Monday Evening Book Club June Selection

Sofie and CeciliaThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, June 10 in the 2nd floor Training Room 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 May 29, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

ClubThe Club : a novel

By Takis Wurger

Hans’s English aunt Alex will ensure his application to Cambridge University is accepted, but in return he must help her investigate an elite university club of young aristocrats and wealthy social climbers, the Pitt Club. As Hans makes his best efforts to prove club material, he is drawn into a world of extravagance, debauchery, and macho solidarity. But there are dangerous secrets in the club’s history.

 

Boy swallows universeBoy swallows Universe : a novel

By Trent Dalton

This highly praised Australian debut novel is the tale of an adolescent boy on the cusp of discovering the man he will be. Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim–a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes–who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

91rqgzfswjlA Deadly Divide by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty, Community Policing detectives, are sent to the scene of a mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec. Acting as liaisons with the community, they are there to help temper the fear of the residents while dealing with a vicious campaign of racism which has been launched on social media and exploited by a right-wing radio host. So many fingers are pointing in so many different directions. Who are the perpetrators of this horrific crime? And who is shadowing Khattack, watching and knowing his every move? Does it have anything to do with the shooting, or is it something personal?

Khan has brought to the page a story that we have seen played out in far too many communities around the world (most recently in Christchurch, New Zealand). Her depiction of the events in this novel are every bit as gripping, heart-wrenching, and horrifying as those we’ve seen on TV on the evening news.

Such violence can only create greater rifts between the different factions in this community, and while Esa and Rachel work to prevent further escalation of these rifts, their relationship as partners is put to the test.

This is by far, Khan’s best book yet in this series.

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

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the May 22, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Normal peopleNormal people : a novel

By Sally Rooney

In Rooney’s highly anticipated second novel Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life.

 

Machines like meMachines like me : and people like you : a novel

By Ian McEwan

Set in 1980s London, the story revolves around Charlie: young and reckless, and in love with his upstairs neighbour, the enchanting Miranda whose hidden, murky past hangs between them. He has spent his inheritance on the acquisition of one of twenty-four highly developed new robotic humans – named Adam or Eve, each one beautiful, strong and clever.

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the May 15, 2019 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

BabelBabel : around the world in twenty languages

By Gaston Dorren

Babel whisks the reader on a delightful journey to every continent of the world, tracing how these world languages rose to greatness while others fell away and showing how speakers today handle the foibles of their mother tongues. Witty, fascinating and utterly compelling, Babel will change the way you look at and listen to the world and how it speaks.

 

why religionWhy religion? A personal story

By Elaine H. Pagels

Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century? Why do so many still believe? And how do various traditions still shape the way people experience everything from sexuality to politics, whether they are religious or not? In Why Religion? Elaine Pagels looks to her own life to help address these questions. A provocative and moving account from one of the most compelling religious thinkers at work today.