Throughout 2020, All Lit Up-er Tan Light is participating in BookRiot's
Read Harder Challenge—a reading task designed to expand readerly boundaries—and doing so with an indie twist. Each entry in this series will highlight one or two completed challenges along with a list of books from All Lit Up to have you reading harder, too! This month's challenge includes a duo of books about climate change and a natural disaster, and plenty of follow-up reads to choose from.
Challenge #11: Read a book about a natural disaster Book:
The Flood by Leah Simone Bowen (Playwrights Canada Press)
About the book: The play focuses on a group of women trapped in a basement prison as the waters of lake Ontario rise around them. It was inspired by true accounts and the history of Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market, which I was surprised to learn used to house the city jail. Jail was considered a place for the criminal, the disabled, the mentally ill, and the marginalized, and women of the time were considered property and could be imprisoned for any reason. The Flood gives voice to the little-known stories of early female prisoners in Canada.
Tan's take: I found this play, and the little known history it covers, to be a fascinating read. Any one with an interest in Toronto's history, or the treatment of the marginalized in Victorian times, should pick up a copy. (Fans of
The Ward, this one's for you!)
Challenge #12: Read a book about climate change Book:
Endlings by Joanna Lilley (Turnstone Press)
About the book: An endling is the last known individual of a species or subspecies. Once the endling dies, the species becomes extinct. In her collection, Endlings, Joanna Lilley inhabits those last moments and demands a witness to animal extinction.
Tan's take: I heard Joanna read from this collection a few times this spring, and found them deeply affecting. Her voice is so lovely, but when you really think about these poems, the effect is quite chilling: they are the songs of the dying.
Joanna reads from Endlings
For more books that explore climate change, try...
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