Tag Archives: Erica@WPL

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


BookFest a.k.a. Mega Event Book Nerd Day

Did you happen to make it to BookFest last year? Are you wondering what the heck this ‘BookFest’ thing is? Are you just bored and surfing the web? Here’s some info you might find interesting.

[Disclaimer: In my enthusiasm, I have made up a lot of reading-related words for this post.]

BookFest is one of the bookiest days of the year, because it’s the day that WPL and AMBP smoosh together a bunch of readerly things: book tastings (short and sweet book talks), a panel discussion, local publishing houses, local self-published authors, an interactive poetry station, personalized reading advice from WPL experts, and resources just for book clubs. Plus, you know, free book and book-related prize giveaways.

In short, so many things that the only name for it is BookFest!

Some of the books:


All the details:

Saturday, November 25 at Millennium Library from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We’ve taken over the whole second floor.

Panel Talk: The Book Starts Here: 11 a.m. to noon

Take a literary walk through Winnipeg as panelists discuss iconic Winnipeg locations found in books. Charlene Diehl of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival moderates the discussion featuring Winnipeg author Allan Levine.

Book Tastings: Drop in for 30-minute seatings of delicious must-reads. This fun, quick-fire appetizer pairs librarians and avid readers showcasing the best in books.

o                1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Life & Death: notable new memoirs & mysteries

o                2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Canada 150+: great reads about our past and present

o                3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Genre-bending titles: the best in mixed-genre reads

Book Fair: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A book expo where you can explore the best of prairie writing with local publishers: ARP Books, At Bay Press, Les Éditions des Plaines, Fernwood Publishing, Great Plains Publications, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing, Peanut Butter Press, Rebelight Publishing Inc., Signature Editions, Turnstone Press, and University of Manitoba Press.

Plus, a chance to meet and greet the following authors: Sally Cooper, Lisa Mendis and Chris Ducharme, Anne Mahon, Bartley Kives, Deborah Froese, Harriet Zaidman, Gerald Kuehl, Gabriele Goldstone, Melinda Friesen, Suzanne Costigan, Armin Wiebe, and Janis Thiessen.

Poetry Station: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Try your hand at “building” a poem by blacking out words on a page. Poet Jennifer Still, the Library’s current Writer-in-Residence, will stop by to demonstrate and assist.

Book Club Corner: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A showcase of titles your book club will love, tips for discussion, and information about the Library’s book club kits.
librarian is in
The Librarian is IN!: 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

In a reading slump? Need help finding your next great read? Visit the desk where library staff will be on hand to diagnose your literary condition and prescribe a few titles.

Plus (my favourite part): “spin to win” books and prizes every hour!

Isn’t that an amazing amount of book nerdery? Hope you can join us! (Be there and be square?)

  • The BookFest Team: Danielle, Erica, Aileen, Karen, Michelle, and Kathleen


Celebrate Canada 150 with Books

As a preface, I’d like to gratefully acknowledge that Winnipeg lies within Treaty No. 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene and Dakota peoples, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation and the Heart of the Métis Nation Homeland.





You know what word I’m not hearing enough right now?



How is this word not constantly repeated in any mention of Canada 150??? It’s pretty much the best word ever.

My love of big weird words aside, it is a pretty big deal for anything to reach it’s 150th anniversary. Though I do want to take the time to note that this anniversary evokes mixed emotions for many of us, I also believe that this country we’re a part of stands for a lot of noble things. At the same time, I know we can and should strive to do better in the future.

One of the ways in which we can try to understand where we came from and where we’re going is through — you guessed it — books! So to celebrate this amazing and diverse and huge and wonderful country of ours, WPL is encouraging you to embark on a journey to explore Canada through a cross-country Read Trip.

This may be the easiest and laziest road trip you’ll ever take. Just find a Canadian book (we make it simple as we’ve always put a maple leaf on the spine). For every Canadian book you read, enter a ballot in our August 18 prize draw for a bag of wicked Canadian lit.


And because we love making lists, a bunch of us have put one together that contains top suggestions for books set in each territory and province. Please peruse, pick, and/or print as desired!


rt list


Read on, Canada! And happy sesquicentennial.

— Erica

“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You (Part 3)

Need a place to chill out (literally) as you run hither and yon this summer? I suggest you take a relaxing break at the nearest WPL branch. I’ll bet you drive or bus past one regularly. Why not drop in and get caught up with the daily paper or magazines? Or enjoy our air conditioning and free WiFi? And drink some water – you know you don’t drink enough water.

Here are some other things you might not know we offer, as part three of our “’Secret’ things the library can do for you” series.


Obviously discussing the library


Free movie screenings

That’s right – free movies, just bring your own snack. Every month the Millennium Library hosts super popular movies that were adapted from books for both adults and kids. Coming soon, Lion, based on A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the series by Jeff Kinney.

Some branches also hold NFB Film clubs for both adults and kids. This summer three branches will be hosting special kids’ screenings of NFB short films on Indigenous Legends.


Art and sculpture


The art of Jennifer Sanderson is coming to the Millennium Library in July

The Millennium Library has so much art inside and out that it’s featured in the Winnipeg Arts Council walking tours. It also hosts rotating exhibits in its Blankstein Gallery, a feature that is so popular, it has been adapted into art walls for smaller branches, some of which have already begun showing exhibits by local groups and schools.


Let us look it up!

Ask Us

Ask us! Look how friendly we are.

Do you know what people did before Google? They called the library. Many people still do! We love it when you ask us to research things. We can find addresses and phone numbers, old newspaper articles, building codes, car prices… I once helped a gentleman find the right size hole to only allow the birds we wanted into the bird house he was building.


We ♥ WPG



A West End literary walk

We love to highlight the history and beauty of our city with talks and walking tours and special collections online and in print (side point: have you seen the new Local History Room??). We’ll help you explore your city, neighbourhood, and even house. Yes, house. You can search for your address in our Henderson Directories going back to 1880 to see who used to live there!

And now that we have our book bike, we can bring the library with us wherever we go. Look for us the next time you’re at a festival, or, for that matter, the Goodwill Social Club (Wednesday, August 16).


Our love in action:

WPL at Pride 2017

WPL at Pride 2017


Happy summer!






“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You: Part 2, Totally Online Stuff

HERE IT IS. The long-awaited second installment of things you never knew about the library. Today we’ll be talking about some of the techy secrets – the things the library offers 24/7 through our website.

Woman with laptop looking shocked.

I know. I’m excited, too.


A lot of times when I have to tell someone there’s a waiting list for a book they want they seem so disheartened. “But don’t give up!” I say, “there are audiobook versions! And eBook versions! And eAudiobook versions!” Often they end up with the book they want, just not how they expected.

(I know it can be daunting to get set up with a new format, but remember, you can always ask us for help.)

So here’s a super quick run down of the online and downloadable info and entertainment you can get through us, in case it helps you find something fun, interesting, or informative. It can all be found through our website as shown below, or through our eMedia Guide.


I drew the red arrows myself.


Warning: A lot of these services have nonsense names, so it’s easy to get confused. But you’ll get used to it!


More than 5000 eAudiobooks!

I’ve just recently become reacquainted with the joy of being read to. It’s a fabulous way to squeeze more reading into your life, since you can do it bussing or driving, or while doing housework, cooking, or gardening. We offer two ways to find thousands of electronic audiobooks – through OverDrive and Hoopla (more about both below).


TV and movies! And music!

hooplaHoopla also offers free streaming of movies, TV shows, and popular music. No holds, wait lists or fines. Hoopla! A different music service, called Naxos Music Library has tons of classical, folk, world and jazz music.



zinDownload full-colour, complete issues of magazines, like US Weekly, National Geographic, Mental Floss, Newsweek, Cosmo and more straight to your tablet with Zinio for Libraries. And then they’re yours to keep forever!


eBooks, so many ways!

We are a library, after all, and books are a big part of what we do. Some of our eBooks can be read right in your web browser (no apps to download or set up). This is offered through: Overdrive,  McGraw Hill, Tumble Books, and Bookflix.

McGraw Hill eBooks offers eBooks in lots of subjects like business, computing, nursing, languages and sciences chemistry, mathematics, psychology, accounting and computing.

tumblebooklogoTumble Book Cloud and Tumble Book Cloud Junior have eBooks, read-alongs, classic works of literature and audiobooks for EAL audiences, high-schoolers, and elementary school kids. Read-alongs are especially great for those still struggling with reading, or for EAL students. There are never any waiting lists for these.

Tumble Book Library is also great for kids as they are animated, talking children’s picture books adapted from print books, but made interactive with quizzes, puzzles and memory games.

BookFLIX does something pretty unique, in that it pairs classic storybooks with related non-fiction books, so kids can learn new things in the context of their favourite stories.

frodWe also subscribe to two downloadable eBook services – Overdrive and Freading – so that you can download books to your mobile device (smart phone, tablet, or eReader) and take them wherever you go. Overdrive is great for popular, newer titles. Using it is very similar to print books, though, in that the library pays per copy of each book, so you might find yourself on the waiting list for something in demand. Freading is great for when you want to find an ebook right away as they offer unlimited use of the books we purchase from them.

Did you already know any of these secrets??


Happy reading (and watching, and listening)!

– Erica

Are you up for the Go Wild Challenge??

book fly

Starting July 4, the Library is challenging you to EXPAND your reading horizons with the GO WILD! Summer Reading Challenge. Each week we will offer three ways for you to read something you might never have read before. To find the right book for you, browse our shelves or catalogue, check out our displays, and stay tuned to this blog.

For every week you try something new, enter our prize draws at any WPL branch!

Ready? Good! Go!

Here are your challenges for Week 1 – World Week (And, to get you started, some staff picks we think you might like…)

Challenge 1: A book set in South America

b1-3BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett

When terrorists seize hostages at an embassy party, an unlikely assortment of people is thrown together, including American opera star Roxanne Coss, and Mr. Hosokawa–Japanese CEO and her biggest fan.


The Trueba family embodies strong feelings from the beginning of the 20th century through the assassination of Allende in 1973.


In a prequel to Jane Eyre, Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway lives in Dominica and Jamaica in the 1830s before she travels to England, becomes Mrs. Rochester, and goes mad.


In a near future that is not quite ours, a major scientific breakthrough permits historians to view, but not participate in, past events.

THE LOST CITY OF Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author’s own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett’s final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle.

b1-4THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: A Journey Around South America by Ernesto (Che) Guevara

A chronicle of the author’s seven-month motorcycle journey throughout South America reveals the beginning of his transformation into a dedicated revolutionary.

WALKING THE AMAZON: 860 Days, One Step at a Time by Ed Stafford

Describes the author’s quest to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, offering details on the effects of deforestation and his encounters with both vicious animals and tribal members with machetes.


Staff picks for Challenge 2: A book set in the Middle East

3-2PERSEPOLIS: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

The great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval-al and vast contradictions between public and private life.


The award-winning author recounts his boyhood in war-torn Jerusalem of the 1940s and 1950s, his mother’s tragic suicide, his decision to join a kibbutz and change his name, and his participation in Israel’s political upheavals.

I AM MALALA: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

Describes the life of the young Pakistani who survived an assassination attempt and became the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.


The lives of a fading aristocrat, voluptuous siren, devout doorman, secretly-gay editor, roof-squatting tailor, and corrupt politician intertwine in an apartment building in downtown Cairo.

3-3ALIF THE UNSEEN by G. Willow Wilson

A young Arab-Indian computer hacker unearths a secret book of the jinn, a book that may open a gateway to unimaginable power.

DE NIRO’S GAME by Rawi Hage

Follows the lives and choices of two best friends, Bassam and George, caught in Lebanon’s civil war. Both men are desperate to escape Beirut but choose different paths to accomplish their goals.


Staff picks for Challenge 3: A book set in Africa



A novel of postwar life in Sierra Leone, in which two friends struggle to rebuild their ruined village despite violence, scarcity and a corrupt foreign mining company.

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Re-creates the 1960s struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, following the intertwined lives of the characters through a military coup, the Biafran secession, and the resulting civil war.

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver

The lives of a fierce evangelical missionary and his wife and four daughters begin to unravel after they embark on a 1959 mission to the Congo.

2-1THIRTY GIRLS by Susan Minot

Forced to commit unspeakable atrocities after being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, Ugandan teen Esther struggles to survive and escape.

ROAD TRIP RWANDA: A Journey Into the New Heart of Africa by Will Ferguson

Ferguson travels deep into Rwanda with friend Jean-Claude Munyezamu, who had escaped just before the genocide, where they discover a country reborn.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM by Nelson Mandela

The leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement chronicles his life, including his tribal years, his time spent in prison, and his return to lead his people.


Happy reading!

  • Erica



Our authors, our stories

On Saturday, May 7, Millennium Library hosted our first ever Local Author Fair, which featured 40 Winnipeg and Manitoba authors. In the morning we heard talks from three on their personal journeys through writing and publishing, which I thought I’d share with you (as well as a bonus one at the end).

mamieFirst to speak was Elizabeth Murray, author of Holding on to Mamie. It was gut-wrenching to hear her talk about the need she felt to write her memoir, in order to deal with how her mother’s dementia poisoned their relationship and turned mother against daughter. About her book:

“As her dementia advanced, Mamie wrote a multitude of notes that evidence the anger and paranoia that are often symptomatic of it. This memoir offers unique insight into this inner turmoil, as well as the fears and frustrations of her daughter and primary caregiver.”

ensNext was Melinda Friesen, author of the dystopian novel Enslavement (book one of the One Bright Future series). In addition to speaking about how she got into writing as a stay-at-home mom, Melinda told us about how and why she and her team started the new Winnipeg company Rebelight Publishing. About her book:

“‘One World. One Currency. One Bright Future.’ That’s the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse—but only for those who obey. When Rielle’s parents refuse to comply, government officials force her into a Community Service Contract—a legalized form of slavery—and sell her to a wealthy, abusive banker, who might nevertheless hold the key to Rielle’s freedom.”

dancing.jpgLast to speak was Daniel Perron, author of Dancing Gabe: One Step at a Time. He told us how he unexpectedly found himself writing a book about a local celebrity and the many things he’s had to learn in order to see it self-published. About his book: 

“He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, institutionalized at six, and non-verbal until he was ten…. Then became one of the most recognized and adored figures in Winnipeg. This is the journey of Gabe Langlois, his mother, his family, his friends, and the many medical professionals, local media and sports figures who influenced his life.”

There were dozens of other books at our fair in the afternoon (for a short time you can still find them all listed here).

For a small taste, here’s one. Because, you know, chocolate.

Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate by Doreen choco.jpgPendgracs

A delicious chocolaty tour, introducing us to chocolatiers, chocolatemakers, cocoa growers and chocolate events around the world. My kind of tourism. 

Want to learn more about our local authors? Get in touch, or stay tuned for our next Local Author Fair in November.

Keep on reading!


“Secret” Things the Library Can Do for You (Part 1)


shh. secret - Young boy with his finger over his mouth


Ok, they aren’t really secrets, but there are some things we offer here at the library that may as well be. Often, my family and friends are surprised by something I refer to. Maybe it’s because these aren’t programs that are featured in our bi-monthly newsletter, but services that we always offer. Or maybe we have to work on tooting our own horn. So in the interest of tooting, here are some of things I wish more people knew they could get from us.  There are a ton of these, but I’m going to start by mentioning four, and save the rest for next time.


Personalized book recommendations

One thing I wish more people knew about is how much staff LOVE giving book recommendations. It’s not always a quick process, but we love searching out new books for you. Talk to your local library person and see what happens! Side note – we might consult our website or our NoveList service, which you can also access yourself with your library card. You can search for books by appealing terms like “character-driven,” and “suspenseful”.


We’re not quiet

ottomancomedy jpgI’m always amused when people assume the library is still a quiet place. I suppose it can be sometimes. But we also host groups socializing, friends meeting up, kids running around and climbing on our animal ottomans and lots of programming in our public areas, like Folk Fest (for adults and kids), Library Out Loud, Comedy Fest, storytelling and more.


A spot just for you

All of our 20 locations have comfy armchairs for lounging and tables to work at. We have desks with plugs nearby for laptops and other gadgets. Some areas of the library are busier and noisier and welcome groups. Other sections tend to be quieter. Staff can tell you which are which. Millennium, Louis Riel, Henderson, and Sir William Stephenson Libraries all have Tutorial rooms that are great for small groups, and a large dedicated quiet study room. Check here for more information about booking a room. And of course our much-photographed sunny terrace.


Bonus tip: You can now tour all of Millennium Library streetview-style! Check out all the little corners you may not have had a reason to visit in person yet:


Cheap used books (and free for non-profits!)

All branches have ongoing used book sales where you can pick up A BAG OF BOOKS for $5.60. That’s right. A BAG. Some of these are withdrawn from our collection, but many were donations. All money goes toward new books for the library. So you can load up and help the library at the same time. Also, non-profits can get books for free. It’s true.


My circle drawing skills need some work!


I can’t let you go without reminding you of our worst-kept secret – we are always planning a zillion programs for you. We’re trying lots of things in the spring that we’ve never done before!

More secrets to come! Or for a sneak peek, chat with your local branch and they’ll fill you in.


Keep on reading!

– Erica


I Think, Therefore I Am… An Animal?


Such a good cover!

I just finished reading The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery. I picked it up because I liked the cover. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book that way, but it worked out in this case (as it recently did with another book I tried because of the cover and enjoyed, Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator by Homer Hickam).

What I loved most about this book were the descriptions of the author’s direct interactions with the octopuses (yes octopuses, not octopi, as apparently you “can’t put a Latin ending–i–on a word derived from Greek, such as octopus”) at the New England Aquarium. I had never before heard an account of this type of intense and physical hand-to-sucker experience before.

Twisting, gelatinous, her arms boil up from the water, reaching for mine. Instantly both my hands and forearms are engulfed by dozens of soft, questing suckers.

Not everyone would like this… But Athena’s suction is gentle, though insistent. It pulls me like an alien’s kiss. Her melon-size head bobs to the surface, and her left eye–octopuses have a dominant eye, as people have dominant hands–swivels in its socket to meet mine. Her black pupil is a fat hyphen in a pearly glove. Its expression reminds me of the look in the eyes of paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses: serene, all-knowing, heavy with wisdom stretching back beyond time.

“She’s looking right at you,” Scott says (page 4-5).

In The Soul of an Octopus, Montgomery speculates on what it might be like to be an octopus, asking are they aware of themselves and the world around them? Is their intelligence in any way similar to ours? Do they possess what could be called a consciousness? In her quest for answers she becomes intimately familiar with several octopuses (Athena, Octavia, Kali and Karma) and shares in the stages of their lives at the aquarium.

I was also struck by two things that Montgomery mentions. One is the long-standing taboo within the scientific community on even asking such questions about animals. This taboo was powerful enough to have long prevented the exalted Jane Goodall from publishing some of her observations of chimpanzee behaviour (such as purposely deceiving one another), due to the fear that she wouldn’t be believed, or would be accused of projecting human emotion onto her study subjects. Apparently, this prejudice remains, and “is particularly strong against fish and invertebrates” (page 11). Much of the book deals with other animals in the aquarium and the unexpected behaviour staff, volunteers and visitors see them exhibiting.

The second comment was a mention of The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness of which I had never heard. This 2012 document was released by “a prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational neuroscientists” and it states:

[T]he weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.

Quite the statement! If you like you can read the full text.

This reminded me of another remarkable animal I had heard about at an event here at Millennium Library.

tucoBack in September, Canadian poet and author Brian Brett came to visit as part of Thin Air: The Winnipeg International Writers Festival. Back then I had gathered for a display other books related to his newest (and much celebrated) book, Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and a Scattershot World. I was surprised to discover quite a number of other books on remarkable parrots. I’d always heard parrots were smart, but I hadn’t realized they’d been so studied, documented, and loved. Most of Brian’s talk here focussed on the astounding behaviour of his parrot Tuco and how he became convinced that parrots were so intelligent that they really shouldn’t be treated as “pets” at all.

dogsIt seems every month there’s another story, study or incident that indicates one animal or another is smarter than we previously thought. Sometimes it’s elephants, sometimes chimpanzees or dolphins. Dogs, cats, or rats. Octopuses or parrots. The library is a great place to discover more about this. You could try Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation by Marc Bekoff; Animal Minds: Beyond Cognition to Consciousness by Donald Griffin; or The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, which is the title of a book and movie, both of which are fabulous.


Another great cover!

So here’s to learning something new. Or if you feel like fiction, you could try the book I mentioned at the beginning, Carrying Albert Home since it now occurs to me that it also fits with this topic in a way: the eponymous Albert himself is an amazing (albeit fictional) animal – an alligator that smiles (see the cover picture), loves his human “mom”, and rolls on its back for belly rubs.

Either way, enjoy your reading!


Writing Someone Else’s Characters and Other Controversies

sequelBook sequels, like film adaptations, can be troublesome things for the people who love the original work. They often incite passion, so if you’re not ready to be disagreed with, you’d best be advised not to bring them up. It’s a subject that should be added to the list of those you should not mention if you want a peaceful get-together – politics, religion, and book sequels.


Clearly disagreeing about a sequel.

We are currently in the midst of the release of two particularly controversial sequels. The first is the new Lisbeth Salander thriller, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Though all of author Stieg Larsson’s colossally popular Millennium series books were published after his death, this is the first to be written after his death by fellow Swede David Lagercrantz.

spiderThe publisher and Larsson’s estate both gave their blessing, saying Lagercrantz is “uniquely qualified” to carry on the series that Larsson would have continued had he not died so young and suddenly. “He knows what he’s talking about, about the police or the intelligence units in the Swedish government, how they work.” But Larsson’s de facto widow of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson, is less than thrilled as they never married, and she has no legal say. Gabrielsson says that “I wouldn’t have continued Stieg’s work. It was his language, his unique narrative… The worst thing is how saddened Stieg would have been. He never let anyone work on his literary texts. He would have been furious.”

I didn’t know this all this until a colleague told me about it the other day. I did know that many (many, MANY) people are excited about another Salander and Blomkvist adventure. Many agencies reported The Girl in the Spider’s Web passed 200,000 sales in a single week. In library land, we can see that demand is huge in our own way – as of this moment there are almost 300 people on the waiting list (and we’ve ordered 51 copies!).

watchman I was more aware of the other controversy this summer, which surrounds Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Written before To Kill a Mockingbird, but depicting an adult Jean-Louise, there’s some question as to what prompted Lee to suddenly okay its publication after not doing so for decades. But Mockingbird is, I will venture to say, one of the most beloved novels out there (I may be biased – it’s one of my all-time favourites). So no amount of rain could dampen the parade of those wanting more of Scout and Atticus. Reviews of the book have not been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe give it a read, and let me know what you think…

A small sampling of other sequels that triggered hullabaloo include:

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. This title is a sequel to The Shining, written 39 years after.

fight club 2Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk. A graphic novel sequel to Fight Club.

Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean. This sequel to Peter Pan was the winner of a competition by the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, to which J.M. Barrie had willed the rights to his works.

Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley, Rhett Butler’s People by Donald McCaig and, most recently, Ruth’s Journey by Donald McCaig. All sequels to Gone with the Wind authorized by Margaret Mitchell’s estate, though Mitchell herself had not wanted to write a sequel.

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer. A whole new installment in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy “trilogy” by Douglas Adams.

Dracula The Un-Dead by Dacre Stoker. Sequel to Dracula written by Bram Stoker’s grandnephew.

There are, of course, many others. Do you have a favourite controversial sequel,  or one that you feel fell far short of the mark? What do you think, in general, of an author carrying on the work of another? Let us know in the comments!

Erica @ WPL