Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 1.19.10 PM.pngFierce Kingdom
By Gin Phillips

What starts out as a routine visit to the zoo for Joan and her precocious four year old son Lincoln, soon turns into a run for their lives as someone is stalking and killing the animals and humans alike. This is the ultimate story of Mother-love and how the instinct to protect one’s young wins out over everything else.

I read this mesmerizing thriller in one sitting and I defy anyone to be able to put it down before you’ve reached the last page.

5 daggers and then some!

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

Monday Evening Book Club November Selection

And after the fireThe Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on November 18 in the second floor Training Room to discuss the novel  And After the Fire by Lauren Belfer.

About the book …

Susanna has the perfect New York City life: a great job, a loving husband and a beautiful apartment. But when a random act of violence tears it apart, she’s left to pick up the pieces alone. Just as she begins to feel whole again, her beloved Uncle Henry commits suicide—leaving behind a cryptic note that alludes to his haunting WWII experience as an Allied soldier in Germany . . . and something he took from the devastated country before returning home.

The daughter of the king’s Jewish banker, Sara is among the elite of Enlightenment-era Berlin. Beautiful, intelligent and a gifted pianist, she hones her musical talents under Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, son of Johann Sebastian Bach. They share a special bond, but while her life is just beginning, his is coming to an end. On his deathbed, Wilhelm bequeaths Sara the score of one of his father’s cantatas. Sara is stunned to see its violently anti-Semitic lyrics. Why did her beloved want her to have this horrifying document?

Weaving together the stories of Susanna and Sara, Lauren Belfer creates a majestic narrative that spans lifetimes and continents, encompassing both the best and the worst of the human spirit. The cantata’s troubled, riveting journey reveals that the two women have more in common than the score, and what Susanna learns may be the thing that can, finally, allow her to heal and move on.

About the author …

Lauren Belfer was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in Buffalo, where she attended the Buffalo Seminary. At Swarthmore College, she majored in Medieval Studies. After graduating, she worked as a file clerk at an art gallery, a paralegal, an assistant photo editor at a newspaper, a fact checker at magazines, and as a researcher and associate producer on documentary films. She has an M.F.A. from Columbia University.

Lauren decided to become a writer when she was six years old. By the time she was in high school, her literary work was receiving rejection letters from all the best publications. Her first published short story was rejected forty-two times before it found an editor who loved it. Her second published story was rejected only twenty-seven times.

Her debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller, as well as a New York Times Notable Book, a Library Journal Best Book, and a Main Selection of the Book of the Month Club. City of Light was a bestseller in Great Britain and has been translated into six languages.

Her second novel, A Fierce Radiance, was named a Washington Post Best Novel of 2010 and an NPR Best Mystery of 2010.

Her third novel, And After the Fire, received a 2016 National Jewish Book Award.

Belfer’s fiction has also been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and Henfield Prize Stories. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post Book World, the Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere.

She lives in New York City.

A Conversation with Lauren Belfer

An interview with the author (Laurenbelfer.com)

Reading Group guide

Awards and reviews

Real People and Places in And After the Fire

Music from the novel

Was J.S. Bach anti-Semitic? A CBC Radio/Sunday edition interview

A Literary Couple grapple with Bach and his God (NYTimes article)

History of Anti-Semitism (Wikipedia)

Seniors Book Club November Selection

Sofie and CeciliaThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 13 in Forsyth Hall to discuss the novel Sofie & Cecilia by Katherine Ashenburg.

About the book

In Sofie & Cecilia, beloved non-fiction author and journalist Katherine Ashenburg draws upon her formidable skill and maturity as a writer to craft an extraordinary and splendid debut novel. This is the story of a lifelong female friendship, set in the fascinating art world of Sweden between 1900 and 1940, just as modern art and the beginnings of the Scandinavian mid-century modern design movement were inspiring a creative revolution across northern Europe. Loosely based on the lives of celebrated artists Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn (“Nils Olsson” and “Lars Vogt” in the novel), Ashenburg transports us behind both the public and domestic scenes–and canvasses–of these larger-than-life men to reveal the lesser-known but equally astounding and rich stories of the women who married them: restlessly creative artist-in-her-own-right Sofie Olsson, and fiercely private and intelligent curator Cecilia Vogt.
Here is a gorgeous gem of a book: surprising, unique, layered with insight into the nuances of female friendship as it stretches, changes, and deepens in unexpected ways over a lifetime. Woven effortlessly through this tapestry, like a beautiful motif, is absorbing detail about Scandinavian painting, design, and textile work; European history and sexual politics; the country life, city salons, vibrant art, and folklore of Sweden; and the secrets and challenges of bright, talented women juggling marriage, career, individual aspirations, and family life inside an artist’s household in the early twentieth century. (amazon.ca)

About the author

Author website

A CBC radio Next Chapter interview

A Global News interview

A CBC Books interview

Book review in Quill & Quire

Book review by literarytreats.com

Author essay on writing her first novel in her 70’s

Karin Larsson artist biography

Carl Larsson artist biography

Emma Zorn biography

Anders Zorn artist biography

 

 

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Nov. 6, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Five wivesFive wives : a novel

By Joan Thomas

A novel based on real events, set in the rainforest of Ecuador about five women left behind when their missionary husbands are killed. In 1956, a small group of evangelical Christian missionaries and their families journeyed to Ecuador intending to convert the Waorani, a people who had never had contact with the outside world. Winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.

 

To the RiverTo the river : losing my brother

By Don Gillmor

An eloquent and haunting exploration of suicide in which one of Canada’s most gifted writers attempts to understand why his brother took his own life. Which leads him to another powerful question: Why are boomers killing themselves at a far greater rate than the Silent Generation before them or the generations that have followed? Winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the Oct. 30, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

HomecomingThe Homecoming : a novel

By Andrew Pyper

After the death of their absentee father, Aaron and Bridge Quinlan travel to hear the reading of his will. There, they meet up with their mother and troubled sister, Franny, and are shocked to discover the will’s terms: in order to claim their inheritance they must all remain at the estate for thirty days without any contact with the outside world. Further revelations at first inspire curiosity, then fear.

 

Full throttleFull throttle : stories

By Joe Hill

In this masterful collection of short fiction, Joe Hill dissects timeless human struggles in thirteen relentless tales of supernatural suspense. Featuring two previously unpublished stories, and a brace of shocking chillers, this is a darkly imagined odyssey through the complexities of the human psyche. Hypnotic and disquieting, it mines our tormented secrets, hidden vulnerabilities, and basest fears.