Pride & Prejudice 2.0: The Expanded World of Jane Austen

 

Book

Ever notice that when you’re feeling a bit low you have a tendency to reach for something that is comfortable and familiar? Lately, that means a trip into the world of Jane Austen for a bit of a pick me up. Yet every time I pick up one of the six texts, I find myself asking the same question, what happened next? Our heroes and heroines found their partners; there was a big wedding, lots of happy tears, but then what? Did they live happily ever after or did they separate? Did any of the supporting characters find a partner or were they doomed for spinsterhood? Now Jane Austen did answer a few of those questions in letters to family and friends, but I prefer reading about the adventures that occurred after the books end. Thankfully, where Jane Austen has failed me, many great writers and fans of her work have taken it upon themselves to pick up the stories where they left off. Here are a few of my favourites.

ColonelsThe Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men By Jack Caldwell brings together Colonel Fitzwilliam (Darcy’s cousin), Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility) and introduces Colonel Buford. Brandon is happily married to Marianne, while Fitzwilliam and Buford pursue Lady Anne and Caroline Bingley respectively. But when the men are suddenly recalled into active service in the aftermath of Napoleon’s escape from exile, will love triumph over war? I found this book to be a wonderful read and somewhat hilarious in the fact that a new character had to be created to partner with Caroline. For any of you who have seen Lost in Austen, the film gives several new twists, including presenting Caroline as a lesbian, thus justifying her insistence on Darcy’s wealth and position over the man himself.  It just goes to show that anything can happen in these newer interpretations.

AssemblyAn Assembly Such as This By Pamela Aidan for the time, presents Darcy’s perspective regarding the events in Pride & Prejudice. The first of a trilogy, I found Pamela’s insight into the mind of Darcy to be rather refreshing. His emotions for Elizabeth and turmoil over the presence of Wickham take on a clarity that has not been seen before. Duty and Desire focuses on the time that is never spoken of in the book, which concerns Darcy’s struggles with his attraction to Elizabeth, while also taking care of both Pemberley and his social engagements in London.  While the novel may read like a swashbuckling adventure, I must admit, it was quite enjoyable. These Three Remain picks up with Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s proposal, leading Darcy to self-reflect and become a better man due to her refusal.  When Elizabeth appears at Pemberley, Darcy feels as if he has been offered a second chance, but when Wickham threatens Elizabeth’s happiness, it is up to Darcy to find a way of making things right. While Pamela stays pretty close to the text, she manages to shed new light on characters and situations which answers the question as to what else was happening.

Rock starFitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star By Heather Lynn Rigaud, as the title suggests, takes the reader away from the Regency period and places Darcy and Elizabeth in the middle of the modern world. Darcy is the guitarist for Slurry, the newest all male rock group to take the world by storm. Elizabeth is the lead singer for Long Borne Suffering, the new opening female act for Slurry. But Slurry’s bad boy image may prove to be too much for the new girls on the block, unless some new understandings are reached. Since we are in the modern world, only the names and circumstances reflect the actual text. But I found the text to be a nice light read, as opposed to the above trilogy, which basically asked if the core of Pride & Prejudice could endure a complete transplant. It can, which proves that the heart of a good story can survive just about any major change.

ZombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies By Seth Grahame-Smith, despite its title, is probably the most faithful to the original text. What would happen to our well-sung heroes if they were presented with a new challenge that altered the society in which they lived but did not affect its mentality? In a nutshell, Seth added zombies to the world of Regency England. Yet despite their undead presence, society refuses to yield its moral stance on marriage, good manners and changes within the social classes. What’s a girl to do when she and her sisters can slay a small zombie army yet still be criticized for the society that they keep? While this may not be the most imaginative version of Pride & Prejudice, it is certainly highly entertaining. If you feel that you need a lighter version of this story, take a look at the graphic novel, or better yet the new film with Lily James (Downton Abbey’s cousin Rose) and Sam Riley (Maleficent’s Diaval).

This list is by no means exhaustive, so type in Jane Austen or Darcy, books or films in the search engine and find yourself in a world that moves just a bit slower then our own. Happy Reading! (or watching as the case may be).

  • Katherine
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One Thing Leads to Another

So many books, so little time.
― Frank Zappa

There are a lot of great things about working in a library, but one of the best is having someone recommend a book. There’s nothing like the expression on someone’s face when they hand you a book and open the conversation with: “You have to read this!” The one thing that’s better than reading a good book is talking with someone about a good book, and the conversation only gets better when you don’t have to worry about spoilers.

For the past couple of years there has  been an annual Reader’s Salon blog post with submissions by library staff for the best book they’ve read that year. While I always enjoy reading the blogs my co-workers write, I look forward to this particular post with special anticipation. I make a point of prioritizing reading as many of the titles as I can, and I find that reading just one book from that list leads me into all sorts of intriguing directions. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of the books I’ve discovered after reading some of the selections from the post Our Gift to Readers, posted December 7 2016.

After reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr I picked up The Cellist of Sarajevo by Stephen Galloway. This book also personalizes the tragedy of war by telling the story of civilians that must try to survive in a war zone. Don’t make the mistake that I did of reading this book in a public place. I had a very kind and concerned stranger ask me why I was crying, and in response all I could do was hold up the book.

Light                                                        cellist

Many of you know Katherena Vermette through her book of poems, North End Love Songs. I loved her novel The Break, as well, but did you know that she’s also written some terrific books for children? Each one has a unique message for young and not so young readers alike. The one that is the mostly timely for this time of year is The First Day. It’s part of the Seven teaching stories series, and tells the story of Makwa, a little boy who who is frightened about starting a new school. Not all of us have to worry about facing the first day of school anymore, but all of us need to find courage in dealing with scary situations.

As an Ethan Hawke fan from way back I was so pleased to discover that in addition to his many other talents he can also write. Rules for a Knight led me to try and find other books about leading a more examined, mindful life. I found How to Walk and other books by Thich Nhất Hạnh to be tremendously helpful in this endeavour. As in Ethan Hawke’s book, the principles are stated and illustrated in a way that stays in your mind and gets into your heart.

rules                                                         how to

I did my best to read Every Heart a Doorway slowly, to make the magic last as long as possible, but like all stories it did eventually come to an end. However, after finishing it I was delighted to discover that Seanan McGuire has written a number of other books, and that there’s a sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Seanan McGuire also publishes under the name Mira Grant, but that’s a topic for another blog.

downevery

 

This isn’t a complete list by any means, as I’m still in the midst of reading and waiting to read a number of the other titles from that post. As always, I’m very curious as to where that will lead me. To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, it’s a dangerous business to open a book, there’s no telling where you’ll end up.

-Lori

Fall into Programming

Now that summer is (sadly) winding down we are picking right back up with our fall programming, and we have plenty to offer! Whether your interest lies in local history, studying Genealogy, starting a small business, improving your computer skills, joining a book club or watching some excellent movies, we have you covered! Check out our latest At the Library newsletter for dates, information and registration instructions for these fantastic programs!

September also marks some major programming happening at the Millennium Library, including our continued partnership with the Winnipeg International Writers Festival: Thin Air. During the week of the festival the Millennium Library will be hosting two events every day from Monday September 25 to Friday September 29.

Want to listen to a reading and ask questions over your lunch hour? From 12:15-12:45PM in the Carol Shields Auditorium, come on down to The Nooner where every day a different author will read from their book and answer questions. Feel free to bring your lunch! Have time after your busy day to continue thought-provoking conversations? From 4:30-5:30PM in the Carol Shields Auditorium, come to our Big Ideas program where non-fiction books are featured with thought-provoking topics.

Here is a list of the books being featured during our Thin Air programs.

The Nooner:

Monday, September 25

herriot   Towards A Prairie Atonement by Trevor Herriot

Author Trevor Herriot defended the protection of what little remains of the natural prairie only to find an injustice haunting those lands.

Tuesday, September 26

Once More With Feeling by Méira Cook         meiracook

A novel about a community, about a family, and about the way time makes fond fools of us all by the excellent Méira Cook.

Wednesday, September 27

The Weary Generations by Abdullah Hussein (1931-2015) by Raza Naeem

The classic of Urdu literature about the upheavals of the Partition era that lead to the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh is revamped with a new edition by Raza Naeem.

Thursday, September 28

Best Canadian Sports Writing edited by Pasha Malla, co-edited with Stacey May Fowles

Literary sports writing from diverse talent demonstrates why sports mean so much to us and what they say about our broader culture.

Friday, September 29

lawson   But It’s So Silly: A Cross-Cultural Collage of Nonsense, Play and Poetry by JonArno Lawson

How does North America approach childhood compared to the rest of the world, and what might we gain from looking more closely at that approach are the topics which Lawson explores in his book.

Big Ideas:

Monday, September 25

conrad   Among the Walking Wounded: Soldiers, Survival, and PTSD by Colonel John Conrad

PTSD serves as a stark reminder that, for many, wars go on long after the last shot is fired.

Tuesday, September 26

The Patch by Chris Turner     turner

Fort McMurray and the oil sands in northern Alberta face uncertainty with two conflicting worldviews, environmental and industrial, in Turner’s exploration of the conflict.

Wednesday, September 27

The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work for You by Graham Steele

How do politicians think and what factors influence their thinking? Graham Steele explores these questions in his new book.

Thursday, September 28

wray   Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction by Britt Wray

Creating a woolly mammoth sounds amazing and fascinating, however what are the real-world implications? Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Wray’s provocative book.

Friday, September 29

The Unravelling: How our caregiving safety net came unstrung and we were left grasping at threads, struggling to plait a new one by Clem Martini and Olivier Martini

One family’s journey with mental illness, dementia and caregiving told by the two brothers who lived it.

 

We also have a couple of extra Thin Air programs that may interest you:

Outriders: Digging into Our History. Katherena Vermette and Harry Giles discuss their travels around Canada and Scotland from a writer’s perspective. This event takes place on Monday, September 25 at 1:30PM (shortly after The Nooner) in the Carol Shields Auditorium at the Millennium Library and is open to everyone.

Finally we have Translate That! An open event in which translators present on the linguistic divide when it comes to translating certain books into English. This program takes place on Saturday, September 30 at 1:00PM in the Anhang Room at the Millennium Library.

All these programs are free to attend and require no registration, just drop in!

-Aileen

For all Thin Air programming and information, visit their website at thinairwinnipeg.ca

 

Mindfulness for Kids

Have you ever wondered why we teach our kids about taking care of their bodies, and yet we don’t really teach them about how to look after their minds?  Meditation is an incredible tool, and teaching kids about the importance of mindfulness practice at an early age, would set them up for life!

Recently, I’ve started meditating every morning, and I cannot even begin to tell you about how incredible the payoff has been.  Meditation is a beautiful way to stay grounded. It teaches us to be in the present moment so that we can savor the good times, while better managing the difficult ones. It helps us to stay connected with our true essence, while building our sense of self-love and worth.

But we all know that sitting quietly isn’t that easy.  It’s not easy for us as grown ups, and it certainly isn’t easy for kids!  Cue the library.  The library is your one stop shop for gathering all of the resources you need in order to introduce meditation to your kiddos.  Here are a few amazing books to get you started:

Baby Present
by Rachel Neumann
Baby Present celebrates the unadulterated ability all infants have to be in the present, showcasing their natural, inherent mindfulness and reminding those reading to them to enjoy this time in their babies’ lives, to breathe and practice mindfulness along with their baby, and to knowingly laugh at the trend of it all. Cultivating the mindfulness habit with babies can set them up with a coping and happiness skill for life. And when you’re not reading it to them, this book is perfect for ruminating about while chewing: it’s printed on the highest quality non-toxic cardboard with soy inks and rounded corners.

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)
by Eline Snel
Mindfulness–the quality of attention that combines full awareness with acceptance of each moment, just as it is–is gaining broad acceptance among mental health professionals as an adjunct to treatment. This little book is a very appealing introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents. In a simple and accessible way, it describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout.

Breathe
by Scott Magoon
Take a deep breath and dive into a day in the life of a baby whale, told with luminous illustrations and spare text, with a fresh twist on a timeless message.  Swim! Play all day. Breathe.

Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness and Meditation with Children, Teens and Families
by Susan Kaiser Greenland
Playing games is a great way for kids to develop their focusing and attention skills and to become more mindful.  This book includes fifty mindfulness games that develop what Greenland calls the “new A, B, C’s” for learning and for a happy and successful life: Attention, Balance, and Compassion. In a playful way, the games introduce kids to breathing practices and techniques for developing focus, concentration, and sensory awareness, and identifying and self-regulating emotions, among others skills.

Good Morning Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Wake Up Story
by Elizabeth Cottle
Yoga helps children learn how to focus, relax, and both self-monitor and self-soothe. Good Morning Yoga instills these four skills and more, enabling children to jump-start the day with energy and excitement and meet the adventures that come with mindfulness and perspective. This DVD weaves gentle exercises with a heartwarming narrative and wonderful animation to empower children to manage the energies that visit throughout the day, from the fiery volcano to the mountain quiet and still.

Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family
by Carla Naumburg
How can you prepare for and prevent your kids’ inevitable meltdowns? Ready, Set, Breathe will show you and your child how to focus, calm down, and live in the present moment.  You will learn how to deal with stress using everyday mindfulness games, activities, rituals, and habits.

~Lindsay

 

 

 

 

Summer Spooktacle

Summer is a time of sunshine, sand, ice cream, and s’mores around the campfire. There is nothing quite like sitting around a toasty fire while staring up at the stars, listening to the rustling of the wind in the trees while someone tells a scary story.

If you want to keep the spooky times rolling even after your summer vacation is over (if you ask me, it’s never too early to start getting ready for Halloween!), check out items in the list below, guaranteed to bring that campfire feeling into your home! Maybe leave the fire outside, though.

 The Curse of the Wendigo by Nick Yancey

In book 2 of the Monstrumologist series, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancée to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

If you’ve never encountered the Wendigo in your reading, it’s well worth checking this one out. It’s one of the creepiest folkloric creatures I’ve run into in my reading adventures!

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Speaking as someone who recently missed a turn and then found herself driving on a deserted highway surrounded by marsh, and then on a lonely dirt road through endless cornfields, all under a partially cloud-covered full moon, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that you might see a ghostly figure along the side of the road.

Haunted highways are a classic amongst urban legends. You might recognize some of these popular titles: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

In fact, in Sparrow Hill Road, she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom.

If you’re feeling brave, feel free to bring this along as your next road trip read!

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Killer mermaids and ghost ships, anyone?

When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses. They didn’t expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn’t expect those mermaids to have teeth.

As a novella, this book is a nice, quick read, perfect for the beach!

And if you enjoy this one, keep an eye out for the next book in the series, Into the Drowning Deep.

Gravity Falls by Alex Hirsch

Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are off to spend the summer with their gruff Great Uncle (‘Grunkle’) Stan who runs the tacky tourist trap, ‘Mystery Shack.’ The kids uncover mysterious surprises, unsurpassed silliness, and supernatural shenanigans lurking around every corner of the deceptively sleepy little town.

This is a fun series for younger fans of things that go bump in the night, and you just can’t go wrong with shenanigans!

Supernatural

This television series got its start in the folklore and myths that created all of the really great campfire tales. The main characters, brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, seek out and fight supernatural forces in an attempt to find their mysteriously missing father and the person or force responsible for their mother’s death. In the process, you’ll meet recognizable characters, some of whom have already appeared on this list, such as the Phantom Traveler and the Wendigo.

These are just a few of the spooky stories we have at the library, so don’t worry horror fans, you won’t run out!

Maybe you’ve got some other favourite tales that you like to share with friends. If so, leave a comment below, I’d love to know what they are!

Happy reading,

Megan

The Wonder of Seeds

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”      ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Seeds are truly amazing. After many years, I still find gardening to be very magical – you plant this little seed and in a few weeks a beautiful plant is growing! August is the most rewarding time of year for the gardener. All of the planning, planting, weeding and watering are finally paying off with fresh veggies. We’ve been enjoying arugula, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, bok choy and kale from our small garden and are looking forward to all of those tomatoes ripening on the vine. There’s nothing as satisfying as being able to walk into your own backyard and pick your dinner! And the magic doesn’t stop there – let some of those plants go to seed and you’ll have enough seeds for next year’s garden, as well as some to share.

Winnipeg Public Library has hosted several seed swaps in the last few years and now we will have a Seed Library at the Osborne branch, in partnership with The People Garden of Sustainable South Osborne. All you have to do is save your seeds from your healthiest plants and drop them off at Osborne Library in November. Not sure how to save seeds? Come to one of our Seed Saving programs at Osborne or Henderson Libraries and learn how: seedsaving. The seed Library will re-open in February and gardeners will be able to come and pick up packets of seeds.

These plants are great for beginner seed savers: peas, lettuce, eggplant, spinach, dill, beans and arugula:

beans

arugula

arugula – notice the yellow seed pods

Winnipeg Public Library also has some great books on the subject:

The Manual of Seed Savingseed saving bk by Andrea Heistinger provides a good overview on the subject.

 

Seed Libraries and other means of keeping seeds in the Hands of the Peopleseed libraries by Cindy Conner is a wonderful resource for anyone thinking of starting a seed library and gives a lot of background on the importance of saving and sharing seeds.

Seed Sovereignty, Food Security  seed sovis an anthology compiled by environmental activist Vandana Shiva and focuses on the work of women from around the world who are trying “to preserve small-scale farming, seed sharing, and local indigenous knowledge.”

The Triumph of Seeds: triumph seedsHow Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, & Pips conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson – The title says it all!

 

 

For more information on the Osborne Seed Library click the link below:

Seed Library – Instruction Sheet

Happy Gardening!

Carole

 

Exciting #MYRCA News!

Teachers! Librarians! Parents! There is a big change coming to Manitoba for young readers! Hopefully you are familiar with the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award (MYRCA) where students in grades 5-8 can read from a list of 18 Canadian titles and vote for their favorite. If you are looking for ways to encourage your kids to read independently, MYRCA  is a great way to get started.

For 2017, Manitoba students chose Allan Stratton’s The Dogs as their favorite book. Our kids clearly have good taste as The Dogs has won both Saskatchewan’s Snow Willow Award and Ontario’s Forest of Reading’s Red Maple Award. This September, MYRCA together with Thin Air, the Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival have arranged to have Allan Stratton appear on their main and school stages. Young readers never forget meeting their favorite author, and their energy is palpable. Schools whose students have voted are also invited to a special ceremony when Allan will receive his 2017 MYRCA Award, hosted by Lisa Ferguson’s students from Victor Mager School.

Lately, the MYRCA committee has noted the difficulty in finding appropriate titles for the full range of ages we serve. Students’ reading interests in grade 5 are vastly different than students in grade 8. The same holds true for their reading levels. Having a long list of 18 books, MYRCA selectors have always hoped that there is something on it for everyone, but in reality, there are always a few books that are too “low” for the grade 8’s and too “high” for the grade 5’s.

With this in mind, MYRCA has decided that now is the time to change! Starting in 2019, MYRCA will offer two lists of 10 books each; one for grades 4-6 and one for grades 7-9. In this way we are expanding our readership into grades 4 and 9 and will be offering titles that are better suited to those ranges. The MYRCA voting system will remain the same, with participants voting once if they have read 3 or more titles and twice if they have read 6 or more. Teachers and librarians report this to be very motivating for their students, as many will read “just one more” to get that extra vote. As such, MYRCA hopes to encourage all young people to become readers for life.

Although this change is still a year away, you can still participate in this year’s MYRCA. You can start reading the fantastic titles on the 2018 list of nominees  in several ways. If you like good old-fashioned print books, WPL has all of the titles in hardcover or paperback. For the more technology oriented, you can find most of the titles in eBook and/or audiobook through WPL’s Overdrive app. If you need a great read-aloud for that long summer road trip, you can do that too! Kids are required to have read (or been read to) 3 nominees to be eligible to vote.  Here are the three I would recommend starting with:

Written in verse, Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles  by Shari Green is evocative and deeply moving. While their parents attend a marriage counselling camp, Bailey and her younger brother Kevin are spending the summer with Nana Marie, whom they barely know. Bailey is struggling with anxiety and looks for solace in the strangest of places. She sometimes finds the face of Jesus in her pancakes and a piece of driftwood is certainly a magical mermaid. But the idyllic seaside town has mysteries of its own and Bailey finds herself hoping for a miracle.

 A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy is a short novella about Evelyn who is just as surprised as her classmates when they are introduced to the new boy at school whose name is Queen. The boys in her class tease him but she tries to be nice. What she discovers along the way makes for a great discussion starter about being resilient and staying true to yourself.

 

For graphic novel lovers, The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks introduces us to an Asian-inspired city that has been repeatedly conquered and renamed so many times that the original name has been lost. The divide between the wealthy military elite and the poor population is apparent to Kaidu, a general’s son and Rat, an orphaned Indigenous girl. Together they try to rescue the city in the only way they can. This is the first in a trilogy and is being made into a television series.

 

So, get those kids reading and see you at Thin Air!

-Colette

So very Camp

 

9780590431354[1]One of my favourite books growing up was Gordon Korman’s I want to go home. It’s a hilarious novel about this kid, Rudy Miller, who is sent to summer camp against his will. He spends the entire time trying to devise new and ingenious ways of escaping. One of his schemes is to write a letter home to his parents describing his camp life (filled with exaggerations and lies) with the hope that they will collect him early. Here’s an excerpt:

Dear Mom and Dad,

This place is terrible. Each day I’m subjected to countless atrocities. The food is spoiled and poisonous, and the drinking water is contaminated so there is an outbreak of typhoid. Our cabin collapsed last night in a typhoon, but don’t worry. Only one guy got killed.
It’s not all bad. I do have one friend, named Mike. He’s the one who pulled me out of the quicksand. I have to haul garbage every day, but there aren’t too many wild animals at the dump and I’ve only been bitten twice.
Tonight is really going to be fun. Our cabin hasn’t been fixed yet, so we get to sleep in trees. I sure hope the typhoon doesn’t start up again.
I’ll be safe and sound so long as Algonkian Island doesn’t sink any further.

Your son,
Rudy

P.S. If this letter looks messy it’s because I’m writing it while being chased by a bear.

It’s a little more difficult finding adult novels that deal with summer camp, but here are a few that you might enjoy. SPOILERS: things don’t go well.

The Summer is Ended and We are Not Yet Saved by Joey Comeau

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Okay, let me say right off the top that this book is not for everyone. It’s quite graphic (it’s a horror novel, essentially) about an 11 year old kid who goes to Bible camp. The first part of the novel sets up a lot of the 1980’s slasher tropes but they are interspersed with some lovely correspondence between the kid (Martin) and his mother back home. The second part of the novel devolves into a genre slasher story, albeit one with some creativity and dark humour. Not exactly an adult companion piece to I want to go home, but close.

How to Survive a Summer by Nick White

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This powerful debut tells the story of a film studies graduate student, Will Dillard, who spend a summer at a “gay conversion camp” as a teenager, and how now, almost 20 years later, he is confronted with what happened that summer and how it affected him. (And yes, there is a “slasher film” element to this story as well. It seems you can’t write a novel about summer camp without evoking the image of someone in a goalie mask).

The Mad Cook of Pymatuning by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt

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Maybe I’m just looking for slasher summer camp stuff at this point, but here’s a book recommended by Stephen King, He says: “Warm ’50s nostalgia gives way to cold chills in this tale of a summer camp gone bad. Very bad. Think Lake Lord-of-the-Flies.”  Are there no “feel good” summer camp books? I guess that wouldn’t be very interesting, would it? “Chapter 1: we all had a lovely time, made life-long friends and learned valuable survival and leadership skills. The End.”

All of these books reference the “Summer Camp Slasher” genre in one way or another, and none of it would have been possible without the original, Friday the 13th. If you are at all interested in that franchise and the impact it has had on our pop culture, you should check out Crystal Lake Memories. It’s 400 minutes long and takes you through every Friday the 13th movie. (I know, it’s a bit much, but it does a thorough job.)

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After reading through all these different “reinventions of the slasher novel”, it just made me want to rewatch The Cabin in the Woods, which is a great little take on the “teenagers go camping in the woods” kind of story…WITH A TWIST (of course).

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Enjoy the rest of your summer. Hopefully you make it through!

-Trevor

 

 

 

When I want an audiobook, I get it from the library.

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We’re super happy to share that we have another eAudiobook service for you – RBdigital! So now you can get eAudiobooks from Overdrive, hoopla, and RBdigital with your library card!

Here’s what you need to know about RBdigital:

  • It’s awesome.
  • There are currently close to 350 audiobooks to borrow from it. The entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is in that collection! No more Droughtlander as fans wait for Season 3 to start. (Yes, this is a survival tool too.) Plus, there are many other great books by authors like Miriam Toews, Anne Perry, Richard Wagamese, Janette Oke, Ian Rankin, Stuart Woods,  Jojo Moyes, and more.
  • You can borrow 10 items at a time.
  • You can borrow each item for 1-21 days.
  • No holds! The audiobooks available from RBdigital are available all of the time.
  • No late fees! Audiobooks will return automatically when the borrowing period is up.
  • Renewing a book is easy. Some audiobooks can be long (and wonderful), so don’t feel like you need to rush.
  • You can listen to the audiobooks on your mobile device and computer. And it’s easy to get set up. Read on to learn more about how to do that.
  • It’s awesome. Did you see what I did there?

 

We’ve created some step-by-step documents to get you on your way. If you’re using a mobile device, check out this guide: RBdigital app for mobile devices. If you’ll be listening to the audiobooks on your computer, check this one out: RBdigital on your Computer. And (as always) if you have any questions at all, Ask Us!

So exciting!

Reegan (an audio-bibliophile)

 

The “IT” Villain

In the small town of Derry, people are disappearing, children are being murdered. The police believe it’s some sadistic killer who’s turned their sight on the young and vulnerable. In this climate of fear the police impose a curfew, hoping that it will keep kids safe. Parents remind their children not to talk to strangers. Don’t stay out late. It’s only a matter of time before this lunatic will be caught – and eventually life will return to normal. As summer vacation begins, kids are looking forward to a well deserved break. Baseball, firecrackers, horror movies, playing with your friends – this is what it’s all about. But it’s not easy being a kid. Even though school is over, local bully Henry Bowers and his friends continue to hassle their classmates. Unfortunately, there’s a bigger problem and it’s lurking in the sewers. ‘IT’ written by Stephen King, is the story of the Loser Club, a group of kids who band together to defeat a monster and stop its killing spree.

A good antagonist isn’t necessarily evil, it’s more than that. A well written villain, has a plan, they torment, taunt, and manipulate their prey. If they aren’t careful they let their guard down and become its next victim. Stephen King brings us Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a monster who appears as a clown, which allows IT to lure children into a false sense of security, until it’s too late. This novel is responsible for introducing the scary clown, which has become part of pop culture. But why a clown? I think it’s because people either like or hate clowns – there’s no middle ground. Clowns are supposed to entertain us, they make jokes and slip on banana peels. They’re supposed to be silly not scary. You might not think anything is out of the ordinary if you see a clown handing out balloons. But it’s another thing altogether when that clown is hanging out in sewers, offering balloons to children. Once again, Stephen King takes something that’s completely normal and twists it into something horrible.

Even if you’ve never read ‘IT’ you’ve probably seen a picture of Pennywise. If an evil clown isn’t your thing, no problem – there are other reasons you should read ‘IT’. The 80s cult-classic ‘The Goonies’ and Netflix’s hit series ‘Stranger Things’, are heavily influenced by Stephen King and this novel. First of all, it features a group of kids who are the main protagonists. Second, these characters embark on an adventure to defeat a terrible antagonist. It is their camaraderie and love for one another forges a powerful bond which is vital to their success and their survival. The fact that these kids, against all odds, would band together to kill a monster is unbelievable. But it’s also awesome. Is there anyone else, other than a group of childhood best friends, that would set out to kill a monster? (Apparently all the adults are busy.)

Stephen King has written fifty four novels as well as almost two hundred short stories; however, ‘IT’ is one of his best known novels. For more than thirty years ‘IT’ has terrified readers, and coming this September the movie will be released. Come see what the fuss is about and remember, “We all float down here.”