Welcome back to another installment of our Rad book club. It’s officially 2017 but I wanted to finish off listing the books I had read in 2016. Both November and December books are below, many great reads that I highly recommend. In no particular order, let’s get started.
Just a note, I know that I usually make our Rad Book Club include Toddler books so you and your Little can have reading time, but this time I’ve included 4 books for us Big Littles.
Say You’re One of Them
By Uweem Akpan
I was first intrigued by this book because all stories are set in Africa and the characters are people of colour. When I started reading this book I didn’t know how heavy it would sit in my heart. That being said, I couldn’t put this book down. I read it in only 3 or 4 days.
The book is broken down into several shorter stories, each story written from the point of view of a child. Each story is fictitious but are based on things that happen in real life that real people are/have/will deal with. I didn’t know about these things. It let me see into a part of the world that I often forget about because I am so focused on my own part of the world.
I couldn’t predict what was going to happen in any of the short stories. An Ex-mas Feast I read without knowing anything about the stories or what to expect. Reading this shortly before Christmas made me miss my family and want to go home for the holidays.
Fattening for Garbon was pretty epic. Right to the end I couldn’t guess what was going to happen. I wish it didn’t stop there, I would have loved to continue to read more.
What Language is That? was the shortest of the stories if I recall correctly. A very important message is taught in this story, one that I think everyone needs to know. I think I may have heard the meaning before, but I really can understand and grasp the full impact of what the moral of this story is.
Luxurious Hearses left my heart beating fast and hard. I often forgot that this story is told in the POV of a 16 year old boy. I had been guessing what would happen throughout the duration I read, but I could not have guess the finality of this story.
Overall this book was an excellent read that I recommend to anyone and everyone. It’s also extremely heavy and can weigh on the heart and soul, especially to those who have or have had children.
As Long as the Rivers Flow
By James Bartleman
Not many people know of the history of Canada… not even many Canadians know the full history of Canada. The Genocide of the First Nations peoples of Canada has lasted hundreds of years. The effects of colonization and assimilation are still being felt today.
As Long as the Rivers Flow is a book about a fictional woman named Martha. Starting out as a little girl, you read how Martha lives with her parents off the land, and with all the people of her tribe.
The Martha is taken to Residential school. “To Kill the Indian in the Child”, that’s what these schools were created for. Run by priests and Nuns, you’ll read about some of the horrors real children have endured at the schools.
After Martha leaves you school you are reading about her becoming an adult, finding love, her relationships with her family and her own health.
I would have to say this is the book I would recommend to read if you can only read one off this book club list. I’ve had the honor of listening to several knowledge keepers about their own experience at Residential schools and what they’ve endured is insanity.
My Booky Wook
By Russell Brand
I mostly know Russell Brand from marrying Katy Perry for a quick minute. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book because I didn’t know who he was. But this book was there and I thought “Why not?”.
First off, I love that I can hear Russell Brand in my head when I read.
My Booky Wook delves into Russell’s past that brings you up to the point where he as in a Sex Rehab. He holds nothing back, he’s quite frank with his childhood, drug, sex and mental health. I applaud him. I’m quite proud of Russel for his struggle and passion to not stop. Inspiring.
This was an enjoyable book, right up to the last line. Absolutely brilliant, actually. I look forward to reading his next book about his success story, not just about his life’s darkest secrets like this one. But I appreciate a success story just as much as the next person so I recommend this book for sure.
Invisible Victims MMIW
Crimes Canada Volume 15 By Katherine McCarthy
If you don’t know about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Crisis in Canada, then this is a good book to get you up to relative speed. Again, this is dealing with the First Nation peoples here in Canada. Here is another aspect of Canada’s (current) History that not enough people know about.
At the start of the book you get a quick explanation of what Residential Schools, the Indian Act, the 60’s Scoop and Forced Sterilization that the Indigenous population of Canada has been dealing with. This truly is Canada’s dirty little secret it hides from much of the world.
The rest of the book is filled with real stories about women and their tragic deaths. You’ll hear about many things from the Highway of Tears to the Pig Farmer.
I’ve driven the Highway of tears several times, with family, alone, in the day and after dark. I’m glad that there are now several shelters and webcams lining the highway. Making it a little bit more safe for travelers.
I also grew up hearing about Robert Pickton in the news. Middle school was when the story really broke and I watched the investigation updates in the morning with my mom as I got ready for school.
Every high school history class in Canada should be teaching it’s students about the history of the First Nations people of Canada. Not many people know about these things, and that is why the problem still exists today.
Before You Go
I hope you check out these books. It seems like all of these books have a serious tone to them, truly frightful at times. My Booky Wook has a lot of comedic style writings that would make it the easiest to laugh while reading. Say You’re One of Them I would re-read over and over, despite the fact that it makes me cry and my heart pound in sorrow.
As Long as the River Flows and Invisible Victims MMIW are to books that I highly recommend every Canadian to read. I will keep an eye out for more books that focus on similar aspects. I look forward to adding check them off my to read list, and hopefully add them to yours via our Rad Book Club.