Book recommendations, chronic illness, reading

Book Review: Cull by Tanvir Bush

As an aspiring author, I’m always on the lookout for new authors that inspire me. This book appeared in my Bookbub offerings in February, and I was immediately interested, for obvious reasons. The title and the cover speak volumes. (see pic below)

It’s disturbing to hear so many stories about disabled people being further victimized by the attitudes and prejudices of the healthy. When the government jumps on board to legislate discrimination in the guise of rooting out the lazy, lying abusers of the system, the results are truly frightening.

Are there people that abuse the welfare system? Absolutely. Should all people who are already dealing with the challenges of chronic disability live in fear that they will be accused of ‘milking the system’? I won’t answer that, but we know that it happens all too often.

When I first had to give up teaching and go on disability, one person said how lucky I was and that I should go surfing. Um…okay? It’s ignorance, a blissful ignorance of not knowing what it feels like when your body betrays you and all the things you have taken for granted, are taken away. I wish everyone such ignorance.

For those living that reality, further victimization through government policies is very much part of the whole journey. I am fortunate in Canada to have been supported through the process but I hear horror stories from people in the States and the UK about fighting for benefits and not having enough money or proper insurance to afford medication or adequate healthcare.

We know the effects of stress on the human body, and on chronic illness in particular. I can’t imagine living in that kind of fear day in and day out. Tanvir Bush has taken this situation, and in a brilliant satire, given the power back to ‘the crips’. Her protagonist is blind, as is she, and she has the most amazing guide dog, Chris.

Her writing is exceptional, the way she describes the world from the dog’s point of view is brilliant, and overall this book highlights so many important facets of a world that is disturbingly similar to ours. You want to read this book! Amazon links below.


Website for Tanvir Bush and The Holey Vision Blog

❤️ Amanda

music, reading, writing

The World According to Garp and John Prine: Double whammy kismet

It’s strange how you make a simple choice, then the universe sends you signs that it wasn’t a simple choice at all, there is a reason you made the decision you did. Kismet.

In the summer, I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to read The World According to Garp by John Irving again. He found a beautiful 30th anniversary edition at Russell Books, our phenomenal secondhand bookstore, for my birthday.

I recently finished the book, at 606 pages it’s not a quick read, but definitely worth it. I enjoyed its blend of comedic tragedy and serious social observation as much this time as the many other times I read it. Then, this interview with John Irving appeared on CBC the other day, discussing how the book should be a period piece but is more relevant today than ever on its 40th anniversary.

The World According to Garp is a book about sexual violence. Irving wrote it in 1978, in a time when it was still unusual to have a transsexual character. Roberta Muldoon, a former tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles, remains one of Irving’s favourite characters.

He doesn’t endorse the 1982 film starring Robin Williams because he felt that Williams was too sweet to play the character of Garp. More problematic, he felt the character of Roberta was satirized, not allowing John Lithgow to exude the power of the character that Irving imagined and portrayed in the novel. He saw the film as making a joke of the whole LGTBQ community, which was the opposite of Irving’s intent.

A mini-series is in development, 5 parts, 55 minutes each. Irving is involved this time, so it will be fascinating to see how it comes alive in that format. I need to watch the film version again, I only saw it once years ago. It will be interesting to watch it again, knowing Irving’s position about it.

I used to say I wasn’t a political person, but the truth is in the broad sense, we are all political in every choice that we make every day. It doesn’t mean we are following every absurd political news story. The way we behave in the world, the way we treat other humans, those are our politics. What we stand by and put up with when the oppressors walk all over the minorities, those are our politics. Our apathy, the lack of reverence for the right to vote, those are our politics.

It’s a fairly long interview at 45 minutes but very interesting, particularly if you’re a writer, but also his commentary on the politics of today. There is a reason he has lived in Canada for the last three years, and plans to become a Canadian citizen. His ultimate philosophy is “You have to be kind.” Simple. True.

In another wink to kismet, they mention John Prine in the interview. I had never heard of him but he’s an American country folk singer and songwriter that has been around since the 70s. He recently released a new album, The Tree Of Forgiveness, and my husband found these incredible videos on Youtube. I’m not a country music fan in any way, but these are wonderful songs. Enjoy!

Summer’s End – Get some tissues ready.

When I Get to Heaven – Listen for the dad’s awesome advice near the end! 🤣🤣🤣

NaNoWriMo update: I did it, I got to 50,000 words, which technically means that I won. My goal though, is to get a proper edit done on all twenty chapters. I’m only on chapter 10, so… not so on track. But I’ll get there! Good luck to any other wrimos out there!

Have a wonderful week everyone!

❤️ Amanda