Sunday, May 24, 2015

Book clubbing

Can Lit was on the menu in April and May, along with some very compelling characters.

Best Laid Plans, Terry Fallis / BPYC Book Club (Kaarina's pick)
Who makes the perfect politician? In this political satire, it's someone who doesn't want to win in the next election and ends up in the seat by a wicked twist of events. Once in the Legislature, Angus McLintock has nothing to lose. He's not interested in being re-elected, he's not beholden to anyone for funding his campaign, and he doesn't abide solely by party loyalties. Improbable events become somehow plausible. An entertaining premise and a timely read, given our upcoming election.

Flee, Fly, Flown, Janet Hepburn / Book Babes (Nicki's & Judi's pick)
Two senior residents escape from their long-term care home. They're also Alzheimer patients without their meds. The road trip is sometimes comic, often tragic. It is the story of a quest with archetypal imagery thrown in for good measure. Told from the point of view of Lillian, one of the escapees, I often doubted the authenticity of the voice and its portrayal of the disease.  The character goes in and out of the present and past and is at turns beguiled, confused, terrified, competent, incompetent.  Very thought provoking.

House in the Sky, Amanda Lindhout / BPYC Book Club (Lisa's pick)
I started reading this without any preamble or idea of genre, loading it on my e-reader without the benefit of a book-jacket blurb. At first I thought it was science fiction, but by the second chapter it was reading very much like a memoir. And that is exactly what it is. The story of a back-packer turned freelance journalist, who is kidnapped in Somalia and spends a horrific fifteen months in captivity. That she survived and lived to tell the tale is a miracle. Amanda Lindhout has since founded the Global Enrichment Foundation to empower Somali women through education.

Cabbagetown, Hugh Garner / Book Babes (Louise's pick)
First published in 1950, written about the Depression era. I read the '68 version in the early '70's. And now again in 2015. The language is a bit stiff sometimes but the story does stand up, decades later, as a gritty and realistic depiction of tough times. Many reviews rank it alongside Grapes of Wrath or the Tin Flute. The original Cabbagetown was razed in the late 1940's because it was such a slum. Regent Park was built in its place and the buildings again torn down in 2010. The street names and many of the neighbourhooods are so familiar. I'm glad to have reread this story.

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