Author Archives: winnipegpublibrary

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

Pun and Games

Of puns it has been said that those who most dislike them are those who are least able to utter them.

Edgar Allan Poe

It has also been said that puns are the lowest form of humour, but I disagree. Playing with words and discovering new, albeit perhaps not funny, ways to use them is a great way to experience the joys of language. Like taking a side road or unplanned detour, puns can direct you to a wonderful place you never knew existed. When you make a pun you’re pretty much guaranteed some sort of reaction from the audience, positive or negative, which shows that people are paying attention to your words. Whether you get a groan or a grin, someone has decoded your message. In the best case scenario, people start trading puns back and forth, which can lead to all sorts of punny situations.

Using puns in the titles of mystery novels is a natural fit. Puns are a form of verbal misdirection, and in many mystery novels the detective figure follows many false leads until they discover the truth.

This book will quack you up.

This book will quack you up.

In the end, the criminal gets his just desserts.

In the end, the criminal gets his just desserts.

Puns aren’t just for adults, though. Children who have 20,000 – 30,000 words in their vocabulary by the age of five have an easier time learning to read, and reading is simply interpreting words and their meanings. By exposing children to puns, jokes and wordplay you’re demonstrating the enjoyment that words can bring, and setting them up for a lifelong love of learning. Puns are also a key component to edu-tainment; teaching while entertaining. The other great thing about using puns with children is that they are a completely fresh audience. Even the oldest, stalest pun in your arsenal will be new to them, which guarantees a great response.

Kids just wanna have pun!

Kids just wanna have pun.

do-unto-otters

An alternate title could be: “Do as You Otter.”

The old saying “slow as molasses in January” can be applied to our brain functions. I know for myself that I move a lot more sluggishly in the cold. January is Brain Teaser Month, so to celebrate that why not try some punning yourself, or read something new with some plays on words? It’s a great way to jump start your thinking process, and keep your brain in shape.

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And, as everyone knows, it sets in the West.

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Or to the Punitentiary

As adults, our neural network isn’t developing at the same rate that it does in children, but it’s still vital to keep exercising our brains. The mind is a muscle that can move the world, but only if it’s kept strong and healthy. Paronomasia, aka puns, are agility exercises for your brain, and you don’t have to be at the gym or work up a sweat with this type of workout.

Puns are an amusing way to pass the time on a long car trip or bus ride, they can be a great icebreaker at a party, or a way to start a speech with a joke. There are many ways and reasons to incorporate puns in your life, and I’ve only mentioned a few here. So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and join in the pun and games!

– Lori

2017 Movies which started as Library Books

As the calendar year turns, it’s a great time to reflect back and to look forward. One of my favourite things at this time is to discover new movies on the horizon. Often the best are based on solid novels otherwise known as library books. Which books have been chosen to be made into new, hopefully insightful and thrilling movies in 2017? Many are coming, but here are just a few for your consideration. How best to prepare? Read or reread the book (or at least a good book review).

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Silence by Shusaku Endo

“The most important novel of the acclaimed Japanese author Shusako Endo caused a major controversy in Japan following its publication in 1967. Now with a forward by Martin Scorsese (the movie’s director). A Japanese Catholic, Endo tells the story of two 17th-century missionaries attempting to shore up the oppressed Japanese Christian movement. Father Rodriques has come to Japan to find the truth behind unthinkable rumors that his famous teacher Ferreira has renounced his faith. But after his arrival he discovers that the only way to help the brutally persecuted Christians may be to apostatize himself.” (Publisher summary)
Stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson
Release: January 6

 

Dennis-Lehane.jpgLive By Night by Dennis Lehane

“From New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane comes this epic, unflinching tale of the making and unmaking of a gangster in the Prohibition Era of the Roaring Twenties–now a Warner Bros. movie. Meticulously researched and artfully told, Live by Night is the riveting story of one man’s rise from Boston petty thief to the Gulf Coast’s most successful rum runner, and it proves again that the accolades Lehane consistently receives are well deserved.” (Publisher summary)
Stars Ben Affleck, Elle Fanning, Zoe Saldana, and Sienna Miller
Release: January 13

 

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The Gunslinger  by Stephen King

“‘An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King’s greatest literary achievement’ (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series.

“A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake. Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,’ The Gunslinger is ‘a fresh compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center’ (Milwaukee Sentinal). It is ‘brilliant and fresh…and will leave you panting for more’ (Booklist).” (Publisher summary)
Stars Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba
Release: July 28

 

The-mountain-between-us-by-charles-martin.jpgThe Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

“Flying together on a storm-ravaged night are a surgeon facing a painful separation from his wife and a young magazine writer on her way to her wedding. When their plane crashes in a frigid and remote mountain wilderness, they must learn, as week follows week without rescue, to rely on each other for their mutual survival.” (Publisher summary)
Stars Idris Elba and Kate Winslet
Release: October 20

 

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Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

“Fourth-grade class clowns George Beard and Harold Hutchins have created the greatest superhero in the history of the elementary school — and now they’re going to bring him to life! Meet Captain Underpants! His true identity is SO secret even HE doesn’t know who he is!” (Publisher summary)
Stars Kevin Hart, Kristen Schaal, and Nick Kroll
Release: June 2

 


It
by Stephen Kingindex.aspx.jpeg

“It’s a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry, the haunting is real. In 1958, the small town of Derry, Maine, is shaken by a series of brutal murders targeting children. That fateful summer, seven kids are drawn together in a fierce bond of friendship to face a force of unspeakable evil. Unsure if they have vanquished the nightmarish creature that lurks in Derry’s sewers, they vow to return should IT ever reappear. Twenty-seven years later, when the murder cycle begins again, they are summoned back to their hometown, reunited for a final, decisive battle against the reawakened evil. Winner of the British Fantasy Award and the bestselling book in America when it was published in 1986, It is Stephen King’s incomparable epic about evil in all its forms and that which it cannot destroy.” (Publisher summary)
Stars Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, and Jaeden Lieberher
Release: September 8

 

The-Breadwinner-by-Deborah-Ellis.jpgThe Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

“Afghanistan: Parvana’s father is arrested and taken away by the Taliban soldiers. Under Taliban law, women and girls are not allowed to leave the house on their own. Parvana, her mother, and sisters are prisoners in their own home. With no man to go out to buy food, they face starvation. So Parvana must pretend to be a boy to save her family. It is a dangerous plan, but their only chance. In fear, she goes out – and witnesses the horror of avoiding landmines, and the brutality of the Taliban. She suffers beatings and the desperation of trying to survive. But even in despair lies hope.” (Publisher summary)
Stars Soma Bhatia, Ali Kazmi and Kane Mahon
Release: 2017

 


The Long Home
by William GayThe-Long-Home-by-William-Gay.jpg

“In a literary voice that is both original and powerfully unsettling, William Gay tells the story of Nathan Winer, a young and headstrong Tennessee carpenter who lost his father years ago to a human evil that is greater and closer at hand than any the boy can imagine – until he learns of it first-hand.” (Publisher summary)
Stars James Franco, Josh Hartnett, Josh Hutcherson, Ashton Kutcher, Timothy Hutton and Courtney Love
Release: 2017

Happy reading and viewing!

  • Lyle

Fun for the Holidays

The Holidays are a time when friends and family are in close quarters. Much of that time is joyous, full of fun and spent in front of the TV watching any number of Christmas specials. We are never far removed from Jimmy Stewart, Chevy Chase, George C. Scott, Billy Bob Thorton or Little Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun.

However, film and TV are relatively new additions to the Holiday season. A century ago, no one owned a TV and movies were silent. How did people pass the time? The answer, of course, is games. Board games, card games, word games and many others were played for fun.

The Victorian era (1837-1901) which gave us Christmas cards, A Christmas Carol and Christmas Crackers also had games like Up Jenkins, Similes and Throwing the Smile. Up Jenkins was played with 8 or more players divided into two teams. Teams would sit across from each other and one team was given a coin. The team with the coin would pass or pretend to pass it among themselves until the opposing team shouted Up Jenkins! At which point the team with the coin would raise their hands above the table with fists closed. The opposing team would then say Down Jenkins! The team with the coin would then place their hands on the table palms down. The other team would then get one chance to guess which player on the opposing team had the coin.

Similes could be played with as few as two people but more is better. Each player would take a turn telling the other player or players a simile. Here are some examples of similes:

tight as a drum
green as the grass
brave as a lion
strong as an ox.

Players would keep telling similes until someone couldn’t think of one and then that person would be out. Eventually you would be left with a winner.
Those are games from Christmas past. If you’re looking to play games in Christmas present here are some books that can help:

The Complete Book of Card Games

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This how-to book offers a large variety of card games along with rules and instructions about how to play.  You’ll see Poker and Cribbage as well a few games not often played.  In addition to learning how to play, you’ll also get a short history on the evolution of the game.

Hoyle’s Rules of Games: Descriptions of Indoor Games of Skill and Chance, with Advice on Skillful Play: Based on the Foundations Laid Down by Edmund Hoyle, 1672-1769

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If you’ve ever wondered “how do I play Egyptian Ratscrew?” this book is for you. Providing rules and strategies for card and board games, you’ll find fun from Scrabble to Eleusis. The book also helpfully separates games geared for adults versus those more suited for children.

Family Fun Night

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Check out this book to create an “unplugged” family fun night that appeals to children too! With twists on timeless classics to brand new games, this book provides ideas for indoor and outdoor fun. Plus, it suggests snacks and meals that complement each family night theme.

The Oxford History of Board Games

oxford-games

My list of books would not be complete without a history of board games. David Parlett dives into the rich and interesting history of board games from around the world and from different time periods. His book offers some tips on strategies but focuses primarily on the development and cultural aspects of the games.

These books offer some great ways to stay entertained over the holidays. And there is one more twist you can throw into your gaming that can be a lot of fun. Today most games end with a player or players being “out” or being “it”. However, in ages past many games didn’t end this way. Players would perform a forfeit. Here are some examples:

  • A player has to stand on a chair and assume the form or shape of an object or animal the group chooses.
  • Make at least three other people smile.
  • Tell a joke.
  • Mime something and make the other players guess what it is you are doing.

Try these or create your own forfeits to add a different twist to your games!

While the holiday season is a great time to break out the games, it isn’t the only time you can enjoy them. Come to the library and enjoy “Tabletop Games Day”.  Different branches host this games day event at different times of the year.  Come and enjoy an oversized game of Chess, Checkers, or Snakes and Ladders.  You can also have fun with some regular-sized games like Clue, Scrabble or Cribbage.  Check the most current “At the Library” for times and locations.

Happy Holidays!

Andrew

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

A few days before his prison term is supposed to end, Shadow is brought before the Warden. In three years, he’s only seen the Warden once. Shadow is worried that something has happened, he feels that the authorities will find a reason to deny him his freedom. To his surprise he learns that he’s being released a few days early, then the Warden tells him, “…your wife died.”  The life that was waiting for Shadow is gone. The home he shared with Laura, his recently deceased wife, no longer has any appeal. It’s no longer their home, it’s simply a place that’s filled with possessions and memories – memories that are too painful to think about.

American Gods

After Shadow leaves prison, he makes his way to the airport and boards a plane, bound for Eagle Point. After waking from a strange dream he disembarks and learns that his flight has been redirected to St. Louis. Shadow hurries to catch his next flight – missing this plane means missing his wife’s funeral. A seating error results in him getting bumped to First Class. There he meets a mysterious man who calls himself Wednesday, and unbeknownst to Shadow, his life is about to change forever.

‘American Gods’, written by Neil Gaiman, is a story where legendary beings, those who possess great and terrible power, sing karaoke – and where ancient deities seduce men into worshiping them. It is a fantasy story that borrows from folk tales and mythology, and sets it in the modern world. We learn about pixies and how they arrived in the New World, and encounter a djinn who is struggling to survive in a world that’s forgotten his kind. As the story progresses – you begin to ask yourself questions such as; how does a God make its way in the electronic age? How would you interact with a being that’s witnessed countless battles, floods and famines? Would you believe someone if they told you they were thousands of years old? Could you ignore someone perform incredible feats, or would you start to think outside of the box and open your mind to the possibility that magic does exist.

american-gods

Released back in 2001, ‘American Gods’ is available in hardcover, paperback, and streaming audiobook on Hoopla. There is also a ten year anniversary edition available which features the author’s preferred text and has an additional 12,000 words. Daunting? Perhaps. But speaking as someone who’s read both the original and the author’s preferred text, I can honestly say that Mr. Gaiman added more depth to story and fleshed out some of the characters – which made it even more enjoyable. Last but not least, there is an upcoming TV show based on the novel, which is scheduled to air on Starz, in 2017. The author himself collaborated with the production of the series and is excited about it – which I think is the BEST endorsement anyone could give.

– Daniel Bohémier

‘Tis the season to be reading!

Thanks to Mother Nature, it’s finally feeling pretty Christmassy outside. Inside the library, we’ve got you covered for seasonal romance and mystery. I’ve spent the past few months ordering all sorts of Christmas goodies for our readers, including stories with ho-ho-hot rogues, magical mistletoe, paranormal presents, and cozy Christmas sleuths. The current offerings provide something for every taste, so get comfy under a blanket (or mistletoe!), pour yourself a cup of something hot (alcoholic or not!), and check out the books below.

Making Spirits Bright by Fern Michaelsmaking-spirits-bright

This swoon-worthy collection of novellas hits the holiday sweet spot. In the title story, singleton Melanie McLaughlin dreams of adopting far more than she frets about her empty love life, but everything comes together when she’s offered two children orphaned by a terrible car crash and twinkle-eyed Bryce Landry steals her heart along with his offer to give the kids “the best Christmas ever.” Elizabeth Bass cooks up a tear-jerker in “Runaway Christmas” as spunky Texas teen Erica, trying to get back on track after her mother’s death, decides to spend Christmas with a family friend in Brooklyn. Rosalind Noonan’s “Home for Christmas,” a tale of a single mother falling for a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan, is sure to tug the heartstrings. Nan Rossiter’s “Christmas on Cape Cod” delivers a dog-lover’s dream.

Fields Where They Lay by Timonthy Hallinan fields-where-they-lay
It’s three days until Christmas and Junior Bender, Hollywood’s fast-talking fixer for the felonious, is up to his ears in shopping mall Santas, Russian mobsters, desperate holiday shoppers, and (’tis the season) murder, in this sixth entry in the Junior Bender Holiday Mystery series (after King Maybe). The halls are decked, the deck is stacked, and here comes that jolly old elf. Junior Bender, divorced father of one and burglar extraordinaire, finds himself stuck inside the Edgerton Mall, and not just as a last-minute shopper (though he is that too). Edgerton isn’t exactly the epicenter of holiday cheer, despite its two Santas, canned Christmas music, chintzy bows, and festive lights. The mall is a fossil of an industry in decline; many of its stores are closed, and to make matters worse, there is a rampant shoplifting problem. The murderous Russian mobster who owns the place has decided it takes a thief to catch a thief and hires Junior–under threat–to solve the shoplifting problem for him. But Junior’s surveillance operation doesn’t go well: as Christmas Eve approaches, two people are dead and it’s obvious that shoplifting is the least of the mall’s problems. To prevent further deaths, possibly including his own, Junior must confront his dread of Christmas–both present and past.

 

christmas-brideA Christmas Bride by Hope Ramsay

‘Tis the season in Shenandoah Falls and the first time Willow Peterson has been home in years. But she’s determined to fulfill the wishes of her recently deceased best friend and restore Eagle Hill Manor to its former glory–all in time to host the perfect holiday wedding. She just has to get the owner of the historic inn to hire her. Unfortunately, that means dealing with Scrooge himself.
After the death of his wife, David Lyndon has a bah-humbug approach to Christmas. But as December counts down and the wedding planning is in full swing, it’s harder and harder to stay immune to the charms of Willow, especially when he sees how much joy she brings his eight-year-old daughter. After a simple kiss under the mistletoe turns into something more, David is hoping he can turn the magic of the holiday season into the love of a lifetime.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by David Rosenfelttwelve-dogs-of-christmas

Martha “Pups” Boyer, who’s at the center of Edgar-finalist Rosenfelt’s entertaining 15th legal thriller featuring Patterson, N.J., attorney Andy Carpenter (after Outfoxed), earned her nickname for her efforts to take in stray puppies that the local animal shelter can’t handle and find them permanent homes. Near the holidays, Pups’s new neighbor, Randy Hennessey, reports her for keeping more than the legal limit of animals. Andy, a long-time friend of Pups, figures that puppies and Christmas are key words that will ensure that the case is dismissed. He’s right. But when Randy turns up dead, Pups is arrested for his murder. The evidence is stacked against her, but Andy refuses to believe Pups guilty. On the other hand, Andy and his team discover some alarming discrepancies when they dig through the assets of the wealthy Pups and her late husband.

 

holiday-temptationHoliday Temptation by Donna Hill, Farrah Rochon, and K.M. Jackson

Three unlikely couples heat up the pages in this sensual trio of holiday. An aspiring playwright and a barista who is more than he seems learn to trust their hearts in Hill’s passionate “A Gift of Love”; a chance meeting in Istanbul’s spice market turns into something more for a Christmas-phobic photographer and techie craft brewer when the fates and the weather get into the act in Farrah Rochon’s affecting “Holiday Spice”; and a hard-driving real estate mogul hires a health-conscious chef to improve his diet and lifestyle during a business trip aboard his yacht and gets more than he bargained for in K.M. Jackson’s pert “From Here to Serenity.”

 

We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delanywe-wish-you-a-murderous-christmas

In Delany’s second book in the Year-Round Christmas Mystery series (after Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen), Merry Wilkinson is content with life in Rudolph, NY, where she runs a Christmas shop. The town has reinvented itself as a holiday-themed tourist destination full of indie businesses. So when the owner of the Yuletide Inn lands in the hospital following a heart attack, and his son, Gord, swoops in to convert the inn into a franchise of a budget hotel chain and sell land to a big-box store, the community is in an uproar. They’re almost relieved when Gord is murdered, until their resident Santa, Merry’s father, is questioned. Now Merry will have to find the real killer before her dad ends up in jail and the holiday is ruined.

it-must-be-christmasIt Must Be Christmas by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward, and Mandy Baxter

Three novellas with a delightful assortment of settings sweep readers off their feet with stories that highlight a variety of holiday experiences. A university librarian and a professor of Chinese lit (with a secret agenda) trade barbs and kisses as they spend Christmas Eve searching for an elusive action figure for a five-year-old in Crusie’s nonstop chuckler “Hot Toy”; a small-town doctor and an ex-Navy SEAL dad are thrown together when they find a newborn in the Christmas crèche in Donna Alward’s insightful “Christmas at Seashell Cottage”; and a wealthy rancher who wants nothing to do with his late father’s money finds romance with the founder of a sports-related charity for at-risk kids in Mandy Baxter’s steamy “Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher.” Library Journal states: “spirited, refreshing, and brimming with holiday joy, this diverse trilogy delivers both sexy and sweet, providing a little something for everyone.”

The Last Chance Christmas Ball by Mary Jo Putney and otherslast-chance-christmas-ball

Eight romance authors (collectively known as the Word Wenches) walk into a Regency-era ballroom and wreak fabulous, shimmering holiday mischief all over the place. The Dowager Countess of Holbourne is hosting an extravagant Christmas ball, and the guest list includes some of the loveliest, loneliest people in high society. Publisher’s Weekly states: “The best of the stories woven around this premise are Joanna Bourne’s ‘My True Love Hath My Heart,’ in which a little larceny spices a long-smoldering romance; Susan King’s ‘A Scottish Carol,’ wherein snowbound lovers never quite make it to the ball; and a maiden’s romantic rescue from a young ladies’ seminary in Anne Gracie’s ‘Mistletoe Kisses.’ The characters are smart and attractive-so much so that it can be hard to believe the ball is their only chance to find love-and their stories are delicious and appealing.”

our-first-christmasOur First Christmas by Lisa Jackson, Mary Burton, Mary Carter, and Cathy Lamb

Join four of the most favorite romance authors for tales of Christmas romance to remember forever.   In Lisa Jackson’s “Under the Mistletoe,” Megan Johnson’s marriage is over—or so she thinks. When her husband Chris lands in the hospital, she remembers the unexpected joy of their first Christmas together. The holidays bring painful memories for history professor Marisa Thompson in Mary Burton’s “A Ranger for Christmas.” But agreeing to help Texas Ranger Lucas Cooper solve a case presents her with more than a distraction. In Mary Carter’s “A Southern Christmas,” reporter Danielle Bright is heading home to write about Christmas down south—and possibly win back her ex. But Sawyer, the sexy photographer, is determined to jingle her bells. Family is where you go after quitting your job, but Laurel Kelly isn’t prepared for the changes at home in Montana—or the fact that her high school boyfriend now owns the family land in “A Ranger for Christmas” by Mary Burton.

Deck the Hallways by Kate Carlisledeck-the-hallways

Contractor Shannon Hammer is back in Carlisle’s fourth “Fixer-Upper” mystery, an entertaining Christmas cozy. Shannon’s latest project is overseeing the remodeling of an old Victorian mansion into apartments for families in need. Since the bank donated the foreclosed house to the Holiday Homebuilders, company representative Mr. Potter is sent to keep an eye on the progress. However, he manages to harass and fight with several of the workers, including Shannon’s dad, then ends up murdered, leaving a long list of suspects. Hoping to keep her father off the list of potential killers and get the renovation back on track, Shannon does some amateur sleuthing.

trouble-with-mistletoeThe Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

Fans of Shalvis’s Sweet Little Lies will surely want to pick up her second Heartbreaker Bay contemporary, which is also very accessible to new readers. The series’s cuddliness factor is amped up to 11 with redheaded Willa Davis and her San Francisco pet store, South Bark Mutt Shop. Willa’s single and happy that way; she gets her daily dose of love from half a dozen eight-week-old golden retriever pups and the other lost animal souls she tends. Then handsome Keane Winters, a man from her past, shows up with Petunia, a Siamese cat he’s nicknamed Pita because she’s a pain in the ass. Pita is his great-aunt’s pet, and he needs all the cat counseling he can get, but Willa, Christmas spirit notwithstanding, would just as soon he seek it elsewhere. Willa’s a gem, Keane’s a hunk-tool belt and all-and the two spar as only Shalvis’s characters can, fighting a losing battle against the powers of mutual attraction and the holiday season.

Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morganmiracle-on-5th-avenue

As a surprise, Eva Jordan agrees to decorate for Christmas the apartment of the grandson of one of her events and concierge company’s oldest clients (even preparing frozen meals) and finds crime writer Lucas Blade lurking in the dark instead of in Vermont where he is supposed to be working. Recently widowed Lucas has hit a massive writer’s block and is hiding out at home. He certainly doesn’t want an effervescent, captivating, Christmas-loving woman disturbing his peace-although it’s exactly what he needs. A cynical novelist who doesn’t believe in love and an optimistic chef who thinks it’s more important than all else set the pages alight in a compelling romance that tempers the serious issues of loneliness, grief, and fear of commitment with the salutary joy of the season.

-Barbara

Our gift to readers

In our annual contribution to the season, Winnipeg Public Library staff have put our heads together to come up with a list of our favourite reads of 2016. Some of these books were published this year, some are older titles that we discovered recently; all of them come highly recommended.

Want to see how our previous choices stack up? Check out WPL’s staff picks for 2015 and 2014. And if that’s not enough for you, here’s an ever-growing annual compilation of hundreds of 2016 “best of” lists.

Fiction we loved

Brian chose The Lamentations of Zeno by Ilija Trojanow, a “sparse but deeply affecting novel” that takes the reader to the Antarctic through the eyes of an aging glaciologist turned cruise ship guide.

Carolyn has read Dexter Palmer’s Version Control twice and will probably read it again, finding it enjoyable from multiple angles: “intriguing time-travel plot, satisfying existential questions, and some almost understandable hard science.”

revenantAccording to Chris, The Revenant by Michael Punke (inspiration for the recent movie of the same name) grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until the final shot.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was Derek‘s favourite book–“a vivid, brilliant exploration of the devastating effects of war on the lives of two individuals.”

Jane says that Rules for a Knight (written in the form of a letter to his children by author and actor Ethan Hawke) provides a compass for living an upright and noble life and is “a perfect gem to slip into anyone’s stocking.”

Kim loves Zoe Whittall’s books and couldn’t put down her latest, The Best Kind of People, about a family’s experience of going from the “perfect family” to being ostracized by almost everyone in their hometown.

heartEvery Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire answered a question Melanie has had since she was a little girl: what happens to children who fall through portals to fantasy worlds after they return home?

Monica chose Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest for its dysfunctional, relatable family and New York setting.

breakMonique calls local writer Katherena Vermette’s first novel The Break “a story of family and community connections, trauma, and so much love… will leave anyone who reads it wanting more.”

 

Non-fiction of all kinds

Christian Bök’s poetry collection The Xenotext is “Ovid neo-structuralist hard-science futurism with bees” or, as Aaron puts it, “kinda weird.”

Elke considered Animal Factory by David Kirby “non fiction that reads like a thriller–a story about how the hunger for cheap meat and dairy has become a threat to the environment and public health.”

Franca enjoyed the wry sense of humour in Allen Kurzweil’s Whipping Boy, and how Kurzweil’s initial curiosity about what became of the schoolmate who bullied him turned into a decades-long search bordering on obsession.

According to Hugh, Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle is “a must for anyone with the slightest interest in Canada’s role in the First World War”, covering the key details of this lesser-known battle in which thousands of Manitoban soldiers fought.

lonelyJacqui says The Lonely City by Olivia Laing is “a thought-provoking blend of art history and memoir” that looks at loneliness in visual art, and how that feeling can be exposed by art as well as eased.

Julianna was inspired to reread the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic memoir Maus by Art Spiegelman after the recent Anne Frank exhibit at Millennium Library, calling it “especially potent given today’s hyperbolic and fearful rhetoric.”

Although The Book of Tea was written in 1906, Larisa found that Kakuzo Okakura’s thoughts on serious social issues associated with modernization, globalization, and the preservation of culture remain extremely topical today.

Melissa remembers Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley as “a hilarious delusional read… a beautiful fairy tale that inspires hope.” (Sarcasm, perhaps?)

twoNadine appreciated The House with the Broken Two by Myrl Coulter, a very personal story of giving up her child by a woman who grew up in Winnipeg and became pregnant in 1967 out of wedlock.

 

 

For young(ish) readers

Brianna R. Shrum’s YA novel Never Never was Katherine‘s choice: a retelling of the story of Peter Pan in which James Hook follows Pan to Neverland, only to realize there’s no way back to London…

Lauren picked the YA graphic novel series Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson (and a host of talented artists) as “a sassy, clever, girl-powered adventure that can genuinely be enjoyed by all ages.”

applesApples and Robins by Lucie Felix is a charming and magical picture book using shapes to show an apple tree through the four seasons of the year. Lori says it will “make you smile and think of spring even in the midst of winter.”

Madeleine‘s favourite book this year was Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a YA title set during WWII which tells the amazing and heart-wrenching story of a friendship between two young women, a spy and a transport pilot.

And Wendy chose Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier, “a thrilling adventure story complete with unlikely heroes, duplicitous villains, and magical tomes that can tell you things about yourself that even you didn’t know.”

Here’s to many more great new reads in the New Year!

Danielle