The December meeting was held after the deadline for Breezes submission, so I can give you a summary of the book but you’ll have to wait for the next issue of The Breezes to see what we thought of it. Our book was 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 in every state of the USA. He disparages the concept that nothing was discovered until the Europeans came across a continent, river or mountain regardless of the fact that First Nations were there long before. In a move to expose the hypocrisy, a group of First Nations journeyed to Rome in 1973 and “discovered Italy”. Apparently there is no plaque marking the occasion at Fiumicino.
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).
One Thing or the Other by John McFetridge A ‘police procedural’ set in Montreal during the lead up to the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Navigating through the tensions from the threat of terrorism (remember the Baader-Meinhof gang), Quebec sovereignty movement, a police department stretched to manage security, chasing a gang of bank robbers and solving the deaths of teenagers possibly related to drug dealers Eddie Dougherty navigates the maze to solve the mystery. An interesting snap shot of Montreal at that time and of the French and English reality of that city. A fast read.
The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman Their Warsaw zoo was bombed. Zookeepers Jan & Antonina Zabinski used the empty animal cages to save over 300 lives from Nazi persecution. This non-fiction narrative links the animal & human worlds with compassion during a horrific war. At times funny, at times terrifying. Wonderfully told.
Problems by Jade Sharma This first novel follows a young woman, addicted to heroin, as she sinks into the depths of despair and self hatred. There is a happy(ish) ending but this book will not be for everyone.
A Spy Among Friends by Ben MacIntyre The story of Kim Philby, the notorious double agent within the British security service, from 1934 at Cambridge University where he becomes an avowed Communist and begins spying for the Soviet Union over the next 3 decades including World War II and the cold war. He advances quickly and provides valuable information to the Russians that leads to the death and imprisonment of dozens of people working for the British in Russia. Eventually he is discovered in the early 1950’s and defects to the USSR for the remaining years of his life.
Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org .