Book picks as published in the February 5, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.
Africville : a novel
By Jeffrey Colvin
A stunning debut with a richly woven tapestry, set in a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves, that depicts several generations of one family bound together and torn apart by blood, faith, time, and fate. Structured as a triptych, Africaville chronicles the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family from the 1930s to the 1980s. Vibrant, lyrical and told in a powerful, haunting voice.
Had it coming : what’s fair in the age of #MeToo
By Robyn Doolittle
The world is now increasingly aware of the pervasiveness of rape culture in which powerful men got away with sexual assault and harassment for years. Surprisingly, Canada has the most progressive sexual assault laws in the developed world, yet the system is failing victims at every stage. A nuanced and informed look at how attitudes around sexual behaviour have changed and still need to change.
Having read these three mysteries, back-to-back, I thought I’d do a comparison of them. Robinson’s latest centers on the discovery of the body of a teenage boy, stuffed into a wheelie bin. A secondary story-line involves Zelda, Annie’s father’s partner, who is a victim of human trafficking. Banks comes across as arrogant, pompous, and acting as a lone wolf as he interviews suspects and reveals details of the cases to the very suspects that he’s investigating. His constant references to musical artists and obscure songs has now become tiresome and boring. The rest of his team are seldom present during this overly-long story. Banks and the other characters have no personality, no individuality, and are wooden and cold.
One would never be able to pick them out of a line-up, having no real sense of what they even look like.
Crombie takes her characters out of London and into the country as Duncan, Gemma, and family are guests at the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant. But the quiet weekend that they’d all hoped for is not to be when a tragic car accident, followed by a series of mysterious deaths, draws Kincaid and Gemma into the investigation. The complex relationships between the characters are fully explored, giving the reader a true picture of each participant in the story. I felt that I really knew these people and understood their motivations.
Logan McRae has a particularly gruesome case to tackle, in McBride’s fourth installment of this intense series. A legal appeal has released a convicted serial killer back into the community 20 years after his crimes. Now people are going missing again and human meat is being found in butchers’ shops. McRae, along with DI Steele and Insch literally jump off the page as they go about the grisly task of finding the killer, leaving the reader laughing at the gallows-humour and eccentricities of these colorful, well-formed characters. McBride’s ability to bring his characters to life is second-to-none, and even the dead victims have more life than any of the characters in Peter Robinson’s latest.
The Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, February 10 in the second floor Training Room to discuss the novel Clock Dance by Anne Tyler.
About the book
“Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places”– Provided by publisher.
About the author
An Interview with the author
A New York Times book review
A Guardian book review
Book picks as published in the January 29, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.
The Secrets we kept : a novel
By Lara Prescott
At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice–the real-life story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.
Double exposure : a novel
By Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
CIA Agent Lana Welles drops in to the Library of Congress’s National Film Archive with a film canister, smuggled over the Berlin Wall, that may prove WWII never really ended — it just went underground. An action-packed “triple feature” debut thriller about a war veteran and CIA officer in the 1960s swept up into a cat and mouse game with enormous, world-altering consequences where Hitler may still be alive.
Book picks as published in the January 22, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.
Winterlust : finding beauty in the fiercest season
By Bernd Brunner
A sweeping, beautiful survey of all things winter. A farmer painstakingly photographs five thousand snowflakes. Indigenous peoples thrive on frozen terrain, where famous explorers perish. This lovingly illustrated meditation on winter entwines the spectacular with the everyday, expertly capturing the essence of a beloved yet dangerous season, which is all the more precious in an era of climate change.
Magnetic North : sea voyage to Svalbard
By Jenna Butler
From the endangered Canadian boreal forest to the environmentally threatened Svalbard archipelago off the coast of Norway, Jenna Butler takes us on a sea voyage that connects continents and traces the impacts of climate change on northern lands. With a conservationist, female gaze, she questions explorer narratives and the mythic draw of the polar North.