Tag Archives: time to read

It’s Time to Read: Slaughterhouse-Five

Dear Readers, when I was in high school and bored to tears reading The Stone Angel I did what many teenagers did, I turned to the internet.  But, being the weird child that I was, I did something that maybe not a lot of my peers were doing online:  looking up the curriculums for other English classes in other countries.  Because in my mind, at the time, there had to be something better on offer than Margaret Laurence.

It was during this hunt that I first discovered Slaughterhouse-Five (This month’s Time to Read podcast book club selection).  A novel whose title I recognized from my mother’s expansive bookshelf, but it was the internet that told me Slaughterhouse-Five was a popular choice among U.S. high school curriculum.  And I quickly grew envious as descriptions of the novel spoke of time travel and aliens, topics that spoke more to my teenage heart than a reflection on life in a small prairie town. 

I wish I could say I was blown away by Slaughterhouse-Five.  But, honestly, I don’t remember too much about it other than it being just weird, dark, and funny enough for me to try other Kurt Vonnegut novels.  Novels like God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater or Cat’s Cradle with which I fell in love.

But, I am excited to read Slaughterhouse-Five, having learned since my teenage years that sometimes it takes time, experience, and context to fully appreciate an author and their work.  A lesson learned, in part, with my experience with Margaret Laurence, whom I wrote off in high school but came to appreciate years later when I discovered The Diviners.

But those are just thoughts going into this.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on Slaughterhouse-Five or Kurt Vonnegut.  Let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, or by writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

And don’t forget to check out this month’s episode in which we discuss the burning question:  Why doesn’t “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” have a question mark in its title?  Available now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Time to Read: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Dear Readers, one of my favourite things about book clubs is the chance to read something you probably wouldn’t otherwise pick up. That’s why I’m excited to join you in reading this month’s Time to Read podcast selection: Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.

From what I can tell, the book is a whimsical account of Bernadette, an architect and agoraphobe who, you guessed it, goes missing. It then falls to her 15-year-old daughter Bee to figure out where her mother went and why.

On my own, I probably wouldn’t read this book; not because it doesn’t sound appealing, but because there are just so many other books to read that Where’d You Go Bernadette wouldn’t make the cut. But now that I am reading it, do I ever have some questions!

  • Usually, a 15-year-old protagonist is a dead giveaway that a book is for teens.  Why is this book aimed at adults?
  • When something is very popular it makes me very curious to know why.  What makes this book so compelling that it spent one year on the New York Times Bestseller List?
  • The book is creative in that it uses emails, memos, and transcripts to tell the story. Will this be an effective story telling strategy?
  • Most importantly, why is there no question mark at the end of the title?

But those are just my questions going into this.  Do you have questions or comments of your own?  Be sure to let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, or by writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

And don’t forget to check out this month’s episode in which we have a weighty discussion about The Changeling by Victor LaValleAvailable now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: All Systems Red

Dear Readers, would you believe I’m worried? I’m worried about whether or not I can sell you all on a sci-fi novella in which the main protagonist is called Murderbot. Oh, and did I mention the cover looks straight out of the video game Halo?

Not that I’m against sci-fi, novella’s, or things named Murderbot (as long as they’re not murderbotting me). I’m not even against Halo—though, truth be, I’ve always been more into PlayStation than Xbox.

I’m worried because my formative years were spent in a particular space (Northern rural Manitoba) and a particular time (The 90s) and the resulting space-time was not particularly kind to nerd culture. In this space-time one read sci-fi in dark corners of the library, lest one be seen; and anything that ended in the suffix ‘ella’ was seen as pretentious. Recommending a sci-fi novella was not something done with abandon.

But here we are, nearing the end of the twenty-teens, and nerd culture is all the rage. Fantasy is cool. Science Fiction is cool. Keanu Reeves is cool. So, by all logic, this month’s Time to Read selection: Martha Wells’ Hugo and Nebula award winning novella All Systems Red should be cool!

Do you agree? Do you disagree? At only 152 pages, it would be almost painless to find out. And once you do, be sure to let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, or by writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

And to ease you into hardcore science fiction, be sure to check out this month’s Time to Read episode in which we discuss the urban fantasy Trickster Drift with special guest host Jordan Wheeler. Available now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: Trickster Drift

Dear Readers, we are about to embark on new territory for Time to Read—a sequel. This month we will be reading Trickster Drift by Eden Robinson, sequel to Son of a Trickster which we read way back in episode 7.

Sequels are always an interesting undertaking. They often come with high expectations set by the original and the stigma that ‘sequels’ are never as good as the original.

They are also a great opportunity to reconnect with your favourite characters. Without giving too much of Son of a Trickster away, I’m wondering how Jared is doing now that he’s found magic in his life. Will Jared’s relationship with his mom, Maggie, be any different from last time around? And what nerdy endeavours is Crashpad up to these days?

It was also fun to go back and listen to the Son of a Trickster podcast episode and remember we had our very first podcast special guest: Information Services librarian Monique! Fitting then, that we will also have a special guest on this episode: author and former WPL writer-in-residence Jordan Wheeler.

And of course we’d like to hear your thoughts on Trickster Drift. Let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, or by writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

Don’t forget to check out the latest (and very special) episode of the Time to Read podcast which features author Margaret Sweatman as we discuss her novel Fox. Available now!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read : Poetry

Dear Readers, did you know that April is National Poetry Month?  To celebrate, Time to Read is exploring all of poetry. Too broad? Well, we’ll just explore as much of poetry as we can in an hour. But as usual, we want your help. We’d like for you to share your favorite poems with us—and of course tell us why they’re your favorite. You can let us know on our Time to Read Facebook group, our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, or by writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca.

And, if you need a good place start, or are just curious what the Time to Read team will be reading during National Poetry Month we’ve each selected one poem in one book by one poet that we’d like to spotlight. And, in the tradition of recent social media trends, I’m going to share one stanza from each of our poems with no explanation—that is until the podcast!

Erica’s choice:

“Verse For a Certain Dog” from Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker

Such glorious faith as fills your limpid eyes,
Dear little friend of mine, I never knew.
All-innocent are you, and yet all-wise.
(For Heaven’s sake, stop worrying that shoe!)
You look about, and all you see is fair;
This mighty globe was made for you alone.
Of all the thunderous ages, you’re the heir.
(Get off the pillow with that dirty bone!)

Trevor’s choice:

“Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost


He gives his harness bells a shake  
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.

Kirsten’s choice:

“riverstory” from River Woman by Katherena Vermette

I wait
to hear the stories of the river
sit at the edge
scoop up the silence
my fingers tangle
in the long dark hair
there is always long dark hair
that is where our spirits linger
left behind to wander the waves

Alan’s choice:

“I’m Not All Knowing But…” from Come On In! New Poems by Charles Bukowski

the best poems
it seems to me
are written out of
an ultimate
need.
and once the poem is
written,
the only need
after that
is to write
another.

One last thing: if you weren’t able to make it to our live podcast event (or if you just want to re-live the memories) the recording of “But I don’t Wanna Grow Up! Favourite Childhood books” is available today!  I don’t want to spoil too much but, Elizabeth from The Paper Bag Princess won our first ever book battle.

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Hair-raising Podcasts

This year I made an amazing discovery. I tried my first podcast, which, naturally, was Winnipeg Public Library’s Time to Read. Through this discovery I realized what all the excitement and fuss about podcasts was about. I can now say that I am a faithful listener to the Time to Read podcast, though I haven’t always read the books discussed, as the easy banter between hosts is excellent and I always learn a few new things every time I listen. After realizing how amazing podcasts are I decided to further explore this sensation that has been around for a while (and which people have been talking about for years, I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake). As I have mentioned many times before in my blog posts, I am a lover of horror novels and certain horror movies, some are too scary for me to watch, as my sister can attest,* books are okay though. I get goose-bumps, I sometimes am disgusted, but usually, usually, I’m okay sleeping with the lights off after devouring a horror novel. Yet I digress. So I am a fan of horror novels, I bus to work every day, and I am unfortunately prone to car sickness if I attempt to read on a moving vehicle. My solution? Audiobooks or, handy, dandy podcast episodes which are just like audiobooks and offer often short, quick hits that help pass the time on my commute to work. Both are easy enough to download to your phone, MP3 player (I think those still exist?) or iPod and listen to offline throughout the day. The library offers a wonderful selection of eAudiobooks through Overdrive and RBDigital, simply download the app and you can listen to them offline, and best of all, no late fees!

So, for this blog post I will showcase a few horror/thriller podcasts that might be of interest as well as offer some further reading recommendations should you really enjoy these podcasts. And, if you have not done so already, check out our Time to Read podcast, you can even see our wonderful librarians host a live recording at the Goodwill Social Club on Tuesday, March 26 from 7:30-9:00PM where they will be discussing favourite childhood books! (adults only)

Lore

lore This podcast features real-life scary stories taken from the history books. For all the history buffs out there or true crime fans, this would be an excellent podcast for you, if you like a little bit of unease or creepiness alongside those genres. In the creator’s own words: “Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.” If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. One of the episodes I listened to discussed the “re-animation” of a corpse, and naturally mentioned Mary Shelley, her husband Percy, and how his study of re-animating a body with electricity brought about her idea for Frankenstein. With this podcast there is no need to listen to the episodes in order, each is a stand-alone. Want more Lore? Creator Aaron Mahnke has written a book, Wicked Mortals which includes illustrations and further information of some of the creatures and people discussed in the podcast.

Alice Isn’t Dead

alice This podcast thriller/mystery story follows a trucker who is searching for her partner, Alice, whom she is certain is not dead (hence the title!). Through strange towns, meeting serial killers and witnessing devastating events where Alice seems to always show up, we follow her on her search for answers. This podcast has an excellent voice actor, some great sound effects that truly bring you into the story and fills you with suspense. Unlike the others on this list, this podcast must be listened to in order to follow the development of the story and to help unravel some of the mysteries. This podcast is part of Night Vale Presents, which also produces another podcast series on this list. Alice Isn’t Dead is also available as a book, which is described as a complete re-imagining of the podcast, and written by creator Joseph Fink.

Nightmare Magazine

kelley These podcasts are fictional short stories written by a variety of writers, including some well-known authors such as Carrie Vaughn, Christopher Golden, Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry and Kelley Armstrong. With such an A-List of authors as well as some fantastic up-and-comers, many of these episodes are top-notch, some of course may be better than others, or more your cup of tea than others, if that’s the case, simply skip to the next episode as each is a stand-alone. With a variety of narrators you will be sure to find a story that will give you the chills and make your heart race. If you like the stories from this podcast, as many are by well-known authors, simply search our catalogue for further books in their repertoire, we have plenty to keep you reading long into the night.

Welcome to Night Vale

night vale This excellently written and acted podcast takes place in a radio broadcast centre in, you guessed it, a small town called Night Vale. Though characters do reappear in different episodes, it is not required to listen to them in a particular order and, if you’re not enjoying a story, simply skip to the next one. Let me allow the creators to describe this podcast in their own words: “[Welcome to Night Vale] is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures and unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.” Want to read more Night Vale and delve deeper into the mysteries? Creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have published a couple books about the legends discussed in their podcast titled It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel.

Knifepoint Horror

This podcast doesn’t have as many stories as some of the others mentioned here, only a few are released every year, but the stories themselves are truly frightening and bone-chilling. Each episode is narrated by a single person, explaining the event from their point-of-view to offer a creepy first-hand account of a range of different supernatural stories. The stories here are top-notch horror and range in length from just a few minutes to over an hour, which makes for a perfect listening experience on your commute, you can time it to end perfectly! If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone many of these stories follow similar tropes.

Happy Listening!

-Aileen

 * As a bit of an anecdote, when the first Insidious movie came out in theatres my sister mentioned that she thought it was funny, so I went to watch it with her. It was NOT funny, and I proceeded to sleep with the lights on for many nights afterwards and shied away from even watching trailers of the sequels. What are older sisters for if not to terrify their younger siblings? ;)

It’s Time To Read: But I Don’t Wanna Grow Up! (Special Live Episode)

“There’s real drama in performing live. You never know how it’s going to be.”

Kevin Costner

Welcome, dear readers. Or maybe I should say “Dear LISTENERS”?

Have you ever wondered what goes into making an episode of our library bookclub podcast, “Time To Read”? Now’s your chance to find out (and have some fun at the same time!) It’s also one of the only times I think I could use a Kevin Costner quotation to start things off, so it’s already a success.

To celebrate our one year anniversary, we cordially invite you to The Good Will Social Club (625 Portage Ave) on Tuesday March 26, 2019 to help us record a LIVE EPISODE of “Time to Read”. We plan to get underway at 7:30 pm.

Never listened to an episode? NOT A PROBLEM. Our theme for the Live Episode is “But I don’t wanna grow up!” and we will be discussing our favourite books as kids. No homework required!

And you know what? We’ve heard from some listeners that they enjoy the book discussion even HAVING NOT READ the featured book each month, and many have been inspired to read the book after they’ve listened to a particular episode. (Assuming you don’t mind hearing possible spoilers. WE MAKE NO APOLOGIES!)

In any case, it isn’t a spoiler to say that we are super excited (and a little bit scared!) to record our upcoming live episode. We have a few surprises up our sleeves, including some music from funlife, featuring WPL’s own Brittany Thiessen.

We hope you can make it! It would be less fun if you weren’t there.

In the meantime, why don’t you give a listen to our most recent episode where we discuss Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake? And then tell us in person what you think!

-Trevor and the rest of the “Time to Read” gang.

march26

 

 

It’s Time to Read: The Namesake

The reader should realize himself that it could not have happened otherwise, and that to give him any other name was quite out of the question

                —Nikolai Gogol, “The Overcoat” & epigraph of “The Namesake”

 

Dear Readers,  if you listen to Time to Read regularly you’ll know that I love thinking about names and titles and what they mean. So it is fitting, one could say that it could not have happened otherwise, that this month we will be reading The Namesake by Jumpa Lahiri.

In The Namesake, a couple emigrate from Calcutta to America, eschew cultural tradition and name their firstborn child Gogol after the Russian author of the same name.

 

Do you need to know your Gogol to read The Namesake?  No.  But I bet it will be more interesting if you do.  I’ve been reading The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil and have found it surprisingly accessible.  I’ve found the collection at different times both dark and funny, and Gogol plays with story structure in surprising ways.  But if you only have time for one of Gogol’s short stories I recommend The Overcoat from which the above epigraph is pulled (and if you have time for two I highly recommend The Portrait.)

Please let us know if you have any thoughts about Gogol or The Namesake by going to our website wpl-podcast.winnipeg.ca, writing to us at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or leaving a comment on our Time to Read Facebook group.

Also, don’t forget to check out the new episode which drops today.  It features Alexa and Sappfyre who joined from BlackSpaceWPG to discuss Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.  A great way to kick off Black History Month!

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: Washington Black

Welcome to the New Year, dear readers! Since the Time to Read podcast book club began early in 2018 it has been an incredible experience to come together as a community, read books, and engage in conversations.  To everyone who listened and everyone who wrote in:  you have our most heartfelt thanks and know you are a friend of the show.

But as we all know, the New Year isn’t just a time for reflection, it is also time to look forward; so, speaking of friends and speaking of coming together, I’m excited to announce the novel we will be reading in January comes in collaboration with Black Space Winnipeg. The novel is the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.

Not only did our friends at Black Space Winnipeg collaborate with us to choose this month’s title, they will also sit down with us to record the episode. We look forward to the forthcoming discussion as we follow the eponymous Washington Black as he escapes slavery and faces the challenges of freedom in a world where slavery still exists.  We also hope that you, dear readers, will contribute to the conversation by commenting on our website, via email, or on our new Facebook group. Keep an eye out for discussion questions in the coming weeks and be sure to download the episode when it releases on February 1, 2019 to see if your comments made it onto the air.

And of course, our latest episode in which we discuss Beartown by Fredrik Backman is available to download today! Spoiler: we loved the book, but tune in to find out if we love hockey.

~Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

It’s Time to Read: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Welcome, dear readers!  Happy first Friday of the month.  In the past, we’ve celebrated the all-important first Friday of the month by letting you know the latest episode of Time to Read was available to download.  We thought this was a pretty good way to spend your weekend. We were wrong.

What we should have been doing, and what we promise to do from now on, is to tell you what book we’re reading now.  Why? So you have Time to Read it of course!  And then you can let us know what you think. And when we record the next episode we can let you know what we think of what you think. We think that’s pretty neat.

reid For the month of November we’ll be reading I’m Thinking of Ending Things.  A Novel. By novelist Iain Reid.  I don’t know much about it … yet.  But I have it on good authority that it’s good.  Whose authority you might ask? An author I really admire, Heather O’Neill of Lullabies for Little Criminals fame calls it “Addictive.”  Charlie Kaufman of Charlie Kaufman fame is apparently turning it into a television series.  I can only hope he brings on Donald Kaufman to help him out.

But what I’d really like to know, dear readers, is what you think of it.  Did it keep you up at night? Because it was too scary? Or, maybe you couldn’t put it down?  Let us know by email at wpl-podcast@winnipeg.ca or leave a comment on our website.

And don’t forget to check out our latest episode, in which we discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Available now.

-Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team