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    Book Club in a Bag

    Freading ebooks

    - 0 Comment(s)

    Did you know? Calgary Public Library has an excellent selection of e-books.

    You may already be familiar with OverDrive, which was kind of a pioneer in the providing of e-books through libraries, and was our first ebook provider. Click here for more information about OverDrive.

    Recently, we’ve added another service to our e-book collections: Freading is an e-book source that provides access to a very wide variety of reading material. I was exploring a bit the other day to see exactly what was available and found a treasure-trove of classic fiction and literature titles. There was Turgenev, James, Dickens, Austen and more, all waiting for me to download!

    Fathers and Sons (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    The Wings of the Dove (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    Oliver Twist (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    Freading is a little different from OverDrive in that there are unlimited downloads available for each title so if you see a book you want to read, you can download it immediately. It uses a token system where each reader is allotted a specific number of “tokens” each month and each book “costs” a certain number of tokens. As long as you have the right amount of tokens in your account, you can borrow a Freading title. It is a very neat little system and really good for people who want an e-book right away. If you are a lit-geek like I am, you will love the selection of classics. (Be sure to check out the history titles, too.) Click here for tips on how to get started with Freading.

    Marathon Quest

    by Luke Gray - 0 Comment(s)

    Please join us for an inspirational reading and book signing with world-record holder Martin Parnell, author of Marathon Quest on Thursday, October 25 at the Signal Hill library at 7pm.

    Marathon Quest

    Register in person, by calling 403-260-2620 or online.

    Time for a Long Novel

    - 0 Comment(s)

    We’ve all heard the phrase “short and sweet,” but sometimes the best novels are those that you can lose yourself in for days or weeks at a time. As the weather turns colder and I spend more time indoors, curling up with a good, long book is just the thing to keep me happy. If you have time to dive into a long novel, there are many great ones to choose from, from the classics to something more contemporary. If it's an older book still in print or something newer that has made it to publication and it's a thick book, it's a good sign that there's something there to make it worth your time!

    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

    (originally planned as a single volume, but published in three at the insistence of the publisher)

    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

    Off the Shelf - Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III

    by Jasna - 0 Comment(s)

    Andre Dubus III grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, and “townie” was the insulting nickname whispered by college students when he tried to participate in the mainstream. His autobiography, Townie, is a personal exploration of how he was able to rid himself of destructive emotional responses from his adolescence while honestly embracing the foundations of his own life.

    Andre had potentially good parents who neglected their children through emotional laziness, cold despair, and near-addiction to drinking. His father was a college professor and well-known writer. His mother was a social worker who helped other people’s kids improve their lot. Meanwhile her own children grew up without a proper home (meals, bedtimes, supervision) and estranged from their father.

    Frustrated with his self-image as a skinny weak boy, Andre turned to self-taught body-building. Clearly a success for the first time with his training, he added boxing skills. As his abilities blossomed, he conquered his weak-boy inner self by beating up those who had beaten him, and then those who threatened to beat him, and gradually those who might beat him or others. His salvation probably was that he wanted to keep his body healthy enough to fight, thus drugs and weapons were no attraction to him.

    Obviously bright, Andre did get into the college where his father taught. But his father liked the violent side of this son, plus he treated him more like a drinking buddy, having long forfeited his right to give fatherly advice. After a couple of years, Andre quits college because he cannot see the point. Through his twenties, Andre’s search for a “point”, combined with his interest in philosophy and the arts, keeps him moving away from the violence of his hometown. Better than any textbook, his introspection shows why it is so difficult to avoid relapsing into familiar behaviours - why he cannot flee psychological triggers just by changing environments.

    Now Andre Dubus III is a respected author in his own right. (His novel, House of Sand and Fog was made into a movie and was a selection in Oprah’s Book Club.) The scenes in Townie are vivid - full of action, tension, smells, and sounds. For those of us never driven by violence, this is a lesson in its awful attraction.

    Judith Umbach