Staff Picks

 

 

 View all of our staff picks lists here!

Gen recommends: The Cold Vanish: seeking the missing in North America’s wildlands by Jon Billman.
I love reading stories of people defying the odds and tales of survival, like the book 438 Days, where Jose Salvador Alvarenga survived for fourteen months in a small boat drifting in the Pacific Ocean. Or the inspirational book No Barriers written by Erik Weihenmayer, the first and only blind man to summit Mt. Everest and kayak the Grand Canyon! But, on the other hand, I am also drawn to darker tales like Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, where sometimes adventure turns into tragedy.
Much like Krakauer’s Into the wild, The Cold Vanish stemmed from an article written for Outside magazine. Billman, a frequent contributor to Outside magazine, was tasked by his editor to estimate the number of people missing in the wilds of North America. His research reveals that no official tally exists, and estimates vary so wildly that it is difficult to put an exact number on just how many people are missing.
The Cold Vanish examines several missing person cases from North America where people have disappeared without a trace. These stories defy conventional logic. People vanish into thin air. Is it intentional, are they incredibly unlucky, or is it something more sinister?
The book primarily focuses on the case of Jacob Gray. Jacob disappeared from Olympic National Park in Washington in 2017. After the initial search fails to locate Jacob, Jacob’s father Randy relentlessly continues the search for Jacob. Billman joins Randy’s search following leads across the US and even into Canada. Billman does an incredible job of compassionately conveying the emotional roller-coaster of pain and hope.
The book is a stark reminder to always be prepared for the worst when heading into the wilderness. A riveting read for any outdoor enthusiast.
Place it on hold!
Emma recommends: The Authenticity Project by Claire Pooley.
“After hitting another phenomenal book slump this past few weeks I needed something a little ‘lighter’ to break the run of bad luck I was having in my book selections. I normally turn to authors such as Lianne Moriarty when I need a good palate cleanser but while perusing the available titles on Libby I came across The Authenticity Project by Claire Pooley.
What would happen if everyone stopped lying about their lives and told the truth about what was really happening? The story centres around a green notebook that has been intentionally left at a London cafe by lonely septuagenarian Julian Jessop, inside which he shares the truth about his life and invites its future readers to do the same, before leaving it a new location. Inevitably the contributors all supply just enough personal information that can identify them to each other so that their paths cross and what emerges is the story of six strangers united by one solitary green notebook as they confront the realities of their own lives and each others.
It was only at the author notes at the end that I learned that Claire is also the author of bestsellingThe Sober Diaries: How one woman stopped drinking and started living and that many of the central characters are largely based on her own challenges with living that “perfect life”, her subsequent sense of losing herself and dependence on alcohol. While there are no great surprises in how the story evolves, this was a heart-warming read about the importance of being true to yourself, and how being brave and putting yourself out there to make real connections with people, is not as scary as it may seem. “
Place a hold on it here!

 

Denisa recommends: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.
“This book was a great read, Barbara’s writing is lyrical and full of creative energy. The book is written with three main stories that all have independent women protagonists in common.
It begins with a random but steamy love affair in the isolated mountains where a wildlife biologist, Deanna Wolfe has seemingly sworn off society in favour of tracking a wild pack of coyotes. She is caught by surprise when a hunter appears out of nowhere and bedazzles her with his youthful charm.
Then the story of a long held family farm down the mountain where Lusa Maluf Landowski, a city girl, marries the heir to the farm and has to adapt to a very different lifestyle.
Third is the story of an old man angry at the world and fighting with nature who learns a thing or two from his neighbour Nannie Rawley.
Barbara weaves many types of love story between the characters while debates of religion, pesticides, insects and small-town life are played out in the Appalachian mountains. She tells the tale of a community in relationship with wilderness and their role in working with or against it. The subplots within the book eventually all weave together beautifully.”
Place it on hold here!

 

 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.”

Place a hold on it here!

Mikhaila recommends: French Exit by Patrick DeWitt.

 

I read a succession of books that were pretty heavy and so, needing something light for a break, I picked this one up on a whim. Not having previously read any of Patrick DeWitt’s other (critically acclaimed) novels, I went in not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised.
Francis Price, a famed New York socialite, finds herself and her adult son in dire straits after years of frivolity have run their resources dry. Forced out of their apartment, they sell their worldly possessions while they can and, accompanied by a cat Francis believes to embody the spirit of her long-deceased husband, flee the country via cruise ship to a friend’s apartment in Paris.

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.

Bonus: French Exit also just so happens to be this month’s Community Book Club read and we still have a couple of copies left.
Place a copy on hold here!

 

Gen recommends: I will judge you by your bookshelf by Grant Snider.

Fellow bibliophiles are you looking for a quick, lighthearted and humorous read? Well, look no further.
Grant Snider (creator of Incidental Comics and an orthodontist) perfectly illustrates to joys of reading and writing.
This is an adorable ode to book lovers and writers. As a complete and utter book nerd and lover of books, I found it wonderfully relatable.
I promise not to judge you by your bookshelf if you promise not to judge me by mine.

Place a hold on it here!

 

Emma recommends: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.

Despite Kristin Hannah’s previous two novels The Great Alone and The Nightingale being heavily borrowed titles at the Library, The Four Winds is surprisingly (to me at least!) the first Kristin Hannah book I have read.
Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the story chronicles the life of Elsa from a lonely isolated childhood in Texas, to the challenges of raising a family in the Dust Bowl era. The combination of Elsa’s personal story interwoven with the historical aspect of the harsh realities of life and the difficult decisions to be made by those living in the Great Plains during this time, made this a compelling page-turner.

Place a hold on it here!

 

Denisa recommends: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

 

This is the second book I have read by Ann Patchett and I found it to be a page-turner just as the first one I read (The Dutch House). Ann has such unique story ideas for books. I love how the author starts the story with such an alluring scene where she speaks of a kiss and then all are plunged into sudden darkness while guests shout their intense gratitude for Roxanne Coss, the opera singer who becomes a key character in the rest of the book.
Things quickly become serious as supposed terrorists take over the lavish affair. A birthday gathering for Mr. Hosokawa, a prominent businessman from Japan, becomes a confusing rush of activity and excitement.
Nearly the entire story then takes place in a South American country at a large mansion where Ruben Iglesias, the Vice President, is stationed with his family. Interesting relationships and bonds develop over the course of the book, and at the centre of these ties is the love of music.
If you are a lover of Opera this book is definitely for you.

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.

Place it on hold here!

Brennan recommends: Return of the Trickster by Eden Robinson.

 

As the final installment of the wildly popular Trickster trilogy, Return of the Trickster had a lot to live up to. A story with dozens of characters in various stages of being which spans literal universes is a tricky thing to wrap up tidily in just 300 pages. Luckily Robinson has done a superb job in the first 2 volumes building great characters and plot lines, I was fully back in the swing of the story within a chapter or so.
It’s just as well too because “Return” wastes no time chucking us right back into the fray. The book picks up moments after the end of Trickster Drift with Jared naked and beaten in the basement of his former home in Kitimat. The non-magical people in his life get the “fell off the wagon blackout” story but those who know the whole Jared know there’s a lot more than relapse threatening him. He has just found out that aside from being one of 535 children fathered by Wee’ Git the Trickster, he is the only one who is a trickster himself. All he wanted was a normal life and that’s now impossible.
On the plus side, Jared has always had a lot of people and other beings (including Chuck the snowboarding Wild Man of the Woods with a sweet place on the water in Emerald!) who love and are willing to fight for him even if it means going to war with his cannibalistic Ogress Aunt and her army of Coywolves. One of the strongest themes in the series is the inclusive idea of family or kinship. Blood isn’t necessary to be family but love and patience are. Jared will need plenty of both if he’s going to make it through this.
The only problem that I had with this book is that it had to end. It was a beautiful, strange trip that I look forward to taking again.

Place it on hold here!

Mikhaila recommends: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

 

Homegoing starts with two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, in 18th Century Ghana, at the height of the slave trade. The two sisters, one a product of rape, the other of marriage, share a mother but never meet, though they know of each other’s existence. Effia is married off to a British slave trader and remains in Ghana while Esi is kidnapped and sent on a slave ship to the United States.
Homegoing reads like two different routes with the same origin and destination, following two branches of a family tree separated by oceans and through centuries. Yaa Gyasi, born in Ghana and raised in America herself, skillfully captures the plight of the West African people during the Slave trade, while simultaneously criticizing their own involvement in the capturing and trading of their citizens. A series of vignettes, each chapter is dedicated to the story of a different descendant of either Esi or Effia, in America or Ghana, alternating back and forth, working its way through time to the present day. Esi’s family story is lost, as with the histories of many of those traded as slaves, while Effia’s, replete with tragedy of its own, remains intact, told as oral history. Each chapter of Homegoing could stand alone as a short story but come together in the book’s final pages, the two branches finally intersecting creating a quilt stitched together with recurring themes and symbols–fire, water, a stone pendant.
Loaded with tragedy and heartbreak, this is not a light read, but it’s an important one and you’ll find yourself flipping back to the family tree on the first page throughout as the stories transverse generations, the characters carrying and conquering familial trauma, and battling the indelible marks of a past they and their ancestors had no control over.
Place it on hold here!

 

Gen recommends: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

 

18th century London: Hidden in a dark London alley is a small apothecary, which secretly dispenses poisons to women seeking revenge on men who have betrayed them. The details of these deadly transactions are meticulously recorded in a registry hidden inside the shop. Business is steady until one client’s revenge goes wrong, and the authorities begin an investigation that could risk the lives of all those who have used the apothecary in the past.
Present-day London. While vacationing alone, Caroline finds a small vial on a mudlarking tour in the River Thames (Mudlarking is the practice of scavenging for old or valuable objects- usually on the shore of a river). Intrigued by her find and determined to take her mind off her husband’s recent betrayal, Caroline attempts to uncover the vial’s secrets.
The Lost Apothecary is the debut novel of Sarah Penner. I was first lured in by the beautiful cover but soon found it an intoxicating and engaging read. This book has it all- poison, revenge, history and magic.. I flew through it, couldn’t read it fast enough. It is empowering and uplifting (even with all the murder and betrayal!). Penner left me feeling inspired- to embrace the unknown, seize upon second chances and discover the magic of life. It is one of my favourite reads so far this year!”
Place it on hold here!

 

Emma recommends: The Push by Ashley Audrain.

“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.

Despite me tearing through the novel over a weekend (I literally could not put it down!), this is a book that has lingered with me long after I finished the last page.

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?

The Push tells the story of the ripple effects of 3 dysfunctional generations of motherhood . There is no denying that it is at times an uncomfortable read; whether through the lens of mother or daughter, this book speaks to the many challenges of motherhood and raises questions about nature versus nurture and what it is that makes a good mother.”

Place it on hold here!

Denisa recommends: Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman.

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.

Place a hold on it here!

 

Brennan recommends: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones.

“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.

Place a hold on it here! 

 

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.

You may know of the 99% invisible as a very popular architecture and design podcast. The podcast began back in 2010 as a short 4-minute radio spot in San Francisco and has grown to become one of the most popular podcasts (with over 500 million downloads!!). The book is compiled from episodes from the show and examines everyday objects that are invisible because of their everydayness, like street signs, roundabouts, revolving doors, and bench armrests that are far more interesting than they seem at first glance. The book navigates the cityscape through 125 fascinating stories in which the authors skillfully turn the everyday into the extraordinary.
“So much of the conversation about design centers on beauty, but the more fascinating stories of the built world are about problem-solving, historical constraints, and human drama.”
Whether you’re a fan of the show or it’s new to you, I highly recommend giving the book a read. The book is engaging, thoughtful and will change the way you look at your surroundings and encourage you to seek out hidden wonders in the everyday.
“You are about to see stories everywhere you beautiful nerd.”
Place a hold on it here!
PS. If you love listening to podcasts, and really want someone to discuss all the amazingness you’re listening to, you’re in luck! We have recently started a monthly podcast club at the library! You can learn more here: https://pemberton.bc.libraries.coop/podcast-club/

Emma recommends: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

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.

Here is a quote from the book that sums up how I feel as I finish the last page:

“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.”

All in all a strange storyline that kept me captivated and entertained through each chapter.”

Place a hold on The Thirteenth Tale here!

Brennan recommends NOS 4A2 by Joe Hill.

“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!

Mikhaila recommends: Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics by Dolly Parton.

“In honour of her 75th birthday, the book I’ve chosen as my first staff pick (Hi, I’m Mikhaila!), is “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics” by none other than the queen herself.
Dolly definitely seems to be having a moment, but that being said, when examining her six-and-a-half decade long career, you would be hard-pressed to find a time when she was not having a moment.
Take a deep dive into the meaning behind the lyrics of some of her most recognizable songs while perusing never-before-seen photographs. The book starts with the first song she ever penned, at the age of six—a catchier ditty than I could compose today, at nearly half her current age—and wraps up with some of her most recent releases, each one accompanied by an anecdote from her fascinating life. Though Dolly’s career has been famously built around reminiscing about her own past, whether you’re a country fan or not (I’m not), it’s hard not to feel a connection to her beautifully crafted lyrics, as if she is actually writing about you.

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.”

I started bullet journaling a few years ago when I couldn’t find a yearly planner that met my needs. I was working multiple jobs, struggling to stay organised, and balance my time. I looked at apps online but already felt that I was spending too much time on my phone and didn’t need another excuse to pick it up. Ryder’s book is an excellent read for both beginners and seasoned bullet journalers; it starts by outlining how-to bullet journal and then moves onto the why.

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!

Place a hold on The Bullet Journal Method here! 

 

Emma recommends: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.

“Backman’s books have featured heavily on our staff picks shelves over the years and despite all of his books being on my ever-increasing to-read pile, his latest novel is the first that I have actually gotten around to reading.

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!

 

Denisa recommends: Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern.

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.

Place a hold on Lyrebird here!

 

Brennan recommends: The Best of Chief Dan George by Chief Dan George and Helmut Hirnschall and Little Big Man.

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.

One such thing is the amazing life and work of Geswanouth Slahoot, better known as Chief Dan George. Born in 1899, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation of the Burrard Inlet, Chief Dan witnessed many changes for his people in the 82 years he walked the earth. Pretty terrible changes. After a childhood spent in residential school, he tried his hand as a bus driver, construction worker, traveling musician, longshoreman, and of course Band Chief and all the while he was writing, singing, creating, and thinking about ways the land could be shared to the benefits of all the beings that inhabit it.
At age 60 Chief Dan embarked on a new career. In 1960 he was cast for a role in the CBC series Cariboo Country and with no formal training, his natural and instinctive acting got him noticed. The parts began to roll in and eventually, he was cast as Old Lodge Skins in Little Big Man. The film bucked the tropes of the American western by portraying the military in a realistic (unflattering) light and showing the “Indians” as nuanced human beings. Chief Dan’s Old Lodge Skins was so natural, funny, and believable that he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
After that role, he never lacked for acting work but his greatest achievement is the work he did advocate for the rights and dignity of Indigenous peoples and the land. Many of his poems are collected in The Best of Chief Dan George. I opened the book and didn’t set it down until it was finished. It’s beautiful. Many pieces are uplifting while many reflect despair. I wonder how Chief Dan would feel about the current moment?
I’ve barely scratched the surface here. I encourage you to learn more about this amazing man. He’s my new answer to the old “who would you have dinner with?” game.
Place a hold on the Best of Chief Dan George here!
Place a hold on Little Big Man here!

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.”

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Emma recommends: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel.

“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.”

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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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Brennan recommends: Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

“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.”

Place a hold on it here!

 

Emma recommends: The Shadows by Alex North.

“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!”

Place a hold on it here!

 

Gen recommends: A Burning by Megha Majumdar.

“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.”

Place a hold on it here!