101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper

101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper

From the mailbox of the Prime Minister's Office to your bookshelf, a list of more than 100 books that every Canadian should read. This largely one-sided correspondence from the "loneliest book club in the world" is a compendium for bibliophiles and those who follow the Canadian political scene. Smart, subversive, signed, sealed, and now available to you...even if your...

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Title:101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper
Author:Yann Martel
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Edition Language:English

101 Letters to a Prime Minister: The Complete Letters to Stephen Harper Reviews

  • Denise

    I think Yann Martel took on a great task for a good reason. I do not know if he intended it, but he shared a great book list with all the rest of the reading world. A thank you goes from me to him. I wonder what such an American list would look like.

  • Marc-Antoine

    For me, this was a collection of 101 love letters to literature. My to read list just grew by a lot and I am reminded of why I am an avid reader. I strongly recommend to all book lovers, or anyone who wants to try and understand us.

  • Joely

    Read this for an author research project, but Martel has inspired me to read more through his elegant yet blunt manner in explaining the importance of the arts. Everyone should read this book, particularly adults who no longer read, so as to remind themselves that perhaps the essence of life is not sitting in front of a computer all day long staring at meaningless numbers.

    That being said, there were times when the book became overwhelming near the end, simply because it is difficult to take in

    Read this for an author research project, but Martel has inspired me to read more through his elegant yet blunt manner in explaining the importance of the arts. Everyone should read this book, particularly adults who no longer read, so as to remind themselves that perhaps the essence of life is not sitting in front of a computer all day long staring at meaningless numbers.

    That being said, there were times when the book became overwhelming near the end, simply because it is difficult to take in so much rich commentary at a time. However, Martel has succeeded in drilling that the arts must be taken in slowly, so that the work permeates you. It is advised that success in reading books is not found in the quantity of which one reads, but the quality-- but every piece is of quality, so in the end reading a lot is the best.

  • Sabrina

    At first, I hated the idea of this book--Stephen Harper cannot possibly care what Yann Martel thinks he should read. But the more I read, the less that mattered and the more I thought about the importance of what a leader consumes in shaping who they are and how they lead.

    Although I found it a little overtly left-leaning, the letter format is intimate and direct, the list of books is superb, and by the end I found myself wondering how my own reading list impacts my work, my friendships, and my

    At first, I hated the idea of this book--Stephen Harper cannot possibly care what Yann Martel thinks he should read. But the more I read, the less that mattered and the more I thought about the importance of what a leader consumes in shaping who they are and how they lead.

    Although I found it a little overtly left-leaning, the letter format is intimate and direct, the list of books is superb, and by the end I found myself wondering how my own reading list impacts my work, my friendships, and my life.

    The best part of being friends with writers is their book recommendations and this book is a window into the book recommendations of an excellent Canadian writer as well as a meditation on the impact of literature and the types of leaders we choose to elect and support.

  • Rachel C.

    I doubt that Stephen Harper read any of these books or letters but I still find myself charmed by the idea of interacting with your head of state this way. What would you want your leader to read? As Martel asks:

    I doubt that Stephen Harper read any of these books or letters but I still find myself charmed by the idea of interacting with your head of state this way. What would you want your leader to read? As Martel asks:

    Martel touches on a number of subjects in his letters, from multiculturalism and Canadian identity, to arts funding, environmentalism, history and war. He starts out cajoling but becomes more confrontational and petulant as the project continues (by #100, it's been nearly four years).

    Although the project is ostensibly directed at Stephen Harper, it's also directed at Canadians. It asks, "What sort of

    are you? What is

    mind made of?" It introduces and celebrates many Canadian writers, while at the same time encouraging the reader to international breadth and historical scope. I added a dozen titles to my own to-read list.

    And it touched Martel, too. In a guest-letter from his partner Alice Kuipers, she writes, "Along the way, I think Yann has rediscovered the joy of reading widely."

    And so it goes with reading - it rarely fails to improve one's mind and one's life.

  • Kate

    I did not intend to sit down and blow through this in one sitting but that is exactly what happened. That's 101 (mostly) unanswered letters that Yann Martel (Life of Pi, Beatrice and Virgil) wrote to former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Each letter contained the title (or two, or three) of a book that he suggested Mr. Harper read. He even sent a copy of each book with the letter. This happened every two weeks. For 101 letters he received 7 responses, none of which from Harper himself.

    I did not intend to sit down and blow through this in one sitting but that is exactly what happened. That's 101 (mostly) unanswered letters that Yann Martel (Life of Pi, Beatrice and Virgil) wrote to former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Each letter contained the title (or two, or three) of a book that he suggested Mr. Harper read. He even sent a copy of each book with the letter. This happened every two weeks. For 101 letters he received 7 responses, none of which from Harper himself.

    There are a wide variety of books mentioned here. Some I've heard of, some not. Some I've loved, some I've loathed, but each letter gives a very, very good argument for picking it up. They aren't summaries of the books for the most part but a discussion of the importance of the ideas, the writing style, of the people that produced it. It really is quite fascinating and I really love how Yann Martel writes. Having heard him speak it is very, very similar.

  • Elsabe

    Goodreads challenge one to set yourself a reading challenge. I am not one to read for speed, I read and digest and reread and savour way too much. But I have found my reading goal! I want to read all the books Yann recommended to Stephan Harper! Where on earth will you find a more well thought out and inspiring list? With motivation and discussion of each! I plan to read his review of the book when I am reading the book- either before or after the read or both. I'm sure I will find out what

    Goodreads challenge one to set yourself a reading challenge. I am not one to read for speed, I read and digest and reread and savour way too much. But I have found my reading goal! I want to read all the books Yann recommended to Stephan Harper! Where on earth will you find a more well thought out and inspiring list? With motivation and discussion of each! I plan to read his review of the book when I am reading the book- either before or after the read or both. I'm sure I will find out what works best as I go along.

    Excited - I am starting Thanksgiving 2016.

  • Evelyn

    The premise intrigued me, writing a bi-weekly letter to the PM and mailing it with a carefully selected book. Yann Martel kept this going for four years, despite never once receiving a reply from his intended recipient.

    The letters varied widely, sometimes about how the selected book was written, or little known facts about it's author, or how the book fit into present day politics. I must admit that I felt as time progressed with no response, Yann Martel got bolder with his opinions and

    The premise intrigued me, writing a bi-weekly letter to the PM and mailing it with a carefully selected book. Yann Martel kept this going for four years, despite never once receiving a reply from his intended recipient.

    The letters varied widely, sometimes about how the selected book was written, or little known facts about it's author, or how the book fit into present day politics. I must admit that I felt as time progressed with no response, Yann Martel got bolder with his opinions and criticisms of both politics and Stephen Harper personally. Some letters were downright cringeworthy, disrespectful and rude.

    The idea for this exercise stemmed from Yann Martel's firm belief that an effective leader can both understand how things are and dream how they should be, and literature is the key to this process.

    I liked the letter for book 15 which stated that any book makes us live the life of another person and then states that the saddest thing is someone who has only lived their own life, unenlightened by the experience, real or invented, of others". In other words, we grow as a person when we immerse ourselves in a character - we see through their eyes, get insight into how they think and feel, and our life experience expands as a result.

    "A book is a bottle with a genie in it. Rub it, open it, and the genie will come out to enchant you."

  • Chinook

    Things I learned:

    Stephen Harper is an ungrateful ass.

    The guy who wrote Maus was also responsible for Garbage Pail kids.

    Jeannette Winterson owns a food shop.

    I am quite bad at French these days, to the extent of mistranslating Christian as cretin.

  • Jon Nikrich

    A friend is hoping to attend the Editors Canada conference, and they recently announced Yann Martel as a speaker. That reminded me that I've wanted to read about this since I first heard about it. The involvement (or lack of involvement of) a Prime Minister is an interesting hook, but I read it for the recommendations. I love receiving ideas on what to read next and in this book Yann Martel provides me with more than 100.

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