Submitted by  Kit Darling

At our December meeting, we discussed Deafening by Frances Itani, her first novel and a tour de force. Set between two worlds, that of Grania O’Neill, deafened by a bout of scarlet fever as a young child and that of her husband Jim Lloyd, with the Canadian forces as a stretcher bearer in France and Belgium in the 1st World War this beautiful novel contrasts the silence of Grania’s world with the noise and stench of the trenches. Grania’s family runs a hotel in Deseronto, Ontario on the shores of the Bay of Quinte. At the age of 9 she is sent by her family to attend school at the Belleville School for the Deaf. Here she learns to lip read and translate what she sees to speech, as well as sign language. It is here that she meets Jim, who is assisting the local GP. Despite the fact that he is hearing and she is not, they fall in love and marry. The scenes set in the battle fields are grueling, so realistic that you can almost smell the stench of artillery and death and hear the overwhelming noise of war. An excellent read.

And here are some recommended reads available from the Hamilton Public Library. Visit the Bookmobile at Bennetto Recreation Centre on Tuesday (2:30 to 4:00) and Thursday (6:30 to 8:00) or go online at hpl.ca to reserve a copy.

Waiting for Time by Bernice Morgan. This book is the sequel to the author’s first book Random Passage. Whereas Random Passage tells the story of the early settlers of Newfoundland, this book tells the story of today’s Newfoundland. By using an interesting literary method that blends past characters with present day characters, Morgan shows how the past overshadows the present and can shape the future. By discovering where we have been, we can understand where we are. The DVD miniseries is available from the Hamilton Public Library. Paige Turner

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. Joan Castleman has decided to leave her husband, Joseph, a novelist about to receive the prestigious Helsinki Prize in Literature. What has brought this 40-year marriage to its breaking point? As the story unfolds, it looks at the choices men and women make for themselves in marriage, work, and life. Wonderfully written, good character development, well-plotted, and fast paced. Paige Turner

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

We have been asked whether anyone can join the book club. Our books are supplied by the Hamilton Public Library and come in a bag of 12. This obviously limits us to 12 members at a time. We currently have 12 members, but if you wish to be put on a waiting list, email us at the above address. Alternatively, check out the many book clubs run by the Hamilton Public Library.