Ukrainians in Canada

Ukrainian Canadian Pioneer Experience Display

On now until February 15 Journey to Canada: Ukrainian Immigration Experiences 1891-1900 is a large panel exhibit at the Millennium Library (fourth floor) featuring the early period of Ukrainians on the Canadian prairies.

The exhibit chronicles experiences arriving in a new land, setting up temporary settlements and then constructing homes, churches, and communities. This first wave of Ukrainian immigration is retold through photographs, documents and early narratives.

Local History Room Display Ukraine

Be sure to pick up a copy of our Ukrainian Canadians search guide to help find more information about this topic and browse through the many items in our Local History Room and the rest of our collection.

The display is sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Manitoba Provincial Council and was created by the Kule Centre for Ukrainian Folklore at the University of Alberta.

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Dauphin Manitoba

Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Dauphin, Manitoba.
Source: The Rob McInnes Postcard Collection , Winnipeg Public Library’s PastForward: Winnipeg’s Digital Public History            

 

We look forward to having people drop by!

Louis-Philippe

 

Books-to-Movies, 2018 Edition

The New Year has kicked off, and with it a new list of books being made into movies this year! I thought I would compile a list of the upcoming releases to give our readers a chance to read the book before the movie. (If you’ve already read the book, I hope you’re looking forward to seeing the movie on the big screen and comparing it to the book.) I’ve divided the list by genre so that there is something for everyone, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Enjoy!

Sci-Fi

 playerone   Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Set in a futuristic society where humanity’s only escape from the desolate, unfriendly world is a virtual utopia called OASIS, teenager Wade Watts has studied the puzzles and intricacies of the game and hopes to unlock the clues laid by the OASIS creator who promises power and fortune to those who can unlock them. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and judging from the trailer features some fantastic special effects.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

I have written about my love for Jeff VanderMeer’s writing in a previous blog post, so naturally I have to include the film adaptation in this list as well. I hope the film will do the book justice! A biologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and an anthropologist are sent out to explore an area known as Area X. We are not given much information regarding Area X, simply what the narrator, the biologist, tells us. VanderMeer ratchets up the suspense and dread throughout the novel to its shocking conclusion, which luckily to the readers isn’t a conclusion at all as there are two other books in the trilogy afterwards.

Romance

fiftyshades  Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

The last book in the trilogy takes place after Christian Grey’s big announcement, and we see Christian and Anna living blissfully until someone from their past threatens their happily ever after. The movie promises to be romantic, steamy and passionate and is, naturally, being released on Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t read the first two of the trilogy, you’ll want to start with those before reading this one.

Fiction

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Though this could be considered a romance, as well as a comedy, I have opted to put it in general fiction, a place where you will find the novel in the library catalogue. Rachel Wu is meeting her boyfriend of two years’ family for the first time in Singapore, a family which her boyfriend has been very secretive about. Is he ashamed because they are not wealthy? Quite the opposite, he hails from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore where opulence and luxury are the norm. They’re not just rich, they are crazy rich.

Children’s

peterrabbit   The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The trailer for the movie has touted some controversy and groans from the audience for appearing to be nothing like the book. There is, however, still a protagonist called Peter Rabbit (voiced by Late Night host James Corden) and of course a Farmer McGregor chasing him out of his garden. Read the beloved picture book that began the series before you bring the kiddies to the remake, nostalgia abound!

Young Adult

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This classic novel of one young girl’s journey to find her father who is trapped by “The Black Thing” is sure to bring in people of all ages, not only for nostalgia’s sake but also the A-List cast which includes Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Be sure to delve into the classic before you head to the cinema.

 everyday  Every Day by David Levithan

A fascinating concept for a book, the protagonist, known simply as “A”, wakes up in a different body every day. One such body is a boy named Justin and there A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon and forms a connection with her. This connection leads them to find a way to be with Rhiannon every day no matter which body they find themselves in. It is a book and film which can explore many issues pertinent to the present day, and reminds us that love is love.

Graphic Novel

Black Panther

Yet another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther the film is naturally getting a lot of hype, and fingers crossed the film does the comics justice. If you’re unfamiliar with the character, the library has plenty of graphic novels to get you up to speed on who/what/where/when and how is Black Panther and his secretive nation of Wakanda.

Mystery/Thriller

spiderweb   The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

I find it interesting that they chose to make the most recent entry in the Lisbeth Salander series into a film when they have not continued with the English version of the other two in the series. Nevertheless, the book and movie continues with hacker Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they tackle yet another mystery together. Though not penned by the author of the original Millennium trilogy, Lagercrantz continues delving into the story and history of Lisbeth Salander. If you would like to watch the rest of the trilogy on film you can borrow the three films from the library with Noomi Rapace in the lead role, they are absolutely phenomenal.

Suspense/Spy

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

This upcoming spy/thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton who play spies on opposite sides. Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a spy trained to seduce the enemy. Edgerton plays a Nate Nash, a CIA operative who handles Russian Intelligence. Their attraction to each other, and Dominika’s having been forced into becoming a “sparrow” leads her to choose a double life, working for the CIA and working for Russian Intelligence, a choice which has deadly consequences. A fast-paced thriller that is action-packed, and which stars the incredible Jennifer Lawrence is sure to bring people to the theatres, but I assure you, the book is just as good.

Historical Fiction

 guernsey The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A writer looking for inspiration learns of a book club in Guernsey created during the German occupation as a way for the townspeople to get together without arising suspicion. Written as an epistolary novel the book features the protagonist’s correspondence with a native of Guernsey as she learns of and speaks to those in the society. The movie stars Lily James in the lead role, along with Matthew Goode and Jessica Brown Findlay.

Are there any book-to-movies coming out you’re looking forward to seeing that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading and viewing!

 

-Aileen

Remember When….

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” — Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite things to do when I was little, was bake with my mom.  She’d pull out our matching aprons, I’d grab a chair to pull up next to the counter, and together we’d mix, stir, measure and pour.  If I was lucky, she’d let me crack the eggs.  And forgiving as she was, she’d then pick out all of the eggshells that inevitably landed in the batter!

To this day, the smell of cookies baking in the oven reminds me of this wonderful memory.  What an incredible gift, to be able to cultivate a feeling of warmth, happiness and love, simply from an aroma! Memories are powerful.  And the amazing thing is, they last a lifetime!

I recently read an article on The Incredible Power of Nostalgia, and I was fascinated to learn about the scientific research being done on memories, reminiscing, and “nostalgizing.” In a 2012 study published in the journal Memory, Routledge and his colleagues showed that nostalgizing helps people relate their past experiences to their present lives in order to make greater meaning of it all. The result can boost their mood and reduce stress. “Nostalgia increases feelings of social connectedness to others,” he says. “Nostalgia makes people feel loved and valued and increases perceptions of social support when people are lonely.”

All the more reason to flip through that dusty photo album, call up on old friend, or pick up that “old favourite” book!  Here are a few childhood classics to stir up those feel good memories:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
One evening Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight. Armed only with an oversize purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of wonder and excitement. Harold and his trusty crayon travel through woods and across seas and past dragons before returning to bed, safe and sound. Full of funny twists and surprises, this charming story shows just how far your imagination can take you.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast lunch and dinner.
But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. It rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers.  Life for the townspeople was delicious until the weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger and so did the portions. Chewandswallow was plagued by damaging floods and storms of huge food. the town was a mess and the people feared for their lives.  Something had to be done, and in a hurry.

Pete’s a Pizza by William Steig
Pete’s father starts kneading the dough. Next, some oil is generously applied. (Its really water.) And then some tomatoes. (They’re really checkers.) When the dough gets tickled, it laughs like crazy.

Alexander, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst
He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with gum in his hair. When he got out of bed, he tripped over his skateboard and by mistake dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. He could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV.  What do you do on a day like that? Well, you may think about going to Australia. You may also be glad to find that some days are like that for other people too.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.  The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

~ Lindsay

 

Time To Read: A new podcast for Winnipeg book lovers

Picture of the four members of the podcast team

Find everything you need to know about Time to Read at our new website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca

It is with great excitement, dear readers, that we are writing to introduce you to Time to Read – a new monthly podcast brought to you by Winnipeg Public Library. Although, as four book-loving librarians we feel the term podcast doesn’t quite encapsulate what we hope to accomplish with this undertaking.
More than just a podcast, Time to Read is also a book club. Over the course of a month we will read a book and then sit down to record a discussion, all while sharing a few laughs along the way.

But, and here is where you come in future listeners, we don’t just want you to sit idly by while we have all the fun. We want you to read the book along with us, all while sharing your likes and dislikes. We want to know what kept your mind wandering into the wee hours of the morning and what made you angry enough to throw the book across the room. We want you to join us in forming a Time to Read community!

Book cover of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and CrakeJoin us this January as we read our first book Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.  As you read please email your thoughts to wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.  If you would like to be acknowledged on air, please include your first name and your home library branch.  We would love to give you a shout-out when we release the first episode in February!

We also want you, as listeners, to have input in creating the Time to Read community!  We know Winnipeggers are intelligent and thoughtful people. So, we want to tap into that knowledge. Let us know which books you’d like to read in the future. Let us know what is and isn’t working with the podcast. Reach us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

We hope to hear from you soon
as we all try to find
a little more
Time to Read.

– Alan, Erica, Kirsten, Trevor and the rest of the Time to Read team.

eMedia @ Winnipeg Public Library: your guide to 24/7 entertainment!

As many of you already know, you have 24/7 access to our eLibrary anywhere in the world with your library card. You can access eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music, magazines and more. For 2018, we’re changing things up! Effective January 2 here’s what you will have access to:

eBooks
Downloadable eBooks will continue to be available through OverDrive and new for 2018 – RBdigital. Streaming eBooks are also available from McGraw Hill, Tumblebooks, Bookflix and more.

eAudiobooks
eAudiobooks will continue to be available through OverDrive and new for 2018 –
RBdigital. We will no longer be offering eAudiobooks through Hoopla.

eMovies and TV
Downloadable and streaming movies and TV shows will continue to be available
through Hoopla. Now we’re also offering streaming videos through
OverDrive. Later this month you will have access to our Kanopy subscription. Kanopy offers thousands of documentary film festival movies and feature films especially prized by cinephiles, including the top 50 Criterion Collection titles.

eMusic
Streaming full-length music albums are available through Hoopla. For those with more classical/folk/world/jazz tastes, listen in to our Naxos Music Library.

eMagazines
We offer more than 150 full-colour cover-to-cover issues of your favourite weekly and monthly magazines like US Weekly, National Geographic, Canadian Living, In Touch Weekly, The Economist, Martha Stewart Living and more through both RBdigital (formerly called Zinio), Flipster, and PressReader.

— Barbara

2017, I’m SO over you

The end of the year is a time for reflections and resolutions. Often, whether I  want to or not, I find myself asking what what’s been working for me and what hasn’t during the past year. What can we do to improve our quality of life, to improve our bodies, minds, and spirits to make the next year our best yet? I’m a self-proclaimed self-help book nerd, and what’s why I thought compiling a list of my favourites was a good way to send off 2017. Happy New Year and wishing you all the best in 2018!

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson

Why I loved it: No-nonsense advice about how to give less f***’s. I love the way this guy writes. While you’re reading you’ll feel as though you’re having beers together and he’s giving you his very honest, sometimes hard–to-take perspective. He doesn’t sugar coat, and that’s why this book is great.

My biggest take away: No matter what situation we’re in, there will always be problems to solve, it’s just a matter of picking the situations and problems we want to solve.

 

A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Why I loved it: I am a HUGE Marianne Williamson fan. I could go on and on about her. But for the purposes of this blog…She was born a Texan, raised Jewish, then turned Atheist, she studied acting, philosophy and almost became a cabaret singer in New York. Then she took ‘A Course in Miracles’ and had a spiritual awakening of sorts. These are her revelations about how we can experience miracles every day. A book full of spiritual reflections and advice without being preachy!  Amen.

My Biggest Take Away: A miracle is when a shift in perspective occurs.

 

10% Happier by Dan Harris

Why I loved it: Dan Harris was your run of the mill big-city reporter with an affection for cocaine when he started interviewing religious leaders for his job. After interviewing the likes of Deepak Chopra and The Dalai Lama he very skeptically tried meditation. He found out that it actually made him about 10% happier and gave him an inner peace he never knew he had, all without losing his career driven edge.

My Biggest Take Away: Meditation is awesome and it works.

 

7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

Why I loved it: Deepak Chopra is the bomb. There’s a reason he’s as famous as he is, and this book is a good example of that. Here he explains seven spiritual laws in lamens terms.

My biggest Take Away: Karma! Karma, karma, karma.

 

You are a Badass by Jen Cincero

I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it sounds good, doesn’t it? My sister raves about it, so I’m confident it will be great. Have you read it? What are your favourite self-help books?

 

 

Brittany

 

Snow on Snow

“Snow had fallen, snow on snow”. In the Bleak Midwinter, Christina Rosetti

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One of the more insidious and effective ways that “the holiday spirit” gets to us is through seasonal music. You can’t escape it. There’s no agreement as to when the “season” begins. After Halloween, surely. PROBABLY after Remembrance Day, right? But when? December 1st? The first Sunday in Advent? Grey Cup? Whatever you use to define the beginning of the holiday season, there’s no doubt that we are reaching the “peak cheer” zone this week.

The holiday season for me is all about traditions, and I like to listen to the same handful of albums year in and year out. They connect me to Christmases past and fill me with warmth and good feelings. Are any of these on your favourites list?

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi

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I remember watching this tv special even back before you could record it on VCRs, so you had to plan ahead to make sure you didn’t miss it. I still try to watch it at least once a year with my daughter, although it’s clear that it doesn’t hold the same meaning for her. Maybe that will change once she sees the live action version of it, currently playing at Manitoba Theatre for Young People.

The Bells of Dublin by The Chieftains

The_Bells_of_Dublin[1].jpg

I often think of this album as the Christmas album for people who hate Christmas albums. It shies away from the more well known carols, and opts instead for songs like The Rebel Jesus, The St. Stephen’s Day Murders and Past Three O’clock. At various points during the album you can hear long medleys of various carols played in a live setting, and it really creates the impression that you are eavesdropping on a bunch of talented musicians jamming and having a great time, in the tradition of a Celtic kitchen party.

Christmas by Bruce Cockburn

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I would include this album EVEN IF I didn’t feel a certain obligation to have some Canadian content in this list. Even though this album came out in 1993, it is the most recent addition to my regular rotation, joining the others just a few Christmases ago. I like the folksy, upbeat treatment most of the songs on this album get, especially Mary Had A Baby, I saw Three Ships and that most Canadian of Christmas Carols (No, not River by Joni Mitchell, you guys), The Huron Carol.

James Taylor at Christmas by James Taylor

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You know, sometimes you just want to hear a schmaltzy Christmas album, and James Taylor doesn’t disappoint. He kicks things off with Winter Wonderland and gamely works his way through many contemporary classics, like Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bells, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and the problematic Baby It’s Cold Outside with Natalie Cole. It’s not all tinsel and marshmallows, though. We get a lovely rendition of In The Bleak Midwinter towards the end, one of my favourite traditional carols, and one that feels like it was written especially for our part of the world.

What are some of your perennial favourites, and have you found any interesting new ones this year? Let us know in the comments below.

-Trevor

The most wonderful time of the year (for readers)

The end of the year really is a wonderful time for people who love to read!

There are more annual “best of” lists than you can shake a (very large) stick at, but this one holds a special place in my heart. Each year, I ask Winnipeg Public Library staff to name the book which made the biggest impression on them in the last twelve months, and each year I’m enthralled by the variety of titles they send me.

If you’d like to see more staff picks, take a look at our previous lists from 2016 and 2015. Still not satisfied? Check out the Largehearted Boy blog’s list of many, many more year-end book lists.

Fiction of all genres

Derek chose The Wonder by Emma Donoghue because it’s richly told, exploring the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding care and sickness.

Erica enjoyed Robin Sloan’s endearing books, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and Sourdough for delving into seemingly small things that can nonetheless elicit great passion (aka geeking out), whether that be books, computers, baking, cheese, or riddles.

Joanne “raced” through The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker, the post-apocalyptic story of an unlikely hero who sets out on a 500 mile run through the devastated countryside, desperate to be reunited with his family before it’s too late.

Lori sums up the reasons Mira Grant’s Rolling in the Deep became a top read for her in two words: “Killer. Mermaids.”

Madeleine loved Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver for the heroine’s gradual realizations about the way she has treated other people as she relives one day in her life over and over.

Mauri says The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg is a “sweet (but not sappy) story about love, hope, second chances, and the small acts of kindness that can turn friends into family.”

Ann Patchett is one of Toby‘s favourite authors and her writing just seems to get better and better; Commonwealth, the story of two families over five decades, is insightful and beautiful and brilliant.

It took Rémi over 17 years to discover Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books, but this year he finally read Storm Front, the first in the series, which is “a great mix of a detective thriller and a fantasy that’s gritty, witty and just plain fun.”

All varieties of non-fiction

Aileen found that Michael de Adder’s You Might Be From Canada If… brought back memories from childhood as well as, surprisingly, tears to her eyes.

Although The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee can be difficult to read at times, Alan highly recommends it to anyone who has been touched by this pernicious disease.

Brittany found Susannah Cahalan’s memoir Brain on Fire does an excellent job of reconstructing the author’s ‘month of madness’ while suffering from a very rare disease in which the brain attacks itself.

Bryan chose The Ends of the World by Peter Brannen, a “disturbing but also entertaining” tour through the planet’s turbulent history of mass extinctions.

Chris enjoyed Bee Wilson’s Consider the Fork, which shows the evolution of all of our cooking ‘gadgets’ and educates the reader in a fun way on how things have truly changed over the last 2000 years.

What struck Darragh about Kelle Hampton’s Bloom (a brutally honest and emotionally provoking memoir by a mother whose second daughter was born with Down Syndrome) was the power of perspective.

Elke picked Following Atticus by Tom Ryan: the story of a dog and a man who, as friends and equals, conquer both mountains and life’s challenges.

And We Go On [ebook only] by Will Bird was Hugh‘s choice – a memoir of trench warfare on the Western Front that is not for the faint of heart.

Lauren found the collected letters in Letters of Note (edited by Shaun Usher) hilarious to heartbreaking, but every one was a beautiful and authentic piece of writing.

Mary-Ann chose Will Ferguson’s Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw, a collection of fun, entertaining, and educational pieces about interesting places across Canada.

According to Melissa, Riot Days by Maria Alyokhina, a member of ‘Pussy Riot’ the Russian collective famous for their political activism, captures the emotional process of being jailed and successfully advocating for change in the Russian penal system.

Randy says of As a Man Thinketh by James Allen: “This little book is an inspirational powerhouse with its simple, but profound ideology.”

Waiting For First Light, Romeo Dallaire’s powerful first person narrative about dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, brings the experience to life and helped Steve to understand what trauma can do to a person.

For younger readers

Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi was Andrea‘s most memorable book of 2017. The tale of two boys who become connected by a line, it is a story of friendship, struggle and forgiveness–told without a single word.

Jacquie chose the beautiful picture book The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito, illustrated by Julia Kuo, as a great book to share with a child to gently introduce topics of mindfulness and appreciation of silence and stillness in our busy, noisy lives.

Lori thought that she knew a fair amount about Van Gogh, but Deborah Heiligman’s YA biography Vincent and Theo: the Van Gogh Brothers provided some surprising and touching insights about his life, his art, and his premature death.

Terri couldn’t put down Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin – a funny, touching read that tells the story of Riley, a teenager who is coming to terms with what it means to be gender fluid.

And a special mention to Larisa, who published a book of her own this year! Since she had to read it more than 365 times, it definitely became her top read. Berries: 210 Thoughts and Photographs on Life, Love and Light is a book-meditation intended to be the reader’s silent friend, with laconic language and stunning black-and-white photographs.

Happy holidays, and may you never run out of great books to read in 2018!

– Danielle

Tangentially Speaking, not the center of IT

This story begins back when I wasn’t a regular library user. In fact, to be honest, I didn’t think to use the library much at all. I know you’re all gasping, “How could he!,” “What a fool!,” so I’ll give you a paragraph break to catch your breath.

I was young. I was naïve. I was on a mission to complete a sub-list of THE LIST. My goal: to read every book mentioned in Donnie Darko. And before you ask, yes, compiling a list of books to read from a beloved movie or television show is a thing1. People do it for Gilmore Girls. Sometimes a work of art strikes you in just the right way and you end up falling down the rabbit hole2 exploring its references and allusions.

Image credit Keir Hardie (https://flic.kr/p/4x2mqf)

Because of Donnie Darko, I read and watched Watership Down. I started reading Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. Then I started reading it again.  Then I told myself that one day I would be smart enough finish it. My heart skipped a beat when they released Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut and it featured a commentary track with Kevin Smith. And I would laugh to myself while listening to a soundtrack featuring Echo and the Bunnymen3—did I mention Donnie Darko features a man in a giant bunny suit?

Donnie Darko also put a pair of Stephen King novels on my to-read list: The Tommyknockers and another, the title of which I can’t quite remember at the moment4.

But the main obstacle to my goal, the problem that hounded me for years, was trying to track down a copy of “The Destructors” a short story by Graham Greene. In Donnie Darko the Greene’s story is banned from the titular character’s high school because it is seen to promote vandalism. So too, in my life, did it seem to be banned. I scoured bookstores of all shapes and sizes:  from corporate edifices to fly-by-night street sellers. Graham Green was prolific and I found many of his novels, my favourites being:  Doctor Fischer of Geneva and A Burnt-Out Case. But it wouldn’t be until years later that I was able to track down a copy of “The Destructors.” I found it at a place that doesn’t ban books. I found it, if the opening paragraph didn’t give the ending away, at the library.

Alan

1 Part of what put Atlas Shrugged on my list was Mad Men, but that’s a blogpost for another time.

2 Alice in Wonderland reference AND Donnie Darko allusion!

3 Track 3 on this album.

4 Someday I’ll think of it.

Zombies, Parasites and Killer Mermaids

 

“Every life has a watershed moment, an instant when you realize you’re about to make a choice that will define everything else you ever do, and that if you choose wrong, there may not be that many things left to choose.”

Mira Grant

 

I think that everyone’s life has more than one of these moments, especially when it comes to book selection. That pivotal instant when you reach out to the shelf and tug the book towards you. Do you look at the cover? Flip to the synopsis? Go straight to the last page? In that twinkling of time, do you commit to making that choice to continue with that particular book or do you put it back and walk away, possibly forever? Ultimately only you can decide, and that decision can change your life.

I encountered just such a watershed moment with my first Mira Grant book. I had read and thoroughly enjoyed the books written by Seanan McGuire, most especially Every Heart a Doorway and Sparrow Hill Road. So you can imagine how happy I was to discover that she also writes under the pen name Mira Grant. That initial happiness became tinged with apprehension when I first saw the cover for Feed. The apprehension turned to trepidation, which morphed to misgivings. Generally speaking I’m not a big fan of zombies, and as a dedicated digital immigrant I’m still not comfortable with the whole online newsfeed experience. But something inside me led me to open the cover, and after the first page I was completely hooked on anything and everything that Mira Grant has written.

The Newsflesh trilogy is set in the future, after a virus intended to rid mankind of disease has instead triggered an apocalypse. George and her adopted brother Sean are reporters intent on finding the truth behind what caused the catastrophe, and how to fight the true evil that sustains it. In the words of Seanan McGuire, the series is about: “…blogging, politics, medical science, espionage, betrayal, the ties that bind, the ties that don’t, how George Romero accidentally saved the world, and, of course, zombies.”

               

 

In another take on what happens when science interferes with nature, the Parasitology series focuses on Sal, formerly Sally, and her journey to find out who she really is after awakening from a coma. Her recovery is miraculous, due in no small part to the parasite that was deliberately introduced into her body. But is Sal actually who the world thinks she is? And does she possess the courage to venture through the Broken Doors to what lies beyond?

    

 

My absolute favorite book for 2017 is Rolling in the Deep. It’s more a novella than a novel, but it packs a huge concept into a short space. The story is set on a research ship out over the Mariana Trench, and the character list comes complete with a surly captain, nerdy scientists and opportunistic members of the media, not to mention professional mermaids. Why is this motley crew so far out in the open ocean? To investigate mermaid sightings, of course. But what they find is far from what they expected. Hint: there’s a clue in the title of the post. The story continues in Into the Drowning Deep

 

Granted, choosing to read these books is not enough to change the entire course and direction of my life. But reading them did influence how I view scientific breakthroughs and professional bloggers,  and will definitely impact future travel plans involving ocean cruises. All in all, I’d call that a watershed moment.

-Lori