Read Across Canada – Part 3
The year is drawing to a close but I haven’t yet finished reading my way across the country. Now I’m into the Prairies reading books from Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Only two provinces and three territories to go! From Manitoba: Margaret Laurence is arguably Manitoba’s best known writer. Her novel The Stone Angel was one that I found quite moving when I originally read it about 20 years ago. The Stone Angel tells the story of Hagar Shipley who had a life of hardship and tragedy that makes her bitter and unkind. As she’s nearing the end of her life she reflects back on all that has happened. It really says something about an author’s writing when the story of a 90 year old woman resonates with a woman in her early 20s.
And on a completely different note is Zombies: a Record of the Year of Infection: Field Notes by Dr. Robert Twombly (written by Don Roff and illustrated by Chris Lane). This graphic novel, is probably best for those who are fans of the zombie genre. Written in diary form, Dr. Richard Twombly records his observations about what is happening in the world around him. He tries to determine what has created this outbreak while trying to survive in a world gone mad. Toward the end of the book he makes his way to the town of Churchill, Manitoba, where he believes himself to be safe.
Just recently I read 101 Letters to a Prime Minister by Yann Martel. The 101 letters were from Martel and a few of his literary friends to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper starting in April 2007 and continuing for 4 years. Martel sent a book (or two, or three) to Harper every two weeks. As Martel says in the introduction: “...once someone has power over me,... their reading does matter to me, because in what they choose to read will be found what they think and what they might do.”
Although Harper never personally answered Martel, I do hope he read at least a few of the books.
Alice Kuipers’ book Life on the Refrigerator Door probably speaks a bit more to those who grew up before text messages were the main form of communication. It’s a novel told in a series of notes left on the fridge door between 15-year-old Claire and her single mother. These tiny little snippets tell a big story about their relationship.
You can find these great Canadian books and many others at the library. Take a look at what we have on our website: www. cumberlandpubliclibraries.ca