Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The WAR Series: Writers as Readers, with Suri Rosen

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Suri Rosen

Kicked out of school, on the outs with her sister and sent to live with her strict aunt — so far, sixteen hasn't been a great year for Raina Resnick. But in her tight-knit Jewish community, Raina discovers she possesses an unexpected skill — matchmaking! Soon, Raina is anonymously playing cupid for lonely hearts to the point where she's barely able to stay awake through the days at her new school.

With the threat of a second expulsion and her identity being revealed, Raina races to find a new Mr. Right for her sister, who blames Raina for her broken engagement — all without letting anyone finding out that the hottest new matchmaker in town is a teenager.

Suri Rosen has crafted a witty, warm, unputdownable debut novel and a memorable heroine in Raina, the star of Playing With Matches (ECW Press).

Today Suri joins us to take on the The WAR Series: Writers As Readers questionnaire, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

She tells Open Book about the literary classic that makes her swoon, a book that can break your heart and make you laugh at the same time and the young adult novel that set her on her own literary path.
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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
Anna Karenina.
Okay, so it wasn’t really the first book I read on my own but none of the books that I read until that one really impacted me or made a permanent mark on my memory. None of them awakened me to the universe of books until I read Tolstoy’s classic novel.

A book that made me cry:
Night, by Elie Wiesel.

The first adult book I read:
Wuthering Heights. *swoon*

A book that made me laugh out loud:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. The book is brilliant in they way it uses humour to convey a devastating portrait of grief, despair, and violence on the ‘res.’ (Spokane Tribe of Indians) And yet the reader is still laughing out loud.

The book I have re-read many times:
Catcher in the Rye. (But I promise you I was still a teenager.)

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Finnegan’s Wake. Because then it would just be done already.

The book I would give my seventeen year old self, if I could:
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi. It’s a haunting and brilliant book that uses chemistry as metaphor, and offers a tremendous perspective on life — the kind of perspective that a seventeen-year-old often lacks. (Not that I’m referring to myself or anything.)

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
Rats Saw God, by Rob Thomas. It was the first young adult book I ever read and it opened me up to the possibilities of writing for teens through its themes, story, and humour.

The best book I read in the past six months:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Okay, admittedly it was a re-read, but so scary and powerful and way ahead of the dystopian curve.

The book I plan on reading next:
The Sky is Everywhere by Jendy Nelson is simply a beautiful novel so I look forward to I’ll Give you the Sun.

A possible title for my autobiography:
Why Take a Map if You Can get Lost on the Way.


Suri Rosen dabbles in many arts, but excels in daydreaming. She has worked as a professional artist, filmmaker, journalist, and TV producer. Playing with Matches is her first novel. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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