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.

Advertisements

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

 

 

 

 

What’s New in the Local History Room?

The Holiday season is upon us and among the new titles that have arrived in the Local History Room collection, we have a very special treat for history fans.

Cover image for Manitoba at Christmas : holiday memories in the keystone province

is an anthology of stories from by and all about how Christmas was celebrated by Manitobans from the earliest Christmas recorded in the days of exploration before the establishment of the Red River colony to the 21st century.  From simple rituals, like a toast while sharing memories of absent families in pioneer times, the observance of Christmas evolved and grew more elaborate as the years passed and different cultures added their own traditions: church services, family reunions, ever-growing street parades and decorated storefronts.  The sights, sounds and smells of Manitoba at Christmas left happy memories which one can re-visit in the pages of this book: visiting Toyland at the Eaton’s store, sharing letters and stories with family in rural Manitoba on Christmas morning, or preparing a concert at a school to be attended by Fraserwood’s entire community.  In darker times, it was a time to hold on to hope: Margaret Owen, one of the featured authors, talks about how during the Christmas of 1941, her family waited to hear news about her father, a POW for several years after being captured during the defence of Hong Kong.  In addition to fun anecdotes, personal stories, great historical photographs and illustrations, the book also contains holiday recipes, for example a vinarterta, a traditional Icelandic layered Christmas cake .
Golden Boys
Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the NHL, Ty Dilello’s Golden boys : the Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players of All Time, offers us a look at fifty players that have shaped the history of hockey in Manitoba. Featuring detailed biographies that were extensively researched, interviews both past and present, rare photographs and never-been-told-before stories, this is a must for both fans of local sports or those interested in Manitoba’s history in general.  While some of the names included are obvious choices: greats like Jonathan Toews, Andy Bathgate, Ron Hextall and Bobby Clarke, this is also valuable if you are curious about less-well known players like Bones Raleigh (his poetry was reviewed in the New York Times) or Dan Bain (he played and won some of the earliest Stanley Cups in the 19th century), or Terry Sawchuk (best goaler and crowned #1 player overall by Dilello).
agassiz cover

Were you aware that not too long ago, existed a lake so large it could easily have swallowed our present Great Lakes?  Lake Agassiz was an enormous glacial lake that covered a large chunk of the North American landscape between 14,000 and 8,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age.  This is the story that Bill Redekop wanted to explore when he started writing Lake Agassiz: the Rise and Demise of the World’s Greatest Lake.  Born of the melting ice that had covered North America for millennia, Lake Agassiz was a force of nature for 6,000 years. Its story is one of superlatives: inconceivable tsunamis that bored through solid rock; tributary torrents that gouged huge valleys, and colossal outpourings that created a mini-ice age in Europe.  The book is extensively researched and shows readers the “footprint” that Lake Agassiz left all over the prairie provinces (as well as some American states): from remnants of beaches nowhere near bodies of water, to valleys that were formed by retreating glaciers and left as remnants Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba, and Lake Winnipegosis as we know them today.

Cover image for Out of old Manitoba kitchens
Out of Old Manitoba kitchens by Christine Hanlon is the story of the people and the food they prepared by melding recipes, photographs and narratives of its earliest cooks, including the Indigenous people, Selkirk Settlers and first homesteaders. From wild rice to perogies, smoked goldeye to tourtière, one can find a blend of pioneer cuisine dating back to the fur trade and beyond. See how wave after wave of immigration brought with them their own recipes.  This book is a great read for those who enjoy history, good food, and memories of food prepared on the campfire, the hearth and the cast iron stove, from the trails of the buffalo hunt to the outdoor kitchens of the early settlers.
Cover image for The North End revisited
Finally, John Paskievich’s excellent photography book has just been re-published with an extra 80 photographs chronicling the history and transformation of his native neighbourhood from the 1970’s up to the present.  The North End Revisited also contains interviews with the author exploring different aspects of his work  in chronicling the stories of ordinary Winnipeggers from a very special community.
In the fun read  Snacks: A Canadian Food Historylocal historian Janis Thiessen profiles several iconic Canadian snack food companies, including Old Dutch Potato Chips, Hawkins Cheezies, and chocolatier Ganong.  These companies have developed in distinctive ways, reflecting the unique stories of their founders and their intense connection to specific places.  These stories of salty or sweet confections also reveal a history that is at odds with popular notions of ‘junk food.’  Through over 60 interviews and archival research, Thiessen uncovers the roots of our deep loyalties to different snack foods, what it means to be an independent snack food producer, and the often-quirky ways snacks have been created and marketed, like the “Kids Bids” local TV program where children bid for prizes using empty Old Dutch chips bags.
-Louis-Philippe

The Genius and Weirdness of Jeff VanderMeer

It was just this year that I discovered the genius that is author Jeff VanderMeer. Some of you I’m sure are surprised that someone might just be discovering his writing, but I fully admit to doing so. I began by reading his latest novel which was receiving high praise, and was quickly blown away. I read the novel while on holiday at my cottage, relaxing on the beach, and was completely engrossed. My imagination ran wild and when I heard that the first book of his Southern Reach trilogy was to be made into a movie, I quickly picked up that book, and was equally impressed and enthralled. It was no wonder the novel won the Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel.

For those who may not be familiar with him, Jeff VanderMeer is a science fiction author. Or, I should clarify; many of his books are science fiction (some can be considered fantasy as well). Now I know what some of you might say, “I’m not into science fiction, it is too spacey for me.” I understand the notion, from television and movies, well-known science fiction focuses on outer space, space exploration and other planets, but many of VanderMeer’s novels take place on earth or a planet like earth (he doesn’t call it earth) with new or different technologies. The literary quality to his writings allow for a larger audience who may not be quick to pick up a book placed under the genre science fiction (these categories and genres can be troublesome as often books blend genres, especially VanderMeer’s works). Many compare his books to H.P. Lovecraft for the weird and horror elements. Because of this, be prepared for descriptive language in his novels, a trait which is common in fantasy novels to help with world-building, or in this case weirdness building. These types of novels may not be for everyone, if you do end up picking up one of his novels and not enjoying the first 50 pages (give it a chance!) please feel free to put it down and try something else, they are certainly not for everyone. But this is also why I enjoyed his books so much, because they are so out of the ordinary.

Borne

borne

I will start with the first book I read, Borne. The title alone intrigued me, the synopsis compelled me to read it, and the cover art messed with my mind (once you read the novel, you will understand the cover). The book takes place in the future, in a city that was devastated by the experiments of a corporation known as the Company. One such experiment is… a giant flying grizzly bear named Mord (I kid you not!). Mord has destroyed the city and controls those living there using his minions, other smaller bears (smaller than him), to do his bidding. The main protagonist is Rachel, a scavenger who collects the discarded experiments from the Company for her companion Wick. It is on one of these scavenger missions where she finds Borne, an anemone-like creature clinging to the fur of Mord, and takes it home with her. Wick wants to initially run tests on Borne as he believes it is most likely an experiment from the Company and therefore doesn’t trust it, but Rachel refuses, and keeps Borne with her and watches as he begins to grow and learn and… let’s just say events happen from there. The world is so vividly described in Borne and it is unlike any story I have read before, you are sure to be hooked from beginning to end.

The Southern Reach Trilogy

Book 1: Annihilation

annihilation

A biologist, a psychologist, a surveyor and an anthropologist head into an area known only as Area X to explore and to discover what happened to the previous 11 expeditions. Told entirely from the point-of-view of the biologist as she is documenting her experience in her journal, we learn about the place known as Area X, and slowly more of what led her to participate in this expedition. This is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, and can be read on its own or, if you are wanting to explore the setting of the novel further, you can continue reading the next two books in the series. The book has been made into a movie starring Natalie Portman, which will be released early next year, something which surprised many as the book itself was believed to be unfilmable (once you read it you will understand why).

Book 2: Authority

authority

This book takes place after the events of Annihilation. Without giving too much away regarding what happens in the first novel we follow the new director of the Southern Reach as he tries to piece together what happened during the 12th expedition.

Book 2: Acceptance

acceptance

Wow, this is becoming more difficult explaining the plot without giving too much away. I can say that a new team is embarking on an expedition to Area X and… that is about it! Just trust me and continue reading!

Jeff VanderMeer has written other novels which we have in our collection such as Finch a noir thriller/fantasy novel and has edited and compiled short story collections from steampunk to a feminist speculative fiction anthology with his wife Ann. Find all of Jeff VanderMeer’s books here and let me know what you think of his works in the comment section below.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

Canada 150 Years, Anishinaabe 13,000 Years

canada150

Source: http://tinyurl.com/ydbvm3f8 Credit: unknown

It’s BookFest this Saturday at Millennium Library – a day packed with engaging and fun content, with a focus on Manitoba-based publishers. This is my second year participating as one of the Library staff offering up “Book Tastings”.  Under the category of “Canada 150+: great reads about our past and present” (2-2:30 p.m.) I’ll be highlighting titles that address the “plus”.  As most people know there is a real explosion of Indigenous literary talent happening right now or, rather, an increase in the acknowledgement and celebration of that talent by so-called mainstream Canada.  About time!  It was difficult to choose just a few titles – a good problem to have. I look forward to highlighting these titles and more this Saturday and beyond.
 

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson. Illustrated by Julie Flett.

whenwewere

Winner of a 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award.

“When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.”

 

Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow by William Dumas. Illustrated by Leonard Paul.

pisim

“In 1993, the remains of a young woman were discovered at Nagami Bay, South Indian Lake, Manitoba. Out of that important archeological discovery came this unique story about a week in the life of Pisim, a young Cree woman, who lived in the Mid 1600s. In the story, created by renowned storyteller William Dumas, Pisim begins to recognize her miskanow – her life’s journey – and to develop her gifts for fulfilling that path. The story is brought to life by the rich imagery of Leonard Paul, and is accompanied by sidebars on Cree language and culture, archaeology and history, maps, songs, and more.”

 

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

sevenfallen

“…from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.”

   

A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986. by John S. Milloy

nationalcrime

This classic title has been re-released with a forward by local scholar Mary Jane Logan McCallum.

“For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the “circle of civilization,” the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse. Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system.”

 

Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal. by Keira Ladner and Myra Tait

survivingcanada

Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal is a collection of elegant, thoughtful, and powerful reflections about Indigenous Peoples’ complicated, and often frustrating, relationship with Canada, and how – even 150 years after Confederation – the fight for recognition of their treaty and Aboriginal rights continues. Through essays, art, and literature, Surviving Canada examines the struggle for Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their cultures and exercise their right to control their own economic development, lands, water, and lives.”

 

Fire Starters by Jen Storm.  Illustrated by Scott Henderson.  Colours by Donavan Yacuik.

firestarter

“Looking for a little mischief after finding an old flare gun, Ron and Ben find themselves in trouble when the local gas bar on Agamiing Reserve goes up in flames, and they are wrongly accused of arson by the sheriff’s son. As the investigation goes forward, community attitudes are revealed, and the truth slowly comes to light.”

 

Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman. Eds., Keavy Martin, Julie Rak and Norma Dunning

qallunut

“Life Among the Qallunaat is the story of Mini Aodla Freeman’s experiences growing up in the Inuit communities of James Bay and her journey in the 1950s from her home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat, those living south of the Arctic. Her extraordinary story, sometimes humourous and sometimes heartbreaking, illustrates an Inuit woman’s movement between worlds and ways of understanding. It also provides a clear-eyed record of the changes that swept through Inuit communities in the 1940s and 1950s.”
-Monique W.

BookFest a.k.a. Mega Event Book Nerd Day

Did you happen to make it to BookFest last year? Are you wondering what the heck this ‘BookFest’ thing is? Are you just bored and surfing the web? Here’s some info you might find interesting.

[Disclaimer: In my enthusiasm, I have made up a lot of reading-related words for this post.]

BookFest is one of the bookiest days of the year, because it’s the day that WPL and AMBP smoosh together a bunch of readerly things: book tastings (short and sweet book talks), a panel discussion, local publishing houses, local self-published authors, an interactive poetry station, personalized reading advice from WPL experts, and resources just for book clubs. Plus, you know, free book and book-related prize giveaways.

In short, so many things that the only name for it is BookFest!

Some of the books:

bfest1

All the details:

Saturday, November 25 at Millennium Library from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We’ve taken over the whole second floor.

Panel Talk: The Book Starts Here: 11 a.m. to noon

Take a literary walk through Winnipeg as panelists discuss iconic Winnipeg locations found in books. Charlene Diehl of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival moderates the discussion featuring Winnipeg author Allan Levine.

Book Tastings: Drop in for 30-minute seatings of delicious must-reads. This fun, quick-fire appetizer pairs librarians and avid readers showcasing the best in books.

o                1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Life & Death: notable new memoirs & mysteries

o                2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Canada 150+: great reads about our past and present

o                3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Genre-bending titles: the best in mixed-genre reads

Book Fair: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A book expo where you can explore the best of prairie writing with local publishers: ARP Books, At Bay Press, Les Éditions des Plaines, Fernwood Publishing, Great Plains Publications, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing, Peanut Butter Press, Rebelight Publishing Inc., Signature Editions, Turnstone Press, and University of Manitoba Press.

Plus, a chance to meet and greet the following authors: Sally Cooper, Lisa Mendis and Chris Ducharme, Anne Mahon, Bartley Kives, Deborah Froese, Harriet Zaidman, Gerald Kuehl, Gabriele Goldstone, Melinda Friesen, Suzanne Costigan, Armin Wiebe, and Janis Thiessen.

Poetry Station: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Try your hand at “building” a poem by blacking out words on a page. Poet Jennifer Still, the Library’s current Writer-in-Residence, will stop by to demonstrate and assist.

Book Club Corner: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A showcase of titles your book club will love, tips for discussion, and information about the Library’s book club kits.
librarian is in
The Librarian is IN!: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In a reading slump? Need help finding your next great read? Visit the desk where library staff will be on hand to diagnose your literary condition and prescribe a few titles.

Plus (my favourite part): “spin to win” books and prizes every hour!

Isn’t that an amazing amount of book nerdery? Hope you can join us! (Be there and be square?)

  • The BookFest Team: Danielle, Erica, Aileen, Karen, Michelle, and Kathleen

 

Remembrance Day

November is a time to remember those who have lost their lives in service to their country and every year in November, at ceremonies across the country, we hear recitations of In Flanders Fields by Canadian John McCrae. Poetry, especially during the Great War, has been a way of expressing sadness and feelings for lost friends, loved ones and colleagues.

John McCrae penned some of the most familiar and powerful lines of war poetry that we Canadians know.  However, McCrae was not the only citizen or soldier to find expression in poetry during and after the Great War.  Other Canadians such as Marjorie Pickthall, Frederick George Scott and Robert Service also penned poems that evoke strong feelings in us today.  Besides Canadian poets, other powerful poetry was written by Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Isaac Rosenberg and Philip Larkin.

I do not have the skill and words to describe the horrors of war that the men and women of our armed forces faced during two catastrophic world wars.  Instead, I have chosen a selection of poems for you to read.

Andrew

Dolce et Decorum Est
Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Marching Men
By Marjorie Pickthall

Under the level winter sky
I saw a thousand Christs go by.
They sang an idle song and free
As they went up to calvary.

Careless of eye and coarse of lip,
They marched in holiest fellowship.
That heaven might heal the world, they gave
Their earth-born dreams to deck the grave.

With souls unpurged and steadfast breath
They supped the sacrament of death.
And for each one, far off, apart,
Seven swords have rent a woman’s heart.

Dreamers
Siegfried Sassoon

Soldiers are citizens of death’s grey land,
Drawing no dividend from time’s to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.

Two Fusiliers
Robert Graves

And have we done with War at last?
Well, we’ve been lucky devils both,
And there’s no need of pledge or oath
To bind our lovely friendship fast,
By firmer stuff
Close bound enough.

By wire and wood and stake we’re bound,
By Fricourt and by Festubert,
By whipping rain, by the sun’s glare,
By all the misery and loud sound,
By a Spring day,
By Picard clay.

Show me the two so closely bound
As we, by the red bond of blood,
By friendship, blossoming from mud,
By Death: we faced him, and we found
Beauty in Death,
In dead men breath.

To find more poems by any of these poets, please consider the following books:
The War Poets,  Robert Giddings

Selected Poems, Wilfred Owen

Selected Poems, Robert Graves

After Every War: Twentieth Century Women Poets, Eavan Boland

Anthem for Doomed Youth: Twelve Soldier Poets of the First World War, Jon Stallworthy

Poets of World War II, Harvey Shapiro

Who is Caroline Herschel?

I discovered Caroline Herschel a few years back when she was the inspiration for a Google Doodle. I became obsessed and wanted to know as much as I could about her.  She was most notably the sister of William Herschel, astronomer to King George, and also the man who discovered Uranus.  What most people don’t know is her own contribution to science.  Early in life she contracted typhus; her mother thought this was the end of her life as a woman. Thankfully her father and brother believed there was more for her.  After moving to England she assisted William and even became an astronomer in her own right.  Please do yourself a favor and take a moment to look at the Caroline Herschel Objects.

This got me thinking about other notable women in science. The further down I searched in this rabbit hole, the more I discovered.

Before Caroline (long before) there was Hypatia. Not much is actually known about the life of Hypatia, but of course there doesn’t mean there isn’t speculation!

If you are in the mood for a graphic novel try The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. A Steampunk graphic novel of Ava Lovelace in an alternative universe using computers to fight crime! Who would say no to that??! Or if you are looking for a more traditional historical novel, the library will soon be getting the forthcoming novel Enchantress of Numbers.

To return to Caroline Herschel, Stargazer’s Sister is a novel that tells her imagined life. From her early days, seeing her first solar eclipse, almost dying from typhus, being rescued by her brother William, and being brought to England where Caroline serves William as his caretaker, assistant, and research partner.  It is only when William announces his plans to marry that Caroline’s life falls apart.

Then I discovered Mary Anning through reading Remarkable Creatures. A fictional account of a Mary Anning, who had a knack for finding fossils. The story begins with Mary being struck by lightning as an infant, and the discovery that would revolutionize paleontology, and shake the religious figures of the time. Mary finds a friend and champion in Elizabeth Philpot. Or, you could read Curiosity: A Love Story by Winnipeg writer Joan Thomas.

I first learned of the women of NASA by watching a video about Margaret Hamilton. Who was Margaret Hamilton? Oh, just the woman who put astronauts on the Moon. Then I kept hearing of this book (and movie) Hidden Figures, the true story of the women who made space travel possible, and won the space race for the USA.

You can also try Rocket Girl, available on Overdrive.

 

 

Women in Science: 50 fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World is new to the library, and I have yet to receive it. I am (not so) patiently waiting for my hold!

Andrea

Autumn Tool Kit

There’s a chill in the air most mornings now, and our regular activities have resumed after our summer break. Time is running out to finish that yard work and all that’s left to do is to batten down the hatches in preparation for the long winter ahead. Some people love autumn, and others find it difficult to get through. I’ve put together a little “Autumn Tool Kit” to help make it a little easier on those who struggle, and make it even better for those who love it.

14414[1]

First Snow, Algoma. A.Y. Jackson

One of the things I like about autumn is getting our slow cooker down off the top shelf and coming home to the delicious smell of something that’s been cooking away all day. My favourite “go to” recipe is super easy. You just stick a boneless pork roast in there, cover it with a can of Coke, and cook it on low all day. About a half an hour before you eat, pull the pork apart and throw in some BBQ sauce. If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can chop up an onion in the morning and throw that in with the pork (but you don’t have to). Toast up a couple of buns, and bingo bango: you’ve got pulled pork for supper. Trust me, it’s easy and delicious, but if you’d like to venture out and try other slow cooker recipes this fall, why not check out one of our slow cooker cook books? One of our newer ones is “Adventures in Slow Cooking” by Sarah DiGregorio.

Another fall activity you can try is canning and jarring. We had a presentation on jam making and preserving basics at the Louis Riel Library last month. Judy, our presenter, talked about Fruit Share Manitoba, an organization where you can sign up if you have fruit bearing plants in your yard and you don’t think you’ll get around to picking them yourself. If you register your fruit trees or bushes on the website, then people interested in looking for fruit can connect with you. The idea is that the pickers get to keep a third of the fruit, you as the fruit tree owner get a third, and a third is donated to charity. Once you have the fruit (or vegetables for that matter), the next step is to preserve them for the winter ahead. America’s Test Kitchen has a new book out called “Foolproof preserving: a guide to small batch jams, jellies, pickles, condiments and more”.

Now that we’ve got food covered, you’ll need an activity to keep you occupied on these long nights. If you are interested in trying out knitting or crocheting, we’ve got you covered in one book called “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting” by Barbara Breiter and Gail Diven.

61pxnx9MimL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_[1]

Once you feel like you’ve got the basic hang of it, why not come out to Louis Riel’s Knit Night? We meet the first Tuesday of every month at 7 pm. (Our next meeting will be on November 7). Although it is not a knitting class, it is a chance for knitters of all experience levels and talent to come together, share projects, and work together on individual projects. Most months will include a presentation on a particular topic. Give us a call at 204-986-4573 to register. We even let crocheters come, but we draw the line at macramé.

 

-Trevor

 

 

“Left your house this morning at a quarter after 9”

We lost Gord Downie on October 18, 2017 and, like many Canadians, were heartbroken. We set up red maple leaves in a display case at Millennium Library and invited library customers to share their messages of condolence.

The Tragically Hip:

“This is one of the saddest events ever. The Tragically Hip was the first music I played for my son in utero. We are sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing him with us.” Deveraux and Savanah M.

 “I saw you live 24 times. What a dream for a kid from Ontario. No matter where I go, the Hip goes too. Thanks for everything. My little girl will have all your albums.” Kate.

 “In the 1990’s, I had a roommate who told me never to touch his cd’s while he was at work. Long story short, I taped all his Hip cd’s. Peace, Love” Mark B.

“Sad news for Canadian music. I was never a Tragically Hip fans but I know what it is like to see a family member go through cancer. Long live Gord Downie. Never forget what he gave Canada through his music.”

His songs inspired us:

”I look up to Gord above and say ‘Hey man thanks.”

“Courage! XOXOXOXOXO”

We loved and admired him:

“Gord put us in the way of beauty.”

“Thank you Gord for all that you did for our country. You will be missed but never forgotten”

“An amazing poet of our time. He will be missed.”

“Gord, you inspired Canadians with your stories and songs. You will be missed.”

“Thank you for telling the story for the lost Aboriginal children”

“R.I.P. Gord. Thank you for all that you have given to this world. Your physical presence will be greatly missed; spiritually you will always be with us.”

“Thank you Music Man.”

“You were loved a lot”

“Rock on.”

He advocated for Indigenous people:

“Thank you Gord Downie for your time to research the life of Charlie Wenjack. Thank you for taking the time to be with his family.”

“Thank you to the Wenjack family for sharing your son’s story. Canada means village and in a village each person cares for each other.”

“Chi-migwech Gord.” Judy and Darryl

“Miguetch. You are awesome and always the best. Fly with the angels, reach the stars.”

“Rest in Peace, Gord. Thank you for advocating for our cause.” From all Indigenous people

We send love to his family:

“Blessings to each of Downie family. For your sharing of Gord has meant much to many.”

“I’m sorry for you guys and my Dad loved your music.”

“Mr. Downie rocked our world. Respect to the family”

“Gord D. You are sorely missed. A true Canadian to the end. God Bless you and your family.”

Wicapi Omani:

“See you on the other side Gord.”

“Gord D. Have a good walk among the stars. P.S. Thank you.”

Photo courtesy of The Globe & Mail

If you are missing him, you are not alone…

(Messages appear as they were written on the leaves.)

-Colette