years, which at times were difficult, but that’s how the light gets in.


Bonnie Stern
Paula McLain, Photo: David Levenson/Getty Images; Ta-Nehisi Coates, Photo: Shahar Azran/Getty Images; Leonard Cohen, Photo: George Rose/GettyImages



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