Book Club does Algonquin Park

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was. – Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That

I have to give credit to the fabulous Not My Typewriter blog who had quoted this in a recent post. I couldn’t resist re-purposing it for all of you. I know the above feeling better so well it’s like a well worn pair of jeans. When I went back to Montreal at this time last year, I realized that it was over for me there. I couldn’t understand what had happened. As the quote above states, I know the very moment it began – driving up to residence at McGill with my dad, knowing that I had no friends (yet) in the city. Now that is a textbook beginning. I wanted to repost this quote today because I had the same feeling last night when I moved into a house with an old high school friend. We’ve been talking for years about living together but it was only yesterday that we finally made it happen and moved into an amazing house in a fantastic neighbourhood. I couldn’t stop thinking about what a beginning it was and how one day, I would realize that it had ended and I would never be able to pinpoint the exact moment. This story is also important to mention on the blog as I now have an “adult” new living room with my books all on an antique bookshelf with glass doors. This makes me happy.

So I’m currently reading Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey, (number 11 of my Canada Reads Challenge), and I honestly think that each sentence is under 140 characters. I’ve yet to find one that can’t be posted as a tweet. I think that this style of writing reflects the inner monologue of the narrator quite well, but it is certainly off-putting. I won’t give away too much yet before the review, but Inside is another prime example of a book that I wouldn’t have read without this wonderful list and I’m very thankful that I decided to take on this project.

How about an update from my book club? Well, this month (and two weeks) I got to choose the book! I have been looking forward to this for a while and, much to your disappointment I’m sure, I didn’t pick a book from the list. It’s always nice to have a change of pace, and the book I chose couldn’t get more Canadian so at least I haven’t veered too far off the path. I picked Northern Light by Roy MacGregor about the life and mysterious death of Tom Thompson. If you’ve read Canoe Lake, also by MacGregor, don’t be confused – this is the non-historical-fiction version of the story. If you haven’t read Canoe Lake, do it. I adored the book and couldn’t get over how possessive and proud it made me of Canada’s history. So I picked this book because I loved Canoe Lake, but I also picked it because 6 members of our book club (book club is really an excuse for my closest friends to get together and eat, drink and chat), are going on a canoe trip in Algonquin park the last weekend in September. What better place to argue over what really happened to Tom Thomson than on Canoe Lake? Probably the most exciting book chat I will ever have. I prepared myself by visiting the National Gallery in Ottawa this past weekend and it was such a delicious treat to see his brush strokes up close.

Hope that small update will suffice for now. On the back to school day, I will leave you to all ask yourselves how you didn’t appreciate English class more in high school – I was in a place where I could read and talk about books for an hour a couple of times a week and I was graded on it?! And I complained? Man I wish I was back in school sometimes.

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