Monday Evening Book Club October Selection

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet in the Training Room on October 1Do Not Say We Have Nothing6 at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien.

About the book

In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman called Ai-Ming, who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Ai-Ming tells Marie the story of her family in Revolutionary China – from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989.  It is a story of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians – the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai – struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.  Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing was the winner of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and longlisted for the 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. (Publisher)

About Madeleine Thien (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

The Cultural Revolution: All you need to know about China’s political convulsion (The Guardian) 

It was the worst of times: China is still in denial about its “spiritual holocaust” (The Economist)

The Great Leap Forward (Chinese posters)

Tiananmen Square, then and now (The Atlantic)

Madeleine Thien: ‘In China you learn a lot from what people don’t tell you’ (The Guardian) 

Madeleine Thien on the writing process behind her prize-winning novel (Banff Centre)

Quill and Quire book review

New York Times book review

 

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club January Selection

The Monday Evening Book Club will meet in Forsyth Hall on January 9 at 7:00 pm. Our pick this month is The Prison Book Club, a memoir by Ann Walmsley.

prison-book-club

About the book

An attack in London left journalist Ann Walmsley unable to walk alone down the street, and shook her belief in the fundamental goodness of people. A few years later, when a friend asked her to participate in a bold new venture in a men’s medium security prison, Ann had to weigh her curiosity and desire to be of service against her anxiety and fear.
But she signed on, and for eighteen months went to a remote building at Collins Bay Institution, meeting a group of heavily tattooed book club members without the presence of guards or security cameras. There was no wine and cheese, no plush furnishings. But a book club on the inside proved to be a place to share ideas and regain a sense of humanity.
From The Grapes of Wrath to The Cellist of Sarajevo, Outliers to Infidel, the book discussions became a springboard for frank conversations about loss, anger, redemption, and loneliness. The books changed the men and the men changed Walmsley. (Publisher)

About the author

Ann Walmsley is a magazine journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s. She is the recipient of four National Magazine Awards and a Canadian Business Journalism Award. In November 2016, Walmsley won the 25th annual $10,000 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction for The Prison Book Club. 

Ann Walmsley founded her first book club at age nine. She lives in Toronto with her family. (Publisher)

Book Clubs for Inmates website

The book club at the big house: How reading makes a difference in prison (Globe and Mail)

The darkness inside Canada’s prisons: Michael Enright interviews Carol Finlay (podcast)

When an author visits a [prison] book club

Book review in the Globe and Mail

Book review in Quill and Quire 

Book review in the Winnipeg Free Press

Carol Finlay on The Morning Show (video)

Ann Walmsley website

Seniors Book Club January Selection

The Seniors Book Club will meet on Wednesday, January 11 at 2:00 in the Training Room on the second floor to discuss Annabel by Kathleen Winter.

annabel

About the Book

In 1968, into the beautiful, spare environment of remote coastal Labrador, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once.

Only three people are privy to the secret — the baby’s parents, Jacinta and Treadway, and a trusted neighbour, Thomasina. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows to adulthood within the hyper-masculine hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self — a girl he thinks of as “Annabel” — is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. (Publisher)

Annabel was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. It was also a finalist in the 2014 Canada Reads competition on CBC Radio.

About the Author

Born in the north of England and raised in Newfoundland, Winter began her career as a script writer for Sesame Street before becoming a columnist for The Telegram in St. John’s. She is the author of a short story collection entitled boYs, her first novel Annabel, and most recently, a nonfiction book about the north entitled Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage. 

Kathleen Winter was a member of the jury for the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She lives in Montreal with her husband and daughter, and is the sister of novelist Michael Winter.

Kathleen Winter on boys, girls and writing Annabel (Globe and Mail)

Interview with Kathleen Winter in the National Post

Review in The Canadian Book Review

Review of Annabel in The Guardian

Review of Annabel in Newfoundland and Labrador Studies

A review of Annabel: “A failed effort to explore the complexities of intersexuality”

 

 

Seniors Book Club October Selection

The Seniors Book Club will meet in the 2nd floor “Training Room” on Wednesday, October 12 at 2 pm. Our pick this month is The Prison Book Club, a memoir by Ann Walmsley.

prison-book-club

About the book:

An attack in London left Ann Walmsley unable to walk alone down the street, and shook her belief in the fundamental goodness of people. A few years later, when a friend asked her to participate in a bold new venture in a men’s medium security prison, Ann had to weigh her curiosity and desire to be of service against her anxiety and fear.
But she signed on, and for eighteen months went to a remote building at Collins Bay Institution, meeting a group of heavily tattooed book club members without the presence of guards or security cameras. There was no wine and cheese, no plush furnishings. But a book club on the inside proved to be a place to share ideas and regain a sense of humanity.
From The Grapes of Wrath to The Cellist of Sarajevo, Outliers to Infidel, the book discussions became a springboard for frank conversations about loss, anger, redemption, and loneliness. The books changed the men and the men changed Walmsley. (Publisher)

 

Book Clubs for Inmates website

The book club at the big house: How reading makes a difference in prison (Globe and Mail)

The darkness inside Canada’s prisons: Michael Enright interviews Carol Finlay (podcast)

When an author visits a [prison] book club

Book review in the Globe and Mail

Book review in Quill and Quire 

Book review in the Winnipeg Free Press

Carol Finlay on The Morning Show (video)

Ann Walmsley website

 

 

 

 

Leacock Medal for Humour 2016

Republic of DirtSusan Juby takes home the 2016 Leacock Medal for humour writing for her novel Republic of Dirt.

Prudence Burns is an overly idealistic Brooklyn girl who has inherited a derelict plot of land named Woefield Farm. Her motley crew of farm hands consists of Earl, an elderly, reclusive bluegrass legend; Seth, an agoraphobic heavy-metal blogger in early recovery from alcoholism; and Sara, an 11-year-old girl with a flock of elite show poultry.

When Prudence is felled by a thyroid condition, things on the farm begin to fall apart, resulting in valiant and sometimes ill-advised attempts to restore domestic bliss. Efforts are complicated by a renegade mule, attempts to turn a hideously ugly child’s playhouse into a high-yield roadside farm stand, and an electrical station’s worth of crossed wires. Will Prudence get well? Will Seth finally get rid of his pesky virginity? Will Earl rescue Sara? And will anyone, ever, admit they might be wrong?

Told in four highly distinct, unforgettably hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking voices, The Republic of Dirt is about what happens when passions collide with pride and what it takes to save each other, our small part of the planet, and ourselves. (Publisher)