Summer Reading Game Reviews

We’re in the final stretches of the Adult Summer Reading Game, but there is plenty of time to get a few more books in!

1137151Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

I really enjoyed this book! It is written in a similar style to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book and the details of life in rural P.E.I. in the early 1900s really made me feel like I was right there. I recommend this book to all lovers of Anne of Green Gables. it will leave you with a wonderful “feel good” feeling.
Loved it!

massey_murder-size-custom-crop-438x650The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and The Trial that Shocked a Country by Charlotte Gray

I chose this book as a fan of true crime, but I was pleasantly surprised by the engaging look at our country at the turn of the 20th century. Gray uses the trial of Carrie Davis as a frame for a growing Toronto/Canada, a country at war, and the changing role of women. I missed Charlotte Gray when she was at our library, but I will be sure to see this author if she comes back!
It was good. ~Staff review by Michelle

1291577Sisters in the Wilderness by Charlotte Gray

For those who love early Canadian history, Sisters in the wilderness is an illustrated double biography of Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill, two of Canada’s earliest pioneers. Set in the “backwoods” of Upper Canada in the 19th century, it is a great novel of those early days: the hardships, the struggles, the isolation, loneliness and fear. It is also a story of achievement — two sisters and the birth of Canada’s literary tradition. A great read!
Loved it!  ~Staff review by Iris.

 

Summer Reading Game Reviews

The reviews keep coming in!

12067Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

This book is in my top 10 books that I’ve read. The story was really good and kept me interested right ’til the end. The humour in the story was really great and I laughed out loud many times. I listened to this book on Hoopla and felt the narrator did an excellent job — using different voices, etc. It added to my enjoyment.
Loved it!

51edq-ruewl-_sx323_bo1204203200_The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Beginning in the 1930s, this novel is the story of a family as told to us by Iris Chase, an elderly woman whose life spans the twentieth century.  Iris begins her story with the suicide of her sister, Laura, and the hidden notebooks tied together with kitchen string.  Supposedly written by Laura and entitled “The Blind Assassin”, excerpts become a format for a ‘novel within a novel’ in which a love affair between an unnamed Marxist and a very rich young lady reveals the story of an assassin who falls in love with his victim.

This is a family epic in which the different genres of science fiction, mystery, romance, newspaper reportage and tragedy are bound together in an intriguing narrative that urges us to read on to an unforeseen conclusion.

The Blind Assassin was published in 2000 and in that same year won the Booker Prize.

~Staff review by Iris, Summer Reading Game programmer

Summer Reading Game Book Reviews

The Great Canadian Reading Game is on, and players can spin to find great reads from Jun 28-Aug 22, 2017!

Here’s what you thought of your reads:

819tq-q0n2blSWAMP ANGEL by Ethel Wilson

Maggie LLoyd has made an unfortunate second marriage after her husband is killed in WWII. In what may be the best planned departure from a marriage in a work of literature, Maggie leaves her husband and embarks upon a new life in the interior of B.C., working at a fishing lodge. This idyllic setting is perfect for Maggie, though it becomes complicated by the jealousy of the lodge owner’s wife.
Loved It! ~Staff review by Sheila

32080126Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

A collection of linked stories that reads like a novel (much like her Pulitzer-prize-winning Olive Kitteridge). A masterful writer at the height of her powers — this book did not disappoint. Strout is marvelous at portraying small-town characters and growing up poor. Even better if you first read My Name is Lucy Barton.
Loved It! ~Staff review by Luise

The Back of the TurtleTHE BACK OF THE TURTLE by Thomas King

I loved The Back of the Turtle. It tackled the serious issues of environmental abuses and the treatment of indigenous people in Canada in a darkly humourous fashion. Throughout the novel, King interweaves elements of Christianity and Native myth to create a unique storytelling experience. The protagonist Gabriel returns to his mother’s home which was destroyed by an environmental disaster inadvertently caused by Gabriel. The novel follows Gabriel as he reconciles his feelings and the few people he interacts with while discovering the nearby abandoned town. I highly recommend this novel as it explores both the darker elements within Canada, and also leaves the reader with a sense of hope for the future.
Loved it!

one-brother-shy-cover-lower-resONE BROTHER SHY by Terry Fallis

One Brother Shy is the latest of Terry Fallis’s humourous works. Alex MacAskill is a shy software engineer who discovers life-changing news after his mother dies. This news leads him across the globe to discover more about his family and himself. I loved this novel; it was a great summer read with a powerful protagonist. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fun, light read with a heartwarming story.
Loved it!

Canada Mike MyersCANADA by Mike Myers

I smiled when I saw a Cherry Blossom and Hickory Sticks the other day. This book brought back memories of my childhood since I’m just a year younger that Mike Myers. But there was definitely a difference between growing up in Alberta as opposed to Ontario in the 60s & 70s. I learned some Canadian history that either I’d never learned or had forgotten about. Overall, he does give readers the sense of what it means to be Canadian and what make us different from our neighbors to the south.
It was OK. ~Staff review by Kemmie

 

 

 

Last Batch of Summer Reading Game Reviews, Part 1!

As the Adult Summer Reading Game winds down, readers have been reviewing their picks, and we have them all here!

books

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Loved this story. Part fairy tale surrealism, part 1920s homestead history, the story follows an aging couple to Alaska as they escape a childless past and break ground, literally, in a harsh Alaskan landscape. There they find the unexpected–and themselves. Beautifully told.

Random Passage by Bernice Morgan

I got this book through inter-library loan–but I honestly don’t remember ordering it! I’m glad I did, though. This was a very interesting book about early settlers in Newfoundland. They lived such a hard life. The characters really made the book for me though. I was sorry when this book ended. Hurrah, there is a sequel! And I’ve got it on order.

Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

Really loved the light-hearted, carefree form of this novel. Be sure to read the accompanying notes. Really illuminating.  ~Lori W.

End of Watch by Stephen King

This is the third book in a series dealing with an evil perpetrator, Brady Hartfield, who was featured in Mr. Mercedes and then Finders Keepers. Brady’s obsession with suicide leads him to killing several people during the Mercedes Massacre. End of Watch is an interesting twist to Brady’s five year stay in a clinic, in a vegetative state, and how Brady is able to overcome and turn around to finally attempt to complete another mission.

One Day by David Nicholls

This was an easy read. I enjoyed the character development. I kept reading because I really wanted to see how the outcome of their relationship would be. Funny how little decisions in life can really alter everything.

Luise’s Summer Reading Reviews

Our Fiction Librarian, Luise, has been reading up a storm for the Summer Reading Game! Here are her reviews.

y648And After the Fire: a Novel by Lauren Belfer

Weaves an engaging story around a fictional long-lost Bach cantata with anti-Semitic lyrics. Incorporates facts about many interesting historical figures (Bach, Mendelsohn, Luther, etc.). Shows the progression of anti-semitism over the centuries. Touches on many interesting subjects, from musicology to philanthropy and includes a love story – lots to like!   (Historical Fiction)

 

man-s-search-for-meaningMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir about his years in Nazi death camps and the lessons he learned for spiritual survival. His theory (logotherapy) is that it is not the pursuit of pleasure and happiness that gives us meaning, but the ability to find meaning and purpose in unavoidable suffering. Amazing insights by an exceptional individual who lived through unspeakable trials; a timeless classic.   (Memoir)

 

adams_invinciblesummer_1_12Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

“Four close friends who graduate college together in 1998 venture off to pursue their fortunes in the new millennium, but find themselves drawn back together twenty years later amidst broken dreams, lost jobs, and shattered relationships.” (publisher summary)
A great summer read, well written, entertaining without being shallow.   (Romance/Love story)

 

thetroublewithgoatsandsheepThe Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

I expected an amusing, light summer read, but this debut novel is simply brilliant on so many levels! Yes, it was charming and quirky with plenty of eccentric characters (including the wittiest and smartest and most lovable two 10-year-old girl “sleuths” I’ve ever encountered), but it was also dark and tragic and full of depth and nuances and complex characterizations evoking the reader’s empathy for both victims and perpetrators. On the surface this is a very British book with countless cultural and food references (vast amounts of very unappetizing sounding sweets are being consumed throughout this book), but the message is universal and timeless (and very timely in the age of Trump). Best of all, the writing is exquisite! Don’t miss this one!

Plot-loving mystery fans beware, though – this is a different kind of “mystery”.   (Mystery)