Thursday, 25 April 2013

One Book One Community

And every year, I try to get hints to figure out the book before it is announced.
This year, I have no idea!
The launch was expected to be on April 18th, but had to be postponed. 
I have great memories of past O.B.O.C. books and events.  The first choice of book and author cannot be beat!  Alistair MacLeod's "No Great Mischief" is a great book and he was delightful when he visited the area.  I read that book aloud at the nursing home where I volunteer.  We had a regular schedule of three readings a week and I played music as the residents arrived to create an inviting setting. There were about 10 people and many fell asleep as I read.  Others began coughing and I had to assess whether they needed help.  But I particularly enjoyed the experience because one man attending was the husband of my friend, Shirley.  When I first retired Shirley had ALS and asked me to read to her.  I spent many hours reading in person and on tape to fill her insatiable desire for books when she was unable to move any part of her body.  Her husband, now in the nursing home, was not alert as Shirley had been, but he looked forward to every reading.  However, just as we came to the last couple of readings, when the plot was coming to a climax, the nursing home was quarantined and I could not do the readings.  Unfortunately, when the quarantine was lifted, I was away on a trip.  No one in that group would have remembered the story after the passing of time. So it was never finished.  But what an experience!
Richard Wagamese

April 25, 2013.
 We were happy to be at the O.B.O.C. launch this morning at The Commons Restaurant, when the 2013 book was announced.
                   "Ragged Company" by Richard Wagamese.
I have read this book and did enjoy it.  But John and I enjoyed "Indian Horse" even more.
So we are really pleased that Richard Wagamese will be coming to the area in September.
We will be there- for sure!  In the meantime, we plan to read his two autobiographical books:
"One Native Life" and "One Story One song".                      

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Adventure: Daring or Destructive

This month I had two adventure novels to read for book clubs.
"Gold Diggers" by Charlotte Gray and "Above All Things" by Tanis Rideout.  Two women, writing about the wild and dangerous experiences that men seem to crave.  Both books show the sacrifices and depravation that are common.  Not only do I wonder why men are motivated in this direction, I also don't understand women spending so much time researching and writing about it.
   Charlotte Gray (as seen on Canada Reads 2013), is a dignified, intelligent lady who writes pages and pages of the minutia of those who raced to the Klondike during the gold rush in 1896. The women who are highlighted aren't digging for gold technically, but making money from the miners in one way or another.  The author's attention to detail becomes tedious- the number of mines on every river, the value of the gold, the menu of food served on the riverboats, etc., etc., etc.
   Tanis Rideout is a poet, interested in the environment and the music scene.  Her first novel seems to be an unusual choice for this young lady.

Jon Krakauer

    My first reading of this type of adventure story was "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer, recommended by my teenage grandson, David.  Perhaps every young man thinks that this daring life is desirable.
   "Into the Wild" chronicles the life of Christopher McCandless, who graduated from university in 1990, gave away all his savings, and headed out to experience the wilderness.  He spent a lot of time reading, and underlining passages, showing his desire to test himself in nature.  His final writing was a farewell letter as he realized that he would not survive.

I had already read "Above All things", which is an account of climbing Mount Everest in 1924. So before I began to re-read it, I decided to read "Into Thin Air", an account of climbing Mount Everest in 1996.  Jon Krakauer was on that climb and did, in fact, reach the summit.  But it is heart-wrenching to read about the emotional toll it took on him, as he saw many die.  His assent led to a general re-evauation of climbing and the 'romantic' commercialization.

And so, the question: Why?
One dictionary definition of 'romance' is: 'a quality of feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life'.  And that perhaps is one reason for these quests.  Of course, men were also looking for glory and money.  Along the way they found starvation, disease, physical breakdown, death.

Light Between Oceans

   M.L.Stedman wants to stay 'behind the curtain', so that people can fully connect with the book.  She believes that personal information about the author stands between the reader and the story.  So it is even difficult to find her first name- "Margot".  I love reading about authors and understanding their experiences that caused them to write the way they do.  And I was able to find out that Margot was a lawyer in Western Australia, but is now living and writing full-time in London.
   This book had nine international publishers bidding on the manuscript!  Can you imagine!  A first novel!  It really hit a chord!

Emotionally complex        
                                  Morally ambiguous   
Margot Stedman