The Seniors Book Club will meet on May 14th at 2 pm in the Training Room to discuss Life after life by Kate Atkinson, a British novel that was frequently named as one of the best books of 2013.
About the book:
On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. Sadly, she dies before she can draw her first breath.
On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Clearly history (and Kate Atkinson) have plans for her: In Ursula rests nothing less than the fate of civilization.
Wildly inventive, darkly comic, startlingly poignant—this is Kate Atkinson at her absolute best, playing with time and history, telling a story that is breathtaking for both its audacity and its endless satisfactions . (From the publisher.)
A Goodreads interview with Kate Atkinson
A Video interview with Kate Atkinson
The Monday Evening Book Club will meet April 14th at 7:00 pm in Forsyth Hall to discuss The Pilgrimage by local author Diana Davidson.
About the book:
Pilgrimage opens in the deep of winter of 1891 on the Metis and missionary settlement of Lac St. Anne, Canada. A young woman of mixed-blood named Mahkesis is carrying the child of the married Englishman who manages the Hudson Bay Company trading post. She is forced to reveal her devastating secret to her Cree grandmother. As an unmarried Catholic girl, Mahkesis waits for a miracle in the very place others come for redemption. Set in a northern landscape, Pilgrimage is a brilliant debut novel about love and loss and women and men trying to survive the violent intimacy of a small place in a changing colonial empire.
Visit author Diana Davidson’s website
An Edmonton Journal review of the book
Discussion questions for Pilgrimage
History of Lac Ste Anne and the pilgrimage
The Seniors Book Club will meet April 9th at 2:00 pm in the Training Room to discuss Painted Girls by Canadian author Cathy Marie Buchanan.
About the book:
Paris, 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged 14. Meanwhile, Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labour and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation—her survival, even—lies with the other. (source: http://www.harpercollins.ca)
Cathy Marie Buchanan’s website
Globe & Mail review
The Seniors Book Club will meet March 12th at 2:00 pm in the Training Room to discuss Into the Abyss : how a deadly plane crash changed the lives of a pilot, a politician, a criminal and a cop by Carol Shaben.
About the book:
In the tradition of Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm comes the riveting account of a deadly plane crash in northern Canada and its aftermath. Written by an award-winning journalist who is the daughter of one of the survivors, Into the Abyss is a dramatic true story of survival, and a compassionate account of 4 men’s journey from the depths of tragedy to the riches of lives begun anew. On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. 4 survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Into the Abyss is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation.
Carol Shaben’s website
Review (Toronto Star)
Review (National Post)
Youtube: CTV Edmonton interview with Carol Shaben
Podcast of “The Wreckage of Flight 402” (The Current on CBC Radio)
NPR interview with Carol Shaben
Edmonton Journal article Oct. 19, 1984
About Larry Shaben
Non-Fiction Discussion Questions (generic)
The Monday Evening Book Club will meet March 10th at 7 pm in Forsyth Hall to discuss The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared, the wildly popular international bestseller by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson.
About the book:
A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over. After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant). It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life back story: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world.