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Kitchener Waterloo: A Guidebook from Memory edited by Robert Motum
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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (April 24)
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Kitchener Waterloo: A Guidebook from Memory: 04/07/17

Kitchener Waterloo: A Guidebook from Memory by Robert Motum

Kitchener Waterloo: A Guidebook from Memory by Robert Motum is a slim volume — really more of an art piece — that celebrates for better or worse the KW area of Ontario, Canada. It was one of about a half dozen books we bought when we first seriously began our move to the area, and the only one that I personally picked out.

It is a slim, unpaged recollection of different places, past and present, with each memory illustrated in a dotted, etherial fashion to give the impression of a fleeting memory. To an outsider who has only seen the two cities through photographs, the news, and their various social media accounts, A Guidebook from Memory is a bit like reading a diary from a different era.

But it's still a good sense of the personality of the place. Kitchener Waterloo reminds me of where I'm currently living — it's nearish to a big metropolis — one of the first cities to come to mind when one says "Canada" but far enough away to not be swept up in all things Toronto — just as here in Hayward we can ignore San Francisco if we want to.

The area, like Hayward, has a university — though the University of Waterloo is more of a big deal that Cal State East Bay (née Hayward). It has its college scene and the good and bad that goes with it (cultural events, lectures, late night drinking, and noisy neighborhoods). It's also a culturally diverse area.

Both areas are right on the edge of where things get rural — though the change is more sudden there than here. The flatter landscape to makes it more suited for farming. There is also a large Mennonite community (communities, really) in the area which keeps the rural area more unchanged that it might otherwise be – just as our ever expanding East Bay Regional Parks keeps the historical ranches part of the local landscape (But this is a topic for another book, review coming soon).

If anything, it's a love letter by a community for a community. That they offer shipping anywhere in the world, opens up that glimpse to rest of us. I am grateful to see Kitchener Waterloo as its residents want to remember it.

Five stars

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