Category Archives: What to Read Next?

What odds about Newfoundland lit?

The charm and beauty of this island is worth the long journey to get there. There are many writers and poets who live there, some who ‘come from away’ and fall in love with the place and many who grew up ’on the rock´. While there is much diversity in the stories and writing coming from Newfoundland, there are also some striking similarities.  The challenging weather (Manitobans can relate) and the remoteness of this place often come through in the narratives. And of course there are the many figures of speech Newfoundlanders employ which add a particular flavour.

If you are looking for some travel advice, Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Musts by Janice Wells will have some insider tips for you. The secret to travelling in Newfoundland is to be open to adventure, talk to locals and they will tell you the best trails to hike, fish to eat and pubs to gather at.

While you are flipping through the Book of Musts, you should also check out The Great Atlantic Canada Bucket List by Robin Esrock and Scenic Driving Atlantic Canada by Chloe Ernst. These books will help you plan your trip out east.

As most of my family lives in Newfoundland, I’ve spent many childhood summers visiting this magical place. Now that my parents have moved back, I continue to visit often. I’ve read my fair share of books by Newfoundland writers – both fiction and non-fiction. Here are a few newer books that will spin you a yarn and maybe have you yearning for more.

Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
Hooper’s newest book is a gorgeous story told mostly from the perspective of 11 year-old Finn that examines rural outport Newfoundland in the 1990s after the collapse of the fishing industry. Families in these small communities were relocated by the government. Finn and his sister Cora create imaginary worlds on the island and their parents take turns working off the island in the Alberta oil fields to survive. 

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles
This is a new release that I recommend you get your hands on. The book follows 3 main characters who are from the bay (small remote towns) and their intertwining lives in St. John’s (among townies) in the thick of February weather. The book centres on a restaurant and touches on foodie and chef culture in Newfoundland. Coles is deeply inspired by the #MeToo movement and confronts issues of racism, homophobia, sexism and class that shape contemporary Newfoundland society.

Wildness by Jeremy Charles
Speaking of Newfoundland food and food culture, this brand new cookbook is coming to our shelves soon. The recipes highlight local fare and have stories by the chef along with them.

February by Lisa Moore
This is another heart wrenching story of a Newfoundland woman who is tough as nails. The story follows Helen O’Mara, a woman dealing with the grief of losing her husband when the Ocean Ranger oil rig sinks in a February storm. This historical event is one that many Newfoundlanders remember vividly. Moore also has a newer book of short stories Something for Everyone, released in 2018, which has been well received.

Galore by Michael Crummey
This is novel which crosses multiple generations of Newfoundlanders living on a remote island called “Paradise Deep”. Crummey uses magical realism to explore the deep connections to ocean, land and inhabitants. You will likely need to use the family tree provided by the author but it is well worth losing yourself in this novel. 

Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir by Mark Critch
It feels right to end this list on a funny book, as for all the difficulties of living in Newfoundland there is a collective sense of humour that is so unique. Mark Critch, of This Hour has 22 Minutes, has written a memoir that taps into this.

For your next good read I recommend you look all the way east to some of the fine writers hailing from Newfoundland. Yes b’y you best believe that Newfoundland lit is worth caring about!

– Kim

Gotta catch them all: The 1990s are back in Detective Pikachu

POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU Photo credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

It is often the case that when a remake of a much beloved character is made, there is both fear and consternation as to the fate of the character. Will the film honour the work of previous writers and do justice to the character; or, will they decide that a new updated version requires a complete rewrite, changing both the tone and essence of the character?

When I heard there was to be new version of Pikachu, and a live action version to boot, I was highly skeptical. Often when animation is rendered into a live version, something tends to get lost in translation. This is because different mediums have varying needs and restrictions from other formats. What you can get away with in a comic or manga just doesn’t work on-screen.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when the trailer came out. It’s loosely based on the Nintendo game, Detective Pikachu (hence the title), but don’t be fooled. This isn’t a film for little kids. Judging by the trailer, this film is a bit of a nostalgia piece for those 90s kids who first played Pokémon as trading cards or on a Game Boy. As those kids have grown up, so has Pikachu. Pikachu has gone from being a one-dimensional fighter into a full character with hopes, fears and, most importantly, a voice (courtesy of Ryan Reynolds of Deadpool fame). When Pikachu meets Tim, the only person who can hear him, they set out on journey that leads them to uncover a plot that will change their world.

Sounds good, huh? But if you’re anything like me, you either need a little more backstory or you simply can’t get out opening weekend to see it. So for those that are waiting until after May 10th, take a gander at the original Pokémon to help you along. We have the graphic novels, Beginner Readers, and chapter books (often found in both English & French), the TV shows and the video games to kick start the love of Pikachu. For those who want to take the next step, there is manga for teens and adults, as well as graphic novels and art books that teach you how to draw manga.

So, dust off your Pokédecks, (or whip out your Pokémon Go app), and see what you still need to get, because you still gotta catch ‘em all.

Happy hunting!

~ Katherine

Across the World

When I was in university I had a professor who travelled to India regularly. He inspired me so much with his stories that as a young twenty-something I purchased the Lonely Planet guide, slung on my backpack, and boarded a plane for India. I am not a globe trotter, but of the places I have been able to visit, India definitely remains one of my favourites. The history and beauty, combined with the hospitality of the people I met on my travels, definitely left its mark. And I won’t even get started on the food, which was beyond incredible (thankfully living in Winnipeg we have access to some excellent Indian food!).

*I had a view of the Taj Mahal as good as the one above thanks to the directions in my handy Lonely Planet India guide.  Who knew my 2 star hotel/hostel would have an uninterrupted view from the window (besides the folks at Lonely Planet)?

A number of years after my trip I picked up A Fine Balance, by Canadian writer Rohinton Mistry. Because I enjoyed travelling through India so much, and also love historical fiction, this seemed like a really good fit. In all its thickness, A Fine Balance was still too short—I never wanted it to end. It quickly became one of my favourite books. Mistry catapults you into a fictional 1970s India, during a time of political turmoil, where you witness the lives of four ordinary characters become intertwined. Beautifully written, with vivid images, it is a heart wrenching novel. It is definitely a book to read with a handy supply of Kleenex. When I find an author I like I tend to ‘read through’ a number of their books, and this was no exception. Family Matters and Such a Long Journey, both set in Bombay, as well as Tales from Firozsha Baag, are also fantastic reads.

A few years later a friend and I were talking about books, specifically about ones set in India. She gave me a number of titles she enjoyed, and among them was What the Body Remembers, by Shauna Singh Baldwin. Set in the period of the brutal 1947 Partition, ‘Shauna Singh Baldwin’s debut novel is immaculately researched, bringing to life a troubled time in Indian history from a rarely seen perspective.’ I found this excellent book (In 2000, What the Body Remembers won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in the Caribbean and Canada) introduced me to a time of history, albeit through its fictional story line, that I sadly knew very little about.

Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri’s stunning debut collection of short stories, unerringly charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. In stories that travel from India to America and back again, Lahiri speaks with universal eloquence to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. I enjoyed these powerful and often sad stories, and went on to ready The Namesake, The Lowland, and then another collection of stories, Unaccustomed Earth, also by Lahiri.

 

A Suitable Boy, a novel by Vikram Seth, was published in 1993. Set in the early 1950s, in an India newly independent and struggling through a time of crisis, A Suitable Boy takes us into the richly imagined world of four large extended families and spins a compulsively readable tale of their lives and loves. A sweeping panoramic portrait of a complex, multiethnic society in flux, A Suitable Boy remains the story of ordinary people caught up in a web of love and ambition, humor and sadness, prejudice and reconciliation. At 1488 pages this was another thick read, and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as other books I had read set in that period, I still appreciated the breadth and complexity of the story.

The White Tiger is on my radar as a book to definitely read soon. It is the debut novel of author Arivand Adiga and won him the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The White Tiger follows a darkly comic Bangalore driver through the poverty and corruption of modern India’s caste society.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

~Kristie

 

Spring fiction

Spring has sprung and the new fiction shelves are blooming with a heavy crop of new novels. Here are a few to get you started, or you can view the full list of New Titles for the last 3 months in our online catalogue.

In dog we trust
by Beth Kendrick
When Jocelyn Hilliard is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce’s pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She’s spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry and never expected to be living the pampered life in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn’t without its challenges.

The bird king
by G. Willow Wilson
Fatima is a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain. Her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker, has a secret: he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as threatening sorcery. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

Queen Bee
by Dorothea Benton Frank
Beekeeper Holly McNee Kensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivan’s Island. Her mother, The Queen Bee, is a demanding hypochondriac; to escape the drama, Holly’s sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly’s escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father. When Leslie returns to the island, their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. A classic Lowcountry Tale–warm, wise, and hilarious.

Bunny
by Mona Awad
A darkly funny, seductively strange novel about a lonely graduate student drawn into a clique of rich girls who seem to move and speak as one. Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more different from the other members of her master’s program at an elite university. A self-conscious scholarship student, she is repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny.” But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation from the Bunnies and finds herself drawn as if by magic to their front door. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into Bunny world, the edges of reality begin to blur.

The snakes
by Sadie Jones
Driving through France, recently married Bea and Dan visit Bea’s brother at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. When her parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to meet them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming and rich. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping… Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.

The elephant of surprise
by Joe Lansdale
Hap and Leonard are an unlikely pair–Hap, a self-proclaimed white trash rebel, and Leonard, a tough-as-nails black gay Vietnam vet–but they’re the closest friend either of them has in the world. Amidst the worst flood East Texas has seen in years, they save a young woman from a mob hit, only to find themselves confronted by an adversary who challenges their friendship.

The paper wasp
by Lauren Acampora
Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, Abby Graven now works as a supermarket cashier. Each day she’s taunted by the success of her former best friend Elise, a rising Hollywood starlet. When Abby encounters Elise again at their high school reunion, she’s surprised and touched that Elise still considers her a friend. Ever the supportive friend, Abby becomes enmeshed in Elise’s world, even as she guards her own dark secret and burning desire for greatness. As she edges closer to Elise and her own artistic ambitions, the dynamic shifts between the two friends–until Abby can see only one way to grasp the future that awaits her.

Danielle

Cuba on a shoestring

Snow. But it’s spring! Sigh.

I was lucky this year; I was able to visit Cuba for the first time. Wanting to escape this frozen city, I thought leaving in late March would be timely enough to come back to spring. Instead, I got back to fake spring…you know… when you get a warm day or two and then it snows? Fake spring. Or Winnipeg’s cruel idea of an April Fool’s Day Month joke.

To beat those winter blues (or in our case, spring blues) you need a getaway. A tropical, sun-filled, exotic getaway. If budget is an issue, then WPL has everything you need to visit Cuba as an armchair traveler. Here’s how to plan your adventure.

You know you are in Cuba when you see cars from the 50’s driving by. Locals do everything they can to keep them running since new cars are beyond the affordability of everyone except the government, the military and the diplomats. We hired a local company and were picked up in style in a 1950 Chevrolet Styleline. Rémundo, our chauffeur (and also a welder, electrician, upholsterer, painter and mechanical engineer) explained to us that he and his Dad had replaced the motor with a diesel one, used Hyundai parts to keep it running and installed an air conditioner in the grill and a GPS on the dashboard. To get a visual of the Cuban surroundings, borrow Cars of the Fantastic 50’s.

A holiday is not a holiday without some Cuban Cocktails. Rum is the spirit of choice and there are two popular local varieties: Havana Club and the pricier Santiago de Cuba. They come in a variety of flavours and colors which range from clear to a rich chocolaty brown. Our tour guide Ardita (and also a university professor of foreign languages) tells me that each one is used for different cocktails; the clear rum is best for mojitos, the buttery 3 year rum is used for piňa colatas and the caramel 5 year old rum is used for Cuba librés (essentially a rum and coke with a twist of lime). The 7 year old rum is best for sipping straight – it’s the good stuff!

But don’t drink on an empty stomach. Cuban food is simple but tasty and easily re-creatable here at home with some of our recipe books like The Cuban Table. Ardita and Rémundo brought us to the most wonderful local restaurant in Matanzas, the Bella Vista where we had a table for two on the edge of the bay. The main plates were a large portion of meat: we chose from lobster, shrimp, fish or chicken. Side dishes consisted of white rice or rice and beans. My favorite take-away was how Cubans serve their salad. A large plate of veggies arrived: shredded cabbage, carrots and lettuce, chopped onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, beans and pickled beets along with two bottles, one of oil and one of balsamic vinegar. So simple, yet delicious!

But what about the beach? Sure Varadero is gorgeous, blue skies and white sand, but a day at Grand Beach in midsummer is comparable. I know, it’s fake spring and the hot weather is a distant memory.

Until then, you can get the scenery of Cuba by immersing yourself in some photographic books like Havana History and Architecture of a Romantic City . Or install a Varadero screensaver to warm your heart and avoid looking out our own desolate windows as we wait for our glorious summer.

But perhaps you need more than photos. Dive into Cuban culture by reading fiction from some of the local authors. In the Cuban episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain interviewed Leonardo Padura who is known for his mysteries set in Havana. You could also delve into the novels of José Latour who decided to write in English after being labeled an “enemy of the people” by the Cuban government. If you prefer something more classic, The Old Man and the Sea is a good choice as Hemmingway wrote it while he was living there.  Need something more political? You might enjoy a graphic novel about Castro or a biography about Che. Statues of Jose Marti are everywhere in Cuba since he is considered a national hero. We viewed one where he is biting a sword to depict his ability to cut with words; you might appreciate his Selected Works.

Or you could decide to host a Cuban party instead. Entertain your guests with some hot Cuban music! Grab some cd’s from WPL’s collection of Cuban musicians: Buena Vista Social Club, José Ferrer, Omara Portuondo, Ernesto Lecuona, Chachao or Manuel Mirabal Vazquez. Surround yourself with the beautiful Spanish language! In fact, learn some Spanish with our help; WPL has an info guide with dozens of resources. I downloaded the DuoLingo app and managed to learn common phrases, how to order in a restaurant, get around at the airport and ask simple questions (Dondé es el baňo?).

Your trip to Cuba on a shoestring would not be complete without a Cuban cigar. If you don’t smoke, you can enjoy a short documentary called With a Stroke of Chaveta on our Kanopy app. It takes you into the world of tabaqueros who cannot imagine working, rolling cigars, in the factory without someone reading to them. Those Cubans, so literate! They actually have one of the highest rates of literacy in the world.

So, we may skip from winter to summer this year, but we can enjoy the beauty, flavours, sounds and sights of Cuba with a simple trip to the library. No budget required.

-Colette

Reading Diversity in YA Lit

When I was in library school, I took a class called Materials for Young Adults. We read classic YA literature like J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Judy Blume’s Forever, but also enjoyed newer selections like John Green’s Looking for Alaska and Caroline Pignat’s Shooter. The book I enjoyed the most was a novel written in verse called Brown Girl Dreaming. Jacqueline Woodson uses the strengths of poetry, fiction and memoir to write a beautiful story about growing up black in South Carolina and New York during the 1960s and 70s. After reading this book, I thought: “If this is what YA literature has to offer then I’M IN!” While I don’t usually buy books, I had to make an exception here – when you want to underline every word and dog-ear every page, it seems like a necessary purchase.

I shied away from reading YA literature in the past because I felt like I wasn’t the target demographic and if I’m being honest, I held some stereotypes about the genre. But the books I read for that class reaffirmed for me that a) YA stories are just as important and beautifully written as their adult counterparts and b) everyone should just read what they enjoy – life’s too short to read what you think you should. As a result, I’m on a bit of a YA kick!

What better book to look at next than Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, a novel I continue to hear about over and over again. Starr is a 16 year old girl who feels caught between two worlds – the mostly black neighborhood she lives in and the primarily white private high school she attends. After her childhood friend is shot by a white police officer in front of her, the space between these two worlds becomes even more noticeable. We watch Starr navigate life after death, walking beside her in both grief and frustration. This novel lives up to the hype, filled with equal parts heartbreak, hope, anger and activism.

Currently, I’m reading Adam Garnet Jones’ Fire Song. After mentioning that some of my favourite books are by Indigenous writers, a co-worker suggested this novel about a young Anishinaabe boy, Shane, who is trying to keep everything together after his younger sister commits suicide. Shane’s mother won’t leave his sister’s room and both are guilt-ridden for missing any warning signs. Shane needs to deal with his own pain but instead of sharing his grief with his girlfriend, he wants to seek comfort from David, his secret romantic partner. On top of everything he’s dealing with, Shane’s dream of attending university is threatened. Just like Starr, we root Shane on as he tries to create a life for himself after a devastating loss.

What’s the next book on my YA list? I’m excited to lighten things up with the novel that inspired last summer’s Netflix hit, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. The movie follows Lara Jean, the middle child in a family of three girls. When letters Lara Jean had written to past loves are mysteriously mailed out, she has to face the ghosts of crushes past. More than just a fun teen romance, I also enjoy the fact that our protagonist is part Korean but her character and choices are in no way defined by being Asian. I look forward to seeing how Jenny Han originally envisioned this story, and also plan to devour the two sequels, P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

Stephanie

Hair-raising Podcasts

This year I made an amazing discovery. I tried my first podcast, which, naturally, was Winnipeg Public Library’s Time to Read. Through this discovery I realized what all the excitement and fuss about podcasts was about. I can now say that I am a faithful listener to the Time to Read podcast, though I haven’t always read the books discussed, as the easy banter between hosts is excellent and I always learn a few new things every time I listen. After realizing how amazing podcasts are I decided to further explore this sensation that has been around for a while (and which people have been talking about for years, I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake). As I have mentioned many times before in my blog posts, I am a lover of horror novels and certain horror movies, some are too scary for me to watch, as my sister can attest,* books are okay though. I get goose-bumps, I sometimes am disgusted, but usually, usually, I’m okay sleeping with the lights off after devouring a horror novel. Yet I digress. So I am a fan of horror novels, I bus to work every day, and I am unfortunately prone to car sickness if I attempt to read on a moving vehicle. My solution? Audiobooks or, handy, dandy podcast episodes which are just like audiobooks and offer often short, quick hits that help pass the time on my commute to work. Both are easy enough to download to your phone, MP3 player (I think those still exist?) or iPod and listen to offline throughout the day. The library offers a wonderful selection of eAudiobooks through Overdrive and RBDigital, simply download the app and you can listen to them offline, and best of all, no late fees!

So, for this blog post I will showcase a few horror/thriller podcasts that might be of interest as well as offer some further reading recommendations should you really enjoy these podcasts. And, if you have not done so already, check out our Time to Read podcast, you can even see our wonderful librarians host a live recording at the Goodwill Social Club on Tuesday, March 26 from 7:30-9:00PM where they will be discussing favourite childhood books! (adults only)

Lore

lore This podcast features real-life scary stories taken from the history books. For all the history buffs out there or true crime fans, this would be an excellent podcast for you, if you like a little bit of unease or creepiness alongside those genres. In the creator’s own words: “Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.” If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. One of the episodes I listened to discussed the “re-animation” of a corpse, and naturally mentioned Mary Shelley, her husband Percy, and how his study of re-animating a body with electricity brought about her idea for Frankenstein. With this podcast there is no need to listen to the episodes in order, each is a stand-alone. Want more Lore? Creator Aaron Mahnke has written a book, Wicked Mortals which includes illustrations and further information of some of the creatures and people discussed in the podcast.

Alice Isn’t Dead

alice This podcast thriller/mystery story follows a trucker who is searching for her partner, Alice, whom she is certain is not dead (hence the title!). Through strange towns, meeting serial killers and witnessing devastating events where Alice seems to always show up, we follow her on her search for answers. This podcast has an excellent voice actor, some great sound effects that truly bring you into the story and fills you with suspense. Unlike the others on this list, this podcast must be listened to in order to follow the development of the story and to help unravel some of the mysteries. This podcast is part of Night Vale Presents, which also produces another podcast series on this list. Alice Isn’t Dead is also available as a book, which is described as a complete re-imagining of the podcast, and written by creator Joseph Fink.

Nightmare Magazine

kelley These podcasts are fictional short stories written by a variety of writers, including some well-known authors such as Carrie Vaughn, Christopher Golden, Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry and Kelley Armstrong. With such an A-List of authors as well as some fantastic up-and-comers, many of these episodes are top-notch, some of course may be better than others, or more your cup of tea than others, if that’s the case, simply skip to the next episode as each is a stand-alone. With a variety of narrators you will be sure to find a story that will give you the chills and make your heart race. If you like the stories from this podcast, as many are by well-known authors, simply search our catalogue for further books in their repertoire, we have plenty to keep you reading long into the night.

Welcome to Night Vale

night vale This excellently written and acted podcast takes place in a radio broadcast centre in, you guessed it, a small town called Night Vale. Though characters do reappear in different episodes, it is not required to listen to them in a particular order and, if you’re not enjoying a story, simply skip to the next one. Let me allow the creators to describe this podcast in their own words: “[Welcome to Night Vale] is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures and unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.” Want to read more Night Vale and delve deeper into the mysteries? Creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have published a couple books about the legends discussed in their podcast titled It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel.

Knifepoint Horror

This podcast doesn’t have as many stories as some of the others mentioned here, only a few are released every year, but the stories themselves are truly frightening and bone-chilling. Each episode is narrated by a single person, explaining the event from their point-of-view to offer a creepy first-hand account of a range of different supernatural stories. The stories here are top-notch horror and range in length from just a few minutes to over an hour, which makes for a perfect listening experience on your commute, you can time it to end perfectly! If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone many of these stories follow similar tropes.

Happy Listening!

-Aileen

 * As a bit of an anecdote, when the first Insidious movie came out in theatres my sister mentioned that she thought it was funny, so I went to watch it with her. It was NOT funny, and I proceeded to sleep with the lights on for many nights afterwards and shied away from even watching trailers of the sequels. What are older sisters for if not to terrify their younger siblings? ;)

A good library will…

 

A good library will bend your heart almost to breaking and then put you back together again.

It’s time for another snapshot of what’s new on our non-fiction shelves. Almost 1,400 new titles were added over January and February–this blog post could have had you scrolling forever!

I love putting these posts together. I head on over to our New Titles lists and then, click, click, click. I skip from page 1 of the results to page 58, 36, 17, 42… new, new, new. In this post I traveled to the body, considered possible joy in being really bad at something–like, seriously sucking–veered into the world of “alternative facts”, was inspired by community organizing, dreamt of summer months in tallgrass prairie, considered the power of patience, spent time with the reclusive Harper Lee and took in the impossibly colourful wingspan of a tropical bird (a perfect salve for late winter).

I think lots of people are feeling a little tired and worn down this time of year. This librarian’s prescription? Come browse the shelves. You never know just what will put you back together again.

Gush: Menstrual manifestos for our times
Co-edited by Rosanna Deerchild, Ariel Gordon, and Tanis MacDonald, GUSH offers menstrual manifestos for our time that question the cultural value and social language of monthly blood loss, with rage, humour, ferocity, and grief, and propose that the ‘menstrual moment’ is as individualized, subjective, personal, political, and vital as the ‘feminist click’. With work from emerging and established writers in poetry, cartoons, flash fiction, personal essays, lyric confessions, and experimental forms, this anthology features the voices of Indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers with disabilities, rural writers and urban writers, representing four generations of menstruators: writers who call down their bloodiest muses.

 

It’s Great to Suck at Something : The exceptional benefits of being unexceptional
(It’s Great to) Suck at Something reveals that the key to a richer, more fulfilling life is finding something to suck at. Drawing on her personal experience sucking at surfing (a sport she’s dedicated nearly two decades of her life to doing without ever coming close to getting good at it) along with philosophy, literature, and the latest science, Rinaldi explores sucking as a lost art we must reclaim for our health and our sanity and helps us find the way to our own riotous suck-ability. She draws from sources as diverse as Anthony Bourdain and surfing luminary Jaimal Yogis, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among many others, and explains the marvelous things that happen to our mammalian brains when we try something new, all to discover what she’s learned firsthand: it is great to suck at something.

 

Truth in Our Times : Inside the fight for press freedom in the age of alternative facts
In Truth in Our Times, McCraw recounts the hard legal decisions behind the most impactful stories of the last decade with candor and style. The book is simultaneously a rare peek behind the curtain of the celebrated organization, a love letter to freedom of the press, and a decisive rebuttal of Trump’s fake news slur through a series of hard cases.

 

 

Fighting for Space: How a group of drug users transformed one city’s struggle with addiction
It tells the story of a grassroots group of addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who waged a political street fight for two decades to transform how the city treats its most marginalized citizens. Over the past twenty-five years, this group of residents from Canada’s poorest neighborhood organized themselves in response to the growing number of overdose deaths and demanded that addicts be given the same rights as any other citizen; against all odds, they eventually won.But just as their battle came to an end, fentanyl arrived and opioid deaths across North America reached an all-time high. The “genocide” in Vancouver finally sparked government action. Twenty years later, as the same pattern plays out in other cities, there is much that advocates for reform can learn from Vancouver’s experience.

 

The Tallgrass Prairie: An introduction
Like a walking tour with a literate friend and expert, Cindy Crosby’s Tallgrass Prairie prepares travelers and armchair travelers for an adventure in the tallgrass. Crosby’s engaging gateway assumes no prior knowledge of tallgrass landscapes, and she acquaints readers with the native plants they’ll discover there.

 

 

 

Late Bloomers: The power of patience in a world obsessed with early achievement
Based on several years of research, personal experience, and interviews with neuroscientists and psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Late Bloomers reveals how and when we achieve our full potential – and why today’s focus on early success is so misguided, and even harmful.

 

 

Furious Hours: Harper Lee and an unfinished story of race, religion, and murder in the deep South
Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted–thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.
Sitting in the audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, who had traveled from New York City to her native Alabama with the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research seventeen years earlier. Lee spent a year in town reporting, and many more years working on her own version of the case.

 

Parrots of the Wild: A natural history of the world’s most captivating birds
Parrots of the Wild explores recent scientific discoveries and what they reveal about the lives of wild parrots, which are among the most intelligent and rarest of birds. Catherine A. Toft and Tim Wright discuss the evolutionary history of parrots and how this history affects perceptual and cognitive abilities, diet and foraging patterns, and mating and social behavior. The authors also discuss conservation status and the various ways different populations are adapting to a world that is rapidly changing.

~Monique

Baume au cœur

Vous savez quoi? On me répète toujours qu’il y a des livres pour nourrir son esprit critique et des livres pour cultiver le plaisir du cœur. Le roman de Julien Sandrel, La Chambre des merveilles, c’est un peu des deux. Laissez-moi vous mettre l’eau à la bouche.

Cette histoire, elle est à deux voix, celle de Thelma, maman solo, carriériste, qui prend un appel professionnel, un samedi matin, alors qu’elle se rend chez sa mère et celle de Louis, son fils de 12 ans, quand l’impensable se produit. Frappé de plein fouet par un véhicule, il se retrouve plongé dans un coma. Face à un monde médical pessimiste quant au sort du jeune garçon, Thelma décide de prendre le taureau par les cornes et de le ramener à la vie. Je ne vous dirai pas pourquoi ni comment, mais vous êtes sur le point d’embarquer dans une histoire rocambolesque qui ne vous laissera pas indifférent.

Parsemé des rappels que la vie nous lance, ce récit s’articule finalement sur un point essentiel : il faut profiter du moment présent, des gens qui en font partie et fermer la porte à ce mode de vie qui nous demande d’être disponible 24 h sur 24, de vivre à 100 000 à l’heure. Il faut aussi colmater les brèches dans lesquelles le temps et l’aigreur se sont engouffrés, éloignant de nous les gens pour des différends souvent ô combien futiles, comme entre Thelma et sa mère. Ne pas le faire, c’est ne pas vivre. Plus facile à dire qu’à faire, me direz-vous. Mais confrontés à la mort possible d’un enfant, de son enfant, on remet les pendules à l’heure.

Bref, ce roman, même quelque peu prévisible, dans toutes ses pages, m’a rappelé de respirer, de ralentir, d’être à l’écoute des personnes qui m’entourent, de prendre le temps d’aimer les gens qui comptent dans ma vie et de continuer à poursuivre mes rêves. Et surtout, surtout, que l’amour que l’on a pour les autres fera tomber n’importe quelle barrière qui se posera devant nous. Roman à l’eau de rose diront certains. Peut-être. Mais baume au cœur, absolument.

– Sylvie

It’s Time To Read: But I Don’t Wanna Grow Up! (Special Live Episode)

“There’s real drama in performing live. You never know how it’s going to be.”

Kevin Costner

Welcome, dear readers. Or maybe I should say “Dear LISTENERS”?

Have you ever wondered what goes into making an episode of our library bookclub podcast, “Time To Read”? Now’s your chance to find out (and have some fun at the same time!) It’s also one of the only times I think I could use a Kevin Costner quotation to start things off, so it’s already a success.

To celebrate our one year anniversary, we cordially invite you to The Good Will Social Club (625 Portage Ave) on Tuesday March 26, 2019 to help us record a LIVE EPISODE of “Time to Read”. We plan to get underway at 7:30 pm.

Never listened to an episode? NOT A PROBLEM. Our theme for the Live Episode is “But I don’t wanna grow up!” and we will be discussing our favourite books as kids. No homework required!

And you know what? We’ve heard from some listeners that they enjoy the book discussion even HAVING NOT READ the featured book each month, and many have been inspired to read the book after they’ve listened to a particular episode. (Assuming you don’t mind hearing possible spoilers. WE MAKE NO APOLOGIES!)

In any case, it isn’t a spoiler to say that we are super excited (and a little bit scared!) to record our upcoming live episode. We have a few surprises up our sleeves, including some music from funlife, featuring WPL’s own Brittany Thiessen.

We hope you can make it! It would be less fun if you weren’t there.

In the meantime, why don’t you give a listen to our most recent episode where we discuss Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake? And then tell us in person what you think!

-Trevor and the rest of the “Time to Read” gang.

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