Jennifer D Jennifer's Comments (member since Mar 23, 2011)

Jennifer's comments from the CBC Books group.

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Jul 28, 2015 04:32AM

40089 welcome to you both, good and krystal! i hope you enjoy the group.
Jul 26, 2015 12:54PM

40089 please note: there will be no poetry shared in this folder from july 27th through august 3rd.
40089 as always, remember these questions are not posted to limit discussion. if you have questions or ideas beyond the scope of those posted, please do share them here with a comment (or comments).

the more people participate, the richer the experience is for everyone. it's also always terrific to have multiple opinions, and hear a variety of responses.

40089 new discussion points:

-- these questions are from the publisher. some revisit ideas we have discussed earlier, but in the context of the whole novel, now, thoughts may have shifted a bit, or be more complete. so i thought it of value to include all of the questions from the publisher's reading guide. --

1. The novel is set against the backdrop of Niagara Falls. Is it accurate to say that this natural wonder is a character in the novel? Why or why not?

2. In early-20th-century Ontario, distinctions in social strata created insurmountable boundaries between different groups. Yet Bess, her mother, and several other characters act against the conventions of their time. What compelled them? Would they face the same challenges today?

3. Edward's proposal presents both a challenge and an opportunity to Bess and her family. What did you think of her decision? What would you have done in similar circumstances?

4. The title of the book invokes a rescue made by Fergus Cole, Tom's grandfather, shortly after he arrived at Niagara Falls. Did you find Buchanan's decision to post newspaper clippings of Fergus's heroism effective? Was the force of his legend felt throughout the novel?

5. Although Bess and her family are Methodists, she and her sister attend a Catholic school for girls. What role does religion or belief play in the book? As the novel unfolds, how does Bess evolve spiritually?

6. A secondary theme in the novel pits the idea of conserving natural resources against the quest to harness them for economic and industrial development. Informed by her father's work experience at the power company and by Tom's allegiance to the river, Bess begins to understand both sides of the argument. Did her vote on the ballot measure surprise you?

7. Why is Tom able to predict the whims of the Niagara River? What would Bess say about his mysterious abilities? Does her explanation change over the course of the book?

8. Bess is angry with Tom after the ice bridge rescue, and lashes out at him after the scow rescue. Is her anger warranted? Why or why not?

9. Before abandoning the rope tethered to Jesse and plunging into the waters, Tom says, "Believe in me, Bess." What does he mean by this? Does he know how the events of the day will unfold?

bonus questions:

11. What was your overall rating of the book? Would you recommend The Day the Falls Stood Still? (Why or why not?)

12. What was your favourite moment, scene or idea in the story?

13. Did Buchanan's novel help give you a sense of place while you were reading?
40089 welcome to the final week of our monthly read. on the schedule this week:

Week 5: July 26th - 31st - chapters 29 through 32, + after material* (p. 346 - 410)

* - after material present in some editions

please feel free to openly discuss any aspect of the novel with no concern for spoilers! let us know what you thought of The Day The Falls Stood Still!

also: this thread will remain open beyond the end of july. if you are reading at a different pace, you can visit this space at any time and share your thoughts and comments. :)
40089 i will post one quick discussion point.

this, from chapter 20 --

• in an attempt to help tom adjust to life back at home, she decides he must get back to the river. the ice bridge has formed and bess takes jesse to see it, with the idea tom will accompany them out on the bridge on the weekend. once there, the ice bridge breaks up and tom bravely tries to save people.

• after the tragedy, and newspaper coverage, bess says: "I had thought that with finding the river a sort of faith would come to Tom, a lessening of fear, but I am unprepared for this notion of invincibility."

• when you were reading this section of the story, did it feel to you as though tom felt invincible on the river?
40089 so... it looks like i won't really have much time until tuesday. so if you are all okay with this, we can just dive into the whole of the novel beginning next week, since it is the last week of the month anyway.

i am very sorry about this - it's a totally unexpected situation (nothing bad, just very time-consuming), and there are time constraints.
40089 @ mmars -- thanks! i was wondering about some bits of the book that really need to be taken as a whole.

@ carla -- i hope you will enjoy the novel.
Jul 22, 2015 05:29AM

40089 Butter

Butter, like love,
seems common enough
yet has so many imitators.
I held a brick of it, heavy and cool,
and glimpsed what seemed like skin
beneath a corner of its wrap;
the décolletage revealed
a most attractive fat!

And most refined.
Not milk, not cream,
not even crème de la crème.
It was a delicacy which assured me
that bliss follows agitation,
that even pasture daisies
through the alchemy of four stomachs
may grace a king's table.

We have a yellow bowl near the toaster
where summer's butter grows
soft and sentimental.
We love it better for its weeping,
its nostalgia for buckets and churns
and deep stone wells,
for the press of a wooden butter mold
shaped like a swollen heart.

-- Connie Wanek



Connie Wanek was born (1952) in Madison, Wisconsin, and grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In 1989 she moved with her family to Duluth, Minnesota where she now lives.

Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Quarterly West, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, and Missouri Review.

Wanek has published three books of poetry, most recently On Speaking Terms from Copper Canyon Press (2010), and a small book of prose, Summer Cars, and served as co-editor of the comprehensive historical anthology of Minnesota women poets, called To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-Territorial Days to the Present (New Rivers Press, 2006). Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate of the United States (2004–2006), named her a Witter Bynner Fellow of the Library of Congress for 2006.


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40089 just a quick note -- i have had a bit of a personal thing come up this week, and it is requiring a lot of my time. i am sorry i have not yet posted the week's discussion prompts, but i hope to get it done for late tomorrow afternoon/early evening (EST).
40089 thanks for letting us know, maeve! :)
40089 awesome!! i really enjoyed The Painted Girls a lot! :)
40089 I'm Alive, I Believe in Everything

I'm Alive, I Believe in Everything

Self. Brotherhood. God. Zeus. Communism.
Capitalism. Buddha. Vinyl records.
Baseball. Ink. Trees. Cures for disease.
Saltwater. Literature. Walking. Waking.
Arguments. Decisions. Ambiguity. Absolutes.
Presence. Absence. Positive and Negative.
Empathy. Apathy. Sympathy and entropy.
Verbs are necessary. So are nouns.
Empty skies. Dark vacuums of night.
Visions. Revisions. Innocence.
I've seen All the empty spaces yet to be filled.
I've heard All of the sounds that will collect
at the end of the world.
And the silence that follows.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all.

Waves lapping on the shore.
Skies on fire at sunset.
Old men dancing on the streets.
Paradox and possibility.
Sense and sensibility.
Cold logic and half truth.
Final steps and first impressions.
Fools and fine intelligence.
Chaos and clean horizons.
Vague notions and concrete certainty.
Optimism in the face of adversity.

I'm alive, I believe in everything
I'm alive, I believe in it all.

-- Lesley Choyce, from Beautiful Sadness



Lesley Choyce was born in New Jersey in 1951, moved to Canada in 1978 and became a Canadian citizen.

He teaches in the English Department and Transition Year Program at Dalhousie University. He is a year-round surfer of the North Atlantic, and founding member of the 1990s spoken word rock band, The SurfPoets. Choyce also runs Pottersfield Press, a small literary publishing house and hosted the national TV show, Off The Page, for many years. He’s worked as a rehab counsellor, a freight hauler, a corn farmer, a janitor, a journalist, a lead guitarist, a newspaper boy and a well-digger

Choyce has written over 40 adult and young adult books. His YA novels concern things like skateboarding, surfing, racism, environmental issues, organ transplants, and rock bands. His books have been translated into Spanish, French, German and Danish and he has been awarded the Dartmouth Book Award and the Ann Connor Brimer Award.

He lives in a 200 year old farm house on Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia, overlooking the ocean.


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40089 okay, thanks louise!! i hope you are enjoying the audio - is it well read?
40089 what a fun idea for a listopia collection, mmars! :)

i agree with your observations re: sewing as a necessity v. comfort. i recall the instances where bess was bone-tired from her work, and when she had to redo some stitching. i still felt there was some pleasure she derived from the work, even though it was a tough living. i guess maybe i chose my words poorly -- i was likening a similarity between the rosary and the sewing as practices which gave bess something to focus on, or help distract her from her problems. i totally agree that 'belief' is a huge theme/idea in the novel.
40089 Heather wrote: "I gave this book to my father to read-and after reading the first few chapters my father commented that this was another book about sewing! ..."

so funny!

maybe of interest: buchanan is actually quite a seamstress and designer. twice that i know of, she has made her own dress for the rather fancy book lover's ball (big fundraiser for the toronto public library), held in toronto each year.

i am a terrible sewer, and definitely did not get this particular gene from my mother. heh!! (she used to make all of our clothes and has some mad skills!) but i really enjoyed reading about the sewing in this novel. i wondered if there was the same comfort of process for bess, as she found with the rosary? does that make sense?
Jul 20, 2015 08:58AM

40089 i'm participating too; can't wait to read it here with everyone. and how great saleema is able to join us. i am glad this worked out! :)
Jul 20, 2015 05:58AM

40089 Beginning

These are days when I would want to begin again
in some stranger-city, to drift into a bar
secretive and self-contained, my whole past
packed inside me like a bomb. An unknown
city, free of personal
associations. To begin again. To flower, each petal
full-looming in the light, until identified
as a common weed and then I
move on. To feel that lonely-aching hotel room
until I come to myself and strangely then
am grasped by others. To find new streets,
cafés, restaurants, and parks, a different soil,
to say, it's me, I'm here as indifference breaks
like a grey day's unexpected sun. You don't know
about me I'm more than you think.

-- Fraser Sutherland, from: The Matushka Case: Selected Poems 1970-2005



Fraser Sutherland’s published fiction, poetry and criticism include books such as Madwomen (Black Moss, 1978), John Glassco: An Essay and Bibliography (ECW Press, 1984), The Monthly Epic: A History Of Canadian Magazines, 1789 1989 (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1989), Jonestown (McClelland & Stewart, 1996), and Manual for Emigrants (Tightrope Books, 2007).

His diverse works have been published worldwide in numerous magazines and anthologies both in print and online, and he has been translated into French, Italian, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, and Farsi. Having written and edited for many dictionaries in three countries, Sutherland may be the only Canadian poet who is also a lexicographer.

After earning his Bachelor of Journalism from Carelton University in 1969, Sutherland worked as a reporter and staff writer for several major newspapers and magazines, among them the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and the Wall Street Journal. He became a freelance writer and editor in 1970, and was the founding editor of Northern Journey from 1971-1976, a columnist for Quill & Quire, and the managing editor of Books in Canada. He served as the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1982-83 he taught at David Thompson University Centre.

Born in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Sutherland now lives in Toronto.


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40089 awesome! thank you all for letting me know. i will wait through today too, just to see if any other readers are able to share their progress with us. :)
40089 i am also finished!
thanks, ruthie! :)

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