Friday, 17 January 2014
Canada Reads 2014
We had our first mini-debate with five women who are Canada Reads' fans. We discussed "Annabel" by Kathleen Winter. I have already mentioned this book on my blog. But preparing for the discussion, I realized that the book was even better than I had originally thought.
Of the five of us, I was probably the most enthused by this book. After finishing all five books, I definitely think it is the best of the five. It has a theme of developing self-esteem and finding your way in the world. And the characters are fascinating. It is the only book of the five that I would recommend to anyone. It certainly reflects life's challenges, but it shows the possibility of 'rising above'- finding joy in the midst of challenges and confusion.
Well, our second discussion was focused on "Cockroach" by Rawi Hage.
The author admits that it is 'a hard, uncompromising book'. Samantha Bee, who will be defending the book says that it is 'painful and dark'.
The title comes from the unnamed protagonist who "felt the need to strip the world and exist underneath".
I see no purpose in producing books that are hopeless throughout.
Perhaps the worst for me was the violence of the male characters.
I was reminded of "The Slap" by Christos Tsiolkas. I read that book for a book discussion weekend in Nelson, B.C. It is a novel filled with violence, drugs, alcohol, and abuse. The men were totally misogynistic and the teenagers were so out of control. After an evening of discussing that book, I had nightmares where I was trying to save my grandchildren. I woke up very disturbed. Some people believed that the book was a reflection of society and I do not want my grandchildren to grow up in that type of world.
The next book in my 'reading agenda' is, of all things "Emma" by Jane Austen. Wow! What a difference! The men in "Emma" are cultured, polite and mannerly in the extreme. Of course it was written in1815 and Austen only chose to write about the gentility. But I am finding this book so refreshing! Bring on "Emma"!