Weekend Picks

Hello from Libraryland! Each week, I’ll be posting some fresh films and forgotten finds that are free and always available through our streaming movie services hoopla and Kanopy.

This week, I’m connecting you with a new isolation classic that’s a bit campy and a bit maddening, but overall a must-see, The Lighthouse. To get you viewers outside and enjoying the beauty… from the inside, I recommend the lush painterly scenes found in Renoir. 



The Lighthouse

A hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.



Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, this atmospheric drama tells the story of celebrated Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son Jean, who returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. When Andree, a free-spirited, beautiful young red-head enters their lives, they are both smitten.

Monday Book Club April Selection

Empress of IdahoOur Monday Book Club meeting, originally scheduled for April 6, is being converted to a “virtual” discussion of the book The Empress of Idaho by Todd Babiak via email. Members are being contacted and can participate via email. Non-members are welcome to add their comments to the blog!

About the book …

Monument, Colorado, July 1989. Fourteen-year-old Adam Lisinski is mesmerized the moment Beatrice Cyr steps into his life. Adam has a lot going for him: he’s hoping to be a starter on his high school football team, he has a fiercely protective mom, a girlfriend, and a part-time job at Eugene’s Gas Stop, where he works with his best friend. But he neglects everything that matters to him after Beatrice, his neighbour’s enigmatic new wife, comes to town. Soon he finds himself alone with her–in the change room at Modern You, a clothing store on Second Street; in the back row of the theatre at Chapel Hill Cinema; in the front seat of her truck. He’s confused about who she is, what she wants, and where she comes from. Adam is desperate, caught between wanting to spend time with Beatrice–whose past is catching up with her–and lying to everyone he cares about. The guilt overwhelms him. And when Beatrice convinces Adam’s mom to quit her job and partner in a risky real estate venture, he has to do something before everything spins further out of control. The plan he comes up with tests his courage and leads him to an unshakable truth about loyalty and love.

By turns riveting and tender-hearted, The Empress of Idaho is a story about the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence at the moment when it slams against adulthood. It’s an unforgettable portrait of a boy’s difficult coming of age.

About the author …

Author website

A CBC Radio Next Chapter interview with Todd Babiak

An Edmonton Journal book review

A Quill and Quire book review

Discussion questions (Penguin Random House reading guide)

Research article on female sexual predators



Seniors Book Club April Selection

Clock danceOur Seniors Book Club meeting, originally scheduled for April 8, is being converted to a “virtual” discussion of the book Clock Dance by Anne Tyler via email. Members are being contacted and can participate via email. Non-members are welcome to add their comments to the blog!

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

Discussion questions

A New York Times book review

A Guardian book review

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the March 25, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Map is only one storyA Map Is Only One Story : Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home

edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary

These essays highlight the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric, as twenty writers share provocative personal stories of existing between languages and cultures and offer a new definition of home in the twenty-first century.


Days of distractionDays of distraction : a novel

By Alexandra Chang

A wry, tender portrait of a young woman–finally free to decide her own path, but unsure if she knows herself well enough to choose wisely–from a captivating new literary voice. Equal parts tender and humorous, and told in spare but powerful prose, Days of Distraction is an offbeat coming-of-adulthood tale, a touching family story, and a razor-sharp appraisal of our times.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the March 18, 2020 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

how-a-woman-becomes-a-lake-1How a woman becomes a lake : a novel

By Marjorie Celona

It’s New Year’s Day and Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk. But she never returns. In the months ahead, Vera’s absence sets off a chain of reverberating events in Whale Bay. The cop investigating the case falls for Leo’s ex-wife but finds himself slipping further away from the truth. Author of “Y.”


Dutch HouseThe Dutch house : a novel

By Ann Patchett

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.