Life got in the way. I was enjoying the summer, and for the first time, started my Christmas present knitting in August. And therefore, I couldn't blog about those. Then, there was a 2 week trip, crazy work days, and there you go. It's now Feb. 2013, and I finally feel like blogging again.
As always, the Next Chapter on CBC is my favorite podcast, and recent episodes has reminded me of Canada Reads 2013, where celebrities defend the 5 finalists of top Canadian novels in fiction.
So, I take this, as always, as a last minute challenge. Immediately putting these books on hold, like numerous people in Vancouver, I was able to first get February, by Lisa Moore.
I really liked how readable this book was. It was a page turner, with lots of breaks and shifts of timelines to keep it interesting. I am also a sucker for historical fiction, learning about real history through the comfort of fiction. Previous to this book, I was quite ignorant about the Ocean Ranger disaster in 1981. This book made me laugh, and cry, mostly thoughtful, and it provided a different perception on what it might have felt like to be on that rig going down.
The second book, The Age of Hope, by David Bergen, was also easy to read. Looking at the "perfect" housewife and how she is unable to keep the facade with others.
One passage I thought was great, being a reader, and not a bad idea, although I cringe at actually cutting a book:
"When Emily heard that Judith was heading off to Europe, she had said that Hope should read the Drifters, a story about boys and girls Judith's age who travel through Europe in the late sixties. Hope ordered it through Book of the Month Club. It was eight hundred pages and she did immediately what she did with all big books. She cut it into three sections so as to make it more manageable and to save her wrists. A heavy book was hard on the joints, and in bed the weight lay on her chest. The problem with cutting the book up was that sometimes she misplaced the second or third section and so had to hunt through the house, trying to remember where the rest of the novel was stored."
I just finished the third book, Indian Horse, by Richard Wagamese. This book was an absolute surprise. From the first chapter, which is quite short (I love books with short chapters), this book floored me. Combining the narrative of a boy going through residential schools, finding the way through hockey, and traveling the Canadian small town working lifestyle, it was masterfully written, and again, easy to read.
I was super ignorant about residential schools before reading this book. Prior to reading this my thoughts of residential schools was it was a Catholic brain-washing schooling of Indian youth, with sexual abuse involved.
Boy, did I only have a piece of the puzzle. Residential schools were labour camps, where they were lucky to read anything. No grades, no proper classrooms, strapping, beatings, torture, suicides, trapping in the dungeon in iron cages, children dying without mention. This is Canadian history. This is my beloved country in the 1960s. No wonder this affects generations.
Read this book, you will understand.
Next up: Jane Urquhart's Away.
On the needles this week: 2 more honey cowls on commission!