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Singer Veda Hille shares her favourite books on Shelf Life

04/26/2015 04:42 EDT | Updated 07/28/2015 08:59 EDT
Vancouver singer and songwriter Veda Hille has a busy life, but she always makes time to indulge in a good book every now and then.

"I was always an avid reader. I read like a fiend when I was a child," she told North by Northwest's Sheryl MacKay.

Veda took part in North by Northwest's weekly series, Shelf Life. The segment asks people to talk about a book that influenced them as a child, a book they would like to lend out, a book that changed their life, and a book that is their guilty pleasure.

Favourite childhood book?

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

"I've read those many times. I was six and my aunt's boyfriend gave them to me in a box set. I'm sure I've read those books 20 or 30 times each. They're great for children and the engagement with magic in such a palpable way is so great."  

What book would you give to your younger self?

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke ​

"I think this is the hardest question on the list. I still give Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet to all the teenagers I know. It's a good romantic book about how to get stuff done."

What book do you like to lend out?

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf by Kathryn Davis

I like to lend people Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. It's a book that was so deeply engaging for me. It's post-apocalyptic set about 1000 years after a nuclear disaster in England."

"It's all written in a jagged vernacular about how language has risen again out of the ashes. It feels like reading Shakespeare because you have to engage your brain for a while."

[On The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf] "I could see making an opera out of this book. It's got three or four intersecting story lines."

"It's about a single mother and her relationship with a cranky old gay opera composer. When the composer dies, she leaves her unfinished opera to this young woman."

What book that changed your life?

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard  

"Annie Dillard is my favourite writer. It's extremely gorgeous dense prose."

Hille says the book was given to her by a good friend and changed the way she appreciated words to the point where it impacted the way she writes songs.

What book is your guilty pleasure?

"I thought about it, but I don't think I feel guilty about anything I like. I definitely have a fondness for mysteries, but I feel great about that!"

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Shelf Life: Veda Hille

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