I really enjoyed curating this piece for our Lagom Collections show at The Lobby by Heaps Estrin.
I am a proud Torontonian, yet not well-versed in our history.
Reading and curating for my piece “Toronto the Good” has helped me discover some amazing things which I hope you will appreciate.
Most featured books are written by women, unintentionally. Many with insights, and perspectives that I share and appreciate becoming more well-versed in. The Indigenous theme and insights are something I missed in school; I am so pleased that our kids will be, and already are, better educated than I am about our shared history.
Overall, as with most things I read, I am very appreciative of what I have learned from these authors and proud to display them as a Shelf Portrait.
I believe that we absorb what we read and it nurtures us, similar to nurturing a fetus in our womb, thus my favourite hashtag #WhatsOnMyBookShelf (W.O.M.B.).
What we all long for
Brand’s writing is notable for the beauty of its language and for its intense engagement with issues of social justice, including particularly issues of gender and race.
What We All Long For, is the story of four young people in Toronto offering an indelible portrait of this great multicultural city, exploring issues of Anglo vs. First Nations culture, immigration, and generational conflicts.
Bernice Thurman Hunter
The experiences of Hunter’s star, Booky, provide a beautiful insight into childhood during the Depression in Toronto. Adding to the historical detail are actual pages reproduced from Eaton's Catalog, as well as photos of Hunter's family and passages from newspapers of the time period.
Few of its current inhabitants know that Toronto has seen twelve thousand years of uninterrupted Indigenous presence and nationhood in this region, along with a vibrant culture and history that thrives to this day.
"This book reflects endurance and a helpful corrective to settler fantasies. It tells a more balanced account of our communities, then and now. It offers the space to reclaim our ancestors' language and legacy, rewriting ourselves back into a landscape from which non-Indigenous historians have worked hard to erase us. But we are there in the skyline and throughout the GTA, along the coast and in all directions." - from the introduction by Hayden King
The Handmaid’s Tale
Atwood, a Canadian global feminist whose works are respected and debated with fervour helped reignite empathy and interest in very Toronto issues with the latest adaptation of her book. This time filmed in Toronto, the series integrates present-day global issues into the narrative, such as a refugee crisis and Islamophobia alongside its shockingly prescient warnings from 1985 which not enough of us are heeding.
In the Skin of a Lion
Ondaatje is one of my favourite authors, thus, when reminded of his beautiful book based in Toronto essentially about identity politics, I had to include it. I had not intended on an all-female feature even though up until Michael, this is where the piece was headed!
Rosen is prolific and well respected for so much of what and where we eat. This book is a cultural testament to so many experiences locals and visitors have with our city.
Phyllis Brett Young
I discovered the cover art for Young’s groundbreaking work, and fell in love. The story just made me smarter and more appreciative of the experiences of the women who have paved the way for us, and which we need to continue to press into for future generations. Surprisingly poorly well known, I hope to bring new life to Young’s work which is critically acclaimed as a precursor to “The Feminine Mystique” - neither of which notably crossed my English course desks in high school or university!
Enter to Win this Shelf Portrait up to Aug 16, 2023: