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Every third Monday morning of the month, the bookclub gathers virtually by Zoom. We like a challenging read – stories of immigration, feminism, and moral dilemmas. We favour Canadian writers and try to choose titles available from our public libraries. Readers looking for an on-going discussion group and those who are attracted to a specific book but cannot commit to the ten book challenge are welcome.

The 2022-2023 Lineup

Scroll down for book descriptions.


September 19 My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

October 17 Still Life by Sarah Winham

November 21 Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrel

December 19 The Generosity Habit by Matthew Kelly

January 16 (2023) Five Dog Night: A Woman’s Journey Across Canada by Dog Team by Linda Fair

February 20 1491 by Charles C. Mann

March 20 State of Terror by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny

April 17 Fabric by Victoria Findlay

May 15 Braiding Sweetgrass by Rpbom Ward Kimmerer

June 19 The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson

July 17 Poetry, Prose, and Potluck in a Garden


My Italian Bulldozer
by Alexander McCall Smith

“When food writer Paul Stuart heads to the idyllic Italian hill town of Montalcino to finish his late manuscript, it seems like the perfect escape from complicated city life, and his recent heartbreak. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his rental car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available, Paul is stuck at the airport until an enterprising stranger offers him an unheard-of alternative. While there may be no cars available, there is something else on offer: a bulldozer. With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts and so begins a series of surprising adventures in food, wine, Tuscan history and modern romance as Paul rumbles through the countryside on his Italian bulldozer, pursued soon after by unplanned visitors from home.”


Still Life
by Sarah Winman

Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and recall long-forgotten memories of her own youth. In each other, Ulysses and Evelyn find a kindred spirit amongst the rubble of war-torn Italy, and set off on a course of events that will shape Ulysses’s life for the next four decades.


Hamnet
by Maggie O’Farrel

The author was fascinated with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play. Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.  Set in Warwickshire in the 1580s, Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley Street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.


The Generosity Habit
by Matthew Kelly

The Generosity Habit is built on a simple and profound principle: give something away every day. It doesn’t need to be money or material things. It could be complimenting a stranger, teaching someone how to do something, spreading a positive message, helping someone who is in a hurry, or simply smiling at someone generously. In fact, the philosophy behind the generosity habit rests on this singular truth: You don’t need money or material possessions to live a life of staggering generosity.


Five Dog Night: A Woman’s Journey Across Canada by Dog Team
by Linda Fair


1491
by Charles C. Mann

In this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology, Charles C. Mann radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Contrary to what so many Americans learn, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand. Challenging and surprising, this a transformative new look at a rich and fascinating world we only thought we knew.


State of Terror
by Hilary Clinton and Louise Penny

Tuscany, 1944: As Allied troops advance and bombs fall around deserted villages, a young English soldier, Ulysses Temper, finds himself in the wine cellar of a deserted villa. There, he has a chance encounter with Evelyn Skinner, a middle-aged art historian who has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the ruins and recall long-forgotten memories of her own youth. In each other, Ulysses and Evelyn find a kindred spirit amongst the rubble of war-torn Italy, and set off on a course of events that will shape Ulysses’s life for the next four decades.


Fabric
by Victoria Findlay

A magnificent work of original research, unwinding history through cloth. From our earliest ancestors to babies born today, fabric is a necessary part of our everyday lives, but it’s also an opportunity for creativity, symbolism, culture and connection. Travelling across the world and bringing history to life, bestselling author Victoria Finlay investigates how and why people have made and used cloth. A century ago in Wales, women would sew their own funeral clothes over tea with friends. In Papua New Guinea, bark is stripped from trees and beaten into cloth. Harris Tweed has a particular smell, while Guatemalan weavers use dazzling colours. Uncovering the stories of the fabrics people wear and use from sacking to silk, Fabric combines science, history, tradition and art in a captivating exploration of how we live, work, craft and care.


Braiding Sweetgrass
by Robin Ward Kimmerer

As a botanist, the author has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these lenses of knowledge together to show that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings are we capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learning to give our own gifts in return.


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
by Kim Michelle Richardson

Set in 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky. Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, in still literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.