Tag Archives: book clubs

It’s Time to Read: Eleanor and Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read crew

It’s Time to Read: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

It’s the first Friday in May, which means it’s release day for the latest Time To Read book club podcast! We’ve been reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and we’re excited to talk about it.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is about a man who comes home for a funeral. He’s drawn to visit a farm house where, as a boy, he met a remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He starts remembering events from 40 years before that started with a tragic suicide and built into a strange, frightening, and dangerous adventure, something bigger than any person, let alone a child, should have to deal with.

It’s not a long book, and I found it an easy book to read – I was drawn in early and it really kept my interest. There’s a lot here to reflect on, once the danger has passed.

As the audio producer of the podcast, I’m the first listener for every episode, and I end up listening to it several times through the editing and producing process. I enjoy the insights that our hosts bring to the story, but my favourite parts of these discussions are the little tangents they end up going on, and the questions they raise. Even if you haven’t read the book, it can be a fun listen. This episode, we’ll hear the answers to a number of questions: do any of our librarians have tattoos relevant to this book? Is Young Adult fiction really a thing? Who actually wrote “You are my sunshine”? And what about our Bob, and their Bob?

As always, we look forward to hearing what you think about the book, and about the show. Visit our site to download the latest episode,  leave comments on our discussion page, and email us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca with any thoughts you might have on the program.

For May, we’re reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, so grab your copy now. We’ll have that episode available on the first Friday of June!

  • Dennis and the rest of the Time to Read crew

It’s Time to Read: Middlesex

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

  • Erica and the Time to Read Team

 

All we need is TIME TO READ

Not so very long ago, a small group of librarians had the idea to create a monthly “Podcast Bookclub” to which anyone could subscribe and follow along.

We are super excited to announce that today (Friday, February 2, 2018) is the launch day for our first episode! You can find us at wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca or wherever you find your other podcasts.

Time to Read Event Banner

We are calling it “Time to Read” and we would love it if you gave it a listen. Our first selection is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. When we announced this project on Twitter last month,  Margaret Atwood HERSELF tweeted her approval, so no pressure, right?

atwood tweet

“Passionate and Witty”? You be the judge!

Without giving too much away, in addition to talking about Margaret Atwood and her dystopian novel, we veer off on tangents involving sloths, CD-ROMs, Blade Runner, and Keanu Reeves. To learn more you’ll just have to listen. Haven’t read Oryx and Crake yet? What are you waiting for? The cool thing about podcasts is that they will be still available for listening down the road, so you can always go back and revisit old episodes.

Going forward, we are hoping that you, our online community of readers, can be a part of this project too. We’d love it if you’d like to read each month’s selection along with us, and send us your opinions, thoughts and questions ahead of time. We’ll even give you a shout out during the episode if you include your first name and home library branch. We’ll be eagerly checking our inbox at:

wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca

You’ll also be able to find us on Instagram,  Twitter and Facebook, and we would love to hear from you after you listen as well. Even if you disagree with us. ESPECIALLY if you disagree with us! It’s all about getting a discussion going, and connecting in new and different ways.

 

 

Next month’s book will be Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, and I can’t wait to find out what all of us, and all of YOU, have to say about it.

time_to_read_logo_v7c[1]

TIME TO READ: A WPL Podcast

Trevor

Time To Read: A new podcast for Winnipeg book lovers

Picture of the four members of the podcast team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Fort Garry Book Club Reading List

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

leftneglected    Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

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

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

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

 

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

afterlight   After Light by Catherine Hunter

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

The Age of Hope by David Bergen      ageofhope

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

index  The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

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

The Opening Sky by Joan Thomas    openingsky

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

ThisHiddenThing2  This Hidden Thing by Dora Dueck

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

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

  • Melanie

Don’t Forget the Books!

The library is a fantastic place to learn a new skill, check your email, write a resume or entertain your kids with a story time or MagFormers program. With all those choices you may forget we still have books.  We have friendly staff and resources to help you choose a read just right for you.  If you wanted to try something more adventurous, you could join one of 17 book clubs at library branches around the city.

Book clubs are a great way to meet new people and read books you may not normally choose.  The book club I organize has chosen many unique books that everyone found fun and entertaining.  Here are a few examples of what we’ve been reading:

Game Change and Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

The book tells the story of the 2008 Presidential campaign.  The book is broken into three parts.  The first and second parts deal with the Democratic and Republican nomination battles and the third the race for the White House.  The book is a fun and informative.  Spoiler alert Sarah Palin steals the story.  With insider information from both campaigns, Sarah Palin’s lack of knowledge and experience is revealed.  Her poor performance was demonstrated in interviews such as the ones with Kaite Couric (being unable to give examples of newspapers she reads) and Charlie Gibson (I can see Russia from my house bit).  The book was also made into a movie staring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin.

Double Down is the second book by Mark Halperin and John Heileman about the 2012 Presidential election.  Written in a similar style and format to Game Change you read about Mitt Romney’s long drawn out battle for the republican nomination and the difficulties he faced once he was the Republican candidate for President.  Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair at the party convention was the least of Mitt Romney’s problems.  In 2012 Obama ran unopposed for the democratic nomination and some of his problems were within his own campaign. The section on Obama’s preparation for the first presidential debate paints him as someone who is unready and pessimistic.

The Hogfather Terry Pratchett

Welcome to Ankh-Morpork.  It’s Hogswatch Eve and the Auditors, beings responsible for ensuring the Laws of Physics work, have decided to have The Hogfather assassinated.  The auditors find human beings very disruptive to the workings of the universe and are puzzled by their need to create anthropmorphic beings like the Hogfather.  Death, Death’s grand daughter and Death’s personal servant, Alfred, race to stop the The Hogfather’s assassination.  You will also find out what death looks like in a Hogfather outfit, how many pork pies Alfred can eat and meet Bilious, the God of Hangovers.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

One of Hemingway’s shortest works, the book tells the story of Santiago, an old fisherman who has not caught a fish in 84 days.  Santiago’s luck changes a short time later when he hooks a huge marlin.  Santiago battles against the fish and nature and eventually wins while finding a certain camaraderie with his opponent.  Once he has caught the fish, Santiago battles sharks to get back home with his catch.  A great read, the Old Man and the Sea won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Peter Brown is an intern in a Manhattan hospital.  A former Mafia hitman now in witness protection, he encounters a colleague from his old life.  Over an eight hour period Peter has to figure out how can care for his patient and hide his identity.  Written in the first person, Beat the Reaper is a hilarious read with a good dose of salty Mafia language.  Josh Bazell, a former medical intern, also provides an interesting if somewhat disturbing look at the US medical system.

 

If you are part of a book club or looking to start one, the library has many resources you can use.  Book Club packs have ten copies of many different fiction and non-fiction titles. They can be borrowed and placed on hold like regular books.  The pack also contains a literature guide and questions to start a discussion about the title.

Novelist is a database you can access at home with your library card. You can look up different titles and authors as well as read summaries of books. In case you’ve read all the books by your favorite author, Novelist provides lists of author read-a-likes and title read-a-likes.

If you’re interested in any of the titles above or a book club please don’t hesitate to Ask Us!

-Andrew

Cook by the Book: Canada – From Coast to Coast

Vegetables and cheese

 

What do you think of as “Canadian” food? Do bacon and maple syrup top your list? How about bannock, poutine, butter tarts or Nanaimo bars? Our country is very diverse, so it’s hard to come up with one food that is quintessentially Canadian. We’re also very fortunate to have access to pretty much any food we want, any time of the year, from West coast salmon to East coast potatoes.

Here are the results of our culinary journey across Canada:

cherylfishAnita Stewart’s Canada contains great stories aboutCheryl cheesecake Canada and would be a wonderful book for new cooks or newlyweds. Cheryl made several recipes, including a salmon dish and this decadent cheesecake, full of eggs, sour cream and orange and lemon zest, which was amazing.

 

Dianne thought Homegrown by Marilyn Smith was an excellent cookbook. The Cranberry Maple Butter tarts were delicious, especially while still warm. They were a little on the sweet side, so she would use less sugar, next time.

 

Lynda and Maureen had fun with You Gotta Eat Here, Too! They’ve eaten at Lynda burritoseveral of the restaurants that have been featured on the show, including The Fiesta Mexicana Lynda pizzaRestaurante y Cantina, which is famous for their giant Burrito Guadalajara –  the pico de gallo really makes this dish.  The Mango Tango Chicken Pizza from Mickey’s Dragon Pizza was fantastic.

carole tart1I chose John Catucci’s first book,  You Gotta Eat Here!  and tried Dottie’s Delicious lemon tart.  The filling is a lemon curd with a hint of basil. I used a gluten-free coconut crust, from Canadian Living Magazine,  instead of the usual pastry crust. This TV show has been very successful and it’s great to be able to re-create some of these restaurant favourites in your own kitchen.

Jackie thought The Dietician’s of Canada Cook Jackie Greek Chickenwould be perfect for a beginner cook, as it contains a lot of general information. The Greek Chicken was a tasty, easy dish, that she would make again. The Turkey and wild rice soup was a good, hearty soup that calls for ground turkey, but Jackie Turkey Wild Rice Soupmight be better with shredded turkey.

 

Grandma’s Kitchen reminded Iris of her own mother’s recipes and uses ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard.

Ed Michae_smith 003Ed was very happy with Michael Smith’s Back to Basics and his “pan-rushed” cooking method – a restaurant technique for getting food out fast. It involves searing the meat, making a sauce, then putting the meat back in the sauce to simmer.

 

 Winnipeg Cooks is a wonderful new cookbook Rossita saladshowcasing our own city’s talented  chefs. Rossita made this colourful Roasted Beet Salad.

 

Sharla made the French Onion soup from The Soup Sisters, not realizing you Sharla onionneed to cook the onions for 40 minutes. The end result was worth it and the cheese toast was also a big hit, so she made it again to go with the Hamburger Soup. Sharla tomatoThe tomatoes were a little over-powering in this recipe, but nothing a little milk and hot sauce couldn’t fix.

 

Next month we’ll be hosting the “Bean Team” of the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers and learning about nutrition and the delicious possibilities of how to cook with pulses, for International Year of the Pulse. Please contact the Osborne Library at 204-986-4775 for more information.

-Carole

 

 

 


First Rule of Book Club

bookClubSoap

Books are something social – a writer speaking to a reader – so I think making the reading of a book the center of a social event, the meeting of a book club, is a brilliant idea. – Yann Martel

People have gathered in groups to talk about books for hundreds of years. The invention of the printing press meant that books could be mass produced, instead of being written out individually by hand, so more books were available, which inevitably led to people talking about what they had read. Technological innovations impacted book clubs once again with the arrival of the internet, which allowed readers from all over the world to share their thoughts about what they had read. And, of course, there was Oprah’s book club, with a membership in the millions.

The book club experience means different things to different people. For some, it’s an opportunity to read something they would never have picked up on their own. For others, it’s the chance to delve more deeply into a book by sharing their thoughts and opinions, or by listening to other people’s insights and ideas. And in some cases, there’s the added bonus of snacks and beverages.

No matter what your reasons are for joining a book club, the Winnipeg Public Library  has something for you. We carry a wide range of book club kits to be checked out, for adults, teens and kids. These kits contain 10 copies of the book and discussion questions, all in one handy bag. Just add the snacks and beverages and you’re good to go! Book club kits have an extended loan period, and you can pick them up at whatever branch is most convenient for you. In addition to our selection of books for book clubs, we also offer books about book clubs.

Accidental Book Club

The Accidental Book Club by Jennifer Scott is the story of a group of very different women who find common ground in their love of reading. When unforeseen events bring problems to group, the book club members band together to get each other through tough times.

 

Falcon Book Club

For those who like mysteries and book clubs, Laura DiSilverio is a good choice. The book club members in Haven, Colorado meet monthly to solve the crimes in mystery novels, as well as doing some free-lance, real life investigating.

 

 

mother daughter book club

Book clubs aren’t just for grown-ups anymore. The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick is about a group of 4 girls in the 6th grade who, along with their moms, read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Over time, the girls are startled to discover how much a book published in 1868 has to offer 21st century tweens.

 

prison book club

You can also find book clubs in unexpected places, like prisons. Ann Walmsley’s book Prison Book Club is an account of her involvement with a book club behind bars in a medium security prison. She gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the convicts during their incarceration, and the power of the written word to profoundly change lives that seemed beyond redemption.

 

So, before you attend your next meeting, I encourage all of you to abide by the unofficial first rule of book club at all times: always talk about book club.

-Lori

Drum roll: The nominees for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Two weeks ago the long list of nominees for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced. Perhaps surprisingly, no major Canadian authors were included in the list of 12 books by 12 authors. Many of the nominated books came from relatively unknown authors from smaller publishers. So who did make the nominees list for the Giller, Canada’s most notable annual literary award? And which title would you most like to read this fall? (The one that has caught my eye is André Alexis’ ‘Fifteen Dogs’ and its intriguing premise.)

The Scotiabank Giller Prize short list will be released October 5, and the winner announced on November 10.

fifteendogs-220Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis: When Hermes and Apollo make a bet about human happiness, they grant 15 dogs staying at a vet clinic the power of human consciousness. The dogs instantly become divided between those who prefer their old dog ways and those who want to take advantage of their newfound increased intelligence. What unfolds is a powerful story about what it means to have consciousness, and the good and the bad that comes with it.

arvida-220Arvida by Samuel Archibald,
translated by Donald Winkler:
Like a Proust-obsessed Cormac McCarthy, Samuel Archibald’s portrait of his hometown is filled with innocent children and wild beasts, attempted murder and ritual mutilation, haunted houses and road trips to nowhere, bad men and mysterious women. Gothic, fantastical, and incandescent, filled with stories of everyday wonder and terror, longing and love, Arvida explores the line which separates memory from story, and heralds the arrival of an important new voice.

ififallidie-220If I Fall I Die by Michael Christie: Will’s mother has kept him inside all of his life. But when he finally ventures outside, he befriends a boy named Jonah and discovers the world is bigger, better – but scarier – than the world of just inside. When a local boy goes missing, Will’s world is turned upside down yet again. An exploration of family, friendship and letting go.

outline-220Outline by Rachel Cusk: Rachel Cusk’s Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and stark, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner and discourse. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves: their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss.

undermajordomominor-220Under Major Domo Minor by Patrick DeWitt: Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for begetting brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle’s master, Baron Von Aux. In the local village, he also encounters thieves, madmen, aristocrats and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome partisan soldier, Adolphus.

closetohugh-220Close to Hugh by Marina Endicott: With chapter titles that play off the protagonist’s first name, from “If It Makes Hugh Happy” to “I Want to be Loved by Hugh,” Close to Hugh follows one week in the life of Hugh Argylle, an art gallery owner who has just taken a terrible fall from a ladder. What unfolds are the complicated relationships surrounding him. Several of his friends have children going off to college and Endicott weaves together these two turning points — becoming an adult and becoming old — together to look at the meaning of modern life. At turns hilarious and heartbreaking.

abeauty-220A Beauty by Connie Gault: In 1930s Saskatchewan, Elana Huhtala is looking for any excuse to get out of town. And when a stranger shows up at the local dance, she jumps at the chance to leave with him. What unfolds is a compelling cross-country journey that teaches Elana more than she ever imagined about her country, her fellow Canadians and herself.

All_True_Not_a_Lie_in_It_220All True Not a Lie in It by Alix Hawley: A fictionalized biography of legendary folk hero Daniel Boone. The book follows Boone from his life as a young Quaker living in Pennsylvania through to his exploration the American wilderness and subsequent capture by the Shawnee. A thrilling debut from a former CBC Short Story Prize finalist and Knopf New Face of Fiction 2015.

thewinterfamily-220The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman: Tracing a gang of ruthless outlaws from its birth during the American Civil War to a final bloody showdown in the Territory of Oklahoma, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir and a full-on assault to the senses.

daydreamsofangels-220Daydreams of Angels by Heather O’Neill: From the author of Lullabies for Little Criminals and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night comes a compelling collection of short stories filled with quirky characters and captivating descriptions of worlds both real and imagined.

martinjohn-220Martin John by Anakana Schofield: Martin John sits beside you on the train. Can he see that look on your face? He needs to see that look in your eyes, the surprise of his touch upon your leg and your repugnance. Despite his work’s distractions, his evil flatmate’s enmity, his worn-out mother’s admonishments, his own rules and routines, nothing can diminish his determination to touch – and to repel. Martin John is a testament to Anakana Schofield’s skill and audacity. With a Beckettian grasp of the loops and circuits of a molester’s mind, Schofield’s novel is a brilliant exploration of a marginal character, but not a rare character. Martin John is the kind of character many women have experienced, but whom few of us have understood.

Confidence_220Confidence by Russell Smith: In this collection of short stories there are ecstasy-taking PhD students, financial traders desperate for husbands, violent and immovable tenants, seedy massage parlours, infestations of rabid raccoons, experimental filmmakers who record every second of their waking lives, and mommy-bloggers who publish insults directed at their partners. Whether in private clubs, crowded restaurants, psychiatric wards, or your own living room, everyone is keeping a secret.

(Descriptions from publisher notes)

– Lyle