View all of our staff picks lists here!
Jess recommends: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
What would you do if you thought your young daughter might be possessed? Or mentally ill? Or just plain evil? What if you were the only one who saw that side of her?
Hanna is a sweet-but-silent angel in the eyes of her adoring Daddy, Alex. She feels that he’s the only person that understands her, and she wants him all to herself. The only problem is Mommy, whose chronic illness worries Daddy and takes away Hanna’s precious time with him.
Suzette loves her daughter but after years of medical tests, expulsions, and strained homeschooling, she is at her limit when it comes to managing her daughter’s muteness and behavioural issues. Especially because her husband refuses to believe her.
The story is told from Hanna and Suzette’s alternating perspectives. I enjoyed having a peek into Hanna’s thoughts, her intelligence and sophistication is unsettling and hearing her lack of remorse from her perspective is chilling. Suzette struggles with motherhood, she’s doing her best considering her lack of a role model growing up, but she can’t help but wonder if Hanna’s behaviour is her fault and if home isn’t the best place for her baby girl after all…
I couldn’t put this book down, I loved the slow and realistic building of tension between the members of this family. The ending left me with some unanswered questions, and not having the answers makes this story all the more memorable.
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Melissa recommends: The Alchemist: a graphic novel by Paulo Coelho, illustrated by Daniel Sampere.
This was my first graphic novel. I am TEAM Alchemist all the way, I make an effort to read this book every year for the last 15 years. Depending on what is happening in my life I have taken away different messages each time I read it. This is a fable about a shepherd, Santiago, who travels from his home of Spain to the Market of Tangiers to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure. A picture does speak a thousand words. Witnessing the fable with graphics gave me a new perspective on the text that I am so familiar with. There are two very talented artists who depict this fable with such depth I felt as I was in alongside Santiago’s journey.
I have never been to any of the locations of this fable and was moved by the rich colour palette that was selected. The images of the characters have very strong chiselled faces reminiscent of power. Each image impacts the reader to question where they hold power within their lives. Daniel Sampere who has always drawn action comics was faced with the challenge of portraying a life-changing journey. Daniel’s artistic perspective brings out the underlying storyline of fighting for what you want in life without any fear.
Derek Ruiz transformed the words into magical images understood the importance of Paulo Coelho’s message that your personal legend, your dreams can become reality. Both artist interpretations create a seamless transition from novel to graphic novel. This did not disappoint and I’m excited to explore more graphic novels.
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Gen recommends: The Arsonist: a mind on fire by Chloe Hooper.
“On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, a man lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno.
The Arsonist takes readers on the hunt for this man, and inside the strange puzzle of his mind. It is also the story of fire in this country, and of a community that owed its existence to that very element. The command of fire has defined and sustained us as a species – understanding its abuse will define our future.”
Although set in Australia this book is alarmingly relevant considering our recent and ongoing struggles with wildfires (as I write this review around 200 fires are burning in BC) and climate change. The Arsonist not only details the devastating effects of wildfires but also warns us of an apocalyptic future and asks some very pertinent questions; What role does society play in disasters? How much do issues like poverty, unemployment and discrimination contribute to the conditions for violent acts? Can court systems facilitate justice for everyone, even those with mental disabilities?
It is a heart-breaking yet captivating read- one that has stuck with me long after I finished the last page.”
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Emma Recommends: Hostage by Claire Mackintosh
“I have been a big fan of Clare Mackintosh’s previous titles so was eagerly awaiting her new release “Hostage” this summer. Taking place over the course of an inaugural 20 hour non-stop flight from London to Sydney, Australia, this is a fast paced psychological thriller that as the title suggests, sees the flight and it’s passengers taken hostage. Flight attendant Mina is given the terrifying ultimatum to follow the anonymous instructions to make sure the flight does not reach its destination, or her young daughter will pay the price.
As with Mackintosh’s previous novels, Hostage is action packed, with lots of character development and unreliable narrators galore that will keep you guessing. Not wanting to give too much of the plot away, all I will say is that this is not your typical hijack story and has an epilogue that will leave you wanting more!”
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Denisa recommends: Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky.
“I recently finished a very intense historical fiction, so I chose this book as a light read antidote. It fit the bill perfectly.
I was born in the 1980’s and although I am in the social media and digital world now I grew up for the most part without computers or social media at all. For this reason I found this book equally fascinating and disturbing. Overall it deals with the themes of social media & narcissistic tendencies, creativity vs making money, and the commodification of spirituality and creativity as well as authenticity in the age of marketing and social media.
You move through the book from the perspective of Lillian, a forty year old artist who does pet portraits with the cool twist of being able to see the animals’ colourful auras. I appreciated the ability to know a perspective that is not my own but also cringed seeing how she seemed to be a slave to her social media feeds and every experience of her life being documented there.
Lillian eventually meets up with a long lost relative who has completely renamed herself and created an empire of feminine lifestyle branding where she sells her pricey Ascendancy Program to teach people about spiritual awakening, leadership and marketing. Lillian very quickly changes pace from her humble life in Toronto to live in New York and work at her cousin’s office called the Temple. She experiences a creativity block amidst all of her changes and increased monetary abundance but eventually finds her way back to her true calling with even more colour than before.
All in all, an easy breezy read.”
Brennan recommends: The Reconciliation Manifesto by Arthur Manuel
“Arthur Manuel (1951-2017, RIP) wore many hats during his life. Son of the legendary political theorist and Indigenous rights activist George Manuel, Arthur was raised in the struggle. A member of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation he was 4 times elected Chief of his home community of Neskonlith, 3 times elected Chair of the Shuswap Tribal Council and, internationally, a contributor to and driver of countless international Indigenous conferences and initiatives. In short he was a tireless fighter for Indigenous Peoples at home and abroad.
Written with long-time collaborator Grand Chief Ronald Derrickson, the book was released shortly after Arthur’s death in 2017. A surprisingly easy read, Manuel breaks his 300 pages into short chapters, helpful for settlers like me who have spent far too much of our lives in a state of ignorance about this place we call Canada.
There is a lot of history. Proclamations, treaties, pronouncements, legal decisions, Papal bulls are just some of the techniques used by the settler state to reduce the land under indigenous control in this country to 0.2%. Arthur does a good job of taking us through this history without taking us too far into the weeds because at the end of the day it’s not complicated. Their land was stolen using whatever method was needed at the time to justify it. There can be no true reconciliation without land being given back.
I’ve neither the skills or the space here to do justice to this book, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the arguments presented in it but we would do well to listen to those who live daily with the effects of this crushing system that has been put upon them. They know what to do.”
An eye-opening, touching story.
Jess Recommends: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
“Hi! I’m Jess, one of the newest staff members at the Pemberton Library.
Lately I’ve been trying to branch out from my usual suspense and sci fi novels, and Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Clap When You Land” was the perfect way to ease into a more realistic genre. Written in-verse (think non-rhyming poetry), this book begins with tragedy. In November 2001, flight AA587 crashed to the ground on its way to Santo Domingo, killing 265 people on a flight where 90% of the passengers were Dominican or of Dominican descent. Amongst them was a beloved father on his way to visit his anxiously awaiting daughter, Camino, for his yearly summer visit. Told from the perspective of two young women, Camino and Yahaira, this story tackles the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness and how secrets, no matter how wounding, can ultimately bring a family together.”
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Gen recommends: The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
“Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?’
The Lamplighters is an atmospheric slow-burning mystery that unravels layer by layer. I really had no idea of how it would end, and if you’re hoping for a well rounded conclusion- all your burning questions neatly answered type of ending- this may not be the novel for you, but I felt that the deliberate ambiguity only added to the mystery. A really enjoyable read!”
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Emma recommends: The Searcher by Tana French
“As a fan of a good literary thriller, Tana French has been an author that has regularly appeared on my reading recommendations, but I had yet to try any of her titles. The Searcher is her latest novel and if you are looking for a solid character driven mystery novel to start off your summer reading, French is a solid choice. Cal Hooper is a retired detective who moves from Chicago to a remote village in rural Ireland. He plans to live out a quiet existence, exploring the mountains and fixing up the run down cottage he has bought. Of course, that wouldn’t make as entertaining a story, so enter a shy local boy that asks Cal for help finding his missing brother that the rest of the village doesn’t seem concerned about. There is an interesting twist that I definitely didn’t see coming and I found myself really enjoying the banter between Cal and his neighbour – reminding me of many colloquialisms I have forgotten since moving to Canada 8 years ago!”
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Melissa recommends: The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward
We’d like to introduce everyone to one of our newest team members, Melissa!
“Hi, I’m Melissa and am new to the Team here at Pemberton Library. I’m very curious, love learning and am a slow but steady reader. I’ve been in the Sea to Sky since 2006, but transplanted from Barrie Ontario. If you don’t see me in the library I’m likely outside enjoying nature.
It was the mid 1990’s and my parents decided to take the whole family (3 teenage kids & an elderly Oma) to Holland where my mother was born. This was the once in a lifetime international family vacation. As a teenager at the time my memories of the experience had undertones of big emotions, rich food, car time and intergenerational differences.
The Perkin family embark on a family cruise, which the mother wins as part of a writing contest. This allows her to “Become a jetsetter” and take her 3 adult children in the hope of stitching the family into the tight knit family they once were. As the story unfolds the reader gains insights into each adult child, deep secrets, personal struggles they face individually and the dynamic between siblings. With the Perkin family forced to be in each other’s space the layers of family drama bubbles to the surface. What I enjoyed about this story was that it illustrates the deep love of a mother as she dreams of closeness the siblings once had. The adult children are able to see their mother as a risk taking woman who challenged her own family structure as a young woman before becoming a mother. This is a great summer read that will make you question if you are ever asked to go on a family vacation what skeletons are in the closet.”
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Brennan recommends: Sufferance by Thomas King.
“Jeremiah Kemp is a man of few words, actually, make that no words. He literally doesn’t have a spoken line in the book. A uniquely talented man, Jeremiah AKA the Forecaster, detects patterns that very few can. His employer for the last 30 years was the Locken Group, a giant multinational who benefitted from these talents. The problem with the gift of sight is that sometimes we see too much. Jeremiah did. Kemp now lives in a former residential school which he didn’t buy but belongs to him now. He has no phone, internet, TV or even mailbox. What it does have is a graveyard with 77 plain white crosses on it which Kemp is replacing with river stones that he hauls and engraves, each with the name of a victim of the school. When he needs a break he goes for a walk around the neighbouring communities of the Cradle River First Nation and the settler town of Gleaming. For a guy who doesn’t speak Jeremiah sure has a lot of people who like talking to him. His neighbours refuse to let him hide in a cocoon and as the book moves along he finds himself being reintegrated into the community he was estranged from little by little, whether he likes it or not. Kemp’s old employer isn’t done with him yet, however. His last forecast was a list of twelve billionaires seemingly unconnected until they begin dying under strange circumstances one after another. The Locken group needs to find the pattern and “No” is not an option. Sufferance is equal parts rebuke of things we’re taught to cherish (personal gain, individualism, limitless accumulation of wealth. Greed in short) and celebration of things we should (our connections with and obligations to ALL our relations) wrapped up in a political whodunnit. Well worth the read.”
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“This little book came to me by way of an email of recommendations I receive monthly from Vulture (a NYT Magazine publication) called Read Like the Wind. Literary critic and contributing writer Molly Young chooses 3 main reads and a handful of honourable mentions, offering a well-written, concise review of each. Some are old, some are new, all are slightly obscure. I’ve now read several of her recommendations and enjoyed each quirky one. I was so pleased when How to Order the Universe fell into my hot little hands, firstly because it’s such a pretty little book and secondly because the premise intrigued me: A 7-year-old girl, only known as M, becomes her travelling-salesman-father’s sidekick as he hawks hardware against a backdrop of Pinochet-era Chile. She skips school, they smoke cigarettes, they swindle prospective customers and they hang out in truck stops where they share tall tales with their fellow peddlers, all unbeknownst to her mother. I started knowing pretty much null about the Chilean revolution and didn’t know much more by the end, but because it is told from the perspective of a 7-year old, I’m not sure that the intention is to educate. I finished feeling how I would imagine a 7-year-old would feel coming up during a military dictatorship: not entirely sure of what is happening, but knowing that it can’t be good. This is a quick read (more of a short story, really), just as beautifully written and translated as it is designed, and it definitely made me aware of my own ignorance and encouraged me to learn more about this history. I highly recommend setting aside 1.5 hrs read this charming account of an awful period. As with Molly and a reviewer before her, “when I finished the last pages, I truly had to stare at the wall.”
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Brennan recommends: Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King.
“One of the first things you pick up listening to or reading Thomas King is that he was born to tell stories. Even on the page, it feels like he’s speaking a world into existence. I trust him to tell a great story which is why I stuck with this one even though for the first 50ish pages I hadn’t the foggiest clue what was happening. If you like your plots linear this is NOT the book for you.
We get the story from an unknown narrator as he tells the story to Coyote, the trickster of plains nations folklore, however, the narrator is also being narrated to by the 4 Old Indians. These supernatural beings each represent a character from indigenous oral traditions and in the telling of their stories, there is a kind of mash-up blending with Judeo-Christian and western literary traditions. These tales are, at once, hilarious and a devastating critique of settler colonialism. The work of a master storyteller.
So, the Old Indians escape from a mental institute and with Coyote in tow begin making their way to the fictitious town, on Blackfoot Territory, of Blossom, Alberta. It seems they’ll have to fix the world…again. Often fixing the world is really about helping to fix people and the Blackfoot folks we meet in and around blossom could use a little help. Alberta Frank is a university professor who wants a baby but not a man which is bad news for her current lovers, cousins Charlie and Lionel who both want her. Lionel’s uncle Eli could use a hand as well. He’s the last man left opposing the damming of a river crucial to his people. Everything is coming to a head at the annual Sundance and with Coyote lending a paw things could go any way.”
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Mikhaila recommends: French Exit by Patrick DeWitt.
It is a bizarre story, full of a quirky cast of characters picked up along the way, including a psychic, a private detective, a doctor and his wine merchant and a hyper-active American Expat. To say the novel is drôle is to put it lightly—I say “drôle” partially because it feels like an apt word for a comedy about a fall from high-society and partially because half of the book takes place in France—there are moments where I had to put the book down to laugh. French Exit is a chaotic tale full of whimsy and sardonic wit with a surprisingly dark ending that casts a retroactive black cloud over the previous chapters.
Gen recommends: I will judge you by your bookshelf by Grant Snider.
Denisa recommends: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.
This book was entertaining but also made me think of how deeply unjust the polarization in our world can be, when many don’t even have clean running water, shelter or the basic needs of life met.
Gen recommends: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.
“I tend to avoid books that are receiving a lot of hype and 5* reviews as I often wind up disappointed, but after a few people mentioned to me how good The Push was, I decided to check it out.
Described as a tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family–and a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for–and everything she feared. Blythe Connor is determined to be the warm supportive mother she never had to her new baby girl but in the thick of those exhausting early days she doesn’t feel the connection she expected. As their relationship fails to improve, Blythe worries that something is wrong with their daughter. Is it all in her head?
I chose this book because I wanted an entertaining and light read. This book suited me perfectly and I read it in a day and a night.
Spanning three generations of a family it follows the hilarious life of Millie Gogarty the eldest of the family and her granddaughter Aideen Gogarty who are ironically both at a time of awkward rebellion.
Their lives are alike in that no one quite understands their particular stage of life, especially not the likes of Kevin Gogarty, a recently unemployed Dad trying to hold the family of four together whilst caring for his Mum.
It takes place in Dun Loaghaire, Dublin, a small town where gossip is the norm. When Kevin’s feisty 83-year-old Mum is caught shoplifting, he makes a couple decisions that will change all of their lives and spark quite a bit of adventure.
The characters are relatable and it’s a good reminder that all families have the roller coaster moments from love to chaos to overwhelm and back again. I really enjoyed the characters and their imperfect lovability.
A heart-warming read.
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“Ricky, Lewis, Gabe and Cass, all members of the Blackfoot Tribe, childhood friends who we are introduced to as young men. It’s the final day of hunting season and the sun is on the decline. With elk nowhere to be found and the prospect of empty freezers heading into winter they decide to bend the rules. They head for the good country where only Elders are allowed to hunt. When they pop out of the truck it’s a miracle. The whole elk herd spread out below them. The fog of war descends and elk start falling. One of the elk that Lewis shoots is pregnant, she clings to life trying to protect her baby to no avail. What’s worse, before they can get out with their ill gotten gains they are busted by the Game warden and receive a 10 year hunting ban.
Fast forward 10 years. The group has drifted apart. Ricky and Lewis have left the Reserve while Gabe and Cass have stayed. Lewis was the first to go. Things just never seemed right after that fateful hunt. Now living off reserve with the woman he loves and a good job he’s put the shame of that day behind him. Until one day while fixing a light he sees a familiar elk in a familiar pose on his living room floor. By the time he gets to the bottom of the ladder she’s gone.
In the world that Jones has created in this novel the wasteful slaughter of the herd is a transgression that demands payment in blood and the elk herd are capable of collecting. The creature Jones imagines for the job is one of my all time favorite supernatural characters. Terrifying and righteous I found myself rooting for her a few times. In the end all 4 men will have to settle scores once and for all but they won’t be the only ones that get dragged along.
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Mikhaila recommends: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.
When I read this during the summer of 2019, I thought, “Wow, this could actually happen.” A pandemic originating in Georgia, quickly spreads around the globe via air travel. Though I realised the devastative prospect of the events depicted, I finished the last page of Station Eleven optimistically: if such a crisis were to arise, all would not be lost. Little did I know that this scenario would very soon become reality. There were differences, of course—the novel’s swiftness of global transmission, alarming mortality rate and resulting destruction of modern civilization, all in a matter of days—but the parallels were uncanny, at least at the beginning of our current plight.
Station Eleven follows a travelling orchestra, a roving group of actors and troubadours, as they perform Shakespeare across the bleak terrain of what once was Ontario. The narrative jumps back and forth from 5 years pre-outbreak to 20 years post, connecting a cast of characters through plays, an airport, a newspaper, a cult leader and a comic book. Though dystopian in nature, this is not your McCarthy or Atwood apocalyptic account. Station Eleven is a rosier take with prevailing themes of death and survival, of faith and fate, of civilization and, most importantly, of art. What becomes clear is the intrinsic link between art and humanity: as long as we have art we will survive, and as long as we survive we will have art.
I chose Station Eleven as the 1st read for our Community Book Club. I know some have been avoiding this book because of its relevance but I feel that it is this that makes it an important read. That and I trust that readers may finish the last page with the same glimmer of hope I did, that has helped me through the last 12 months.
Place a hold on it here!
Gen recommends: The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to The Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt.
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After hitting a pretty big reading slump at the beginning of 2021 I was starting to worry I wasn’t going to finish a book at all this year! Thankfully The Midnight Library by Matt Haig put an end to that!
Imagine that “Between life and death there is a library. And within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices … Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
Nora Seed is struggling. She feels like she is a failure, she is alone, severely depressed, and feels that her life is no longer worth living. She finally reaches her breaking point and decides to end her life, only to find herself waking up in a space between life and death called the Midnight Library. Nora is presented with the option to undo her regrets and experience what her life would have been like if she had taken a different path. Through living a number of parallel lives had she made different choices, she learns along the way that the grass isn’t always greener and that while it is easy to mourn the lives we aren’t living, “you don’t have to understand life, you just have to live it”.
This is a beautifully written book that reminds us to take stock of the simple pleasures in life and as Thoreau wrote “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see”.
Place a hold on it here!
Denisa recommends: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.
“This book is about a woman Margaret Lea who works in her father’s bookshop and is quite a recluse. She is asked to write a biography for the world’s most famous author Vida Winter. Part mystery and part suspense the layers of the storytelling from Margaret’s perspective as the book progresses is quite gripping. This book kept me guessing until the very end. I liked how the scenes kept me turning the pages for another revelation in the life of Vida Winter and her rather dysfunctional existence in the Angelfeild family history.
“Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes – characters even – caught in the fibres of your clothes, and when you open the new book they are still with you.”
Place a hold on The Thirteenth Tale here!
“I knew nothing about NOS4A2 or its author Joe Hill before reading it. Sure, I’d seen his books circulating fairly well through the library but to be honest I thought the vanity license plate title was a touch on the cheesy side. It did stick in my mind however and after a couple of patrons who are fans of the genre borrowed the book I thought, man, it’s been far too long since I’d read a good horror story. I literally grew up on 80’s horror flicks and Steven King novels but adulthood has caused me to drift away from scary stories. Grown-up life is scary enough maybe?
Vic McQueen is a girl from a working-class home in New England. Home isn’t always a happy place for her. Sometimes the frequent arguments between Mom and Dad end up with Dad washing blood off of his knuckles. Lucky for her when she needs to get away she’s got a sweet Raleigh Tuff Burner BMX that can really fly. Or I should say travel. The combination of bike, girl, and need can create a gateway, a dilapidated covered wooden bridge, which takes Vic exactly where she needs to be to find lost things. A hundred-foot ride through the bridge can drop her halfway across the country. The trips exact a large toll on Vic both physically and mentally.
One day after a particularly nasty scene at home Vic goes looking for trouble and on the Tuff Burner, she always finds what she’s looking for. And then some. Charles Manx is a monster that has been feeding off the essence of children for a long time. It keeps him young. He’s got help too. A series of henchman/minions over the years and a partner, His 1930’s Rolls Royce Wraith. Think an evil version of KIT from Knight Rider. Together they have evaded capture so long because, like Vic, they travel on secret roads. Those roads lead to Christmasland, a place where every day is Christmas. A kid’s dream come true. You can ask any of kids that Manx has brought there over the years. But they don’t seem so much like kids and what they’re doing doesn’t really seem like fun.
When Vic rolls through the bridge and winds up at Charlie’s house things really kick-off. Charlie winds up in prison where the separation from his rollls and energy source leaves him in a coma and Vic in a marriage, with a son of her own, that she can’t hold together. Years of burying the truth in her mind have taken their toll on her and it seems that she’s lost it all. But when Charlie walks out of a morgue and hits the road again, she’ll experience loss like she never knew. With Manx on the road to Christmasland with Vic’s own son as a passenger, Vic will need to remember how to find things again. All she needs is a sweet bike.”
Place a hold on NOS 4A2 here!
This. Book. Has. It. All.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel your heart grow two sizes. Dolly Parton’s is a real rags-to-riches story, brought together with her obvious intelligence and distinct sense of humour about herself and life, proving she’s a lot more than simply bosom and bouffant.”
Place a hold on Songteller: my life in lyrics here!
Gen recommends: The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll.
“Ryder Carroll, creator of the Bullet Journal, explores what it means to live an intentional life, one that’s both productive and meaningful. Whether you’re a frustrated list maker, an overwhelmed multitasker, or a creative who needs some structure, You’ll not only learn to organize your tasks, but to focus your time and energy in pursuit of what’s truly meaningful to you.”
While I’ve diverged a little from Ryder’s methods favoring a more artistic direction, many of his systems are still present in my journals and, I’ve found them to be incredibly helpful. I really enjoy the creative side of journalling, and as I stationary lover, I love any excuse to buy more pretty stationary!
Described as “a charming, poignant novel about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.” I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first picked it up, but I quickly fell in love with Backman’s dry wit and I couldn’t put it down. I will definitely be reading more by him in the future!”
Place a hold on Anxious People here!
I am usually reading non-fiction but sometimes crave a fiction to balance things out on occasion. Lyrebird was an entertaining read based on a woman who lives alone in the rugged mountains of Ireland and has a talent like no other. It reminded me of the stillness and calm that exists in nature and the ways that the chaos of life can so easily pull us away from that and our own peacefulness inside. The story of Laura is unique and kept me guessing as the chapters progressed, would she stay true to herself? If you are in the mood for a bit of a strange story than this is the book for you.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the good fortune to represent the library in our partnership with The Wellness Almanac to co-host a sharing circle led by the incredible Tanina Williams. Envisioned as a safe space for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to talk about building a better relationship on this unceded territory. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much that I should have known long ago.
Brennan recommends: Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson.
“We are introduced to our narrator, 20-year-old Lisamarie Hill while she is in a fog of chain smoking, coffee chugging grief. The fishing boat her younger brother was working on is missing and so is he. Her shattered parents are flying out to be closer to the search leaving Lisamarie at home with her Auntie, her smokes and her ghosts.
The story is centered around Kitimat Village, the ancestral lands of the Haisla people (and author). The Hills are Haisla and through Lisa’s memories we watch her grow. We see how the layers of trauma wrought by colonization can break families apart but also the power of tradition and love to bring them back together.Her immediate family (Mom, Dad, Brother) mostly live a modern, 9 to 5 life but Lisa is drawn to the older ways and gravitates to her Grandma and Uncle who are more connected to them.
We soon realize Lisa has a connection to more than just the land. She is connected the creatures and spirits that most can never see. Some want to help others want to feed. Some exist in the flesh others the spirit realm although the line between is blurred if it ever existed. The tapestry of Lisa’s memories holds pieces to a puzzle that might lead her to her brother if she can put them together in time.
Monkey Beach is the book that launched Eden Robinson into the world of CanLit royalty and her place is well deserved. This is a sad and beautiful story from my new favorite author. let me know what you think.”
Place a hold on it here!
“There is definitely no shortage of WW2 historical fiction novels featuring strong female characters around right now (but apparently a total shortage of ideas for cover designs given how similar they all look). So what, you may ask, made me pick this one up over any of the other many books in this genre right now – you got it – books and libraries are prominent features in the storyline . Anyone who follows our staff picks knows I am a sucker for books about books, libraries, bookstores, etc. so mix in some historical fiction, and I am in!
Kristin Harmel’s The Book of Lost Names is inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II of a young woman with a talent for forgery who helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis, across the border from France to Switzerland. If now was ever a time you needed a story of bravery and resilience, and how to find moments of joy in times of hardship, this is a great choice!
Perfect for fans of The Alice Network and anyone with an interest in WW2 historical fiction.”
Place a hold on it here!
Gen recommends: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E Schwab.
“France, 1714, on the day of her arranged wedding to a man she barely knows, Addie LaRue desperately begs the gods for a life of freedom. As darkness falls, the devil answers her call and a deal is struck. Addie wins her freedom but at the cost of being forgotten by everyone she meets.
Over the next 300 years, Addie travels the globe. She lives through World Wars, inspiring great artists and witnessing incredible events. But Addie wanders the earth alone only visited on the anniversary of the deal by Luc(icfer) ready to take her soul. Until one day, she meets a bookseller named Henry who remembers her. Addie and Henry fall quickly in love, but Luc wants Addie all for himself, and can you ever win against the devil?
The invisible life of Addie LaRue is a tale of two star-crossed lovers that drew me in deeper with every page. While this story may not be as action-packed as some of V.E Schwab’s previous novels, it is written beautifully. As they say ‘the devil is in the details’ and to me, it’s those beautiful & intricate details that make this one a wonderful read!”
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“Eden Robinson’s 2017 novel “Son of a Trickster” has us following the trials and tribulations of high school student Jared Martin. Jared smokes and drinks too much and supplements his paper route income by selling pot cookies to his classmates but don’t get it twisted, Jared is a good kid. A good kid in a really bad situation.Jared is an indigenous kid in Kitimat, once a boom town now in its bust phase since the mill shut down. His parents are divorced and neither can really provide the stability that Jared needs. Jared often needs to be the grown up for his parents. He lives with his Mom Maggie, her drug dealer boyfriend Ritchie and a rotating cast of boarders that almost keep the bills paid. Maggie has all the habits. Booze, drugs, smokes and worst of all a hair trigger temper. Her love for Jared is hard, fierce and protective but never in doubt.
High school is rough and nobody makes it through unscathed . Jared has one thing going for him though, his fame as the “Cookie Guy” makes him popular for as long as the cookies last. Between his “popularity” and the endless party that surrounds his Mom and Ritchie it’s actually harder to avoid the party than join it. Not that he needs his arm twisted.
From here on out things get pretty hairy and I don’t want to give too much detail and spoil the surprise. Let’s just say that the parallel worlds really start to overlap bringing all sorts of interesting beings into Jared’s life. Some terrifying, some just annoying and some with murderous intent. Jared gets help from those he doesn’t expect much from and is abandoned by some who he does. He also gets some truth about his family.”
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“The Shadows is the second novel by British author Alex North – for those of you regularly following our staff picks, you may remember his first novel was without a doubt one of my favourite reads last year ….so I couldn’t wait to read this… and it didn’t disappoint!
“You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.
Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree-and his victim-were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and suffering from dementia, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.
It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.
It wasn’t just the murder. It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…”
Infuriatingly, North writes under a pseudonym and it’s proving to be a much better kept secret than the time emerging author Robert Galbraith turned out to be none other than J K Rowling. North’s first two novels have been so good that I just want to read more by him, but alas my librarian sleuthing skills have failed me so far! If you are looking for a creepy thriller with good twists, then look no further!”
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“A Burning is set in modern-day India and is narrated by three characters: Jivan, a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to improve her station in life. Lovely, a streetwise hijra who dreams of becoming a movie star, and PT Sir, Jivan’s former P.E teacher.
One evening Jivan witnesses a terrorist attack at a railway station close to her home that kills over a hundred people. Social media blows up with news clips of the firebombing, pleas for donations, and demands for justice.
As Jivan scrolls through Facebook, she watches a video of a woman who lost her husband in the attack, while a group of policemen stood idly by. Incensed, Jivan shares the video, and when her post doesn’t gain the attention she hoped, she impulsively adds a provocative comment on her post. A few days later, Jivan is woken in the early hours by a policewoman and is arrested, accused of helping execute the terrorist attack.
Jivan’s ensuing trial tests the bonds of friendship and morality. Both Lovely and PT Sir have the opportunity to help Jivan but doing so means letting go of the things they most desire.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! A burning does tackle some heavy subject matter but I found Majumdar’s characters add some humor that offsets much of the darkness and brings a sense of warmth to the story. The characters are wonderfully compelling, and it is a storyline that doesn’t seem far fetched at all.
Highly recommended for those that enjoy reading Tommy Orange, Yaa Gyasi, and Jhumpa Lahiri.”
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