This month the Babble Book Club will be reading Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda! Our final discussion will take place on April 22 at 8 p.m. EDT in the babble book lounge.

The Orenda is a sweeping tale about the early stages of colonization in our country. Written in a three-part narrative style, this work of historical fiction recounts the story of Bird, a Huron elder, Snow Falls, his adopted Haudensosaunee daughter and Christophe Crow, a Jesuit missionary sent into Huron territory to find converts for the French. The Orenda recently won Canada Reads, CBC’s annual competition to find the book that every Canadian should read.

I first read The Orenda back in the fall of this year and, frankly, found it unsettling for a few reasons. (I wrote a blog post here when it won Canada Reads — but be warned! It contains spoilers). I’ll be moderating this month’s book club, but! My opinions about this book are not fixed and my arguments aren’t perfect. So please feel free to disagree with me and voice your opinions on bbc! Healthy dissent is the hallmark of any successful book club discussion. 

Potential readers should also be aware that this book contains explicit scenes of torture. 

Want to ‘join’ the babble book club?

Please do! It’s easy and free because all you need to do is register as a rabble.ca user!

The babble book club doesn’t have official members — any rabble users, or new friends who want to join in the discussion, are welcome.

First, here are some tips to become a rabble.ca user:

1. Go to our log-in/registration page and fill out the subsequent information. Don’t worry, providing us with your email will not automatically set you up for emails from rabble.ca nor will we give your email to anyone else — it is just for security reasons. Also, feel free to use a pseudonym as your username, most people do!

2. Once you sign up, become familiar with our babble policy and check out our FAQ babble page for tips and tricks on how to post in babble. A babble quirk? You have to refresh your page in order to see new posts on that thread. A bit time consuming, but we’re working on it!

3. Look around and get familiar with babble by exploring all the different threads on the discussion board, including the babble book lounge where our discussion thread is set up for The Orenda.

Second, here are the nitty gritty details of how the conversation works:

1. Our final discussion for The Orenda happens in the babble book lounge on the previously established babble thread Tuesday April 22 at 8:00 p.m. EDT for one hour in real time. Real time means there will be more members of the book club present and the conversation will have a quicker flow. Our moderator (username: Christina Turner) will kick off our conversation with a hello!

2. Even though we have a final discussion date, everyone is encouraged to discuss their thoughts on the books during their reading process. The advantage of having an online book club is it is flexible and available all the time! Since this part of the conversation is not in real time, comments might not be responded to immediately.

3. During our final discussion everyone is encouraged to post their questions and comments with respect to other babblers on the thread. We want to create lots of discussion and find out whatever everyone thinks about this selection! 

The Orenda should be widely available in bookstores since it just won Canada Reads a few weeks ago (I know I’ve seen it on sale at the grocery store as well as in regular bookstores). The softcover is $22 and the ebook version is $15. It might be a bit more difficult to get at the library if you live in a bigger city (it currently has 1220 holds at the Toronto Public Library — yikes!) But if you’d prefer not to pay full price for a new copy you can try the following:

–  check out used bookstores — the book has been out since September 2013 so a few avid readers have likely already read it and disposed of it. Try Pulp Fiction or the Paper Hound in Vancouver, and Elliot’s, Balfour‘s or Pandemonium in Toronto.

– Ask around! Canada Reads is usually huge for book sales. Chances are someone you know has a copy they’re not using.

Keep checking the Babble thread in the coming weeks for questions & links to resources! See you in the book lounge.


Christina Turner

Christina Turner

Christina Turner grew up in Toronto and spent five years in Halifax, where she earned a BA from the University of King’s College. She then picked up and moved to the opposite side of the continent,...