Canada Reads Battle of the Books

Every year for the past 17 years I always see the CBC Canada Reads announced in January the battle of the books and I always want to take part and make it a point to read a book or two or perhaps all five of them but never end up doing it so this year I decided that I really want to make it a point to read all 5 books this year.

Have you read any of these books? What should I read first?

About The Books:

Precious Cargo: My Year Of Driving The Kids On School Bus 3077

For readers of Kristine Barnett’s The Spark, Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree and Ian Brown’s The Boy in the Moon, here is a heartfelt, funny and surprising memoir about one year spent driving a bus full of children with special needs.

With his last novel, Cataract City, Craig Davidson established himself as one of our most talented novelists. But before writing that novel and before his previous work, Rust and Bone, was made into a Golden Globe-nominated film, Davidson experienced a period of poverty, apparent failure and despair. In this new work of riveting and timely non-fiction, Davidson tells the unvarnished story of one transformative year in his life and of his unlikely relationships with a handful of unique and vibrant children who were, to his initial astonishment and bewilderment, and eventual delight, placed in his care for a couple of hours each day–the kids on school bus 3077.

One morning in 2008, desperate and impoverished while trying unsuccessfully to write, Davidson plucked a flyer out of his mailbox that read, “Bus Drivers Wanted.” That was the first step towards an unlikely new career: driving a school bus full of special-needs kids for a year. Armed only with a sense of humour akin to that of his charges, a creative approach to the challenge of driving a large, awkward vehicle while corralling a rowdy gang of kids, and unexpected reserves of empathy, Davidson takes us along for the ride. He shows us how his evolving relationship with the kids on that bus, each of them struggling physically as well as emotionally and socially, slowly but surely changed his life along with the lives of the “precious cargo” in his care. This is the extraordinary story of that year and those relationships. It is also a moving, important and universal story about how we see and treat people with special needs in our society.

Forgiveness

Finalist for CBC Canada Reads

Finalist for the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the OLA Evergreen Award

#1 National Bestseller

When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean chose to escape his troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada and volunteer to serve his country overseas. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Mitsue Sakamoto saw her family and her stable community torn apart after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Like many young Canadian soldiers, Ralph was captured by the Japanese army. He would spend the war in prison camps, enduring pestilence, beatings and starvation, as well as a journey by hell ship to Japan to perform slave labour, while around him his friends and countrymen perished. Back in Canada, Mitsue and her family were expelled from their home by the government and forced to spend years eking out an existence in rural Alberta, working other people’s land for a dollar a day.

By the end of the war, Ralph emerged broken but a survivor. Mitsue, worn down by years of back-breaking labour, had to start all over again in Medicine Hat, Alberta. A generation later, at a high school dance, Ralph’s daughter and Mitsue’s son fell in love.

Although the war toyed with Ralph’s and Mitsue’s lives and threatened to erase their humanity, these two brave individuals somehow surmounted enormous transgressions and learned to forgive. Without this forgiveness, their grandson Mark Sakamoto would never have come to be.

The Marrow Thieves

The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves is fantastic speculative fiction… but that’s not all. The narrative echoes the current discussion about truth and reconciliation, genocide and abuse, survival and resilience. Stewardship. It made me cry, and think… and I’m still thinking.

Christie Williamson, Customer Experience Manager, Indigo Yonge & Eglinton

Shortlisted for 2018 CBC Canada Reads

Winner of 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award (Young People’s Literature – Text)

Winner of 2017 Kirkus Prize

Nominated for 2018 Forest of Reading – White Pine Awards

A Globe and Mail Best Book

“A timely and necessary read … powerful and endlessly smart, it’s a crucial work of fiction for people of all ages.” Starred Review – Quill & Quire

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden – but what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

American War: A Novel

Shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

A Globe and Mail Best Book

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A Quill & Quire Best Book of 2017

An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle — a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war as one of the Miraculous Generation and now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past — his family’s role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

The Boat People

By the winner of The Journey Prize, and inspired by a real incident, The Boat People is a gripping and morally complex novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage to reach Canada – only to face the threat of deportation and accusations of terrorism in their new land.

When the rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees reaches the shores of British Columbia, the young father is overcome with relief: he and his six-year-old son can finally put Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war behind them and begin new lives. Instead, the group is thrown into prison, with government officials and news headlines speculating that hidden among the “boat people” are members of a terrorist militia. As suspicion swirls and interrogation mounts, Mahindan fears the desperate actions he took to survive and escape Sri Lanka now jeopardize his and his son’s chances for asylum.

Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer Priya, who reluctantly represents the migrants; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese-Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate, The Boat People is a high-stakes novel that offers a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis. Inspired by real events, with vivid scenes that move between the eerie beauty of northern Sri Lanka and combative refugee hearings in Vancouver, where life and death decisions are made, Sharon Bala’s stunning debut is an unforgettable and necessary story for our times.

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