Tilly, Meg. Gemma. Syren Book Company. 2006. Minneapolis, USA.

This is a harrowing, but believable novel by the actor Meg Tilly who grew up in British Columbia. Although it is a novel, Tilly says she suffered abuse from men her mother knew in her childhood; this novel is based on some of her experiences. Childhood sexual abuse by close family members and friends is one of the last taboo subjects in our society. Yet nearly every family has experienced it, some acknowledge it and others ignore it. What is so hard to comprehend is expressed in this book, that often parents, particularly mothers, and others Read more [...]

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Suarez, Thomas. PALESTINE: SIXTY YEARS LATER. 2010. Americans for Middle East Understanding. New York, USA.

“Palestine today is a wasteland of powerful nations´ hypocrisy…Palestine is also a land of people determined to hold on to their humanity, a people who refuse to be erased or pummelled into the role of victimhood.” Suarez has taken powerful and revealing photos he accompanies them with a well-written, factual and authoritative text. Suarez observes and records with a sensitive eye and a keen empathy for the lives of Palestinians. If Azoulay´s book, From Palestine to Israel, is a record of the cataclysmic formation of the state of Read more [...]

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Stauffer, Julie. The Water You Drink: Safe or Suspect? 2004. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC.

The Water You Drink: Safe or Suspect? is a comprehensive manual on the use and conservation of our most precious resource. Stauffer starts by explaining that although much of our planet is covered with water, most is salt water and large scale desalinization of the oceans is not feasible. Only 3% of our water is fresh and of that, less than 1% is available for drinking water. Water does not disappear; it is a constantly recycling resource. We may drink and pee the same molecules many times in our lives. Much of our accessible water is becoming polluted Read more [...]

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Stauber, John & Sheldon Rampton. Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn lies and the Public Relations Industry. Common Courage Press, Maine, USA. 1995.

Witty but wise look at the great lengths and deceit the corporate world will go to, to sell us products and lies that damage and destroy life and society. Some great anecdotes about how some have been exposed.

Filed under Book Reviews, John Stauber, Sheldon Rampton

St–Pierre, Éric with Emerson da Silva, Mathieu Lamarre, & Barbara Sandlands. FAIR TRADE: A HUMAN JOURNEY 2009. Les Éditions de l´homme. Montreal, Canada.

“Today neoliberalism and its Holy Trinity – deregulation, innovation and globalization – are facing a crisis, and we are finding out that the trendy notion of ´sustainable development´ is… an oxymoron. The time is ripe to rethink our way of doing things and fight the spread of individualism and consumerism… Fair trade proposes an alternative based on the ideas of social justice, product quality and respect for the environment…Its aim is to encourage involvement and solidarity…This book is a sign of hope that another word is Read more [...]

Filed under Barbara Sandlands, Book Reviews, Emerson da Silva, Éric St-Pierre, Mathieu Lamarre

Soueif, Ahdaf. THE MAP OF LOVE. 2000. Bloomsbury Publishing. London. UK.

This is wonderful sweep of fiction across a century of people and their place in society, war, oppression, and cultural differences in the vast and complex history of North Africa. Its colonial past and the seeds of contemporary violence in Egypt and Palestine are woven into the development of two love stories, one hundred years apart, both highly unconventional for their times. Anna Winterbourne is the widow of a soldier who was emotionally destroyed by his role in the British massacre of Sudan where, “An army of 7000 British and 20000 Egyptian Read more [...]

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Soueif, Ahdaf. MEZZATERRA: Fragments from the Common Ground. 2004. Anchor Books, USA.

The common ground of these essays which span twenty–five years of journalism is the ground where Arabs and non–Arabs co–exist. The author of several novels, including ‘The Map of Love’, which was a Booker Prize finalist, wrote these articles from 1981–2004. She says that they “are the direct product of the interaction between myself and the condition of living in the UK.”. She is keenly aware that the UK and western media present a twisted and biased view of the Arab and Middle Eastern world. She writes that, “It was impossible Read more [...]

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Somerville, Margaret. The Ethical Canary: Science, Society and the Human Spirit. Penguin Books, Toronto, ON.

“Scientific progress alone would be a hollow victory without the moral or ethical progress that must accompany it and ensure the humanization and humanity of our development and use of science.” The canary used to detect poisonous gas in coal mines is a vivid metaphor for those who detect danger in our society and environment. (See my poem: We Are the Canaries. TW). When this doctor and specialist in medical law and ethics from The Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University, Montreal, was invited to give a speech in Lubeck, Germany, Read more [...]

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Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Viking Penguin, UK, USA, Canada.

Solnit weaves a wide ranging survey of an activity most of us take for granted from about the age of two on. She writes about walking as a historic activity from Greek philosophers to Romantic poets to urban nature seekers to spiritual pilgrims. Walking is movement which allows for visual pleasure, sensory delight and makes possible and easy, thought, reflection and creativity. She says walking is, “endlessly fertile: it is both means and end, travel and destination”. Solnit writes about walking as a leisure activity that developed into Read more [...]

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Solnit, Rebecca. HOPE IN THE DARK: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. 2006. Penguin Books. worldwide.

"It´s always too soon to go home. And it´s always too soon to calculate effect."Activists who feel despondent and or just plain tired will read this book and take heart in our work and find purpose in the creative search for a better world. Solnit believes we’ve had many successes; we can and should rejoice – and then carry on. "I once read an anecdote by someone in Women Strike for Peace, the first great antinuclear movement in the United States, the one that did contribute to a major victory: the 1963 end of aboveground nuclear testing Read more [...]

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Solnit, David. GLOBALIZE LIBERATION. 2004. City Lights Books, USA.

"In the face of what is called globalization-a world with no borders for capital–let us welcome this vindication of the internationalism of human solidarity." Eduardo Galeano, Uruguay on page 447 "Participate, don’t spectate." "Listen, don’t preach." page 482"If you come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider my struggle as part of your struggle for survival, than maybe we can work together.” by an un-named aboriginal women, from People’s Global Action Manifesto, on page 447 In the introduction to this excellent Read more [...]

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Smith, Diane with Jagori. Birthing with Dignity: a guide for training community level midwives and healthworkers. 2004. Jagori, New Delhi, India.

This beautiful conceived and created book is more than a guide for birth attendants; it is a tribute to the act of creation and our creators - mothers. It comes from a land where women and their role in creating life are devalued and ignored. That birth is an act worthy of dignity should be sung from roof tops of mansions and shacks; this book is the libretto of that song, a guide for the restoration of the value of women and motherhood. It is also a guide to a circular journey that lead a midwife from a forest glade on a small island off the Read more [...]

Filed under Book Reviews, Diane Smith, Jagori