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    Book Club in a Bag

    In 2011 the Books YOU Liked the Most...

    by Jasna - 0 Comment(s)

    A few weeks ago we posted a blog with some of our favorite 2011 books, and asked you to tell us about the titles that you like the most. You sent us your comments on our Facebook page and commented on our blog, and we've compiled a list of books that our customers enjoyed in 2011!

    Happy Reading in 2012!

    Because Friends Don't Let Friends Go Bookless!

    by Shannon S - 0 Comment(s)

    When I find a book that absolutely rocks my world, the only thing that can make it even better is sharing it with my friends.

    I think its human nature to want to share a great experience with others but it’s interesting that what you love is sometimes what someone else hates. I asked some colleagues for what books they make their friends read and when one person mentioned Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen another person said that was one of the books they never could finish (personal aside – I love Jane Austen)!

    So here a few books we make all of our friends read (and yes, they’d make great gifts this year)!

    Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

    As private investigator Jackson Brodie investigates three resurrected old crimes, he finds himself caught up in a story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate. Now a TV mini-series on Masterpiece Mystery!

    No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

    Absolutely the best last line of a novel – and no you can’t just flip to the back to read it, or else you won’t fully appreciate it!

    After being orphaned, Alexander MacDonald comes to Cape Breton Island yearning for family connections and finds himself working in the mines with his wild older brother and caring for another brother, who is dying.

    Persepolis 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 and vast contraditions between public and private life.

    Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann

    In a cozy Irish village, when their beloved shepherd, George, is found struck down by a spade, his flock of clever sheep, led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill, launches its own investigation to find George's killer among the local village inhabitants.

    Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb

    Orphaned at the age of eight, British-born Lilly devotes her life to the teachings of the Qur'an from within a Sufi shrine, but is persecuted for her foreign heritage, forcing her to flee to London, where she is equally disconnected.

    Because friends don't let friends go bookless!

    Christmas Miracles and Mysteries

    by Shannon S - 0 Comment(s)

    Christmas is the time of year for tales that move us and for stories that showcase small miracles, a time for suspending cynicism and renewing our faith in human nature. As I looked through my list of past reads for my December book review, I came across this heart-warming tale that I read last year. A Dog named Christmas is the story of a developmentally challenged boy and how his passion for animals changes life for his family and for the people of his town.

    Todd McCray hears that the local pet shelter is seeking homes for the animals over Christmas. His father at first refuses his request to take in a dog, but finally bows to Todd’s persistence. After Todd has picked a dog, that he names Christmas he starts to worry about the other pets at the shelter. And the story goes from there. This is a wonderful Christmas read that will be especially enjoyed by any animal lover.

    Greg Kincaid, a practicing lawyer who specializes in divorce and family law mediation, has written other novels including Christmas with Tucker. He has received a Genesis Award from the Humane Society for raising public awareness for sheltered dogs.

    Now I’m ready to re-read another heart-warming story, the Christmas classic, A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas.

    And, I would like to revisit still another Christmas story involving animals, The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot. This story of a Christmas miracle which I read to my children many years ago, can be found in James Herriot’s Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children.

    And, having satisfied my sentimental side, my Christmas wouldn’t be complete without some mayhem and mystery, such as Anne Perry’s

    A Christmas Homecoming, A Killer’s Christmas in Wales by Elizabeth J. Duncan and Christmas Mourning by Margaret Maron.

    ~ Pat

    What Were YOUR Favourite Books from 2011?

    by Shannon S - 5 Comment(s)

    It’s that time of year when we look back at our favourites of 2011! We read a lot of great books this year – and we have an even bigger pile of ‘meant-to-reads’ from this year. We thought we’d reveal some of our picks for Best of 2011.

    And…we’re asking for YOUR picks for Best Reads of 2011.

    In fact if you comment on our Facebook page or on the blog posting with your picks we’ll do up a new post with a compilation of all of YOUR recommendations. Wouldn’t that be a great list to start 2012 off with?!

    So we’ll show you some of ours…and you can show us some of yours!

    The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

    After he crashes his plane into Lake Champlain, killing most of the passengers, Chip Linton moves into a new home with his wife and twin daughters and soon finds himself being haunted by the dead passengers, all while his wife wonders why the strange herbalist denizens of the town have taken such an interest in her daughters. This atmospheric and creepy story will keep you up far past your bedtime!

    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

    Discovering a magical manuscript in Oxford's library, scholar Diana Bishop, a descendant of witches who has rejected her heritage, inadvertently unleashes a fantastical underworld of daemons, witches and vampires whose activities center around an enchanted treasure. This literary paranormal romantic mystery is sure to have something for everyone!

    Embassytown by China Miéville

    Retaining a tenuous peace on a distant planet in the far future, humans and aliens work together through a mutually beneficial economic arrangement that is threatened by the arrival of a new group of humans that destabilizes the world's balance. A challenging but oh-so-worth-it read! Miéville is a brilliant storyteller.

    Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    The Bigtree children struggle to protect their Florida Everglades alligator-wrestling theme park from a sophisticated competitor after losing their parents. From the far-out and bizarre—alligator wrestlers and ghost-possession-romance—to the emotional landscapes we all face—sibling and family dynamics, dealing with loss, Swamplandia! has it all… what will draw you in and keep you riveted, though, is the way Russell perfectly captures all those intangible moments in the lives of her characters that you will recognize from your own life.

    A Red Herring Without Mustard by C. Alan Bradley

    When a Gypsy woman is wrongly accused of kidnapping a local child, precocious young Flavia de Luce draws on her encyclopedic knowledge of poisons and Gypsy lore to discern what really happened while investigating the mystery of her own mother's fate. We love precocious 11-year-old Flavia de Luce the central character of Bradley's award-winning mystery series and you should too!

    What are your picks for Best Book of 2011?

    *Annotations courtesy of CPL staff and NoveList, a database that recommends fiction and non-fiction books by author, plot, setting and topic and includes book reviews.

    If you want to use this resource for great reads, just click here and log on with your Calgary Public Library card.