Secret Path by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire

Title: Secret Path
Author: Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Secret Path

I did not know the story of Chanie Wenjack before I read this book. Nor was I really a fan of Gord Downie or graphic novels. Secret Path will be discussed in the February meeting of a book club I attend, so I decided to give it a try – and boy, am I glad I did so!

Twelve-year-old Chanie Wenjack died in 1966 running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. It’s a melancholy story, and probably one that was mirrored by other young people in other residential schools of the time. Continue reading

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Title: Fifteen Dogs
Author: André Alexis

My Rating: ♥♥

Fifteen DogsFifteen Dogs is the first book that I have read from my CBC Canada Reads 2017 longlist picks. I chose this book because I enjoyed A Dog’s Purpose, which also involves dogs with  human consciousness, and also because it has previously won a couple of other literary awards.

It’s an interesting idea. In a drunken bet, Apollo and Hermes decide to grant human consciousness to a bunch of dogs to see if they die happy. Apollo thinks that if dogs have human consciousness, they will die even more unhappy than if they went on as normal dogs. If just one of the dogs dies happy, then Hermes will win the bet.

Somehow this story missed the mark for me. Continue reading

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

Title: Barracuda
Author: Christos Tsiolkas

My Rating: ♥♥♥

BarracudaIt’s been a few years since I read The Slap, and I’ve always been meaning to read another book by Christos Tsiolkas. I can’t say I really enjoyed Barracuda as much as The Slap. I felt that it was on the long side, and I think it explored a few things a bit too thoroughly that ultimately had little effect on the story. But I did pick up on a few really interesting things in this book.

Barracuda patches together the story of Danny, a young Australian boy with Greek and Scottish parents (or grandparents). Danny is a swimming prodigy as a boy and a teenager. He gets a scholarship to go to an exclusive private school and get intensive training from the Coach. However, things don’t really work out for Danny as he has dreamed. Continue reading

My Picks from the Canada Reads 2017 Longlist

On Monday, CBC announced the longlist for Canada Reads 2017. They will announce the shortlist on January 31st, but in the meantime I’m going to check out as many as I can. You can see the full list here.

Since I probably cannot read 15 books in a little over a month, I’ve tried to pare the list down. When they announce the finalists, I will of course try to read any that I skipped. Out of the 15 on the list, I’ve chosen the following eight: Continue reading

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Title: The Children Act
Author: Ian McEwan

My Rating: ♥♥♥

The Children ActThe Children Act was the first book by Ian McEwan that I’ve read. I often see people reading his books on the subway and out and about, so I was happy that my book club assigned this one for our next meeting.

Fiona Maye is an almost-sixty-year-old judge in the family court. She has a dry and professional air about her, including when her husband decides to ask for an open marriage. While her marriage is crumbling around her, she throws herself into her work on a particularly difficult case of a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness boy who is refusing a life-saving blood transfusion. Continue reading

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Big Little Lies

This is the second book I’ve read by Liane Moriarty. The first was The Husband’s Secret, which I just couldn’t put down, so I had high hopes for Big Little Lies. And I was not disappointed! Moriarty uses the same style in both books, with each chapter exploring the point of view of a different character. Some of the characters are the same types, with different kinds of school mums and characters that you would find in many communities in the suburbs.

Another similarity between the books is the idea of lies and hiding things from other people. In Big Little Lies, it seems like everyone has a secret, and Liane Moriarty is the master of unraveling everyone’s secrets and stories string by string as the book develops. And, again in a similar way to The Husband’s Secret, in Big Little Lies, a lot of the secrets are related to the overarching dark theme of violence. Throughout the book is the mystery of who has been murdered and why. Continue reading