Book Talks: The Jaguar’s Children and The Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend

the jaguar's childrenThe Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant

hello i am sorry to bother you but i need your assistance—

This is how The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant begins, with a polite but pleading text from Hector. He and his friend Cesar are trapped in the back of a sealed water truck – empty of water but filled with desperate souls – a botched attempt to cross the US-Mexican border illegally. Each are fleeing a system that has turned on them. Hector is fleeing the erosion of his life in Oaxaca – from the death of his grandfather and with him the old ways of living, from his disenchanted father who insists Hector find a better life in el norte, from the drug gangs and corrupt politics that permeate every level of society. Cesar is fleeing from his well-paying job at a biotech lab, in possession of stolen data from Mexico’s largest producer of genetically modified corn that will ultimately get him killed if he doesn’t escape. After paying an unscrupulous coyote – a man who specializes in human trafficking – to smuggle them out of the country, disaster has struck. The truck has stopped somewhere in an American desert, the drivers have deserted them, and Cesar lies unconscious, dying in the dark. The only hope is Cesar’s phone, and Hector being able to get word out for help. But as the water runs out so does time and Hector must tell his story and Cesar’s while he still survives.

The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant is a harrowing story of the clash of modern society with ancient culture, and the casualties left in it’s wake. It is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.


the readers of the broken wheel recommendThe Readers of the Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

It all began with a correspondence between two quite different women: 28-year-old Sara from Sweden, and 65-year-old Amy from the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa. After years of exchanging books, letters and thoughts on the meaning of literature and life, Sara, who has never been anywhere before, bravely decides to accept her unknown friend’s invitation to visit. She really only lived for her work in a much-loved bookshop, which just closed its doors for the last time.

When she arrives in Iowa, she finds that Amy has died and the funeral callers are just heading home.

Sara finds herself alone and wondering if she should go home. However, the inhabitants of Broken Wheel have other plans for their bewildered tourist. And Sara, faced with a town where nobody reads, plus her desire to honor her friend, sets up the perfect bookshop with all the books she shared with Amy. The townsfolk are, one by one, transformed in unexpected ways as they move through Yann Martel’s Life of Pi to titles by Iris Murdoch and Jo Nesbo, and into Little House on the Prairie.

The novel The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald has been recommended to me by two people. It can be requested in Haliburton County through any of the eight library branches, places I highly recommend.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, December 27th, 2015 – January 9th, 2016.


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