Category Archives: Book Clubs

It’s Time to Read: The Namesake

The reader should realize himself that it could not have happened otherwise, and that to give him any other name was quite out of the question

                —Nikolai Gogol, “The Overcoat” & epigraph of “The Namesake”

 

Dear Readers,  if you listen to Time to Read regularly you’ll know that I love thinking about names and titles and what they mean. So it is fitting, one could say that it could not have happened otherwise, that this month we will be reading The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri.

In The Namesake, a couple emigrate from Calcutta to America, eschew cultural tradition and name their firstborn child Gogol after the Russian author of the same name.

 

Do you need to know your Gogol to read The Namesake?  No.  But I bet it will be more interesting if you do.  I’ve been reading The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil and have found it surprisingly accessible.  I’ve found the collection at different times both dark and funny, and Gogol plays with story structure in surprising ways.  But if you only have time for one of Gogol’s short stories I recommend The Overcoat from which the above epigraph is pulled (and if you have time for two I highly recommend The Portrait.)

Please let us know if you have any thoughts about Gogol or The Namesake by going to our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or leaving a comment on our Time to Read Facebook group.

Also, don’t forget to check out the new episode which drops today.  It features Alexa and Sappfyre who joined from BlackSpaceWPG to discuss Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.  A great way to kick off Black History Month!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: Washington Black

Welcome to the New Year, dear readers! Since the Time to Read podcast book club began early in 2018 it has been an incredible experience to come together as a community, read books, and engage in conversations.  To everyone who listened and everyone who wrote in:  you have our most heartfelt thanks and know you are a friend of the show.

But as we all know, the New Year isn’t just a time for reflection, it is also time to look forward; so, speaking of friends and speaking of coming together, I’m excited to announce the novel we will be reading in January comes in collaboration with Black Space Winnipeg. The novel is the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.

Not only did our friends at Black Space Winnipeg collaborate with us to choose this month’s title, they will also sit down with us to record the episode. We look forward to the forthcoming discussion as we follow the eponymous Washington Black as he escapes slavery and faces the challenges of freedom in a world where slavery still exists.  We also hope that you, dear readers, will contribute to the conversation by commenting on our website, via email, or on our new Facebook group. Keep an eye out for discussion questions in the coming weeks and be sure to download the episode when it releases on February 1, 2019 to see if your comments made it onto the air.

And of course, our latest episode in which we discuss Beartown by Fredrik Backman is available to download today! Spoiler: we loved the book, but tune in to find out if we love hockey.

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Stress-less Cooking

cookbythebookWhat will we do when we find ourselves, stumble over ourselves, encounter ourselves, once again, in the kitchen?”   Dana Velden

Eating is something we all have to do, but in order to eat, we must cook – or get take out! But really, who can afford that everyday? Everyone’s lives are so busy these days, and cooking often becomes a tedious and stressful activity. If you’re feeling uninspired in the kitchen, check out Dana Velden’s book, Finding Yourself in the Kitchen; Kitchen meditations and Inspired Recipes from a Mindful Cook. The author recounts her time living in a Buddhist monastery and working in their Zen kitchen, where she re-discovered the simple joy of being in the kitchen, creating a meal. If that doesn’t work, have a look at the Cook by the Book’s latest cookbook reviews!

Harriet Chicken dishHarriet liked the straight forward and easy approach of Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking by Jessica Gavin. Harriet Buttermilk biscuits #2The book provides the science behind slow cooking which was helpful in making the Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken. The Flaky Buttermilk biscuits turned out really well and were very tasty.

 

kerry2Kerry discovered that deep frying a Reuben sandwich is a terrible idea! The Spicy Hot Russian dip that accompaniedKerry1 the sandwich was really good, though, and so was the Tangy Lemon Chicken from Bruce Weinstein’s The Kitchen Shortcut Bible.

Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients Quick & Easy Food cookbook has lots of pictures of all the ingredients you need, which Sandra really liked. She tried the Lemony Zucchini Linguine recipe, which was so easy to make and delicious!

Jackie kungpaoEasy Chicken Dishes by Addie Gundry uses a lot of prepared foods and dairy and very little seasoning, which Jackie didn’t like. Jackie lemonThe Kung Pao Chicken was easy, but required a lot of chopping and could have been spicier, although the heat did build when it was sampled the next day. Unfortunately, they couldn’t taste the lemon in the Lemon Chicken.

Anita pastaAnita loved the gorgeous pictures in Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry and appreciated the simple recipes that all take under 20 minutes to prepare. This book is all about comfort food and the Rigatoni Pasta was the BEST THING EVER!

 

The New Easy by Donna HayPrasanna pork contains a lot of unusual ingredients, but Prasanna would recommend this cookbook. She liked that the author shows how one recipe can be revamped and used for other occasions. The Sticky Korean pork with apple and cucumber pickle took 20 minutes to put together and was really good.

Shirley scallopsShirley enjoyed the little jokes that The Best of Bridge are known for in their latest Weekday Suppers cookbook. With new writers on board, you’ll find this cookbook is more adventurous than their previous books. The Thai Scallops Stir Fry turned out very well.

 

Tatiana dipTatiana drinkAlton Brown’s Everydaycook features what the chef likes to cook for himself. Tatiana tried the Sardine dip and the Barley Water, which is purported to be very good for you. She didn’t like that you discard the barley at the end, which seemed a bit of a waste.

Joanne lasagnaJoanne loved Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey and would gladly pay full price for it! It contains the best Bran muffin recipe she has ever had, as well as this delicious Ravioli Lasagne, with a tasty tomato sauce.

 

Cathi2Cathi dessertAll New Fresh Food Fast has beautiful pictures, but called for a lot of ingredients Cathi didn’t have on hand. She tried several recipes, including the Steamed Halibut with Leeks (fabulous!) and the Peanut Butter Truffles with Ritz Crackers (not so fabulous!)

Sherri turkey soupSherri tomato soupThe Turkey Spaetzle Soup and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup from Fast From Scratch Meals by Betty Crocker, were simple to follow, with ingredients on hand and they were both delicious. The cookbook has tasty recipes that are simple to follow.  It’s a great cookbook for preparing after work meals with fresh ingredients and kitchen staples. Sherri also tried the Greek burgers, which were a big hit with her family.

Lynda Tofu Bahn Mi cutLynda Fideos with Chickpeas2The recipes in Dinner Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchen all take 1 hour or less to prepare and were really easy to make. Lynda and Maureen pickled their own vegies for the Tofu Ban Mi and declared the recipe a keeper. For the Fideos with Chickpeas they toasted the pasta first, giving it a nutty flavour. This recipe is a close cousin to Paella.

Cathy udonCathy shrimpCathy liked that The Smart Dinner by Betty Crocker used ingredients she already had at home and gave lots of substitutions. The Udon Noodle Bowl was a little too spicy for her taste, but the Spicy Chili Garlic Shrimp Pasta was excellent.

carole turkeyThe Eggplant and Turkey Stir fry from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Easy was full of flavour and is definitely a dish I would make again. The cookbook is a typical celebrity cookbook with lots of pictures of Gwyneth and her family, but I have to say I liked all of the recipes I tried.

Happy cooking!

Carole

 

It’s Time to Read: Beartown

Hello, dear readers.  It’s that time again! No, not the holidays. What I have to say might help you if you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the season. It’s that time when I tell you what the Time to Read podcast book club will be reading in December. It’s Beartown by Fredrik Backman.

 Though I haven’t read it yet, I know the book takes place in a tiny forest community on the ropes that has all of its hope riding on the local junior hockey team and a violent act that “leaves the town in turmoil.”

I’ve thought a lot lately about how geography influences culture and life and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so while reading this book. I touch a little bit on that in our latest episode of Time to Read, available today. But I’m looking forward to thinking about those ideas further while reading Beartown as I grew up in a northern Manitoba town in which hockey was woven tightly into the fabric of community life. In fact, I already know what my “Book you would also like” will be, but you’ll have to listen to the episode when it releases in January to find out.

But what I’m most excited to know is what you, dear readers, think about the book. Do you have any experiences with small town life? And if so how do they compare to the book? Or are you a lifelong urbanite? If so, in what ways do you relate to stories about rural life? And if none of these questions appeal to you, let us know what your liked (or didn’t) about the book.

Reach us by email at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or leave a comment on our website.

~ Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Welcome, dear readers!  Happy first Friday of the month.  In the past, we’ve celebrated the all-important first Friday of the month by letting you know the latest episode of Time to Read was available to download.  We thought this was a pretty good way to spend your weekend. We were wrong.

What we should have been doing, and what we promise to do from now on, is to tell you what book we’re reading now.  Why? So you have Time to Read it of course!  And then you can let us know what you think. And when we record the next episode we can let you know what we think of what you think. We think that’s pretty neat.

reid For the month of November we’ll be reading I’m Thinking of Ending Things.  A Novel. By novelist Iain Reid.  I don’t know much about it … yet.  But I have it on good authority that it’s good.  Whose authority you might ask? An author I really admire, Heather O’Neill of Lullabies for Little Criminals fame calls it “Addictive.”  Charlie Kaufman of Charlie Kaufman fame is apparently turning it into a television series.  I can only hope he brings on Donald Kaufman to help him out.

But what I’d really like to know, dear readers, is what you think of it.  Did it keep you up at night? Because it was too scary? Or, maybe you couldn’t put it down?  Let us know by email at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or leave a comment on our website.

And don’t forget to check out our latest episode, in which we discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Available now.

-Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Welcome, dear readers! It’s the beginning of the month, and that means a BRAND NEW EPISODE of Time to Read, WPL’s very own podcast! Find it wherever you get your podcasts or on our Time to Read website.

This month, the gang discusses Becky Chamber’s The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. No worries if you haven’t read it! We tend to chatter about the ideas in the book rather than dissect the plot itself, so please join in anyway. (Honestly sometimes we run out of time to read them all too!)

If you have thoughts on Artificial Intelligence, really long journeys, or lesbians in sci-fi this is the show for you. We also have tangential segments like Nerd Words for Word Nerds and Books You Might Also Like (or something – I keep forgetting what that part is called).

long

Synopsis:

Humans are now just one of many sapient species in the galaxy, and a lesser and weaker one at that. This is the story of a motley multi-species crew on a patchwork ship, trying to make an honest living as tunnelers – making wormholes to connect star systems to one another. When they take on their biggest job yet, connecting a distant and isolated species that is still at war with itself, they each find themselves also on a long journey of self-discovery. With questions of personhood, identity, family and love, this is the story of that journey, as they travel the long way to find a small angry planet.

And if you’ve already read Angry Planet, we want you to tell us – Corbin, hero or villain? Who would you prefer to be stuck in a space capsule with? And what did you think about the surprise hook up?

devilThen, pick up our next read, Devil in the White City : Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson. Sounds good right?!!

And always always you can email your thoughts on the book and on the podcast 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!

  • Erica and the rest of the Time to Read team

 

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