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    Book Club in a Bag

    Great Science Fiction Reads

    by Dieu - 3 Comment(s)

    I must confess that for a very long time I had a prejudice against science fiction. I thought of science fiction books as all the same with their usual spaceships and aliens. Science fiction just didn’t seem like real literature to me until I discovered books that, yes, involved aliens and space travel and other common elements of the genre, but were as moving, fascinating, thought provoking and compelling as anything I’ve ever read.

    Expand your summer reading list and your mind by including some great science fiction reads. If you have never read science fiction, I recommend trying out these outstanding books to give you a sense of what you’ve been missing, and hopefully have you wanting more.

    The Sparrow book cover

    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

    Set in 2019, the novel is about humanity’s first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization and the ethical, moral, religious and philosophical complications that can arise with such an encounter.

    When an observatory picks up radio broadcasts of music coming from Alpha Centauri, the nearest star in our solar system, a Jesuit missionary order decides to organize an expedition to the alien planet. A crew made up of agnostics, believers, and scientists is formed. Led by Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest and linguist, they embark on their journey with idealistic hopes of meeting intelligent life beyond their own world. Upon their arrival on the planet, which will come to be known as Rakhat, the travelers discover that the planet is occupied by two different alien races that are hostile to each other, the Runa and the Jana’ata. The humans settle among the Runa, learn their language, study their customs, and over time become friends with them. However, through seemingly harmless and well intentioned actions, such as introducing to the aliens the growing of coffee beans, the humans set off a series of disastrous events which will cause them to question their own morality and humanity.

    Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the British Science Fiction Association Award, The Sparrow is a powerful, suspenseful and provocative read.

    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

    Depressingly beautiful, devastating, and emotional, Never Let Me Go is one of my all time favourite novels. The novel starts off as a female coming-of-age story, but turns out to be something so much more profound and unsettling. Set in 1990s England, the story is told from the point of view of Kathy H., who is now 31 and recalling her times at Hailsham, the boarding school where she, along with her fellow classmates, grew up and were "told and not told" about their secret conditions.

    I hesitate to say more about the plot of the novel, so as to not spoil the secret hidden at the center of the story. Without saying more about what happens, I can say that Ishiguro's descriptions of Kathy H.'s memories of her childhood and coming of age into adulthood are restrained, taut, and dream-like. Never Let Me Go is a novel that raises controversial questions about what makes us human, what are the limits of scientific progress, and the value of human life.

    Never Let Me Go book cover

    Einstein

    I consider Alan Lightman’s slim novel, Einstein's Dreams, as made up of a little bit of magic realism and science fiction all dashed together. The story begins with the young Einstein as a patent clerk who is secretly working on his theory of relativity. When Einstein heads to bed, we take part in his dreams. These dreams make up a collection of stories of different worlds where the nature of time changes. For example in one story, time is circular and people are destined to repeat the same events and actions over and over again. The stories are imaginative, poetic, philosophical and whimsical. After reading Einstein’s Dreams I found myself going back to certain phrases and ideas that were like little poems:

    “Some say it is best not to go near the center of time. Life is a vessel of sadness, but is noble to live life and without time there is no life. Others disagree. They would rather have an eternity of contentment, even if that eternity were fixed and frozen, like a butterfly mounted in a case.”

    Grow Your Brain...

    by Robyn L - 1 Comment(s)

    “I don’t think I’d have been in such a hurry to grow up if I’d known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed.”

    ~Bill Watterson

    As stated above by that prolific sage, Bill Watterson (of Calvin & Hobbes fame, if you didn’t know), being an adult can be a dicey proposition. But just because our bodies have reached their apex – or the bloom is already off the rose – that certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t grow in myriad other ways, and I don’t just mean improving your golf game, either.

    Let your library card be the light-saber that allows you to vanquish that evil empire of stagnation; let elegant prose be the over-caffeinated energy drink that topples the drowsy inertia of sedentary and resigned pseudo-satisfaction; and let the self-indulgent verbal posturing of narcissistic authors elevate you to heights you once thought distant and unattainable — or to put it more simply: read some books, yo!

    If you are having trouble getting started, check out any of the titles below and get ready to outgrow those old mind-pants!

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    Learn at the Library

    - 1 Comment(s)

     

    “The more that you read, the more things you will know.

    The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ~Dr. Seuss

    Have you ever wanted to learn something new, but you weren’t sure where to begin? Instead of a random Google search, I highly recommend the Calgary Public Library as a great place to start your learning adventures!

    The Library offers so many ways to learn...You can read a book or read an e-book; listen to audio and e-audiobooks; watch a documentary DVD; take an online course, and more! Here are some digital suggestions to get you started. (Have your library card handy to log in to these tools!)

    Mango Languages has online language learning courses for 61 languages, as well as English language courses for learners new to Canada. You can even learn how to speak Pirate!

    Newspaper Direct Display offers full text digital newspaper articles from around the world.

    Zinio Online Magazines provides popular and current digital magazine publications that you can read on your computer or download to your mobile device. Always available: no checkout periods, no limit on downloads.

    Gale Courses has a great collection of instructor-led interactive courses that are all done online so you can learn from the comfort of your own home. Learn how to write and publish a book, how to have a happy and healthy pregnancy, how to use Microsoft Office products, web technology, and photo editing, and so much more!

    So many possibilities…check them out anytime, anywhere!

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    Laugh Your Way Through These...

    - 0 Comment(s)

     

    “Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.” – George Carlin

    Most people would agree that laughter is the best form of medicine and if you were to ask them what makes them laugh, you’d get all kinds of different answers. At CPL, we recognize the need for variety, not only in content but in format too. We’ve got books and CDs and books on CD…and whether you like George Carlin, Monty Python, Family Guy or Bill Cosby we’ve got what you want!

    Your Calgary Public Library card also gives you access to HOOPLA, for streaming movies, television shows, music and audiobooks using your browser, smartphone or tablet, or downloading them to your device to enjoy offline…and it has a great comedy section!

    Some titles to tickle your funny bone:

     

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    Live Life to the Fullest!

    - 1 Comment(s)

    “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."

    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Some people choose to play it safe when it comes to life. Others like to live “on the edge.” I always tell myself that life is way too short to worry about being cool, so be who you are! Some have long bucket lists full of things they want to experience like skydiving, traveling to exotic places, or seeing Comicon in San Diego! (That last one is on MY list.) Others prefer to take life one day at a time.

    However you choose to live your life, there are many inspirational reads for you at the library!

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    What Are You Reading?

    - 2 Comment(s)

    According to Wiktionary, the word create means "to put into existence." What are you going to put into existence this summer? What sparks your creativity? Is it art? Photography? Writing? Reading? Cooking? Singing? Dancing? Join us this week for some great reads that will inspire your creativity!

    Hang out in our 700 section to find a wide selection of drawing, painting, and photography books...


    If writing is more your thing, our 808 section has a great variety of books on writing. Want to write a cookbook, romance novel, poetry, or screenplays? This is the spot for you!

    Don't forget to read biographies of your favourite creative people. This too will help ignite your creative juices.

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    Imagine Winning an iPad Mini...

    - 4 Comment(s)

    Sometimes we think that imagination is just for children. But we all imagine how things could be different, whether we're eight or eighty.

    What do you imagine? That you're in Paris rather than mowing the lawn? That you're taller? Shorter? That you've won the lottery? That you're having Italian for lunch rather than a tuna sandwich? That you've landed your dream job? Or that you're as witty as the main character from your favourite novel?

    This week, celebrate the theme 'Imagine' by checking out something that stirs your imagination...whatever that may be!

     

    Paris in Love book jacket

     

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

     

     

     

     

    Read and Play All Summer...

    - 1 Comment(s)

    Summer and play go together like peanut butter and jam, or, if you have a slightly more adventurous palate, like pear and blue cheese…YUM!

    Summer play invites a world of possibilities: backyard BBQs, vacations, stay-cations, boating, biking, hiking, engaging in sports of all sorts, taking in an outdoor concert or Shakespeare in the Park…and don’t forget Stampeding! But if you prefer to chill out and relax, there’s always the hammock, the book you just can’t put down, and a lovely libation at your side.

    It’s all play, and it’s all good!

    Check out some of these great titles to kick-start your “play-full” summer!

     

     

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Then fill out a ballot and tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying and enter to win fantastic prizes. Come join the summer fun!

    Enter to Win an iPad Mini

    - 4 Comment(s)

    Do you like to explore the world around you? See new places? Try new foods? Summer is here: the flowers are out, gardens are lush — the world outside practically begs you to explore!

    There are so many great places to see, both near and far. Explore the world through a book or DVD and plan your next adventure! Why not take some time to think of all the things you would like to explore…

    Explore near…

    Or explore far...

     

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Then fill out a ballot and tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying and enter to win fantastic prizes. Come join the summer fun!

    Houdini, History and More

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Each title in the list below offers a bit of history, a bit of fantasy, or perhaps a combination of both. And if you're interested in Houdini and historical fiction, don't miss your chance to hear Steven Galloway read from his new book, The Confabulist, this Thursday evening!

    The Confabulist by Steven Galloway

    Themes: Historical fiction, Historical figures, Illusion, Memory, Spectacle, Spies

     

     

     

    The Tiger Claw by Shauna Singh Baldwin

    Themes: Historical fiction, Historical figures, Spies

     

     

     

    The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

    Themes: Historians, Spies, Romance

     

     

     

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    Themes: Magic, Spectacle, Historical fiction, Romance

     

     

     

    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

    Themes: Historians, Historical fantasy, Magic, Romance, Ancient texts, Alchemy

     

     

     

    The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

    Themes: Historical fiction, Romance, Spectacle
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