Joanne’s Mystery Picks

51kt-ec3rql-_sx324_bo1204203200_KNOTS AND CROSSES by Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin has a huge following of fans for his Rebus series but so far I’m not one of them.  I read a couple of his novels some years back but just couldn’t get into them so decided to give it another try with this, his first in the Rebus series.

John Rebus is haunted by a past that he has very little recollection of.  What recollection he does have has invaded his sleep with nightmares and his waking hours with flashbacks of horror and pain.

At the Great London Road police station in Edinburgh where he is a DS the team is investigating the abduction and deaths of young girls.  Meanwhile, Rebus is the recipient of a series of anonymous letters containing pieces of knotted string – letters which he quickly dismisses as practical jokes.

As the investigation shifts into high gear due to more abductions and deaths, a member of the public alerts the team to the possible motivation of the murderer.  Suddenly everything falls into place and Rebus knows exactly who is responsible.

3 Daggers
Joanne gives this “3 daggers out of 5”


Seniors Book Club November Selection

ForgivenessThe Seniors Drop-In Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 14 in the second floor Training Room to discuss this year’s winner of Canada Reads, the memoir Forgiveness : a gift from my grandparents by Mark Sakamoto.

About the book …

When the Second World War broke out, Ralph MacLean traded his quiet yet troubled life on the Magdalen Islands in eastern Canada for the ravages of war overseas. On the other side of the country, Mitsue Sakamoto and her family felt their pleasant life in Vancouver starting to fade away after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Ralph found himself one of the many Canadians captured by the Japanese in December 1941. He would live out his war in a prison camp, enduring beatings, starvation, electric feet and a journey on a hell ship to Japan, watching his friends and countrymen die all around him. Mitsue and her family were ordered out of their home and were packed off to a work farm in rural Alberta, leaving many of their possessions behind. By the end of the war, Ralph was broken but had survived. The Sakamotos lost everything when the community centre housing their possessions was burned to the ground, and the $25 compensation from the government meant they had no choice but to start again.

Forgiveness intertwines the compelling stories of Ralph MacLean and the Sakamotos as the war rips their lives and their humanity out of their grasp. But somehow, despite facing such enormous transgressions against them, the two families learned to forgive. Without the depth of their forgiveness, this book’s author, Mark Sakamoto, would never have existed.

Author website

Author biography

Forgiveness on Canada Reads

A Maclean’s interview

A CBC Books interview

A National Post book review

A Ripple Effects Blog book review

A CBC Q Radio interview with Mark Sakamoto and Joy Kogawa

Mark Sakamoto about “Where I Write”

“Why Mark Sakamoto’s father got emotional reading his son’s memoir”

Architect Raymond Moriyama on Internment

Mark Sakamoto on YouTube

Monday Evening Book Club November Selection

Boat peopleThe Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, November 12 in the second floor Training Room to discuss The Boat People, a novel by Sharon Bala.

About the book …

The Boat People is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism. When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks–and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada’s national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son’s chance for asylum. Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian who reluctantly represents the refugees; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate as evidence mounts against him, The Boat People is a spellbinding and timely novel that provokes a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis”–Provided by publisher.

Author website

Sharon Bala and Canada Reads 2018

An Interview with Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala on YouTube

Discussion Questions

Book review in The Tyee

Kirkus book review

MV Sun Sea incident (2010)

The Guardian article (2010)

The Tyee Opinion article (2010)

National Post article (2017) 

Ocean Lady Incident article

MV Sun Sea on YouTube

Komagata Maru indident (1914)

Komagata Maru on YouTube



St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the November 7, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Son of a tricksterSon of a Trickster : a novel

By Eden Robinson

Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family’s life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he’s puzzled over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he’s the son of a trickster, that he isn’t human. A compelling blend of humour and heart-break. Come to the StarFest event with Eden Robinson on November 9, 7 pm.



MamaskatchMamaskatch : a Cree coming of age

By Darrel J. McLeod

Beautifully written, honest and thought-provoking, Mamaskatch–named for the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared–is ultimately an uplifting account of overcoming personal and societal obstacles. In spite of the traumas of Darrel’s childhood, deep and mysterious forces handed down by his mother helped him survive and thrive. Winner of the 2018 Governor General’s Non-Fiction award.

Weekend Picks

The Comeback Ed.

It’s been a while since any picks have appeared here and for no real good reason at that. Well, I can tell you it took the alchemy of bop to reshape my mental slumber and post something new.  Another catalyst was the purity of yesterday’s snowfall combined with the now early sunsets, both of which could only be complemented by something dim and dramatic on this planned night in. If you watch the trailer below, you’ll understand the perfection that this film added to complement the mood of last night. Jazz, bebop, black classical music, call it what you will, this film clearly reveals the sharp as a tack style and substance of this era in music history through the swirling story of one its smattering of artistic geniuses, Mr. Lee Morgan.

I can’t help but feel inspired which means I’m back to posting with some regularity…biweekly at best/worst.



I Called Him Morgan

On a snowy night in February 1972, celebrated jazz musician Lee Morgan was shot dead by his wife Helen during a gig at a New York City club. The murder sent shockwaves through the jazz community, and the memory of the event still haunts all who knew the Morgans. The feature documentary by Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collin is a love letter to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together.