Out of your skin

What are we supposed to get out of this (story, poem, play)?
While the formal reading group meets once a month, I read and discussed the same pieces of literature in different locations informally.

Burlington Plaza-Cafe-

BURLINGTON PLAZA-BRANT STREET, ONTARIO- Mai-orignially from Taiwan-now living in Hamilton, runs this cafe with his wife. A lunch time Reading -Thinking place , we discuss and learn many things about life, work, community in that break

In the previous book club discussion-(February-2018) on Madeliene Thein’s- Do not say we have nothing- the members had varied responses.

1-Madeliene Thien

One experienced reader said that he stopped at Page 127, the characters were too difficult to keep track of, and the historical context of the Cultural revolution was not clear. Another experienced reader said that she went through the whole book- to Honour the memory of the people whose struggle the book tells about

Another experienced reader said that she went through the whole book- to Honour the memory of the people whose struggle the book tells about

An Alternate Memory

The book ends on the note by the author- Not everyone who supported and strengthened this story can be named. To my beloved friends in Shanghai, Hangzhou,Beijing, and Danhuang, thank you for accompanying me through the book of records and an alternate memory of history. Remember what I say- Not everything will pass.

The book takes us inside two talented families musicians of China , lives of two entwined generations- Those who weathered Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and their children , who became the Tiananmen Square protestors.

What are we supposed to get?

In their introduction to the pocket anthology of literature, Gywnn and Campbell write that if you have really savoured the full experience that good literature offers, then the first thing you should get “out of” will be your own skin- when you do that you will answer your own question. For a few moments you lose your own identity and see through the eyes of an Elizabethian Englishman, a modern Nigerian, or a contemporary Canadian woman, and you may just find that in some significant way your own manner of looking at the world will never be quite the same again.

Some books which got us into different Skins – The Reading list


Robert Sawyer’s-Calculating God-made us discuss the meaning of ultimate reality. The book takes place in the present day and describes the arrival on Earth of sentient aliens. The bulk of the novel covers the many discussions and arguments on this topic, as well as about the nature of belief, religion, and science. Thomas Jericho, a paleontologist working at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, makes the first human-to-alien contact when a Forhilnor, a spider-like alien from the third planet of the Beta Hydri system arrives on Earth to investigate Earth’s evolutionary history. The alien, Hollus, has come to Earth to gain access to the museum’s large collection of fossils, and to study accumulated human knowledge in order to gather evidence of the existence of God. It seems that Earth and Hollus’ home planet, and the home planet of another alien species traveling with Hollus, all experienced the same five cataclysmic events at roughly the same time. Hollus believes that the universe was created by a god, to provide a place where life could develop and evolve. Thomas Jericho is an atheist who provides a balance to the philosophical discussion regarding the existence of gods.(source-Wikipedia)


March 2018-Readings- Riverwood

Going to open places to read- gives an interesting twist to the reading experience.

This morning, went to Riverwood and read again- about the Inmate Shadow from Neil Gaiman’s –American Gods. Shadow is released early from prison as his wife Laura dies in a car crash. He meets Wednesday and goes into crime. The use of language by Gaiman helps expand, and going by the experience of “Getting Out of your Skin” the author gets the reader into the mind-frame of different characters.


Shadow remembers his carousel ride as a child in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco –on his first trip to the States and the sound of music makes him wish as though the last 36 hours had never happened (when he gets out of jail and goes to his wife’s funeral) , as if the last three years had not happened (his jail term).

Riverwood-3-3-18 –American Gods-Neil Gaimon



Perspective Note
Keeping a Reading Journal enhances the reading experience in many ways. Going to different-“thinking places” to read adds another twist. Different reading member groups bring different flavours to the reading experience. In this quarter we discussed-read three books-which bring out concepts of Faith, Community, life in different ways.


About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal : gracereadings.com
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