Tag Archives: summer reading

Summer Reading Challenge!

summerreading

Display at Millennium Library

While the libraries are all set with their TD Summer Reading program for the kiddies, we also have a challenge for the adults. At all Winnipeg Public Library branches you will find the Summer Reading Challenge, a large Bingo-type card with 24 themes to expand your reading horizons. Once you’ve read a book or listened to an audiobook from one of the themes listed, fill out a card and have your selection posted on or by your branch’s card. Let’s see which branch can fill up their card, and let’s see how many books from the different themes you can read during the summer. If you need help finding a book to read from any of the themes listed just ask a library staff member for suggestions, we are more than happy to help you with your summer reading challenge. To start you off I’ve included some reading suggestions for a few of the themes listed below.

Chosen by Cover

hypnotist  The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Though the age-old saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be applied to many occasions, it doesn’t always ring true. I am often attracted or intrigued by a book solely based on its cover, this is for good reason as plenty of work goes into cover design to attract a prospective reader. For many months I had seen this book returned over the counter and every time I saw the cover I would get chills. The story itself is no less chilling. A family is gruesomely murdered and with the only witness, their son, unable to remember the events inspector Joona Linna enlists the help of Dr. Erik Maria Bark, an expert in hypnotism to try and unlock the boy’s memories of that night. This novel marks the first in the series featuring Inspector Joona Linna, and true to Swedish mystery form it is dark, suspenseful and has fascinating characters. Alternate themes: Book in Translation, Book in a Series, Set in a country you’ve never visited, Mystery.

Science Fiction

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

This is an unconventional science fiction novel in that it is also a mystery/thriller featuring a serial killer. A serial killer during the Great Depression discovers a House that takes him to another time period where he finds his “Shining Girls”. He believes he will never be caught as after the murders he escapes back to his own time, but one of his victims survives and is keen on finding him and stopping him before he kills again. If you like your books with a bit of time travel, a serial killer and a strong female character, this book is for you. Alternate themes: Takes place more than 50 years ago, Mystery.

Collection of Short Stories

strange Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Depending on your typical reading genre, this book may fall under a couple themes (many of these suggestions could), it is a collection of short horror stories by Joe Hill, an author who, though he is the son of Stephen King, has been making a name for himself in the horror genre. In this collection Hill has written four short novels each as unique as the one before, though all written in a way that ratchets up the terror and horror as each page is turned. My personal favourite of the stories was the final one, Rain about an apocalyptic event where instead of water falling when it rains, it is a downpour of nails. Where does one find cover when nails are raining from the sky? Read the book and find out. Alternate themes: Title outside your comfort zone.

Book From Your Childhood

Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I read this French classic in french when I was in school and loved it then, I read it recently and loved it even more. This short book takes place on earth with a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert and there he encounters the little prince who asks him to draw a sheep. At first the pilot has difficulty until he decides to draw a box and tells the prince that the sheep is in the box. The little prince is delighted, much to the pilot’s surprise and recounts his life on asteroid B-612, his travels from different planets and his encounters with those on each planet. The message related in this book is accessible to children and imperative to adults. Though children will love this book and understand the little prince, it is us adults who will truly come away from this book with a new appreciation of seeing life through a child’s eyes and grasping what is truly important. Alternate themes: Book in translation, book that involves travel.

Audiobook

lincoln Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Not only is the novel the winner of the Man Booker Prize, the audiobook is also an Audie Award Winner for Audiobook of the Year, and it is no wonder. Lead by a full star-studded cast including the voice talents of Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Don Cheadle, Kat Dennings, Bill Hader, Keegan-Michael Key, Susan Sarandon and Rainn Wilson to name a few, and George Saunders himself, Lincoln in the Bardo takes place during the Civil War in a graveyard where then president Abraham Lincoln has just laid his son to rest. A fascinating setting for a unique book.

Winnipeg Author

You have plenty of books to choose from that are by a Winnipeg author, just check out the winners and nominees from the Manitoba Book Awards. This year’s list includes our very own Writer-in-Residence Jennifer Still who won the Landsdowne Poetry Award for her book Comma. The library also carries the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction winner The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan, and though there are a few requests on this book, click on the link to Award Winners on the catalogue home page and select Manitoba/Local Awards for a list of past winners that may be more likely of being available to borrow, and they’re just as good!

Best of luck to you all in completing the challenge, and happy reading!

-Aileen

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

This film was released the summer of 1975 and helped coin the term, “summer blockbuster.” After seeing the film people were afraid to go swimming, and they couldn’t get enough of it. What film am I referring to? Well I’m sure if I played you the titular score that won John Williams an Oscar you would know.

The film is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley. I’m certain many of you have seen the film, whether it was when it first came out in theatres (I was not yet born, however I did ask my father his thoughts on the movie when it first came out and he said he jumped many times in the theatre), or on Blu-Ray/DVD/Streaming or however you watch your movies. I remember the first time I saw the film; it was our last day at the cottage. I really was too young to have watched it, because when we went for our last swing, I was terrified that a shark would come up from the murky depths and eat me. (Never mind the fact that we were at a lake that could not possibly hold sharks.) Since then in the back of my overactive mind I always thought, “What if?” Of course someone decided to make a movie of sharks surviving in freshwater lakes so clearly I wasn’t the only one with that fear. I am proud to say that I have since swam with sharks a few times (they were small sharks of course and didn’t really come near me), and I am well aware that being bitten by a shark is extremely unlikely as they would much rather not be around humans. However, I still get excited hearing about monster movies and shark movies coming out, and this summer we have two big ones, both of which I am excited to see.

The first is The Meg which looks incredibly cool, hilarious, and full of jump scares. The film asks the question, “Could the Carcharodon megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive…and on the hunt?” (IMDB) Does a giant 70-foot prehistoric shark attacking boats sound like your cup of tea? Check out the trailer if you’re not certain, they make excellent use of the classic song Beyond the Sea.

The second big “monster” movie coming out is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Jurassic World and part of the Jurassic Park series, which was based on the books by the late Michael Crichton. This film looks like a fun romp at the movies, with some new dinosaurs, more evil scientists and Jeff Goldblum back to reprise his role as mathematician Ian Malcolm who still believes that “life finds a way”.

In honour of these summer monster blockbusters coming out I thought I would include a few shark/monster books that will whet your appetite and give you something you can really sink your teeth into, if you get my drift.

jaws Jaws by Peter Benchley

Benchley’s first book ever to be published turned out to be a huge hit, and had a young Steven Spielberg behind the camera directing the movie. Sink your teeth into the novel the film was based on, and experience the suspense and horror in a whole new format. A perfect beach read, and perfect for those visiting Amity Island. We also have the film Jaws in our collection to borrow should you like to revisit this scary movie or experience it for the first time.

 

jurassic park Jurassic Park and The Lost World Michael Crichton

A wealthy businessman wants to create the most amazing theme-park filled with dinosaurs cloned by scientists, and tests this theme-park out on his grandchildren and paleontologist Alan Grant. Giant dinosaurs created in a lab around humans, what could go wrong? The sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World, continues where the first book left off six years later with more dinosaurs and everyone’s favourite mathematician. These books are both exciting, filled with suspense and asks ethical questions, some of which have come up recently with talk of de-extinction, a topic which Britt Wray explores thoroughly in her novel Rise of the Necrofauna: A Provocative Look at the Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-extinction.

cujo Cujo Stephen King

What happens when a good-natured St. Bernard becomes infected by the rabies virus? Naturally, he becomes a menace to a small town in Maine. This suspenseful novel explores the relationship one has with man’s best friend and the heartache one experiences (and terror) if that relationship changes. Leave it to Stephen King to take a sweet, loving animal and change him into a terror.

 

hatching The Hatching series Ezekiel Boone

I know I’ve written about this series before, but I just finished the last book in the trilogy, and am just getting over my spider nightmares. These books may not be for the arachnophobes out there, but they are still an exciting read. A plague of man-eating spiders descend on the world attacking, and eating those in the way, but this is just the first wave, there are more to come and it is up to spider expert Melanie Guyer and others we meet along the way to stop them before the whole world is destroyed. These books are excellent, short and quick reads that play like an action movie, which make them perfect summer monster reads.

river River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

This book is a bit of an odd duck, it is a novella nominated for the 2017 Nebula Award, set in an alternate history of the United States during the 1890s. In this alternate history feral hippos have roamed unchecked in the Mississippi River. They were originally brought over by the government to eat the invasive water hyacinth and would then become food to the humans, however now they have become wild and it is up to Winslow Houndstooth and his crew to corral them. We all know that hippos are fast and with their powerful jaws can snap someone in half, so to hunt one would be extremely dangerous, and Winslow has many to hunt. Part western, part horror, part action/adventure, this novella is the perfect summer read, and as a bonus includes wild and feral hippos.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

Summer Spooktacle

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

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

 The Curse of the Wendigo by Nick Yancey

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

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

Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire

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

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

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

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

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Killer mermaids and ghost ships, anyone?

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

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

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

Gravity Falls by Alex Hirsch

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

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

Supernatural

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

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

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

Happy reading,

Megan

Summer Reads

Every year my uncle would take his kids (my cousins) on a family camping trip. He had a demanding job and these two weeks off were extra special to him. He would kick back, relax, spend some time with his family, and read. My  cousin remembers that every summer, for as long as she can remember, for all of her childhood, her Dad would be working on the SAME BOOK. Every year he would bring along his copy of Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War, and every summer he would read maybe 10 pages of it, and then it would go back on his shelf for the long cold winter. The next year, he would have forgotten what he read, so he’d start again and only get the first 10 pages read. This cycle repeated for 20 years.

I guess the moral of this story is: DON’T BE MY UNCLE. I encourage you to look over this list of popular books that are either coming out this summer or have recently been published, and pick something that interests you. Who knows? You might even get to page 11.

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken

Al Franken, who was best known as a comedian with regular appearances on Saturday Night Live, won a United States Senate seat in 2008 and was re-elected in 2014. His latest book acts partly as a memoir and partly as an “insider’s look” at how the American Federal government works (or doesn’t).

 

Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child

If politics isn’t your thing, maybe you just want to read a story about a guy accosted by werewolves. Lincoln Child, partnered with Douglas Preston for the Agent Pendergast books, has now branched off to write a few on his own. His paranormal investigator, Jeremy Logan, travels to an isolated writer’s retreat in the Adirondacks to work on his book, but guess what? Yep, werewolves.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This book is called Norse Mythology and that’s exactly what you get. Neil Gaiman took some of the stories of Odin, Loki, and Thor and reworked them for an audience who may only know these characters through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Some early reviews were a bit negative, expressing disappointment that “it’s just a book of myths”. But that’s what it is, and well worth a look.

 

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

A lot of people decide to get married in the summer, and even more people like to read about weddings and watch them and talk about them. So in that spirit, you might enjoy Sarah Dessen’s latest, Once and for All. The main character, Louna, is a wedding planner who doesn’t believe that true love will ever happen to her. I’m not going to get all spoilery on you here, but let’s just say good things happen.

 

Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

Okay, I can hear some of you saying that, politics, werewolves, myths and wedding planners are all well and good, but how about something with a little SUBSTANCE into which we can sink our teeth? I’ve got you covered, friend. Before the Fall is a suspense novel about a tragic plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Eleven people were on board, but only two survived. The two survivors, a down on his luck painter, and a four-year old boy (who also happens to be the last surviving member of a wealthy family) form a fragile and unlikely bond as the life stories of the rest of the passengers are told through flashbacks. Poignant!

-Trevor

 

GO WILD Week 5: Voices Week

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Hunt down titles to meet the challenge of your choice, chat with staff for help, browse our displays, or check out the picks below.

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

Week 5 is Voices Week, so prepare to hear from a new point of view.

  • Challenge 13: A book written for teens
  • Challenge 14: A graphic novel
  • Challenge 15: A book on LGBTTQ* issues

*All of the picks below can be requested for pickup at your closest branch! Search and place holds with our catalog.

Staff picks for Challenge 13: A book written for teens

CRANK by Ellen Hopkins

Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp

The principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama has just finished her speech welcoming the students to a new semester, when they discover that the auditorium doors will not open. Someone starts shooting, and four teens, each with a personal reason to fear the shooter, tell the tale from separate perspectives.

TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra

Three students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet academy compete for the status of prima ballerina, each willing to sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab their way to the top.

thief.jpgTHE BOOK THIEF Markus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

In a world where mandatory cosmetic surgery is performed on everyone when they turn sixteen, Shay escapes to join a band of outsiders avoiding surgery, and Tally is forced to find her and turn her in.

Staff picks for Challenge 14: A graphic novel

THE EXILE: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon

Retells in graphic novel format the first Outlander novel from Jamie Fraser’s point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story.

beardTHE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL by Stephen Collins

The fastidious life of clean-shaven Dave is upended on a fateful day when he grows an unstoppable, impressive beard, in a darkly comic, award-winning meditation on life, death and what it means to be different.

BLACK HOLE by Charles Burns

Seattle teenagers of the 1970s are suddenly faced with a devastating, disfiguring, and incurable plague that spreads only through sexual contact.

CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? by Roz Chast

A loving celebration of the final years of the author’s aging (and quirky) parents through cartoons, family photos, and documents.

MARCH by John Lewis

A first-hand account of the author’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

HABIBI by Craig Thompson

Follows the relationship between two refugee child slaves, Dodola and Zam, who are thrown together by circumstance and who struggle to make a place for themselves in a world fueled by fear and vice.

Staff picks for Challenge 15: A book on LGBTTQ* issues

BECOMING NICOLE: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

The inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the right to be different.

missMISSISSIPPI SISSY by Kevin Sessums

A celebrity journalist chronicles his bullying behaviors throughout his Southern youth, his friendships with such figures as Eudora Welty, and the impact of journalist Frank Hain’s murder on his career.

I’M SPECIAL: AND OTHER LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Ryan O’Connell

Part-memoir, part-manifesto from a super popular web writer chronicles the coming of age story of a gay man with cerebral palsy in an all-wired, overeducated, and underemployed world.

ANNABEL by Kathleen Winter

Born a boy and a girl but raised as a boy, Wayne or “Annabel” struggles with his identity growing up in a small Canadian town and seeks freedom by moving to the city.

FUN HOME: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

An unusual memoir done in graphic novel format offers a darkly funny family portrait of her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

One night, when Clementine goes with her friend to a gay bar, she becomes captivated by Emma, a punkish girl with blue hair. This event leads Clementine to discover and explore new aspects of herself.

 

 

Only one week left to jump in. What challenges have you tried?

 

 

 

 

GO WILD Week 4: Genre Week

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Hunt down titles to meet the challenge of your choice, chat with staff for help, browse our displays, or check out the picks below.

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

Week 4 is Genre Week, so try out a new genre!

  • Challenge 10: A romance book
  • Challenge 11: A western book
  • Challenge 12: A science-fiction book

*All of the picks below can be requested for pickup at your closest branch! Search and place holds with our catalog.

Staff picks for Challenge 10: A romance book

THE WEDDING CHAPEL by Rachel Hauck

For sixty years, a wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late…

lighthouseLIGHTHOUSE BAY by Kimberley Freeman

In 1901, Isabella is the sole survivor of a shipwreck off the sun-drenched
Queensland coast. In 2011, Libby returns to her beachside hometown, where
strange noises and activity at the abandoned lighthouse rouse her curiosity.

SWEET TALK by Julie Garwood

When tough attorney Olivia MacKenzie stumbles into the middle of an FBI sting operation, she makes quite an impression on Agent Grayson Kincaid. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered.

PREY by Linda Howard

Montana wilderness guide Angie Powell wants nothing to do with ex-soldier Dare Callahan, especially as she blames him for her failing business. But she has to put her feelings aside when they are suddenly thrust together to stop an animal with a thirst for blood—of a human variety.

FOOL ME TWICE by Meredith Duran

A lady on the run, Olivia takes a position as housekeeper in the home of a notorious duke whose files might hold the key to her salvation. The only catch in her plan is the duke himself…

TRUE LOVE by Jude Deveraux

When Alix Madsen inherits a beautiful 19th century Nantucket home for one
year, she discovers the secret of what happened to her ancestor Valentina two
centuries ago. A story of the Montgomerys and Taggerts.

Staff picks for Challenge 11: A western book

HONDO by Louis L’Amour

Hondo is the epitome of a cowboy—a tough, squinty-eyed loner with an underlying gentleness—who comes upon a woman and her son struggling in hostile circumstances.

RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE by Zane Grey

The story of Jane Withersteen, a Utah rancher whose livelihood is threatened by a proposed marriage she does not want, until a lone cowboy named Lassiter comes to town. Often credited for kick-starting the Western genre.

sistersTHE SISTERS BROTHERS by Patrick deWitt

During the American Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada, Eli and Charlie Sister are hired killers on their way to San Francisco to nail their latest target.

LONESOME DOVE by Larry McMurtry

This Pulitzer Prize winner novel follows ex-Texas Rangers Gus and Call as they go on one last cattle drive.  At once a story of brotherhood and the enduring cowboy spirit, it is also pays homage to a fading frontier.

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES by Cormac McCarthy

At sixteen, John Grady Cole is the last of a long line of Texas ranchers, now cut off from the only life he has ever imagined. So with two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey.

TRUE GRIT – Charles Portis

Wilful fourteen-year-old girl, Mattie Ross, hooks up with colourful and subtly comic U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, and heads off in seek of revenge.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 12: A science-fiction book

teleTHE TELEPORTATION ACCIDENT by Ned Beauman

Egon Loeser’s romantic misfortunes push him from the experimental theatres of 1930s Berlin to the physics laboratories of LA. A humorous, and (mostly) coherent novel about sex, violence, space, and time.

THE DISPOSSESSED: An Ambiguous Utopia by Ursula Le Guin

A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from its mother planet, war-torn yet powerful Urras. Now one brilliant physicist is determined to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.

THE WINDUP GIRL by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a future where food is scarce, Anderson Lake comes into conflict with Jaidee, an official of the Environmental Ministry, and encounters Emiko, an engineered girl who has been discarded by her creator.

angelANGELMAKER by Nick Harkaway

Avoiding the lifestyle of his late gangster father by working as a clock repairman, Joe Spork fixes an unusual device that turns out to be a former secret agent’s doomsday machine and incurs the wrath of the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator.

REDSHIRTS: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

A new lab tech on the prestigious starship Intrepid starts to worry about the number of low-ranking officers dying during away missions, and other goings on.

SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson

Five thousand years after a catastrophic event sends a small surviving remnant of humanity into outer space, the progeny of those survivors–seven distinct races now three billion strong–embark on a journey into the unknown to return to Earth.

 

The 7 Books in My Beach Bag

beach bag

With a surfeit of titles but never enough time, I am on the hunt for the crème de la crème books to accompany me on my all too brief vacation at the beach.

The Guardian recently examined the term  “beach read” which connotes escapist frothy fare primarily attached to books that lack any “really weighty themes or social significance”  but rather should be “enjoyable and easy with brisk pace and simple diction.” Beach reads usually include best sellers of the James Patterson/Nora Roberts ilk which are readily found in the mass market paperback spinner at your local supermarket. Serious writers don’t usually fall into this genre but literary blogs and magazines have included many novelists of note in their 2016 “must read” summer lists.

Herewith is my curated list of the best of the best books to pack along with my sun screen and thermos of G&T.

modernlovers Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. This is the book that “everyone will be reading” and appears on almost all summer reading lists including CBCbooks.ca. Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

sweetbitterSweetbitter by Stephanie Danler.  Vogue calls it a coming of age story that follows Tass, a transplant from the middle-of-nowhere who finds work at a fancy French restaurant. The New Yorker magazine pays it homage in its “Briefly Noted” column. Danler deftly  captures the unique power of hierarchy in the restaurant world, the role of drug and alcohol abuse and the sense of borrowed grandeur that pervades the serving scene.

Barkskins Barkskins by Annie Proulx caught the attention of Publishers Weekly. Richly evocative and at times brutally stark, Proulx’s epic novel spans 300 years beginning in New France in 1693.

 

 

 

girlsclineEW’s list of “best fiction of 2016 so far” includes The Girls by Emma Cline.  The summer of 1969 comes electrically alive in Cline’s tale of an impressionable California teen drawn into a Manson-like cult—though the setting is ultimately secondary to her story’s searing emotional intelligence.

 

 

summerbeforeThe Summer before the War by Helen Simonsen. The Washington Post recommends this novel that begins in pre-World War 1 England for Anglophiles mourning the end of Downton Abbey.

 

 

 

nestThe Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney is one of Oprah-endorsed “beach reads that sizzle.” A reckless eldest brother drains the trust fund meant for himself and his three adult siblings, forcing them, with the prospect of a midlife bailout gone, to finally confront hard truths in this closely observed, charming novel.

 

 

homegoingAccording to the Huffington PostHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a “Summer 2016 Book you won’t want to miss.” Gyasi maps out the wide-reaching aftermath of the African slave trade, following two branches of a family tree — one daughter married to a British colonizer in Ghana, the other, unbeknownst to her sister, sold into slavery in America — over the course of several generations.

 

What are you reading on your vacation or, sigh, commute to work ?

Jane

 

GO WILD Challenge Week 2: AUTHOR WEEK

So we’re starting the second week of our GO WILD Summer Reading Challenge. Have YOU taken the challenge yet?

(I tried to read a horror book — HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt — but it was too creepy and I had to stop.)

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Each week we offer three ways for you to read something you might never have read before. Find all the Challenges at your favourite WPL branch (or online).  Chat with staff to find a great title for any challenge, or check out the little list of recommended reads below.

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

Week 2 is Author Week, and all the challenges have to do with the author of the book:

  • Challenge 4: A book by a Manitoba author
  • Challenge 5: A book by an Indigenous author
  • Challenge 6: A book by a first-time author

 

Staff picks for Challenge 4: A book by a Manitoba author

indexTHE HOUSE ON SUGARBUSH ROAD by Méira Cook

Tells the story of an Afrikaner family and their domestic servant Beauty Mapule set in post-apartheid Johannesburg.

BALDUR’S SONG: A Saga by David Arnason

Musically blessed Baldur is haunted by Lara—his muse and tormentor – who leads him from small town Manitoba to the boom town days of early Winnipeg.

A LARGE HARMONIUM by Sue Sorensen

English professor Janey wonders if she’s coming unraveled, as she faces a daily life of work, friends and family, and her despotic toddler Little Max.

A COMPLICATED KINDNESS by Miriam Toews

Stuck working at a chicken slaughter-house in a town run by religious fundamentalists, 16-year-old Nomi still bears witness to the dissolution of her family with a dark, sly wit.

anothercountryTHE PAST IS ANOTHER COUNTRY: 12 Stories by New Canadians

Two volumes by 24 newcomers participating in writing groups held by the Winnipeg Public Library.

HAUNTED WINNIPEG: Ghost Stories from the Heart of the Continent by Matthew Komus

Early Winnipeg was full of excitement — murders, cheating lovers and tragic accidents. Discover the city’s best known ghost stories, as well as some new ones.

DANCING GABE: One Step at a Time by Daniel Perron

The journey of Gabe Langlois, one of Winnipeg’s most recognized figures.

LAURA REEVES’ GUIDE TO USEFUL PLANTS: From Acorns to Zoom Sticks by Laura Reeves

Identifying, harvesting and preparing over 65 of Manitoba’s most intriguing wild plants and mushrooms.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 5: A book by an Indigenous Author

SANAAQ: An Inuit Novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk

The daily life of Sanaaq, her daughter Qumaq, and their small northern Quebec community facing the growing intrusion of the qallunaat (the white people).

4-1THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN by Sherman Alexie

With wrenching pain and wry humor, these 22 linked stories present contemporary life on the Spokane Indian Reservation

THE ORENDA by Joseph Boyden

The French conquest of Canada through the eyes of Huron (Wyandot) warrior Bird, his Iroquois captive Snow Falls, and Jesuit Missionary Père Christophe.

MANITOWAPOW: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

An amazing collection including historical writings, stories, poetry, nonfiction, and speeches.

BETTY: The Helen Betty Osborne Story by David Alexander Robertson

In 1971, aspiring teacher Betty was abducted and murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her story resonates loudly today.

THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN, ÂHKAMÊYIMOWAK by Priscilla Settee

jacketUFSH22F5Personal recollections by a wide spectrum of Aboriginal women tell stories of injustice, racism, genocide and sexism, but also of awakening, fierce struggles and hope.

THEY CALLED ME NUMBER ONE: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School by Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars, Chief of the Soda Creek Nation in northern B.C., describes the impact of St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School (which operated from 1891 to 1981) on herself, her mother and her grandmother.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 6: A book by a first-time author

SPEAK by Louisa Hall

Explores how the gap between computer and human (shrinking with each technological advances) echoes the one that exist between ordinary people.

SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho

Former slave Zacharias Wythe has just been appointed England’s new Sorcerer Royal – and faces a dwindling national supply of magic.

gutHOW TO MAKE WHITE PEOPLE LAUGH by Negin Farsad

An Iranian-American-Muslim female stand-up comedian asks how can we combat the racism, stereotyping, and exclusion that happen every day?

GUT: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders

What’s the connection between diet and mood? Our gut reactions are intimately connected with our physical and mental well-being.

THE STAR SIDE OF BIRD HILL by Naomi Jackson

Sent to Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them, sisters Phaedra and Dionne spend the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and specialist in the local spiritual practice of obeah.

videoTHE HOURGLASS FACTORY by Lucy Ribchester

Amid the suffragette movement in Victorian London, the disappearance of a famous trapeze artist in the middle of her act leads a young Fleet Street reporter and a police inspector into the world of a bizarre secret society.

THE LAST DAYS OF VIDEO by Jeremy Hawkins

When a Blockbuster Video opens up near a declining mom and pop video store owned by a drunk pop-culture junkie, the store’s misfit employees conduct a series of wild schemes to fight the big box invasion.

 

Have you tried something new? How did it go?

  • 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 HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS by Isabel Allende

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

WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys

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.

PASTWATCH: THE REDEMPTION OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS by Orson Scott Card

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.

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS by Amos Oz

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 YACOUBIAN BUILDING by Alaa Aswani

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

 

2-2RADIANCE OF TOMORROW by Ishmael Beah

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

 

 

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Summer is in full swing, and everyone is outside enjoying the sun (finally!) with a good book and a frosty beverage-of-choice. It’s the ideal scenario – unless, of course, the good book you’re itching to read has an extensive waiting list. Here at the library, we do our best to keep enough copies around that you never have to wait long, but every year a few new titles come out that are so hot, we just can’t keep up with the demand.

Fear not! While you wait patiently for the latest buzz book, your friendly neighbourhood librarian will gladly recommend some alternative titles to help pass the time. Come talk to us about your favourite styles and genres, settings and time periods, plots and character types. We’ll find you a book that just might become your new favourite. To get you started, here are a few recommended read-alikes for some of the most popular books this summer. Who knows? Maybe by branching out, you’ll be ahead of the curve on the Next Big Thing!

Best Seller:

Cover image for

The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins
Current Wait List: 432
Rachel, the titular girl on the train, watches a husband and wife eat breakfast on their terrace every morning as she passes them on her commute. Then the wife goes missing, and Rachel gets drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery.

Instead Try:

Nicci French Losing You

Losing You by Nicci French. A woman’s daughter goes missing, and she seems to be the only one who takes it seriously. Similar aspects: psychological suspense; set in London, England; compelling writing style; missing persons.

 

 

Or:

Tim O'Brien: In the Lake of the Woods

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien. A marriage built on mutual deception suffers when the wife mysteriously disappears. Similar aspects: psychological suspense; fast-paced; secrets; marriages under stress; missing persons.

 

 

Best Seller:

Cover image of

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Current Wait List: 250
This lyrical, haunting tale follows two teenagers on opposite sides of World War II until their paths inevitably collide, showing us the innate goodness that can reside in people despite the depravities of war.

Instead Try:

Julie Otsuka: The Buddha in the AtticThe Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. Six Japanese mail-order brides share their story of struggling to not just survive, but find their place in early 20th century San Francisco. Similar aspects: Literary historical fiction; moving; Second World War; spare, lyrical writing style.

 

Or:

Adam Foulds: In The Wolf's Mouth

In the Wolf’s Mouth by Adam Foulds. Three soldiers, with different backgrounds and different goals, do their best to navigate the last days of the war in North Africa and Sicily. Similar aspects: Literary historical fiction; stylistically complex; atmospheric and dramatic; Second World War; relationships between men and women.

Best Seller:

Cover image for

My Secret Sister: Twins Separated at Birth, One Sister Abused, One Loved: A Powerful True Story by Helen Edwards & Jenny Lee Smith
Current wait list: 223
Helen and Jenny, twins separated at birth, tell the story of how they grew up under very different circumstances before finding each other and uncovering a lifetime of secrets.

Instead Try:

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein
Author Elyse searches for her biological mother and discovers that she has an identical twin, also adopted. What’s more, both were part of a secret study on separated twins. Similar aspects: Autobiography; adoption; separated twins; sisters.

Or:

The Thirteenth Child by Elizabeth Jeffrey
Set in 1890s England, this is a fictional account of separated twin sisters, one raised in abusive poverty, the other in a loving and supportive family. Similar aspects: Separated twins; sisters; abusive environments; set in England.

Best Seller:

Cover image of

Paper Towns by John Green
Current wait list: 132
A Florida teen nearing graduation has his humdrum life turned upside down by a quirky friend who then mysteriously disappears.

Instead Try:

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. 12-year-old Mila uses her talent for picking up unspoken cues to help her father search for his missing best friend. Similar aspects: Coming-of-age story; missing persons; observant characters; novels for young adults.

 

Or:

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. A teenage girl moves to a new school in her senior year, where she struggles with her emotions and befriends a quiet boy with a troubled background. Similar aspects: Realistic, coming-of-age story; rich dialogue; high school seniors; impactful friendships; cross-gender teenage friendships; novels for young adults.

 

Image of a sad dog. Image courtesy of Flickr user pinoyed under Creative Commons 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/pinoyed/5009440499

Sometimes, if the world is really unfair, you don’t even get a waitlist to help you count down. For the long-suffering diehards still waiting for George R. R. Martin to finish The Winds of Winter (and who are brave enough to tackle a new epic fantasy), try …

The Iron King by Maurice Druon. This first in a seven-book epic about the 100 Years’ War fictionalizes real stories of war, betrayal, and family drama to rival those of the Seven Kingdoms. Similar aspects: Epic; political intrigue; knights; medieval kingdoms.

The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr. An alternate history set in medieval times in which a lone soldier must defend a fortress against threats from both within and without. Similar aspects: Epic; dramatic and suspenseful; intricately plotted; political corruption; knights and soldiers; medieval kingdoms.

–Lauren