Tag Archives: Canada150

Vaughan Loves Reading

In honour of Canada 150, we’re rounding out the year with a celebration of Canadian literature. On November 25th, the Vaughan Public Libraries is excited to be hosting acclaimed Canadian author Heather O’Neill as part of our Vaughan Loves Reading series. You might recognize O’Neill’s name from her multiple Scotiabank Giller Prize nominations, or her inclusion on Indigo’s Best Books of 2017 list, with The Lonely Hearts Hotel coming in at number four.

I recently had the opportunity to read O’Neill’s newest novel, and it didn’t disappoint. Like her past works, The Lonely Hearts Hotel isn’t always an easy read. There’s abuse, addiction, questionable sexual encounters—but there’s also love, whimsy, and above all, enduring optimism. It’s a story of love flourishing in the seedy underworld of 1930s Montreal.

the lonely hearts hotel book coverAlthough the book is about both Rose and Pierrot, it’s Rose who is the heart of the story. She is a character just buzzing with energy—you half expect her to somersault off the page into your living room as part of one of her acts. Pierrot is less dynamic than Rose, but he’s affable enough to charm his own way around Montreal. O’Neill creates characters who do terrible things without ever losing their innocence, and so you’re always rooting for them to make it through whatever predicament they’ve gotten themselves into. O’Neill’s historic Montreal is alive as well, the chill of a Canadian winter almost tangible through the writing. The story will fully transport you to another time in our country’s history.

If you’re a fan of literature, or want to support the Canadian literary community, come check out Vaughan Loves Reading at the Bathurst Clark Library on Saturday November 25th, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Heather O’Neill will be giving a talk on her experience as a Canadian writer, and we’ll also be unveiling an anthology curated by local authors titled Voices of Vaughan. We’ll also be serving wine and cheese! So come have a drink, and mingle with the local literary community.

To attend Vaughan Loves Reading, please register on Eventbrite. This event is 19+.

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I Am Not a Number

Residential SchoolsI Am Not a Number, by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, illustrated by Gillian Newland, tells the story of Irene Couchie, Dupuis’ grandmother, and her experience of the residential schooling system, where, along with many other First Nations children, she was stripped of her identity both as a person – the children went by numbers, not names; she was assigned 759 – and as a member of her community, punished for speaking her language – the Devil’s tongue, the nuns called it. As Irene is getting her hair cut, she says that she is crying not only because her hair is getting cut, but because in her community, hair is cut as a signifier of loss; the nun is not only cutting Irene’s hair: she is attempting to kill Irene and her culture*.

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