Tim Winton’s — The shepherd’s hut

Tim Winton’s — The shepherd’s hut

After Jaxie’s abusive father accidently dies, Jaxie heads for the West Australian wilderness fearing he’ll be blamed. When he’s desperate for water, he comes across an abandoned shack with a water tank. But as he explores the lonely countryside, he soon discovers he is not the only one who’s run away from his past nor is he safe once he discovers an even bigger secret.

Jaxie’s voice adds to the adventure of isolation in the back country. Just couldn’t put Winton’s latest novel down.

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Katherine Boo’s — Behind the beautiful forevers *****

Katherine Boo’s — Behind the beautiful forevers *****

A cast of characters in Annawadi slums near Mumbai’s airport are hopeful when India’s economy starts to bloom. Some are metal thieves, others collect recyclable garbage, but when their day is done, they live in close proximity to everyone so that there are few secrets.

This is a must read with the focus on a Muslim family striving for a better life. It reads like fiction, but was actually the author’s observations and research during her three years living in Mumbai.

Sharon Bala’s — The Boat People

Sharon Bala’s — The Boat People

A 2018 Canada reads contester was inspired by the over five hundred people who arrived on Canada’s west coast from Sri Lanka.

We learn of Mahindan’s life in Lanka where he was a mechanic at the mercy of both the Lankan government and the Tigers; in Canada, Grace, a hard line adjudicator has a tough stance on those who don’t arrive through the proper channels; and Priya, a lawyer dragged into working with the refugees when she wants to specialize in corporate law.

What will happen to the refugees who are turned back? How will the Canadian officials’ characters change after working with the Tamils for months? This is absolutely the best read on the crisis in Lanka (that still continues today for anyone not Buddhist) and what Tamils have had to endure to stay alive.

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven Fallen Feathers *****

Tanya Talaga’s — Seven Fallen Feathers *****

Journalist, Tanya Talaga chronicles the lives and deaths of seven First Nation teens in Thunder Bay who lost their lives after moving from remote Ontario communities to attend secondary school in the city.

In this non-fiction account, we learn about life in Thunder Bay for First Nation teens; about the parents and First Nation communities who come together to search for the children when they disappear; and their contact with police and how the Thunder Bay RCMP handle each case.

This is a well written, must read for all Canadians so we grasp the systemic culture within the police force, the community, and the government at large.

Writers, it’s time to think about our favoured vocabulary

Writers, it’s time to think about our favoured vocabulary

On Pineterest there’s word lists — words to use instead of . . .. I save these lists because one of the problems writing an 80 000 word manuscript is the habit of repeating your favourite vocabulary.

I keep a personal file of words I’m aware I use often — that, look, walked for example, for when I’m at the editing stage to remind myself of my habit. But here’s a tip I learned from author, Julie H. Ferguson about a particular repeated word. Continue reading “Writers, it’s time to think about our favoured vocabulary”

Sarah Bird’s — Above the East China Sea *****

Sarah Bird’s — Above the East China Sea *****

Luz James feels lost. She’s been shifted from pillar to post since childhood because of her mother’s job. Now she’s in Okinawa, a tiny group of islands that belong to Japan. She’s already lost the grandmother she loved, but when she loses her closest friend, her sister, Luz can’t hold it together. She hangs out with a group every night to get high. On one of those nights she wanders off and encounters something that leads her on a path to discover her unknown family and the Okinawan women whose secret she discovers.

This is not only a great tale, but the historical setting with flashbacks to a young Okinawa school girl during the war reveals a lot about the Japanese and their attitudes towards the people of this island.

Min Jin Lee’s — Pachinko *****

Min Jin Lee’s — Pachinko *****

In the early 1900s when Sunja falls pregnant, she refuses to be mistress to a wealthy man she discovers is already married. Instead she accepts an offer of marriage from a minister and they soon leave Korea for Japan.

This is a four generational tale exploring Japan’s attitude towards Koreans as well as the family’s struggles to survive. A compelling story.