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Marcia MacMillan on: 3 Reads to Help Keep Perspective

“You read about [Amanda Lindhout] and then you think about your own life. It gives you a different perspective on what is possible.”

The women at the heart of all of these great reads have helped keep career and life in perspective for Marcia MacMillan, an anchor at CTV news channel and Toronto master of ceremonies for Women of Influence.

BY MARCIA MACMILLAN | AS TOLD TO MELISSA BRAZIER

 

About two years ago I moved, and I discovered that I had so many books. I did an audit, and these three were among the ones that I just had to bring with me. The common theme among them all is a strong and inspiring female lead.

 

 

Still_Alice

Still Alice by Lisa Genova, 2007

THE CHILLING PORTRAYAL OF ALICE HOWLAND—WHO IS MARRIED WITH THREE GROWN CHILDREN AND AT THE PEAK OF HER CAREER AS A RENOWNED HARVARD PROFESSOR—COPING WITH THE EARLY ONSET OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.

I picked this one up at the bookstore, and again, read it within a few days. I have a fear of Alzheimer’s and I have grandparents who have suffered from it. This book is about a woman in her fifties who is at a stage in her life where she seems settled: her daughters are grown up, she has an excellent job and a husband who loves her. One day, she goes out for a run, gets lost, and everything starts to fall apart. The way Genova wrote this book, it feels like this could happen to anyone. You just felt like you were inside this woman’s life, and it made you so empathetic. I can tell you that the last two or three pages of that book were destroyed by my tears. And when I finished reading it, I popped the book in the mail and sent it to my best friend who lives in Saskatchewan.

 

 

 

 

A_House_In_The_Sky

A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout, Sara Corbett, 2013

LINDHOUT, A TELEVISION REPORTER IN THE WAR-TORN COUNTRIES OF AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, TRAVELLED TO SOMALIA WHERE SHE WAS ABDUCTED BY A GROUP OF MEN WEARING MASKS AND HELD CAPTIVE FOR 460 DAYS. IN THIS NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING MEMOIR, SHE TELLS HER HARROWING STORY OF STRENGTH AND SURVIVAL.

Working as a news reporter, I knew all about the Amanda Lindhout case, and after she was rescued I obviously followed her story very closely through my job. I read the book last June because I wanted to know the circumstances surrounding her release. As a journalist, I was just so curious. It’s very difficult to read at times. Sometimes I couldn’t take it in because it was just so heart-wrenching and scary, so I would take a deep breath, put the book down, and come back to it. You read about her and then you think about your own life. I am now more sensitive, through my work, to that type of news story. In reading what she went through, anyone would ask himself or herself, ‘Could I survive that?’ I don’t mean physically, I mean mentally. She did. And it gives you a different perspective on what is possible.

 

 

 

The_Paris_Wife

The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain, 2011

SET IN 1920s PARIS, THIS NOVEL EXPLORES THE INFAMOUS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ERNEST HEMINGWAY AND HIS WIFE HADLEY. MCLAIN TAKES THE READER THROUGH THE UPS AND DOWNS OF A COUPLE DEALING WITH THE INFIDELITIES AND BETRAYALS THAT COME ALONGSIDE A FAST-PACED PARTY SCENE AND A RAPIDLY GROWING WRITING CAREER.

In the summer of 2012, I was recovering from a pulmonary embolism in both lungs and took four to six weeks off work. Everything in my life before this illness was really fast, and this forced me to put the brakes on. My mind was slower; my body was slower. Someone brought me this book as a gift, and it was the right kind of read at that stage in my life. It was just one of those books that was meant to be savoured. It was a total escape, as it took me to another time and place. I was able to go to a time when the world was a lot more carefree, and learn more about great authors and great thinkers.


Marcia is the master of ceremonies at our Women of Influence Luncheon’s in Toronto. Interested in attending an event? Click here to view what’s coming this season!