Trust: Twenty Ways to Build a Better Country by David Johnston (185)

This is a much-needed book in our time of political and cultural upheaval. Trust and honesty seem to be gone right by the wayside which is why we are having immense problems now. Even our politicians are not trustworthy and it seems that one or more of them are accused of some horrendous things.

This book is a restorative book.  It is meant to get us on another new path to political and personal wholeness. But we need to start with ourselves first. Unless we are honest and trustworthy ourselves, we will never be able to be honest with others. Instead, we will manipulate and force others to see our ways. Some of these way will be corrupt because the politicians themselves never took stock of the kind of people they are.

Trust is a much-needed manual for the repair and restoration of the social quality on which all democracies rely.  One of Canada’s most revered governors general, David Johnston mines his long life and varied career to give Canadians twenty ways to make themselves, their institutions, and their country more worthy of trust.

Many of these habits, attitudes, and approaches stem from is experiences serving as the representative of the head of state in Canada for seven years. Some ways are individual–listen first, never manipulate, be consistent in public and private. Some are geared towards leaders at all levels and of all stripes–be barn-raisers, tell everyone your plans, depend on those around you. And some are societal–apologize, cherish teachers, invite others to dance.

Ever person who cares about their democratic way of life is wise to heed Johnston’s polite yet pressing call. We can all become more worthy of trust. We can do so by daring to be true to ourselves and living an exemplary life, one that others will be able to learn from.

This is our call, and each one of us can make a big difference in this regard.

I loved this book!  And I will be recommending this book to my family and friends.

Posted in Author from Ontario, David Johnston, Governor General | Leave a comment

The Memory Illusion by Dr. Julia Shaw (184)

This is an eye-opening and startling book. None of us want to think that we may not be who we think we are. That is a surprising thesis one that we don’t want to accept. However, after reading the book, I must say that I am more convinced than ever that this may be case.

When we define ourselves, we may think of our gender, ethnicity, occupation, and education as well as whether we are homeowners, have children, our marital status, and much more. We may also think of our personality traits, whether we’re optimistic or pessimistic, funny or serious, selfish or selfless as part of who we are as well. But is it really?

Our personal memories help us understand our life trajectories. We can remember the inspiring conversations we had with our professors, mother, relatives over the years and much more. Therefore, our memories can form the bedrock of our identities.

This book explains the fundamental principles of our memories, diving into the biological reasons why we forget and remember.

Dr. Shaw explains how our social environments play a pivotal role in the way we experience and remember the world. Dr. Shaw also explains how the self-concept shapes our memories.

I found her thesis astounding that our memories are subject to errors, alterations, and misapprehensions. However, after reading this book, it left me wondering how much I truly know about the world and even myself. I wonder also if we are enigma’s to ourselves. If we are, what we think we know about ourselves is faulty and leaves more questions and answers about ourselves.


Posted in Author from British Columbia, Memory | Leave a comment

Who Will Cry When you Die by Robin S. Sharma (183)

This a book that is full of life lessons on how to live in our fast-paced world. I have reviewed all of Sharma’s books and loved every one of them. I even have some on my home shelf.

Many of us live quick, unconscious lives. We work, come home, purchase, overuse our technological gadgets to the point where we don’t connect with others and much more! In the end, we end up losing touch with our humanity. And we lose touch with our purpose. We also lose sight of things that are most important to us.

We must live at our lives so that we matter to others and ourselves. And we have to allow ourselves to manifest our highest potential while valuing those around us.

We should also always try to maintain our perspective. We can do this by starting our day right, taking a weekly sabbatical, journal, and watch what we say to ourselves. There should also be room for silence in our lives.

We should also practise wholesome habits, master our time, master our emotions, connect with nature often, build our talents and much more.

But what really resonated with me is the principle of becoming the CEO of our lives. Unless we take this position seriously, we will just be drifting aimlessly through life. So, its time to take back your life. Its time to live more fully so that when you die you will have no regrets.

I loved this book!

Posted in Author from Toronto, Published in Canada | Leave a comment

A Girl Named Lovely by Catherine Porter (182)

This is a wonderful book about survival through love and connection. I just love books with this theme.

In January, 2010, a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people and paralyzing the country. There are many people who wanted to do something to help these people as they saw the footage over their television. Catherine Porter was one such person. So, she decided to make the trip to Haiti herself to see the devastation.

Minutes after arriving to Haiti, Catherine who was a new foreign correspondent with the Toronto Star found her first story in that of a miracle child. A two-year-old girl survived six days under the rubble and emerged virtually unscathed. Her name was lovely.

Lovely was reunited with her family. Catherine went to see them. It was a dismal scene. Her parents, brother, and four other family members were living in a dark, crudely built shed that flooded whenever it rained. Lovely wanted to go to school. But she couldn’t because the tuition money her parents have been saving was lost in the disaster, including all their possessions.

The cardinal rule of journalism is to remain objective when you are writing a story about some event. But Catherine broke that rule right away when she met the family. She enrolled Lovely in school and paid for it with money she and readers of the Toronto Star donated.

Over the next five years, Catherine continued to pay the family’s medical bills and paid for the family’s education. The family eventually moved to a new home. They were setbacks. But she continued to help Lovely and her family. This gave the family hope. Catherine vowed to make a difference in one family’s life and gave hope to many others.

I loved this book!  It is possible to rebuild after a devastation like the one in Haiti, one day at a time and one kind gesture at a time.

Posted in Haiti, Relief and Hope | Leave a comment

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (181)

When I saw this title on the shelves of my local library, I knew I had to read it. The title immediately resonated with me because I was always curious if time can stop pretty well from my teenage years. It is one of those topics that I was always intrigued by.

Despite the fact that this is a novel, it kind of reads like a memoir where the author discusses love, loss, betrayal, and the mistakes human beings are bound to repeat.

When it comes to love, most of us make horrendous mistakes from time to time. This book shows the reader that love is a powerful emotion that will make us do things we wouldn’t normally do.

Tom Hagard has a potentially dangerous secret. He looks like an ordinary forty-one year old but because of a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries.

Tom performed with Shakespeare, explored the high seas with Captain Cook, shared cocktails with Scott Fitzgerald, and more. He’ done and seen a lot over four hundred years.

How did he escape detection for so long? He had to keep reinventing himself. He had few rules to live by except “don’t fall in love”. However, like all rules, after a while, its tempting to break them. this is certainly what happens when he meets Camille at the dog park. Not only did he break his rule and fell in love but he was worried about getting discovered and his secret finally exposed.

However, he would so much love to build a real life for himself. But can he do so with Camille and will she blow the whistle on his secret?

This is a bitter-sweet time-travelling story about losing and finding yourself again.

Posted in Author from Ontario, losses, Love, Time-Travel | Leave a comment

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs (180)

This is a wonderful book for national poetry month!  One of the librarians at my local library suggested it and I am grateful for her suggestion because it was a spellbinding poetry book unlike any that I have ever read in the over 1,000 books that I have read over ten years with the Canadian Book Review Challenge.

This poetry is moving. In this book Randall Maggs combines narrative with beautiful lyrical moments that took my breath away.

These poems represent a portrait of a character, game and age. Although it is a book about the love of hockey and the passion of playing the game regardless of what comes ones way, it is about so much more.

I have never seen a book about hockey written in poetic form. The book is as unique as it is breathtaking. It is a moving study of passion and work. The poems have guts, skill, and heart, just as hockey does.

I never considered hockey to be a game that combines ballet and murder. But many times the cadence of great poems has these two features too. And this book of poems delivers on all fronts.

I love great books by a Canadian author, and this book not only didn’t disappoint but it took anything that I was expecting and trashed it by the time I read the first page.

This book is for hockey and poetry lovers. It is one of these books that I will classify as one of the best books I read this year so far. But I still have two months before the end of this year’s challenge!

Posted in Author from Ontario, Hockey, Poetry | Leave a comment

Small: Beneath the Sky by Lorna Crozier (179)

This is the second book written by Lorna Crozier that I picked up at my local library.  It was just as great as the first.

This book is a tender, unsparing portrait of a family. It is also a book about place. In this splendid volume of recollections, Lorna Crozier charts the geography that shaped her character and understanding of the world.

Crozier depicts crystal moments from her childhood in her small prairie city of Swift Current, with its one main street, its two high schools and three beer parlours. But she also writes about the grief caused by poverty and alcoholism.

At the heart of her wonderfully written book is her fierce love for her mother, Peggy, and her no-nonsense champion and moral guide.

Crozier writes in her usual intense way of the wind, dust, snow, light and other elements  which evoke grasslands and their profound effect on those who live there.

She also calls on the ghosts of her ancestors and the power of memory. Through these stories, she traces her beginnings with a poet’s precision and an open heart.

I loved this book and will be rereading it in the near future for more depth of meaning.


Posted in Family, Lorna Crozier', Loss, Love, Mothers | Leave a comment