by Kit Darling

In the last issue we gave you a summary of our December book Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong by James W. Loewen. The book discusses the historical bias, errors and downright untruths (according to the author) on commemorative plaques, monuments and local legends. Not everyone liked the book but there was lots of discussion. We learned that there is at least one historical plaque right here in Hamilton about the War of 1812 and the escape by the British navy into Burlington Bay. This was an impossible due to the shallow, narrow channel that separated the bay from the Lake. ” … a historical marker supporting the legend stands at Burlington Heights. Though it might sound like heresy to suggest this, historical markers can be faulty. Take for example the marker at Queenston that claims to show where Brock was killed. It is very wrong, but that is another story to be debunked.” Robert Malcolmson

In January, we discussed A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. The sometimes heart-wrenching story of a young black man who is convicted and sentenced to die on little evidence. The teacher at the plantation school is enlisted by his aunt and the godmother of the young man to help him become a ‘man’ before he dies. In the process of trying to instill pride in the condemned man, the teacher learns a lesson in pride from him. the story was variously described as “uplifting”, ‘touching” and “extremely depressing”, a study of poverty and prejudice. A well written character study and window into the US south in the 1940’s.

And here are some recommended reads from our members, all of which are available from the Hamilton Public Library. Visit the Bookmobile at Bennetto Recreation Centre on Tuesday (2:30 to 4:30) and Thursday (6:00 to 8:00).

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker The story takes place in a small mountain town in Burma. Julia Win, a New Yorker, is searching for her father who may have returned to the town where he was born. Confused, hurt, and looking for an explanation, Julia flies to Burma. There, she hears a strangely mystical & somewhat magical story of her father & his unyielding love for Mi Mi. (Paige Turner)

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. Tess leaves her safe mid-western home and lands in the bewildering world of an up-scale New York restaurant. A coming of age story and window into a New York a visitor never sees. (Kit)

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