Tag Archives: summer reading

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

Summer is a time for mystery

The mystery book columnist for the Globe and Mail, Margaret Cannon, recently said, “Nothing goes better with warm, sunny, summer days than gory, urban mystery novels.”  If you agree with that fine sentiment you may like some of these new or seems-like-new mysteries, perfect for reading at the lake or mosquito-free sun room, for when your regular work can wait:

Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnGone-Girl-Gillian-Flynn

This 2012 mystery thriller, to be released as a movie this October, is the one I’m tackling the first part of the summer. Recently married Nick and Amy, having both lost their jobs in the literary world in New York, move back to his hometown in Missouri to start a new life. Cracks in their relationship are revealed before she goes missing one unassuming day, after which their worlds go completely topsy-turvy. Because the story is told from both his and her points of view – and they are not the same – readers have the freedom to make interesting observations that are only implied in the text. Please don’t tell me how it ends!

silkworm

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Cormoran Strike is a likeable misfit of a London private detective created by J.K. Rowling, I mean ‘Robert Galbraith’, her pseudonym. ‘His’ first novel The Cuckoo’s Calling was quite the page-turner so I’m looking forward to the second. Strike, by the way, lives with several strikes against him, including few clients, a large debt, no home due to a break-up, and he has lost a leg in the Afghan war.

“When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days–as he has done before–and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives–meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced. When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before… A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn….” (Goodreads)

p.txtThe Son by Jo Nesbo

“A serial killer is at work in Oslo, and a maverick cop with his share of personal demons is on his trail. But beneath that surface, there is a complex psychological thriller churning its way into the reader’s nightmares. Sonny Lofthus is in prison for crimes he didn’t commit but for which he has agreed to take the fall in exchange for an unending supply of heroin. The drugs are Sonny’s way of dealing with the knowledge that his father, an apparent suicide, was a dirty cop. As the novel begins, however, Sonny has new information about his father’s death and has engineered a daring escape from prison. His revenge-fueled plan is to kill those responsible for the crimes he was convicted of by re-creating the murders with the real killers now the victims. A terrific thriller but also a tragic, very moving story of intertwined characters swerving desperately to avoid the dead ends in their paths.” (Discover)

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Body Count by Barbara Nadel

“Any bloody death will lead Inspectors Ikmen and Skuleyman out onto the dark streets of Istanbul. On 21 January, a half-decapitated corpse in the poor multicultural district of Tarlabasi poses a particularly frustrating and gruesome mystery. But as the months pass and the violence increases, it turns into a hunt for that rare phenomenon in the golden city on the Bosphorus: a serial killer. Desperate to uncover the killer’s twisted logic as the body count rises, Ikmen and Skuleyman find only more questions. How are the victims connected? What is the significance of the number 21? And how many people must die before they find the answers?” (Discover)

death of a nightingaleDeath of a Nightingale by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnet Friis

Protecting the young daughter of an illegal immigrant who has escaped police custody in the aftermath of a brutal murder, Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg struggles with a belief in the woman’s innocence as she learns about her violent past. (publisher)

18775152Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

“In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the perp; and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy. Mr. Mercedes is Stephen’s first ‘hard-boiled detective tale.’ It will transport you into a vibrant and dangerous world filled with gritty characters living on the bleeding edge of reason. Be prepared.” (GoodReads) 

 The Farm by Tom Rob Smithindex-1.aspx

“Caught between his parents, and unsure of who to believe or trust, Daniel becomes his mother’s unwilling judge and jury as she tells him an urgent tale of secrets, of lies, of a crime and a conspiracy that implicates his own father.” (publisher)

imageloaderVertigo 42 by Martha Grimes

“At Vertigo 42, a bar high above London’s financial district, Richard Jury meets Tom Williamson – a friend of a friend who is convinced his wife, Tess, was murdered 17 years ago. Tess’s death was ruled accidental – a fall caused by vertigo – but Jury agrees to re-examine the case. A young girl’s fatal fall at a children’s party 22 years ago at Tom and Tess’s home may be connected. After an elegantly dressed woman falls from a tower near a pub that Jury and his cronies frequent, and her estranged husband is later found dead, Jury begins to suspect that the now grown ‘children’ from Tess’s ill-fated party are the key to solving these interwoven mysteries.” (publisher)

Enjoy your reading this summer.

– Lyle

When Nature Calls


Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.

Dave Barry

It’s that time of year again. Summertime, when nature calls. The lure of the great outdoors is almost irresistible, and it tends to bring out the inner adventurer in a lot of us. For some people, that means heading to the cabin or to parts unknown. Some prefer a trailer, others a tent. Then there are those hardy few who march into the wilderness with only a knife and some matches. Me, I reach for my handy list of books. Here are a few of my choices when staying home is more than half the fun.

  Going to the lake is as much a part of summer as sunscreen for some lucky people. Cabins and cottages provide the comforts of home with all the advantages of being away. Life at the cottage moves at a different pace, providing us with memories that keep us going through the long winters. When it comes to writing about life at the lake, nobody does it better than Charles Gordon.

   For those who get restless staying in the same place for more than a day or so, there’s always that perennial favourite – the road trip. Whether you’re hauling a trailer or setting up a tent, Canada is filled with places to discover and explore. Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw is the book to read when you want to find out more about our home and native land. Will Ferguson provides all of fun of being on the road, without all of the hassles. See Canada from coast to coast, top to bottom, tiny towns to colossal cities,  Will’s been there and done that, and he’ll make your sides ache with laughter as he tells his tales.

  Staying closer to home doesn’t mean that you’ll be giving up the chance to explore some of the best nature has to offer. Manitoba Wild: Scenic Secrets of Manitoba and Manitoba Picnic Perfect will you take you to stunning spots that are so close to home you won’t believe that you’ve never been there before.

  While I am most definitely not an outdoorsperson, as you’ve probably already guessed from the quotation at the top of this blog, I really admire/wonder at people who have the drive and the skills to survive in the wild. I like to think that by having read these books  that I, too, am prepared for anything Mother Nature can throw at me.

For example, you never know when you’ll encounter a herd of stampeding elephants in the Whiteshell…

The Ultimate Worst-Case Scenario Handbook

or the living dead in the Interlake…

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

  For those rainy day when you can’t get outside, or if you’re stuck in the city, books can provide the perfect getaway. Reading one of Jake MacDonald’s books is the next best thing to being there. Or in some cases, even better than actually being there, since his books don’t have any mosquitoes and it’s far less likely that you’ll come face to face with a very large wild animal. You can’t go wrong with anything he’s written, but for what it’s worth my favourites are Houseboat Chronicles: Notes from a Life in Shield Country and Grizzlyville: Adventures in Bear Country.

   Ah, yes, summertime and the great outdoors. There’s nothing like it. Where will you go when nature calls? I know where I’ll be heading – to the hammock in my backyard, book in hand.

Lori

20 minutes aaaaand Go!

Summer funHere at Winnipeg Public Library Youth Services we’ve been getting ready for summer for some time and for good reason:  it’s our busiest, most program-filled time of the year.  Our goal is to provide you and your family with quality programs and services that are full of learning opportunities and – of course – lots of fun!

But it’s MORE than just fun and games
Our summer programming for children and families has some serious purpose behind it, though.  Just Google “summer learning loss” and you’ll see what I’m getting at.  The learning backslide that can take place over July and August can really eat into all the progress to be made come the fall (one study noted that teachers can spend between 4 and 6 weeks re-teaching material).  And, of course, it’s no surprise that summer learning loss is even more of an issue for families that don’t have ready access to a wide range of high-interest reading material for their children.  This fact sheet,  produced by Scholastic, talks a bit about the consequences of income gaps but also clues you in to some great, research-based “good news” about preventing summer learning loss (Hint:  having a ton of great reading material around the house and letting children pick what they like goes a long way to getting – and staying – school-ready.)

Brother and sister reading together

Here’s where we come in!  Year-round, Winnipeg Public Library provides you access to thousands of titles to make reading an enjoyable – and totally affordable – habit for children and families.

Remember we offer both both print and eBook  formats. For eBook options you’ll definitely want to check out all our Tumblebook products, along with BookFlix and Disney Online eBooks – all available to you streaming and free with your Library card.

Beyond our collections we layer on a wide-range of programs for children of all ages and, in the summer,  an amazing reading incentive program:  the TD Summer Reading Club.  (Here’s the link to the national program’s website, with great art by illustrator Matt James.)

A daily habit

This year we’re running our TD Summer Reading Club (theme: Go!  so get ready for travel and adventure-inspired programming!) just a bit differently.  Instead of tracking the number of books that children read (or that families read together) we’re encouraging participants to track 20 minutes of reading a day.  This change reflects the growing consensus that many of the benefits that come from being a strong reader are based more on the activity being part of a regular routine (versus how many titles a child may be able to complete in a given time).

Our goal is to help you make your children life-long readers and we think encouraging this kind of consistency through programs like the TD Summer Reading Club does just that.  If you’re looking for ideas for ways to get going with 20-minutes-a-day, this tip sheet may help.  (And be sure to check out this neat infographic on why not to skip that 20 minutes!)

So what are you waiting for?

We launch our Summer Reading program this Saturday, June 22nd at the Millennium Library.  Join us at 10:30 a.m. in the Children’s Services area for a celebration featuring members of the Goldeyes, mascot Goldie and the zany musical talents of Mr. Mark the One Man Band! (Note: the last time Mr. Mark was on stage with Goldeyes players at the library, the players all ended up with buckets on their heads, getting played like human drums. It should be a good show!).  Be among the first in the city to get your free Summer Reading kit complete with an activity booklet, stickers, a fun passport, bookmarks and – most important of all – your reading tracking calendar (track all those 20-minute days for chances to win all kinds of great prizes).

Stay tuned to winnipeg.ca/library to check in with our @ the Library newsletter when it hits our homepage later this week.  It will have the full listings of all our programming options for you and your family.  In the meantime, our Summer Reading page with links is up and running – have a look here.

Happy reading – see you at the Library this summer!

Monique

Imagine: TD Summer Reading Program 2012

This summer, thousands of children from across the city participated in Winnipeg Public Library’s TD Summer Reading Club. The theme for 2012 was Imagine, which led to all kinds of monster mayhem and fantastical fun. Whether it was making their own dragons, or learning how to defend themselves against gryphons, hydras, and minotaurs, kids of all ages had a blast using their imagination at the library this summer!

In addition to the amazing magic of Ryan Price, and the lively musical adventures of Aaron Burnett and Jake Chenier, a highlight of the summer was the annual visit from Goldeyes baseball players who read stories and shared with kids the fun and importance of reading. The Goldeyes also celebrated Library Night at the Ballpark on August 8th with plenty of fanfare, including a visit from Goldie the mascot who showed off his over-sized library card with great pride.

Kids experience learning losses when they don’t engage in educational activities during the summer – especially when it comes to reading. But the good news is that parents and kids can do something to stop the “brain drain.”  The biggest way to continue learning is to keep reading over the summer. And the best way to encourage reading is to join TD Summer Reading Club! So if your kids didn’t get a chance to join in on the fun this year, be sure to drop into the library next summer. You’ll be glad you did!

To get a sneak peak at all of the fun we had during this year’s TD Summer Reading Club, check out this awesome slideshow that features pics from a handful of our branches!

– Lindsay, Lyle