2019 Canada Reads Primer

Well, it’s that time again. The 2019 Canada Reads competition has arrived.  Comedian Ali Hassan returns as host and moderator for the third straight year after taking over from Wab Kinew in 2017. This year, the theme is “one book to move you”.  With that in mind, it likely meant that you had some heavy…

The Woo Woo

Lindsay Wong’s memoir, The Woo Woo, takes a look at growing up in a family plagued with mental illness.  Equal parts heartbreaking and darkly comedic, The Woo Woo explores the author’s complicated relationship with her parents, siblings and extended family as well as her own mental illness after being diagnosed with a neurological disorder in…

Homes

Homes is the story of Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, as told to Winnie Yeung, about his family’s life in both Iraq and Syria before moving to Canada as refugees in 2015. For as long as I can remember, there has always been some sort of conflict ongoing in the Middle East. Despite seeing it on…

Brother

OK, book three of Canada Reads 2019 down.  After reading Brother, I’m becoming skeptical of the tagline for this year’s competition – “one book to move you”.  It should probably be, “Canada Reads: Embrace Depression.” David Chariandy’s novel Brother is an absolutely tremendous, albeit heartbreaking read.  Alternating between the past and the present, Chariandy’s book…

Suzanne

Pieced together with the help of a private detective, Suzanne is a fictionalized telling of the life of Suzanne Meloche (Barbeau) by her granddaughter, Anais Barbeau-Lavalette. Suzanne is the second book I’ve read of the five shortlisted for the 2019 Canada Reads competition.  With the first being By Chance Alone (a memoir written by a…

By Chance Alone

In his powerful memoir, Holocaust survivor Max Eisen details his early years, his internment in Auschwitz and his emigration to Canada. When the 2019 Canada Reads longlist was announced, I had hoped By Chance Alone would be selected for the shortlist.  I suppose I would have read it eventually, but in a year where the…

The Marrow Thieves

In Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves, the cautioned consequences of climate change have arrived.  The Northern Ice has melted shifting coastlines inward, storms have become more powerful than ever causing numerous fossil fuel disasters and populations have begun to cluster in larger areas leaving small towns and communities behind. Many people have lost the ability…

Forgiveness

In Forgiveness, Mark Sakamoto tells the story of his maternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, who had spent a number of years clinging to life as a POW in a Japanese prison camp during the second World War and his paternal grandmother, Mitsue Sakamoto, who had been forced from her home and province following the bombing of…