Book Review: Chinese Pearl by Patrick Aaron

Chinese Pearl
By Patrick Aaron

There are some books that one cannot put down. They transfix you and make you forget the rest of the world. This is the magic of a good story, and I found that Chinese Pearl did that very thing to me. It was so wonderful to lose myself in the world of fiction for a while, a world that is hopeful and also has many lessons the most important of which is unconditional love.

The story is about a midwife Xiulan whose dream of raising her own child seems to be dashed until she is called to help a mother give birth to a baby boy. When the mother gives birth, she delivers a boy followed by an albino girl with white hair. The girl’s grandmother doesn’t want to keep the second baby and asks Xiulan to dispose of her in the sea. But Xiulan cannot bring herself to do that and realizes that maybe she will be able to raise a child of her own after all.

As time goes on, Xiulan realizes that there is a lot that is very different and wonderful about the girl. One of these things is her psychic ability. As she grows, she draws people to come visit the family’s apothecary. But can these powers attract the wrong attention over time?  It soon does involving many different agencies and China’s National Aviation Corporation pilots.

This book will make you laugh and cry. It is a book that is deep and yet light at the same time. I don’t think I have ever read a book that has just that perfect combination. What a gem of a book!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Sammy Swan’s Summer Adventure in Stratford by Tarra Trachsel Green (169)

This is a book by an author from Stratford Ontario, where I live!  The book is also autographed by the writer.  I just love picking up books like this from my local library!

This is an engaging story of a young swan named Sammy. He grew up and explored the wonderful City of Stratford, Ontario. Sammy enjoys wandering and experiencing the sights and sounds of Summer in a beautiful city and countryside.

He shares his many adventures with his younger brothers and sisters, who are inspired to have adventures of their own.

This is a whimsical story that includes scrap-booking pages at the end of the book for recording your own adventures in Stratford, and there are a lot of them I tell you!

This is a delightful story with endearing characters and imagery.  It is a story for girls and boys.

I loved the story, and I will make sure that I tell all the parents of younger children to pick it up from the local library or better still buy it!

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Holding on to Normal by Alana Somerville (168)

This is a memoir about how one lady survived cancer and made it to the other side happier, healthier and stronger.

I just love inspiring stories like this.  It sure makes my heart sing.  This is especially the case since cancer is pandemic in our culture and world today.

Alana Somerville is a wife, teacher and mother of two small children. When she was thirty-three years old, she was diagnosed with stage two triple negative breast cancer. The diagnosis changed her world and the relationships she had with family, friends and colleagues.

Suddenly, she was faced with endless medical appointments and multiple surgeries, the challenges of chemotherapy, and all of the decisions involved in her treatment. Her entire world was turned upside down as she realized that her support network didn’t have a clue how to help or even how to react to her.

Alana learned to navigate the medical system, to advocate for herself and to build a truly supportive network. Even as she underwent a double mastectomy, she discovered how to keep her positive spirit intact. She is now living cancer-free and a survivor and advocate!

This memoir is an Every woman’s journey through the experience of cancer, tracing the emotional, physical and psychological steps that are common to all.

In the end, Alana’s story offers hope that recovery is possible and that one can live a healthy, fulfilling and happy life beyond diagnosis and treatment.

This book is a strong testament to the power of self-determination in one’s cancer journey.


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One Hundred Years of Struggle by Joan Sangster (167)

This is a wonderful book about the history of women and the vote in Canada.  It is hard to believe that so much positive has changed for women.  But it sure did take a long time!

The achievement of the vote in 1918 is often celebrated as a triumphant moment in the onward, upward advancement of Canadian women, a moment symbolized by famous suffragists such as Nellie McClung and famous events such as the Winnipeg Mock Parliament.

In this book, acclaimed historian Joan Sangster looks beyond the shiny rhetoric of anniversary celebrations and Heritage Minutes to show that the struggle for equality included gains and losses, inclusion and exclusion, depending on a woman’s race, class, and location.

Beginning with debates by anti-slavery advocate Mary Shadd Cary in the 1950s and ending with Indigenous women’s struggle to gain the vote in the 1950s and 1960s, Sangster travels back in time to tell a new, more inclusive story for a new generation.

The history of the vote offers vital insights into the political life, exposing not only the fissures of inequality that cut deep into our country’s past but also their weaknesses in the face of resistance, optimism, and protest. It is an inspiring legacy that resonates to this day.

I loved this book from start to finish!

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The Year of Less by Cait Flanders (166)

How many of us overspend, over consume, and over budget?  How many of us max out our credit cards looking for all the week’s deals at stores so that we can keep accumulating?

Since we live in a culture of consumption and buying where we are encouraged to buy on every corner, it is small wonder that we have become this way.  But do we have to acquiesce in this very destructive and possibly unhealthy lifestyle?

Cait Flanders believes that we can change our mindset from consuming to one of being a mindful consumer.

She’s been there!  Her life was like all of ours, she was over spent, unhealthy and she knew things had to change. So, one day, she decided that enough was enough.

She looked around one day, and her house was full of stuff. She could hardly move…boy can I relate to that!  So, she started donating items that she no longer needed to charities in her area. And as she uncluttered her life, something almost magical happened–she felt freer and lighter. She felt healthier, and she was able to make the other changes that she needed to make to ensure that she would live well on less.

So, she stopped shopping!  That’s right, you heard me right!  At first, I thought this was outrageous!  But I soon was bought on the idea, and not only bought on the idea but I am now determined to make some major changes in my own life too.

So, if overspending and having too much as well as compulsive spending are your issues too, you need to read this wonderfully insightful book. She ends the book with a summary of all the steps that are discussed in the book on how to live more frugally and save a lot of money. But not only that, you will feel freer and you will be helping the environment as well.

What a GREAT book!


Posted in Author from Vancouver, Decluttering, Living on less, Stopping to shop | Leave a comment

The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus by John R. Cross (165)

I was always interested in who was the stranger on the road to Emmaus.  It is a parable that can baffle any Christian who wants to really know the message contained in this very important parable. So, when I saw this book sitting at a second-hand book shop, I grabbed it. And I was thoroughly informed and inspired by it.

This book not only explains who the stranger was, but also what his message was.  This is a parable about how the outcast is ignored, and how we as Christians should care about people who are poor and need a helping hand.

Here is a book that explains the greatest of Bible themes clearly and logically. Rather than focusing on one part–and missing the whole–the author chronologically binds together then entire text into one great universal drama, looking at events from a perspective of those who experienced history in the making. The results are sometimes comical, sometimes frightening — but always true to the intent of the text.

When I was finished reading the book, I found the story much more believable. This was my experience, but you may not believe the story either. The author’s objective approach leaves that decision up to you.

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Scar Tissue by Michael Ignatieff (164)

This is a book about the loss and death.  It is a book that will inform about end of life issues and show us how to move past them.

At the heart of Michael Ignatieff’s startling account of a woman’s descent into illness are the tangled threads of a family, severed by tragedy yet still tenuously connected–as much by pride, embarrassed love and sibling rivalry as by the painful, hopeful scams of familial loyalty.

A philosophy professor shares the story of his mother’s dying. Through him, we see her measured steps into the mysterious depths of neurological illness: the misplaced glasses, kitchen catastrophes, anecdotes told over and over to a family overcome with fearful sympathy.

His strenuous efforts to make sense of his mother’s suffering lead him to learn all he can about her illness, renewing contact with his neurologist brother in the process. But medical science can do nothing to ease loss, and genetics now routinely predicts destinies which medicine is powerless to avert.

More than a tale of isolated tragedy, Scar Tissue explores the fragile lines of memory, their configuration in identity, and the ways in which both are one moment formed and the next shattered.

This is an intensely personal novel about family, love in all its guises, and the ultimate triumph of life over loss.

I loved the book, and being a philosopher myself, I love the philosophical, psychological, and medical background that Michael Ignatieff uses throughout the book.  It is a book that I will definitely read and re-read.


Posted in A book about loss, Acedemic book, Author from Ontario | Leave a comment