Category Archives: What to Read Next?

Canada 150 Years, Anishinaabe 13,000 Years

canada150

Source: http://tinyurl.com/ydbvm3f8 Credit: unknown

It’s BookFest this Saturday at Millennium Library – a day packed with engaging and fun content, with a focus on Manitoba-based publishers. This is my second year participating as one of the Library staff offering up “Book Tastings”.  Under the category of “Canada 150+: great reads about our past and present” (2-2:30 p.m.) I’ll be highlighting titles that address the “plus”.  As most people know there is a real explosion of Indigenous literary talent happening right now or, rather, an increase in the acknowledgement and celebration of that talent by so-called mainstream Canada.  About time!  It was difficult to choose just a few titles – a good problem to have. I look forward to highlighting these titles and more this Saturday and beyond.
 

When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson. Illustrated by Julie Flett.

whenwewere

Winner of a 2017 Governor General’s Literary Award.

“When a young girl helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, she begins to notice things that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long, braided hair and beautifully colored clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where all of these things were taken away. When We Were Alone is a story about a difficult time in history, and, ultimately, one of empowerment and strength.”

 

Pīsim Finds Her Miskanow by William Dumas. Illustrated by Leonard Paul.

pisim

“In 1993, the remains of a young woman were discovered at Nagami Bay, South Indian Lake, Manitoba. Out of that important archeological discovery came this unique story about a week in the life of Pisim, a young Cree woman, who lived in the Mid 1600s. In the story, created by renowned storyteller William Dumas, Pisim begins to recognize her miskanow – her life’s journey – and to develop her gifts for fulfilling that path. The story is brought to life by the rich imagery of Leonard Paul, and is accompanied by sidebars on Cree language and culture, archaeology and history, maps, songs, and more.”

 

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

sevenfallen

“…from 2000 to 2011, seven Indigenous high school students died in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The seven were hundreds of miles away from their families, forced to leave home and live in a foreign and unwelcoming city. Five were found dead in the rivers surrounding Lake Superior, below a sacred Indigenous site. Jordan Wabasse, a gentle boy and star hockey player, disappeared into the minus twenty degrees Celsius night. The body of celebrated artist Norval Morrisseau’s grandson, Kyle, was pulled from a river, as was Curran Strang’s. Robyn Harper died in her boarding-house hallway and Paul Panacheese inexplicably collapsed on his kitchen floor. Reggie Bushie’s death finally prompted an inquest, seven years after the discovery of Jethro Anderson, the first boy whose body was found in the water.

Using a sweeping narrative focusing on the lives of the students, award-winning investigative journalist Tanya Talaga delves into the history of this small northern city that has come to manifest Canada’s long struggle with human rights violations against Indigenous communities.”

   

A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986. by John S. Milloy

nationalcrime

This classic title has been re-released with a forward by local scholar Mary Jane Logan McCallum.

“For over 100 years, thousands of Aboriginal children passed through the Canadian residential school system. Begun in the 1870s, it was intended, in the words of government officials, to bring these children into the “circle of civilization,” the results, however, were far different. More often, the schools provided an inferior education in an atmosphere of neglect, disease, and often abuse. Using previously unreleased government documents, historian John S. Milloy provides a full picture of the history and reality of the residential school system.”

 

Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal. by Keira Ladner and Myra Tait

survivingcanada

Surviving Canada: Indigenous Peoples Celebrate 150 Years of Betrayal is a collection of elegant, thoughtful, and powerful reflections about Indigenous Peoples’ complicated, and often frustrating, relationship with Canada, and how – even 150 years after Confederation – the fight for recognition of their treaty and Aboriginal rights continues. Through essays, art, and literature, Surviving Canada examines the struggle for Indigenous Peoples to celebrate their cultures and exercise their right to control their own economic development, lands, water, and lives.”

 

Fire Starters by Jen Storm.  Illustrated by Scott Henderson.  Colours by Donavan Yacuik.

firestarter

“Looking for a little mischief after finding an old flare gun, Ron and Ben find themselves in trouble when the local gas bar on Agamiing Reserve goes up in flames, and they are wrongly accused of arson by the sheriff’s son. As the investigation goes forward, community attitudes are revealed, and the truth slowly comes to light.”

 

Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman. Eds., Keavy Martin, Julie Rak and Norma Dunning

qallunut

“Life Among the Qallunaat is the story of Mini Aodla Freeman’s experiences growing up in the Inuit communities of James Bay and her journey in the 1950s from her home to the strange land and stranger customs of the Qallunaat, those living south of the Arctic. Her extraordinary story, sometimes humourous and sometimes heartbreaking, illustrates an Inuit woman’s movement between worlds and ways of understanding. It also provides a clear-eyed record of the changes that swept through Inuit communities in the 1940s and 1950s.”
-Monique W.

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Who is Caroline Herschel?

I discovered Caroline Herschel a few years back when she was the inspiration for a Google Doodle. I became obsessed and wanted to know as much as I could about her.  She was most notably the sister of William Herschel, astronomer to King George, and also the man who discovered Uranus.  What most people don’t know is her own contribution to science.  Early in life she contracted typhus; her mother thought this was the end of her life as a woman. Thankfully her father and brother believed there was more for her.  After moving to England she assisted William and even became an astronomer in her own right.  Please do yourself a favor and take a moment to look at the Caroline Herschel Objects.

This got me thinking about other notable women in science. The further down I searched in this rabbit hole, the more I discovered.

Before Caroline (long before) there was Hypatia. Not much is actually known about the life of Hypatia, but of course there doesn’t mean there isn’t speculation!

If you are in the mood for a graphic novel try The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. A Steampunk graphic novel of Ava Lovelace in an alternative universe using computers to fight crime! Who would say no to that??! Or if you are looking for a more traditional historical novel, the library will soon be getting the forthcoming novel Enchantress of Numbers.

To return to Caroline Herschel, Stargazer’s Sister is a novel that tells her imagined life. From her early days, seeing her first solar eclipse, almost dying from typhus, being rescued by her brother William, and being brought to England where Caroline serves William as his caretaker, assistant, and research partner.  It is only when William announces his plans to marry that Caroline’s life falls apart.

Then I discovered Mary Anning through reading Remarkable Creatures. A fictional account of a Mary Anning, who had a knack for finding fossils. The story begins with Mary being struck by lightning as an infant, and the discovery that would revolutionize paleontology, and shake the religious figures of the time. Mary finds a friend and champion in Elizabeth Philpot. Or, you could read Curiosity: A Love Story by Winnipeg writer Joan Thomas.

I first learned of the women of NASA by watching a video about Margaret Hamilton. Who was Margaret Hamilton? Oh, just the woman who put astronauts on the Moon. Then I kept hearing of this book (and movie) Hidden Figures, the true story of the women who made space travel possible, and won the space race for the USA.

You can also try Rocket Girl, available on Overdrive.

 

 

Women in Science: 50 fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World is new to the library, and I have yet to receive it. I am (not so) patiently waiting for my hold!

Andrea

Frightfully Good Reads

darkandstormy

October is such a wonderful time to come to the library. Not only is it Canadian Library Month and filled with programs for those of all ages, but October is the prime month where all you horror fans (or closet horror fans) receive the attention you deserve! Halloween allows us to promote some of our less-advertised collection of thriller and horror books. Reader Services staff at the Millennium library have created a wonderful display, as can be seen in the picture above and offer plenty of creepy books that will frighten, unsettle and give goosebumps to many readers. Therefore, in honour of the creepiest month of the year, here are just some authors whose books you can sink your teeth into, just be sure to leave the lights on…

Stephen King

doctorsleep

What horror list would be complete without the horror master who has written many, many (long) but amazingly creepy and unsettling books. With a recent adaptation of part 1 of his novel IT in theatres and receiving rave reviews (you should go see it, it is fantastic!), check out the source material which is just as good, though clocking in at over a thousand pages, leave yourself some time to read it. There are a few holds on this title so you may have to be patient, but if you are wanting a King fix right away, here are some more excellent and creepy books by him: Salem’s Lot, Mr. Mercedes, Doctor Sleep, Pet Sematary, Cujo, The Mist… and the list goes on. For all King titles, check here.

Joe Hill

heartbox

As the son of the horror legend Stephen King, Joe Hill had some big expectations

 

for his writing career, and he did not disappoint. Check out The Fireman about an epidemic which leads people to internally combust, and Heart-Shaped Box the story of a rockstar who purchases morbid items and finds himself owning a suit containing an old man’s spirit that will do his bidding, the suit arrives in…a heart-shaped box. Naturally, chaos ensues.

Richard Matheson

hellhouse

Did you enjoy the film I Am Legend with Will Smith? No, well you will most definitely enjoy the source material then (remember to take “based on….” With a grain of salt in movies). With all its twist and turns, you’ll be sure to keep the pages turning of this book by the venerable Richard Matheson. The author that brought us the haunted house tale Hell House and many excellent short horror stories will be sure to have you staying up late and listening to every creak you hear from your home, terrified to get out of bed.

Josh Malerman

birdbox

Josh Malerman does not have many novels out, however his novel Bird Box  which I just finished is a fantastic read! I read the review on a blog I frequent and thought the premise, just as the reviewer did, was incredibly unique. Something is causing people all over the world to go crazy; the catch though, is no one knows what this thing looks like because all who have seen it end up dead. The solution, block all the windows, bar the doors and when going outside do so blindfolded. Intrigued? I certainly was. The terror and suspense are excellent and it will have you turning pages, anxious to know what happens.

 

Scott Smith

ruins

A classic horror beginning to a surprising and unconventional novel, Smith’s The Ruins is an excellent read. University students vacationing in the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula come across Mayan ruins covered in vines, once they venture to these ruins, however, villagers block their way back and prevent them from leaving. The reason? Well, you will have to read this book to find out. Those who are squeamish may have to skip certain parts of the book as it can be a bit gory, but if you can get past that, this is an excellent horror novel that had me rapidly turning pages, and itching to finish it.

If you are wanting a collection of supernatural/haunted houses/monster stories, Ellen Datlow has edited fantastic horror compilations which can be found here.   nightmares

If these authors don’t strike your fancy, and you like something more traditional and classic, we have Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to fit your bill. (Interestingly these are all “creatures” from Universal Monsters which starred Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and Lon Chaney, Jr., now revamped with the most recent The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, which you can place a hold on.)

Happy Reading!

Aileen

Think Big Thoughts

Up here on the fourth floor of the Millennium Library we’re having fun finding books about philosophy – including the philosophy of…just about anything!  Come join us to see what we have on show or let your mind wander through some of the titles below.

The Story of Philosophy
by Bryan Magee

“The Story of Philosophy, Revised and Updated gives you the information you need to think about life’s greatest questions, opening up the world of philosophical ideas in a way that can be easily understood by students and by anyone fascinated by the ways we form our social, political, and ethical ideas.”

What Philosophy Can Do
by Gary Gutting

“How can we have meaningful debates with political opponents? How can we distinguish reliable science from over-hyped media reports? How can we talk sensibly about God? In What Philosophy Can Do, Gary Gutting takes a philosopher’s scalpel to modern life’s biggest questions and the most powerful forces in our society–politics, science, religion, education, and capitalism–to show how we can improve our discussions of contentious contemporary issues.”

Tsawalk: A  Nuu-chah-nulth Worldview
by Richard Atleo

“In Tsawalk, hereditary chief Umeek develops a theory of “Tsawalk,” meaning “one,” that views the nature of existence as an integrated and orderly whole, and thereby recognizes the intrinsic relationship between the physical and spiritual. Umeek demonstrates how Tsawalk provides a viable theoretical alternative that both complements and expands the view of reality presented by Western science. Tsawalk, he argues, allows both Western and indigenous views to be combined in order to advance our understanding of the universe.”

A Philosophy of Walking
by Frédéric Gros

“In A Philosophy of Walking , leading thinker Frédéric Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B – the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble – and reveals what they say about us.”

The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy
by Michael Patton and Kevin Cannon

“In The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy, Michael F. Patton and Kevin Cannon introduce us to the grand tradition of examined living. With the wisecracking Heraclitus as our guide, we travel down the winding river of philosophy, meeting influential thinkers from nearly three millennia of Western thought and witnessing great debates over everything from ethics to the concept of the self to the nature of reality.”

-Monique

 

Fall is full of great titles!

My main responsibility as a collections librarian is to buy adult nonfiction for Winnipeg Public Library’s 20 branches. Publishers release catalogues of forthcoming titles three times a year: winter, spring/summer and fall. This year’s fall catalogue is chocked full with great titles that will be released just in time to spend time reading a good book before the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays.

Below is a brief list of titles accompanied by the publisher’s annotations that I’m looking forward to reading the most this fall.

Bollywood KitchenBollywood Kitchen: Home-Cooked Indian Meals Paired with Unforgettable Bollywood Films by Sri Rao

Indian cuisine and Indian cinema (known as Bollywood) share much in common – bold colors and flavors with plenty of drama. But to the uninitiated, they can seem dizzying. Let Sri Rao be your guide. As one of the only Americans working in Bollywood, Sri is an expert on Indian musical films, and as an avid cook, he’s taken his mom’s authentic, home-cooked recipes and adapted them for the modern, American kitchen.

In this book you’ll find dinner menus and brunch menus, menus for kids and menus for cocktail parties. Along with each healthy and easy-to-prepare meal, Sri has paired one of his favorite Bollywood movies. Every one of these films is a musical, packed with dazzling song-and-dance numbers that are the hallmark of Bollywood, beloved by millions of fans all over the world. Sri will introduce each film to you, explaining why you’ll love it, and letting you in on some juicy morsels from behind the scenes.

 

BookshopsBookshops: A Reader’s History by Jorge Carrión and translated by Peter Bush

Jorge Carrión collects bookshops: from Gotham Book Mart and the Strand Bookstore in New York City to City Lights Bookshop and Green Apple Books in San Francisco and all the bright spots in between (Prairie Lights, Tattered Cover, and countless others). In this thought-provoking, vivid, and entertaining essay, Carrión meditates on the importance of the bookshop as a cultural and intellectual space. Filled with anecdotes from the histories of some of the famous (and not-so-famous) shops he visits on his travels, thoughtful considerations of challenges faced by bookstores, and fascinating digressions on their political and social impact, Bookshops is both a manifesto and a love letter to these spaces that transform readers’ lives.

 

godGod by Reza Aslan

A fascinating account of religion’s origin and a call to embrace a deeper, more expansive understanding of the divine from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zealot.

More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more peaceful, universal spirituality unencumbered by the urge to foist our human characteristics upon the divine. Whether you believe in one God or many gods or no god at all, God: A Human History will transform the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.

 

Inner Life

The Inner Life of Animals Love, Grief, and Compassion — Surprising Observations of a Hidden World by Peter Wohlleben

Through vivid stories of devoted pigs, two-timing magpies, and scheming roosters, The Inner Life of Animals weaves the latest scientific research into how animals interact with the world with Peter Wohlleben’s personal experiences in forests and fields.

Horses feel shame, deer grieve, and goats discipline their kids. Ravens call their friends by name, rats regret bad choices, and butterflies choose the very best places for their children to grow up.

In this, his latest book, Peter Wohlleben follows the hugely successful The Hidden Life of Trees with insightful stories into the emotions, feelings, and intelligence of animals around us. Animals are different from us in ways that amaze us—and they are also much closer to us than we ever would have thought.

 

river

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks

The River of Consciousness reflects Oliver Sacks at his wisest and most humane, as he examines some of the human animal’s most remarkable faculties: memory, creativity, consciousness, and our present, ongoing evolution.

Before his death, Sacks personally collected into this one volume his recent essays, never before published in book form, which he felt best displayed his passionate engagement with his most compelling and seminal ideas. The book, lucid and accessible as ever, is a mirror of his own consciousness, discovering in his personal and humane interactions with others, unique insight, and fresh meaning.

  • Phil

Pride & Prejudice 2.0: The Expanded World of Jane Austen

 

Book

Ever notice that when you’re feeling a bit low you have a tendency to reach for something that is comfortable and familiar? Lately, that means a trip into the world of Jane Austen for a bit of a pick me up. Yet every time I pick up one of the six texts, I find myself asking the same question, what happened next? Our heroes and heroines found their partners; there was a big wedding, lots of happy tears, but then what? Did they live happily ever after or did they separate? Did any of the supporting characters find a partner or were they doomed for spinsterhood? Now Jane Austen did answer a few of those questions in letters to family and friends, but I prefer reading about the adventures that occurred after the books end. Thankfully, where Jane Austen has failed me, many great writers and fans of her work have taken it upon themselves to pick up the stories where they left off. Here are a few of my favourites.

ColonelsThe Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men By Jack Caldwell brings together Colonel Fitzwilliam (Darcy’s cousin), Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility) and introduces Colonel Buford. Brandon is happily married to Marianne, while Fitzwilliam and Buford pursue Lady Anne and Caroline Bingley respectively. But when the men are suddenly recalled into active service in the aftermath of Napoleon’s escape from exile, will love triumph over war? I found this book to be a wonderful read and somewhat hilarious in the fact that a new character had to be created to partner with Caroline. For any of you who have seen Lost in Austen, the film gives several new twists, including presenting Caroline as a lesbian, thus justifying her insistence on Darcy’s wealth and position over the man himself.  It just goes to show that anything can happen in these newer interpretations.

AssemblyAn Assembly Such as This By Pamela Aidan for the time, presents Darcy’s perspective regarding the events in Pride & Prejudice. The first of a trilogy, I found Pamela’s insight into the mind of Darcy to be rather refreshing. His emotions for Elizabeth and turmoil over the presence of Wickham take on a clarity that has not been seen before. Duty and Desire focuses on the time that is never spoken of in the book, which concerns Darcy’s struggles with his attraction to Elizabeth, while also taking care of both Pemberley and his social engagements in London.  While the novel may read like a swashbuckling adventure, I must admit, it was quite enjoyable. These Three Remain picks up with Elizabeth’s rejection of Darcy’s proposal, leading Darcy to self-reflect and become a better man due to her refusal.  When Elizabeth appears at Pemberley, Darcy feels as if he has been offered a second chance, but when Wickham threatens Elizabeth’s happiness, it is up to Darcy to find a way of making things right. While Pamela stays pretty close to the text, she manages to shed new light on characters and situations which answers the question as to what else was happening.

Rock starFitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star By Heather Lynn Rigaud, as the title suggests, takes the reader away from the Regency period and places Darcy and Elizabeth in the middle of the modern world. Darcy is the guitarist for Slurry, the newest all male rock group to take the world by storm. Elizabeth is the lead singer for Long Borne Suffering, the new opening female act for Slurry. But Slurry’s bad boy image may prove to be too much for the new girls on the block, unless some new understandings are reached. Since we are in the modern world, only the names and circumstances reflect the actual text. But I found the text to be a nice light read, as opposed to the above trilogy, which basically asked if the core of Pride & Prejudice could endure a complete transplant. It can, which proves that the heart of a good story can survive just about any major change.

ZombiesPride and Prejudice and Zombies By Seth Grahame-Smith, despite its title, is probably the most faithful to the original text. What would happen to our well-sung heroes if they were presented with a new challenge that altered the society in which they lived but did not affect its mentality? In a nutshell, Seth added zombies to the world of Regency England. Yet despite their undead presence, society refuses to yield its moral stance on marriage, good manners and changes within the social classes. What’s a girl to do when she and her sisters can slay a small zombie army yet still be criticized for the society that they keep? While this may not be the most imaginative version of Pride & Prejudice, it is certainly highly entertaining. If you feel that you need a lighter version of this story, take a look at the graphic novel, or better yet the new film with Lily James (Downton Abbey’s cousin Rose) and Sam Riley (Maleficent’s Diaval).

This list is by no means exhaustive, so type in Jane Austen or Darcy, books or films in the search engine and find yourself in a world that moves just a bit slower then our own. Happy Reading! (or watching as the case may be).

  • Katherine

One Thing Leads to Another

So many books, so little time.
― Frank Zappa

There are a lot of great things about working in a library, but one of the best is having someone recommend a book. There’s nothing like the expression on someone’s face when they hand you a book and open the conversation with: “You have to read this!” The one thing that’s better than reading a good book is talking with someone about a good book, and the conversation only gets better when you don’t have to worry about spoilers.

For the past couple of years there has  been an annual Reader’s Salon blog post with submissions by library staff for the best book they’ve read that year. While I always enjoy reading the blogs my co-workers write, I look forward to this particular post with special anticipation. I make a point of prioritizing reading as many of the titles as I can, and I find that reading just one book from that list leads me into all sorts of intriguing directions. With that in mind, I wanted to share a few of the books I’ve discovered after reading some of the selections from the post Our Gift to Readers, posted December 7 2016.

After reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr I picked up The Cellist of Sarajevo by Stephen Galloway. This book also personalizes the tragedy of war by telling the story of civilians that must try to survive in a war zone. Don’t make the mistake that I did of reading this book in a public place. I had a very kind and concerned stranger ask me why I was crying, and in response all I could do was hold up the book.

Light                                                        cellist

Many of you know Katherena Vermette through her book of poems, North End Love Songs. I loved her novel The Break, as well, but did you know that she’s also written some terrific books for children? Each one has a unique message for young and not so young readers alike. The one that is the mostly timely for this time of year is The First Day. It’s part of the Seven teaching stories series, and tells the story of Makwa, a little boy who who is frightened about starting a new school. Not all of us have to worry about facing the first day of school anymore, but all of us need to find courage in dealing with scary situations.

As an Ethan Hawke fan from way back I was so pleased to discover that in addition to his many other talents he can also write. Rules for a Knight led me to try and find other books about leading a more examined, mindful life. I found How to Walk and other books by Thich Nhất Hạnh to be tremendously helpful in this endeavour. As in Ethan Hawke’s book, the principles are stated and illustrated in a way that stays in your mind and gets into your heart.

rules                                                         how to

I did my best to read Every Heart a Doorway slowly, to make the magic last as long as possible, but like all stories it did eventually come to an end. However, after finishing it I was delighted to discover that Seanan McGuire has written a number of other books, and that there’s a sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Seanan McGuire also publishes under the name Mira Grant, but that’s a topic for another blog.

downevery

 

This isn’t a complete list by any means, as I’m still in the midst of reading and waiting to read a number of the other titles from that post. As always, I’m very curious as to where that will lead me. To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins, it’s a dangerous business to open a book, there’s no telling where you’ll end up.

-Lori

Fall into Programming

Now that summer is (sadly) winding down we are picking right back up with our fall programming, and we have plenty to offer! Whether your interest lies in local history, studying Genealogy, starting a small business, improving your computer skills, joining a book club or watching some excellent movies, we have you covered! Check out our latest At the Library newsletter for dates, information and registration instructions for these fantastic programs!

September also marks some major programming happening at the Millennium Library, including our continued partnership with the Winnipeg International Writers Festival: Thin Air. During the week of the festival the Millennium Library will be hosting two events every day from Monday September 25 to Friday September 29.

Want to listen to a reading and ask questions over your lunch hour? From 12:15-12:45PM in the Carol Shields Auditorium, come on down to The Nooner where every day a different author will read from their book and answer questions. Feel free to bring your lunch! Have time after your busy day to continue thought-provoking conversations? From 4:30-5:30PM in the Carol Shields Auditorium, come to our Big Ideas program where non-fiction books are featured with thought-provoking topics.

Here is a list of the books being featured during our Thin Air programs.

The Nooner:

Monday, September 25

herriot   Towards A Prairie Atonement by Trevor Herriot

Author Trevor Herriot defended the protection of what little remains of the natural prairie only to find an injustice haunting those lands.

Tuesday, September 26

Once More With Feeling by Méira Cook         meiracook

A novel about a community, about a family, and about the way time makes fond fools of us all by the excellent Méira Cook.

Wednesday, September 27

The Weary Generations by Abdullah Hussein (1931-2015) by Raza Naeem

The classic of Urdu literature about the upheavals of the Partition era that lead to the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh is revamped with a new edition by Raza Naeem.

Thursday, September 28

Best Canadian Sports Writing edited by Pasha Malla, co-edited with Stacey May Fowles

Literary sports writing from diverse talent demonstrates why sports mean so much to us and what they say about our broader culture.

Friday, September 29

lawson   But It’s So Silly: A Cross-Cultural Collage of Nonsense, Play and Poetry by JonArno Lawson

How does North America approach childhood compared to the rest of the world, and what might we gain from looking more closely at that approach are the topics which Lawson explores in his book.

Big Ideas:

Monday, September 25

conrad   Among the Walking Wounded: Soldiers, Survival, and PTSD by Colonel John Conrad

PTSD serves as a stark reminder that, for many, wars go on long after the last shot is fired.

Tuesday, September 26

The Patch by Chris Turner     turner

Fort McMurray and the oil sands in northern Alberta face uncertainty with two conflicting worldviews, environmental and industrial, in Turner’s exploration of the conflict.

Wednesday, September 27

The Effective Citizen: How to Make Politicians Work for You by Graham Steele

How do politicians think and what factors influence their thinking? Graham Steele explores these questions in his new book.

Thursday, September 28

wray   Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction by Britt Wray

Creating a woolly mammoth sounds amazing and fascinating, however what are the real-world implications? Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Wray’s provocative book.

Friday, September 29

The Unravelling: How our caregiving safety net came unstrung and we were left grasping at threads, struggling to plait a new one by Clem Martini and Olivier Martini

One family’s journey with mental illness, dementia and caregiving told by the two brothers who lived it.

 

We also have a couple of extra Thin Air programs that may interest you:

Outriders: Digging into Our History. Katherena Vermette and Harry Giles discuss their travels around Canada and Scotland from a writer’s perspective. This event takes place on Monday, September 25 at 1:30PM (shortly after The Nooner) in the Carol Shields Auditorium at the Millennium Library and is open to everyone.

Finally we have Translate That! An open event in which translators present on the linguistic divide when it comes to translating certain books into English. This program takes place on Saturday, September 30 at 1:00PM in the Anhang Room at the Millennium Library.

All these programs are free to attend and require no registration, just drop in!

-Aileen

For all Thin Air programming and information, visit their website at thinairwinnipeg.ca

 

Summer Spooktacle

Summer is a time of sunshine, sand, ice cream, and s’mores around the campfire. There is nothing quite like sitting around a toasty fire while staring up at the stars, listening to the rustling of the wind in the trees while someone tells a scary story.

If you want to keep the spooky times rolling even after your summer vacation is over (if you ask me, it’s never too early to start getting ready for Halloween!), check out items in the list below, guaranteed to bring that campfire feeling into your home! Maybe leave the fire outside, though.

 The Curse of the Wendigo by Nick Yancey

In book 2 of the Monstrumologist series, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancée to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

If you’ve never encountered the Wendigo in your reading, it’s well worth checking this one out. It’s one of the creepiest folkloric creatures I’ve run into in my reading adventures!

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

Speaking as someone who recently missed a turn and then found herself driving on a deserted highway surrounded by marsh, and then on a lonely dirt road through endless cornfields, all under a partially cloud-covered full moon, it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that you might see a ghostly figure along the side of the road.

Haunted highways are a classic amongst urban legends. You might recognize some of these popular titles: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

In fact, in Sparrow Hill Road, she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom.

If you’re feeling brave, feel free to bring this along as your next road trip read!

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Killer mermaids and ghost ships, anyone?

When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses. They didn’t expect actual mermaids. They certainly didn’t expect those mermaids to have teeth.

As a novella, this book is a nice, quick read, perfect for the beach!

And if you enjoy this one, keep an eye out for the next book in the series, Into the Drowning Deep.

Gravity Falls by Alex Hirsch

Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are off to spend the summer with their gruff Great Uncle (‘Grunkle’) Stan who runs the tacky tourist trap, ‘Mystery Shack.’ The kids uncover mysterious surprises, unsurpassed silliness, and supernatural shenanigans lurking around every corner of the deceptively sleepy little town.

This is a fun series for younger fans of things that go bump in the night, and you just can’t go wrong with shenanigans!

Supernatural

This television series got its start in the folklore and myths that created all of the really great campfire tales. The main characters, brothers Sam and Dean Winchester, seek out and fight supernatural forces in an attempt to find their mysteriously missing father and the person or force responsible for their mother’s death. In the process, you’ll meet recognizable characters, some of whom have already appeared on this list, such as the Phantom Traveler and the Wendigo.

These are just a few of the spooky stories we have at the library, so don’t worry horror fans, you won’t run out!

Maybe you’ve got some other favourite tales that you like to share with friends. If so, leave a comment below, I’d love to know what they are!

Happy reading,

Megan

For Science!

disappearingspoon.jpgThere’s a misconception that some carry around after tossing their graduation caps and cleaning out their high school lockers that reading about science is boring. And while, yes, the subject matter in the wrong hands can be tedious and dull, some of the best stories come out of scientific serendipity, odd foot notes, and tangential study. One of my favourite genres to read is what some refer to as “cocktail-party science”. Likely, this is intended as a disparaging remark, conjuring up a vision of a 1960s affair where the ladies have long drapey silk scarves that they toss about saying, “Psshaw, science! I don’t even know the meaning of the word!” and the men all have oddly tight-fitting suits and giant cigars stuffed into the corners of their mouths as they guffaw themselves into a thick cloud of smoke.

So, here’s a short (hah!) list of some of my favourite nonfiction (science) authors and titles; the ones that will have you bothering those in your immediate vicinity with bursts of, “Did you know…?” and, “Listen to this…” until they sigh heavily, gather up their things, and find somewhere else to sit/work/live:

violiniststhumb.jpgSam Kean: Look, I’m not even going to pretend that this whole blog post wasn’t initially a thinly veiled love letter to Sam Kean’s writing. He tops out all my lists of accessible, fun to read nonfiction, exploding with facts that I have to read aloud to my cat because my husband has had, in his words, “enough, already”. Kean’s first book, The Disappearing Spoon, covers the curiosities of the periodic table (stay with me), his later books delve into genetics (The Violinist’s Thumb), neuroscience (The Case of the Dueling Neurosurgeons), and coming out this July a title about the most captivating topic of all: air! (Caesar’s Last Breath).

 

 

packingformars.jpgPacking for Mars by Mary Roach. Mary Roach is another science journalist who grabs onto a subject and shakes it until all the fun stuff falls out. She then slams that fun stuff between book covers and makes a million dollars*. If you’re not interested in the details, dangers, and possibilities of space travel, Roach has also covered the topics of digestion (Guts), the alimentary canal more generally (Gulp), sex (Bonk), human cadavers (Stiff), the afterlife (Spook), and, most recently, the history of warfare (Grunt).

 

workingstiff.jpgIf the word “cadavers” up there sparked your interest, you should also check out Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Dr. Judy Melinek. This title follows Dr. Melinek’s years working as a forensic pathologist (she started her training in New York City just two months prior to September 2001), as well as countless bizarre and fascinating cases of investigating and determining cause of death.

smokegetsinyoureyes.jpgCover image for Curtains : adventures of an undertaker-in-trainingIf you’ll permit me to stretch this macabre topic a little further: there’ve also been a few books written about those trying out employment at crematoriums and funeral homes. Try out The Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, and Curtains: Adventures in Undertaking by Tom Jokinen which takes place at a local Winnipeg funeral home.

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Okay, let’s lighten things up a bit with a little ornithology: The Thing with Feathers: the surprising lives of birds and what they reveal about being human by Noah K. Strycker. If you’ve ever wanted to cross the threshold into the realm of bird journalism, you’ve found your entry point. It’s a thoroughly engaging, almost poetic look at the lives of our winged friends. But, caveat lector: this one comes with a high likelihood of bombarding those around you with factoids aplenty.

 

wickedplants.jpgWickedbugs.jpg drunkenbotanist.jpg

Want something lighter still? Amy Stewart covers the understated and quietly terrifying world of both plants (Wicked Plants) and bugs (you guessed it, Wicked Bugs). If you’re interested in never taking another hike without incessantly glancing around as though the whole world was trying to take you out, these are books you’ll want to devour. If you’d rather examine plants for their more useful qualities, try Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist for how to incorporate your yard/park/local plant conservatory (don’t try that last one, it probably won’t end well) into your next nightcap.

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If bugs aren’t small enough for you, I suggest you try I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong. Yong examines the world of microbes and their critical importance for all life on earth, both large and small. Thoroughly readable, this study of all the microscopic beings that take up residence in and on our bodies will have you rethinking the concept of ever being truly alone.

 

asapscience.jpgLastly (because I have to stop this rambling at some point), for those who may “psshaw” their way through a discussion of scientific merit, take a peek within the pages of ASAP Science: answers to the world’s weirdest questions, most persistent rumors & unexplained phenomena by M. Moffit and G. Brown. With a title like that, I’m sure it needs further explanation. Based on the successful YouTube channel (AsapSCIENCE), this book covers important topics like if your eyeballs could really fly out of your head when you sneeze and why we tend to hate photos of ourselves, all while using science! It’s also filled with cartoony illustrations to help break up all those darn words. For an ever-so-slightly more sophisticated mash-up of science and graphics, you simply must get your hands on The Infographic Guide to Science by Tom Cabot which is pretty much a never ending picture playground for nerds. It’s chock-full of brightly coloured and immaculately designed infographics starting with the Big Bang and concluding with Artificial Intelligence which, if Hollywood has taught me anything, is truly where we will all meet our end.

I guarantee** if you get a few of these titles under your belt you’ll have ample fodder for your next cocktail party. Would you pick up a science nonfiction title the next time you pop into the library? Have a favourite title I missed? What should I read next? These are all engaging questions.

For Science!

Laura

*This may be both a gross oversimplification and exaggeration

**absolutely not a real guarantee