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Archives 2018 > August 2018: Scarborough

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message 1: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
August will be about walking in someone else's shoes, learning the challenges of immigrating to Canada from another country. Please add your suggestions to this thread an a poll will be set up.

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments This is an immigrant story to make your heart happy, but it’s not a book though...yet!

message 4: by Mj (new)

Mj @ Allison ༺ hikes the bookwoods ༻ Great immigrant story. Definitiely heart-warming. Thanks for the post.

message 5: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) I suggest Disappearing Moon Cafe by Sky Lee.

message 6: by Mj (last edited Jun 15, 2018 08:10PM) (new)

Mj There are a few books I've been thinking of reading that I'd like to suggest. All are written by 2nd generation immigrants to Canada. Am not vested in any of them and think all would be a moving and informative selection for August's Monthly Reads Theme of Books Written by 1st or 2nd Generation Immigrants to Canada.

Not in any order of preference.

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez. Her mother immigrated from the Phillipines and was a huge influence on teaching young people in Canada about their Phillipino culture. Catherine Hernandez arts' activity including the writing of Scarborough which has received numerous positive reviews and award wins and nominations.

Black Berry, Sweet Juice: On Being Black and White in Canada by Lawrence Hill. Lawrence's parents were a bi-racial couple from the United States who were active in human rights issues in Canada. Hill's memoir is about growing up as a bi-racial child in Canada. His numerous nominations and awards world-wide speak to his writing prowess.

The Hungry Ghosts by Shyam Selvadurai. His parents immigrated from Sri Lanka as refugees. One was Tamil, the other Sinhalese making their perspectives very unique and influential in Selvadurai's life. The Hungry Ghosts takes place in Canada - the first of Selvadurai's books not to take place in Sri Lanka - in Scarborough specifically where he lived in Canada. Sounds like it might be a good companion read to Hernandez's book. Selvadurai's debut novel Funny Boy won wide acclaim and his writing seems to get better with each novel.

message 8: by Mj (new)

Mj @ Rainey, thanks for the post. Have read 4 of the 7 suggested. Would consider the 3 I haven't read but prefer the choices I mentioned earlier.

Also I'm leaning towards Fiction for a summer read - have read lots of non-fiction this year and am looking for a lighter read while on holidays.

For this reason Bezmozgis' fiction would probably be my top choice from the CBC list.

The Free World by David Bezmozgis

All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey Into the Lives of Others by Carol Off

The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi

message 9: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
Great list! I would vote for All we Leave Behind... I feel badly that it is still on my TBR shelf after I won an ARC of it. I also have had Scarborough on my shelf for far too long!!

message 10: by G. (new)

G. Barton-Sinkia My novel By The Next Pause, came out yesterday. It is about the very topic of immigration and being a 1st generation community in Toronto. Check it out. Would love a group to read and discuss.

message 11: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Congratulations on your book, G! By The Next Pause sounds really interesting.

message 12: by G. (new)

G. Barton-Sinkia Thank you! I would love to have readers as passionate as you all, read it. It's quite different from much of the immigrant stories by Canadian authors. It has a very distinct Toronto feel to it. I would love for you guys to read it. Let me know if there is anything I can do to facilitate that opportunity. :)

Storyheart wrote: "Congratulations on your book, G! By The Next Pause sounds really interesting."

message 13: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 644 comments G. wrote: "Thank you! I would love to have readers as passionate as you all, read it. It's quite different from much of the immigrant stories by Canadian authors. It has a very distinct Toronto feel to it. I ..."

Your book looks very interesting. Just bought it. :-)

message 14: by G. (new)

G. Barton-Sinkia Thank you, Rainey!! I would love to hear your thoughts after reading!

message 15: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 644 comments G. wrote: "Thank you, Rainey!! I would love to hear your thoughts after reading!"

Will do. I am also from Toronto

message 16: by Allison (new)

Allison | 1928 comments G. — great looking cover!

message 17: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
Hi G. - I tried to PM you but am unable. Please note that there is a spot for self promotion here: for active participants in our group. Thanks

message 18: by Allison (new)

Allison | 1928 comments Was there a poll for Aug?

message 19: by Mj (last edited Jul 18, 2018 02:31PM) (new)

Mj @ Allison - don't think there was a poll for August (Book written by first or second immigrant to Canada.) Maybe it because of the lack of duplicate suggestions or seconding of suggestions and/or perceived lack of interest in a monthly group discussion based on only 7 people making comments. It's a busy time of year for everyone. Possibly members don't have time to participate making suggestions because they they're unable to participate in the Monthly Read Discussion itself.

message 20: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
sorry... i have not made a poll but am happy to do so. any other comments or suggestions? if we can have them in, i can set up a poll on the weekend.

message 21: by Mj (new)

Mj ❀ Susan - no need to be sorry. It's a busy time of year for everyone, especially for moms with kids out of school and on summer vacation. :) Will be taking some holidays in August myself. Whatever works for everyone is fine by me.

message 22: by Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (last edited Jul 19, 2018 10:25AM) (new)

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments What's our theme for September? I cannot remember nor do I recall where to look to find out.

message 23: by Mj (new)

Mj @Allison ༺ hikes the bookwoods ༻ because you asked -

September's theme is Non-fiction (includes memoirs)

The folder is under Discussions, Major Folder Challenges, in First Folder titled Challenge Planning 2018

message 25: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
What about combining August/September's themes and reading Carol Off's book? All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey Into the Lives of Others


message 26: by Allison (new)

Allison | 1928 comments OF COURSE, I'd be into that! Hahaha... I have a major crush on Carol Off, as some of you know, and have a signed copy from when I met her last September. Would be happy to make that work for my reading schedule. Great idea!

message 27: by Rainey (new)

Rainey | 644 comments I have heard of this book but havent read it. Sounds interesting.

message 28: by Mj (last edited Jul 19, 2018 08:56PM) (new)

Mj Sorry to disagree but I think the Off book would be a good choice to put forward for the September poll after asking for other suggestions. Think there are some other possible books out there that might also be put forward for September.

I am not a fan however of merging August and September themes. No offense to OFF despite her great journalism and writing. I was looking forward to August's theme of reading a book WRITTEN BY a first or second generation immigrant. I think it's important to read and hear immigrant voices first hand....not reported or filtered by someone who was born and raised in Canada. Don't get me wrong. It's not OFF or this particular book. I am just not in favour of merging August and September themes. Seems like we are not respecting the voices and books of immigrants due to lack of interest and choosing a more comfortable, familiar author route.

Let's put OFF on the September suggestion Monthly Read List and put a poll out for books written by 1st and 2nd generation out there for August. There have been a number of suggestions, even if singular. Or forget the August monthly read entirely. Since memoirs are included in September's theme, there will be another opportunity for suggestions written by immigrants since memoirs are included in September's theme. We might have some suggestions reading for reading or listening to a story about immIgrants or written by an immigrant. I believe it's important to support new and less mainstream voices and writers of Canadian literature.

message 29: by Allison (new)

Allison | 1928 comments I think we've done pretty well this year with hearing immigrant voices, with Boat People, Forgiveness and American War all fitting the criteria set out in August's monthly read description. And I don't know if Madeleine Thein, Susan Juby and Patrick deWitt are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants, but they may be. Anyone know?

Aug & Sept are both busy months for a lot of us, so I support the idea of merging into one read. But the truth is, we can all read whatever we want!! :) I don't think anyone's meant to be limited by these monthly reads, I think it's just a nice feeling to know some of our "friends" are reading the same book as us, and if we want to chat about some details, there are folks out there who will be in the same mind-set.

Regardless of the book chosen, if I can read it, I will, and I'll participate. If it's Carol Off's book, well that I'll be there with bells on. :)

message 30: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod

The poll is up until July 24th; please note that the choice is:

All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey Into the Lives of Others which will be a combination for the August and September months as it fits both categories


Scarborough which will be for August and then we would choose for September

There were very few choices in the comments above and I did not include the self-promoted book.

message 31: by Lisa (last edited Jul 21, 2018 08:23AM) (new)

Lisa (lisafriel) | 202 comments Both books sound great! I am not going to vote because I haven't been keeping up with my reading this summer. Whichever one wins I will try to make an August hammock read. :-)

message 32: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 14 comments Both are on my read list so I'm happy either way

message 33: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
Yes! Both are on my TBR list also. I just thought with the limited participation for the monthly reads that two months combined might work better. :)

message 34: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) I thought it was a good idea, Susan :) I won't vote either as I'm pretty sure I'll be too busy to participate in Aug.

message 35: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
Votes were tied so we will have the following options open for readers:

August - Scarborough
Augsst/Setpember - All That we Leave behind

message 36: by Susan (new)

Susan | 743 comments We seem to love ties in this group! I am in for reading Scarborough, which has been on my TBR pile for almost a year now.

message 37: by Mj (new)

Mj @ Susan - you're right about our seeming penchant for ties!! I too have had Scarborough on my to read list for a while and plan to get at it in August and join in the discussion. Looking forward to it. :)

message 38: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments I just started Scarborough and it's amazing so far.

message 39: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
This was one of the books discussed at my in person book club tonight, with rave reviews!

message 40: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
It is the first day of a new book!! I am going to add one more thread for the Aug/Sept read as well but here is the place to discuss Scarborough.

message 41: by Louise (last edited Aug 02, 2018 06:17AM) (new)

Louise | 1171 comments I have been rather absent lately. Just checking in real quick and have to say that Scarborough is a fantastic book!

message 42: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisafriel) | 202 comments I already have Scarborough on hold at the library, but unfortunately I am #54 on 5 copies. I will have to catch up later.

message 43: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Penney | 539 comments I have already read Scarborough, but it is a wonderful book. I am a little jealous of the people getting to read it for the first time. Looking forward to everyone else's impressions.

message 44: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments Amazing read!!! I finished it last week and it’s still bumping around in my brain. Looking forward to discussing with you all as we near the end of the month.

message 45: by Mj (new)

Mj Just started Scarborough and am about 1/2 way through. Hernandez' words flow so well. It makes it easy to read and her story is full of so many great characters. She gives readers a real sense of what it's like to live in Scarborough (love all the Canadian store references) and at the same time she gives us a real sense of what it's like to grow up poor and the stereotyping and racism that goes along with it. While the life circumstances described are sad...the kids described are such a joy to read about.

@ Ann-Marie Looking forward to finishing the book myself and like you having more discussion about it.

Interestingly it's an Amnesty Canada Monthly Group read this month and was chosen by Ahmad Danny Ramadan who wrote The Clothesline Swing, Haven't seen many comments there yet but there are some good questions.

E.g. Who is the character you identify with the most?

message 46: by Mj (last edited Aug 11, 2018 09:10PM) (new)

Mj Just finished Scarborough on Thursday evening July 9th. I really enjoyed it. It's an easy read that gives readers who haven't experienced it themselves a real sense of living from day-to-day in poverty with children to provide for and very little social systems support. It's an eye opener and sad but the community spirit that Hernandez captures in this story and the human angels, friends, neighbours and support workers who really care and strive to make a difference....bring brightness and joy to this story. Well worth reading!!

My favourite character was Laura - a beautiful child full of love, hope, kindness, although very shy, she had a smile she shared that would light up a room. Despite all her difficulties she was kind and loving and full of joy. Amazingly inspirational which is why I related to her.

message 47: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments Loved this book! I read Brother earlier this year and thought beforehand they may be similar... but beyond the Toronto east end setting and underlaying poverty, I found them very different in terms of theme, characters and style.

Scarborough really hit home to me. The children’s honest, yet naive, perspective was so endearing and heartbreaking. I understood their daily hunger, how food was paramount to anything else. I really admired Hina for her wholehearted and holistic approach to the families.

My fave character was Sylvie. Facing so much adversity.... (will add more when we are talking more openly abt the book details...)

We used to own a house in the Beaches area of Toronto which borders the north/south running Victoria Park road which is the beginning of the west side of Scarborough. When I had my first child (2005), I used to frequent Ontario Early Years programs (mom/baby groups) anywhere in my neighbourhood or short driving distance. A few times I found myself in neighbourhoods & groups that could have been Hina’s Ontario Reads program yet geared at new parents and focused on building literacy with wee ones. There was always a snack (but no snacks at the programs closer to home). Most of the mothers didn’t speak English and were from other places or countries. It was an interesting experience but I think I only returned once or twice as I felt out of place as a white, professional, middle class mom. I’ve been going back over that experience after reading the book — was I like those judgey moms with Starbucks?? Probably. I’m ashamed.

I am currently on the board of the Burlington Food bank — this novel has also given me, what feels like, a first-hand perspective to the food bank clients. What it’s like to rely on donated food, how important the breakfast programs are.... incredibly insightful.

I also loved the array of multi cultural characters - so very Canadian but not included often enough in a literary landscape.

The writing style was terrific too - amazing that it’s her first novel!

message 48: by Mj (new)

Mj Ann-Marie - related to Sylvie as well. So much wisdom and heart for such a young person. So giving and supportive of her mom and helpful and loving to her brother and father. Such a big heart.

Don't be ashamed of your "possible" judgmental response. It's possibly not what your response was. Not feeling like you fit in with others who seem different is totally understandable. It doesn't mean you were judgmental. Sounds like a learning experience. How wonderful that you can translate that experience into making the Burlington Food Bank a better place. Good for you for volunteering for the board!!!

I grew up and lived my childhood, teens and early adulthood in Hamilton. Have since moved. Didn't realize we might have once been neighbours. :). It's a great area in Ontario. Still have family there.

message 49: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
@MJ and Anne-Marie - your reviews make me need to get at this book. i have had a signed copy on my shelf since the FOLD festival. It is so hard to prioritize reading when I have so many great books!

message 50: by Megan (new)

Megan | 461 comments @MJ I also lived in Hamilton!
This book really struck gone to me, I thought it was a perfect snapshot of a community.
Ontario is a hard place to make a go of it...especially Hamilton...which is why my entire family is now living in Alberta. It’s too bad as Ontario is a beautiful province.

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