Tag Archives: Danielle @ WPL

Welcome to the new Writer-in-Residence

This week, Jennifer Still started her term as the 28th (wow!) Writer-in-Residence at the Winnipeg Public Library. You may already have met her, if you came to check out her collaborative reading & art piece at the Millennium Library for Nuit Blanche this past Saturday.

Jennifer is an award-winning Winnipeg poet who has served as a mentor to many emerging writers as the Writer-in-Residence at the University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture and at The University of Winnipeg. She’s also an editor for Canada’s longest running poetry journal, CV2.

Writers of all genres and all experience levels are welcome to submit manuscripts to Jennifer for review and feedback. See our website for more information about how to submit your writing.

I asked Jennifer to name a few of her favourite inspiring titles, and she responded with this list of “beautiful and brave books that give me courage, insight and endlessly spark my imagination”:

 

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – a slim correspondence between Rilke and a young poet, essential reading for anyone curious about the pursuit of writing

Madness, Rack, and Honey by Mary Ruefle – wildly imaginative and poetic lectures on writing, some only three lines long!

Killdeer by Phil Hall – a sharp, tender, insightful poem-essay of the poet’s journey with his craft

Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings – the first published reproductions of Dickinson’s handwritten “envelope” writings.

~ Danielle

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Canadian SF & fantasy

This weekend is not only Victoria Day, traditionally the first long weekend of the summer, but also the 34th Keycon–Manitoba’s annual science fiction & fantasy convention.

This year their Guest of Honour is Canadian author Kelley Armstrong. She’s written more than forty books: fantasy, thrillers, and horror for teen and adult readers. WPL is pleased to host her at an author talk at 2 pm today (Friday, May 19) in the Carol Shields Auditorium on the 2nd floor of Millennium Library. Come say hello to  Kelley and discover more about her fictional worlds!

If you’re interested in checking out Keycon, it takes place at the Radisson Hotel May 19 to 21. For more information on special guests, programming, and more, check out their website.

Thinking about Keycon reminded me how many great science fiction and fantasy authors are Canadian, or have strong ties to this country. Here are just a few of them:

 William Gibson–although he was born in the U.S., he’s lived in Canada since 1967– envisioned the concept of cyberspace before it even existed, in his classic debut novel Neuromancer. His work has gradually evolved into near-future stories about the influence of technology and social media on society, which are often eerily accurate. As he pointed out in 2003, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

 Silvia Moren0-Garcia is a Mexican-Canadian fantasy writer and editor whose books place unsettlingly strange events in down-to-earth settings. In her latest novel, Certain Dark Things, Mexico City is an oasis in a sea of vampires, heavily policed to keep the creatures of the night at bay.

Nalo Hopkinson is another international author–born in Jamaica, she splits her time between California and Canada. Her award-winning novel Brown Girl in the Ring is set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto.

And there are many other Canadian SF & fantasy writers to try. If you enjoy military SF, check out Tanya Huff‘s Confederation series about space marines. Guy Gavriel Kay is famous for his historical fantasy; Robert Charles Wilson‘s mind-bending science fiction often plays with timelines; and Robert Sawyer writes fast-paced, classic SF adventure.

Don’t forget one of the quintessential Canadian authors, Margaret Atwood, either! Several of her classic novels–The Handmaid’s Tale, the MaddAddam trilogy–draw heavily on speculative themes and tropes, even if she claims that she doesn’t write science fiction.

On Victoria Day, hopefully the weather will be perfect to sit out in your backyard, at the neighbourhood park, or on the beach, and crack open a refreshing Canadian read.

Danielle

Eat a good book

Saturday, April 8 marks our seventh annual Books 2 Eat celebration at the Millennium Library.

Come and feast your eyes on some amazing edible art pieces inspired by books and created by food lovers of all ages! Celebrity judges, including emcee Chrissy Troy of 103.1 Virgin Radio, will announce the winners at 3:30 pm.

But there’s lots more to enjoy at Books 2 Eat…

  • Browse through a buffet of hands-on family activities from noon to 3 pm: sample healthy treats, try cookie decorating, and play with your food at our games and technology stations!
  • From 1 to 2 pm, families can enjoy a tasty story time filled with mouth-watering tales and a pinch of tasty verses – plus a chance to get hands-on and decorate your own delicious sugar cookie. (Registration required; call 204-986-6488.)
  • Hunt down food-related clues through all four floors of the Millennium Library! Kids and teens can pick up a smorgasbord scavenger hunt sheet at the Children’s Desk. Hand in your answer sheet (right or wrong) by 3 pm and you’ll be entered in our prize draw.
  • Help nourish other families in the city! Winnipeg Harvest will be on hand to share information on their services and to take donations of non-perishables.
  • Enter a draw for a chance to take home some delectable door prizes including baked goods from Chew.

Still hungry? Check out our website for more details!

Danielle

Black History Month

February is a great month! Not only is it a sign that winter is–slowly–coming to an end as the days lengthen again, it’s also the month of Valentine’s Day (half-priced candy, anyone?), I Love to Read Month, and Black History Month.

To help you combine the last two, here’s a short sampling of excellent contemporary fiction in all genres by black authors from all over the world. (Authors with a Canadian connection are distinguished with a *.) To see much more of what’s available, come check out the themed display at Millennium Library; or, if you prefer ebooks/audiobooks, take a look at our complementary OverDrive collection.

Danielle


Chris Abani
Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Abani’s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.

Chinua Achebe
These three internationally acclaimed classic novels comprise what has come to be known as Achebe’s “African Trilogy.” Beginning with the best-selling Things Fall Apart, the African Trilogy captures a society caught between its traditional roots and the demands of a rapidly changing world. In these masterful novels, Achebe brilliantly sets universal tales of personal and moral struggle in the context of the tragic drama of colonization.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart Nigeria. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

* André Alexis
A thief with elegant tastes is recruited by an aging heroin addict whose wealthy father has recently passed away, leaving each of his five children a mysterious object that provides one clue to the whereabouts of a large inheritance. She enlists the thief to steal the objects from her siblings and help her solve the puzzle. Inspired by a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, The Hidden Keys questions what it means to be honourable, what it means to be faithful and what it means to sin.

Octavia E. Butler
The complete Patternist series—the acclaimed science fiction epic of a world transformed by a secret race of telepaths and their devastating rise to power. In these four novels, award-winning author Octavia E. Butler tells the classic story that began her legendary career: a mythic tale of the transformation of civilization.

Stephen L. Carter
Back Channel is a brilliant amalgam of fact and fiction–a suspenseful retelling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the fate of the world rests unexpectedly on the shoulders of a young college student: Margo Jensen, one of the few black women at Cornell. As the clock ticks toward World War III, Margo undertakes her harrowing journey. Pursued by the hawks on both sides, protected by nothing but her own ingenuity and courage, Margo is drawn ever more deeply into the crossfire–and into her own family’s hidden past.

* Austin Clarke
In this collection, award-winning author Austin Clarke has caught, in his characters, a sweet longing for youth and an anxiety-stricken rage at old age; an immigrant’s longing for a placid, lost home and his lust for a new high-speed motorcar life; and an intellectual’s sense of empowerment by black history even as he watches what little he knows about such history engulf him. These are intense and private lives made public by the force of their individual voices.

* George Elliott Clarke
Carl Black is an intellectual and artist, a traveller, a reader and an unapologetic womanizer. He burns for the bohemian life, but is trapped in a railway porter’s prosaic—at times humiliating—existence. Taking place over one dramatic year in Halifax, The Motorcyclist vividly recounts Carl’s travels and romantic exploits as he tours the backroads of the east coast and the bedrooms of a series of beautiful women.

* Esi Edugyan
A brilliant jazz musician, Hiero, is arrested by the Nazis and never heard from again. He is twenty years old. He is a German citizen. And he is black. Fifty years later, his friend and fellow musician, Sid, must relive that unforgettable time, revealing the friendships, love affairs and treacheries that sealed Hiero’s fate. An entrancing, electric story about jazz, race, love and loyalty, and the sacrifices we ask of ourselves, and demand of others, in the name of art.

Yaa Gyasi
A riveting debut novel, Homegoing is a novel about race, history, ancestry, love and time, stretching from the tribal wars of Ghana to slavery and Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the north to the Great Migration to the streets of 20th century Harlem. Half sisters Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into two different tribal villages in 18th century Ghana. Effia will be married off to an English colonist and raise”half-caste” children; Esi will be shipped off on a boat bound for America, where she will be sold into slavery.

N. K. Jemisin
This is the way the world ends…for the last time. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.

* Lawrence Hill
Like every boy on the mountainous island of Zantoroland, running is all Keita’s ever wanted to do. In one of the poorest nations in the world, running means respect. Running means riches—until Keita is targeted for his father’s outspoken political views and discovers he must run for his family’s survival.

* Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson is an internationally-beloved storyteller. Her Afro-Caribbean, Canadian, and American influences shine in truly unique stories that are filled with striking imagery, unlikely beauty, and delightful strangeness. In this long-awaited collection, Hopkinson continues to expand the boundaries of culture and imagination, creating bold fiction that transcends boundaries and borders.

Karen Lord
Karen Lord’s science fiction combines star-spanning plots, deeply felt characters, and incisive social commentary. In The Galaxy Game, Lord presents a gripping adventure that showcases her dazzling imagination as never before. On the verge of adulthood, Rafi attends the Lyceum, a school for the psionically gifted. Rafi’s mental abilities might benefit people . . . or control them. Some wish to help Rafi wield his powers responsibly; others see him as a threat to be contained. Now he and his friends are about to experience a moment of violent change as seething tensions between rival star-faring civilizations come to a head.

Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with his life in transition. He’s ready–finally–to propose to his girlfriend and start a life together. And he’s started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way. Between his new company, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and his life in shambles around his feet.

Helen Oyeyemi
An enchanting and thought-provoking collection of intertwined stories. Playful, ambitious, and exquisitely imagined, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours is cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret–Oyeyemi’s keys not only unlock elements of her characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side.

Lalita Tademy
Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money–but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward? Cow Tom’s legacy lives on in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose, who rises to leadership of the family. Through it all, her grandfather’s indelible mark of courage inspires her–in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies.

Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood–where even greater pain awaits. When a recent arrival from Virginia tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we share.

Our gift to readers

In our annual contribution to the season, Winnipeg Public Library staff have put our heads together to come up with a list of our favourite reads of 2016. Some of these books were published this year, some are older titles that we discovered recently; all of them come highly recommended.

Want to see how our previous choices stack up? Check out WPL’s staff picks for 2015 and 2014. And if that’s not enough for you, here’s an ever-growing annual compilation of hundreds of 2016 “best of” lists.

Fiction we loved

Brian chose The Lamentations of Zeno by Ilija Trojanow, a “sparse but deeply affecting novel” that takes the reader to the Antarctic through the eyes of an aging glaciologist turned cruise ship guide.

Carolyn has read Dexter Palmer’s Version Control twice and will probably read it again, finding it enjoyable from multiple angles: “intriguing time-travel plot, satisfying existential questions, and some almost understandable hard science.”

revenantAccording to Chris, The Revenant by Michael Punke (inspiration for the recent movie of the same name) grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go until the final shot.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was Derek‘s favourite book–“a vivid, brilliant exploration of the devastating effects of war on the lives of two individuals.”

Jane says that Rules for a Knight (written in the form of a letter to his children by author and actor Ethan Hawke) provides a compass for living an upright and noble life and is “a perfect gem to slip into anyone’s stocking.”

Kim loves Zoe Whittall’s books and couldn’t put down her latest, The Best Kind of People, about a family’s experience of going from the “perfect family” to being ostracized by almost everyone in their hometown.

heartEvery Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire answered a question Melanie has had since she was a little girl: what happens to children who fall through portals to fantasy worlds after they return home?

Monica chose Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest for its dysfunctional, relatable family and New York setting.

breakMonique calls local writer Katherena Vermette’s first novel The Break “a story of family and community connections, trauma, and so much love… will leave anyone who reads it wanting more.”

 

Non-fiction of all kinds

Christian Bök’s poetry collection The Xenotext is “Ovid neo-structuralist hard-science futurism with bees” or, as Aaron puts it, “kinda weird.”

Elke considered Animal Factory by David Kirby “non fiction that reads like a thriller–a story about how the hunger for cheap meat and dairy has become a threat to the environment and public health.”

Franca enjoyed the wry sense of humour in Allen Kurzweil’s Whipping Boy, and how Kurzweil’s initial curiosity about what became of the schoolmate who bullied him turned into a decades-long search bordering on obsession.

According to Hugh, Capturing Hill 70: Canada’s Forgotten Battle is “a must for anyone with the slightest interest in Canada’s role in the First World War”, covering the key details of this lesser-known battle in which thousands of Manitoban soldiers fought.

lonelyJacqui says The Lonely City by Olivia Laing is “a thought-provoking blend of art history and memoir” that looks at loneliness in visual art, and how that feeling can be exposed by art as well as eased.

Julianna was inspired to reread the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic memoir Maus by Art Spiegelman after the recent Anne Frank exhibit at Millennium Library, calling it “especially potent given today’s hyperbolic and fearful rhetoric.”

Although The Book of Tea was written in 1906, Larisa found that Kakuzo Okakura’s thoughts on serious social issues associated with modernization, globalization, and the preservation of culture remain extremely topical today.

Melissa remembers Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley as “a hilarious delusional read… a beautiful fairy tale that inspires hope.” (Sarcasm, perhaps?)

twoNadine appreciated The House with the Broken Two by Myrl Coulter, a very personal story of giving up her child by a woman who grew up in Winnipeg and became pregnant in 1967 out of wedlock.

 

 

For young(ish) readers

Brianna R. Shrum’s YA novel Never Never was Katherine‘s choice: a retelling of the story of Peter Pan in which James Hook follows Pan to Neverland, only to realize there’s no way back to London…

Lauren picked the YA graphic novel series Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson (and a host of talented artists) as “a sassy, clever, girl-powered adventure that can genuinely be enjoyed by all ages.”

applesApples and Robins by Lucie Felix is a charming and magical picture book using shapes to show an apple tree through the four seasons of the year. Lori says it will “make you smile and think of spring even in the midst of winter.”

Madeleine‘s favourite book this year was Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, a YA title set during WWII which tells the amazing and heart-wrenching story of a friendship between two young women, a spy and a transport pilot.

And Wendy chose Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier, “a thrilling adventure story complete with unlikely heroes, duplicitous villains, and magical tomes that can tell you things about yourself that even you didn’t know.”

Here’s to many more great new reads in the New Year!

Danielle

“Seize the Night” at Nuit Blanche

owl

Nuit Blanche owl logo

Calling all night owls!

Nuit Blanche is a free all-night exploration and celebration of contemporary art. In Winnipeg, the event has been held annually since 2010 as part of Culture Days, and attracts thousands of people to St. Boniface, Downtown and the Exchange District.

Nuit Blanche takes place this Saturday, October 1, from dusk to dawn and the Winnipeg Public Library is excited to be taking part! Visit two of our  libraries under the stars for an evening that harkens back to childhood crafts, library visits, and the joys of being read-aloud to.

Millennium Library Park
7-11 pm

Lighten up your Nuit Blanche with story time for adults, a lantern creation station, and a library lounge.

  • Library lounge and creation station open all evening
  • Story time for adults at 8:30 & 10 pm
  • Watch for our roving Book Bike with Writers-in-Residence Christine Fellows and John K. Samson. They’ll be “pedaling” some of their favourite books!

St. Boniface Library
(in the lobby and on Provencher Blvd.)
7-11 pm

Rendez-vous à la Bibliothèque de Saint-Boniface pour une soirée qui vous ramènera à la magie de votre enfance, la création artisanale, les visites à la bibliothèque et la joie d’écouter des histoires.

  • Creation station open all evening
  • Métis stories told in English and French, throughout the evening

Want to know what else is happening during the long night? Pick up a copy of the program at any library, or visit the Nuit Blanche website for an online listing of the dozens of other events and art installations taking place.

Wondering how to get around? The Winnipeg Trolley Company will be available to all art lovers from 6pm to 2am. The familiar big orange trolley and a new additional shuttle will stop at 8 different locations in the three zones (Downtown, Exchange District and St. Boniface).

Not a night owl? Culture Days isn’t just a Saturday night thing; it starts today (Friday, September 30) and goes on through Sunday, October 2. You’ll find something fascinating to check out!

Danielle

Celebrate comics with us

If you’re a comics/manga/graphica fan, you’ve probably heard of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, or TCAF. This annual two-day exhibition and vendor fair features hundreds of comics creators from around the world. Other TCAF events include readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, and much more.

PCFposterOne of the things that makes TCAF unique is that since 2009 it’s been co-sponsored by Toronto Public Library and held at the Toronto Reference Library. While TCAF is now one of the largest and best-known international comic festivals, it started as a much smaller event.

This is what we’re hoping to emulate here in Winnipeg with the first ever Prairie Comics Festival, a free one-day festival celebrating the best in comics creation on the prairies! Join us at the Millennium Library on Saturday, July 30 from 10:30 am – 5 pm.

The brain child of local comics publisher Hope Nicholson, the PCF is your opportunity to meet local comics creators, purchase their books and artwork (many of which will be premiered at this event), and learn from them in a full day of panel presentations. More than just a space to promote the creation of comics and discover new stories, it will also be a community experience where we can share our love of the comics medium.

For a complete list of exhibitors and panels, check out the Festival website.

The PCF is also curating a gallery exhibit of sensational artwork from comic book artists with ties to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Both honouring the legacy and promoting the present and future of comic book storytelling on the prairies, it includes Winnipeg-based comic book creators from the past such as Hal Foster (Prince Valiant), John Simpkins (Jasper), and John Stables (Brok Windsor); artwork from modern names in comics including Richard Comely (Captain Canuck), Todd McFarlane (Spawn), Tom Grummett (Superman); and a bevy of independent and webcomic artists such as Meags Fitzgerald, Nicholas Burns, and Elaine Will.

I’ll be there looking to discover new comic loves, and I hope you will be too!

Danielle

Books 2 Eat 2016

17302445942_642f6ce073_oEvery year, the Library Board of the Winnipeg Public Library organizes  “Books 2 Eat,” a fabulous edible art exhibition. This year’s Books 2 Eat will take place on Saturday, April 16 at the Millennium Library.

Love books and/or food? You’re invited to create an edible piece of art! The only two essentials are that your creation must be: made entirely of edible materials, raw or cooked; and fall under this year’s broad theme of “poetry” to celebrate National Poetry Month. How you choose to interpret the rules is part of the fun!

How to Enter
Visit the Books 2 Eat website, fill out an online entry form, and email it to Books2Eat@winnipeg.ca. The deadline to submit an entry form is coming up on Monday, April 11. Of course, your edible creation doesn’t have to be dropped off at the Library until April 15 or 16.

But there’s lots more to enjoy at Books 2 Eat, even if you aren’t tempted to try your hand at edible art.

Think you can hunt down food-related clues through all four floors of the Millennium Library? Kids and teens can pick up a smorgasbord scavenger Hunt sheet at the Children’s Desk and find out! Hand in your answers (right or wrong) by 3 pm and you’ll be entered in a draw for prizes.

From 1 to 2 pm, families can enjoy a delectable story time filled with mouth-watering tales and a pinch of tasty verses – plus a chance to get hands-on and decorate your own delicious cupcake. (Registration required; call 204-986-6488.)

Browse through a buffet of snack-sized displays! Watch cooking techniques demonstrated and try your hand at food-related crafts and activities from 12 to 3 pm.

And, of course, you can feast your eyes on a buffet of Books 2 Eat creations and  enter a draw for a chance to take one of the edible artworks home. Join emcee Chrissie Troy to find out who the scavenger hunt champions and the lucky winners will be.

Still hungry? Check out our website for more details.

Bon appetit!

Danielle

It’s time to get On The Same Page again

This annual project of The Winnipeg Foundation and the Winnipeg Public Library—now in its eighth year!—encourages all Manitobans to read, and talk about, the same book at the same time.

aliceThe book Manitobans chose to read this year is The Evolution of Alice by David Alexander Robinson. David’s novel tells the story of Alice, a single mother raising three young daughters after her abusive ex is jailed. With the help of her best friend, Gideon, she tries to create the best possible life for her family and help them heal from old wounds. When tragedy strikes, Alice is forced to examine her life and her role in the community. Woven together from multiple points of view, the novel shows the interconnection of Alice’s life.

What next? Borrow a copy of The Evolution of Alice from the library in print, ebook, accessible formats (via NNELS) or buy one at a local bookstore. We’ll also be distributing free copies through Manitoba public libraries and other organizations, so keep your eyes open.

Already read the book? Then watch our website (OnTheSamePage.ca) for more information—don’t forget to count yourself in the Reader’s Tally—and come check out these upcoming events!

On The Same Page Events

Join us Thursday, February 11, at 7 p.m. in the Marpeck Commons area of Canadian Mennonite University (2299 Grant Ave.) to hear a reading by David Robertson and to create paper airplanes carrying your own wishes or messages of hope – an activity inspired by The Evolution of Alice.

Deconstructing Alice
How does a group of linked short stories become a novel? David and his editor Warren Cariou will talk about the process of creating a coherent mosaic from narrative fragments. Hosted by Charlene Diehl.
McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Ave.)
Thursday, March 10: 7-8 pm

On The Same Page Windup
Readings and insights from the writer’s life from David and other celebrated On The Same Page authors including Beatrice Mosionier (In Search of April Raintree), Joan Thomas (Reading by Lightning), and Katherena Vermette (North End Love Songs). Four stellar authors all in one venue!
Millennium Library
Carol Shields Auditorium
Thursday, April 14: 7-8 pm

Danielle

The happiest season for readers

For me, December is the time of end of year lists, when I add more books to my “I want to read this” list than I’ll ever be able to finish.

In our own contribution to the season, Winnipeg Public Library staff have chosen our favourite reads of 2015. Some of these titles are brand new, some are a few years old, but all are worth a look.

If you’re interested in catching up on previous years, here are WPL staff picks for 2014 and 2013. And if you still crave more, check out the Largehearted Boy blog’s annual collection of year end lists – there are hundreds!

Let’s dive right in…

Fiction for all
Aaron chose Italo Calvino’s  The Complete Cosmicomics, which “takes difficult scientific and mathematical concepts and twists them into beautiful lucid dream stories… the perfect night-stand companion before falling asleep.”

Alan found Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers “a quick, easy read that isn’t afraid to handle heavy topics.”

For Brian, And The Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier was “a rare novel written in exquisite prose and by far my favorite read this year.”

Derek and Suzy both chose Paula Hawkins’ bestseller The Girl on the Train, a “gripping thriller” with a “totally unreliable” narrator.

Jane “raves” about A God In Ruins, Kate Atkinson’s meticulously researched novel about a young RAF pilot’s experiences in WW2 and beyond.

Joanne says that the suspense and “stories within a story” aspect of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing “had me hooked right from the start.”  

Kamini “laughed out loud so many times” at The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Another double-double: Laura calls Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Sends Her Regards And Apologises “a great homage to story-telling and fairy tales… full of quirky misfit characters” and Erica says “why everyone has not already read this book, I do not know.”

At the opposite end of the spectrum, according to LaurenConfessions by Kanae Minato is a dark story of a mother’s revenge that “will make you yell, “Holy — !” out loud.”

Lori calls Sophie Divry’s The Library Of Unrequited Lovea touching and at times laugh out loud funny story.”

Patricia enjoyed The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George with its depiction of “a literary apothecary, who prescribes novels to mend broken hearts and souls but can’t heal himself.”

Petra calls Joshua Gaylord’s When We Were Animals “a unique coming of age story that combines a mix of genres to illustrate the physical and mental brutalities of growing up.”

If you’re looking for “a fast paced, OMG, what next kind of book,” Tracey thinks Andy Weir’s The Martian (of the blockbuster movie) will fit the bill.

Vicky chose Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a vibrant story of “magic, romance, politics, intrigue, war…”

 

 

All kinds of non-fiction

Andrea recommends listening to the audiobook version of  Yes Please to hear Amy Poehler read her own book (along with her parents, Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart, Carol Burnett, and others).

Brittany found Dan Harris’ 10% Happier
that recounts his  world-wide search for peace and spiritual enlightenment “a non-preachy endorsement for meditation.”

Chance was enthralled by the story of poet James Merrill
as told by Langdon Hammer, from wealth (as in Merrill Lynch) to communing with spirits through a Ouija board.

Kyle believes Ta-nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me is “one of the best books that outlines the violence that African-Americans face in the United States” and “more relevant than ever.”

In preparation for an overseas trip, Lyle read Phil Cousineau’s The Art Of Pilgrimage, about how to make travel “a meaningful journey of the human heart, rather than just an escape from everyday life.”

Randy says that Oprah Winfrey’s common-sense-filled What I Know For Sure is “definitely worth a look.”

Rémi‘s favourite book was H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald, “touchingly honest and filled with passion and grief, the first for her hawk and the second for her late father.”

Monica chose M Train, Patti Smith’s “beautifully written and insightful memoir.”
For young and young-at-heart readers

Colette says that “younger readers will enjoy all the secret codes and alchemical symbols” in Kevin Sands’ The Blackthorn Key, but she recommends it for all ages.

The Tide Of Unmaking by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper is the final book in the Berinfell Prophecies trilogy, and impressed Courtney with “so many things woven together as you go along.”

Kathleen finally picked up John Flanagan’s popular Ranger’s Apprentice series this year (starting with The Ruins Of Gorlan) and tore through these “approachable for reluctant readers and detailed enough for a more sophisticated read.”

Lindsay picked Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: “It was blunt, and it was honest. And it was also hilarious.”

According to Terri, if you read B. J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures to a child once, get ready to read it again, and again, and again!

What would you choose as your favourite read of 2015?