Sakamoto’s account of his maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother is compelling reading. Both experienced the effects of World War 2 – his grandfather in a Japanese POW camp and his grandmother the hardships of BC’s forced relocation of its Japanese residents and citizens. We get a detailed look at their upbringing and lives, giving us tremendous insight into the times and character of these people, which is thoroughly engaging.
The book changes after the first half when the author begins his own story, particularly when he focuses on his mother’s journey into alcoholism and poverty, but it still leaves a deep impression on the reader. Instead of dealing with the theme ‘forgiveness’ between two people, in fact two families, with powerful reasons to hate each other, the subject is briefly glossed over. You’re left to assume they nobly put the past behind them when their children marry but are barely mentioned in the second half. Sakamoto is definitely not a great writer, some of his historical facts are incorrect, and the book feels disjointed, but I still recommend it as worth reading. It won the CBC’s Canada Reads in 2018 which says more for its champion, Jeanne Beker, than the book itself, but again, its content holds a strong message for us all. (Submitted by Pippa)
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Jónína Kirton is our local poet. She is a Métis with Icelandic and Indigenous roots. It was especially interesting to read this collection of poetry because it’s modern, indigenous, and feminist. Jónína’s poems are relatable, in simple language, yet with complex meaning or, often, on complex subjects. There are poems that are filled with pain and sorrow, but when you read them – it feels like by saying and acknowledging all the heavy matters – we become lighter and calmer: accepting and forgiving. This is the true beauty of poetry: releasing our thoughts and feelings and transforming subjects into something else entirely. (Submitted by Mariya)
If you would like to meet Jónína Kirton in person and hear her story, then, feel free to register for an upcoming Authors Among Us event – Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Guildford Library. For more information, please, visit this link.
A beautifully, sparely written novel about a young man and his estranged father, who find themselves on a final walk together. Franklin Starlight, an Ojibway teenager, knows next to nothing about his family, or his past. Along comes (returns) Eldon, his alcoholic absentee father, who takes Franklin on a last “medicine walk” to try and reconnect and finally share Frank’s history.
This was so beautiful. There are no saccharine, overtly emotional scenes. Richard Wagamese writes with careful expertise, and we share so much with these two characters without having too much unneccesary actual dialogue. Nature plays a great and important role, calming and vast, giving the Starlight men a world to disappear into.
This is a story about making mistakes, finding forgiveness, and moving on. There are no pleading excuses from Eldon, no righteous speeches from Frank. The themes of loyalty, family, love, and finding peace within yourself are all here, and explored beautifully. I look forward to reading more of Wagamese’s titles. (Submitted by Veronica)
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Surrey: A City of Stories is a Canada 150 legacy project produced by Heritage Services (City of Surrey). Author, Jane Watt, recounts Surrey’s history from ancient times to the present, using photographs of artifacts, maps, historical photographs and documents. Watt also includes transcriptions from oral histories. The extensive use of visuals to accompany text is very successful. The past is brought to life vividly and clearly. Most importantly, Watt demonstrates how Surrey residents of all backgrounds, collectively and individually, shaped our city in the past and in the present. (Submitted by Carolyn C.)
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Would you like to meet the author of this unique book? TODAY is your chance – November 16, 2017, at 7pm (Semiahmoo Library, Surrey BC)
To register, call: 604-502-6459
From the very first paragraphs, I was drawn into Nova’s biographical account. It was hard to put down the book. While reading Just Think, I Could Have Been Normal, I went through the entire spectrum of emotions: from tears to smiles, from anger to cheer, from sadness to hope. Nova Bannatyne was born with cerebral palsy, a diagnose that is pretty bad on its own, but the tormenting remarks and actions of many narrow-minded people that Nova encountered in her life – made it even worse. Yet, nothing could alter Nova’s soul or her determination to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. As a result, Nova’s journey, in my opinion, is more epic than any epic story I’ve ever read. If it wasn’t for Nova’s sense of humour and a warrior attitude that put a light twist on everything, the book could have been a torture to read, but it’s not. Instead, it leaves you feeling empowered, in awe, and wanting to be different – brave, accepting, and forgiving – just like Nova. (Submitted by Mariya)
Would you like to meet Nova Bannatyne, talk to her, and get an autograph? Surrey Libraries can help! On Wednesday, September 27th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, there will be an event happening at the Guildford Library called – Authors Among Us. Nova Bannatyne will be joining other local authors in our panel discussion. If you would like to attend this event, please, call 604-598-7360 to register. Event is free!
If you’ve read Active Vancouver by Roy Jantzen, I am sure you would agree with me that the author put his heart and soul into the book. It’s a perfect reference guide for any Lower Mainland resident or visitor who enjoys outdoors and is looking for a new place to explore. The book is finely written, with warmth and humour, and superbly organized. You can read about or search for an outing depending on: type of activity (hiking, biking, walking, kayaking), difficulty level, distance, transit accessibility, location, or type of participants (children, teens, seniors). The author provides excellent practical advice as to how to be safe, bring the right gear, and enjoy any park visit to its fullest. The historical and ecological insights give the book a unique flavour and make an outdoor adventure more relatable, more fascinating. (Submitted by Mariya)
Would you like to meet Roy Jantzen, talk to him, and get an autograph? Surrey Libraries can help! On Wednesday, September 27th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, there will be an event happening at the Guildford Library called – Authors Among Us. Roy Jantzen will be joining other local authors in our panel discussion. If you would like to attend this event, please, call 604-598-7360 to register. Event is free!
I have loved the humour in Nanaimo based Susan Juby’s other young adult and adult novels, so I eagerly looked forward to reading her newest title, The Fashion Committee. The book did not disappoint. On the surface the plot line might sound like it’s a light or superficial story, as two teens are competing in the same fashion competition, to get a spot in a coveted art school. However, there is a depth to the writing and the characters that draws you into the many challenges each individual faces. This is excellent realistic fiction for teens or adults. References to local spots in BC are fun too. (Submitted by Kristen)
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