You are here: Home > Blogs > Readers' Nook

Latest Posts

Off Line

Select another pool to see the results

    Book Club in a Bag

    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

    The Three Rs—Reading, wRiting and Rights

    by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

    "Freedom to read can never be taken for granted. Even in Canada, a free country by world standards, books and magazines are banned at the border. Books are removed from the shelves in Canadian libraries, schools and bookstores every day. Free speech on the Internet is under attack. Few of these stories make headlines, but they affect the right of Canadians to decide for themselves what they choose to read." (FTR site)

    Freedom to Read Week—February 23 to March 1, 2014

    On the Vision, Mission and Values page of the Calgary Public Library, you'll see that the first item listed is intellectual freedom. The Canadian Library Association does an annual survey that lists books (and DVDs) that have been challenged in public libraries. I encourage you to go read the 2012 list on their CLA Annual Survey of Challenges to Canadian Library Resources and Policies site. I'm certain you'll be surprised by at least some of the items challenged.

    Many people mistakenly assume that the books being banned or challenged are not books they would ever read. The Freedom to Read site contains lists of books challenged in both English and French. The books below are just a few:

    Freedom to Read Week—Celebrate by Reading a Challenged Book!

    you’re gonna read—ninety-five books

    by Janice - 1 Comment(s)

    You’re gonna read ninety-five books
    You’re gonna read ninety-five books
    You’re gonna read, read, read, read now
    You’re gonna read, read, read, read
    #95books *

    The Challenge of Reading Challenges

    Have you joined a reading challenge for 2014?

    While you may be one of those who bristles at the idea of making reading into a competition or numbers game (if so, you're not alone), reading challenges can be a fun way of encouraging yourself to make more time for reading or to expand your reading by choosing books you may not normally read.

    If you're one of the million members of Goodreads, joining the Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge is as simple as choosing how many books you hope to read. Your profile will include a helpful image showing how you are faring in your challenge. (As you can see, I'm already three books behind in my modest challenge.)

    There are many other reading challenges, including several through Pinterest, the WrestleMania Reading Challenge (seriously! It's for youth and an initiative of WWE and the Young Adult Library Services Association), these ones listed at BookRiot, and the Random House Reading Bingo Challenge 2014. You can make your own book challenge and make your own rules. Audiobooks? Graphic novels? Non-fiction? Books in translation? Poetry books?

    "An author should be more well-read than George W. Bush, Jr." ~Jonathan Ball Read 95 Books This Year

    I've decided to up my Goodreads goal of 50 books and plan on reading at least 95 books in 2014. Why 95? Writer Jonathan Ball started the 95-book-challenge with his friend Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2009 in response to a Wall Street Journal article from 2008 on the reading habits George W. Bush, Jr. I would suggest that even non-writers may wish to meet the challenge of reading more than an American president. Ball's loose rules for the 95-book-challenge are excellent. (I especially like his consideration of book length, i.e., a book is a book so long as it is 48 pages long, which ties in with my recent obsession with short books.) If you decide to join the 95-book-challenge, you can tweet your progress along with the #95books hashtag.

    The best part about book challenges is that it doesn't really matter if you meet your goal. There are no marks, no prize, no one holding you accountable—it's all about trying to read more. I encourage you all to join or create your own 2014 reading challenge.

    So how about you? Post below if you're participating in a reading challenge or know about any other novel (*cough) reading challenges.

    (*with apologies to ? and the Mysterians)

    Book News

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Book cover image of David and Goliath by Malcolm GladwellHave you heard...

    ...the latest book news around the world?

    • Find out what project Canadian authors Vincent Lam, Camilla Gibb, Miriam Toews and Linwood Barclay are involved in this winter.

    Did you know?

    More book news is at your fingertips! You can, as a library member, read and download (for FREE!!) such titles such as:

    Learn about Zinio eMagazines and set up your free account today! Browse the "Literary" listings for more of these titles.

    Off the Shelf: Longbourn by Jo Baker

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Upstairs, the almost desperate Bennet family seeks husbands for five charming daughters. Downstairs, the servants scurry through endless labour and winter mud. In Longbourn, Jo Baker successfully recreates life on the other side of the kitchen door, a life secreted from the readers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

    Young Sarah is the senior housemaid; in reality, this means she has the assistance of the dreamy eleven-year-old Polly as they hasten to fulfill the orders of the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill. Sarah’s hands are raw, both from prying mud from Miss Elizabeth’s petticoats and shoes and from using lye to restore the whiteness of the undergarments. (Lizzie does love to wander the fields whatever the weather.) And, the housemaid has the duty of carrying the full chamber pots down the stairs and across the muddy, rutted yard to deposit the contents in the “necessary”. She rises earlier than everyone else to light the fires so others will be warm, and sometimes she stays up late to help the gentry with their coats after a night out with friends. Sarah has no friends, no nights out, nothing.

    Three men come into Sarah’s constrained world. Ptolemy Bingley, assigned his employer’s name, of course, is a footman with a roving eye and plans for a smoke shop in London. His kiss has the expected effect on a completely innocent but desiring girl. James Smith (a suspect surname), new footman in the Bennet household, persuades Sarah that her efforts to decamp to London seeking Ptolemy’s dream may be misplaced. And, the charming but despicable Mr. Wickham, an upstairs man who too often invades the downstairs sphere, disturbs Sarah’s stultifying but safe world, just as he disturbs the family life of the Bennets.

    Jo Baker has written a novel not in the tradition of Jane Austen sequels but in an engaging parallel universe. The doings of the Bennets are seen from the perspective of how much work will be created for the servants and how events will affect their lives. The pressures that affect servants are much different than for the gentry: the militia, the miserable weather, the importunities of guests, and the gaining or losing of a penny. As ever with near-poverty, the servants can afford neither pride nor prejudice.

    - Judith Umbach

    Staff Picks: 47 Sorrows by Janet Kellough

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Sometimes we pick up a book and have a totally different reading experience than we expected. I checked out 47 Sorrows: a Thaddeus Lewis Mystery because it was a Canadian historical mystery written by a Canadian author. What more could one ask for? Janet Kellough certainly delivers on those expectations, but there is a whole different element to this book.

    Her story starts with a body being discovered on the beach. It is set in southern Ontario in the mid-1800s. Young Luke Lewis is travelling from his brother’s homestead near Lake Huron to Montreal to train as a doctor. This is where the book becomes much more than I expected. Luke stops in Kingston to assist the doctors, nuns and volunteer workers who are dealing with the influx of Irish immigrants. Thousands have fled the potato famine, many of them suffering from typhus. Luke and his father Thaddeus do solve the mystery of the body on the beach, but this becomes secondary to the plight of the immigrants.

    I have often heard of the potato famine and the Irish immigration of that time, but this book raised my awareness of the plight of the immigrants as their lives and families are torn apart by the epidemic. I might have guessed that this would not be a happy read by the title – 47 Sorrows – but I am glad that I read it. This look at history brings a greater understanding of the dislocation suffered by the immigrants of that time and by the experience of many in modern times.

    - Pat

    Stay Home, Relax, and Read!

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    The holidays are a great time to visit with friends and family. But it can also be an extremely busy season.

    Now that all of the holiday rush is winding down, why not take some time for yourself, and stay in? There is so much fantastic content available to you with your library card that you don't even have to leave to house to access!

    Enjoy an eBook

    Borrow an eBook from Overdrive with your library card. With more and more nonfiction available, there is truly something for everyone. And have you heard? Penguin has just recently made over fifteen thousand of their US titles available to Canadian libraries! This includes many big-name authors such as Ken Follett, Khaled Hosseini, Tom Clancy, Nora Roberts, and Charlaine Harris.

    Or if you're travelling, why not borrow a travel guide in eBook format? It's so handy, and there are lots to choose from. You can even bring a phrasebook eBook to help you with the local lingo.

    If eBooks are new to you, join a library program for a demo or some hands-on troubleshooting. You can also browse the Getting Started with Overdrive page for videos and step-by-step instructions.

    Browse an eMagazine

    Maybe browsing a magazine is more your speed at the moment. Don't miss out on the fantastic database Zinio. There are over 350 titles you can borrow & download. Once you have them, you can always browse them later!

    These types of databases are increasingly popular (and expensive, through an individual subscription!), so take a look and don't miss out.

    Any questions? Contact us by email or phone or use the Info Chat link on our homepage to chat with staff (open hours only).

    12345678910Showing 21 - 30 of 209 Record(s)