Category Archives: Book Clubs

It’s time to read: Walkaway

Welcome, dear readers! It’s that time at the beginning of the month when you should check your podcast feeds because a BRAND NEW EPISODE of WPL’s podcast, Time to Read is now available wherever you find your podcasts, iTunes, Stitcher, and on our Time to Read website.

This month, the gang talked about Cory Doctorow’s book Walkaway, set in a dystopian/utopian near future. We pondered if we’d be brave enough to walk away from society (spoiler: Alan is not), or if any of us were interested in “uploading” a version of ourselves (spoiler: Kirsten is not.)  And of course Trevor found us a handy-dandy list to discuss (what was the list about? Tune in to find out!)

If you want to get in on the fun, pick up next month’s read, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Set in a fictional universe, Rosemary Harper escapes her old life (and accompanying secrets) and joins a multi-species crew of a spaceship called The Wayfarer. It’s Erica’s favourite book! So, be sure to let us know what you think of it. Do you agree with Erica? Even better, do you NOT agree with Erica? Email, tweet or facebook us your comments – we really love hearing from you.

Watch for our discussion questions later this month, and you can email your thoughts on the book and on the podcast generally to us anytime.

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Until next time, try to find some Time to Read!

  • Kirsten and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: Son of a Trickster

It’s podcast day! This month the panel increases to 5 as we invite Monique from Information Services at Millennium to join in on the discussion for Son of a Trickster.

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You can find the latest episode, along with all of our previous episodes in your favourite podcast app, iTunes, Stitcher, or at our website at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca.

This month the discussion includes favourite pet stories, whether we think MAGIC IS REAL (or not), and how much vomit is too much vomit in a story. We even get around to discussing Governor General Awards Finalist Eden Robinson’s novel for a bit too.

We hope you enjoy it. Please give us a rate and review on iTunes. A good rating and review really helps to make future readers and listeners find our podcast in the ocean of info out there.

Now’s the perfect time to get a jump on next month’s book. It’s Walkaway by Cory Doctorow. Doctorow writes about a dystopian near future where “Walkaways” are people who leave the default world of tech behind, and live and create in a frontier-like makerspace world where objects are created through 3D printers and group-wiki style decisions. With the recent opening of the ideaMILL on the 3rd Floor of the Millennium Library and the issue of “ghost guns” and 3D printers in the news, Doctorow’s world isn’t that far away from our own.

We’ll send out some discussion questions before we record our next episode at the end of August, but feel free to email, tweet or facebook us your thoughts ahead of time. We love hearing from you and will include your comments as part of the discussion on the show.

Until then, happy reading!

Trevor and the Time to Read gang.

It’s Time to Read: Fun Home

Welcome, dear readers! It’s that time at the beginning of the month when you should check your podcast feeds because a BRAND NEW EPISODE of WPL’s podcast, Time to Read is now available wherever you find your podcasts and on our Time to Read website.

This month, the gang discussed Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

If you’re not familiar with it, Fun Home is the author’s own story of growing up in an unconventional family (they are part-time funeral home operators, hence the book’s punny title), and how she tries to come to terms with her own sexuality and the possibility that her father may have ended his own life. It doesn’t sound like cheery stuff, but a Tony winning Broadway musical was inspired by it, and there is quite a bit of humour throughout. I should also mention that it is written as a graphic novel (a fancy term for comic book) which allows the author to cram in tons of little specific details which make it a good book for repeat reads.

In addition to the book, the gang discusses the Bechdel test (and other pop culture tests) named after the author, and how journal writing has worked (or not worked) for us, among other things.

If you want to get in on the fun,  pick up next month’s read, Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson.

You may be interested to know that we have a SECRET GUEST PANELIST next month, so you won’t want to miss it! Maybe I’ve said too much.

You can email your thoughts on the book and on the podcast generally to us at:

wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Until next time, try to find some Time to Read!

-Trevor and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: Eleanor and Park

Or why a rose garden by any other name is not a rose garden

Welcome, dear readers! If you couldn’t tell by the title, this blogpost his here to let you know that the latest episode of Time to Read podcast is now available for download!

This month we discussed Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. And since it’s my job to provide a hook, I thought we could talk about titles. The title of a book is one of the first things that grabs our attention, after, of course, the cover–but we all know we shouldn’t judge books by their cover.

Before I even knew what Eleanor & Park was about I had put it on my ‘to-read’ list. For me, the title has a lot going for it. The beautiful three syllables of El●ean●nor juxtaposed with the simple single syllable of Park. Not to mention that it invokes a longstanding tradition in titling romantic tragedies such as Tristan & Isolde or Romeo & Juliet. But, in recording the podcast I discovered that what is a symphony to some (me) is a cacophony to others (one of my fellow podcast hosts). But you’ll have to listen to the episode to get the other side of that debate.

I will, however, give you a sneak peek from the read-a-like section of the podcast we lovingly call “Can you tell me a book you would also like?” Normally, I wouldn’t reveal the title in order to entice you to listen to the podcast, but I think this book is so criminally underrated that I want as many people as possible to read it AND it has a the most hauntingly intriguing book title: I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.

Personally, I think the title alone should be enough for anyone to pick it up. Why would anyone think they were promised a rose garden? And what is meant by ‘rose garden’? But for those of you need a bit more: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden was originally published in 1964 and is a semi-autobiographical novel about a woman working with her psychiatrist to overcome mental illness. And while society still has a long way to go in overcoming the stigma of mental illness, this book does help to illustrate how far we’ve come since the 1960’s.

Of course, I can’t end this without encouraging everyone to read the next selection for the Time to Read Podcast Bookclub. In June we will be reading Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Without giving too much away, it is an expertly crafted memoir about Bechdel’s childhood relationship with her father, a closeted gay man. So please, check it out and let us know what you think. We can be reached at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or find our discussion boards on our website at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca.

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read crew

A book club meeting in a bag

I belong to a book club of friends that meets once a month. Members come and go, but the core group has been around for more than 20 years now (!). We’ve chosen books by almost any theme you can think of—prize-winning books, books in translation, genres, books from a certain country or continent—but one thing we love taking advantage of is the convenience of Book Club Kits from the library. You can’t beat getting 10 copies in a bag, plus a Readers’ Guide prepared by library staff.

There are a vast range of titles to choose among in the collection, from recent bestsellers (The Break) to perennial classics (Things Fall Apart) to more offbeat choices such as graphic novels (Fun Home) and non-fiction accounts (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks).

Our adult Book Club Kit collection is one of the most popular here at WPL. We add a few new titles each year, trying to ensure that each one chosen will engage a wide variety of readers and offers a good “hook” or scope for lively discussion.

The Readers’ Guide for each title includes additional material such as discussion questions, reviews, and related books you might enjoy. (Can’t borrow a kit, but still want to get a copy of the Readers’ Guide? Just ask library staff!)

There are also French-language titles; Juvenile and Young Adult books; and Adult Basic Education kits as well.

So if it’s your turn to pick the book, find a title that interests you in our online catalogue, or drop in to Reader Services at Millennium Library for a discussion of which kits are available and what might work best for your club.

Danielle

It’s Time to Read: The Underground Railroad

If it’s the first Friday of the month, then you know what that means! It’s time for the latest release of the Time to Read book club podcast!

Who’s in our book club, you ask? Why, you are! Or at least, we’d love you to be. Your comments, questions, and observations, posted through social media or on our podcast webpage, help guide us through our discussion.  Love the book? Hate the book? We want to hear from you.  Email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

In this episode, we read Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, a book worthy of lots of discussion, reflection, and commentary. When you first learned about the Underground Railroad as a kid, did you at first think it was an actual railroad? Well, some members of our book club sure did, as did the Whitehead himself. And even after learning more about the actual network of safe houses, smuggled wagon rides, and trails leading slaves north to freedom; Whitehead thought it would be fascinating to explore the idea of the Underground Railroad literally rather than just figuratively. The result is a fascinating and unsettling story of Cora, a 15-year old runaway slave who hops aboard the train and whose story reboots at each station stop in a different state.

Would you like to join our book club? It’s pretty easy: read the book (or don’t, we’ll never know!), and add your comments and questions to the discussion page or on social media. Then download  our latest episode and listen in as this month we talk magic realism, Stockholm syndrome, the trolley problem, and how I don’t like making left turns when I drive.

Up next is Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane – pick up a copy at your local branch and join us, won’t you?! We’ll be posting the podcast of that book club discussion on (you guessed it) the first Friday in May.

Visit wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca to learn more and you can always email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca

— Kirsten and the rest of the Time to Read gang

It’s Time to Read: Middlesex

 

time_to_read_logo_v7c[1]The Time to Read Podcast – Join us anytime

Today (Friday March 2) we release our second podcast episode! Time to Read is our newest endeavor to bring our services to you, wherever you are. It’s a distance book club that you can participate in at your convenience. In your pajamas, on your commute, while working out…

We’d like to thank all of you who have listened and participated so far, through Twitter, the website, and through email. We loved hearing your thoughts and getting your questions to spark our the recorded discussion. I hope you are excited to hear it!

middlesexIn this episode we talk about Forrest Gump, rune stones, Jeff Goldblum, oh yeah, and Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. This Pulitzer Prize-winner is the story of a Greek American family and the way their secrets result in a special individual named Cal (an intersex man who had been raised as a girl named Callie. It’s complicated). Expect humor, dysfunction, silkworms, and the American Dream.

We know this is a big book (over 500 pages) to have chosen for our second month, so if you read along, many, many thanks to you!! If not, feel free to wait to listen until you are done reading – because we definitely talk about all of the spoilers.

But in the meantime, pick up the next book we’re reading, The Underground Railroad, and be sure to send us your thoughts so we can talk about them in the next recording, the last week of March. Don’t worry it’s much smaller.

undergroundAgain, March’s book is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I just finished it and it is amazing. The discussion pages for this and our previous books are open now, or email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

See all the details about this endeavor at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca

 

  • Erica and the Time to Read Team

 

Time To Read: A new podcast for Winnipeg book lovers

Picture of the four members of the podcast team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fort Garry Book Club Reading List

When it comes to what other people are reading, I’ll admit it – I’m nosey. If I see someone reading on the bus, I’ll try to get a look at the book cover. Or maybe take a quick glance at the page as I walk by a reader in a coffee shop. If you’re as much of a book snoop as I am, I invite you to take a peek over our metaphorical shoulders at what the Fort Garry Book Club read this year.

leftneglected    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

After brain injury in a car crash steals her awareness of everything on her left side, working mom Sarah must retrain her mind to perceive the world as a whole. In doing so, she learns how to pay attention to the people and parts of her life that matter most.

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson hitmananders

Hitman Anders, recently out of prison, is doing small jobs for the big gangsters. Then his life takes an unexpected turn when he joins forces with three unlikely companions to concoct an unusual business plan based on his skills and fearsome reputation. The perfect plan – if it weren’t for Anders’ curiosity about the meaning of it all.

 

This year marks Canada’s 150th birthday. In a timely coincidence, our book club read several titles this year by local Manitoba authors. We’re lucky to live in a province that has such wonderful literary talent to choose from.

afterlight   After Light by Catherine Hunter

This novel follows four generations of the Garrison family through the 20th century. Despite all their tragedies, the creative fire that drives the family survives, burning more and more brightly as it’s passed from one generation to the next.

The Age of Hope by David Bergen      ageofhope

Born in 1930 in a small town outside Winnipeg, beautiful Hope appears destined to have a conventional life. But as the decades unfold, what seems to be a safe, predictable existence overwhelms her. This beautifully crafted and perceptive work of fiction spans some fifty years of Hope’s life in the second half of the 20th century, from traditionalism to feminism and beyond.

index  The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

When his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant Aboriginal man who’d raised him. From his unique vantage point, he offers an inside view of what it means to be an educated Aboriginal living in a country that is just beginning to wake up to its Aboriginal history and living presence.

The Opening Sky by Joan Thomas    openingsky

Liz, Aiden, and Sylvie are an urban, urbane, progressive family. Then the present and the past collide in a crisis that shatters the complacency of all three. They are forced to confront a tragedy from years before, when four children went missing at an artists’ retreat. In the long shadow of that event, the family is drawn to a dangerous precipice.

ThisHiddenThing2  This Hidden Thing by Dora Dueck

The young woman standing outside the prosperous Winnipeg house that day in 1927 knew she must have work. Her family depended on it. But Maria had no idea that her new life as a domestic would mark her for the rest of her days. Her story reminds us how dangerous and powerful secrets can be.

I hope this gives you a few books to add to your own summer reading list!

  • Melanie

Literary Dinner and a Movie

In the remarkable 2010 BBC/PBS television series Sherlock, fictional Dr. John Watson writes his first blog, A Study in Pink, based on the 1887 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel A Study in Scarlet.  Benedict Cumberbatch, as a rather particular version of Holmes, has replaced the original dusty library with banks of laptops and a smartphone, and the thought-inducing meerschaum pipe with nicotine patches – a three-pipe problem has now become a three-patch problem.   Have you ever wondered what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would think of all this?  Brilliant, obsessed, and quite rude his detective has remained, but have these modern innovators stretched the original Sherlock Holmes too far?  The Thursday evening Charleswood Library Mystery Book Club had jolly good fun discussing this and other aspects of the whole affair after reading the novel in The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes and enjoying a delightful evening of movie-watching and popcorn.

sherlock   annotatedsherlock

 

Not to be outdone, the Saturday morning Charleswood Library Book club, which tends to steer away from mysteries, tried their hand with a Dinner and a Movie night out. After reading Paula Hawkins’ popular and engaging thriller The Girl on the Train, they had a rather enjoyable night out for a screening of Emily Blunt’s movie of the same name, and a dinner afterward.

Cover image for "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawins.

The two book clubs at The Charleswood Library seem to be engaged in a healthy competition with one another. If one has an author visit, the other does likewise.  If one goes out for dinner and a movie, the others will head out for a more civilized theatrical version of the book they’re reading, as they did with Simon Stephens’ MTC play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the novel by Mark Haddon.

curiousincident

At year’s end, the competition culminates in a worlds-colliding Holiday Pot Luck Dinner, where the mystery lovers, the fiction lovers, and the cross-overs all bring the most delicious, warm, and satisfying book discussion of the year. This wonderful event brings to mind the 1942 Nabokov poem A Literary Dinner, which will be read at next December’s meeting:

Come here, said my hostess, her face making room
for one of those pink introductory smiles
that link, like a valley of fruit trees in bloom,
the slopes of two names.
I want you, she murmured, to eat Dr. James.

I was hungry. The Doctor looked good. He had read
the great book of the week and had liked it, he said,
because it was powerful. So I was brought
a generous helping. His mauve-bosomed wife
kept showing me, very politely, I thought,
the tenderest bits with the point of her knife.
I ate–and in Egypt the sunsets were swell;
The Russians were doing remarkably well;
had I met a Prince Poprinsky, whom he had known
in Caparabella, or was it Mentone?
They had traveled extensively, he and his wife;
her hobby was People, his hobby was Life.
All was good and well cooked, but the tastiest part
was his nut-flavored, crisp cerebellum. The heart
resembled a shiny brown date,
and I stowed all the studs on the edge of my plate.* 

 

~ Ian

*This poem can be found in Poems and Problems by Vladimir Nabokov, p. 152.