Babble Book Club: Upcoming selection ideas?

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alex wrote:

Hi ElizaQ2 - nice to have you back...I like the '2' addition to your moniker. Nice ring to it :)

I've been watching (embarrassed to admit) a lot of Downton Abbey and I'm curious about Eliza's Climbing The Stairs suggestion about the life of a kitchen maid.

Anyways, I agree with Caissa (note spelling here - not 'Cassia' ) - toss all these great suggestions into a hat!

But before you last suggestion from me!!

I've been wanting to read Wade Davis for years...anyone read The Wayfinders yet?


Hey no reason to be embarassed my finding of that book is directly related to my watching the first season of Downton Abbey which PBS just reran. lol  It got me interested in that era in general and I found a number of books about the lives of servants, mostly related to women and work.   Some of the more interesting ones are actual books or guides written for servents themselves at the time.  It's a look back in time directly from the minds of people living in their respective eras.  

Kaitlin, I would be up for a chat about e-readers and digital books if people are interested. My own opinion has changed quite a bit since they've made an appearence.   At first I was in the 'no way I can see myself liking them" camp.  Now I'm in the "I love my e-reader for so many reasons" camp.  

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

whoops! my typing skills strike again. For some reason I never feel the need to spell check my babble posts. Caissa, Caissa, Caissa. I think I have it?

Okay will take note of everything, throw them in the hat, and let you know ... tomorrow! I am off to work for the evening, so we'll have to wait a little longer! Sorry!

Also ElizaQ2 let's get that babble thread up on e-readers because I would love to hear your thought process and change about them! I'll do that tomorrow, or in the wee hours of the morning when I am trying to unwind!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture


Our next selection is chosen by the ever-scientific process of scrambling pieces of paper on a table. And the book is:

The Wayfinder by Wade Davis


Thanks Alex for the selection idea as well! I'm excited about this selection after seeing him at ReImagine CBC.

I will post on the books blog in a few days with some more details. It looks as though this book is readily available in libraries, so be sure to grab it before the holiday!


Theresa Ketterling

I'm pretty excited about this, I've been meaning to read something by Wade David forever. 

Theresa Ketterling

Wade Davis, that is. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Nice pick, Kaitlin. But if I don't see a third-party YouTube video, the process was rigged.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Haha that is true, I would rig it, because we all know i love me some Alex Samur, and Wade Davis.

I will have to know for next time that instagram isn't enough. Since, it was bought out by FaceBook, it just isn't a credible source anymore.

(Zing! And also, just for those wondering what I am talking about, FaceBook bought out the instagram app, and yesterday and today it crashed hard. FaceBook is known for having the worst app ever. It is akin to those people saying they hate that SCOTUS passed Obamacare so they are moving to Canada.)

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Or maybe not truly akin, but I just love that US citizens against universal health care are saying they will move to Canada.



 Oh nice. Looking forward to it.  My library seems to have one copy but it's out and I'd be fourth on the hold list so that's a no go. Nice to see people reading it though.   All is not lost!  I happen to have a gift certifcate burning a hole in my desk and it's on sale for a whole sixty cents more then the card is for.  Yay I can afford it.  lol 

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

ElizaQ2 let's hope the 60 cents is worth it!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Still working on some details for this selection (mainly timeline), but will start the new Wade Davis thread!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Do we feel daring enough to try a poetry book? I've been wanting to read some Evelyn Lau. She also has short story collections and a novel or two, but is celebrated for her poetry.


Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Evelyn Lau would be a great choice! We could do a few (although even libraries have trouble tracking down poetry books -- I could put together a downloadable pdf for rural babblers who can't get a hold of the copies at their local library). Rita Wong would be another fabulous choice for, as would Donato Mancini, a great anti-capitalist Vancouver poet and general unique person.

Any other babblers interested in reading some contemporary Canadian poetry? 


No, not interested, but if that is the choice I will read.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

I am interested in potentially reading something by Evelyn Lau -- poetry or fiction; however, lately I have been craving to get into some Canadian history/biography (or history fiction a la The Man Game).

We have a few options from previous selection rounds:

Straphanger: Saving our cities and ourselves from the automobile

Tecumseh & Brock: The War of 1812 by James Laxer (House of Anansi)

Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt

Open to suggestions, maybe staying on the Canadian history/biography line though?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Okay, and I've got a seemingly random one (given my previous statement and post).

The Anatomy of  Edouard Beaupre by Sarah Kathryn York.

A series of short storties about famed Canadian Willow Bunch Giant who suffered and died from TB and the subsequent examination of his shrinking body. Instead of using the explicit history of Edouard Beaupre, York spins the narrative through letters and stories from a radiographer narrator.

[quick synopsis via numerous different sites :)]

Seems like an interesting read, is getting good praise for the writing style and choices, and is a first release from the author and published by a Saskatchewan publishers, Coteau Books.

Check out Quill and Quire review as well (no spoilers).

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

How about Vol. 2 of John English's biography of PET: Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume Two: 1968-2000

I read Vol. 1, Citizen of the World -- it was spellbinding and painted a nuanced portrait of Trudeau's early life and career. Love him or hate him,  he was (and remains) a huge influence on Canada, the political scene and debate. 

Now Just Watch Me is *very* long -- over 800 pages -- so I would probably do a little judicious skipping of chapters that go into detail on matters of less personal interest to me. But the whole would shed a lot of light on a period of Canadian recent events which I remember from childhood but did not of course appreciate (or really understand) at the time.

Globe review:


Star review:

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

No, No, tripple No to the PET book. If that's the selection I'll sit it out.

I think we'd have to tread very carefully with a book of poetry. Unless a book of poetry has a unifying theme or message it isn't really intended to be analyzed as a coherent whole; which could lead to a discussion that is either very abstract, or which focuses on only one or two poems, in which case why wouldn't we just pick one poem and make that the reading. Or it could lead to a very superficial discussion about which of the poems we liked or didn't like, which wouldn't be very interesting.

Not really interested in reading The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupré either.

Would be interested in the book on saving our cities from the automobile, and Yves Engler's book on Lester Pearson (I proposed it in the first place). Not interested in reading anything about the war of 1812.

I'd also be interested in democratizing the selection process. Surely we could make the selection by web poll, no? Rabble conducts web polls, perhaps one of them could be a Babble Book Club selection poll. Failing that, there are other sites on the web that can host a poll among a small group of people.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I also bring back my suggestion from the last slection round:

[url= Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter -- Carmen Aguirre[/url]

I'm gonna keep suggesting this every time until we pick it.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

While I like the idea of reading a PET biography, 800 pages is just too long for our needs I believe unfortunately! Maybe we can find a similar, but not as lengthy alternative in the future?

Left Turn, I agree we need a better decision process, and I have utlizied polls within our Facebook group, but they don't seem to get much action, hence my randomized drawing of paper for the last selection. I would like to get away from what seems to be me making the final decisions because I don't know if it is the consensus.

So, I am going to put another poll up in Facebook because the rabble polls are quite the fit for our need. I will put four selections onto our Facebook group and see what happens, so please stop by and vote, or let me know here which one (if you are not a Facebook person, or don't want to be Facebook friends with BBC [hey why not!]). 


If you are not a member of our group, just click on the group and I will add you in, or submit your choice below and I'll factor it in!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Also, my all caps weren't meant for yelling, they were a loving gesture to emphasize my desire to have you lovely readers vote on your favourite selection.

I mentioned this in the Facebook group, but the poll only allows one vote, so pick your favourite, but let me know (just for census) if there are any deal-breakers or issuese with the other selections. I voted for one, but am also open to every selection (we've got a good roster!) -- no matter, still vote for one please.

Reminder: discussion of The Wayfinders tomorrow at 3 p.m. EST! Looking forward to seeing you all there!

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

(if you are not a Facebook person, or don't want to be Facebook friends with BBC [hey why not!]


Because on Facebook, you log in with your real name and identity. I know for a fact that my employer monitors Facebook and employees have been warned against being "politically active" there. I suppose I could create a fake identity, and so far I have not posted anything extremely provocative to Babble, but if I knew my employer could connect me to Babble I would probably not post at all. 

Reality is what it is. I feel there is value in working within (some) systems to effect change sub rosa. Of course I may change my mind about that, but at present I'm not going to "come out" in the workplace as a "lefty;" I probably have more influence on others' views precisely b/c I am perceived as neutral (politically). 

I like the idea of a poll but not one where I have to identify myself. 


Anyway, that's another whole topic. Also I use  Facebook exclusively for communication with extended family and a few close friends.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

yes indeed infracaninophile, I would never force anyone onto the old Facebook --defintely understand hesitations with that and what not.

In light of that, I will let you and other non-facebookers know the four selections to vote, and if you could let me know you choice out of those, I will mentally factor those into the poll.

1. Something fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter - Carmen Aguirre

2. The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre by Sarah Kathryn York

3. Straphanger: Saving our cities and ourselves from the automobile by Taras Gresc

4. Lester B. Pearson's Peacekeeping: The Truth May Hurt by Yves Engler

A nice array of genres and styles I think!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Thanks to all who have already voted on the Facebook poll for the next selection -- great! If you haven't voted yet on the Facebook group, it would be lovely if you could, or if you are unable to Facebook vote, drop your choice in this thread and we will tally it with the others.

Thanks everyone for the participation -- you're a fantastic group, with awesome feedback -- and this time we will just do a quick voting session to aid turnaround. I will have all the necessary essentials for our next selection announced on Tuesday, so everyone get your choices in before!

Also, please feel free to always use this thread to propose any potential selections for the book club.

Thanks everyone!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

All right! Thanks to all who voted and participated in choosing the next selection, which is: The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre by Sarah Kathryn York.

The book is a bit of a newer publication, but I have searched a few libraries across Canada, and it seems to be readily available (or you can always ask them to order it it!) and if not, I'm sure your local bookstores would have it, as well as Coteau Books too.

A question about the final discussion dates: how would everyone feel about a switch to a weekday evening, potentially a Tuesday? Sundays seem difficult for some to attend because they are an off-day (mostly).

I was thinking to aim the final discussion for this selection: Tuesday September 25 7:30 EST/4 :30 PST. Thoughts?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hey everyone,

We've started work on a new idea for the next BBC selection after The Anatomy of Edouard Beaupre! We'll just hit the ground running with this one and let you know the details after the discussion with Sarah Kathryn York on Tuesday September 25!

As always, feel free to leave your suggestions for future BBCs in this thread!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

After our Short Stories topic is up, does anyone have any suggestions for the next read?


I'm thinking a change in direction could suit those who have been dragged through a ton of fiction and short stories! After a bit of searching, this book sounds quite interesting by Canadian journalist Mark Bourrie The Fog of War: Censorship of Canadian Media in World War II

The Canadian government censored the news during World War 2 for two main reasons: to keep military and economic secrets out of enemy hands and to prevent civilian morale from breaking down. But in those tumultuous times—with Nazi spies landing on our shores by raft, U-boat attacks in the St. Lawrence, army mutinies in British Columbia and Ontario and pro-Hitler propaganda in the mainstream Quebec press—censors had a hard time keeping news events contained.

I think the relationship between Canadian media and the history of WWII is something that has been touched on before, but not from a Canadian standpoint (or at least to my limited knowledge).


Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I'm dying to read [url=]Paved with Good Intentions: Canada's development NGO's from idealism to imperialism[/url] by Nikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay. I'll probably be my next read whether the babble book club reads it or not.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Left Turn that sounds like a great book and read!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Guys [said in the non-gender specific way, but more the collaquial gender neutral way]! I've been scrapping around piecing together the next club read, and as per Left Turn's excellent suggestion have been pulling things together about 'Paving with Good Intentions'.

I'm still chatting with one of the authors, who is interested in do a chat with us at final discussion, but he currently is moving around a few things in his schedule to see if it can happen. If he can make it, it is most likely that it will be before the regular six weeks allotment of time. I know for some that is not a problem, but would a shorter time period of say 4-5 weeks be too difficult for some?

Anyways, I will make all official the day after our discussion, November 7!

And keep those great suggestions coming!


I believe Dru was a student at Mount Allison during some of my tenure their as a staff member. (1998-2001)


The fact of the matter is that not everyone can afford to run out and purchase the latest new release, which limits participation to a select few if it isn't obviously the case by now.  For future consideration, I suggest that there are many free use publications available online in pdf format or otherwise that could be determined for selection, which might assist in making this little club more inclusive.


If we are throwing out suggestions: my preference is for fiction.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

thanks for the input all!

I agree the club can always work on its inclusivity and that online PDFs are a great direction and resource. We have used a few of those for the latest short stories selections. We do always choose books that are readily available across Canadian libraries as well as independent bookstores.

This latest selection, which has yet to be firmed up, is also available at libraries (although I'm not sure about the ebook status) too!

As for genre, my personal preference is fiction well, however, all genres are welcomed and encouraged because one of the goals of BBC was to promote awareness and exploration of other books and authors we might not have initially tried!

Suggestions for reads are always great because I do not like to dictate every single read we do! Slumberjack, if you have any great reads that are always available PDF that would be splendid. I was thinking a Charlie Demers read for next time would be great, and believe his newest release is available as a PDF download -- although I may be mistaken.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

My preference is definitely for books with a left political bent. The kind of books that would be relevant to the political content of rabble and babble. I'm not opposed to fiction per say, but I would generally only read fiction by known leftist authors.

With that in mind, my next suggestion is going to appear to come out of left field. My friend Weldon Hunter has just recently had a book of poetry published that is available online for free through Scribid.
[url=]The Stella and Pony Years[/url]

Weldon is a local poet and occasional activist in Vancouver, though his poetry is not very political. I've suggested it because of Caissa's stated preference for fiction, and Slumberjacks request that we read material that's available free online. Though poetry isn't usually my thing, Weldon is one poet I'd make an exception for.

I still think "Paved With Good Intentions" would make a great read for the Babble Book Club. I checked the book out from the Vancouver Public Library and I'm currently on Chapter 2.


I'm happy to read Paved with Good Intentions. My preference is for fiction but I am happy to read non-fiction. I wasn't a big fan of the one non-fiction book in the Club but diversity is the spice of life.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Left Turn wrote:
My friend Weldon Hunter

Weldon is a very close friend of mine! I have his book on my coffee table as I type this. It is indeed an excellent book. The only thing wrong with it is the terrible poetry inside *rim shot*.

One of my current faves:


She embodies most of the beautiful concepts
in any composition.
She’s a Raelian
and she takes on the form
of an internal landscape
that merges with my cubicle self.
We get late lunches
which she pays for
because of her felicity.
If my furrowed brow gets too close
to the end of my glasses,
she pushes them back up
and resettles my hair (she’s seen
my driver’s license photo
& knows there’s not much there.) 
And when smoking weed
seems like a first choice
rah-thah than a last resort,
that’s why she & I have this thing
called the Old Biddy System (which
I just invented right now
& she’ll know nothing about.)
The only thing that can propel her
into leaving is all the inactivity
in this town. She can carry a tune,
and you can share it with her,
but you’ll have to do it quick,
because she always changes it so fast.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Paved With Good Intentions sounds great. Unfortunately it's not available from the public library system in either Toronto or Hamilton. Maybe it's too new? The theme is reminiscent, in a general way, of Easterly's White Man's Burden which I read a couple of years ago.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Haha, oh catchfire.

I'm glad some are excited about Paved with Good Intentions because it will indeed be our next go, as the 'official' post will be made tomorrow after tonights discussion. I've been chatting with Nik and he is also going to come on for a chat as well, and due to a hectic schedule, he has fit us in in just over a month of space right after an exam.

I'm bummed it is not available in the Ontario library system :( I only checked west coast libraries as most times they are behind the curve (or maybe not?). I know libraries are open to buying and bringing in new books, but that may take awhile. I was going to grab the ebook copy of the book -- is there a way I can share it with others?


My copy has been ordered.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Left Turn, I like the idea of online free publications, as Slumberjack suggested to promote inclusivity and ease, but from a previous conversation, I think poetry may not be the best direction to go in... (I think a few may be happy to read poetry, but a lot may not. If I am completely wrong on this,we should read it).

I was wanting to read Charles Demers The Prescription Errors, but it does not have a great distribution and seems only available to buy -- no library or ebook at all. His other release, Vancouver Special, is more widely released, however, I feel like we have already read Vancouver writing, or CouvLit if you will, on here.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian? Mariko Tamaki's (You) Set Me on Fire?

Heidegger's Being and Time? (Or if someone could just read it for me and send me a précis, that would be great)

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Thinking about new reads, and leaning more towards the fiction side this time. A couple of ideas:

1. It's holiday season -- should we try to read something with a holiday edge? A musing on family? Something with a moral edge? Something that will restore faith in people and communities?

2. I've been itching to read People Park. Seems like a departure into the whimsical and cerebral. Could be nice.

3. I think it would be fun(ny) to read one of the Canada Reads selections. They are annoucing the five books and the panelists on Thursday, and depending on the picks and our census, I think it could be an interesting window into this strange world that CBC has created in CanLit -- this game show like battle of author v author, book v book, with celebrity judges. The rabble staffers are already chatting about it, what with the debacle from last year and the weird theme of Turf Wars this year, so, it could be interesting.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter, books they are dying to read, authors they want to explore?

kim elliott kim elliott's picture

I really like the idea of going for one of the Canada Reads books.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@Kim Elliott, I'm interested to see what is chosen and by who as well. Canada Reads is such a strange thing...


I'm happy with a Canada Reads selection if at least one of them is worth reading.

As for Canada reads itself, it is a giant waste of air time.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I can't believe Kim didn't go for Sein und Zeit.

I agree that Canada Reads makes sense, although I can't believe I'll want to read any of their selections. That said, I do plan on complaining about CR later, so reading one or two of the books would help me at least appear objective.

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

Am I the only Grinch around here who loathes and despises Canada Reads? Very little will cause me to leap to my feet and race to turn off the radio, but Canada Reads is one of them. It is the worst kind of trivializing rubbish pandering to the reality-show lowest common denominator. Jian Ghomeshi hardly adds gravitas.  Good writing and quality literature deserve much better.  CBC could instead have an annual in-depth program that featured some of the best in Canadian books without the game-show atmosphere.

I don't even want to know what is ON Canada Reads, it might bias me against reading some excellent works, and I'm up there with Caissa (or was it Catchfire?) in reading some 200 books per year.   I find Eleanor Wachtel, of Writers & Company, or even Shelagh Rogers and The Next Chapter, much more informative, insightful and motivational in terms of seeking out new books and writers, and generating a nuanced discussion. 


For non-fiction, I would suggest The Real World of Technology: CBC Massey Lectures by Ursula Franklin. But at the pace I read, I would probably just start my own thread on it, when I get to it.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Okay, okay, to clear it up, I think everyone is weary of Canada Reads. We are not advocating for them or believe, really, in how they promote CanLit and the subsequent authors. It was presented as an experiment, walking further into the beast if you will Wink, to see what is promoted being read, how it is discussed, and why the need to trivialize the authors/books with a game show death match is a good strucutre. Sidebar: it has been a really popular one as well, Tournament of Books begins around the same time and uses similar tactics without the all-powerful Canadian celebs.

The list of choices comes out today in one hour, so I will scan those to see what's up. If they are terrible we can scrap the idea.

@jas I always love the Massey Lecture reads! I think we are leaning towards a fiction read for the next selection, but will definitely keep that in mind.