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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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 →

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Loved this book! It is an intriguing, complex novel that relies on multiple narratives, jumping forwards and backwards in time while employing a fascinating story arc - well, several, in fact. Original and engaging, we follow the realities of a post flu epidemic world in which over 90% of the world's population were killed. Taken... Continue Reading →

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Depressing realism at its best! The truth of the 1920s depression in America is seen through the harrowing plight of the Joad family who are dispossessed and forcibly evicted as tenants of their family farm. Forced to move because of the drought, they are lured to California with the promise of jobs, money and therefore the... Continue Reading →

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

This is a fast, engaging and surprisingly informative read. Having loved "Holes", I had high expectations and I wasn't disappointed. An avid bridge player ( if you are interested, check out, Sachar does an amazing job of interweaving the rules and passion of playing the game into an engaging and ultimately spiritual narrative. We... Continue Reading →

The Sister’s Brothers by Peter DeWitt

A grade 11 reading list choice, this original and compelling novel was recommended to me wholeheartedly by my students, so what could I do: read it, of course. Great decision. Immediately, this quasi-cowboy novel gripped me with its direct narrative style and character driven plot. Two brothers, the eponymously named "sisters" are paid killers disillusioned with... Continue Reading →

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