You are here: Home > Blogs > Readers' Nook

Latest Posts

On Line

Select another pool to see the results

    Book Club in a Bag

    It's a Cat's World

    by Dieu - 2 Comment(s)

    It seems to me that in recent times cats have become the internet celebrities of the animal kingdom. Obvious examples like the famous Grumpy Cat, aka, Tardar Sauce, with his own line of books, t-shirts and plush toys, the video of a cat saving a little boy from a dog attack that quickly went viral, and whole blogs devoted to the weird and cute world of cats have proven that most of us have gone officially cat crazy.

    I admit, I am also one of those guilty of ailurophilia (a love of cats). If like me, you can’t get enough of anything cat related, why not peel yourself away from the infnite scroll of the internet and dip into some literary fiction about these lovely creatures?

    I Am a Cat book cover

    I always think of cats as mysterious creatures who tend to treat us humans with some aloofness. Soseki Natsume’s novel, I Am a Cat, hilariously imagines what exactly cats think about us. Set in Meiji era Japan, the novel follows a cat who spends most of his time observing human nature, making wisecracks on what he sees as the clear inferiority and silliness of humans, and in general providing amusing stories of the activities going on around him. One of the more humorous bits in the novel:

    This must have been the very first time that ever I set eyes on a human being. The impression of oddity, which I then received, still remains today. First of all, the face that should be decorated with hair is as bald as a kettle. Since that day I have met many a cat but never have I come across such deformity.

    I consider The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, a book recently added to the Library’s collection, as a little gem of a novel. A New York Times bestseller, and a bestseller in France, The Guest Cat is about two writers, a young couple, who become friends with a neighbor’s cat. One day, the cat they name Chibi, visits them. Eventually, she makes their little cottage a second home and over time Chibi tints their lives with happiness and light. Like a cat, Hiraide’s novel has a relaxing charm and grace to it in its quietness. A novel about love and loss, and the everyday brief lovely moments of life, The Guest Cat is one of those rare books that stay with you over time.

    Other great reads for cat lovers:

    The Guest Cat book cover

    Before I Go to Sleep [I] Die For You, Gone Girl

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn has been in high demand since its release a couple years ago. If you haven't read it (I haven't), here's a bit of the book's summary from the catalogue to get you interested:

    Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work "draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction." Gone Girl's toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.

    If you're already a fan of the smash hit, you might enjoy:

    Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

    What would you do if you woke up each morning with no memory of the strange man in your bed, and no spark of recognition for the middle-aged face looking back at you in the mirror? This is the life of Christine Lucas. Every morning she is newly disoriented, distraught, and the man named Ben she wakes with tells her that he is her husband and that she has suffered memory loss due to a vague accident in her past. But when she receives a call from her doctor, a neurologist she is apparently seeing without Ben's knowledge, she is directed to a journal she's been keeping about her life. And inside the journal she finds the words: Don't trust Ben written in her own handwriting. The suspense builds as Christine realizes nothing is as it seems.

    NoveList* also recommends:

    I thoroughly enjoyed Before I Go to Sleep, so I will be picking up Gone Girl the next time I'm looking for a page-turner! For avid readers, there can never be too many recommended titles... Check out the 10 Dark & Twisty Books for 'Gone Girl' Fans on flavorwire, and leave us your recommendation in the comments!

    *Find NoveList Plus content, including read-alike recommendations and reviews, in the catalogue, and don't miss out on the full NoveList Plus database in your E-Library under Reading & eBooks.

    This Just In

    by Sonya - 1 Comment(s)

    What's new in your E-Library?

    • 3M Cloud is now available in your E-Library! Use the 3M Cloud app to download and read popular fiction and non-fiction on your computer or device. Take a look at the tips and videos at Getting Started with 3M Cloud to get underway smoothly.

    What's new in the world of books?

    • Are you a stickler for grammar and spelling? The latest violators from the Guardian (in pictures) may be worth a chuckle.

    Off the Shelf

    by Cher K - 0 Comment(s)

     

    419

    Will Ferguson


    If you have an email account, chances are you have received at least one scamming note. You are smart and you erase them. Laura’s father was not; he responded. He fell into the abyss of “419”, Nigerian slang for perpetrating a scam. In his novel, 419, Will Ferguson paints the fear and anger of lives dispossessed — those of both the scammed and the scammers.

    With dexterous intricacy Ferguson inserts us into the stories of Laura, habitué of Northill Plaza in Calgary; Nnamdi, boy and man from a once-remote part of Nigeria; Amina, a destitute pregnant woman walking away from her identity; and, Winston, skilled self-taught Lagos internet scammer. That these stories converge without obvious contrivance is the Ferguson’s triumph.

    After their father’s death, Laura’s family is incensed that he was a victim of an internet scammer, to the extent of losing all his financial assets. Laura’s mother leaves the mortgaged family home, moving into the basement of her son’s large home in Springbank. Slowly the police convince the family that internet scammers are absolutely anonymous. There is no way they can recoup money sent via wire transfers to someone with innumerable aliases.

    Laura, however, is an editor. She believes the pen is more powerful than the sword. Laura separates out a single writer of notes from the chaff of purported government officials and other veracity-inducing supporting actors. An author’s errors and quirks leave an indelible signature. Laura seeks revenge.

    Subtext to this well-woven tale is the question of whose morality is superior. The internet scammers self-justify their illegal trade as an extracting of revenge on white colonialists, even though the criminals pursue victims of any race with enthusiastic and perverse fairness. Plus, victims are greedy or they wouldn’t respond, right? Nnamdi is a genuinely generous person who undertakes illegal tasks to survive and be part of his community. Amina has nothing; isn’t she entitled to something in this world? Laura would rather be dead than accept her father’s undeserved fate! Fate: is it cast in stone?

     

    by Judith Umbach

    Best Historical Fiction

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    If you're a historical fiction buff, this post is for you! There are so many recent releases that are generating a lot of interest, so how do you choose? I've compiled some lists to help you narrow it down:

    Or if you like to pick your books based on a beautiful or compelling cover, have a look at this Pinterest page.

    I haven't read any recent historical fiction, but there are a few fantastic novels I've read in the past that have always stayed with me. When I find a book like that, it creates that blissful experience: reading becomes like time travel, immersing me in the time and place and lives of the characters.

    I'll leave you with three of my all-time favourites:

    Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

    A graphic novel memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, this classic of the genre presents a window into a time of social and political upheaval. The bold black and white visual style is matched by the author's open portrayal of her childhood in that time and place. The story continues in Persepolis 2. If you've never picked up a graphic novel, you may surprise yourself by enjoying this as much as any other historical novel.

    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

    This novel is both a window into India's past and a story of enduring friendship forged in difficult circumstances. The richness and complexity of the story is a match for that of its setting. From the catalogue summary:

    A Fine Balance , Rohinton Mistry's stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a "State of Internal Emergency." Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances - and their fates - become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry's prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time.

    The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak


    Set in Nazi Germany of 1939, this story is narrated by Death. Leisel is drawn to the mysterious promise of books and reading, and sometimes can't help taking books. From the catalogue summary:

    The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul. It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

    What is your favourite historical novel? Leave a comment to share your suggestion!

    Celebrating Readers at Calgary Public Library

    by Tess - 0 Comment(s)

    We are going to post pictures of CPL staff and patrons discussing one of their favorite books. This is exciting for us, because we, both staff and users of CPL, love books and we love to talk about and share books.

    So we hope that you will enjoy these fun new blogs and perhaps get a few ideas on what to read next!


    Brent – The Hours by Michael Cunningham

    How did you find your book? I saw the movie when I was 14, and being so naive, I didn’t grasp any of the concepts or underlying themes. Twelve years later, I came across the book in the library stacks and devoured it overnight. I’ve again watched the movie since, and it made much more sense!

    How many stars does it get out of 5? A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.

    What did you like about it? I like that the story takes place across three different generations of characters, all of which undergo situations that, one way or another, relate to the classic novel – Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Wolfe. Although some readers thought the book slightly depressing, I found it inspiring. It offers subtle and veiled advice on how to live one’s life.

    Which book does it remind you of? It reminds me of being forced to read Mrs. Dalloway in High School English, and detesting every moment. But, this book effortlessly brings new light to the classic and a new found appreciation.

    Who would like this book? Anyone who has read Virginia Wolfe, or has an interest in Historical Fiction. If you’ve seen the movie, try the book, or vice-versa!

     

    Roberta – Cake Balls: more than 60 Delectable and Whimsical Sweet Spheres of Goodness

    How did you find your book? It was recommended to me by a friend who is a master baker.

    How many stars does it get out of 5? 4 out of 5

    What did you like about it? I like the fact that there are so many detailed illustrations on how to make these little gems properly, along with tips on ingredients, presentation, and tempting additions. Everything in one stop. Didn’t have to look at a dozen blogs.

    Which book does it remind you of? Well, given that I own over 60 cookbooks, I’d say it reminds me of my other happy baking books.

    Who would like this book? Anyone who likes to bake, entertain, and experiment. As my mother always used to say, “They look lovely on the plate”. The small-size servings are great for guests not wanting to overindulge, and are better than Starbuck’s cake pops, in my opinion. They were a huge hit at my last Oscar party.

     

    Barb - The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

    How did you find your book? One of my friends recommended Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, which I enjoyed. I was looking for other books by him and found this book.

    How many stars does it get out of 5? 4.5

    What did you like about it? I loved that Fforde took the nursery rhymes and stories we’re all familiar with from childhood and flipped them into hard-boiled detective fiction.

    Which book does it remind you of? It is Mother Goose meets The Big Sleep.

    Who would like this book? People who enjoy film noir, good storytelling and have a sense of humour.

    Please stay tuned for more upcoming Celebrating Readers posts!

    Off the Shelf: A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    When A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaeghe opens, Wesley Case needs to “find himself”, although such terms were not used in the 19th century. He is not the son his father wants; his achievements as a military officer are middling; and, he isn’t particularly fond of his school friends as adults. He heads West.

    Case’s time working with Major James Walsh sets a theme for his life – the encroachment of the RCMP and neo-colonialists on the land and social structures of North American native peoples. After Sioux Chief Sitting Bull and his people took refuge near the Cypress Hills, the policies of the United States towards the Indian nations were enacted much more harshly than Canada’s.

    In Canada, the flow of history was moderated somewhat by Major Walsh who tried to interpret his duties in a manner respectful to local Indian tribes and individuals.

    Against Walsh’s advice about his somewhat disreputable partner, Joe McMullen, Wesley Case sets himself up as a rancher near Fort Benton in the US. Joe and Wesley suit each other through their common ethic of hard work and in their contrasting styles of social interaction.

    Ada Tarr is woman of spirit, initially married to a local tyrant. Despite societal norms, Wesley is hopeless in avoiding his attraction to her. Only his voluntary responsibilities as a go-between for Walsh and the American military officer, Major Ilges, draw him away from Ada’s charms. Another man has also succumbed to Ada’s charms, but his attentions she definitely does not welcome. Already an enemy from Wesley’s early days, and initially blinded by his peculiar moral stance, Michael Dunne comes to the realization that his dreams are being destroyed by Wesley Case. He devises a plot to rid himself of the destroyer and win the fair maid.

    In romance, A Good Man can win. In the politics of conquest, he cannot.

    - Judith Umbach

    All Men Are Liars

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    ...is the title of a novel by Alberto Manguel:

    Set in Madrid in the late 1970s, Manguel's novel focuses on a group of refugees from the Argentinian Dirty War. At the center is first-time novelist Alejandro -Bevilacqua, who, shortly after the publication of his acclaimed In Praise of Lying, escapes in a panic from a publication party and later falls from a balcony to his death. The book takes the form of a series of journalistic interviews with several people who knew him. (Library Journal)

    Distinguished author Alberto Manguel will be speaking at the library on March 27th! This event is co-presented by the Calgary Public Library and the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program at the University of Calgary.

    When I visit his website, the words that jump off the screen refer to the power of words and the power of reading. This promises to be a fascinating evening for fans, readers, writers and... does that leave anyone else?

    If you'd like to discover (or rediscover) this author before you meet him, here are a few of your many choices:

    New York Review Books Classics

    by Dieu - 0 Comment(s)

    NYRB Classics are, to a large degree, discoveries, the kind of books that people typically run into outside of the classroom and then remember for life. ~ from NYRB website

    Ice Trilogy cover Love in a fallen city cover Pedigree book cover Stray dog cabaret: a book of Russian poems book cover The True Deceiver book cover Songs of Kabir book cover The mountain lion book cover Proud beggars books cover

    If you were to ask me what my favourite books of all time were, my answers would be predictable with a mix of surprises thrown in for good measure. I find that many of my most pleasurable reading experiences involved books that came as surprises, books that should be considered classics and yet for some reason missed reaching a mass audience.

    Another fellow library staff person recently wrote about the book Stoner by John Wiliams, a novel that I had read many years ago and loved. I remember thinking at the time, “why has no one heard of this book?” To my delight, the book is now getting the attention it deserves, reaching bestseller status all over Europe.

    Stoner is one of many books published by New York Review Books as part of its Classics series. You can browse the New York Review Books Classics collection on their website and the Calgary Public Library owns many titles in the series. Just do a general search for “New York Review books classics” in the Library’s catalog to find all the titles we have in the collection.

    Stoner book cover

    The World I Live In Book Cover

    At the moment I am reading The World I Live In by Helen Keller, a title that had been out of print for nearly a century before NYRB decided to publish it again. Helen Keller was an American author and was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of arts degree. Many people may know of her biography from the play and film, “The Miracle Worker”.

    Born in 1880 as a healthy child, Helen was mysteriously struck by an illness over a year later that left her deaf and blind. It was not until five years later that she was released from her despair by a 21 year old half-blind teacher, Anne Sullivan. It was then that Helen learned how to communicate through the use of the manual alphabet.

    I found The World I Live In to be extremely personal and inspiring and more than anything, the essays in the book showcase Helen's gift for writing. In the book, she explains to readers the emotional and psychological link between language and the spectrum of senses that she uses to navigate the world around her.

    What I love most about the NYRB Classics series is its diversity. The collection includes translations of masters such as Dante, Chekhov, and Balzac, works spanning geography, eras, and genres including fiction, cult favorites, literary criticism, travel writing, biography and even cookbooks! If you are on the hunt for a lost classic, then consider the NYRB Classics series as your guide. I certainly do, and find myself looking to their list whenever I am in need of something less ordinary.

    New Fiction Coming Soon!

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    While fall is traditionally the season when the biggest fiction books are released, publishers in the last few years have started to release some of their more notable titles throughout the year. Perhaps the reasoning is that a good book might be lost in the crowd in the big fall season, or maybe that since people read good books all year round it just makes sense to publish them all year round. Whatever the reason, we are simply glad that there are always great new books to check out. Here are a few that should be hitting the shelves in the next few months:

     

    The Good Luck of Right Now is the much anticipated new novel by Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook. It tells the story of Bartholomew Neil, who has lived with his mother for thirty-eight years. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. How does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly? By writing a series of intimate letters to Richard Gere and then embarking on a spiritual journey to Canada!

     

    The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, is a humorous novel about a rebellious senior citizens. 79-year-old Martha Anderson dreams of escaping her care home and robbing a bank. Joining her four oldest friends - otherwise known as the League of Pensioners - they cause an uproar with their antics: protesting against early bedtimes and plastic meals. As they become more daring, their activities escalate and they come up with a cunning plan to break out of the care home and land themselves in a far more attractive Stockholm establishment.

     

    Margaret Atwood has endorsed Ghalib Islam’s debut novel, which she calls “the 1001 Nights of its time … in the same literary mansion as Calvino, Burroughs, and other metafabulist satirists.” Fire in the Unnameable Country tells the story of a boy born on a flying carpet, who grows up to write an extended letter reckoning with the memory of his family and the titular country’s troubled history.

    From the Stephen Galloway (author of The Cellist of Sarajevo) comes a beautiful, suspense-filled novel that uses the life and sudden death of Harry Houdini to weave a magical tale of intrigue, love and illusion. The Confabulist tells of the life, loves and murder of the world's greatest magician, as well as story of the man who killed him twice! Martin Strauss is an everyday man whose fate is tied to the magician's in unforeseen ways.

     

    To stay on top of new fiction as it comes in to the library be sure to check out the New Arrivals section of our catalogue – and happy reading!

     

    - Tyler at Louise Riley library

    12345678910Showing 21 - 30 of 215 Record(s)