When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

The author Paul is a writer and neurosurgeon.  He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the age of 36.  Paul shares his career challenges, making life and death decisions as a neurosurgeon.  He writes about being both patient and doctor at the same time.  Paul also explores his wife having their baby as he faces death.  This memoir is deeply moving as Paul delves into topics such as what makes life meaningful and how does one decide what is important and meaningful with so little time left.

While you are waiting for your copy of When Breath Becomes Air try these though-provoking, inspiring and moving reads.

 

   Tuesday with Morrie      Last Lecture      Gratitude

 

 

 

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

mantel

“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

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

garneaublock_cover

“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

 

 

 

Staff Reviews for the Reading Game

librarian glassesSummer Reading Game action continues behind the scenes! The Library staff are playing their own reading game, and writing reviews.  This might help you choose your book when you spin next…

 

Now & forever by Mary Connealy51KXpsLoSeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Now & Forever is the second book in the Wild at Heart Series, with a story that can stand alone.  This is the tale of Shannon Wilde, homesteading in the Idaho Territory of 1866. She is one of three sisters, all of whom were bullied by their father into disguising themselves as men, and serving in the Civil War.

The action in this story starts right on the first page. Shannon, out for a hike in the woods, comes face to face with Mountain Man, Matthew Tucker–and a mad grizzly bear right behind him.  Since they are on the edge of a cliff, Shannon sees their only chance for survival is jumping into the river below. Unknown to Shannon, that is the Slaughter River, so named because no one has ever gone in it and survived…”

Staff review by Kemmie S., July 2015

Category: Christian Historical Romance

 

My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall13587511

“Penny Marshall has written about what happened in her life without seeking praise or forgiveness or anything else from the public.  She’s not perfect and she is not a saint, but she is no way claiming to be either. Penny lives by simple rules: ‘try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun’.

If you liked Laverne and Shirley or her work on The Odd Couple, or any of the movies that Penny Marshall has directed, than I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s simple. This isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s funny, and I really recommend it.

Staff review by Kemmie S, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

 

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me.CMYK.jpgMy Grandfather would have shot me: a black woman discovers her family’s Nazi past by Jennifer Teege

A German-Nigerian woman finds out that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler’s List.

Fact really can be stranger than fiction! Not only is Teege the mixed-race offspring of a brutal racist, but she has a strong connection to Israel, having spent years there learning Hebrew and immersing herself in its culture and history.
Interesting observations on the parallels between what descendants of war criminals and descendants of their victims go through.
I liked the way the first person account was interspersed with observations by the interviewer.

Staff review by Luise M-J, July 2015

Category: Bios & Memoirs

 

The Adult Summer Reading Game continues until August 18, with a prize draw every week, and a grand prize draw for a Kobo Arc at the end of the game! Stop in to the 2nd floor of the Library to play.Adult SRG banner 2015

More Reading Game Book Reviews!

The Summer Reading Game wheel keeps spinning and the book reviews are rolling in!

The Word ExchangeThe Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

“The author presents a future wherein we are even more dependent on our “hand-held devices”. As a virus infects both devices and their owners, various “Alice in Wonderland” aspects are employed as the main character races to discover the true origins of the virus, as well as the whereabouts of her new[ly]-missing father. A thought-provoking and cautionary read. Wonderfully imagined!”

Patron review, July 2015

Category: Travel & Adventure

 

2008-11-17-MichelleObamaMichelle: A Biography by Liza Mundy

” [The] book talks about Michelle’s early life as a young black girl in Chicago. Good insight into her personality, why she is the way she is, and a true look into her relationship with her husband.  Written as if you actually knew her personally.”

Patron review, July 2015

Category: Biography & Memoir

 

 

essexcountysoftcover_lgEssex County by Jeff Lemire

“I had never read a graphic novel before and truly enjoyed this book. The author was able to portray a sense of place and well-developed characters.  Though there was minimal dialogue, I was able to feel the emotions of the characters. This book was well done and I would recommend it to anyone.”

Patron review, July 2015

Category: Graphic Novel