Sunday, July 28, 2019

Book Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

A father and a son prepare to leave their homeland and cross the ocean to--what they hope will be--a safe new home.

I purchased my copy from Bolen Books

Illustrated by Dan Williams
Published by Viking
an imprint of Penguin Canada
a division of Penguin Random House Canada
Published in 2018

This narrative poem gives a voice to refugees. Hosseini writes of the love they have for their country, of the memories of better times. He writes of the love they have for their family and the desire for a better life. I'm overwhelmed by the sacrifice, by the courage, by the hope and I wonder what I would do. Could I be that brave? 

Because many of us are fortunate enough not to be in this situation, we may see refugees as other. Hosseini helps us to see their humanity. Look back in your family tree, you may be fortunate enough to be a descendant...

In the 1800s, my maternal Icelandic ancestors were squeezed onto a ship like cattle. Due to inclimate weather conditions, half of the populations had no choice but to leave. They could only take a few belongings. They had no idea what awaited when they docked. They hoped a new life, a new home. 

After reading this book... After researching your family genealogy... You may ask, how can I help?

4 Ways You Can Support Refugees

8 practical ways to help refugees

UNHCR Canada

The note on the dust jacket reads...
'Khaled Hosseini will donate author proceeds from this book to UNCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and to The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund life-saving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe.'

Other recommended illustrated books   

photo by ldyck

August on this blog...

August 4:  guest post:  
Interview with author Ellen Schwartz

Ellen discusses establishing her career, what inspires her, and the importance of belonging to a writing group--like CWILL-BC.

August 11:  book review:  
Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

Shelley Wood uses the power of fiction to reveal the truth behind the seemingly fairy tale childhood of the Dionne quintuplets.
'the only book published in 2019 by a Canadian to hit the [best-seller] list' reports Publishers Weekly

August 18:  short story:  
The Invisible Woman 

Was this short story inspired by The Invisible Man (a novel by H.G. Wells)? Maybe...

August 25:  book review:  
The Princess Dolls by Ellen Schwartz

Set in 1942, two girls--one Jewish-Canadian and the other Japanese-Canadian--bond over their mutual admiration of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Toy (short story) by Leanne Dyck

A short story about a neglected toy.

What have you discarded? Why? Do you miss it?

It was just another Tuesday afternoon in May. I sat at my writing desk. On a whim, I picked up my pen and this short story slipped out. 
photo by ldyck

The Toy

The toy sat on the shelf untouched, unloved. Dust fell like snow covering his coat. Still, she did not return to him and he worried that she would never return--day after day, month after month, year after year.  

He remembered her cuddles; he remembered her laughter. He'd shared so many secrets; held so many tears. He'd given her his heart. He could have turned bitter from neglect. But his heart remained pure. All he did was sit and wait; all he did was hope.

But one day... One day, he heard, "Mommy, can I play with this toy?" 

"Huh? I forgot about him. Be careful, he was my favourite."

Gentle hands picked him up, held him close--to a beating heart. 

And he lived happily ever after.

Next Sunday evening...

Book Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Unable to remain in their beloved homeland, a father and son struggle to find a new home.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Book Review: An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

'No matter what happens, the past has a permanence. The past is safe.' (p. 235) 

An Ocean of Minutes is a love story--with a strong message: As a couple, you will grow and change--together and separately. But as long as you can find each other... As long as you can still remember the things that made you 'us'... Love will prevail--if only in memory.

I bought this book from Tanner's Books

Published by Viking
an imprint of Penguin Canada
a division of Penguin Random House

Published in 2018

We're familiar with this tale:  Johnny marches off to war so the world will be a better place for his Mary. He and his fellow soldiers endure the unbelievable--physical, emotional pain.

In An Ocean of Minutes, it's the woman, Polly, who makes the sacrifice for her beloved Frank. Frank is sick and could die if he isn't treated. Treatment is beyond the couple's financial means. Desperate, Polly finds a solution. If she goes to work for Time Risers the company will foot the bill. But the company requires her to leave Frank in the past and travel forward in time to 1993. Frank tells her not to go. What will she do? What would you do?

Shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize and longlisted for 2019 CBC Canada Reads, An Ocean of Minutes is a captivating story told by a skilled author. 

photo by ldyck

Next Sunday evening...

Toy (short story) 

After reading this short story you may ask, "Hey, where is that old toy of mine?"

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sharing Your Writing (short story) by Leanne Dyck

When I started to write I wanted to share my stories with everyone but...

photo by ldyck

Jim West cut the last row of grass, climbed off his ride-on lawnmower, found the rack, gathered a pile of grass clippings and took it to the compost box. When he turned around his wife was standing in front of him with a piece of paper in her hands.

"Want to hear what I just wrote?"

Some may have been naive enough to believe that they had a choice, but not Jim.

She read:  I found Sally sitting on her kitchen floor. Her knees were drawn to her chest as she slowly rocked back and forth. Prone on the floor in front of her, a body I recognized as her husband--a large knife embedded in his back. She struggled for words and between sobs I heard, ""

Some husbands may have been worried about the message behind the story, but not Jim. He knew his wife became inspired by a book, TV show, movie or what she'd overheard at the supermarket. By bending, breaking or blending, she created something new. It was as simple--and as complicated--as that.

She stood there, waiting. He knew she wanted a commented and he searched for something to say. He settled on, "Interesting."

Appeased, she returned to her computer and Jim returned to his yard work.

Save Jim from this awkward situation, share your writing... 

-on a blog
-in a writer's group
-with a beta (first) reader
-at a writers' workshop
-in a creative writing course


Are You Looking for a Critique Group or Partner? 
by Janice Hardy

Next Sunday evening...

Book Review: An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
This time-traveling romance was shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller prize