by Kit Darling and the members of the Bay Area Book Club

In November we discussed Five Roses by Alice Zorn. Set in Montreal, the book takes it’s title from the FARINE FIVE ROSES FLOUR sign originally erected in the 1940’s by Ogilvie Flour Milling Company. The sign became a distinctive landmark on south shore Montreal. Set in the story revolves around the lives of three women. Maddy is an-ex hippy who has purchased and renovated the former commune from which her infant daughter was abducted. Fara and her husband are a young couple, purchasing their first home in the Pointe Saint-Charles neighbourhood, a house with a tragic history and next door to Maddy. Rose is a socially awkward young woman who was raised by her mother in a remote cabin in the woods. The lives of the three become intertwined in this gritty and slowly gentrifying neighbourhood. Family, whether born or created, love and loss are the thematic threads that connect these three women.  Kit Darling

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.  Diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, Paul Kalanithi was 36 years old and nearing completion of his training as a neurosurgeon. Suddenly the future he imagined evaporated. This memoir is his legacy to his infant daughter – his accomplishments, the richness of his life and the impact he had on his patients. He believed “life isn’t about avoiding suffering, but rather about appreciating what one is able to leave behind.” With an MA in English Literature from Stanford University and an MPhil in philosophy and medicine from the University of Cambridge, he contemplated “what makes life worth living in face of death” and “what does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another one fades away?” Kalanithi struggled to use the time he had left to write this book. “Words have longevity I do not”. He died before it was completed. His wife penned a heartbreaking epilogue and published his book. Throughout the book, we see into his life as a doctor, a husband, a father, a son, a brother. A heart-rending and unforgettable read for all of us as we inevitably must come to grips with our own mortality. ” The dying are the ones who have the most to teach us about life.” Dr. Atul Gawande

Paige Turner


Note: The bookmobile is at Bennetto Recreation Centre, Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:00. There is no access to the bookmobile to browse, but staff are on hand for contactless returns and holds pickup.

Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at  .