Intolerable by  Kamal Al-Solaylee

The Canada Reads showdown is starting soon, here is another review, my obvious favorite so far.

It was refreshing to be invited along on a journey through a life instead of being an audience to a lecture on life.  Through the authors eyes a gay male in a increasingly strict religious society I was witness to this societal change of ideal and how devastating it can be to a persons identity, permanently scarring the soul.  The author who’s facing his own challenges, being gay and finding where he fits in the world is a perfect narrator of this story.  A story that needs to be told from a person seen as an outsider of his own culture, he knows how the rest of his adopted Canadian culture sees the conflicts and he expresses this throughout the novel, as he distances himself from his family whose ideologies are changing and are becoming foreign to him.  This story can be applied to many cultures and times through history when the young have moved away from home or homeland to set up a new life elsewhere either because of conflict or change of view.    If we look into the past of our own country or family, this idea is repeated over and over.  We can see it in the aboriginal history in Canada, and the immigrant experience.  Thank you Kamal Al-Solaylee.

Apocalypse for Beginners by Nicolas Dickner

I liked this book. It was a cute story, a quick read. It’s Canadian, set in Rivière-du-Loup. I identified with Hope the main character. Specifically her love of David Suzuki. The story is about two young peoples journeys through the 1990’s and Hope’s families obsession with the end of time. This book shows mental illness through a young girls eyes, it’s honest and funny.

I’ve read Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner a few years ago when it won Canada Reads and enjoyed it.

Canada Reads Final Thoughts

There’s only two books left, Cockroach by Rawi Hage and The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. Both about the marginalization of people in society. Jian: Does The Orenda reinforce dangerous stereotypes? Interesting question. Stephen Lewis on The Orenda: “It is the original injustice”. Yes! Stephen Lewis. It does needs to be reconciled, it does need to be understood. I’ve always known that our history needs to be understood in order to understand ourselves and how we fit in this world. Wab Kinew is a force!

…The Orenda… Awesome, my favorite!!

Thanks CBC and Joseph Boyden

1982 by Jian Ghomeshi


So I finally finished Jian Ghomeshi’s book.  My signed copy laid on my bookshelf for awhile half read.  I guess I wasn’t ready to relive my youth.  My friend D and I traveled to Halifax when he was on his book tour and was charmed by his presence.  So I finished it last night and I liked it.  It was a fun book to read especially if you grew up in the 80’s.  I had forgotten a lot about what it meant to grow up without the technology we have now and how far we have come.  I won’t say progressed because that is a matter if opinion.  It was nice to be reminded of the insecurities of youth and how universal it really is.  The feeling of being different is shared by so many people and this book reminded me how hard it is to overcome but also how self-affirming it is when you survive.

The Year of The Flood by Margaret Atwood

Yesterday I finished The Year of The Flood by Margaret Atwood. The story is about a futuristic society invented by Atwood. Oryx and Crake is the companion to this book, which I haven’t read, but I didn’t feel lost reading this book, without knowing the story line. The first time I started to read this book a couple years ago, I stopped because it didn’t pull me in. This time I finished it, I found the imagined society hit really close to home sometimes and it made you think about how our world is self-destructing in many ways. I liked the strong female characters, who were the main characters in this book but I didn’t feel emotionally connected to them in this story like I did when I read about Snowfalls and Bird in the The Orenda or Wayne in Annabel, but it certainly is a well written book and Atwood is the queen of story telling.

This is the last Canada Reads book, all five were very well written and my favourites were The Orenda by Joseph Boyden and Annabel by Kathleen Winter. I’ll have to wait until March to see the showdown.

I’m reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez now. So far so good at page 50, but I’m always put off when they start the book with a Family Tree. We will see.


Annabel by Kathleen Winter

I just finished Annabel by Kathleen Winter.  One of the five CBC Canada Reads contenders.  This story was about a kid with an identity crisis living in a small Canadian rural town.  It was heartbreaking and powerful.  It was well written, all the character’s story-lines were weaved together seamlessly.  You know it’s a good story when you start to care about the characters.  It will be a tough one to beat.  


Now I’m beginning the last book, The Year of The Flood by Margaret Atwood.  One I have started to read before but put it down after chapter one, worth another try.



Cockroach by Rawi Hage

I just finished reading Cockroach by Rawi Hage. One of the five books chosen in this years CBC Canada Reads competition. Well I couldn’t put this one down. There is no wasted moment in this book, the story is compelling and every word has effect. I felt inside the story and inside the head of the troubled main character. In a very different way than Half-Blood Blues and Orenda, it shows the effects that war and human suffering can have on the soul.