Tag Archives: what to read next

Beyond Anne’s Diary

Diary Young GirlI have a vivid memory of being in my local library as a kid and picking up The Diary of a Young Girl (also known as The Diary of Anne Frank). My Mom said to me: “I’m not sure if you should read that. It’s very sad!” She thought it best to shield me from the heartbreak of Anne’s story for just a little bit longer. Fast-forward about 15 years and I was asked to be one of the tour guides for the travelling exhibit currently at Millennium Library – Anne Frank: A History for Today. At this point, I had seen the play multiple times and even visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, but I still hadn’t done the diary justice.

So, I just recently read the famed book and of course my Mom was right, it is a heartbreaking story! Most people know what happened to Anne, her family, and the six million other Jewish people the Nazis systematically murdered (not to mention the other groups Hitler persecuted based on ethnicity, ability, sexuality, etc.). It’s a devastating piece of history, but when reading the diary there are moments where you somehow forget how the story ends. Anne’s writing is eloquent and you can’t help but be sucked in by the unexpected humour, glimpses of teenage romance, and Anne’s perpetual charm.

As Anne’s diary is a cultural phenomenon, I was not entirely surprised to find a variety of other books about her life. The following titles take the diary in new directions and cross into different genres. No matter what your age, there is a version of Anne’s story for you. Each of these books can be found at the Winnipeg Public Library, but be sure to keep searching as this is just a fraction of our collection on Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and World War II.

 

Anne Frank MullerAnne Frank: The Biography

In this first biography of Anne Frank, Melissa Müller’s thorough research creates a compelling portrait of Anne’s life. Originally printed in 1998, this book contains interviews with family and friends, as well as previously unpublished letters and documents. A new edition of this biography was released in 2014, full of even more information that has since emerged. These documents, along with the Frank’s family tree and an epilogue by one of the family’s helpers, Miep Gies, shine light on this incredible girl.

 

Anne Frank House BioThe Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography

This biography in graphic novel form is an illustrated account of Anne’s life. New York Times bestselling authors, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, seamlessly work Anne’s story into the history of World War II and the Holocaust. The book contains a concise chronology of events in the history of the Frank family – an extremely helpful tool for any reader.

 

Anne Frank Hudson-GoffAnne Frank

This graphic novel by Elizabeth Hudson-Goff focuses on both sides of the attic – life before going into hiding and a glimpse at what her final days in a concentration camp may have looked like. A quick read that can easily be finished in one sitting, illustrations bring a new dimension to this famous story of survival.

 

Anne Frank Poems AgosinDear Anne Frank: Poems

A poetry collection that is a tribute to Anne’s life. In most pieces, Marjorie Agosín holds a conversation with Anne, addressing her courage and curiosity. Poetry, and the dialogue Agosín creates, brings Anne’s narrative to life in a unique way.

 

 

Anne Frank PooleAnne Frank

A beautifully illustrated picture book that relays Anne’s story – from birth to death – to a younger audience. By explaining how the Franks end up in hiding, Josephine Poole provides an introduction to the Holocaust for children that is easy to understand. The story ends on a positive note, with Otto, Anne’s father, receiving her diary after the war. The diary ensures that the rest of the Frank family will live on after their senseless deaths.

 

Anne Frank WorldAnne Frank in the World, 1929-1945

This book is a history in pictures published by the Anne Frank House. While the focus is primarily on the Holocaust, the book is framed by Anne’s story. By continually returning to photos of the Franks, the reader is reminded that the victims of the Holocaust are not just a statistic but are real people.

 

“ANNE FRANK: A HISTORY FOR TODAY” Exhibit and Tours

 

Anne Frank Exhibit

The travelling exhibit has come all the way from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam! It officially launched on Monday, July 11, at the Millennium Library, where it will run until September 3rd. We encourage everyone to spend some time looking at the beautifully crafted panels.

There are also a number of guided tours available, in English or French, that you can register for by calling 204-986-6489. Each tour will begin in the Carol Shields Auditorium (second floor) and will last up to 90 minutes. Those who want to book group tours for more than 10 people can register by calling 204-986-6458.

  • Stephanie
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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

 

 

 

 

No Place for a Lady

School’s out and summer is in full swing. Some of you will be planning a trip to the lake, or perhaps to someplace even farther away. Others, like me, will be settling in for a staycation full of day trips to the beach and all the great summer festivals Winnipeg has to offer. Those of us who aren’t quite so lucky with our travel plans this year can still read about the adventures of those who’ve travelled far and wide. Popular travel memoirs, like Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Tracks by Robyn Davidson, tell the stories of women setting out alone in challenging environments. But many women of past eras also found a unique freedom on their own in unfamiliar places. Personally, I enjoy reading about other people’s explorations while relaxing on a patio with a cold drink!

Tracks and Wild

In her beautifully illustrated books No Place for a Lady: Tales of Adventurous Women Travelers and Dreaming of East: Western Women and the Exotic Allure of the Orient, Barbara Hodgson tells the stories of several women who defied the restrictive Victorian social conventions to become adventurers and explorers in their own right.

No Place Lady and Dreaming East

The Nomad: The Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt is the fascinating journal of Isabelle Eberhardt, a 19th century Swiss writer who travelled widely in north Africa and through the Sahara desert. She scandalized her peers when she started dressing in men’s clothing and converted to Islam.

Englishwoman Isabella Bird wrote many memoirs of her time in America, Korea, Tibet, China, and elsewhere. Her stay in Japan is chronicled in her book Unbeaten Tracks in Japan.

Nomad and Unbeaten Tracks

In 1889, reporter Nellie Bly began a race around the world. Travelling in the opposite direction was another journalist, Elizabeth Bisland, sponsored by a rival newspaper. Eighty Days by Matthew Goodman tells of their competition to circle the globe faster than the character in Jules Verne’s novel.

Freya Stark began her extensive travels in the Middle East after World War I. She wrote more than two dozen books about her experiences. The first, The Valleys of the Assassins and other Persian Travels, describes her journeys through western Iran.

Eighty Days Valley Assassins

So if you’re stuck in the city this summer, pick up a good book and let one these interesting ladies show you the world!

  • Melanie

 

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

 

 

Books to Movies: The Rest of 2016

One of my hobbies is discovering quality movies that have been adapted from good novels. As you already know, the book and the movie are invariably different creatures; they can never be the same in every way. They may contain roughly the same story, but be told in different styles with quite different meanings! Both can be interesting and potentially great in their own way; often, just one is. I remember loving John Steinbeck’s awesome epic tale East of Eden and then being terribly disappointed afterwards in the James Dean movie based on the book. (Now there is talk of a remake.)

Often, if you’ve read the book first you probably want to see the movie based on it. I do. Or if you enjoyed the movie, you might like to read the book if you have the time. I find the fun part debating with friends about how the book and the movie are different or the same, and learning something about art and life in the process.

So what do we have to look forward to in the books adapted for film category for the 2nd half of 2016? The links below are to books in our collection that are soon to be released as movies. The summary (taken from imdb.com, usually) tells you more about movie and the release date lets you know when you can expect to see it in theatres. My favourites on this list are The Girl on the Train, Queen of Katwe, and Silence. What are yours?

 

TheBFG
The BFG by Roald Dahl (July 1)

“Directed by Steven Spielberg, the upcoming fantasy adventure flick tells the story of Sophie, who encounters the Big Friendly Giant. Despite his intimidating appearance, the BFG turns out to be a kind-hearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because he, unlike his peers, refuses to eat boys and girls. Mark Rylance stars as the BFG, while Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie. Bill Hader, Penelope Winton, Rebecca Hall, and Jermaine Clement also co-star.”

LightBetweenOceans
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (September 2)

“A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. Directed by Derek Cianfrance. Stars Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, and Rachel Weisz.”


QueenKatweQueen of Katwe by Tim Crothers (September 23)

“The film, inspired by Tim Crother’s book of the same name, chronicles the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan teen chess prodigy who becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her performances at World Chess Olympiads. Directed by Tim Crothers. Stars David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, and Charity Rose Pimer.”

PeregrinesChildren
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs (September 30)

“When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepens as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers. Directed by Tim Burton. Stars Eva Green, Ella Purnell, and Kim Dickens.”


GirlTrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (October 7)

“The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson’s post-divorce. Every day, she takes the train into work in London, and every day the train passes by her old house. The house she lived in with her husband, who still lives there, with his new wife and child. As she attempts to not focus on her pain, she starts watching a couple who live a few houses down – Megan and Scott Hipwell. She creates a wonderful dream life for them in her head, about how they are a perfect happy family. And then one day, as the train passes, she sees something shocking, filling her with rage. The next day, she wakes up with a horrible hangover, various wounds and bruises, and no memory of the night before. Directed by Tate Taylor. Stars Laura Prepon, Emily Blunt, and Rebecca Ferguson.”

MonsterCalls
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness (October 14)

“Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Patrick Ness, the movie will follow the story of Conor, a young boy who is struggling to cope with his mother’s terminal illness and is repeatedly visited in the middle of the night by a monster who tells stories. Directed by J.A. Bayona. Stars Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, and Sigourney Weaver.”

Inferno
Inferno by Dan Brown (October 28)

“When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot. Directed by Ron Howard. Stars Tom Hanks, Ben Foster, and Felicity Jones.”

FantasticBeasts


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J.K. Rowling (November 18)

“The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. Directed by David Yates. Stars Ezra Miller, Eddie Redmayne, and Colin Farrell.”

SilenceSilence by Shusaku Endo (December 22)

“In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity. Directed by Martin Scorsese. Stars Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, and Andrew Garfield.”

 

These last two don’t have release dates yet, but there’s a good chance they’ll be out before the end of the year.

LostCityZ
The Lost City of Z by David Grann (late 2016)

“In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Directed by James Gray. Stars Tom Holland, Charlie Hunnam, and Robert Pattinson.”


TheCircleThe Circle by Dave Eggers (late 2016)

“College graduate Mae Holland joins a powerful Internet company at the beginning of its descent. The timely novel grapples with technology, the future of the industry, and whether tech companies have too much power. Directed by James Ponsoldt. Stars Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, and Karen Gillan.”

Enjoy!

  • Lyle

Unleash the Kraken!

We all do it. Us book lovers.  But who would have thought it could be so dangerous?  We come across a book: be it the recommendation of a friend, a mention on a podcast, a gripping title, maybe even through a blog post.

“Ahhh, yes,” we say. “I’d like to read this book, but not right this second, I’ve already got three on the go.” So what do we do? We put it on a list. A little innocuous scrap of paper we tuck into our wallet.

And this list grows. And grows. And grows some more.  Every once in a while we’ll try to cross a book off the list, but when we do we find three more have taken its place!  Then one day, when we’re out for dinner, we pull out our wallet in a vain attempt to find our credit card a hundred little innocuous scraps of paper fly out like confetti. Our friend exclaims, rather loudly, for this isn’t the first time this has happened:  “Gee, maybe you should think about getting rid of some of those old receipts!”

We try to explain that these aren’t receipts. These are guideposts, reminders of our interests that we haven’t yet had time to pursue. But it’s too late; our friend is busy paying our bill, again.  So we fall to our knees, partially out of shame, partially to collect those little innocuous bits of paper.  It’s at this point we know we’ve created monster and as we hear the whir of our friend’s credit card receipt print out we realize this monster is not dissimilar to the ancient Greek Hydra with its ever expanding collection of heads.  This in turn reminds us we should probably brush up on our mythology, so we jump up and snatch the receipt out of the machine and quickly scrawl The Iliad on the back. The glare on our friends face as we shove the receipt into our wallet suggests that this particular piece of paper may not in fact be so innocuous.

And if you’re wondering about me, here is a (small) sample of the innocuous pieces of paper in my wallet:

hourThe Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
I have a friend who reads a lot a lot. When pressed for a favourite book she can’t choose just one, but hands down her favourite author is Wally Lamb.  So when I asked her where to start she sighed, “Really anywhere, but The Hour I First Believed is great.” I’m not convinced she didn’t just say the first title that popped into her head, but I’ll believe his entire body of work is worth reading.

Remainder by Tom McCarthy
I have no memory of why I added this book to my list, which is ironic because apparently the main character receives a substantial sum of money and, unsure what else to do with it, attempts to recreate half-remembered events from his life.

roboRobopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
I want to read this book based on the title alone. Robots are cool and I love apocalyptic literature.  It is also written by an actual robotics expert!  This book also seems more pertinent now than when I added it to my list as autonomous robots come ever closer to being a part of society’s day-to-day life.

The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winnipeg Campaigns by Sasha Issenberg
As the slow burn toward the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election continues I find myself more and more fascinated by the inner workings of the U.S. political system. The Victory Lab takes a look at how big-data can help to predict who an electorate will vote for and how politicians are using this information to aid their campaigns.

sellDo Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt For The World’s Rarest 78 RPM Records by Amanda Petrusich
I’m pretty sure I found out about this book on a podcast. While I have no particular interest in 78s (they were a little before my time) I find reading about people who have passions that border on obsession fascinating.

 

If you would like to share any of your innocuous pieces of paper, please do so!

Alan

Books about Libraries and Librarians!

“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” – Saul Bellow

Libraries and librarians seem, in some circles, to be under siege. Labour troubles at Toronto’s public libraries almost led to a strike this week, not to mention the dozens of libraries that have been slated for closure in Newfoundland due to budget cuts. And yet libraries and librarians are still nearly universally supported. How do I know? I continue to be amazed at how each day thousands stream into our Winnipeg public libraries to find their next good read, to research that nagging question about their genealogy or home renovation project, or bring their kids to story time. In addition, if we look at our shelves, virtual or in person, writers are still writing and publishers are still publishing excellent books about their cherished libraries and the interesting, skilled people who serve within them. Take a look at these selected works, all of which you can borrow from WPL:

 

icequeen The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

The Ice Queen is the tale of a librarian in a small town whose wishes come true, but not always for the best. When the unnamed narrator is 8 years old and her brother, Ned, 12, their mother leaves the children alone one night, ostensibly to celebrate her birthday with friends. The narrator wishes her mother would disappear – and she dies that night, her car crashing on an icy road. Years later, Ned becomes a meteorologist and moves from New Jersey to Florida, while his sister goes to library school, still feeling the guilt and self-loathing brought on by her wish the night her mother died.”

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” – Neil Gaiman

 

Niffenegger_TTW_mech.inddThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, have known each other since Clare was 6 and Henry was 36, married when Clare 23 and Henry 31. Impossible but true. Because Henry unintentionally jumps in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity, past and future. His experience can be harrowing or amusing.” (Goodreads)

“I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.” – Harold Kushner

 

1379961People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks

“In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding – an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair – she begins to unlock the book’s mysteries.” (Goodreads)

 

mediumThe World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

“A funny and uplifting story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old when he first began exhibiting symptoms. When he was twenty and had reached his towering height of 6’7”, his tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh tried countless remedies, with dismal results. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission using increasingly elaborate feats of strength. What started as a hobby became an entire way of life—and an effective way of managing his disorder. Today, Josh is a librarian at Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of five-year-old Max. Funny and offbeat, The World’s Strongest Librarian traces this unlikely hero as he attempts to overcome his disability, find love, and create a life worth living.”

“If we encounter a person of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

index.aspxLiving With Books by Alan Powers

“Some people never have more than a shelf or two of books. Others are more committed: they hoard books, rearrange them, and seldom get rid of any. Living with Books, aimed at the latter group, addresses the challenges and joys of a home masquerading as a library, from storage to display to the use of books as structural elements and furniture.Each chapter covers a different room and the special way that books can exist in or enhance that space. Obvious areas such as dens and offices are covered, along with more daring places such as hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms. Special features include a closer look at the care and display of decorative books, decorative papers, and bookplates, and a final chapter on custom-building bookshelves to suit every home.” (Goodreads)

“No two persons ever read the same book.” – Edmund Wilson
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The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier

“Here, for the first time, architectural photographer Guillaume de Laubier takes the reader on a privileged tour of twenty-three of the world’s most historic libraries, representing twelve countries and ranging from the great national monuments to scholarly, religious, and private libraries: the baroque splendor of the Institut de France in Paris; the Renaissance treasure-trove of the Riccardiana Library in Florence; the majestic Royal Monastery in El Escorial, Spain; the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Bodleian Library; and the New York Public Library, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece.”

 

1527318.jpg In the Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians by Michael Cart

“Libraries, with their miles and miles of books are, for writers and readers alike, the magical portal to new worlds-the source of terrors, delights, and pleasures aplenty. Here, in one volume, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has assembled a fascinating collection of twentieth century short fiction about libraries and librarians: from such classics as Borges’s ‘The Library of Babel’ and Isaac Babel’s ‘The Public Library,’ to such contemporary gems as John Cheever’s ‘Trouble of Marcie Flint’ and Lorrie Moore’s ‘Community Life.’ Love, lunacy, obsession, and the joy of reading come together in a collection that readers, booksellers, and librarians would agree is long overdue.”

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” – Neil Gaiman

 

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The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

“In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?”

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” – Ray Bradbury

 

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“The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where ‘the most interesting things happen at night.'” (Goodreads)

“The most important asset of any library goes home at night – the library staff.”
– Timothy Healy

  • Lyle

New beginnings

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story – Terry Pratchett

               A first is a beginning, the start of something remarkable.  A first is an achievement that opens you to a world full of new possibilities that you not been considered before.  Every now and then, I come across a new author and story that takes me by surprise. The way the characters are portrayed, the situation they are in or simply the use of language sucks me into a world that I am incapable of leaving. So, I decided that I would mark some of my personal favorite tales by debut authors, if only to point out that a new perspective can tempt our mind into new possibilities.

GhostThe concept of an arranged marriage is an old one, a practise that is still used to this day. In most cases, the couple do not meet until the wedding and the very notion of love is not even considered. Yangsze Cho however takes this notion one step further in her tale of the Ghost Bride. Li Lan is the daughter of a wealthy family that has fallen on hard times. Her prospects are few, until the Lim family selects Li to become the bride to their recently departed son, a practise known as becoming a ghost bride. While a very rare practise, ghost brides are often used to appease spirits who haunt the living. This arrangement will guarantee Li’s future (and relieve the family of nightly hauntings), yet at a high cost. Once inside the Lim’s mansion, Li is haunted by her new “husband” and pulled into the afterlife, a parallel world where customs and lifestyles are no different than our own world, except here they have a sinister undertone. The only way to be free from what could very well be her own death is to discover not only the Lim family secret, but her own family’s past. I must say, I was completely sucked into this book. The Chinese practise of burning paper money and goods to send to relations comes alive with descriptions of the other world, where everyday life mirrors our own right down to a house, servants, money and food. Every comfort is given, but only to those who can afford it. This insight not only into the mythology, but cultural practises of the Chinese was truly beautiful and haunting. I hope that there will be a sequel in the near future.

TsarFrom the Far East, it’s time to start moving to the West. Jennifer Laam’s Secret Daughter of the Tsar, is another tale that takes place out of time and space. Yet rather than being trapped, Veronica, Lena and Charlotte are connected but both fate and circumstance which pulls them through an interconnected web that influences the future as much as the past. Veronica is a modern day historian who searches for new insight into the Romanov’s and their fate. When she encounters a man claiming to be a living descendant of the Romanov’s, Veronica’s investigation may well lead to ghosts of her own past. Lena lives a life that is unnoticed as a servant within the Imperial household. Until one day, Lena’s path crosses with a desperate queen willing to do anything to ensure that she will conceive a son. But the treachery of the court is nowhere near as fierce as that of Charlotte trying to survive World War II in occupied Paris. Charlotte is determined to escape the city along with her son, only to realise that they are being pursued by a man obsessed with the Romanov legacy. As each woman digs into her own history, they become united by not only their struggles, but by the secret they all carry. The intertwining narratives left me curious and frustrated at the same time, as each piece of the puzzle is dangled tantalizingly slowly by the author. All the pieces are there, yet it is not until the very end that the picture is complete.

JulietApparently I have a theme of ghosts and the past haunting the living running through this blog. Then again, time has a way of not only affecting the present, but the future as well. Travelling a bit further west, we head to Sienna, Italy, in Anne Fortier’s Juliet. Julie’s life has just been rocked to its foundation with the death of her aunt. Facing an uncertain future, an inheritance in the form of a key to a safety deposit box in Sienna takes Julie on a quest of self-discovery. Sienna is filled with beauty and culture. Yet, Julie soon discovers that the history of Sienna is closely tied with her own family in the form of her ancestor Giulietta, who fell in love with Romeo, creating a legendary love that was one of the inspirations for Shakespeare’s tale. Cutting across time, with flashbacks to the past couple and Julie’s current mystery predicament, the question that remains is how much of the past will take hold of the future? Similar to the Secret Daughter of the Tsar, there is a fair amount of interweaving of time between medieval and modern Sienna, yet the story does not lose any vibrancy in using this technique. The characters are caught between their ancestors’ war that has led to their current dilemmas and the only way to break this family curse may be to rewrite the ending of Romeo and Juliet. Personally, I prefer Fortier’s second novel, The Lost Sisterhood, a little better since there is more of a drive to solve the puzzle then Juliet has. However this does not detract from Fortier’s excellent ability to pull the reader into another world and remind the reader that the past will always impact the future.

People often say that there is nothing original anymore in the world; merely remakes and reiterations of past concepts in new forms. Just because the idea may not be original, it does not discount the author’s ability to transport its readers to new places where new ideas spring forth. When we read a romance, we expect the lead characters to fall in the love at the end; a mystery will have the murder solved before the kettle has boiled. There is reassurance in knowing that the ending will be as you expect it to. But what makes a novel, novel as it were, is the journey which the author takes us on.

-Katherine

What’s New in the Local History Room

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It’s time to take a look at the exciting new arrivals in the Local History Room collection.  First, a new display about the history of Winnipeg transit is available for viewing, thanks to collaboration with the City of Winnipeg Archives, City of Winnipeg Transit Department, and Manitoba Transit Heritage; which have all contributed photos and artefacts.  Come by and have a look.  We also have books about the history of Winnipeg Transit for you to enjoy.

Cover image for On the frontier : letters from the Canadian West in the 1880sOn the frontier : letters from the Canadian West in the 1880s is an updated edition of William Wallace’s collected correspondence with his family in England during the early period of the West’s settlement.  This kind of literature where history is seen through everyday personal observations is a pleasure to read as it provides insights about the ordinary struggles and experiences of 19th century prairie life.  For a newly arrived settlers in the Canadian West, the geography (just getting to your new homestead is not a simple task when you do it by ox car) and the weather (freezing winters, thunderstorms, and prairie fires only added to the challenges of the hard work necessary to survive) were always on the mind as they worked to make build a home in their adopted country.

Cover image for Law, life, and government at Red River. Volume 1, Settlement and governance, 1812-1872Law, life, and government at Red River. Volume 1, Dale Gibson is an original take on the history of the Red River settlement and its diverse population that focuses on the evolution of its governmental and legal system.  Up until the Red River Resistance and Manitoba’s entry into Confederation, the colony was run by the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), which struggled at times to create legal institutions that could fairly serve justice to the diverse people that worked and settled in the vast territory it controlled.  The result was a unique form of government that struggled to govern the colony up to 1870, gradually adapting to represent the First Nations and Metis peoples and the different groups of settlers that gradually came.  In addition to giving a good portrait of ordinary life, its challenges and complexity, the book covers an extensive list of legal cases that the nascent court had to deal with, including accusations of corruption, treason and infanticide.

Relics of interest : selections from the Hudson’s Bay Company Museum Collection is a publication from the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature that highlights treasured artefacts from the HBC collection with the aid of beautiful photographs and detailed descriptions that provide historical context.  These include an ivory statue of the SS Baychimo, Inuit art, tools, and a rifle from the company and even an Halkett boat: an early example of an inflatable boat made around 1850.  A brief historic of the HBC and its evolution up to the 20th century is helpfully included.

“If you grew up in Transcona between the 1950s and 1980s you likely will know the name Edna Perry”.  Thus was dedicated a street in honour of the person whose autobiography: Prairie girl’s life : the story of The Reverend Edna Lenora Perry has just arrived on our shelves.  Edna grew up during the Great Depression in rural Manitoba, her parents both coming from well-off families but now were largely penniless.  Starting out as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, she fell in love with a British soldier stationed in Canada and followed him to war-torn Britain.  Returning to Manitoba in 1947, she became a school principal and then one of the first female Anglican ministers in 1981.  This is a simple and tender tale of local a woman who touched many lives and has been justly recognized for it.

Fire Eater Cover

Another good example of  local history is Memoir of a Smoke Eater, by veteran firefighter Renald Laurencelle. Laurencelle tells of his personal experiences, sometimes terrifying, other times funny, during his 31-year career in the St. Boniface Fire Department. Laurencelle joined Number 2 Fire Hall in 1966 and learned the ropes while coping with tragic situations where fatalities occurred, witnessed famous fires like the one that consumed the St. Boniface Cathedral, and forged life-long friendships with his fellow smoke eaters.  The book is not only a valuable piece of personal history, but an homage to a generation of firefighters who had to face tough situations without many of the technological innovations that are now part of present-day firefighting.

Winnipeg has a celebrated musical history with many local household names, but readers now have the opportunity to discover a lesser-known but no less authentic era of our musical scene.  Musician and author Sheldon Birnie has recently released Missing like teeth : an oral history of Winnipeg underground rock 1990-2001, which tells the story of this decade in Winnipeg’s (as well as Brandon’s) underground musical scene, especially its punk rock wave.  The author paints a vivid picture of the gritty and innovative time, centered in barrooms and basements of community centres, through a series of interviews with local artists (including members of bands like Kittens, Propagandhi, and the Weakerthans) who helped shape a new genre, some who grew in popularity from modest basement gigs to become well-known bands.

If you would like to meet the author in person, Sheldon Birnie and members of the University of Winnipeg’s Oral History Centre will share how oral history can be used to capture stories and characters like those found in his book.  The program is entitled Oral History and the Arts: Documenting the Winnipeg Underground Rock Scene and will be held in the Carol Shields Auditorium at Millennium Library on Thursday June 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Louis-Philippe

First Rule of Book Club

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Books are something social – a writer speaking to a reader – so I think making the reading of a book the center of a social event, the meeting of a book club, is a brilliant idea. – Yann Martel

People have gathered in groups to talk about books for hundreds of years. The invention of the printing press meant that books could be mass produced, instead of being written out individually by hand, so more books were available, which inevitably led to people talking about what they had read. Technological innovations impacted book clubs once again with the arrival of the internet, which allowed readers from all over the world to share their thoughts about what they had read. And, of course, there was Oprah’s book club, with a membership in the millions.

The book club experience means different things to different people. For some, it’s an opportunity to read something they would never have picked up on their own. For others, it’s the chance to delve more deeply into a book by sharing their thoughts and opinions, or by listening to other people’s insights and ideas. And in some cases, there’s the added bonus of snacks and beverages.

No matter what your reasons are for joining a book club, the Winnipeg Public Library  has something for you. We carry a wide range of book club kits to be checked out, for adults, teens and kids. These kits contain 10 copies of the book and discussion questions, all in one handy bag. Just add the snacks and beverages and you’re good to go! Book club kits have an extended loan period, and you can pick them up at whatever branch is most convenient for you. In addition to our selection of books for book clubs, we also offer books about book clubs.

Accidental Book Club

The Accidental Book Club by Jennifer Scott is the story of a group of very different women who find common ground in their love of reading. When unforeseen events bring problems to group, the book club members band together to get each other through tough times.

 

Falcon Book Club

For those who like mysteries and book clubs, Laura DiSilverio is a good choice. The book club members in Haven, Colorado meet monthly to solve the crimes in mystery novels, as well as doing some free-lance, real life investigating.

 

 

mother daughter book club

Book clubs aren’t just for grown-ups anymore. The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick is about a group of 4 girls in the 6th grade who, along with their moms, read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Over time, the girls are startled to discover how much a book published in 1868 has to offer 21st century tweens.

 

prison book club

You can also find book clubs in unexpected places, like prisons. Ann Walmsley’s book Prison Book Club is an account of her involvement with a book club behind bars in a medium security prison. She gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the convicts during their incarceration, and the power of the written word to profoundly change lives that seemed beyond redemption.

 

So, before you attend your next meeting, I encourage all of you to abide by the unofficial first rule of book club at all times: always talk about book club.

-Lori