Joan Sparling Migwans Signing

Debut author, and retired teacher, Joan Sparling Migwans will be in the store on Sunday, June 24 from 12:00-2:00pm to sign copies of her new book, Uprooted.

About the book:

“Overcoming the anguish of becoming a widow with four young children, Joan is determined to offer them the ultimate field trip. Accepting a teaching position at an international school, she takes her children to live in Aleppo, Syria in August 2005. Uprooted from the ease of their Canadian home to live and travel in a world totally outside their comfort zone, they are challenged with different languages, religious customs, monetary systems, climate, and general world view.”

Through Joan’s wonderful retelling, join her and her children as they travel around the Middle East and Europe, searching out new experiences, making new friends, and growing every day under the influence of the vibrant new world around them.

“A Secret Sisterhood” by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney

This book tells the quite fascinating stories of a number of famous women writers and the support they received from female friends.

The authors are successful women writers themselves who have become friends through their writing – and so they know wherof they are writing in this book. We are all familiar with male literary friendships – all the way from Byron and Shelley to Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But the most celebrated female authors are mostly known as solitary geniuses or isolated eccentrics.

In this book we learn of the friendship between Jane Austen and one of the family servants called Anne Sharp, who used to write plays for the children and helped criticize Austen’s work. There is an amazing description of the way Harriet Beecher Stowe, a successful writer, sent off a letter to “My Dear Friend” across the Atlantic to an equally successful writer who had taken the nom de plume George Eliot, and they became friends. As did Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield. This book does a very successful job of offering a new perspective on established literary figures.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall

“I Am, I Am, I Am” by Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell is a well-known Irish writer with a number of prize-winning novels to her name. In this one, she looks at the near-death experiences that have jarred her own life. She takes the title from another writer, Sylvia Plath who, in The Bell Jar, wrote: “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”

O’Farrell describes the man she meets on a mountain path who puts his binocular strap around her neck, but then frees her, only to turn up later in police records. O’Farrell was born with a childhood illness, encephalitis, which damaged those parts of her brain involved in movement and balance. She tells of some occasions when this caused real danger. She also had a dangerous experience in labour in an understaffed hospital and almost lost her child.

She had other children, however. One of them, a daughter, is living in permanent danger from a condition called anaphylaxis. It is a daily struggle for O’Farrell to protect her from this medical condition that leaves her vulnerable to many dangers. It is no wonder O’Farrell feels nothing is given in this life, every day is precious, every moment a gift.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall