Join the Fairfield Community Book Club

Sunday, July 24 

7:00-9ish pm

Meeting in-person at Porter Park (Please bring a blanket or lawn chair for your comfort)

Contact: event@fairfieldcommunity.ca for information on joining the Community Book Club.


Join our skilled volunteer facilitators as they guide participants to deepen their understanding of the issues each book presents.

What kind of books do we read?

  • NEW for 2019-2020, as of July 29, 2019: Speaks—whether through fiction, science fiction or non-fiction—to a critical global issue that is affecting us now as Canadians. Provided the book meets this criterion, it may be by an author from any country.
  • Contributes to (deepens and expands) our cultural understanding of this country: First Nations and Metis experiences, the diaspora from many countries, other immigrants and their descendants, other often-marginalized voices in our country
  • Principally, though not solely, works of fiction written by a Canadian author
  • Global issues
  • Rooted in social history, preferentially, meaning works richly based on an author’s lived experience (e.g. works by First Nations or Metis authors vs. books about FN or Metis culture—also without intention to read only books that are by FN and/or Metis authors)
  • Ability to access the book through multiple media (e.g., paper, eBook, audio book) and at various price points (e.g., library copies, used, paperback, hardcover)

Note: The criteria are as dynamic as our book club—and open for amendment. We encourage you to bring any books you believe are suitable!


Reading options before the event

To read the book before the meeting, there are different options available: borrow from the library or the FGCA or purchase. To reduce the impact on the environment, we prioritize books that are available at the library. You can also borrow the current and next month’s book from the community centre. After each meeting, Erin we will email the next month’s book selection and you will have the opportunity to reserve a copy of the book. You will have one week to read it before the next person on the waiting list picks it up.

Note we keep all book selections and you are welcome to borrow at anytime!


Upcoming Book Selections


On Borrowed Time by Gregor Craigie

Meeting: July 24 (in-person at Porter Park)

Mention the word earthquake and most people think of California. But while the Golden State shakes on a regular basis, Washington State, Oregon, and British Columbia are located in a zone that can produce the world’s biggest earthquakes and tsunamis. In the eastern part of the continent, small cities and large, from Ottawa to Montréal to New York City, sit in active earthquake zones. In fact, more than 100-million North Americans live in active seismic zones, many of whom do not realize the risk to their community.

For more than a decade, Gregor Craigie interviewed scientists, engineers, and emergency planners about earthquakes, disaster response, and resilience. He has also collected vivid first-hand accounts from people who have survived deadly earthquakes. His fascinating and deeply researched book dives headfirst into explaining the science behind The Big One — and asks what we can do now to prepare ourselves for events geologists say aren’t a matter of if, but when.

 

All the Broken Things by Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

September, 1983. Fourteen-year-old Bo, a boat person from Vietnam, lives in a small house in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto with his mother, Thao, and his four-year-old sister, who was born severely disfigured from the effects of Agent Orange. Named Orange, she is the family secret; Thao keeps her hidden away, and when Bo’s not at school or getting into fights on the street, he cares for her.

One day a carnival worker and bear trainer, Gerry, sees Bo in a streetfight, and recruits him for the bear wrestling circuit, eventually giving him his own cub to train. This opens up a new world for Bo–but then Gerry’s boss, Max, begins pursuing Thao with an eye on Orange for his travelling freak show. When Bo wakes up one night to find the house empty, he knows he and his cub, Bear, are truly alone. Together they set off on an extraordinary journey through the streets of Toronto and High Park. Awake at night, boy and bear form a unique and powerful bond. When Bo emerges from the park to search for his sister, he discovers a new way of seeing Orange, himself and the world around them. All the Broken Things is a spellbinding novel, at once melancholy and hopeful, about the peculiarities that divide us and bring us together, and the human capacity for love and acceptance.

 

Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning

Drawing on both lived experience and cultural memory, Norma Dunning brings together six powerful new short stories centred on modern-day Inuk characters in Tainna. Ranging from homeless to extravagantly wealthy, from spiritual to jaded, young to elderly, and even from alive to deceased, Dunning’s characters are united by shared feelings of alienation, displacement and loneliness resulting from their experiences in southern Canada.

Norma Dunning’s masterful storytelling uses humour and incisive detail to create compelling characters who discover themselves in a hostile land where prejudice, misogyny and inequity are most often found hidden in plain sight. There, they must rely on their wits, artistic talent, senses of humour and spirituality­ for survival; and there, too, they find solace in shining moments of reconnection with their families and communities.


Previous Book Selections


The Strangers by Katherena Vermette

Meeting: June 27 

Cedar has nearly forgotten what her family looks like. Phoenix has nearly forgotten what freedom feels like. And Elsie has nearly given up hope. Nearly.

After time spent in foster homes, Cedar goes to live with her estranged father. Although she grapples with the pain of being separated from her mother, Elsie, and sister, Phoenix, she’s hoping for a new chapter in her life, only to find herself once again in a strange house surrounded by strangers. From a youth detention centre, Phoenix gives birth to a baby she’ll never get to raise and tries to forgive herself for all the harm she’s caused (while wondering if she even should). Elsie, struggling with addiction and determined to turn her life around, is buoyed by the idea of being reunited with her daughters and strives to be someone they can depend on, unlike her own distant mother. These are the Strangers, each haunted in her own way. Between flickering moments of warmth and support, the women diverge and reconnect, fighting to survive in a fractured system that pretends to offer success but expects them to fail. Facing the distinct blade of racism from those they trusted most, they urge one another to move through the darkness, all the while wondering if they’ll ever emerge safely on the other side. 

A breathtaking companion to her bestselling debut The Break, Vermette’s The Strangers brings readers into the dynamic world of the Stranger family, the strength of their bond, the shared pain in their past, and the light that beckons from the horizon. This is a searing exploration of race, class, inherited trauma, and matrilineal bonds that—despite everything—refuse to be broken.

The Relatives by Camilla Gibb

Meeting: May 9

Lila is on a long, painful journey toward motherhood. Tess and Emily are reeling after their ugly separation and fighting over ownership of the embryos that were supposed to grow their family together. And thousands of miles away, the unknown man who served as anonymous donor to them all is being held in captivity in Somalia. While his life remains in precarious balance, his genetic material is a source of both creation and conflict.

What does it mean to be a family in our rapidly shifting world? What are our responsibilities to each other with increasing options for how to create a family?

As these characters grapple with life-altering changes, they will find themselves interconnected in ways they cannot have imagined, and forced to redefine what family means to them.

 

March 2022 I On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Meeting: March 28

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.

With stunning urgency and grace, Ocean Vuong writes of people caught between disparate worlds, and asks how we heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are. The question of how to survive, and how to make of it a kind of joy, powers the most important debut novel of many years.

February 2022 I What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Meeting: February 28

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another overfilled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives back in their homelands. But miraculously, someone has survived the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who is soon rescued by Vanna. Vanna is a teenage girl, who, despite being native to the island, experiences her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though Vanna and Amir are complete strangers, though they don’t speak a common language, Vanna is determined to do whatever it takes to save the boy.

In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir’s life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair–and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.

January 2022 I Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Meeting: January 31

Winner of the 2018 HarperCollins/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction Michelle Good’s Five Little Indians, told from the alternating points of view of five former residential school students as they struggle to survive in 1960s Vancouver—one finding her way into the dangerous world of the American Indian movement; one finding unexpected strength in motherhood; and one unable to escape his demons – and the bonds of friendship that sustain them, inspired by the author’s experiences.


 

 

 

2021 Book Selections

How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Indians on Vacation by Thomas King

We Two Alone by Jack Wang

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

From the Ashes, My story of being Métis, Homeless and Finding My Way by Jesse Thristle 

Chop Suey Nation, The Legion Café and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurants by Ann Hui

The Silence by Karen Lee White 

Little Fish by Casey Plett

Earle Street by Arleene Pare 

Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese

The Testament by Margaret Atwood

 


2020 Book Selections

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

Ellen in Pieces by Caroline Adderson

Black Writers Matter, an anthology of Canadian (black) writers, edited by Whitney French

Translated from the Gibberish by Anosh Irani

The Book of Negroes by Laurence Hill

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

A Mind Spread on the Ground by Alicia Elliot

Noopiming, The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson


 2019 Book Selections

This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir by Elizabeth Hay

The Measure of My Powers by Jackie Kai Ellis 

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents by Mark Sakamoto

Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr Al Rabeeah 

The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis 

Love From A to Z by SK Ali

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote

A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage By Bill Gaston

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age By Darrel J. McLeod


 2018 Book Selections

Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

Bad Endings: Stories by Carleigh Baker

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

Brother by David Chairandy 

Where I Live Now by Sharon Butala

The Girl Who was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill

One Day We’ll All be Dead and None of this Will Matter by Scaachi Koul 

Nostalgia by MG Vassanji

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Women Talking by Miriam Toews 

A Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami