St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the August 15, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

HeartbreakerHeartbreaker : a novel

By Claudia Dey

Set in an isolated town founded decades ago by a charismatic cult leader, Heartbreaker is the story of a mysterious woman who abruptly disappears, and those who try to find her. At the intersection of The Handmaid’s Tale and Twin Peaks, this is the wildly imaginative American debut of a prize-winning Canadian author.



terrible countryA Terrible country : a novel

By Keith Gessen

When Dima insists that Andrei return to Moscow to care for their grandmother, Andrei must take stock of his life in New York. His girlfriend has stopped returning his text messages. It’s the summer of 2008, and his bank account is dangerously low. Perhaps a few months in Moscow are just what he needs. A wise and funny novel about Russia, exile, family, love, history and fate.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

9781459737617A TIDING OF MAGPIES by Steve Burrows

When DC Desdemona Gill, Empowered Investigator for the Met’s Department of Professional Standards, is brought in to audit the case of the kidnapping of the Home Secretary’s daughter (the case that earned Jejeune his promotion), what has always been assumed to be a straight-forward case, turns out to be anything but.  With a new murder to investigate, along with fending off questions about the kidnapping and a resurgence in the threats to Lindy, Jejeune’s partner, Jejeune must count on Sergeant Danny Maik more than ever.

Burrows has written an intense mystery with many twists and turns and occasional “laugh out loud” moments.  As the team assembles the final pieces in the puzzles that are these cases, Jejeune makes a decision that will have an dramatic impact on everyone in his circle.  Where the story goes from here, I don’t know, but I’ll be waiting with baited breath to find out!

4 daggers


Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”!

Check out Joanne’s other Birdie Murder Mystery reviews: A Shimmer of Hummingbirds, A Siege of Bitterns, and A Pitying of Doves

Weekend Picks

Stream over 30,000  films from the Criterion Collection, enlightening documentaries, and the best indie films from around the world, with your free membership to Kanopy!

Here are a couple of those enlightening and also relevant docs:

Feminism Inshallah: A History of Arab Feminism

The struggle for Muslim women’s emancipation is often portrayed stereotypically as a showdown between Western and Islamic values, but Arab feminism has existed for more than a century. This groundbreaking documentary recounts Arab feminism’s largely unknown story, from its taboo-shattering birth in Egypt by feminist pioneers up through viral Internet campaigns by today’s tech-savvy young activists during the Arab Spring.

A Sinner in Mecca – Challenging Faith in the Face of Adversity

For a gay filmmaker, filming in Saudi Arabia presents two serious challenges: filming is forbidden in the country and homosexuality is punishable by death. For filmmaker Parvez Sharma, however, these were risks he had to assume as he embarked on his Hajj pilgrimage, a journey considered the greatest accomplishment and aspiration within Islam, his religion.

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St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the August 8, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Lands of lost bordersLands of lost borders : a journey on the Silk Road

By Kate Harris

The chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore–the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here.



Measure of my powersThe Measure of my powers : a memoir of food, misery, and Paris

By Jackie Kai Ellis

Armed with nothing but a love of food and the words of the great 20th century food writer M.F.K. Fisher, Ellis begins a journey – from France to Italy, then the Congo and back again – to find herself. Along the way, she goes to pastry school in Paris, watches gorillas grazing deep in the Congolese brush, has her heart broken and, ultimately, finds a path to life and joy.