2015 Books

2015-2016 Season Chosen Books

Date Book Author Hostess
These are the books we are reading and discussing for 2015
Sep 2015 The Children Act Ian McEwan Paddy Buchanan
Oct 28, 2015 The Shepherd’s Life James Rebanks Bess Blackwell
Nov 25, 2016 Based on a True Story Elizabeth Renzetti Julie Bowen
Jan 25, 2016 What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Way Dogs Perceive the World Cat Warren Kristen Gunn
Feb 24, 2016 Thinking fast and slow Daniel Kahneman Cathy Jakelski
Mar 30, 2016 Lucky Jim Kingsley Amis Liz Bamberger
Apr 27, 2016 If This is a Woman Sarah Helm Elizabeth Levin

2015 Suggestions

Suggested Books for 2015
Voting Book Author Suggested By
These are the books we are voting on for 2015
       A        All My Puny Sorrows Miriam Toews Kathy Young
          According to the Guardian review of this book which has been on the Globe best seller list for over a year the book “is based on the author’s own experience of her sister’s suicide” and is urgent, raw, witty, sharp and “evocatively conjures landscapes, from the small town in which the family live to the dark, jagged outcroppings of the great Canadian Shield.”
       B        The Back of the Turtle Thomas King Kathy Young and Mandy Hey
          According to the review of this 500 page book in the Globe and Mail “Thomas King is in the business of pointing out the awkwardness of all the years of tortured history between native people and non-native people. It’s just been so wrong, so lacking in humanity and so tragic, that it seems the only way to enter it is through comedy.” The book explores questions of recovery, both environmental and personal, and shows the two to be intrinsically linked to each other and to story-telling.
       C        The Children Act Ian McEwan Paddy Buchanan
          Fiona, a legal worker involved with family division, has her absorption in her career invaded by a crisis in her marriage to Jack, a professor in ancient history. Her subjective experience, as she reacts to his unhappy admissions, are described through legal cases she has worked on, and through digressions.
      D        David Copperfield Charles Dickens Liz Bamberger
          Liz’s favourite Dickens traces young David’s progress from his mother’s sheltering arms to the miseries of boarding-school and sweatshop and the rewards of friendship, romance, and self-discovery in his vocation as a writer. A cherished favorite with generations of readers (starting with Dickens himself), this novel combines a compelling narrative with a memorable cast, from the brutal Mr. Murdstone to the exuberantly optimistic Mr. Micawber.
      E        The Dragon Head of Hong Kong Ian Hamilton Kristen Gunn
          The prequel to the Ava Lee series, appearing in “The Water Rat of Wanchai”, this book introduces us to a new Canadian detective, Ava Lee, a forensic accountant who recovers stolen money for her clients all over the world. Ian Hamilton, who helped me fund university through the babysitting fees he paid me, has given us a new Canadian heroine – part international traveler, part Ninja, part strategist, part crimebusting sleuth.
      F        The Green Road Anne Enright Bess Blackwell
          Ireland’s fiction laureate structures this book loosely around a family reuniting in somewhat tragic circumstances but the strength of the book is the stories about the individual paths of the various family members.
      G        If This is a Woman Sarah Helm Elizabeth Levin
          The Guardian describes it as profoundly moving and Goodreads gives it a 4.4. On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 800 women – housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes – were marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded through giant gates of Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Nazi genocide.
      H        Inside the O’Briens Lisa Genova Cathy Jakelski
          A heart wrenching, beautifully written novel exploring Huntington’s Disease and its’ devastating effect on Joe O’Brien and his entire family. Lisa Genova is a genius in transforming this family’s tragedy into a uplifting story of living life to the fullest each and every day.
      I        Last Night In Montreal Emily St. John Mandel Liz Bamberger
          Lilia Albert spends her childhood and adolescence traveling constantly and changing identities and in adulthood, she finds it impossible to stop, haunted by an inability to remember her early childhood, abandoning lovers along with way, possibly still followed by a private detective who has pursued her for years. Then her latest lover follows her from New York to Montreal, determined to learn her secrets and make sure she’s safe.
      J        The Nightingale Kristin Hannah Paddy Buchanan
          When the village of Carriveau is invaded by the Nazis, Vianne Mauriac , whose husband Antoine is at the Front fighting for the French, is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive. Meanwhile her sister Isabelle , in Paris, joins the Resistance, and we hear the storied of the two sisters in war-torn France.
      K        On the Move Oliver Sacks Elizabeth Levin
          On the Move is the memoir of Oliver Sacks, a brilliantly unconventional physician and writer who has illuminated the many ways that the brain makes us human. Through his experiences – from his life as a young neurologist in the early 1960s, where he struggled with drug addiction, and then in New York, where he discovered a long-forgotten illness in the back wards of a chronic hospital – we learn of his love affairs, his struggles, his influences and his deep engagement with patients.
      L        Ordinary Grace William Kent Krueger Leslie Mitchell
          Thirteen year old Frank begins the 1961 summer season in Minnesota with the concerns of any teenage boy but tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family. Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy trying to understand the world falling apart around him, discovering the terribly price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.
      M        The Red Tent Anita Diamant Liz Bamberger
          Told in the voice of the biblical caharacter Dinah, Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob, who love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land.
      N        The Round House Louise Erdrich Leslie Mitchell
          One summer Sunday morning in 1988, a woman from a North Dakota Ojibwe reserve is attacked, and her son Joe’s life is irrevocably transformed as he tries to help his mother heal and determine what happened. The quest takes him to the Round House, a sacred place of worship for the Ojibwe and the starting point for his adulthood.
      O        Ru Kim Thuy Mandy Hey
          An unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded Malaysian refugee camp to a new beginning in Quebec.
      P        The Shepherd’s Life James Rebanks Bess Blackwell
          Rebanks writes about his family’s small sheep farm in the Lake District of England and the local farmers who have lived there for centuries. It is a book about Herdwick sheep, but also about continuity and roots and a sense of belonging in an age that’s increasingly about mobility and self-invention.
      Q        Thinking fast and slow Daniel Kahneman Elizabeth Levin
          Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002, uses his own highly influential research while also masterfully synthesizing much of the relevant literature on why people believe crazy things, why they ignore the best available evidence and use unproven and unscientific alternative therapies, such as those surrounding vaccination. While there is no one answer, the book provides many useful and often overlooked insights into what drives our irrational beliefs and actions.
      R        To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Liz Bamberger
           Through the eyes of a young girl, we see a small southern town as the girl’s father, a liberal lawyer , deals with cases and situations that expose the racism of the community. A classic American novel.
      S        What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World Cat Warren Kristen Gunn
          “In this combination of history, science, and memoir, North Carolina State journalism professor Warren looks at the ways in which domestic animals have been able to assist humans, specifically the world of cadaver dogs, drug and bomb detecting police dogs, and tracking dogs. The author quickly gains the reader’s sympathy with humorous accounts of her first days with Solo, the cadaver dog she’s owned since birth, and earns the reader’s respect with a well-researched chapter that calls into question much of the accepted and fluctuating statistics regarding dogs’ superior sense of smell….” (Publishers Weekly)

2014 – 2015 Book winners

These seven books won a place in our list for the 2014 – 2015 season. The links will take you to Indigo books, but we don’t care where you get your book.

Date Book Author Hostess
These are the books we chose for the 2014-2015 season
Wed, Sept. 24 2014 The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne Bess B
Wed, Oct 29, 2014 Longbourn Jo Baker Patty B
Wed, Nov 26 2014 Five Days at Memorial Sheri Fink Liz B
Wed, Jan 28, 2015 The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human Noah Strycker Kristen G
Wed, Feb 25, 2015 The Confabulist Steven Galloway Cathy J
Wed, Mar 25, 2015 I, Claudius Robert Graves Kathy Y
Wed, Apr 29, 2015
No Relation
Terry Fallis Mandy H
May 2015 – TBA Year-End Party : Location – To Be Determined

To see the also-rans that did not make this list, look at the list of the Proposed 2014 Books, and subtract the ones on the list here.  We did a different voting procedure for the books this year, which was fun, with “secret” ballots (except we signed them, so we could get them back) and speed descriptions from those promoting a particular book. The result is a list I really look forward to reading or re-reading, as the case may be.

Books for 2014 Season

In a couple of weeks, the bookclub meets to choose its next season of books – seven of them. Several people have been suggesting titles. Bookclub members: you still have a few days to send me names and authors of the books you would like to read. Below are the books we are choosing from, listed in no particular order.


Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel
David Rakoff
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman
The Scarlet Letter
Nathaniel Hawthorne
All My Puny Sorrows
Miriam Toews
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules
Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
John Williams
The Sea
John Banville
The Orphan Master’s Son
Adam Johnson
The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman
Joseph Boyden
Three Day Road
Joseph Boyden
The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense
M.J. Rose
King Lear
William Shakespeare
I, Claudius
Robert Graves
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Confabulist
Steven Galloway
Jo Baker
The Return
Michael Gruber
Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese


The Inconvenient Indian
Thomas King
Five Days at Memorial
Sheri Fink

The Thing with Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human
Noah Strycker