Library Moments – The Grinch Edition: Books that bugged us

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

We at the library read a lot, unfortunately not while we are working as some people think. We don’t like everything we read, and we don’t finish everything we read.  What is especially puzzling however, occurs when you are reading a book that you actual are enjoying and something strange happens that you have a hard time believing.  It is jarring and takes you out of the flow of what you are reading and kind of annoys you before you can keep going. This can happen in both fiction and nonfiction. When we were talking about this idea, Sherrill described a scene in a book where a women living in a house in a remote area during a power outage took a long shower.  Those of us who live in rural areas know that our water systems rely on electricity to work.  Clearly the writer doesn’t know this.  Sherrill may have been enjoying this book, but now all she remembers is this scene and how much it bothered her.

Today on library moments Sherrill Sherwood and I will talk about a book containing instances of something that throws us off if even temporarily while we are reading.

Sherrill Sherwood, Collection Coordinator: From a rebellious young woman with a dangerous heroin habit to a globe-trotting fashion model to yoga guru, Colleen Saidman Yee tells the remarkable story of how she found herself through the healing power of yoga–and then inspired others to do the same – in her 2015 book Yoga For Life.The very first time Colleen took a yoga class, she left feeling so alive that yoga became the center of her life, helping her come to terms with her insecurities and find her true identity and voice. From learning to cope with a frightening seizure disorder to navigating marriages and divorces to becoming a mother, finding the right life partner, and grieving a parent, Colleen has been through it all–and has found that yoga holds the answers to life’s greatest challenges.Specific yoga sequences accompany each chapter and address everything from hormonal mood swings to detoxing, depression, stress, and increased confidence and energy.

I did find Yoga For Life interesting but two parts in the book bugged me.

Colleen had been working out with a martial-arts guru named Dwight Wilson, an African American. She claims she knew Dwight was dead when she was standing on a street corner in Boston with a friend and a black bird literally fell out of the sky and landed at their feet. Colleen says she turned to her friend and said “Dwight’s dead”. Yes, Dwight was dead and she didn’t know it but, really? A black bird falls dead at her feet and she somehow knows her African American friend is dead? Later on in the book she describes driving with her husband Rodney Yee when a deer limped across the road in front of their car. One of its legs was broken and she says it looked like its spirit was leaving its body. She pronounces to Rodney that her mom is dying. Hours later she gets a call telling her that her mother is in the hospital. Her mother lives for five more weeks with the help of machines. I wonder how many times Colleen sees something dying or dead and states that one of her family or friends are dying or dead. Does she do it all the time and those two times she managed to get it right? I really have a hard time believing that dead or dying animals are placed in front of her so she knows something is going on with her family or friends. Who knows though, maybe my disbelief doesn’t allow me to see such things!

Bessie Sullivan, County Librarian: I love Terry Fallis, I have read everything he has written and enjoyed them all thoroughly.  By his third novel he started to set his books in the US.  I understand why writers do this, but I feel like there is enough of a difference in the cultures of our two countries that it would be easy to get it wrong.

I also know that butter tarts are a very Canadian food.  I know this because my American cousins cannot find butter tarts in the US, and I mean all over the US, we always bring them to family gatherings because they are so popular.

Fallis’s fourth novel No Relation begins with a NYC copywriter suddenly being fired after 15 years, and on the same day finds himself single. But his worst trouble is that Earnest Hemmingway, shares the same name as the famous author. Earnest, known to his friends as Hem, has a  father who is pressuring him to come home and help run the family clothing business. As a complex familial battle plays out, Earnest’s inherited name leads him in unexpected directions.  One of which is forming a support group slash softball team of other people who have the same name as famous people.  At one of the group’s get togethers is a potluck where someone brings butter tarts.

Now, I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that there is a butter tart to be found in New York City.  And if someone really did bring butter tarts they would have had to have made them and they would not have been a food that anyone would have recognised.  This seems like an instance of a Canadian author not quite getting it right for an American setting.  This bugged me so much that when I saw Fallis at an event I commented on it.  He didn’t seem overly thrilled to have this pointed out but it bugged me enough that I was willing to embarrass myself for the sake of accuracy.

As we have demonstrated, something being off with the reading experience doesn’t have to destroy the enjoyment of the book, and who knows; maybe the things that bug us wouldn’t even be noticed by others.

For the month of December you can bring in a non-perishable food item to any of the eight library branches in Haliburton County and have your fines forgiven. Donations will go to Haliburton County Food Banks. Thanks for listening to this week’s edition of Library Moments here on 100.9 Canoe FM.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

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