Do Not Say We Have Nothing By Madeleine Thien

A front cover emblazoned with awards and nominations, this novel caught my attention in Chapters and made it on my notes list. Next step: library hold (I read way too much to actually buy the books). Wow - was it ever popular! As number 183 on the wait list, it took over three months to get... Continue Reading →

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Half Blood Blues by Ed Edugyan

I loved reading this astonishing novel. A truly memorable fiction told through the voice of a black jazz player, it simultaneously captures the essence of a musical era and a time of unparalleled racial tension. It is 1939, Berlin, and as Hitler's strength grows, the "boots" are everywhere causing a group of brilliant black jazz... Continue Reading →

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This was yet another Steinbeck classic - an epic, sweeping story of dust bowl generations whose lives interweave in a glorious tale that celebrates the steely strength of the human spirit. We meet the Hamiltons, led by Samuel, an unforgettable character whose determination and often accidental wisdom impacts all those he meets. His family struggle... Continue Reading →

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg

Considered "extraordinary" and "a book of profound intellgence" by reviewers of note, I decided to read this modern suspense novel and step out of my recent historical fiction rut. Kind of regretting that decision now. Set in Copenhagen and then travelling to the protagonist's native Greenland, this novel really exploits setting to great effect and... Continue Reading →

The Circle by Dave Eggers

A modern recommendation and a new film starring Hermione of Harry Potter fame - Emma Watson, this up to the minute social media dystopia was initially intriguing but ultimately rather disappointing. The story follows Mae, an excited employee at the Circle who finds success - but at what price? After an unquestionably engaging opening, the... Continue Reading →

The Tiger by John Vaillant

A hesitant recommendation from a friend because of my regular diet of fiction, this Vancouver born non fiction writer was a pleasant surprise.  The Tiger tells the true (well, obviously) story of the hunt for a giant Siberian tiger that is picking off the villagers vendetta style. Yuri Trush, the lead hunter, is determined to kill it... Continue Reading →

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

Not sure how I feel about this one. It felt overdone, zealous in its efforts to point out the theme and underline the symbolism. Am I one of his students who needs direction? Oh, did I mention, the author is a creative writing teacher at UBC. Overly simplistic in terms of historical truth (years turned into days... Continue Reading →

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Bought in an extravagant book purchase in Victoria to support the fabulous independent book store, Munro's, I had high hopes for this much praised novel. Described as  "gloriously Dickensian", I couldn't resist; however, despite enjoying the read overall, I felt somewhat misled by this complimentary literary allusion. Theo Decker, our protagonist, loses his mother in a tragic terrorist attack... Continue Reading →

Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett

What a beautiful book - a love story set amidst a terrorist attack; quite an unusual premise, but it works. With a real focus on character and no real plot to speak of (once the initial take over has occurred), the reader is allowed a precious simultaneous insight into the minds of both the victim... Continue Reading →

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