St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the March 21, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Precious CargoPrecious Cargo : my year driving the kids on school bus 3077

By Craig Davidson

Davidson tells the story of one year in his life – driving a school bus full of special-needs kids. He shows us how his evolving relationship with the kids on that bus, each of them struggling physically as well as emotionally and socially, slowly but surely changed his life along with the lives of the precious cargo in his care. A Canada Reads 2018 contender.


ForgivenessForgiveness : a gift from my grandparents

By Mark Sakamoto

Forgiveness intertwines the stories of Ralph MacLean and the Sakamotos as the Second World War rips their lives and their humanity out of their grasp. Despite facing such enormous transgressions against them, the two families learned to forgive. Without the depth of their forgiveness, this book’s author would never have existed. A Canada Reads 2018 contender.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

34064625BODY ON BAKER STREET  by Vicki Delaney

There aren’t very many surprises in this heavily formulaic mystery by Canada’s Vicki Delany.  When Gemma Doyle and Jayne Wilson, proprietors of the Sherlock Homes Bookshop and Emporium on Baker Street, are approached about holding a book signing with Renalta Van Markoff, the controversial author of the Hudson and Homes mystery series, it’s glaringly obvious who the victim will be in this second book in the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.  Not only that, but we know what the “murder weapon” will be a good twenty-four hours before the murder is committed (it couldn’t be more obvious if it was lit up with a neon sign!).

There’s the indignant Holmes’ expert who decries Renalta’s interpretation of Conan Doyle’s invention; Renalta’s long-suffering assistant; and finally, the handsome publicist.  All are considered suspects and Gemma and Jayne take it upon themselves to solve this murder before an innocent person is arrested.

9781487002749THE IMAM OF TAWI-TAWI by Ian Hamilton

Ava has just started a new relationship with the actress Pang Fai when she’s contacted by one of Uncle’s oldest friends.  He wants Ava to fly to Manila to look into the rumours of a college in Tawi-Tawi, an island in the Philippines, which is said to be training terrorists.

While the first part of this novel seems to consist of Ava “living” on her phone, the pace soon ramps up and Ava is thrust into an investigation that is anything but simple.  She partners up with a CIA agent and what they find when they finally are able to investigate the college will chill you to the bone.

Hamilton has raised the bar again with this novel as Ava has to rely on all the guile and wisdom that Uncle ever passed onto her while also digging deep into her own personal resources.


Weekend Picks

St. Patrick’s Day Picks



Sing Street

See 1980s Dublin through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Conor, who is looking for a break from a home strained by his parents’ relationship and money troubles while trying to adjust to his new inner-city public school where the kids are rough and the teachers are rougher. He finds a glimmer of hope in the mysterious, über-cool Raphina. With the aim of winning her heart he invites her to star in his band’s music videos. There’s only one problem: he’s not part of a band yet.



An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.


In the Name of the Father

A true story of one man’s 15-year struggle and ultimate triumph over a terrible injustice. Gerry Conlon, a petty thief in 1970s London, who is forced to confess to a savage terrorist bombing that he did not commit. When he and his father are both sentenced to life imprisonment as one of the ‘Guildford Four’, he finds a fiercely dedicated lawyer, to help prove his innocence, clear his father’s name and expose the truth behind one of the most shameful legal events in recent history.



Dramatizes the final days of Bobby Sands, a twenty-seven-year-old Irish Republican Army member who went on a hunger strike at Maze Prison to protest the British government’s refusal to recognize him and his fellow IRA inmates as political prisoners.


Veronica Guerin

Based on the true story of Irish journalist, Veronica Guerin, whose reporting on powerful drug lords cost Veronica her life.



A Czech immigrant meets an Irish street musician, and together they spend one eventful week writing and recording songs that describe their own unique love.


The Magdalene Sisters

In Ireland in the 1960s, three women were sent to the Magdalene Sisterhood Asylum because of ‘sinful’ behavior. They all had to work in the laundry, where the strict nuns would break everyone’s wills through sadistic punishment.



Follows the story of a fisherman who pulls up his nets one day to find a woman inside, which his daughter believes to be a selkie, but as they fall in love, a figure from her past threatens to disrupt their happiness.


The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Driven by a deep sense of duty and a love for his country, Damien abandons his burgeoning career as a doctor and joins his brother, Teddy in a dangerous and violent fight for freedom. As the Irish freedom fighters bold tactics bring the British to a breaking point, both sides finally agree to a treaty to end the bloodshed. But, despite the apparent victory, civil war erupts and families who fought side by side, find themselves pitted against one another, putting their loyalties to the ultimate test.


The Crying Game

A compassionate Irish terrorist risks his own life to seek out the girlfriend of the hostage he held, and discovers that personal relationships are complex and more satisfying than political commitments.


Waking Ned Devine

When Ned Devine dies from shock after winning the lottery, two longtime friends, Michael and Jackie, discover the body and agree Ned would want them to benefit from his good luck. They embark upon an outrageous scheme to claim the ticket – but first they must convince the townfolk to go along with their plan.








St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the March 14, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

I am I am I amI am, I am, I am : seventeen brushes with death

By Maggie O’Farrell

We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death. Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. An extraordinary memoir from one of Northern Ireland’s bestselling novelists, for fans of Wild and When Breath Becomes Air.



American war (cover only)American war : a novel

By Omar El Akkad

A second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle–a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself. An audacious and powerful debut novel that is shortlisted for Canada Reads 2018.