Weekend Picks

100 Ed.

A couple of years ago I set out to share my love of film with you all. After 100 posts, covering over 300 films, I think I’ve done a pretty alright job in sharing our eclectic and always growing film collection. Though the formats may change, I believe that our Library will always have the very best in film. Because of this, I’m truly looking forward to sharing the next 100 posts and beyond.

Here’s this somewhat anonymous staff blogger’s unabashed SAPL top-ten, in no particular order:

Henry & June


Dick Tracy


Listen Up Philip




Laurence Anyways


Blade Runner


Bram Stoker’s Dracula


Donnie Darko




Pretty in Pink


…this reminds me, I should really get a copy of American Psycho.


St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the September 13, 2017 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Beauty of discomfortThe Beauty of Discomfort : how what we avoid is what we need

By Amanda Lang

Successful people don’t merely tolerate discomfort–they embrace it and seek it out again and again. Business founders and university students, top athletes and couch potatoes, meditation gurus and military leaders all have very different ways of coping with discomfort, but the most successful among them believe that withstanding discomfort is a skill that has helped them.



Life on the ground floorLife on the Ground Floor : letters to the edge of emergency medicine

By James Maskalyk

In this deeply personal book, humanitarian doctor James Maskalyk  draws upon his experience treating patients in the world’s emergency rooms. From Toronto to Addis Ababa, Cambodia to Bolivia, he discovers that although the cultures, resources and challenges of each hospital may differ, they are linked indelibly by the ground floor: the location of their emergency rooms.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51o0hzylgrl-_sx329_bo1204203200_I LET YOU GO by Clare Mackintosh

This debut novel by Clare Mackintosh shows how the lives of so many people can change in a split second. A five year old boy, Jacob, is standing on the curb with his mom and a split-second later he’s under the wheels of a car that quickly backs up and drives away. His death rips Jenna Gray’s world to pieces and there will never be any peace for her unless she escapes: unless she runs away.   And run she does – to a small little village in Wales where she can grieve in peace and begin to heal.

This story is told from the point of view of three of the main characters: Jenna, Ray (the detective investigating the hit and run case), and Ian, whose relationship to Jenna is gradually explained to us.

As the painstaking investigation reaches the first year anniversary date and the team is no closer in identifying the driver of the car, they are told to log the case as “unsolved” and turn their attention to more current cases.

And then comes the twist in the story, completely blind-siding me, and the novel takes an abrupt turn and heads off in a completely new direction.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything with such a clever plot-twist, and this proceeded to be a “can’t put down until it’s finished” read.

Well-plotted, believable characters, and a memorable setting.  What more could one ask for in a mystery?  Nothing.  This book has it all.

Seniors Book Club September Selection

House at the edge of nightThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, September 13 in Forsyth Hall to discuss The House at the Edge of Night, a novel by Catherine Banner.

About the book …

Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a café draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy.

Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness.

Catherine Banner has written an enthralling, character-rich novel, epic in scope but intimate in feeling. At times, the island itself seems alive, a mythical place where the earth heaves with stories—and this magical novel takes you there. (Publisher)

About the author …

Catherine Banner was born in Cambridge, UK, in 1989 and began writing at the age of fourteen. She studied English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, before moving to County Durham where she worked as a secondary school teacher. She has previously published a trilogy of young adult novels, The Last Descendants. She currently lives in Turin, Italy, with her husband.

Her debut adult novel, The House at the Edge of Night, tells the story of the 2008 financial crisis and 95 years of European history through one family and their bar on a tiny Mediterranean island. It has been published in 22 languages, and was listed as a Kirkus Reviews and NPR best book of 2016. Her second novel will be published in the summer of 2018.

Catherine is a member of Italian PEN and PEN Writers’ Circle. She is also the writing consultant for Project VOICE, a not-for-profit creative writing project which aims to provide a platform for development, peace, social care and humanitarian workers to tell the stories of their work in their own countries, in their own words. (author website)

An author interview

A UK publisher’s Q & A

A Penguin Random House Reader’s Guide

National Post book review

NPR book review

“Innocents uncovered” – an essay by Catherine Banner

“What getting published at 16 taught me about becoming a writer” by Catherine Banner