The Right to be Cold

The Right to be ColdSheila Watt-Cloutier shares her story in the Walrus. Naomi Klein reviews the book in the Globe & Mail. Klein writes,

Part of what makes this book so illuminating is that it insists on being more than a manifesto. In weaving politics with her own life story, themes emerge that challenge the tendency to treat climate change as some new and singular threat. In Watt-Cloutier’s narrative, just as dog sleds have been replaced by snow machines, so the emissions from the entire fossil-fuel-driven global economy are threatening the survival of her culture. And just as pollutants from industrial activities have ended up in the flesh and fat of the animals Inuit people rely on for food, so these same industrial activities are causing global temperatures to rise, threatening the continued existence of these same animals. Climate change, in other words, is nothing new – it is the ultimate expression of the same threats that have been ravaging this part of the world for a very long time.

Inuit culture, however, is far from dead and in fact is thriving despite the odds. That, argues Watt-Cloutier, is very good news, because her people’s hard-won knowledge about how to live sustainably on the land “could serve as a model for all nations, compelling the world to make the strong cuts in emissions needed to mitigate climate change.”


Cheryl Strayed recounts her journey down the Pacific Crest Trail.

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her. Wild

Rae Spoon First Spring Grass Fire

A moving memoir from Rae Spoon, a talented singer/songwriter whom I first heard sing in the documentary, My Prairie Home (available for rent at NFB). The memoir is full of intriguing and sometimes heart breaking life memories forged in a turbulent childhood of strict religion and a threatening father figure. The story is intimately connected to the broader issues of gender in Canadian society and the tyranny of religion.Rae Spoon

A Train in Winter

Biographer and human rights journalist, Caroline Moorehead writes of the 230 women who worked as Resistance Fighters in France during WWII. Their story is heart wrenching, as they survive the French prison châteaux de la mort lente and then deportation to the female concentration camp of Auschwitz, Birkenau, where many died tortuous deaths, only 49 would survive. Moorehead interviewed many of the surviving women and their families and researched the resistance organization to discover a story both riveting and tragic.

New York Times book review link.A Train in Winter