Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
While in Edinburgh this spring, I wandered into Waterstone's and lingered over the Local Authors section. I must have been in a fairly dark mood as I chose two books that examine the power of evil. The Cone Gatherers: A Haunting Story of Violence and Love by Robin Jenkins is set during the Second World War and is based on Jenkins' own experience as a conscientious objector working in the forests of Argyll. Two brothers, Calum and Nell, are cone gatherers, moving through the large estates of Scotland gathering seeds to preserve and maintain the forests. Their simple life together provides stark contrast to the life at the estate house. The brothers' light and warmth is threatened by the madness and obsession of Duror, the gameskeeper. This is an obsessive read where the outcome is foreshadowed and inevitable but the reader cannot look away. Jenkins (1912-2005) also wrote The Changeling, Happy for the Child and Guests of War.
And while in London at yet another Waterstones, I finally picked up Barbara Pym: Excellent Women and Jane and Prudence. High comedy is set amongst the churchyards, jumble sales and rose madder of 1950's Britain. Pym plumbs the domestic with a penetrating eye. Her characters make the reader squirm with self-recognition. This is delicious fiction. If you like EF Benson's Mapp and Lucia series or Cold Comfort Farm, read Pym.
And then read Mary Wesley. (Insert Maylin's excited endorsement - yes, yes, yes!) Wesley came to writing later in life, writing her first book at the age of seventy. Her style has been described as arsenic without the old lace. Filled with irony, compassion, honesty and sexuality, The Camomile Lawn has an unvarnished vitality that fairly leaps off the page. Wesley follows the lives of 3 families through the Second World War, setting up, and, in turn, satisfying and spoiling reader's expectations. Wesley's own, rather unconventional life, no doubt provided fodder. Which is why I am so looking forward to reading Wild Mary by Patrick Marnham. Wesley cooperated with her biographer asking that nothing be published before her death. Her son, Tony Eady, upon reading his mother's story, didn't speak to anyone for a week. Bravo Mary. (Wild Mary is a Diva Pick - thanks Maylin, I'm finally catching up with those lists!)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
6 - Careless in Red by Elizabeth George. More of the fantatstic Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, that always leaves you wanting even more.
7 - Dingo by Chrles DeLint. A great YA read. He's one of my favourite authors and does as good a job writing for younger audiences that with the rest of his more adult titles.
8 - The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester. I never read non-fiction. I fall asleep over it, but this kept me turning pages furiously. Informative without being overly didactic and a real-opener about China and its history.
9 - Sailing to Sarantium (Part I of the Sarantine Mosaic) by Guy Gavriel Kay. Magical and belivable and heart-wrenching and utterly fantastic.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
13 year old Josh has to spend time with his father, he’s not particularly happy about it and becomes less so when he is greeted at the airport by his father, dressed as an Elvis impersonator. A terrific novel for young teen and tween boys.
The Book Thief by Marc Zusak
Stan recommends this title because it is set in Nazi Germany, there are several storylines and because it gives teenagers perspective on the war from the German side.
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
A historical fiction story set in Poland during the Second World War. An unusual twist to this story as it is told from the perspective of a child who doesn’t understand what is happening in the world around him. Highly recommend by both Stan and Simon.
The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman
A recommendation from Simon. According to him there is lots of action and interesting details about gangs and crime.
Marked by P.C. Cast
For those who have finished the Twilight series and are searching for another vampire storyline. This is a little edgier and perhaps a tad more realistic than the Stephanie Myers series. Recommended for older teens looking for more paranormal stories.
Sir Fartsalot Hunts a Booger by Kevin Bolger
Stewart highly recommends this story. It has lots of humour with very funny characters. The cover is very neat with a three D effect. Recommended for parents who have children who are less than enthusiastic readers.
The Summoning: Book 1 Darkest Powers Series by Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong is a Southern Ontario writer who has just branched into young adult books. If you enjoy stories with paranormal storylines this is highly recommended.
Sweet Far Thing: Book 3 by Libba Bray
This is the concluding book in the series. Here we learn what will become of Gemma Doyle her friends and the Order.
The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
Do I really need to say anything other than I love Vampire and paranormal stories. A very romantic story with exciting twists and turns.
Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen
As a self professed scrabble addict I couldn’t resist the storyline! Ambrose is an odd duck who is home schooled by his mother Irene. In the evenings, with the help of the landlord's son, he travels to a weekly Scrabble Club. It is at this club that Ambrose is accepted for who and what he is.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Marcia Aronson's Favourite Reads of 2008:
City of Thieves by David Benioff
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
Last night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows
Breath by Tim Winton
Lottery by Patricia Wood
Monday, December 8, 2008
It was announced today in the Hollywood Reporter that ABC is bringing one of my favourite graphic novel series to the small screen- Fables, created by Bill Willingham and published by DC Comics' Vertigo imprint.
The series features characters from common fairy tales who are living in exile in a high-rise building in New York City, having fled their homelands in the face of an invasion by the mysterious Adversary. It should make for an interesting TV show (if done right), as these aren't the traditional tales and characters that you grew up with. In the first book Deputy Mayor Snow White teams up with Fabletown's security chief Bigby Wolf (a reformed Big Bad Wolf), who is investigating the apparent murder of Snow's sister, party-girl Rose Red. Is the killer Red's current boyfriend Jack (of beanstalk fame) or her ex, the notorious wife-killer Bluebeard? Through the investigation you get to meet Snow's ex, Prince Charming, who is broke and auctioning off his crown to the highest bidder, King Cole who is the mayor, Beauty and her Prince who are in trouble with the law and many more character's you'll recognize. Told with humour these books are a lot of fun. They are suitable for older teens as there are adult situations, language and violence.
I can't wait to see the pilot for the show!
I don’t know what I’m going to do without Rebus, but I did enjoy this final installment in the series. When I end up in Scotland – my first stop will be at the Oxford Bar to honour this character who feels like a slightly flawed old friend.
Still Life by Louise Penny
A cozy mystery set in a small town that I didn’t want to leave – so I immediately put the other two books on hold.
Contrary Infatuations by Dymphny Dronyk
One of the annual Quartet launch by Frontenac House, a book of poetry that evokes the plains of Alberta where farmers and oil companies face off over land.
The Frozen Thames by Helen Humphreys
A wonderful collection of 40 vignettes of people who are changed by the freezing of the Thames over the centuries.
The Outlander by Gil Adamson
Set in the early 1900’s, a young woman flees through the mountains and the forest, and ends up in the town of Frank, right before the slide. Great!
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
The queen becomes obsessed with reading and doesn’t want to do anything else. My favourite part is when she tours Canada and her books get lost, only to become a display in the library in Calgary! Very funny.
The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews
The zaniness of this road trip really resonated with me, and I loved Thebes, the precocious young girl who is trying to keep it all together.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
I love anything set in Scotland, particularly if it includes a bit of history. I couldn’t
put this book down.
Turtle Valley by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Set in the Okanagan during the summer when forest fires threatened, I loved the way the fire moved the story along and almost became another character in the novel.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrow
I love letters, and the people in these make the story – they seem like your next door neighbours, both wonderful and slightly nutty.
I’m the Customer Service Manager of the 4th Floor of the Central Library at Calgary Public Library. The 4th Floor holds Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction, Graphic Novels, History, Literature, Travel, Local History, and Genealogy – so I’ve got the best of the library (in my humble opinion…) I’m a passionate reader and my favourite place to read is in my big leather chair, with my cat on my lap and a glass of wine beside me. Here’s hoping you can spend time this holiday season doing the same - Sarah Jones.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Ron Stadnik's Picks:
These are all books that I raved and ranted and pleaded with others to read, books that in some way shook or tore the fabric of time itself for me, transporting me through time and space to other places past and present. All of the non-fiction books transcend their subject matter, which is to say that you needn't climb mountains, listen to country music, be a runner, surf or have an interest in the Dominican Republic or read "spiritual" books to enjoy them.
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich
The Other by David Guterson
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The English Major by Jim Harrison
Cockroach by Rawi Hage
Life at these Speeds by Jeremy Jackson
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
Swan Peak by James Lee Burke
Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson (Young Adult)
King of Lies by John Hart
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
Into Thick Air by Jim Malusa
Dead Man in Paradise by J.B. MacKinnon
Fatal Tide by David Leach
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
Warrior Girls by Michael Sokolove
Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death and Country Music by Dana Jennings
Reluctant Genius by Charlotte Gray
On a Wave: a Surfer Boyhood by Thad Ziolkowski
High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an age of Greed by Michael Kodas
"The book guy" at Library Bound for 15 years, Ron Stadnik does Bestseller List selections, manages print ARPs, and can often be found harassing Dewey Divas for Advance Reading Copies.