Weekend Picks

With the first leader’s debate done, one can’t help but to have caught a political fever. Want our cure? Then check out this installment of Weekend Picks.

All of the President’s Men

Reporters Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon’s resignation.

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Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

Nicholas Wrathall’s documentary is a fascinating and wholly entertaining tribute to the iconic Vidal, diving into his years on the page, the screen, and the scene. With commentary by those who knew him best, including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens, plus loads of footage from his legendary on-air career, Wrathall reminds us why Vidal will forever stand as one of the most dazzling and fearless critics of our time.

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Weekend Picks

A Bevvy of Book Reviews

More reviews from the readers in our Adult Summer REading Game: The Library, and Back Again!  There is still time to spin and read.  The game ends August 18.

longrunThe Long Run: A New York City Firefighter’s Triumphant Comeback From Crash Victim to Elite Athlete by Matt Long with Charles Butler

“Firefighters can ba a sarcastic, full-of-themselves bunch. I should know since I’m one of them. Most of this book is written this way. Matt Long calls himself a regular guy, a “dirty firefighter”. His words, however, describe something else. His vanity and ego are wide open for everyone to see as he describbes himself: ladies’-man, amazing firefighter, best friend, world-class runner and athlete.  I felt it took him going through his ordeal to learn humilty and class. The time jumps and flashbacks are occasionally confusing. A fairly easy read overall. His triumph in the end, plus learning about teh support he had from everybody, is heartwarming and salvages the rest of the book.”  ~Patron review, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden McClure

“The only word to describe this novel about the first woman to row alone across an ocean is “RAW”–this novel is full of raw courage–in not only confronting adverse weather conditions (hurricanes) but also her own personal hurricanes: her senses of helplessness, self-worth and failure.” ~Patron review by Kari M., July 2015  Category: Travel & Adventure

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

“Funny, funny, funny! Poehler writes as she speaks, with a mix of wry humour and quick wit. I laughed and I cried throughout.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Humour

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“A beautiful and haunting love story about the sacrifices we make for those we love and the inevitability of the passage of time. A powerful lesson to live in and appreciate the moments we share with others. This book was captivating form start to finish.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Award Winners

Bathing the Lion by Jonathan Carroll

“This book started well and then became very strange. I was disappointed with it. The author’s concept was interesting if you like aliens but it wasn’t my cup of tea.”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Science Fiction

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

“I really enjoyed this book–I was hooked a few pages in. This thriller goes deeply into character development, making you think of people in a different way.  Very good read!”  ~Patron review, July 2015  Category: Thriller

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel

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“A collection of excellent short stories, by an author who I just discovered (she won the Booker Prize–twice!). The story “Long QT” is one of the best short stories I’ve ever read: precise, surprising, perfectly written.”  ~Patron review, August 2015  Category: Short Stories

Weekend Picks

This long weekend we feature a couple of Lawrence/Laurence, long playing films (each over 140 min. running time). Both are epics in their own right. One is amongst the greatest movies every screened, and the other is quite possibly Xavier Dolan’s opus. Both are brilliant, enjoy!

Lawrence of Arabia

Stationed in Cairo in 1916, Lawrence languished in the mapmaking department of British Intelligence until he was asked to find and gather information on Prince Feisal, leader of the Arab Allied forces in World War I. Lawrence of Arabia movie His desert journey inspired his first military success when he led a small contingent of Arabs against the Turkish stronghold of Aqaba.

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Laurence Anyways

In the ’90s, Laurence tells his girlfriend Fred that he wants to become a woman. In spite of the odds, they confront the prejudices of their friends, ignore the counsel of their families, and brave the phobias of the society they offend. For ten years, they try to live through this transition, and embark on an epic journey which, unbeknownst to them, may cost Fred and Laurence their love.

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Weekend Picks

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Welcome to the inaugural post of Joanne’s Mystery Picks.  Our crime and mystery afficiando will provide monthly clues to great reads!

burn_cover_optimA Lovely Way to Burn by Louise Welsh

Stevie Flint, former journalist, and now employed selling products on Shop TV, fights her way through a London in the grips of a plague that is felling residents faster than she can count. Her boyfriend, Dr. Simon Sharkey, appears to be one of the unlucky until Stevie realizes that things just aren’t adding up.  In pursuing the truth about Simon’s death, Stevie puts her life in danger again and again.  Join her for a ride through a London that is barely recognizable.

 steve burrows booksA Siege of Bitterns by  Steve Burrows

Morse is an opera aficionado (primarily Wagner); Dalgleish is a poet; and Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is a birder.  In this first of a new series (Birder Murders), Jejeune, newly posted to Saltmarsh in Norfolk, investigates the murder of Cameron Brae, an ecological activist.  He is found hanged in the marsh area near his home.  Jejeune thinks that a feud over bird watching lists has led to Brae’s death.  The very clever solution to this murder has me a fan of Burrows, without question.

 A Pitying of Doves by Steve Burrows

When Jejuene is called to a bird sanctuary to investigate the murders of two seemingly unrelated people found murdered in a bird cage, it’s all about the birds to him.  His DCS sees it differently and insists that Jejeune follow her lead.  With both their jobs in jeopardy, Jejuene hopes that his decision to follow his own path is not a flight of fancy.  Some great wordplay here again with collective nouns!

ross pennie booksTainted/Tampered/ Up in Smoke by Ross Pennie

How about a summer mystery binge read?  Then start turning the pages of Ross Pennie’s novels featuring Dr. Zol Szabo, an epidemic investigator working for the Public Health Dept. in Ontario.  In Tainted, Zol investigates an epidemic of deaths due to a new form of mad cow disease.  In Tampered, Zol’s own Grandfather is at risk when the senior’s home that he is a resident of becomes an incubator for a deathly food poisoning.  In Up in Smoke, Zol is called in to investigate the deaths of high school students in Ontario’s tobacco country.  They have all died from liver failure and he suspects contaminated cigarettes that they are buying at cut-rate prices from a near-by Indian Reserve.  Zol doesn’t just rely on his expertise as a scientist to work out the answers to these epidemics.  He has a good back-up team consisting of his young son, Max, infection specialist Hamish Wakefield, and Natasha, his lab technician.  Pennie gives us a nice change from the regular “police procedurals” with his character of Dr. Zol Szabo and borrows from his personal background as an infectious disease specialist.

A Plethora of Summer Reading Game Book Reviews!

Everybody’s talking about the books they are reading!  We’ve had a stack of book reviews lately, and here they are to help guide your summer reading.

TheMagiciansThe Magicians by Lev Grossman

“Borrowing a bit from Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, Grossman has crafted a world of magic that is edgier, darker and more chaotic than most writers of fantasy.  His characters are real in the flaws and highly intriguing. An adult magical adventure that will draw readers to the next two books.  Yes, you can start now. The trilogy is complete.”  ~Patron review from Joan T., July 2015

Category: Fantasy

touchingtheearthTouching the Earth by Roberta Bondar

“Dr. Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space, gives the reader an insight into the unique perspective and wonder she experienced from the opportunity to view her home planet from space.  Her deep love of nature and the extremes beauty and diversity of Earth are celebrated in this account of her flight and how it shaped her. She was surely a deserving candidate to represent Canada in the space program.”  ~Patron review from Joan T., July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

“A wonderfully relatable,  witty & engaging blend of personal memoir, love story & philosophical musings about the nature of love. One reviewer very aptly described Alain de Botton as “a young British Woody Allen with the benefit of a classical education” – that sums it up quite nicely!”  ~Staff Review by Luise M-J, July 2015

Category: Short Stories

The Man in the Shed by Lloyd Jones

“What a sad litany of stories, where every husband is a cuckold and no marriage can be comprehended as consisting of loving, caring friendship, or communication of any meaningful kind!”  ~Patron review, July 2015

Category: Short Stories

And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas

nuns

“Jane Christmas lives in a few monasteries over a period of a few months as she tries to decide if she should become a nun or get married to her boyfriend who’d just proposed to her. In typical Jane Christmas fashion, the book is honest, down to earth, and a quick read.”  ~Patron review, July 2015

Category: Adventure

 

 

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman” introduces a more mature, wordly Scout whose worldview is shattered when she discovers that her father is a racist. I was wary going into this book as I love the Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird. Right form the beginning of Watchman, though, I was immediately drawn into Lee’s beautiful prose. Less has perfectly characterized the deep south at the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Watchman is a much more uncomfortable read compared to Mockingbird, mainly because racism is not only found in the faces of the villains. Though it is easy to discount Watchman as a first draft Mockingbird, it stands alone as a separate but equally important story.”  ~Patron review, July 2015

” ‘I need a watchman to go forth and proclaim to them all that 26 years is too long to play a joke on anybody.’ The Scout we know from Mockingbird returns as Jean Louise with the same free spirit, tenacity, and passion. She returns to Maycomb and finds that her father in not the hero she remembers and even Calpurnia sees the Finch’s differently. Jean Louise is one of the few who sees black people and white people as equally worthy of civil rights, and Lee tells this poetic but heartbreaking story that is just as important as Mockingbird.”  ~Summer Staff review by Graeme M., July 2015

Category: Historical Fiction

The Garneau Block by Todd Babiak

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“Todd is a local writer and Edmontonian. This story took place in the Garneau area with a few select characters. I enjoyed his sense of writing but I did not feel the story line to captivating.  I did enjoy relating to location, building, etc.”  ~Patron review, July 2015

Category: Sense of Place