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New Year, new books!

It's a snowy, colder day at the farmette. Relatively cold. Family folks out west are dealing with yet another polar vortex that's plunging temperatures to the -30s, so I guess we can't complain at -5.

Like a lot of people we had a quiet, hunker-down kind of New Year's celebration. Actually, I was tucked in by about 10 p.m. My philosophy is that the year will ring itself in, and I can read about it in the morning.

One of the best things about Christmas is that Rob and I have gotten into the habit of giving each other books. Which means voracious reading for the next month or so. During a pandemic, that's a pretty sweet spot - for me, anyway. So here are two new ones and couple I've already read that are well worth mentioning.

I just finished this one. Rick Mercer is the quintessential Canadian story teller, and this is a ripper. It takes you through the whole front end of this boy from Newfoundland's life. How he was not terribly interested in school, but massively invested in comedy, politics and show biz. How he managed to overcome some fairly significant obstacles, and how he has succeeded so stunningly. It's by turns hilarious, poignant and touching - and never boring. The best part is how much he loves this country and its people. He's a real gem and we're lucky to have him.

About a month ago, I finished this one. Civilizations by Laurent Binet. Not exactly my normal cup of tea, but I happened to hear a book review on CBC radio, and the author was interviewed. He is from France, and he's a well-established and awarded writer who decided to turn history on it's head with this book. It's about how the Incans and Mexicans take over Europe - not the other way around. His commentary on war, religion and politics - especially around conquering nations - is really incisive, and funny at times. A refreshing take on our colonialist history.

Speaking of colonialism, Five Little Indians is a must-read, if you want to understand how the horrors that residential schools and the sixties scoop still affect Canada's original people.

It's not an easy read. Michelle Good doesn't pull any punches about the terrible fallout of the cruelty of racism that leads to abject poverty and deadly addiction as she describes the lives of five Indigenous characters. But there is sturdiness, community, sweetness and humour there, too. Highly, highly, recommend this one.

Finally, I've just dug into the latest Louise Penny mystery - which I gave Rob. I know, I know, but he's busy with the Chris Hadfield mystery - which we both bought for each other. Not sure why we manage to do that nearly every year.

Anyhow. I can't wait to see what Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, Reine, Clara, Ruth and the rest of the Three Pines folks are up to.

It's begun promisingly, with Gamache having to ride herd over a mass gathering - post-pandemic - to provide crowd control. It's called 'The Madness of Crowds", so should be a good adventure.

Hope you enjoyed this little literary jaunt and here's hoping for a better, safer, more sane 2022 for all our friends and family. Happy New Year!


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