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Immigration patterns in smaller Canadian cities: open blog

July 25, 2008

Hi folks,

Diversity Matters is now open for discussion while i’m away on vacation, July 25-Aug 5/08…

Here’s a few tidbits – just ’cause all this blank space, although very Zen, kinda unnerves me.

Today’s National Post online features a story on Canada’s immigration patterns in smaller cities with a great sidebar of additional resources, including links to the Stats Can data on which the story is based.

Did anyone catch Senator Obama’s speech in Berlin? Uh-huh. That’s a large crowd. Here’s a snippet of something he said that found a strong echo in my own immigrant experience:

“At the height of the Cold War, my father decided, like so many others in the forgotten corners of the world, that his yearning – his dream – required the freedom and opportunity promised by the West. And so he wrote letter after letter to universities all across America until somebody, somewhere answered his prayer for a better life. ” What do you think of this – too romantic, too Obamamania, or does it strike a cord?

Summer Reading List – okay, the chances of my actually cracking these open remain remote but…

Edward Said, Orientalism (read it once years ago; the more world events demand a focus on “Islam” the more i think it bears more study – thoughts?)

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (see above. I welcome your comments on this controversial writer)

Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (half way through; only read it on Skytrain; now, it’s catch up time. If you’ve read it, let me know – and yes, i know things don’t end well and btw, the link is to Oprah – yup. )

Haruki Murakami – After Dark (a Xmas gift from, oh, i dunno, several years ago; just found it; anyone out there read it?)

Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies (um. I haven’t even bought this yet but i will. I shall. If you’ve read In An Antique Land or The Calcutta Chromosone please contact this blog!)

Gulp. Well. I’ve outed my list. I’ll try and report back in August. over and out. R

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2009 7:11 am

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  2. reneethewriter permalink
    August 8, 2008 7:27 pm

    Dear Derrick, Pram and Orcaeyes

    1. Derrick: what an intriguing book- blend on your list – i have a beautiful book by Sharon Butala – i think it’s title is Wild Stone Heart about a field in SK and her relationship to the field and the land. She’s a great poet and writer. And has struggled with some fierce personal demons. Thinking about what she might mean about “the real west” have you ever read George Bowering’s, “Caprice”?

    Bob Plecas! Urk. (Hey i worked w/him in the 90’s). You’ll have to tell us your impressions of that one.

    Now Cdn Science Fiction – that really interests me – i’ve never been able to “pick up” sci fi in a sustained way…an anthology might be the way to go.

    For some reason, although i’ve had the privilege of Bill Gaston as a guest creative writing lecturer at Douglas College, i’ve never been able to “warm up” to his very good books. Did you read Mount Appetite?

    2. Pram: Yes. Obama – the myth and whatever reality he will make for himself if elected/or not, will surely not meet the seemingly wild expectations his candidacy inspires. I’ve been involved in Cdn politics and i’m still amazed at how dewey-eyed i get when i hear/see him. What’s up with that?
    I liked your line, “the west can’t satisfy the dreams of every would be immigrant.” Yup. Neither “the west” (another mythical place/memory/construct) nor anything but ourselves ultimately. More, later.

    3. Orcaeyes: love that you do the Ghosh Man. He is one of my literary heroes. I met him here many years ago at the Vancouver Writers Festival – he outclassed/outshone a panel of “about india” writers. My husband has read the Hungry Tide and it’s on my list. Good to get your feedback.

    Your idea abuot reading Canada, province by province: fantaastic, as one of our former BC premiers would have said

    Hey, i’ve been working on a poetry cycle called the Canada Project and your idea of one author per province jumpstarts for me a bunch of ideas. Oooh. what a list! Maybe we can cross post on this blog about “Reading Canada prov by prov”

    Check out Noah Richler’s “This is My Country, What’s Yours” – a literary atlas of canada – you might find it fun. let me know!

    4. Shout Out to Cor – i was so happy to read in one of you posts that you too enjoyed the Calcutta Chromosone. I wondered what a Science Guy would have thought.

  3. August 8, 2008 6:25 pm

    Amitav Ghosh is high on my list of summer books. The latest book I read was The Hungry Tide, a lovely poetic evocation of the Sundarbans. Right now I am going through a very long list of Canadian authors, one author for each province being my goal, my way of getting to learn this country. Here’s a thought about integration, give every immigrant to be a list of must-read Canadian novels or essais to pick from 🙂
    I’ll give Northern Suns a try too, being a true geek, I love sci-fi, from the works of Verne to Lovecraft and Star Wars! Thanks for sharing your reading list!

  4. Pram permalink
    July 27, 2008 11:04 pm

    Maybe Obama’s dream is alive and important. But only as a dream. The west can’t satisfy the dreams of every would be immigrant. Somewhere along the line most people will have to find their solutions at home.

  5. July 25, 2008 8:42 pm

    I don’t really have a list – my ‘to read’ is basically everything i have on my shelves that I haven’t read yet, as well as a pile of books that I want to re-read. I do this thing where I write down the month and year that I read a book in the front cover, so that I keep a record of everything I’ve read. So, when the summer ends, I might go back and compile a list of what my summer actually looked like, book wise.

    I have a massive and irrational fear of not having a book around at all times. So, I carry one or two books with me at all times and, when we went for a 2 day camping trip two weeks ago, I took 5 books, just in case. I buy books compulsively – I picked up 6 last weekend, always used.

    What I want to read next:
    – “Lilac Moon: Dreaming of the Real West”, by Sharon Butala. One of my favourite authors, I usually read her fiction but this is her personal take on the canadian west. I’ve had it nearby since 2005, maybe I’ll finally read it this year.
    – “Northern Suns: An Anthology of Canadian Science Fiction” I love science fiction, and I often use old sci-fi short stories as a palate cleanser between heavier books.
    – “Bill Bennett: A Mandarin’s View” by Bob Plecas. I love political histories like this.
    – “The Order of Good Cheer” by Bill Gaston. local author, new novel. I like his stuff, but am not sure about the concept of this one – a dual story between Samuel de Champlain in the 1600s and some guy in modern-day Prince Rupert. we’ll see.
    – lots of other stuff I can’t think of right now.

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