Category Archives: What to Read Next?

Stories and Faces

Like many library employees, I love books—mostly fiction, and the bigger the better. When my kids were younger they started bringing home graphic novels, and I must admit I didn’t really appreciate them at the time. I love words, and the pictures just seemed to get in the way. Fast forward a few years and I was picking up a hold for one of my children. It was the graphic novel Maus, a Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History, by Art Spiegelman . It is not surprising that this Pulitzer prize winning book, sometimes referred to as the greatest graphic novel of all time, drew me right in. Written over 30 years ago, Maus was a game changer, proving that complex mature themes can be retold with impact in a graphic narrative.

In recent years, amidst growing numbers of displaced people (1 in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee), there have been a number of excellent graphic novels published that put a face to the struggles that refugees endure. They provide us with a way of ‘understanding the individuals behind the numbers’, which can only encourage compassion when it is so needed.

32171778. sx318

Threads: From the Refugee Crisis- Kate Evans

Threads takes us into the French port town of Calais where a city has developed within this ancient city of lace. Aptly known as the ‘Jungle’, hopefully a stepping stone to the UK , it is home to thousands of refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Africa. Kate Evans travelled to the Calais Jungle and gives a vivid firsthand report, ‘both capturing the wrenching reality of a seemingly intractable problem and making an eloquent argument for its solution: open borders.’ I thought Threads was an incredible, moving, raw read.

35963837. sy475

Illegal- Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Bestselling author Eoin Colfer, of Artemis Fowl fame, along with Andrew Donkin, published Illegal in 2018. This graphic novel, although found in the children’s section, does not shy away from difficult topics. It is heart-wrenching and real in its retelling of the story of Ebo, a young boy from Ghana who makes the epic journey across the Sahara Desert to Tripoli, and eventually into the merciless sea, always hoping against hope to be reunited with his family and a new beginning.

37534476

The Strange- Jerome Ruillier

Peopled by animals, The Strange tells the story of one refugee’s journey as he tries to bring a new life in the West, where he is unable to speak the language. The story is told by a number of different narrators, people he has crossed paths with—police, neighbours, strangers, helpers. The illustrations are strikingly done in black and white, with splashes of red and orange. Ruillier collected material for the novel from “the accounts of undocumented immigrants and their families, as well as police officers and other people close to the issue”

920607

The Arrival- Shaun Tan

The Arrival, by author Shaun Tan, is a wonder of a book. It is completely wordless, but that doesn’t detract from the story, instead drawing you in to look closely at a landscape that looks both fantastical and real. Brian Selznick (author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret) remarks, ‘how it slowly dawned on me that this bizarre world was how any immigrant might see the new place they go…everything is different and scary and magical.’

You can also check-out these other titles from the Winnipeg Public Library catalogue:

Baddawi; Escape from Syria; and Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Like games? Created in Winnipeg by Michelle Lam, Refugee Journeys is ‘based on a simple “snakes and ladders” game concept—players move forward, backward, or miss turns based on the cards they draw or the spaces they land on. Cards include integration experiences of real refugees, drawn from academic research, news and media, and the game creator’s personal experiences’.

-Kristie

New Titles

Each fall we see hundreds of new titles land on our shelves, and we can’t wait to see what arrives over the next few months.  Summer was still busy, though, with 339 new adult non-fiction titles purchased in August alone.  Here is a snap shot of 7 of them:

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference
by Greta Thunberg

 

 

Permanent Record
by Edward Snowden

 

 

Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice from the Afronet to Black Live Matter
by Charlton McIlwain

 

 

The Nutrient Dense Kitchen: 125 Autoimmune Paleo Recipes for Deep Healing and Vibrant Health
by Mickey Trescott

 

Without Apology: The Abortion Struggle Now
by Jenny Brown

 

 

Becoming a Sommelier
by Rosie Shaap

 

 

Indigenous Reparation Handbook
prepared by Jisgang Nika Collison, Sdaahl K’awaas Lucy Bell and Lou-ann Neel

 

 

Want to browse what’s hitting the shelves? You can do that – and place your requests – on our New Titles search. Interested in other types of new titles? Visit all our New Titles lists.

Questions? Big or Small…
Fall is also when people of all ages hit the books, whether it’s going back to school or taking on a learning project on their own. Have a research question? We would love to help.

Contact us at 204-986-6450 or use our online Ask Us! form.

See you at the Library,

Monique W.

Literary Finds – Joan Thomas

I recently had the opportunity to meet Joan Thomas when she came to speak to the Pembina Trail Library Book Club. For those of you unfamiliar with that name (how does that happen?), Joan Thomas is an award winning author and fellow Winnipegger. Her debut novel, Reading by Lighting, was the 2010 On The Same Page selection. She was the Winnipeg Public Library’s Writer-in-Residence in 2012. Ms. Thomas’ third novel, The Opening Sky, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award in 2014.

At the book club meeting, Joan shared with us the ways she gets her inspiration for her writing, and read from her forthcoming novel, Five Wives, coming out this September (I can’t wait!).

Reading by Lighting, a quintessential coming of age story, was based loosely on the life of her aunt. Lily Piper, a young woman from Manitoba, is sent to her father’s family in England to take care of her ailing Grandmother just before World War II. 

Curiosity: A Love Story is an exploration of historical fiction, inspired by the life of Mary Anning of Lyme Regis, on the southwest coast of England. Mary was an accidental fossil hunter and cabinet maker’s daughter. The love Joan has for the character of Mary is obvious, and is a love that the reader shares. The time, effort, and research that went into this book makes it well worth a read.

The Opening Sky is a contemporary character study inspired by modern life, and is a story about struggle of life, love, and the unexpected. Aiden and Liz are driven professionals, and their daughter Sylvie is unapologetically herself. I was completely drawn to this novel; there was something very familiar about it. I felt like this could have been a story about any one of my neighbours. 

Joan Thomas is one of those literary finds of a lifetime, and I am so glad I discovered her books! Do yourself a favour and check out her books. You won’t regret it!

Happy Reading!

– Andrea

Fall fiction firsts

One of my favourite types of fiction is debut novels. It’s always exciting to read the first narrative work from an author, whether they’re brand-new to writing or have honed their craft on poetry, stories, or essays. Here are some selected debuts coming out this fall:

The water dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

From an award-winning author of non-fiction and graphic novels, this is a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom. Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her–but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. His brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known. This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children–the violent and capricious separation of families–and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved.

Chilling effect by Valerie Valdes

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure. Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom. To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

After the flood by Kassandra Montag

A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water. Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Artic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

Against the wind by Jim Tilley

An elegantly written story of relationships involving six principal characters, strands of whose lives braid together after a chance reunion among three of them. A successful environmental lawyer is forced to take himself to task when he realizes that everything about his work has betrayed his core beliefs. A high school English teacher asks her former high school love to take up her environmental cause. A transgender teen raised by his grandparents struggles to excel in a world hostile to his kind. A French-Canadian political science professor finds himself left with a choice between his cherished separatist cause and his marriage and family. An accomplished engineer is chronically unable to impress his more accomplished father sufficiently to be named head of the international wind technology company his father founded. The Quebec separatist party’s Minister of Natural Resources, a divorcée, finds herself caught between her French-Canadian lover and an unexpected English-Canadian suitor.

Secrets we kept by Lara Prescott

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dares publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, but under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops and invisibly ferry classified documents. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the gulag, from Washington, DC, to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature.

Relative fortunes by Marlowe Benn

In 1924 Manhattan, women’s suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers–including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy. When her friend’s sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is skeptical, and shocked at the wealthy family’s indifference toward the ardent suffragist’s death. Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he’ll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi’s life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there’s much more at stake than her inheritance…

Looking for more new fiction? Check out the full list of New Titles ordered in the last three months!

Danielle

Confessions of a reluctant summer reader

I admit it. I never think of reading in the summer. Instead of sitting on the beach reading, I would rather be swimming, hiking, checking out festivals, or letting myself be mystified by the flames of a campfire. Summertime is generally not a time when I choose to read books.

But when a storm is thundering outside and either you’re stuck inside a cabin with little else to do, or you’re home and having electronics plugged in isn’t advised, I’ll resort to reading a book.

This is when I get really picky. I want something short and fast-paced—so I can go back to exploring the outdoors while the weather is still nice. The following are my 2019 summer reading picks:

The Nest – Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

A well-crafted story of the dysfunctional Plum family illustrates the New York setting with careful details and hilarious observations. The book starts off with Leo, the eldest Plum, leaving his wife at a wedding, high on drugs and with a waitress in the passenger seat, only to crash his car and get sent to rehab. In order to hush the gossip, his mother spends the money from the Nest, a delayed inheritance for all the children when Melody, the youngest, would turn 40. With all the other siblings in dire straits, expecting the money to fix their debts and relationship problems, they eagerly await for Leo to come up with a solution. It’s a fun quick read filled with drama and ridiculous situations that are just perfect for stormy days inside.

This is also available in audiobook, which is great for long road trips!

Saturday Night Ghost Club – Craig Davidson

If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls, you’ll recognize it immediately in this coming-of-age story. Jake Bake, neurosurgeon, reminisces on one summer growing up in Niagara Falls. At 12 years old, Jake was still scared of monsters in the closet and bullies from his school, but after meeting the new boy in town, Billy and his sister Dove, he begins exploring the city’s haunted sites with Uncle Cal, or the newly-formed Saturday Night Ghost Club. Exploring the themes of memory, nostalgia and tragedy, Davidson brings to life that summer feeling of exploring the city with nothing but your bike and your friends.

Ysabel – Guy Gavriel Kay

Looking for a getaway to the south of France? Ysabel, set in Aix-en-Provence, will sweep you into a story of adventure that will make you feel like you’re there. Ned, 15 years old, accompanying his father, a revered and professional photographer there to take some pictures of the city and landscape, stumble into a fantastical situation that spans over 2000 years. With great dialogue, well-timed humour, lyrical description of the Aix-en-Provence and a story unlike any I’ve read, this one is sure to keep you reading even after the storms outside have calmed.

Also available in audiobook!

The Key to Rebecca – Ken Follett

When I hear Ken Follett, I think of his long, sweeping historical novels. While those are great for cold winter nights, it’s not what I’m looking for when the sun sets after 9 o’clock. The Key to Rebecca gives you that historical fiction fix, but with a fast-paced, action-packed story. Follow Alex Wolf, a Nazi spy who travels through the Sahara Desert and into Cairo to get information on the British operations in Egypt during the Second World War, and William Vandam a British Army Intelligence office who picks up Wolf’s trail in the city. It has all the action, intrigue and romance you would expect from summer blockbuster, and it’s just as much fun.

So if you’re like me and hesitate to pick up a book over the summer, make sure to pick one that’s sure to be fun and fast-paced.

Rémi

And the Award Went To…

Book Awards. There are many, many awards given out for books, and whenever a book has been newly honoured with an award, or was recently nominated, this book often has lots of holds on it. So if you come to the library and find that the newly minted Governor General Award winning books aren’t available, have no fear, our lovely library staff members can place a hold on the book for you, and while you wait, why not take a look at some past award winners that may very well be available right away?

Governor General Literary Awards – Fiction:

sistersbrothers Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (2011 Winner)

Contract killers and brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters set out from Oregon City to their mark’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento in this darkly comic novel by Canadian-born novelist Patrick deWitt. Though Charlie enjoys his whiskey and being a killer, Eli does not and on this long road he starts to question what he does for a living and dream about a different life. Set during the Old West the novel is filled with interesting characters and humour, perfect if you like reading Western novels with a bit of quirkiness thrown in. 

Bram Stoker Award (Horror):

silence The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988 Winner)

This classic by Harris was not his first novel to include the infamous Hannibal Lecter, the first was Red Dragon which came out a few years prior. Though Lecter was only in that novel for a very brief time (much less than the movie version) his character certainly made a lasting impression. His follow-up to that novel features a strong female protagonist, Clarice Starling, as an FBI trainee, and of course the excellent character, Dr. Hannibal Lecter as they work together (“quid pro quo Clarice”) to find the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. This is a fantastically taut and fast-paced thriller that will have you breaking out in goose-bumps whenever Lecter is featured on the page (of course that may just be me as whenever I read any dialogue by Lecter I just imagined Anthony Hopkins’ reading the lines). Perfectly sinister!

Lambda Literary Awards (the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender books):

six Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor (2012 Lesbian General Fiction Winner)

Twenty years ago Ismail Boxwala mistakenly forgot his baby daughter in the back seat of his car and ever since then he has been racked by that grief. After a divorce and heavy drinking he has been alone and isolated for years until chance would have it that he befriends two women. One, Fatima is a queer activist who was kicked out of her parents’ home and the other is his neighbour Celia who is also grieving. All three find strength and safety together to help heal old wounds in Doctor’s second novel.  

Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction:

nightwatch Nightwatching by Méira Cook (2016 Winner)

In the Orange Free State of South Africa, Ruthie Blackburn feels like an outsider, everyone is at odds around her and she is constantly in conflict with her maid Miriam who is raising Ruthie due to her widowed father being more absent every day. She runs around during the dull days of summer until two guests arrive from the big city. This arrival, and one weekend, will alter the course of her adolescence and lead to a devastating tragedy. A beautifully written novel from local author and poet Méira Cook.  

Hugo Award (Science Fiction):

sandman The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by J.H. Williams III (2016 Best Graphic Story)

A prequel to the Sandman series of graphic novels by the fantastic Neil Gaiman, this collection of stories follows Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman (and his many other names) as he embarks on a journey in an attempt to fix what he had previously tried to repair (and failed). In his travels he meets some of his siblings, Destiny, Delirium, Desire and Despair as well as his father Time. Gaiman is a master at building fantastical worlds and interesting characters, and the art by J.H. Williams III gorgeously captures Gaiman’s world. Start with this graphic novel and you’ll want to continue reading more adventures with The Sandman.

RITA Award (Romance Fiction):

repressed Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton (2017 Romantic Suspense)

The first in a series of novels featuring adoptive siblings with troubled backgrounds, this book follows high school teacher Samantha Parker who, eighteen years ago witnessed her brother’s murder, and newcomer Dr. Ethan McClane a child psychologist, who turns out is not a newcomer to the town after all. When working together to help a troubled student, attraction grows between the two, but when new facts come to light of an incident long ago the newly formed bond will be tested and danger will be found just around the corner.

Don’t see a book listed here that peaks your interest? You can search other award-winners in our catalogue by clicking “Award Winners” and choosing an award in the categories listed.  

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

I know it’s out there somewhere

I have two words for you: Antiques Roadshow. If you accidentally started watching this show while channel surfing, your surf probably stopped there. Why? Because it is part fascinating, part suspense, and part history. This television show has been running since 1979. People line up with family heirlooms or thrift store/garage sale finds and wait patiently for an antiques appraiser to share information about their item’s history and worth. Sometimes they find that their item has little monetary value, but it still makes their heart swell; other times, the monetary value is mind-boggling and leaves the owner with the difficult decision of whether to keep it or sell it.

Just yesterday it was shared in the news that someone found an Egon Schiele sketch in a thrift store in New York. It could sell for $100,000! A couple of years ago, someone found a Maud Lewis painting in a thrift store. It sold for $45,000. And did you ever hear about the man who bought a chess piece for $6, only to later find out that it was worth $1.2 million dollars? $1.2 million dollars!!

There’s something about these stories and the Antiques Roadshow that leave you wanting to visit the thrift stores and garage sales to hunt for the ultimate treasure, or wondering if you already have one in your own home. Read on if you want to learn more about collectibles, have a precious heirloom that you need to care for, love reading Antiques Roadshow-type stories, or are intrigued by the darker side of this world (yes, it exists!).

Guides

We have Collectibles Guides. These provide you with visuals for many types of collectibles and how much each can sell for. There are guides for stamps, kitchen wares, action figures, cards, coins, and more.

Tricks of the Trade

We have books by individuals who have learned the tricks of the trade and are happy to share them.

Stories

If it’s the stories that draw you in, check these titles out:

  • The antiques magpie: a fascinating compendium of absorbing history, stories, facts and anecdotes from the world of antiques by Marc Allum. You’ll “go in search of stolen masterpieces, explore the first museums, learn the secrets of the forgers and brush up on your auction technique. Meet the garden gnome insured for £1 million, track down Napoleon’s toothbrush, find out how to spot a corpse in a Victorian photograph – and much more.”
  • The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr recounts the journey in the discovery of a Caravaggio painting that was lost for almost 200 years, and explores how many others likely remain lost to time in a storeroom or basement, or are being mistaken as a copy.
  • In Priceless, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team offers a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair. The son of an antique dealer, the author went undercover catching art thieves and black market traders of priceless art and antiquities: golden armour, Geronimo’s headdress, and a Rodin sculpture to name a few.
  • Caveat Emptor by Ken Perenyi is about his life as an art forger. Self-taught, he confounded experts and became wealthy by forging masterpieces for 30 years!
  • The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey tells the story of Gilbert Bland, Jr., an antiques dealer who stole centuries old maps from research libraries in Canada and the United States. He was referred to as the “Al Capone of cartography”.

We have all that you’ll need to keep up the excitement, the mystery, and the learning around antiques and thrift store treasure hunting. Enjoy the adventure!

~ Reegan

Spiders, bugs, and worms…oh my!

“I take my hat off to you — or I would, if I were not afraid of showering you in spiders.”
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

June was an interesting month in Winnipeg – hot weather, then cool weather; dry periods with the relief of occasional rain. It sounds like the perfect Manitoba spring. But wait, what are those tiny things crawling on the lawn chair you wanted to sit on in the sun? The small black things covering your car? Welcome to cankerworm season. The time of year where getting in your car might require some serious brushing off, and where the eco-alternative, cycling, involves dodging (or not) curtains of worms!

One afternoon I tried doggedly to brave this year’s hoards and swept off my deck and, broom in hand, hauled out my laptop and sat down. This was interrupted every few minutes by a fresh sweep. By the end of the afternoon I felt like I was positively crawling. This got me thinking to a book I had read, that had me crawling in a fairly major way, The Lost City of Z.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon  is an Amazonian adventure story. It chronicles different real life searches for the mythical lost city of Z, alternating between the different adventurers. In 1925 Percy Fawcett, his son, and the rest of his party, ventured into the Amazon hoping to make a huge historical discovery. But the whole party disappeared, and over the ensuing decades, many scientists and adventure seekers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party, often coming to tragic ends themselves. The description of the natural world, especially the insect part, is more than vivid. Before I read it I had no idea you could lose a whole backpack in a matter of hours to hoards of ants!

Spiders and I are not the best of friends – I am able to sort of deal with small, non-hairy, non-creepy-with-legs-radiating-from-the-centre kind. Spiders in literature can be pretty cheerful and wise, like Charlotte, whom Wilbur befriends in Charlotte’s Web. But more often they are dark and frightening. The Lord of the Ring’s Shelob fits this bill perfectly – a sort of evil personified (If you LOVE J.R.R. Tolkien then check out Ungoliath in The Silmarillion– she makes Shelob feel almost tame). Then there is Aragog, from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. A sort of sad case, accused wrongly, and loved by Hagrid, he wasn’t quite as scary as some of his literary peers.

Stephen King apparently lists spiders as one of his top fears, but it hasn’t stopped him from including them in some of his novels – they show up in both It and the Dark Tower series. Neil Gaiman includes not one, but thousands of spiders, in his novel Anansi Boys.

 

 

Winner of the 2016 Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time includes both ants and spiders. It is the epic story of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet, but the planet is already populated by an empire of accidentally scientifically evolved spiders!

In Wicked Bugs: The Louse that Conquered Napoleon’s Army & Other Diabolical Insects, Stewart has uncovered the most terrifying and titillating stories of bugs gone wild. It’s an A to Z of insect enemies, interspersed with sections that explore bugs with kinky sex lives (“She’s Just Not That Into You”), creatures lurking in the cupboard (“Fear No Weevil”), insects eating your tomatoes (“Gardener’s Dirty Dozen”), and phobias that feed our (sometimes) irrational responses to bugs (“Have No Fear”).

As much as insects and other arthropods might make us squirm and crawl,  the cold hard truth is that we couldn’t live on this planet without them!

Enjoy!

~Kristie

Metamorphosis

THIS happened in our garden this weekend over a period of three hours – three hours! The Monarch caterpillar had its fill of the milkweed in our garden, assumed the “J” shape, and transformed into a chrysalis. Over time, its jade and gold shell will become clear and we’ll be able to see the glorious Monarch butterfly colours through it. When the time is right, the butterfly will break out of the shell, spread its wings, and experience the freedom that comes with flight. It’s pretty inspiring stuff.

As the saying goes, change is the only constant in life. And when I think about stories, metamorphosis is a common theme. There are few books that I can think of that don’t deal with metamorphosis or change – directly or indirectly – and at an individual, neighbourhood, societal, or worldwide level. But here are some fiction and non-fiction stories where metamorphosis plays a front and center role, whether the metamorphosis happens with the main character or those around them.

  • The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna. Kaarlo Vatanen, a frustrated journalist, leaves his urban life and goes on an outrageous wilderness adventure with a hare in Finland.
  • Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister by Anne Choma. A fearless and charismatic woman, Anne Lister was an industrialist, landowner, and diarist who recorded the first ever known marriage to another woman – her own. Her four-million word diary continues to shape women’s history.
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Benjamin Button is born an old man and gets younger as each day passes. Can you imagine that?
  • Old in Art School: A Memoir by Nell Painter. The author, a retired and celebrated historian, returns to school in her sixties to earn Fine Arts degrees. Yes, that’s right – degrees! What does it feel like to be “old in art school” and what did she do when someone told her “You’ll never be an artist”?
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Count Alexander Rostov is an aristocrat who has never worked a day in his life. Sentenced to house arrest he lives in an attic room of a hotel across the street from the Kremlin watching Russian history in the making.
  • Britt-Marie was Here by Fredrik Backman. Britt-Marie walks away from a loveless marriage and takes a job in a dilapidated recreation center. At sixty-three, she takes on the task of becoming soccer coach to a group of children who aren’t the best at the sport.

How about reading how these transformations unfold? And if you’ve read a particularly good “metamorphosis” book, please do share it in the comments so we can add it to our “to be read” pile.

~ Reegan

Audiobooks for summer vacation

Seeing as how Father’s Day has just passed but many summer days remain, some possibly involving a car and great distances to parts unknown, I thought I would write about our many audiobooks. In honour of Father’s Day, I’ll talk about our many techno thriller, spy, and espionage authors. I might even throw in a Monty Python reference or two.

But first, for those of you who have not heard about our audiobooks, here’s a quick overview:

  • You can borrow audiobooks on CD or download audio files to your computer, smartphone, tablet or other mobile device.
  • To grab a CD, go to your nearest library and ask for the audiobook section. Choose your CD and check it out at a circulation counter or one of our many self-checkout machines.
  • To check out an audio file, download the OverDrive/Libby and RBdigital app (available for both Android and Apple devices).  Once the apps are installed, search for your favorite author or title in both collections and borrow. You can then download the audiobook to your device and listen to it offline – great for planes, trains, automobiles, or anywhere you might be faced with a lot of time and not a lot to do.

To get you started, here are some of my favorite thriller, spy and espionage authors with some of their titles. Enjoy!

Ted Bell

Ted Bell’s Alexander Hawke series are fun, fast, and fantastic. Lord Alexander Hawke, part James Bond and part commando, is a British secret agent tasked with stopping international crises, terrorist plots and crime. His books are fast paced and well written. Ted Bell has a good handle on current events, which he weaves into his novels for realism.

  • Tsar (available on CD)
  • Overkill (available on OverDrive and on CD)
  • Warriors (available on OverDrive and on CD)

Alex Berenson

Alex Berenson, another author who seamlessly weaves fact and fiction to create believable future crises and international situations and writes fast paced engaging novels that keep you reading until the end. John Wells, Berenson’s dour protagonist, is always there to infiltrate various criminal organisations or terrorist cells.

Dale Brown

Former USAF pilot Dale Brown draws on his personal experience and knowledge to create intriguing and technical techno thrillers. He draws on current events to write hypothetical “what if” futures that are thoroughly enjoyable. Brown adds great detail about various aircraft, procedures and events without bogging down his stories with too much technical detail. Most of his novels involve protagonist Patrick McLanahan defeating foreign governments, cartels or terrorist cells.

Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy, the grandfather of the techno-thriller and best-known for his novel The Hunt for Red October, wrote intriguing military action and adventure stories. His books were well researched and combined real-life elements in fictional scenarios.  After his death in 2013, other authors continued his Jack Ryan novels (much like Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series).

Vince Flynn

Like Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn passed away in 2013 and his novels have been carried on by other authors. Vince Flynn is famous for his tough, rugged protagonist Mitch Rapp who is fearless and more than willing to crush some heads to achieve his objectives. Flynn’s Rapp novels involve fast paced action, international crises, terrorists and internal fighting.  Always enjoyable, Flynn’s novels are great summer reads.

If you’re not sure what you want or simply want to browse, try our NoveList Plus database. It has hundreds of authors and titles to browse through. Each entry also links to the library catalogue to tell you whether the library owns that title or owns other titles by an author.

If you want some in person suggestions, please visit any one of our 20 locations. We’re here to help.  Happy post Father’s Day, enjoy the summer… and now for something completely different!

Drew