What Canadian literature are we reading in 2022?

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What Canadian literature are we reading in 2022?

Jan 3, 2022, 2:17 pm

My first book read in 2022 is The Reinvention of Love by Helen Humphreys. Normally, I love reading anything by Helen Humphreys, but I must admit to finding this one a bit of a slog to finish for some reason.

Jan 3, 2022, 4:40 pm

I just finished DreadfulWater, by Thomas King, the first in a comic mystery series featuring Cherokee ex-cop Thumps DreadfulWater. Already placed a hold on the second book, The Red Power Murders.

Jan 5, 2022, 1:06 am

I'm about to start my first CanLit for the year: The Testaments by Atwood. I do want to read this at some point; not sure now is the time. But it's my book club book this month so I'll try. If it doesn't click, I'm not going to pursue it. Life is too short to read books you don't want to be reading

Jan 5, 2022, 4:10 pm

>3 Nickelini: It's tricky when it's a bookclub book. i was very tempted to "Pearl" my January one but persevered and in the end it still was not for my kind of book.

Jan 8, 2022, 10:53 am

My husband refers to the "tyranny of the book club" when he doesn't like the selection, but feels obligated to finish it.

I'm going to start one of my Christmas gifts, The Most Precious Substance on Earth by Shashi Bhat.

Jan 8, 2022, 3:55 pm

I just finished The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki. As with A Tale for the Time Being this book works a lot of issues into it-- grief, mental health, homelessness, poverty, hoarding, hearing voices, Zen Buddhism, etc. But it's so well written that I never bogged down even though the book is over 500 pages long.

I finished out 2021 with another great book The Strangers by Katherena Vermette. Vermette is Metis and the Stranger family in this book are also Metis. Generation after generation of women in the family get sidetracked from their desires by becoming pregnant. Substance abuse, neglect, child apprehension, jail are substantial challenges for them. This makes the book difficult to read at times but it is reflective of life for many Indigenous folks. Vermette doesn't sugarcoat anything but she does conclude on a hopeful note.

Jan 10, 2022, 3:19 pm

I've finished Manifeste céleste by Pattie O'Green, an irrevent and funny look at New Age practices today. I mostly loved the language: very French Canadian and completely inclusive - first time I've seen that in French, especially in a book. Definitely innovative!

Jan 14, 2022, 12:34 pm

I finished The Story of French by Nadeau and Barlow, a franco-anglo Canadian pair, whom I love reading for their great grasp of linguistic duality. Although this book focuses on French (all over the world, including Canada), they show how French is used politically as a counterbalance to English hegemony, which puts Canada in a uniquely competitive spot. I really enjoyed it!

Jan 15, 2022, 4:22 am

>3 Nickelini: That's part of why I've avoided anything to do with Handmaid's Tale.

I want to read another Margaret Atwood book but I still can't decide which one. None of them seem like what I'd be inclined to read from the jacket description, and I don't really want to continue with MaddAdam.

Jan 15, 2022, 12:24 pm

one of my favourite Margaret Atwood books is one of her first: The Edible Woman. I also liked Alias Grace

Jan 20, 2022, 1:48 pm

I've just started Fight Night by Miriam Toews

Jan 26, 2022, 9:01 am

I'm reading All That Remains by Colin Brezicki.

Jan 29, 2022, 12:15 pm

I am halfway through The Woman in the Attic by Emily Hepditch. There is a big storm blowing and I’m settling in with my heated blanket to finish this Newfoundland mystery.

Editado: Fev 20, 2022, 11:47 am

Really loved this book: The Very Marrow of Our Bones by Christine Higdon. A debut novel, set mainly in Vancouver. Highly recommend it.

Fev 12, 2022, 7:44 pm

I read two of the Canada Reads nominees so far in February:
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan was a good historical fiction book, but I preferred her Half Blood Blues. Maybe there was a level that I missed, but I didn't quite get it.

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez on the other hand I found very compelling. It felt more Canadian, set in a literacy program near a housing complex in Scarborough. It left me more moved and uplifted as a group of children and their families are followed for a year, even though it was bleak at times. Maybe because I had no expectations it caught me off guard, in a good way.

Fev 12, 2022, 7:50 pm

>14 ted74ca: I have that book noted in my library list, as someone else raved about it. Probably on this thread.

Fev 12, 2022, 8:12 pm

>15 raidergirl3: Me too, and me too!

Half Blood Blues was fantastic. I enjoyed Washington Black but it paled in comparison.

I just finished Scarborough (like five minutes ago) and loved it. Mrs Hina filled me with such optimism and hope. The families she met faced so many challenges, but she never stopped seeing them as real people. I know that these types of programs face chronic underfunding and don’t always work out, but this novel left me hopeful that some do soldier on and make a difference.

Fev 12, 2022, 9:13 pm

>17 Yells: I was describing it so positively, but I realized it was pretty sad with the poverty and discrimination and didn’t want to give the wrong impression. But it ultimately was hopeful. I’ll be rooting for Scarborough at Canada Reads. Disclosure - I haven’t read them all and I will also want to root for Tareq Hadhad of Peace for Chocolate fame. I’m in line to read the book he is supporting.

Fev 12, 2022, 9:57 pm

>18 raidergirl3: I’ve read all except Life in the City of Dirty Water and it’s a toss up between Scarborough and Five Little Indians so far. All four are good books, but these two resonate the most.

I always feel weird raving about books on poverty or abuse or whatever. And it’s much easier to be optimistic when this isn’t your daily reality, but this book did an excellent job of showing both sides and leaving the reader with a sense of hope. I’m glad that you picked up on it too.

Fev 13, 2022, 9:30 am

So much great stuff on this thread!

First, let me tell everyone that there is a Canada Reads thread: https://www.librarything.com/ngroups/855/CBCs-Canada-Reads-Fans

Please join us over there!

So far, I've read Five Little Indians and Washington Black. I'll read the other three before the debates start.

I heard Catherine Hernandez interviewed by Sheilagh Rogers and am anxious to read Scarborough. She asked a graduating class of Social Workers to contemplate on why everything Mrs. Hina did that was right broke the rules.

I agree with everyone who said Half Blood Blues is better than Washington Black.

And I agree 110% that The Very Marrow of our Bones is amazing!!!!!!!

Fev 22, 2022, 2:36 pm

Perusing Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment, the catalogue accompanying the exhibition of the same name by the McMichael Gallery. This is a hefty book -- I'm getting my weight training in.

Fev 25, 2022, 4:09 pm

I recently read The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia. It was shortlisted for the Giller last year and while it didn't win it certainly was deserving of the nomination. The author now lives at least part of her time in Canada but she was born and raised in Nigeria and that is where she set the book. It is centred on two women who have been kidnapped for ransom. To while away their time together they tell their life stories. Lots of very interesting information about Nigerian culture and the two women's stories are dissimilar but alike (if you know what I mean).

Mar 2, 2022, 5:39 pm

I picked up a local history book, Becoming Vancouver, that I'm curious to read. I just finished one book, but as per usual I need to decide which other I might want to pick up. I've been "reading" Atwood's Survival for a while, so it wouldn't hurt to focus on that again. Not even sure I know where it is at the moment.

Mar 4, 2022, 3:41 pm

Just finished Fight Night by Miriam Toews and my opinion is that might be her best book yet. It has the humour of The Flying Troutmans combined with important issues like in Women Talking. Anyone else read it?

Mar 4, 2022, 3:58 pm

>24 gypsysmom: M. Toews is one of my fav. authors. I guess my fav. would be All My Puny Sorrows but Women Talking was fantastic too as was Fight Night. It is hard for a girl to choose!

Mar 4, 2022, 4:35 pm

>24 gypsysmom: That's funny! I just finished Women Talking and read Fight Night a few months ago. Both were great but I was saying to husband that WT was her best book yet :)

Mar 4, 2022, 6:15 pm

>26 Yells: I could be persuaded. She has such a personal history that comes out in her writing.

Mar 8, 2022, 9:55 pm

>25 mdoris: >26 Yells: I have not yet read All My Puny Sorrows. Someone else mentioned it was their favourite. I should really try it.

Mar 15, 2022, 9:34 am

I'm enjoying Dirty Birds by Morgan Murray

Mar 15, 2022, 10:29 am

I'm racing through When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill and very much liking it.

Mar 15, 2022, 11:39 am

>30 raidergirl3: Horrible cover but wonderful book! I'm about a quarter of the way through.

Mar 15, 2022, 3:36 pm

>30 raidergirl3: Yay! I'm waiting for the trade paperback
>31 Yells: Right? I actually like the picture itself when I focus on it, but the colours are horrible and when I first look at it all I see is a mess. Funny thing, I've heard so many booktubers oooohhh and aaaahhhh over how gorgeous they think it is

I'm reading a Canadian book too: Susan Juby's Woefield Poultry Collective. It's pretty amusing

Mar 16, 2022, 9:31 pm

I finished When We Lost Our Heads and I loved the French Revolution parallels (even though I know so little about French Revolution), I loved the feminism, I loved the writing, and I loved twists and turns that I did not see coming. Let them eat cake indeed.

Mar 16, 2022, 9:40 pm

>33 raidergirl3: Great to hear O'Neill writes yet another good book!

Mar 21, 2022, 1:29 pm

I'm binge reading the Canada Reads finalists. Next up: What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad.

Editado: Mar 23, 2022, 3:46 pm

I'm about to start Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez

Mar 23, 2022, 7:20 pm

Mar 26, 2022, 5:24 pm

>35 LynnB: I've picked up What Strange Paradise too.

Abr 14, 2022, 8:05 pm

I'm reading State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Abr 15, 2022, 8:15 pm

I just finished The Last High by Daniel Kalla. Maybe not the "literature" in the title of this thread, but highly recommended and very Canadian.

Abr 18, 2022, 4:10 pm

Abr 19, 2022, 6:22 pm

I just finished a lovely poem (of 114 pages) Certains soirs de catastrophe by Stefan Psenak, Québécois in the Ottawa region and former politician.

Abr 28, 2022, 3:14 pm

Just finished The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje, my book club's selection for this month. I really enjoyed it, such lovely prose.

Maio 12, 2022, 2:01 pm

I just finished a book of historical fiction which I quite enjoyed and learned something from too. It seemed quite well researched, though the character development could have been improved a bit.
Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers.

Maio 24, 2022, 12:58 pm

Maio 25, 2022, 3:36 pm

I'm slowly reading, but enjoying, Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie-Renee Lavoie

Maio 26, 2022, 1:09 pm

I recently finished When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O'Neill. I've really enjoyed her other books but this one with its emphasis on erotica (personally I would call it pornography) kind of left me disappointed. On the other hand there are some really interesting themes and questions to ponder. Anyone else read it?

Maio 26, 2022, 1:10 pm

>45 LynnB: Me too. In fact I've loved anything Humphreys has written. I don't understand why she doesn't get more accolades.

Maio 26, 2022, 6:38 pm

>47 gypsysmom: I loved it! And it’s funny because I don’t even remember the erotica, lol. I liked the parallels to the French Revolution, and all the female characters.

Maio 28, 2022, 4:41 pm

>49 raidergirl3: Good to know. My book club is reading this so it will be interesting to see what the others think.

Maio 29, 2022, 4:32 pm

The Last Wild Wolves / Ian McAllister.
4.5 stars

The author is a photographer and lives on the northern coast of British Columbia. He has taken many wildlife photos and helped with studies of the local wolf populations where he is. This is a coffee-table-style book with plenty of large photographs, alongside information about the wolves, and an epilogue that includes information about the destruction and conservation of the area.

Oh, they are beautiful. And sadly, so vilified. I hate people. I hate hunters – there are stories in the epilogue of some awful hunters. I hate the humans behind the companies that only want to make money and don’t care what they destroy to do it, as they destroy the habitats for most animals. These wolves are in an area that is less disturbed by humans, but it’s hard to say if that will last.

Getting beyond that, the wolves and the photos are beautiful. The area itself is beautiful, and there are a few photos that are not of the wolves, though of course, the bulk of the photos are. The information about the wolves was interesting – I didn’t know that wolves and ravens have a symbiotic relationship; wolves will hunt and eat many birds, but there has never been remains of ravens found in their scat. There is also a 20-ish minute DVD included with the book, a short documentary that says some of the same as what the book says, but of course the “photos” are now a video. And have I mentioned how beautiful they are!?

Maio 30, 2022, 8:07 am

I'm reading The Break by Katherena Vermette - I was a bit confused with all the female characters (over several generations - luckily there's a genealogical tree at the beginning), but now that I'm into the story, I can't put it down. Very raw with some highly disturbing scenes.

Maio 30, 2022, 2:59 pm

>52 Cecilturtle: And after you have finished and processed that one i recommend The Strangers by the same author. Don't read it right away but definitely read it.

Jun 4, 2022, 9:59 pm

First Snow, Last Light / Wayne Johnston
3 stars

When Ned is 14-years old, he comes home from school to find no one home. This is unusual. It turns out both his parents have disappeared. The book follows Ned as an adult and looks back on his life without his parents in it. Sheilagh Fielding, a reporter and friend of Ned’s father, becomes a good friend to Ned. In 1949, when Newfoundland becomes a part of Canada, the last child born before that time is referred to as “The Last Newfoundlander”. Ned ends up adopting the orphan and also takes in the boy’s destitute aunt.

The book alternates between Sheilagh’s point of view and Ned’s (with a couple of chapters devoted to two other characters). I really have no interest in Sheilagh. She bores me and I don’t like her. Unfortunately, Ned’s missing-parents mystery really wasn’t touched on for most of the book, but we did come back to it at the end. That, of course for me, was the most interesting part of the book. So because of that, I found the start and end much more interesting than the rest of the book. Overall, I’m rating it ok, but it definitely picked up at the end, not only when Ned finally found out what happened, but what happened after that.

I listened to the audio, which had four different narrators. It was done well, although I still lost focus occasionally, but I don’t believe that was due to it being an audio book.

Jun 5, 2022, 9:56 am

>54 LibraryCin: I really need to read The Custodian of Paradise, or find and re-read The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. The trouble with Custodian is that it's a huge hardcover and I haven't found the right moment.

Jun 5, 2022, 9:57 am

A couple of days ago I finished Cold Skies, by Thomas King. My goal is to catch up with the DreadfulWater series this year. I used to ration out series books, but lately I've decided if I'm in a series groove, the best thing is to keep going with it.

Jun 5, 2022, 10:06 am

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Editado: Jun 5, 2022, 4:46 pm

>55 rabbitprincess: I've read both, but it's been so long, I don't remember much, if any, of either of them. If you are thinking of reading or rereading before reading "First Snow, Last Light", I don't really think you need to. "First Snow, Last Light", I think, could be read as a standalone.

Jun 5, 2022, 8:24 pm

Just launched into And a Dog Called Fig by Helen Humphreys. I know it will be good as she never ever disappoints.

Jun 6, 2022, 7:49 pm

I just read Rabbit Foot Bill - it was excellent.

Jun 7, 2022, 10:52 am

>60 dianeham: wasn't it?

I'm starting Denial by Beverley McLachlin

Jun 13, 2022, 2:47 am

Just finished 22 Murders Investigating the Massacres, Cover-Up and Obstacles to Justice in Nova Scotia by Paul Palango. I thought the book was definitely in need of a thorough editing-lots of the 572 pages contained unnecessary detail and trivia and the writing lacked structure, with a lot of repetitions (especially Palango's long standing dislike of the RCMP) and a meandering timeline which was sometimes hard to follow. All in all, it is a very sad recounting of a terrible 2 days in Nova Scotia and an exposure of the utter failure of the RCMP to respond and manage the incident, as well as the cover ups and total lack of transparency that followed.

Editado: Jun 17, 2022, 2:59 pm

I'm re-reading The Break by Katherena Vermette for a book club.

Jun 19, 2022, 4:27 pm

Alone Together: A Pandemic Photo Essay / Leah Hennel
5 stars

Leah Hennel is a Calgary photographer who was working for Alberta Health Services before the COVID-19 pandemic began. During the pandemic, she was there to take photos in the hospitals, at COVID testing sites, at vaccine clinics, and more. The photos in the book start with testing, progress through various groups and celebrations and how they handled distancing and lockdowns, continue in the ICUs and hospitals, and on to vaccine clinics.

Some of these photos are very powerful. There was a photo that made the rounds early in the pandemic here in the Calgary media and on social media, so it extended to Canada and likely beyond: a doctor is on his knees on the phone with his forehead in his hand as he tells a family their loved one has died. This book has many more photos and stories to go with them. Not all sad, though. There is a photo of a 90-something year old man with a party hat as he gets his first vaccine. There are photos of the therapy dogs coming to “visit” with hospital staff to try to relieve some of the stress. A powerful look at the pandemic. (I almost said “back” at the pandemic, but it is still happening.)

Jun 20, 2022, 10:02 pm

Apparently John Irving became a Canadian citizen in 2019.

In One Person / John Irving
3 stars

William (Bill/Billy) is in boarding school and a young teen when he begins to question why he has crushes on the “wrong people”. He has a crush on one of the wrestlers in school, and also the older (woman) librarian; he also has a crush on a friend’s mother, as well as his own stepfather. In the book, he is an older man (bisexual) and looking back on his life and his relationships over the decades.

I thought this was ok. There was a lot of sex. Of all kinds. Have to admit I got a bit tired of that after a while. But, I thought it got a bit more interesting (and sad) in the 80s when AIDS hit. To see him watch so many people he knew die of AIDS… Initially I was a bit confused with the storyline, as it was a bit back and forth in time and trying to keep track of who was whom and when they were in his life, but after a while, I think I got used to that. I was a bit surprised at how many people in this small town were lgbtq+, though. Maybe there weren’t as many as I thought, as it was spread out over time, but it seemed like a lot.

Editado: Jun 22, 2022, 1:51 pm

I've been spending more time outside than in, but still quietly reading away, mostly Canadian authors these days:
Le cahier noir by Michel Tremblay, the first in a trilogy

Histoires sans suite Suite Stories a collection of short stories from mostly Canadian authors, some written in French, others in English, published for the hotel Le St-Sulpice, as part of a charity effort (all proceeds go to a literacy group).

Jun 22, 2022, 7:01 pm

Just finished Obsidian, by Thomas King.

Jul 13, 2022, 12:40 pm

I'm about to start Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin.

Jul 13, 2022, 6:43 pm

I preordered The Apollo Murders, by Chris Hadfield, totally on spec. Started it yesterday and it's good so far.

I'm also listening to The Inconvenient Indian, by Thomas King, read by Lorne Cardinal.

Jul 13, 2022, 8:33 pm

>69 rabbitprincess: I thought The Apollo Murders started a bit slow, but then, boy oh boy, things pick up! Enjoy

Jul 19, 2022, 6:09 am

I just finished a fabulous new voice in Canlit, which I highly recommend. Birth Road by Michelle Wamboldt. I can't recommend this enough. I read through it so quickly - and I am keen to read her second book, which is in the process of being written.

Jul 24, 2022, 3:23 pm

How to Pronounce Knife / Souvankham Thammavongsa
3.5 stars

This is a book of short stories. She is a Lao-Canadian author, so the stories focus on Lao immigrants’ experiences.

I enjoyed the stories as I read them, so I’m giving this a “good” rating, but like with the majority of short stories I read, I forget them. Even by the end of the (short) book, I have forgotten most of the stories. I give plenty of short story collections an “ok” rating, since I usually find they vary – I like some, but not others – but these (even listening on audio) were almost all ones I liked. I’m not sure if the author meant to set the stories in Canada or the US. I initially assumed Canada, since she is Canadian, but one of the stories referred to all the money being green, so that would be the US. I guess it doesn’t matter, overall.

Jul 25, 2022, 2:22 pm

Jul 28, 2022, 7:12 pm

I finally read some of Nelligan's poetry in
Poèmes choisis Émile Nelligan - absolutely beautiful

Ago 8, 2022, 4:30 pm

I'm reading We, Jane by Aimee Wall

Ago 8, 2022, 10:30 pm

Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani
3.5 stars

79-year old Georgie is on her way to the airport as she has been invited by Queen Elizabeth to their shared 80th birthday celebration. Unfortunately, Georgie’s car goes off an embankment and lands in a ravine. Georgie is alive, but too hurt to move from where she landed and she and her car are not visible from the road. As she waits for rescue, she goes through memories of her family and her life.

This was good. The initial crash brought me in and although the memories initially weren’t as interesting, I found it picked up a bit when Georgie got married, so I liked the second half of the story better. I also liked the comparisons to “Lilibet’s” (Queen Elizabeth’s) life and the little royal tidbits brought in that way. I thought it was amusing that all the women in Georgie’s family had names that shortened into “male” names: Phil, Fred (she had an Aunt and Uncle Fred when her Aunt Fred married a Fred), Grand Dan… (ok, not quite all, but most).

Ago 13, 2022, 3:53 pm

I just finished Marjorie Her War Years by Patricia Skidmore. It's a sequel to another book she wrote a few years back after she researched her mother's experience as a British child migrant, sent from England in the 1930's to a "farm school" near Duncan, BC. I don't find the author to be a gifted writer by any means, but her mother's story and the telling of the impact on the rest of her mother's family is very moving. I have friends who live a home on the redeveloped Fairbridge Farm School property where the author's mother was sent, so I feel a tenuous personal connection to this story.

Ago 13, 2022, 10:39 pm

The Castleton Massacre: Survivors' Stories of the Killins Femicide / Sharon Cook, Margaret Carson
4.5 stars

In May 1963, Robert Killins, a very intelligent man and a former United Church minister, murdered his (estranged) wife, his daughter, his sister, and his wife’s youngest daughter. He’d been stalking his wife and daughter for years since wife Florence tried to leave and travelled across the country from B.C. to Ontario to get away. His wife and daughter were both pregnant at the time of the murders. Two more of Florence’s children watched in horror as the murders happened, and were able to get away. They were 12- (Margaret) and 10-years (Brian) old at the time.

The book backs up in time to give a biography of both families – beginning with Robert’s and Florence’s parents, then Robert and Florence and their siblings and everything leading to 1963. It also included a section after the murders where Margaret and Brian came to live with their Uncle Harold and his wife and their youngest daughter (a teenager, the only child still living at home), Sharon, and the two tried to come to terms with what had happened and what they’d witnessed. The last bit of the book also talks about domestic abuse in Canada, in general. Margaret and Sharon are the authors of the book. They undertook a lot of research and got oral histories from many of the people still alive who remember it.

Wow! First a bit of advice – don’t read the chapter that describes the murders close to bedtime! It was terrifying and violent. With one of the authors having been there and the oral histories given by her brother who was also there and a couple of other people who tried to help, all put together, you get an awful feeling of being hunted (as I’m sure both Margaret and Brian felt)! That being said, I am a fan of true crime, and I do like biographies, so all put together, a very very good book. And murders I had never heard of before this.

Ago 15, 2022, 3:08 pm

I'm reading The Strangers, Katherena Vermette's follow up to The Break.

Ago 20, 2022, 11:59 pm

Five Little Indians / Michelle Good
3.5 stars

This book follows a few First Nations people who went to a residential school in B.C. when they were young. It follows them from the school, as they leave, and as they try to make lives for themselves after the traumas they experienced at the school. They wind in and out of each other’s lives.

Lucy is 16 when she is put on a bus to Vancouver from the school; luckily she knows Maisie who left the school a year earlier; unfortunately, she does get into a sticky situation before making it to Maisie’s place. Kenny managed to escape the school when he was younger, but he and Lucy had crushes on each other back then. Carla is a friend of Maisie’s. Howie gets into trouble with the law when he encounters “Brother” from the school as an adult.

I listened to the audio book. It was good. I wasn’t as interested in Carla’s story, so I missed a few things there. I also don’t think I liked Carla very much; she was very pushy. The book jumped between characters, and it often jumped forward large amounts of time, so at the start of some of the chapters I needed to try to figure out how many years later it was (and there was one bit with Carla that felt like the timing was out of sync with her character vs the rest of the story… but I’m not sure – that’s where I lost a bit of interest and missed a few things). And of course, there were memories of the school for all of them. There was at least one event that I think I missed altogether and when it was mentioned later in the book, I wondered what exactly had happened about that, so not sure if I missed it or it just wasn’t detailed or what happened there.

Ago 31, 2022, 2:37 pm

I'm reading Fearnoch by local author Jim McEwen

Set 8, 2022, 9:18 pm

I listened to the audiobook of Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont recently. You may know that the author has been charged with a number of crimes associated with fleeing with her son to the US and faking her death. As you know, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty so I keep an open mind about these things. Dumont claims she did this to flee violence from her partner. It's interesting that this book has a character that experiences abuse from her partner. That makes me think that there may be some truth to her assertion. Time will tell.

Set 11, 2022, 10:59 pm

The Testaments / Margaret Atwood
4.5 stars

This sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place 15 or 16 years after the first book. In this one, we follow three characters: Aunt Lydia and two teenaged girls, one in Gilead and one in Canada. Early in the book, both girls lose their mothers. Agnes’ (in Gilead) father, Commander Kyle, marries Paula, who is awful to Agnes. Daisy in Canada has actually lost both her parents in an explosion, and she is a bit lost as to what to do next until someone gives her some information she hadn’t previously known and helps her with where to go next. With Aunt Lydia, we find out more about her pre-Gilead, and how she became an aunt. The three stories do converge as the book continues on.

I listened to the audio and it was really good! The actress who plays Aunt Lydia in the tv show also narrated the character’s storyline in “The Testaments”. Although I loved the audio, and would recommend it for those who listen to audio books, it was harder to tell Agnes and Daisy apart, especially when the storylines converged; earlier in the book, you can tell by the other characters and what is happening around them. The narrators are different and their voices are different, but I still couldn’t remember which voice was who. BUT that did not detract from how much I liked the book. I also liked an added bit (can’t recall if it’s called such, but it’s an epilogue) at the very end. I’ve read “The Handmaid’s Tale” twice and I liked this one quite a bit more.

Set 13, 2022, 5:19 pm

Set 14, 2022, 12:17 am

>83 LibraryCin: I also preferred The Testaments better than the Handmaid's Tale. We are in the minority, and I get that. Literary-wise, I see that it's not a ground-breaking text like the original. But I was more engaged and enjoyed it very much too.

Set 14, 2022, 9:37 pm

>85 Nickelini: I'm sure that's why I preferred it. :-) Not often a fan of "literary" fiction. This one felt much less "literary" than "The Handmaid's Tale".

Editado: Set 15, 2022, 2:43 am

>86 LibraryCin: yes it did! And I was fine with that

Set 25, 2022, 3:27 pm

The Innocents / Michael Crummey
2 stars

When Ada and Evered’s parent both die, they are still young. It’s the 19th century and they live in an isolated area in Newfoundland. They do what they can to survive.

I listened to the audio. It was slow-moving and I couldn’t get interested, though the Newfoundland accents and phrases are fun. I missed much of what happened in the book, but I didn’t really care, either. I’m not sure how old the kids were when their parents died and not sure how old they were at the end of the book, either. It was a bit ugly as they became teenagers with no one else around, though. When I saw this book was nominated for a few awards, that explained it for me (my not liking it).

Set 27, 2022, 8:55 pm

The Company We Keep by Frances Itani
4.5 stars

This is a story about how 6 people come together to discuss their grief at losing a significant person. One woman who has been widowed for 3 years just can't seem to move on with her life. She puts up a notice in the local grocery store inviting people to come to a local coffee shop one evening to discuss grief. Four other people show up and although they don't have much in common they find they want to continue to get together with the others. A few weeks later a Syrian refugee is brought to the meeting by one of the members. Gradually everyone makes changes that help them continue with their (new) life. Itani is wonderful at weaving different themes into a story and writing characters that feel real.

Set 27, 2022, 9:52 pm

>89 gypsysmom: This sounds good (I also like this author)! It's a BB for me!

Set 27, 2022, 10:54 pm

>89 gypsysmom: sounds good.

Set 30, 2022, 10:55 pm

The War in the Country / Thomas F. Pawlick
4 stars

The author of this book is looking at life in rural areas with a focus on eastern Ontario. More specifically, he is looking at family farms vs factory farms, as well as mining rights vs indigenous land claims and sub- vs surface rights of landowners.

It seems the government is making things more and more difficult for smaller operations. Large corporations not only get subsidies, but smaller operations are hit with regulations they couldn’t possibly afford to meet, and in a lot of cases, regulations that just make no sense for what they are doing.

Some examples include the vegetarian restaurant told they needed to replace their cedar counter with stainless steel, stainless steel being needed for meat… but they don’t serve meat; but they might one day; well we’ll get stainless steel if that happens; nope, too bad, you need to do it now. Or the small butcher shop that doesn’t serve food to eat inside his shop but is suddenly required to install washrooms. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Both these businesses were asked to do much more than this, as their own expense, of course. Growing organic food is much more difficult than it should be, etc.

The author does end the book with lots of suggestions to fix these issues, but the political will is needed to do it and that’s currently not there, with large corporate lobby groups holding the purse strings of many politicians. Urban folks are asked to become educated to help rural folks stand up for these things.

Out 2, 2022, 5:13 pm

>90 LibraryCin: >91 dianeham: This was the book my book club read for September. We had our meeting a few days ago and it's one of the few books everyone has liked. Ratings were four, four and a half or five out of five.

Out 2, 2022, 8:48 pm

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Out 2, 2022, 10:34 pm

>93 gypsysmom: Oh, I've been wanting to come up with another suggestion for my book club. I might see about this or something else by Itani!

Out 3, 2022, 3:13 pm

>95 LibraryCin: Remembering the Bones is really good. And a little a propos with the passing of the Queen.

Editado: Out 3, 2022, 9:28 pm

>96 Yells: I just read that one not long ago. :-)

Out 14, 2022, 5:18 pm

We, Jane by Aimee Wall
4 stars

This is a novel about a controversial subject so I can imagine some people not liking it or not finishing it. The subject matter is reproductive rights. Given the US situation with the overturning of Roe v. Wade it is certainly an a propos subject. Even in Canada for women living outside of major centres (as in Newfoundland outside of St. John's) access to safe and timely abortions can be a problem. So I applaud the author for writing about this subject but I thought the story line bogged down a bit and didn't keep my interest.

Out 15, 2022, 10:34 am

>98 gypsysmom: I read We, Jane recently. I thought I'd be reading about an underground network of women, all known as "Jane", who provide abortions in un-serviced, rural areas. But it's really about women taking control of far more than their reproductive rights. It's about doing things "our way", forging strong bonds of friendship or sisterhood with or without friendship. It's a great character driven story of strong women, or those on their way to becoming strong.

Out 15, 2022, 12:37 pm

>99 LynnB: You're right. I guess I was more focused on the reproductive rights question and was disappointed that the book didn't provide more of that aspect.

Out 19, 2022, 8:52 am

Out 29, 2022, 7:35 pm

I just finished a YA novel that I thought was quite good. Second Chances by Winnipeg author Harriet Zaidman takes place during the 1953 polio epidemic. Manitoba was the epicenter of the epidemic with the highest number of cases, including adults. The main character is a fourteen year old boy who dreamed of becoming an NHL goalie. That dream was smashed when he contracted polio and was completely paralyzed. After some time in an iron lung he was able to breathe on his own and even started being able to move some limbs. Eventually he could walk and he even was able to skate. His little brother wasn't so lucky. He got polio after the Salk vaccine was available because his father refused to get him vaccinated. He remained in an iron lung. The author also works in a Metis character from the squatters territory known as Rooster Town. Lots of historical detail that I believe is 100% accurate.

Editado: Out 29, 2022, 7:47 pm

I've picked up Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro. It's funny: last year at about this time, I read one of her collections and was curiously indifferent. This collection, I'm loving! The theme is pretty great: what constitutes happiness for various people. All the characters are super interesting when shone through that light.

I'll be reading Le cahier rouge by Michel Tremblay, the second in a three part series (Le cahier noir, t.1 and Le cahier bleu, t.3)

Out 30, 2022, 3:07 pm

>102 gypsysmom: Oh, that sounds really interesting! Maybe a BB for me!

Nov 3, 2022, 10:15 am

I've started Speak, Silence by Kim Echlin

Nov 10, 2022, 1:59 pm

I'm half-way through The Relatives by Camilla Gibb

Nov 12, 2022, 11:10 am

I'm reading Canadian journalist, Elizabeth Renzetti, Shrewed, which I'm not finding insightful, funny or particularly well-researched. It just reads like Renzetti on a soapbox.

Nov 15, 2022, 12:52 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Nov 15, 2022, 1:04 am

>108 CindaFBC: I really liked that book.

Nov 15, 2022, 9:14 am

Nov 15, 2022, 12:47 pm

>110 LynnB: Me three!

Nov 24, 2022, 12:19 am

I must admit that when I read the jacket description of this month's selection for my book club, I wasn't impressed-figured it would be historical fiction with a "chic lit" People Magazine/tabloid sort spin on things. However, I found myself quite enjoying The Woman Before Wallis, a debut novel by Bryn Turnbull. I get so little time for reading now that maybe some light reading with some scandal mixed with learning about some historical events was just what I needed.

Nov 24, 2022, 11:32 am

I'm about to start Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo

Nov 24, 2022, 1:48 pm

Editado: Nov 25, 2022, 4:13 pm

Just finished The Castleton Massacre: Survivors' Stories of the Killins Femicide by Sharon Anne Cook and Margaret Carson. A difficult read, both because of the subject matter and because it often read more like an academic paper than a literary work, but I had never heard of this mass murder before and could appreciate all the research these family members had put in to create this book.

Dez 3, 2022, 7:46 pm

I really loved this novel: Remembering the Bones by Frances Itani. Very moving and beautiful prose.

Dez 3, 2022, 7:53 pm

>116 ted74ca: I love Itani and this is my favourite one of hers.

Dez 3, 2022, 10:05 pm

>116 ted74ca: Thank you ! On to the list it goes.....

Dez 3, 2022, 10:57 pm

Dez 4, 2022, 9:40 am

>116 ted74ca: I liked that one, too. I liked the line about the only person who'd know she was missing would be the Queen of England.

Dez 4, 2022, 11:08 pm

Fountaineville / C. A. Simonsen
3 stars

In the late 1950s, Davis is the youngest of four (living) siblings in a rural area on the Prairies (Saskatchewan, I think). His oldest brother died in Korea. His only sister, Gracie (whom he is closest to) is dating the local minister’s son. He has two twin brothers. Davis is 11/12 years old, I believe. There is an older neighbour whose yard Davis passes by every day who intrigues him. But Davis sees something very unusual (and a bit scary for him) one day. Davis spent a lot of time with the elderly people in town (a “witch” he met who was telling a “story with a story”, as well as some of the men at the local Legion Hall), while at the same time dealing with things happening at home.

This was ok. I rarely enjoy stories within the main story. This one took up a lot of the book, and I ended up skimming through much of it (the story within, that is). Of course, it did mean something in the end. I found the family issues more interesting than either the additional story or the time spent with the older people.

Dez 6, 2022, 10:43 pm

The Wife's Tale / Lori Lansens
3.5 stars

Mary is obese and much of her thought is taken up with her weight and food. On their 25th anniversary, her husband “Gooch” (Jimmy Gooch) has left her with no notice. He just didn’t come home. Mary, although she has never or rarely left her small hometown in Ontario, takes it upon herself to follow clues first to Toronto, then to California, to try to find him.

The first half of the book was hard to read with all the moaning about her weight and food, etc. But maybe that is accurate for some people battling obesity? It’s nice to see Mary become somewhat independent (with the help of people in the small town in California she ends up in). The ending was left a little bit open, but I suppose in doing that, that might mean something, too.

Dez 13, 2022, 4:40 pm

Dez 16, 2022, 3:52 pm

All Together Now / Alan Doyle
4.25 stars

Alan Doyle, lead singer of Great Big Sea, was missing performing when COVID hit. In the summer of 2020, he wrote some stories, as if he’s in a pub telling friends, and published it in this book.

I listened to the audio read by him, and I think that’s the way this story should be “read”. He is telling the stories as if he’s in a pub, and one of them, in particular (my favourite) – I just don’t see how it would translate on paper. It was the story of “dying laughing” and I was! The way he tells it – with his own laughter (fake laughter, but he does it so well...) – is just incredible and the laughter is so infectious! Other stories focused on Newfoundland itself, as well as some of his travels with GBS and the other famous people they met. It’s fun to hear how starstruck a star themselves can be sometimes. One of the stories just didn’t interest me much, but the rest were really good, so 4 stars, overall, for the book, but the extra ¼ star (as I do) for an amazing audio book.

Dez 19, 2022, 3:28 pm

Dez 23, 2022, 3:27 pm

Elevator Pitch / Linwood Barclay
4 stars

When there are elevator mishaps in New York City three days in a row – mishaps where people died in each one – the mayor must take drastic steps. Meanwhile, there is a reporter, Barbara Matheson, a single mom to a now-adult daughter (though her parents raised her daughter), who seems to have a grudge against the mayor. The mayor did approach her to write a biography about him, which she rejected.

I wasn’t quite as interested in the political aspects of the book with the mayor, though it was important to the book. I was more interested in Barbara’s and her daughter’s lives. The POV did switch around with each chapter. Through most of the book, I would have rated this 3.5 stars (good), but it really ramped up in the last 20% of the book. It was very suspenseful at that point and I didn’t want to put the book down (and I didn’t) until I finished! That was enough to increase my rating. Overall, although it turned out really good, it is not one of my favourites by Barclay.

Dez 24, 2022, 3:13 pm

Ballgowns & Butterflies / Kelley Armstrong
4 stars

This is a novella to follow the first in the author’s series “A Stitch in Time”. (Possible spoilers for the first book - am marking them, but they are only spoilers if one hasn’t read the first book.) In this one, Bronwyn is back in England to spend Christmas with William. She is now 6 months pregnant, and exhausted, but is looking forward to the holidays with her husband in both the current day and in William’s time period, Victorian England.

It was fun to “experience” the Victorian Christmas with Bronwyn. I also loved the cover! There were a few things that happened that will likely extend into the next book (though I’m sure it will be briefly explained there, too), so it was nice to see how those things happened, but I really liked the Christmas/holiday them of this one! (I actually don’t read very many Christmas-themed books.)

Dez 25, 2022, 11:07 am

>124 LibraryCin: On the basis of your review I placed a hold on the audiobook. Thanks for the recommendation.

Dez 25, 2022, 9:46 pm

>128 gypsysmom: Enjoy! I'm glad you were able to get your hands on the audio! There is the one story I can't even imagine translates nearly so well on paper. :-)

Dez 28, 2022, 10:08 pm

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth / Chris Hadfield
4 stars

The title of this book makes it sound – in part – like a kind-of self-help book: “...guide to life on Earth”. But it’s really not. It is primarily a memoir about Chris Hadfield’s life as an astronaut and his three trips into space.

I really liked that it was more about his life and his trips to space (and the huge amount – years! - of preparation for it. Oh, the amount of planning is incredible – particularly focusing on (all) the worst case scenario(s). There were bits of “advice” here and there that can be taken for life in general. I just found the planning and the trips to space so interesting. (I hadn’t realized he’d also done some youtube videos, so I’ve had to take a look – very entertaining!)

Dez 29, 2022, 12:21 pm

I'm reading one of my Christmas presents, Everyone in this Room will Someday be Dead by Emily Austin.

Dez 30, 2022, 1:54 pm

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant / Joanna Wiebe
3.5 stars

In book 2 of the trilogy, Anne is back at school, but she knows more about what is going on around her at this so-called boarding school. Possible book 1 : The students are actually dead and “vivified” (brought back to life via a deal with the parents). And the teachers are demons. . But there’s more that Anne hasn’t learned yet about herself. She has come back to get revenge on the person who is the new headmaster.

I don’t think it was as good as the first one, but overall it was still good. There was a recap, but it was quick and I was still trying to get back into the “world” and was a bit confused. There were also a couple of characters with similar names I kept mixing up. But when we got away from the odd vocabulary and I was able to get more into the story, it got better for me.

Jan 1, 2023, 12:43 pm

I read 23 books by Canadians this year which is about 20 percent of my reading total. The top five Canadian novels were:
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel
The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz
The Company We Keep by Frances Itani

Jan 2, 2023, 12:10 pm

>133 gypsysmom: you inspired me to do a similar analysis!

I read 43 Canadian books, including fiction and nonfiction, this year. That is about 37% of my reading total. My top five Canadian books are:

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton
The Mystery of Right and Wrong by Wayne Johnston
Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen Humphreys
The Devil's Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War by John Boyko
Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes by Silver Donald Camerson

Editado: Jan 2, 2023, 8:40 pm

>133 gypsysmom:, >134 LynnB: Thank you this is very helpful as I would like to be reading more books written by Canadians.

Jan 2, 2023, 5:56 pm

I read 11 Canadian books this year, which is roughly one-quarter of my reading. Highlights were Autopsy of a Boring Wife by Marie-Renee Lavoie, and The Last High, a medical thriller by Daniel Kalla.

Jan 2, 2023, 8:29 pm

>134 LynnB: I have a hold for Ducks but I think it will be months before I get it. I saw that former President Obama had it on his favourite books of 2022 list.

Jan 2, 2023, 8:37 pm

>137 gypsysmom: I saw that too, and that made me take a second look for sure

Jan 3, 2023, 10:11 am

>136 Nickelini: Autopsy of a Boring Wife is on my ever-growing wish list. But I haven't spent my Christmas money yet.....

Jan 4, 2023, 4:19 pm

My final Canadian literature of 2022 was Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. I only discovered Doctorow's science fiction last year so I'm late to the party. I knew this book was one of his most famous and it was available as an audiobook from my library. I thought the theme of abrogating civil rights under the guise of preventing terrorism was really well handled. It's classified as YA but I thought it was just as engaging for older audiences (although I confess I got lost with some of the computerese stuff).

Jan 9, 2023, 3:32 pm

I've started reading A World of Curiosities by Louise Penny. Besides loving Penny, I've been particularly looking forward to this one as I was a university student in Montreal when the shooting occurred. (The confusion of it mostly stands out in my mind.)

I'm finding it a more emotional read than anticipated: Penny is such an atmospheric writer and, while it's helping me process this event and understand its impact in a much more holistic way, it made me realize just how very narrow my experience and understanding of it was. It's a humbling lesson to learn and a time to be grateful.

Jan 9, 2023, 10:55 pm

The Boy / Betty Jane Hegerat
4 stars

This book is a combination fiction, memoir, and true crime. The author goes back and forth between telling her fictional story… which (in some ways) mimics the true crime portion of the story as she writes about her research into the crime. The chapters alternate between the fiction and the memoir.

The fictional story is set in the 90s, and is from the POV of a woman, Louise, marrying a man, Jake, who has a 12-year old son, Daniel. Louise is a teacher and knows that Daniel often gets into trouble, so she is concerned about how this will go as she becomes his stepmother. The true crime portion of the story is about a boy (Bobby Cook) in small town Alberta who, in his 20s, was convicted and hanged in 1960 for murdering his family: his father, stepmother, and five younger half-siblings. This was the last execution in Alberta.

It seems kind of an odd mix, but it worked really well for me. I liked that the character Louise would “talk” to the author, usually in between chapters, but occasionally in the memoir chapters, as well, as Louise and the author Betty figured out what the fictional Louise’s story would be and how similar it would be to Bobby Cook’s story. I liked both the fictional story, and I found the true crime portion of the story quite interesting, as well. Might have to look further into Robert Raymond Cook.

Jan 11, 2023, 2:49 pm

I'm finishing Le pari by Dominique Demers, Franco-Ontarian writer. She is mostly known for her children's literature which has even been turned into movies. I believe this was her first attempt at an adult novel. Her writing is flawless and she's an amazing storyteller but she does tend towards the melodramatic (there are a lot of deaths!).

Jan 11, 2023, 7:10 pm

Editado: Jan 11, 2023, 7:24 pm

>144 rabbitprincess: Mademoiselle C is one of her most famous characters. My daughter and I read the whole series!

Fev 8, 2023, 6:28 pm

Just finished Fayne by Ann-Marie MacDonald. What a read-very interesting and enthralling historical fiction, mixed in with what was a bit too much mysticism for my liking. Not what I expected after reading Fall on Your Knees many years ago, but definitely worth the time (warning- it's 722 pages long).

Fev 19, 2023, 12:23 pm

I just finished This is How We Love by Lisa Moore and really liked it. Her storytelling somehow manages to be gritty and also lyrical at the same time.

Fev 19, 2023, 12:43 pm

>147 ted74ca: That looks great. You've really been getting to some wonderful Canadian books lately.

Mar 24, 2023, 3:26 pm

Just finished All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny. I'd stopped reading this series for a while as I found it kind of tiresome, but I quite enjoyed this one.

Mar 24, 2023, 3:30 pm

I'm making my third, and last, try at Station Eleven. Maybe I can read it before Canada Reads next week

Mar 24, 2023, 8:44 pm

I finished The Wildfire Season by Andrew Pyper, set in the Yukon. I'm not usually big on adventure, horror genres, but this is a really well written combination of adventure, thriller, horror - I cared for all the characters, including the animals!, which are all very well portrayed based on flaws and strengths. After Lost Girls this is my favourite by Pyper.

Mar 24, 2023, 9:44 pm

>151 Cecilturtle: I too am not much of a horror fan. However, I read The Wildfire Season quite a few years ago but some of the story still sticks with me which is always a sign of a good book for me.

Mar 25, 2023, 1:51 am

>151 Cecilturtle: Oh, that sounds interesting. I didn't realize it was set in the Yukon. I might even have this book in my boxes from my move last summer. I spent two summers in the Yukon when I was young (yes, I'm old and call it The Yukon, but I have transitioned to saying Ukraine instead of The Ukraine - how weird is language?). I will bump this up my to-read list

Editado: Mar 27, 2023, 8:53 am

>153 Nickelini: it's not "the" Yukon anymore? * gulp *

Mar 27, 2023, 9:42 am

>151 Cecilturtle: >152 gypsysmom: I worked in Yukon quite a bit. Some people don't mind the "the". Those who do object to it generally feel more strongly than those who don't. I've heard people ask "Do you say The Alberta?"

Abr 3, 2023, 2:28 pm

I just finished Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel and really liked it. I was hesitant to try it as I don't enjoy science fiction, but this novel was far more than technical science fiction. Really made me think deep thoughts re: the meaning of life, etc.

Abr 6, 2023, 8:00 am

Abr 6, 2023, 8:55 pm

>157 LynnB: I am meaning to read that soon as well. Any preliminary thoughts?

Abr 7, 2023, 7:54 am

>158 gypsysmom: I'm less than 1/4 though it and already am amazed at how well she portrays her main character, Baxter., and his working conditions.

Abr 12, 2023, 6:36 pm

I'm reading The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, heralded at the first erotic novel written by an indigenous woman in French.

Abr 13, 2023, 3:42 pm

Everyone please note that this thread is for 2022. There is another thread for 2023.

Abr 13, 2023, 7:43 pm

>161 gypsysmom:, so it's not just me who wonders why people keep posting here? :)