I’ll see you again in twenty five years

I just finished watching Twin Peaks: The Return, the incredible, maddening, brilliant puzzle box mystery told over 18 hours last summer on Showtime. The library has the collected series on DVD, and I am left at the end of it with more questions than answers. I am sure this was creators David Lynch and Mark Frost’s intention all along. I’m not going to be able to do the show justice in one blog post, but let’s just say you’ll know pretty quickly where you are into it or not, starting with Season 1, which aired way back in 1990 on ABC.

In one of the final scenes of the second season of the show’s original 1991 run, the spirit of Laura Palmer leans in to Special Agent Dale Cooper, both captives of the Black Lodge, and whispers, “I’ll see you again in twenty five years”. By some amazing meta-reality twisting, fans of this peculiar show are presented with the fulfilment of this promise in almost real time. Many of the original cast returned for what would be their final roles. (Almost every episode ends with a “In Memory of” tribute to someone who you had just been watching). Many long-term David Lynch collaborators, such as Laura Dern and Naomi Watts, appear for the first time in the Twin Peaks universe, and it was a joy, if not a frustrating joy, to watch it all unfold.

Part way through the series, (I believe it was after the particularly mind-bending episode 8. No spoilers here, except to say that if you don’t have a clue what you just watched, you are not alone), I knew I had to turn to some expert help. I found a wonderful podcast by Entertainment Weekly writers Jeff Jensen and Darren Franich that goes deep into each episode. To give you an idea how deep, their episode on the finale runs for three and a half hours! Myself, I found the podcast an essential companion to the new season.

In addition to this podcast, WPL has some great supplemental resources for those Twin Peaks fans left wanting more.

Mark Frost, the co-creator of the series, recently published a couple of books that help fill in some gaps in the mythology. Both Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier and The Secret History of Twin Peaks are worth checking out. Could these be the final words we ever get from them about Twin Peaks?


Coffee, donuts and cherry pie play prominent roles throughout the series, so it only makes sense that someone would write a Twin Peaks cookbook. I’d avoid the creamed corn if I were you.

Damn Fine Cherry Pie by Lindsey Bowden



Music also plays an important role in the Twin Peaks experience, with many episodes of the new series ending in the Roadhouse with full performances from a variety of interesting musical artists. Additionally, the haunting themes of Angelo Badalamenti are peppered throughout the entire run and set the mood for this show’s mystical setting.

The soundtracks to the original series, the follow up feature film Fire Walk with Me, and the limited series return are all available through Hoopla, and there is an excellent book about the collaborative process between David Lynch and composer Angelo Badalamenti called Soundtrack from Twin Peaks by Claire Nina Norelli.

Now that I am through all 18 parts, and have lived to tell the tale, I am also left wanting more. Hopefully this isn’t the last we’ve seen from the world of Twin Peaks, and that we won’t have to wait another twenty five years for our next piece of cherry pie.



What’s New in the Local History Room

Where File

To begin, if you are not yet aware of the wonderful resource available to you in the form of our Where File cabinet, have a look at the recent article that Darren Bernhardt did for the CBC and learn all about it!

Also, let’s have a look at some of our recent arrivals into the Local History Room.

Image result for Letitia Hargrave : mistress of York Factory

Letitia Hargrave: Mistress of York Factory by Irene Ternier Gordon tells the story of the first European woman to have resided at York Factory back in its heydays as the central fur trading post on the Hudson Bay.  It describes her life, along with that of her husband James Hargrave and their five children, over the decade they spent in Northern Manitoba, including the courtships, scandals and daily operations of the Hudson’s Bay Company.  The observations she left for posterity in her letters about race, religion, living conditions in a remote and sometimes harsh environment, and of the people she met bring a unique perspective rarely mentioned in other more official correspondence of the time.


Cover image for The identities of Marie Rose Delorme Smith : portrait of a Métis woman, 1861-1960

The Identities of Marie Rose Delorme Smith: Portrait of a Métis Woman, 1861-1960, historian Doris MacKinnon set upon the task of writing about Metis identity and what it meant for Marie Rose, whose writings form the basis of the author’s research along with interviews with her descendants, who grew up and lived in the western plains just as the country’s economy and society were making the transition from fur trading to agriculture.  Sold to a whisky trader at age sixteen, Marie Rose went on to run a boarding house, homesteaded in Alberta, and served as medicine woman and midwife before dying at age 99 in 1960.  The book is very well researched and strives to provide a broad historical context of evolving views of what it meant to be Métis from Marie Rose’s writings.


Cover image for Out of old Manitoba kitchens

Out of Old Manitoba Kitchens by Christine Hanlon provides a fun look at how some of our local (and sometimes not-so-local) foods were prepared in the early days of the province, as well as of the people who prepared them.  Starting with our steadfast Bannock, you can find recipes from diverse culinary traditions like popovers, Ponnukokur (Icelandic pancakes), kielke (Mennonite noodles), to even Nellie McClung’s very own dumpling recipe.  This illustrated book is a great read if you are interested in food, old-is-new ideas to try on your own, or if you want to read about personal stories of the rich culinary traditions and narratives of its earliest cooks, including the Indigenous people, Selkirk Settlers and first homesteaders.


Loran Olson is a Registered Nurse who recently published Through the Cracks: Voices of Martha Street.  Located in downtown Winnipeg off of Martha Street, Main Street Project aims to help those struggling with homelessness and addiction by providing a foundation in which individuals can take steps towards positive change. The book shares the voices of people dealing with great suffering who shared their experiences with the author through interviews.  The experiences of the staff and volunteers who work at the Main Street Project are also included.



A Childhood Memory

I’ll never forget the lessons I learned from a grade 4 classmate. She was a childhood hero.

bullying masonIn elementary school I was full of false bravado, I swaggered and acted tough, even while being bullied by Grade 6 students. My classmate on the other hand was the real deal.

There was a boy in our class who was a cruel bully. He picked on specific kids, and he picked on her the worst. For whatever reason, the curly-haired redheaded girl was the butt of his jokes and small cruelties.

One recess, as I quietly entered the school yard hoping to avoid my Grade 6 tormentors, I saw this girl squared off against the Grade 4 class bully. Back in those days, and maybe now, there were the occasional fights at recess. This boy was often in those fights, and he always won. But she was resolved. She had decided he wasn’t going to bully her anymore.

Barbara ColorosoAs the fight began, other students formed a circle and stood watching. (This was the common reaction to a fight, circle and watch.)

The fight was a draw. She had stood up to him for 15 whole minutes of pushing and pulling and even throwing punches.  But that wasn’t the end of it. They squared off again at lunch, then afternoon recess, then the next day and the next.

Every recess and lunch they fought. Someone would go down, but always get back up. It was very high drama. And completely shocking to me.  This super sweet girl stood her ground. She didn’t ask anyone else to fight her battle. She didn’t complain or whine. She stood up to that bully, both physically and emotionally.

Children and bullyingI have no idea where the adults were, but I don’t remember any type of teacher involvement. And I have no idea what went on at home. Were her parents supporting her? Did they even know of her courage? Regardless, to us, she was strength personified.

Finally it was a stand-off. Eventually this bully just didn’t want to do it anymore. He was actually tired of trying to win against this amazingly strong person. And he quietly and unobtrusively stopped bullying her and others as well. She had gained his respect and because of that, I like to imagine that he re-examined his actions, and decided that bullying wasn’t the way to get respect or attention.

beyond bullyingAs for me, as much as I didn’t appear to care or to be impressed, I was SO impressed. It actually has taken me years to process that experience. This inspiring Grade 4 girl had fractured the myth that bullies couldn’t be stood up to by a ‘nice’ girl. She was a sweet and happy person who had enough strength in her to overcome an attempt at body shaming. She wouldn’t stand for it.

In this day and age I don’t know how often physical confrontations like this occur, but truly, this girl was triumphant. She stayed kind and nice and pleasant. She didn’t become a bully. Out of all the cool kids, the rich kids, the poor kids, the tough kids, and whatever other labels we put on each other, this pleasant, even-tempered, happy person stood up to the Grade 4 bully and made all of our lives better.

A couple months later I had my own fight at recess, and I lost badly to my Grade 6 tormentor. As my two friends stood there silently and the bullies in the circle cheered on my tormentor, I didn’t back down either. I learned from the best. You can’t let people hurt you; you can only hurt yourself if you believe what they say about you.

dare to be kind

In this age of cyber-bullying and public shaming I often wonder how my childhood hero would have reacted. My guess is that bullying is bullying and the lessons I learned from her are still relevant today, in whatever setting we find ourselves.

Believe in yourself. Fight back. You don’t need a group of people around you in order to insist on respect. Don’t let anyone drag you down or make you feel less than. And perhaps most importantly, Dare to be Kind.

~ Nadine

Never Too Soon

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Jacqueline Kennedy

I’ve been called by many names over the years, some of them more pleasant than others, but I think the one I cherish the most is Auntie Book. When my family and friends started having children, I showed up at every baby shower with a gift of a hand-knit blanket wrapped around a bundle of books. As time went on, I continued to give books as gifts on every possible occasion. I also kept a stash of reading materials in a huge tote bag, which I brought out whenever I had the chance to look after my nieces and nephews. Time has marched on at a rapid pace, and those little ones have now grown up and in some cases have little ones of their own. I stopped being Auntie Book to those kids some years ago, but I still believe that the best gift you can give a child of any age is a book – and your time.

It’s never too soon to start sharing the joy of books with a child, and the  Winnipeg Public Library has a plethora of programs to suit any preschooler in your life. For those who are quite literally new to the world, and thus to reading in general, we have the Baby Rhyme Time program, which is aimed at infants aged 0 – 24 months and their caregivers.  This program offers songs, rhymes, and stories that will get the little ones in your life off to a great start.

For this age group, one of my go-to book recommendations is Read Me a Book by Barbara Reid. The words celebrate the many ways you can read with a child, and the illustrations of familiar locations are great for a developing mind.

Once a child has reached the age of 2, we have another program that suits the needs of busy, inquisitive minds and bodies. Time for Twos is designed with the toddler in mind, with loads of interactive activities and age-appropriate stories.


For this stage in life, my book gift list would invariably include a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. It’s a perfect choice to catch a child’s interest, with loads of fun pictures and a highly satisfying ending.

Pre-School Story Time is the next step in enhancing a child’s love of literacy. This program is for children aged 3 – 5 who are ready to be part of a group without their caregivers in the same room. Longer stories and more fun songs and stretches ensure that everyone has a good time.

The first time I read Bark, George by Jules Feiffer I knew that I had found a true gem. Between the ridiculous story and riotous illustrations, I defy anyone to read this and not end up with a roaring case of the giggles.

If everyone in the family is into books, why not check out a Family Story Time? The content is aimed primarily at children aged 3 – 5, but everyone is welcome to join in the fun.

And, on Monday evenings, the St. James Library is offering a Sensory Story Time.  Featuring books, stretches, and movement activities in an input-sensitive environment. Sensory Story Time is an interactive program geared toward children ages 3-5, including children on the Autism spectrum, and their parents/caregivers and siblings.

One of our favorite books to read at Sensory Story Time is The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. Everyone has fun trying to spot that big hungry bear before he gets to that red ripe strawberry.

I still treasure the memories of the kids I read with back in the day, and fortunately for me so do they. I’m almost finished knitting the blanket for the latest little one to become part of my life, and, of course, I’ve already picked up the rest of the present. Long live Auntie Book!



It’s Time to Read: Middlesex


time_to_read_logo_v7c[1]The Time to Read Podcast – Join us anytime

Today (Friday March 2) we release our second podcast episode! Time to Read is our newest endeavor to bring our services to you, wherever you are. It’s a distance book club that you can participate in at your convenience. In your pajamas, on your commute, while working out…

We’d like to thank all of you who have listened and participated so far, through Twitter, the website, and through email. We loved hearing your thoughts and getting your questions to spark our the recorded discussion. I hope you are excited to hear it!

middlesexIn this episode we talk about Forrest Gump, rune stones, Jeff Goldblum, oh yeah, and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. This Pulitzer Prize-winner is the story of a Greek American family and the way their secrets result in a special individual named Cal (an intersex man who had been raised as a girl named Callie. It’s complicated). Expect humor, dysfunction, silkworms, and the American Dream.

We know this is a big book (over 500 pages) to have chosen for our second month, so if you read along, many, many thanks to you!! If not, feel free to wait to listen until you are done reading – because we definitely talk about all of the spoilers.

But in the meantime, pick up the next book we’re reading, The Underground Railroad, and be sure to send us your thoughts so we can talk about them in the next recording, the last week of March. Don’t worry it’s much smaller.

undergroundAgain, March’s book is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I just finished it and it is amazing. The discussion pages for this and our previous books are open now, or email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

See all the details about this endeavor at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca


  • Erica and the Time to Read Team


February Has Gone to the Dogs

A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.

-John Grogan

I am, for the next two weeks, the caretaker of my furry nephew, all 130 some pounds of him. Did I mention that he is only 7 months old?  Being from a family who love dogs, it’s nice to have an animal in the house again, and to be greeted with a wagging tail when I come home. We had to put our family dog to sleep many years ago, yet I still catch myself thinking of her and missing her every once in a while. Animals can do that to you, especially dogs. What other animal can put a smile on your face (even if you had a terrible day at work), can be so excited to see you return home every day and can help brighten those cold winter months? It is called Februweary for a reason. While the month is drawing to a close, and spring is just on the horizon, I thought in this blog post I would offer up some animal-loving happiness to hopefully put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step, and perhaps a tear in your eye as animal stories often do (Where the Red Fern Grows had me blubbering like a baby, but in a cathartic way). Enjoy!

 marley  Marley and Me by John Grogan

Anyone who has ever had a pet all know they misbehave at some point, but Marley the dog just happens to do so more than other animals. Marley is labeled as the world’s worst dog by his owners, and from these stories I can understand why. However, despite his destructive behaviour they love him just the same and the love he has for them all makes this story truly beautiful and heartwarming (and tear-inducing). I’m sure many of us can attest to misbehaving animals, for what dog doesn’t have their issues, yet they are loved by their family despite their quirks (our dog had plenty, including the time she ate my hemp necklace). The film is just as good!

Training People: how to bring out the best in your human by Tess of Helena

Let’s face it; we humans need plenty of training when it comes to having a dog, and who better to offer this insight than Tess of Helena. Tess of Helena, I should note, is a Labrador retriever, and has written this informative book with the help of Brian Kahn, for dogs looking for a human companion. Tess helps dogs understand training and what is expected of them (strange as it may be), and how to navigate the world of humans and the odd things they do (though men are often stronger than women they can still easily be tripped up with the leash). Funny and insightful, this book will have dog owners nodding their heads at the strange things their pet does. The Dogma of Rufus: A canine guide to eating, sleeping, digging, slobbering, scratching, and surviving with humans a book written by Rufus, an old dog, offers similar advice, such as informing dogs that human beds are much more comfier than dog beds, therefore even if your owner tells you not to climb on the bed with them you just have to wait until they are asleep.

 art The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Told entirely from the perspective of Enzo the dog, “a philosopher with a nearly human soul”, the book follows Enzo as he looks back on his life with his owner, a race car driver. Through his flashbacks we understand what it means to be human and the special bond dogs and humans have, a perspective which only a dog can possess.


Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Alexis’ novel was the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, the winner of 2017’s Canada Reads and bears an interesting premise: Gods Hermes and Apollo gift dogs at an animal clinic with human reasoning and language, naturally the dogs escape the clinic and set up their own society in Toronto’s Hyde Park. How will the dogs react to their new knowledge and abilities, will some change and become more “human” and “corrupt”, or will some still retain the undeniable exuberance which dogs seem to naturally emit? A mixture of Greek mythology with a modern-day twist Alexis’ novel will certainly have people pondering the bet the gods make, “would animals be happier with human reasoning and language?”

 dog A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

This book was recently made into a film (and filmed around Winnipeg!). It follows a dog who is reincarnated over and over again, sometimes he has excellent owners, other times he is abused and neglected yet he continually searches for his purpose and remembers the love he felt from his owner Ethan. It is a beautiful, funny and touching story, and if you enjoy this one Cameron has written a sequel titled A Dog’s Journey focusing on another dog Buddy finding his/her purpose.

The library offers plenty of insightful dog books for those wishing to learn more about particular breeds, tips on training, on purchasing your dog or true heartwarming stories of dogs that battled the odds and their special bonds with humans; you can find them all in our 636.7 section.



All The Feels

When I think about agility, I think about Michael Jordan, cruisin’ down the court, dodging defenders as if they’re standing still, bringin’ it home with a sweet tongue-out slam dunk.

I think about Roger Federer racing to the front of the net to catch a short lob, tipping his racquet at just the right angle, sending the ball careening to the back end of his opponent’s court…..all the while, making a sweat band look like the coolest piece of clothing ever.

I think about those crazy agility competitions for dogs.  Seriously! Man’s best friend, just givin’ ‘er, weaving between poles and barreling through tunnels like nobody’s bid’niss!  Mad skillz!

But what about the concept of emotional agility?

What if we were just as responsive and alert with our thoughts and feelings, as we are with our feet?

Susan David, a psychologist and professor at Harvard Medical School, recently came out with a fascinating book entitled Emotional Agility.

Susan argues that we live in a world that values “getting on with it,” and that all too often, we try to jump to a solution, without feeling the feels.

Emotions exist so that we can communicate with ourselves, and when we try to push negative feelings aside, they actually get amplified.

How many times have you ever gotten some bad news, only to bury it, “numb” the pain, and distract yourself with a shopping spree, an entire pizza, or just “keeping yourself busy”?

The end result? Negativity either boils over at the most inopportune moment, with the most unsuspecting of people…..or it eats away at you from the inside, affecting your outlook, attitude, mood, and health.

The best thing we can do for ourselves?  Sit with our emotions.  Sort them out.  Do some journaling. Talk with a friend who will listen without judgment, and without offering a quick fix. Reflect on your feelings with presence and awareness.

Susan David emphasizes the importance of simply “seeing” our emotions for what they are, and she brings to light a beautiful South African greeting, “Sawubona,” which means: “I see you, and by seeing you, I bring you into being.”

And so it is only when we “see” our negative emotions that we can truly bring them into being, deal with them, process them, and learn from them in a way that actually enriches our lives. Through self-reflection, we are provided with the opportunity to see how our values might be slightly out of line, or we can witness a way in which we can simply alter our perspective.  None of which can be done when we shove our negative feelings under the rug.

We as human beings experience a spectrum of emotions, none of which are either “bad” or “good,” and the more we come to terms with facing those emotions head on, the healthier and more fulfilled we will be.

And so how do we teach our kids to be emotionally agile?  We lead by example, and teach them as best we can through words, actions, and books!  Here are a few great books to get you started!

Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley
Glad, sad, silly, mad – monsters have all kinds of different feelings! In this innovative die-cut book, featuring a snazzy foil cover, you’ll try on funny masks as you walk through the wide range of moods all little monsters (and kids!) experience.  A fun, interactive way to explore the many different ways we feel!

Millie Fierce by Jane Manning
Millie is quiet. Millie is sweet. Millie is mild. But the kids at school don’t listen to her. And she never gets a piece of birthday cake with a flower on it. And some girls from her class walk right on top of her chalk drawing and smudge it. And they don’t even say they’re sorry!  So that’s when Millie decides she wants to be fierce! She frizzes out her hair, sharpens her nails and runs around like a wild thing. But she soon realizes that being fierce isn’t the best way to get noticed either, especially when it makes you turn mean. So Millie decides to be nice–but to keep a little of that fierce backbone hidden inside her. In case she ever needs it again.

The Great Big Book of Feelings by Mary Hoffman
The book opens with the question: “How are you feeling today?” And this leads on to a spread by spread presentation of a wide range of feelings, including: *Happy * Sad * Excited * Bored * Interested * Angry * Upset * Calm * Silly * Lonely * Scared * Safe *Embarrassed * Shy * Confident * Worried * Jealous * Satisfied. The final spread is about Feeling Better because sharing and talking about feelings helps us to feel better.

There Are No Animals In This Book (Only Feelings) by Chani Sanchez
In this gorgeous, ground-breaking book, masterworks of contemporary art teach children about their feelings and how they can be expressed through art. The bold work of contemporary artists is totally accessible to small children. In these images children will recognise love, surprise, hurt, and other powerful feelings. Images are accompanied by a fun-to-read aloud narrative with a silly twist at the end that is sure to delight younger readers. Parents can enjoy the art as well as the opportunity to engage their children in a light-hearted discussion of feelings.

The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood
All quiet is not created equal. In this irresistibly charming picture book, many different quiet moments are captured, from the anticipation-heavy “Top of the roller coaster quiet” to the shocked-into-silence “First look at your new hairstyle quiet.” The impossibly sweet bears, rabbits, fish, birds, and iguanas are all rendered in soft pencils and coloured digitally, and, as in all of the best picture books, the illustrations propel the story far beyond the words.

— Lindsay Schluter

A Collection of Love-ly Books

Well, here we are, mid-February already! I know it’s been cold and windy, but every day we are just a bit closer to spring. Spring means sunshine, flowers, and the start of wedding season! Cue the bells!

Holidays like Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day are all big moments for wedding proposals, so there is a good chance that you might be receiving a save the date sometime in the near future (or maybe you’re the one sending them out… in which case, congrats!)

Now, the library loves love (have you seen our romance collection?), so don’t you worry, we have your back when it comes to all things weddings! Here are just a few of our newer titles to get you started:

knot  The Knot Yours Truly: Inspiration and Ideas to Personalize Your Wedding by Carley Roney

A great choice for those who want every detail and aspect of the wedding to be just as special and unique as the couple tying the knot! You’ll find lots of inspiration in these pages.



stonefox Stone fox bride : love, lust, and wedding planning for the wild at heart by Molly Guy

If you’re a fan of non-traditional, uber-personalized weddings, this book is a great place to look for advice and reassurance when the planning gets to be too much!  Less focused on how to actually plan a wedding, the author shares some personal stories and rounds it out with some beautiful images that are sure to get your imagination and creativity flowing.


Equally wed : the ultimate guide to planning your LGBTQ+ wedding by Kristen Ott equallyPaladino

Looking for some help with the step-by-steps of wedding planning? Palladino has you covered, walking you through the latest wedding trends and providing some sample budgets (US prices) to help you get a sense of how much your dream wedding could cost!



The wedding book : an expert’s guide to planning your perfect day–your way by Mindy weddingWeiss

Weiss walks you through just about everything in this multi-tasking title, from announcing the engagement–including whom to tell first and what to do when someone isn’t happy about the news–to getting to the altar, from planning a honeymoon to preserving the bouquet when you return. It includes lists, schedules, budgeting tools, and timelines.


newlywed The newlywed cookbook : cooking happily ever after by Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

Who amongst us doesn’t like the sound of no-fail recipes? This book aims to help you get the most out of those wedding registry appliances, and comes filled with lovely pictures and tasty recipes, just for two. It also includes a helpful “Kitchen and Pantry Basics” section towards the back, so it’s easy to make sure your kitchen is well-stocked and ready to go.


marthastewart Martha Stewart’s newlywed kitchen : recipes for weeknight dinners & easy, casual gatherings

Looking for more cooking inspo? You can’t go wrong with a little help from Martha Stewart herself. She’s got you covered from quick dinners to brunches to parties of all kinds!


So there you are, just a few places to get your walk down the aisle started! Of course, this just barely scratches the surface of what we have available, so make sure to come in and have a look or scan through our online catalogue!

Wishing you a happily ever after,


1968: Remembering a Year that Shook the World

Cover image for 1968

We have reached the 50th anniversary of one of the most tumultuous years of the 20th century, with many events happening across the globe that helped shape the world we live in. 1968 has often been characterised as a year of painful transition, revolt and chaos, with post-World War II youth of the West finding their voice and demanding change from what they saw as a corrupt and unjust establishment amidst a background of war and revolts brewing all over the globe. Winnipeg Public Library has plenty of material for those interested in learning about or remembering the important events that marked the year.

Cover image for Trudeaumania : the rise to power of Pierre Elliot Trudeau

In Canada, 1968 saw the implementation of Medicare laws, and the growing protests in Quebec in favour of independence from the rest of the country, which would culminate in the FLQ Crisis two years later. This was also the year Pierre Trudeau was elected Prime Minister, and his personal appeal to wide swaths of Canadian society (notably the younger generation) would coin the term “Trudeaumania.” Robert Wright’s recent book Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau chronicles the phenomenon while also trying to correct some of the myths and over-simplifications surrounding the election that started his 15 years as Prime Minister of Canada. Like John F. Kennedy in the States, Trudeau’s appeal was a mix of personal charisma and strength of conviction (skillfully wielded through his televised appearances), but even then, the author notes, he only won the Liberal party leadership by a slim majority and the Liberals won the election with 45.5 percent of the popular vote against relatively weak opponents (Conservative Robert Stanfield and Tommy Douglas of the NDP). Wright credits Trudeau’s lasting appeal on his pragmatic policies that he implemented to fight for a Canada that was unified (in direct opposition to Rene Levesque’s sovereignist movement), modern and multicultural.

Image result for vietnam war ken burns Cover image for The odyssey of Echo Company : the 1968 Tet Offensive and the epic battle to survive the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War reached its peak in 1968 and its effects were felt globally, with movements both for and against the involvement of the U.S. military spreading all over the world.  (Canada became a safe haven for thousands of Americans seeking to avoid the draft, while at the same time hundreds of Canadians volunteered in the U.S. army to fight in Vietnam.) The recently released documentary The Vietnam War (both the DVD series and companion book) produced by the always-excellent Ken Burns is one of the best retrospectives of this grim conflict. Both the book and the 10-part DVD series are filled with testimonials from survivors from all sides who took part in the conflict, on the battlefield or on the homefront, and they offer not only their memories but also reflections on how the conflict has changed them fifty years later. It is highly recommended for those interested in a fresh, introspective look into this not-so distant part of history.

The odyssey of Echo Company : the 1968 Tet Offensive and the epic battle to survive the Vietnam War by journalist and author Doug Stanton is the account of a platoon from the American 101st Airborne Division fighting for survival during this campaign. Through the author’s narrative, you follow Stan Parker from his humble childhood as a son of an itinerant ironworker to his experiences in Vietnam and his return home. Stanton captures the loyalty and camaraderie of infantrymen as well as the very dark and desperate fighting that occurred, and the psychological wounds that men like Parker had to quietly bear in the years that followed.
Cover image for The plot to kill King : the truth behind the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  Cover image for "R.F.K. must die!" : chasing the mystery of the Robert Kennedy assassination
In addition to the war overseas, American society was being fractured along multiple lines as it had not been since the Civil War a century ago. Racial violence erupted in multiple cities, along with large-scale street protests. 1968 was also a year marred with the assassinations of two great figures of American politics. Martin Luther King, minister and activist in the Civil Rights movement against the racial oppression of African-Americans was shot in Memphis on April 4th. King’s death led to burning and rioting in 30 US cities prompting the mobilization of National Guard units to restore civilian control and order. The result was thousands of arrests and at least 39 dead and large-scale destruction throughout the Unites States. On June 5th, barely two months later, Robert Kennedy, younger brother of the slain president, was murdered during a campaign rally in Los Angeles, ending the hopes of millions who saw in him an heir to his brother’s political legacy and re-shaping the American election.
Cover image for Playing with fire : the 1968 election and the transformation of American politics
The death of RFK was just one part of the story of one of the most tumultuous elections in U.S. history, one that echoes to our present political climate and its excesses. Writer and TV host Lawrence O’Donnell has recently published Playing with fire : the 1968 election and the transformation of American politics, a detailed history of this pivotal electoral campaign that saw several strong contenders from both party fight not only to unite their own fractured parties, but also a fractured nation rocked with riots and protests. The book tells how Richard Nixon managed to win despite his  opponent’s initial lead through skillful use of the media (aided by Roger Ailes, future CEO of Fox News), promising to bring peace in Vietnam “with honor”, and the splintering of the old Democratic party during its national convention. Though the author does not hide his partisan bias, this is still a well-researched history told in an easy to read style.
Cover image for Apollo 8 : the thrilling story of the first mission to the Moon

In a more hopeful conclusion after a year marred by much violence and rancor, the end of 1968 also saw the first manned spacecraft, Apollo 8, to travel and orbit around the moon, paving the way for Neil Armstrong’s voyage a year later.

Jeffrey Kluger’s Apollo 8 : the thrilling story of the first mission to the Moon takes us from Mission Control to the astronauts’ homes, and the race to prepare an untested rocket for an unprecedented journey that made the dream of setting foot on the moon seem within reach practically overnight.
Much more was happening in the world that year: the Communist world was convulsing under the Prague Spring uprising and the Cultural Revolution in China was at its height.  Planet of the Apes and 2001: Space Odyssey were released in movie theaters.
What will you remember 1968 for?

All we need is TIME TO READ

Not so very long ago, a small group of librarians had the idea to create a monthly “Podcast Bookclub” to which anyone could subscribe and follow along.

We are super excited to announce that today (Friday, February 2, 2018) is the launch day for our first episode! You can find us at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca or wherever you find your other podcasts.

Time to Read Event Banner

We are calling it “Time to Read” and we would love it if you gave it a listen. Our first selection is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. When we announced this project on Twitter last month,  Margaret Atwood HERSELF tweeted her approval, so no pressure, right?

atwood tweet

“Passionate and Witty”? You be the judge!

Without giving too much away, in addition to talking about Margaret Atwood and her dystopian novel, we veer off on tangents involving sloths, CD-ROMs, Blade Runner, and Keanu Reeves. To learn more you’ll just have to listen. Haven’t read Oryx and Crake yet? What are you waiting for? The cool thing about podcasts is that they will be still available for listening down the road, so you can always go back and revisit old episodes.

Going forward, we are hoping that you, our online community of readers, can be a part of this project too. We’d love it if you’d like to read each month’s selection along with us, and send us your opinions, thoughts and questions ahead of time. We’ll even give you a shout out during the episode if you include your first name and home library branch. We’ll be eagerly checking our inbox at:


You’ll also be able to find us on Instagram,  Twitter and Facebook, and we would love to hear from you after you listen as well. Even if you disagree with us. ESPECIALLY if you disagree with us! It’s all about getting a discussion going, and connecting in new and different ways.



Next month’s book will be Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I can’t wait to find out what all of us, and all of YOU, have to say about it.