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Yardwork Book Club
This Digital Display accompanies an author reading and book club discussion of Daniel Coleman's Yardwork.
Beautiful Scars by Tom Wilson"I'm scared and scarred but I've survived" Tom Wilson was raised in the rough-and-tumble world of Hamilton--Steeltown-- in the company of World War II vets, factory workers, fall-guy wrestlers and the deeply guarded secrets kept by his parents, Bunny and George. For decades Tom carved out a life for himself in shadows. He built an international music career and became a father, he battled demons and addiction, and he waited, hoping for the lies to cease and the truth to emerge. It would. And when it did, it would sweep up the St. Lawrence River to the Mohawk reserves of Quebec, on to the heights of the Manhattan skyline. With a rare gift for storytelling and an astonishing story to tell, Tom writes with unflinching honesty and extraordinary compassion about his search for the truth. It's a story about scars, about the ones that hurt us, and the ones that make us who we are. From Beautiful Scars: Even as a kid my existence as the son of Bunny and George Wilson seemed far-fetched to me. When I went over it in my head, none of it added up. The other kids on East 36th Street in Hamilton used to tell me stories of their mothers being pregnant and their newborn siblings coming home from the hospital. Nobody ever talked about Bunny's and my return from the hospital. In my mind my birth was like the nativity, only with gnarly dogs and dirty snow and a chipped picket fence and old blind people with short tempers and dim lights, ashtrays full of Export Plain cigarette butts and bottles of rum. Once, when I was about four, I asked Bunny, "How come I don't look anything like you and George? How come you are old and the other moms are young?" "There are secrets I know about you that I'll take to my grave," she responded. And that pretty well finished that. Bunny built up a wall to protect her secrets, and as a result I built a wall to protect myself.
The People and the Bay by Nancy B. Bouchier; Ken CruikshankThis book explores the complicated relationship between Hamilton Harbour and the people who came to reside on its shores. From the time of European settlement through to Hamilton's rise as an industrial city, townsfolk struggled with nature, and with one another, to champion their vision of "the bay" as a place to live, work, and play. The authors bring to life the personalities and power struggles, drawing on a rich collection of archival materials. Along the way, they challenge readers to consider how moral and political choices being made about the natural world today will shape the cities of tomorrow.
The Hamiltonians by Margaret Houghton (Editor)Nothing illustrates the rich variety of Hamilton's history better than the lives of some of those who made the city their home. Many Hamiltonians have learned about their city's past through visits to local cemeteries, in the company of a knowledgeable local historian. This book assembles the best of these stories, told by some of the city's most expert writers. Among them: * Bessie Starkman, partner of Rocco Perri, King of the Bootleggers, killed in a gangland style slaying, whose funeral attracted 25,000 spectators in 1930 * Isabella Hyde Whyte, long thought by Hamiltonians to be the illegitimate offspring of Edward the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria's father * Martha Cartmell, a missionary to Japan who started the first girls' school in Tokyo; every year students from the school make a pilgrimage to Hamilton to Cartmell's home church * Richard Lancefield, first chief librarian in the city, but also a compulsive gambler who embezzled funds from the library and left town when his crime was discovered; his body was returned for burial With many colourful illustrations, this book will appeal to anyone interested in Canadian history.
Falling into Place by John TerpstraThis book is what happens when one person becomes completely enamoured of the landscape in the city where he lives-especially if this person, like John Terpstra, engages the world with the imagination and curiosity of a poet. Terpstra's investigations centre around the Iroquois Bar, a giant glacial sandbar which lies beneath one of Hamilton's busiest transportation corridors. Combining history and geology with gumshoe work and poetic intuition, Terpstra puzzles out just how much the physical and social geography of the area has changed since the sandbar was formed. This close study is nested inside a broader consideration of modern society's constant and often ill-considered alteration of landscape. Terpstra's acute focus on his neighbourhood offers insights of global value in a book that is both provocative and entertaining. Listed as one of the Hamilton Spectator's "Best books of the year" in 2002 for its appeal to "aficionados of history, geography, geology, poetic language, fine prose and the landscape around us."
Other Books by Daniel Coleman
Masculine Migrations by Daniel ColemanExamines the representation of masculinities in the work of some of Canada's most exciting writers, including Michael Ondaatje, and Rohinton Mistry, to show how cross-cultural migration disrupts assumed codes for masculine behaviour and practice.
The Scent of Eucalyptus by Daniel ColemanThe fair-haired child of Canadian missionary parents, Daniel Coleman grew up with an ambivalent relationship to the country of his birth. He was clearly different from his Ethiopian playmates, but because he was born in Ethiopia and knew no other home, he was not completely foreign. Like the eucalyptus, a tree imported to Ethiopia from Australia in the late 19th century to solve a firewood shortage, he and his missionary family were naturalized transplants. As ferenjie, they endlessly negotiated between the culture they brought with them and the culture in which they lived. In The Scent of Eucalyptus, Coleman reflects on his experience of "in-between-ness" amid Ethiopia's violent political upheavals. His intelligent and finely crafted memoir begins in the early 1960s, during the reign of Haile Selassie. It spans the king's dramatic fall from power in 1974, the devastating famines of the mid-1970s and early 1980s, and Mengistu Haile Mariam's brutal 20-year dictatorship. Through memoir and reflection, The Scent of Eucalyptus gives a richly textured view of missionary culture that doesn't yield to black-and-white analysis.
White Civility by Daniel ColemanIn White Civility Daniel Coleman breaks the long silence in Canadian literary and cultural studies around Canadian whiteness and examines its roots as a literary project of early colonials and nation-builders.
In Bed with the Word by Daniel ColemanWhile reading is a deeply personal activity, paradoxically, it is also fundamentally social and outward-looking. Daniel Coleman, a lifelong reader and professor of literature, combines story with meditation to reveal this paradox and illustrate why, more than ever, we need this special brand of "quiet time" in our lives. In Bed with the Word sparks with every conceivable enticement for those who worry about living in a culture of distraction and who long to reconnect with something deeper.
Countering Displacements by Daniel Coleman (Editor)The essays in this collection explore the activities of two populations of displaced peoples that are seldom discussed together: Indigenous peoples and refugees or diasporic peoples around the world. Rather than focusing on victimhood, the authors focus on the creativity and agency of displaced peoples, thereby emphasizing capacity and resilience. Throughout their chapters, they show how cultural activities-from public performance to filmmaking to community arts-recur as significant ways in which people counter the powers of displacement. This book is an indispensable resource for displaced peoples everywhere and the policy makers, social scientists, and others who work in concert with them. Contributors: Catherine Graham, Subhasri Ghosh, Jon Gordon, Maroussia Hajdukowski-Ahmed, Agnes Kramer-Hamstra, Mazen Masri, Jean McDonald, and Pavithra Narayanan.