Monthly Archives: February 2017

Can’t Get Enough Mr. Darcy?

It is a truth universally known that authors take inspiration from works they have read and stories they have heard and loved, this is why there are so many retellings of our favourite stories. Fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythologies are often re-told thousands of times over with unique settings and plots in each version that speak to the author’s and society’s views at the time. Whether they were written to teach lessons as many of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales were or to explain the name of a flower which grows by a pond, all were influenced by how society was perceived at different points in time.

I’m always interested in retellings of fairy tales and mythologies whether they are Young Adult, Children’s or Adult novels, however I am also very much interested in retellings of Classic stories especially those from Jane Austen. Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been retold many times over and is still being retold in novels and they themselves are being retold in films. If you are a fan of the classic novel, have read it countless times and are looking for something similar but slightly different, give these books and series a try! Or if you haven’t read the original source material, request your copy here.

Pride & Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

ppz Did you ever read Pride and Prejudice and think, what this books needs is zombies? If so, this book is for you, if not, give it a try, it may surprise you! Keeping the same text but altering it slightly to include a zombie plague that has overrun England and a warrior Elizabeth Bennet, Grahame-Smith’s novel is a wonderful and fun take on the classic with some fantastic illustrations to boot. There is also a film version of the novel that came out recently which you can also check out, though it veers a bit from its source material it’s still a fun picture.

  Austenland by Shannon Hale

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Ever fantasize about living in Jane Austen’s world? In Austenland Jane Hayes is allowed to truly experience the world of Jane Austen thanks to a gift left to her by her recently deceased great aunt. She travels to an exclusive resort where guests can experience the wonder of the regency era and perhaps even some romance of their own. Filled with hilarity, wit and the fun of a Jane Austen novel, Austenland takes many a fan’s dream of meeting Mr. Darcy and turning it into a reality. There has also been a film adaptation of the novel that is also available starring Keri Russell.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Hoopla digital

ldiaries  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries started out as a web series available through the Pemberley Digital channel on YouTube but has become a phenomenon. Though there are 100 episodes in total they are only around 3 to 10 minutes in length each. This smart, well-acted modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is sure to delight those new to the series, with Lizzie Bennet as a graduate student working on her thesis by creating a vlog with her friend Charlotte, and those who loved the book and are craving more of the story. I have to say my favourite episodes are those of Lizzie and Charlotte Lucas, the actors are hilarious together and their re-enactments and imitations of the other characters are spot-on! If you enjoyed this series, Hoopla also has available the Emma Approved web series which is based on the Jane Austen novel Emma, and is excellent as well.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld

eligibleLizzie is a columnist of a beauty magazine, Jane a yoga instructor, Mary and Kitty cross-fit enthusiasts, and Charles Bingley was on a Bachelor-type show. Yes, this is a recent adaptation of Pride & Prejudice which is a bit more risqué and deals with contemporary issues (as retellings often do) yet possesses all the feels of the original.

 

 

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

bjones  Fielding’s beloved novel follows Bridget Jones, a 30-something woman who has a plan for the year to improve her life: lose weight, stop smoking and find a man. In this novel we follow Bridget along through her success and failures as she laments in personal and extremely funny ways to her diary, be prepared to laugh out loud and even think, “I’ve felt that way before.”

 

 

 

lostinaLost in Austen

This film is yet another fun, fan’s dream come true. Amanda Price, a huge P&P enthusiast finds a portal that takes her into the novel where characters are not all they seemed in the book. Unfortunately her escapade changes things, and if she wants to keep the story as-is she must unite Lizzie and Darcy, but what’s a girl to do when she is falling for Darcy and Lizzie becomes transported into her world? A truly enjoyable series with some modern twists and laugh-out-loud moments.

Pride and Prejudice has also inspired many spin-offs and continuations of the series as well as authors considering the novel from Darcy’s point-of-view, which all make for fun reads. Click here to see all that we have to offer.

Last but not least, I can’t forget the wonderful adaptations of the famed novel. Whether you swooned over Colin Firth when he exited the pond, or were entranced with Keira Knightley’s Oscar nominated performance or love both, the library has you covered here!

Let me know some of your favourite retellings of P&P or other classics in the comments below.

Aileen

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Classics for the Kiddos

I love picture books.  And the fact that I have two kids at home who I can read them with, makes it even better.  They love to cozy up with a good book at bedtime, and to be able to watch their faces light up while we read a story together, is the best feeling in the world.

As a mom, and a librarian (mombrarian?), it is my job to find books we can all enjoy, and on my latest story “shopping spree” at the library, I came across the beautiful books of Nikki McClure.  Nikki McClure is a New York Times bestselling children’s author and paper artist who has written and illustrated several acclaimed children’s books including To Market, To Market (2011), Mama, Is It Summer Yet? (2010) and illustrated the New York Times bestseller All in a Day, by Cynthia Rylant (2009).

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McClure is known for her painstakingly intricate and beautiful paper cuts. Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates amazing and endearing pictures.  The result is a very retro feel, with a purity and simplicity that is extremely refreshing.

After reading McClure’s books (and with a vintage vibe in my veins), I was inspired to check out some old classics that I remember loving as a child.  Classic books are timeless.  They’ve stood the test of time.  And it can be fun to revisit books that you, yourself, loved as a child.  Here are some of my favs, tried, tested and true:

capsCaps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
The story of a peddler and a band of mischievous monkeys who steal the peddler’s caps.

blueberriesBlueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Little Sal and Little Bear both lose their mothers while eating blueberries and almost end up with the other’s mother.

snowyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.

ducklingsMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Mr. & Mrs. Mallard find the perfect spot to raise their young in Boston’s Public Garden.

mittenThe Mitten by Jan Brett
Nicki drops his white mitten in the snow, and one by one, a number of woodland animals find the mitten and crawl inside to keep warm.

~ Lindsay

 

 

What was the Sixties Scoop? Learn more with Winnipeg Public Library

Earlier this month an Ontario court ruled that the federal government is liable to thousands of Indigenous individuals in Ontario who were taken from their communities to be adopted by non-Indigenous families (see this news story). Lawsuits on behalf of individuals in Manitoba have also been filed.   This practice – which took place across the country – is often referred to as the “Sixties Scoop.”

article4The Sixties Scoop refers to a period from approximately the early 1960s to the late 1980s.  (In Saskatchewan the Sixties Scoop included a program called AIM – Adopt Indian and Metis.) We found an extraordinary mention of this program in the Winnipeg Free Press, May 5, 1972 edition.  The clipping is from an advice column at the time called “Successful Living by Doris Clark.” In it a reader inquires  about the possibility of a “black market in native children.”

The Library’s Indigenous Information Guide features a section with resources to help people learn more about this time in Canadian history.   Among other resources, you will find the following:

The ‘Sixties Scoop’ – Chapter 14, Volume 1, Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba. This chapter of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry provides an excellent description of the Sixties Scoop and how it was enacted in Manitoba.

Sixties Scoop – Indigenous Foundations, University of British Columbia . The Indigenous Foundations site from the University of British Columbia provides introductory information about a range of Indigenous-related topics. Their page about the Sixties Scoop gives an overview about what happened and also talks a bit about how child welfare policies changed over time.  There is also a section about the current state of child welfare systems and Indigenous peoples.  The bibliography on the page links to other useful resources.

First Nations Child Welfare in Manitoba (2011) – Anna Kozlowski, Vandna Sinha, Tara Petti, & Elsie Flette  This short article provides a history of the “First Nations child welfare system in Manitoba,” beginning with residential schools and ending with a description of how the current system is structured. A list of child welfare agencies – and the communities they serve – is provided. The information was current as of 2011.

Local filmmaker Coleen Rajotte directed the documentary Confronting the Past, which is available to borrow from our collection. “This three-part series offers an in-depth look at the history and impact of Aboriginal adoption in Canada, with particular emphasis on the “Sixties scoop” the time during the 1960s when many Aboriginal children were sent to families outside Canada. Through the eyes of adoptees and their families, the series looks at the effects of adoption, exploring a range of emotions and experiences from a variety of angles.”

Here are a few related book suggestions from a previous blog post “Children in Care” .

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As always, if you have questions about this topic or any other, please be in touch.  We are here to help find the information you need.

-Monique

 

Black History Month

February is a great month! Not only is it a sign that winter is–slowly–coming to an end as the days lengthen again, it’s also the month of Valentine’s Day (half-priced candy, anyone?), I Love to Read Month, and Black History Month.

To help you combine the last two, here’s a short sampling of excellent contemporary fiction in all genres by black authors from all over the world. (Authors with a Canadian connection are distinguished with a *.) To see much more of what’s available, come check out the themed display at Millennium Library; or, if you prefer ebooks/audiobooks, take a look at our complementary OverDrive collection.

Danielle


Chris Abani
Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Abani’s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.

Chinua Achebe
These three internationally acclaimed classic novels comprise what has come to be known as Achebe’s “African Trilogy.” Beginning with the best-selling Things Fall Apart, the African Trilogy captures a society caught between its traditional roots and the demands of a rapidly changing world. In these masterful novels, Achebe brilliantly sets universal tales of personal and moral struggle in the context of the tragic drama of colonization.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart Nigeria. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

* André Alexis
A thief with elegant tastes is recruited by an aging heroin addict whose wealthy father has recently passed away, leaving each of his five children a mysterious object that provides one clue to the whereabouts of a large inheritance. She enlists the thief to steal the objects from her siblings and help her solve the puzzle. Inspired by a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, The Hidden Keys questions what it means to be honourable, what it means to be faithful and what it means to sin.

Octavia E. Butler
The complete Patternist series—the acclaimed science fiction epic of a world transformed by a secret race of telepaths and their devastating rise to power. In these four novels, award-winning author Octavia E. Butler tells the classic story that began her legendary career: a mythic tale of the transformation of civilization.

Stephen L. Carter
Back Channel is a brilliant amalgam of fact and fiction–a suspenseful retelling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the fate of the world rests unexpectedly on the shoulders of a young college student: Margo Jensen, one of the few black women at Cornell. As the clock ticks toward World War III, Margo undertakes her harrowing journey. Pursued by the hawks on both sides, protected by nothing but her own ingenuity and courage, Margo is drawn ever more deeply into the crossfire–and into her own family’s hidden past.

* Austin Clarke
In this collection, award-winning author Austin Clarke has caught, in his characters, a sweet longing for youth and an anxiety-stricken rage at old age; an immigrant’s longing for a placid, lost home and his lust for a new high-speed motorcar life; and an intellectual’s sense of empowerment by black history even as he watches what little he knows about such history engulf him. These are intense and private lives made public by the force of their individual voices.

* George Elliott Clarke
Carl Black is an intellectual and artist, a traveller, a reader and an unapologetic womanizer. He burns for the bohemian life, but is trapped in a railway porter’s prosaic—at times humiliating—existence. Taking place over one dramatic year in Halifax, The Motorcyclist vividly recounts Carl’s travels and romantic exploits as he tours the backroads of the east coast and the bedrooms of a series of beautiful women.

* Esi Edugyan
A brilliant jazz musician, Hiero, is arrested by the Nazis and never heard from again. He is twenty years old. He is a German citizen. And he is black. Fifty years later, his friend and fellow musician, Sid, must relive that unforgettable time, revealing the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that sealed Hiero’s fate. An entrancing, electric story about jazz, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

Yaa Gyasi
A riveting debut novel, Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem. Half sisters Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist and raise”half-caste” children; Esi will be shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.

N. K. Jemisin
This is the way the world ends…for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

* Lawrence Hill
Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita’s ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches—until Keita is targeted for his father’s outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family’s survival.

* Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson is an internationally-beloved storyteller. Her Afro-Caribbean, Canadian, and American influences shine in truly unique stories that are filled with striking imagery, unlikely beauty, and delightful strangeness. In this long-awaited collection, Hopkinson continues to expand the boundaries of culture and imagination, creating bold fiction that transcends boundaries and borders.

Karen Lord
Karen Lord’s science fiction combines star-spanning plots, deeply felt characters, and incisive social commentary. In The Galaxy Game, Lord presents a gripping adventure that showcases her dazzling imagination as never before. On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi’s mental abilities might benefit people . . . or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained. Now he and his friends are about to experience a moment of violent change as seething tensions between rival star-faring civilizations come to a head.

Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with his life in transition. He’s ready–finally–to propose to his girlfriend and start a life together. And he’s started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way. Between his new company, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and his life in shambles around his feet.

Helen Oyeyemi
An enchanting and thought-provoking collection of intertwined stories. Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret–Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side.

Lalita Tademy
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money–but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward? Cow Tom’s legacy lives on in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose, who rises to leadership of the family. Through it all, her grandfather’s indelible mark of courage inspires her–in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies.

Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood–where even greater pain awaits. When a recent arrival from Virginia tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we share.

What is Reality?

confabulistAt the January 17 meeting of the St. James-Assiniboia Library book club, Stephen Galloway’s The Confabulist was up for discussion.

Throughout the book, the concept of reality is constantly called into question, and this resulted in a wonderful, lively debate regarding all the nuances implicit in the term. How much of reality is up for negotiation? Do we all experience the same reality, or does it depend entirely upon an individual’s perception of the world around them? If two people experience the same event, but perceive it differently, whose reality is “correct”?

Big questions for a Tuesday night, let me tell you!

Despite our best efforts, we never quite managed to pin down what reality is or is not, but there are no shortage of books in the Winnipeg Public Library catalogue that explore this same question. Some are “New Age” guides to finding your true self, others focus on the physics of it all, virtual and alternate realities are rampant (not to mention reality TV), and even the act of reading is considered a way of altering reality!

Here are just a few titles to start you on the road to reality:

universeYou are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters by Deepak Chopra literally means what it says–each of us is a co-creator of reality extending to the vastest reaches of time and space. This seemingly impossible proposition follows from the current state of science, where outside the public eye, some key mysteries cannot be solved even though they are the very issues that define reality itself.

 

White spacewhite by Ilsa Bick involves a seventeen-year-old girl jumping between the lines of books and into the white space where realities are created and destroyed–but who may herself be nothing more than a character written into being from an alternative universe.

 

 

magic The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins exemplifies how magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the Gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back–earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality–science.

 

mirrorSymmetry is the unsung great idea behind all the big physics of the past one hundred years – and what lies ahead. In the superbly illustrated book The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality  Dave Goldberg makes mind-bending science not just comprehensible but exhilarating. Fasten your seat belt. Objects may indeed be closer than they appear.

 

 

zendegi

In a near-future world, a scientist develops artiticial intelligences called proxies who mingle with humans in the virtual world of Zendegi, created by Greg Egan. After a journalist finds out he might not live long enough to raise his son, he becomes obsessed with finding a way to make a proxy of himself to take care of his son.

 

 

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Nearly every night on every major network, “unscripted” (but carefully crafted) “reality” TV shows routinely glorify retrograde stereotypes that most people would assume got left behind 35 years ago. In Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV media critic Jennifer L. Pozner aims a critical, analytical lens at a trend most people dismiss as harmless fluff.

 

 

virtualVirtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business by Chris Ducker is a step-by-step guide every entrepreneur needs to build his or her business with the asset of working with virtual employees. Focusing on business growth, Ducker explains every detail you need to grasp, from figuring out which jobs you should outsource to finding, hiring, training, motivating, and managing virtual assistants.

 

Keep it real, my friend. Happy reading!

–Megan

Quest for Manitoba Birds

While I was meandering up the road from Lester Beach on Lake Winnipeg last July I came across an unusual bird casually sitting on a branch. It was startling in its sleek appearance: a black face mask with a feather tuft pointed behind the head; a shiny brown body with a short dark tail with yellow edging. What was this masked creature of the woods? Then I peered around. This one bird was not alone; there were upwards of a couple of dozen in neighbouring trees! Seeing these cedar waxwings was a surprise highlight of my vacation, except for the whole morning I quietly watched a representative of Manitoba’s only hummingbird, the Ruby-throated, feed outside our cabin’s front door.

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You first hear him before you see him, again and again. And before you know it, you can’t help but be enamored with this tiny creature and its challenging life. Note: having access to a camera with a telephoto lens helps with sharing the experience with others.

If you do get into the joy of birding this year, having good book resources around you is a must to deepen your understanding and appreciation. Here are a few options for your  birding explorations:

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Happiness is a Rare Bird: Living the Birding Life by Gene Walz

A well-written gem by an experienced Manitoba birder. Answers the question: why be a birder? The publisher’s website says: “Gene Walz affords an insider’s look into the hobbyist’s passionate drive and quirky lingo. Learn of vagabonds, endemics, fall-out, jinx birds, and lifers. Just as colourful as the birds they seek, Walz sketches endearing and hilarious portraits of the many birders he meets out in the field. Birders are indeed a special breed. Happiness is a Rare Bird makes a compelling argument for the pursuit of birding, combining an opportunity to enjoy nature with the chance to come together with generous, kindred spirits.”

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Finding Birds in Southern Manitoba by Brad Carey

“Complemented by maps and colour photographs, Finding Birds In Southern Manitoba is the only up-to-date birding guide for southern Manitoba… This book draws on the collective knowledge of dozens of birders, as well as data used to publish The Birds of Manitoba, to describe approximately 75 sites and routes and the birds that one can expect to find there. It also contains a list of Manitoba bird specialties and where to find them, bar charts of month-by-month abundance for all species, and the basic logistical information needed for a safe and enjoyable birding experience in Manitoba.” (Nature Manitoba website)

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The Birds of Manitoba by the Manitoba Avian Research Society (edited by Peter Taylor, illustrations by Rudolf Koes)

This excellent coffee table book more than 20 years in the making includes color illustrations, maps, tables, bibliography, and check list. Apparently hard to find to purchase, but at your public library!

 

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Manitoba Birds by Andy Bezener

A good starter book. Limited in scope, due to the fact that not all birds who visit Manitoba, especially during migration season, are listed here. Yet still a handy resource. “Manitoba’s 145 most commonly seen birds are profiled in this beautifully illustrated book. Each account includes a description of the bird’s key features for quick identification in the field, as well as the bird’s song, habitat, nesting and feeding habits and best locations for viewing. Ken De Smet, of the Manitoba Wildlife branch, is a biologist specializing in endangered species.” (Publisher Summary)

to-see-every-birdTo See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, A Son, and a Lifelong Obsession by Dan Koeppel

“From a well-known outdoors and nature writer comes a narrative that explores a lifelong obsession with competitive birding. What drives a man to travel to sixty countries and spend a fortune to count birds? And what if that man is your father?” (Publisher summary)

 

 

life-list Life List: A Woman’s Quest for the World’s Most Amazing Birds by Olivia Gentile

This is a biography of super birder, Phoebe Snetsinger, who had a life list of seeing 8,398 different bird species!

It’s interesting to read about extremes and obsessions, but it’s also good to be reminded that we don’t need to go that far to enjoy the company of our avian friends. It may mean as little as looking outside your window with curiosity!

 

Here are additional titles suggested by avid birders on the Manitoba Birders Yahoo Group: the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America; The Big Year, A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik; Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds by Trevor Herriot; The Bird Detective: investigating the secret lives of birds and Silence of the Songbirds by Bridget Stutchbery.

Happy birding this year.

-Lyle

The Queen of Crime

Very few of us are what we seem.” Agatha Christie

Before your James Pattersons and your Patricia Cornwells, your M.C. Beatons and your Gillian Flynns, there was Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie wrote what we would call today “Cozy Mysteries”. She wrote them before the term even existed. She pretty much invented and popularized the genre. The elements of a “cozy” mystery remain popular today: Not much “on page” violence or sex, the setting: a small quaint village, preferably seaside, or someplace exotic, like a train or Egypt, and the most important element: an amateur sleuth. Maybe we could call her books “proto-cozy”?

Agatha Christie is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling author of all time, and ranks third in the world for the most widely published books, behind The Bible and Shakespeare.

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

Her 1926 novel, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” was voted “best crime novel ever” by the 600 members of the Crime Writers Association in 2013, and her novels “And Then There Were None” and “Murder on the Orient Express” remain favourites to this day.

There has been a sudden surge of interest in Ms. Christie’s writings again. As this recent Globe and Mail article points out, the BBC has greenlit seven new television productions over the next 4 years, Kenneth Branagh is remaking “Murder on the Orient Express” with himself as Poirot, “Twin Peaks” co-creator Mark Frost is developing a new Miss Marple series, and “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes is working on “Crooked House”. That’s a pretty decent resumé for someone who passed away over 40 years ago.

In addition to being a novelist, Agatha Christie wrote 19 plays, which may be one of the reasons she was chosen for the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s “Master Playwright Festival” in 2017. Running from February 8-26, there are a number of interesting productions and showings around the city related to Agatha Christie and her life and work.

You can see the whole line-up at RMTC’s website.

The Millennium Library is hosting three free movies related to Agatha Christie during the Festival.

You can start things off by watching the PBS documentary “The Mystery of Agatha Christie”, hosted by David Suchet on February 14.

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Then you can check out a Miss Marple mystery, “Murder She Said” on Wednesday, February 15th.

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On the following Tuesday, February 21, you can see the late great Sir Peter Ustinov as Hercules Poirot in “Death on the Nile”.

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All movies start at 6:30 pm and are in the Carol Shields Auditorium of the Millennium Library downtown.

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