Hidden in Plain Sight: Contributions of Aboriginal Peoples to Canadian Identity and Culture by David R. Newhouse, Cora Voyageur, and Dan Beavon (77)

This is another book about the aboriginals and how they seem to be a hidden people. I wanted to spend part of this year reading as many books about the plight of the aboriginals as possible. And this book is just one more attempt to do so.

This is book is quite informative as well. It is sad to learn how undervalued and kept hidden aboriginals have been. They have so many talents and treasures contained in their tribe to really want to explore them more. Thank goodness that authors are actually becoming increasingly interested in the aboriginals.

It is so wonderful to learn that the results of the last two decades of work on Aboriginal history is slowly starting to find tis way into Canadian history texts. There is not a general recognition that Aboriginal Peoples have been present in Canada since Confederation, that the treaties were important (though they are not seen as central) to Canada being what it is, and that the Canadian state has treated Aboriginal Peoples unfairly, with a high degree of dishonesty and ill will.

It is hopeful that as Aboriginal history becomes more prominent in overall Canadian history, the beliefs of the pat can be overcome. Yet at this time, it is still important to deal with the continuing legacy of the Indian problem.

This book should inspire and inform all of us to do more to accept the Aboriginals among us.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Canada by Emily Rose Oachs (76)

This is a wonderful picture book for kids about Canada. The book is a great source of information for school projects as well as overall interest.  Even I learned a lot from the book…

For instance, did you know that as many as 2 million lakes lie within Canada’s border’s?  Or that Canada has more lake area than any other country in the world!

The book also talks about some of the beautiful Canadian landscapes such as in New Brunswick and the majestic high-rises in Toronto.

There is also a section for sports and how Canadians are so proud of their hockey teams.

As well there is a section on food and celebrations unique to Canadians.

In all, this book is a treasure throve of good information and beautiful photos. What a great resource for children of all ages.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Girl Runner–a novel by Carrie Snyder (75)

This is a story that is as interesting as it is inspiring.  I am SO glad that I picked it up at my local library.

Girl Runner is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920’s. But now at age 104, she lives in a nursing home, along and forgotten by history.

For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.

When her quiet routine is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario and her struggles to make an independent life for herself in the city.

Without revealing who they are, or what they may want from her, the visitors take Aganetha on an outing from the nursing home. As ready as ever for adventure, Aganetha’s memories are stirred when the pair return her to the family farm where she was raised. The devastation on WWI and the Spanish flu epidemic, the optimism of the 1920’s and the sacrifices of the 1930’s, play out in Aganetha’s mind as she wrestles with the confusion and displacement of the present.

This story is part historical page-turner and part contemporary mystery. The story is an engaging and endearing story about family, ambition, athletics, and the dedicated pursuit of one’s passions.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Award Winning Author, Fiction | Leave a comment

The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King (74)

Stories are such wonderful things!  They can transport us into places and times that we never expected without never leaving our homes. This is what makes reading so great!

This is a unique book.  When I saw at the Stratford Public Library, I was enthralled!  I knew right away that I wanted to read it and reflect on its message.

The author begins with a traditional Native oral story and weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, gracefully elucidating North America’s relationship with its Native people.

Native culture has deep ties to storytelling, and yet no other North American culture has been the subject of more erroneous stories. The Indian of fact bears little resemblance to the literary Indian, the dying Indian, the construct so powerfully and often destructively projected by White North America.

With keen perception and witt, King illustrates that stories are the key to, and only hope for, human understanding. He compels us to listen well to the stories told reflectively and critically.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth



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History’s People: Personalities and the Past by Margaret MacMillan (73)

This is a book by an internationally acclaimed historian Margaret MacMillan. She gives her own personal selection of figures of the past, women and men, some famous and some little-known, who stand out for her. Some have changed the course of history and even directed the currents of their times. Others are memorable for being risk-takers, adventurers or observers.

She looks at the concept of leadership through ?Bismarck and the unification of Germany, William Lyon MacKenzie King and the preservation of the Canadian Federation, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the bringing of a unified United States into the Second World War.

She also notes how leaders can make huge and often destructive mistakes, as in the cases of Hitler, Stalin and Thatcher. Richard Nixon and Samuel de Champlain are examples of daring risk-takers who stubbornly went their own ways, often in defiance of their own societies. Then there are the dreamers, explorers, and adventurers, individuals like Fanny Parkes and Elizabeth Simcoe who managed to defy or ignore the constraints of their own societies.

Finally, there are the observers such as Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India and Victor Klemperer, a survivor of the Holocaust who kept the notes and diaries that bring the past to life. This for me was the best part of the book!

This book is a biography and history of individuals and their times. I loved the book from start to finish!

Rating: 5 stars


Posted in Author from Ontario, Award Winning Author, Cultural Diversity, Culture in Canada, Educational book, History, Nonfiction, Scholarly book | Leave a comment

The Universe Within by Neil Turok (72)

This is a very important book for our life and times. It is about how our technologies have shaped us.  The book is visionary and a fascinating read.

Every technology we rely on today was created by the human mind, seeking to understand the universe around us. Scientific knowledge is our most precious possession and our future will be shaped by the breakthroughs to come.

In this personal, visionary and fascinating work, Turok, one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists, explores the transformative scientific discoveries of the past three centering, from classical mechanics, to the nature of light, to the bizarre world of the quantum, and the evolution of the cosmos.

Each new discovery has, over time, yielded new technologies causing paradigm shifts in the organization of society. Now, he argues, we are on the cusp of another major transformation: the coming quantum revolution that will supplant our current, dissatisfied digital age.

Facing our brave new world, Turok calls for creatively re-inventing the way advanced knowledge is developed and shared, and opening access to the vast, untapped pools of intellectual talent in the developing world.

Scientific research, training, and outreach are vital to our future economy, as well as powerful forces for peaceful global progress.

The book is elegantly written and it is deeply provocative, and highly inspirational. This book is above all about the future of science, society, and ourselves.

Rating: 5 stars

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The Wayfinders by Wade Davis (71)

This is a book about why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world. It is a book with an important message. The book is based on one of the CBC Massey Lecture series. I love these series usually!

Many of us are alarmed by the accelerating rates of extinction of plants and animals. But how many of us know that human cultures are going extinct at an even more shocking rate.

While biologists estimate that 18 percent of mammals and 11 percent of birds are threatened, and botanists anticipate the loss of 8 percent of flora, anthropologists predict that fully 50 percent of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world today will disappear within our lifetimes. And languages are merely the canaries in the coal mine: what of the knowledge, stories, songs, and ways of seeing encoded in these voices?

This book offers us a gripping and enlightening account of this urgent crisis. The author, Wade Davis, leads us on a fascinating tour through a handful of indigenous cultures, describing the worldviews they represent and reminding us of the encroaching danger to humankind’s survival should they vanish.

This book is a must-read for all Canadians who are worried about the current rates of extinction of plants and animals.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene Roth

Posted in Author from Vancouver, Book on Nature | Leave a comment