Friday, January 29, 2010

Lost Boy by Brent W. Jeffs

February is I Love to Read Month, and library staff has enjoyed letting you know about some of the books we loved during the past year. A loyal nonfiction reader has recommended Lost Boy, by Brent W. Jeffs. He is the nephew of Warren Jeffs, the polygamy leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a splinter group of the Mormon Church. Brent Jeffs was repeatedly abused by church prophet Warren Jeffs.

Brent Jeffs was the first of the Lost Boys to bring civil and criminal charges against Warren Jeffs, who raped and abused many young boys in the polygamous sect. The book explores Warren Jeff’s rise to power and control. Brent Jeffs’ fight against the man who victimized him was a powerful personal victory.

The memoir is disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring. There is an openness in Jeffs’ brash style as he struggles for understanding. Ultimately he triumphs, managing to face his fears and help secure his attacker’s arrest and conviction.

The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt

February is I Love To Read month, and all month we are talking about books which we at the library branches have loved to read. A Winkler staff member has recommended The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt. This book spent many weeks on bestseller lists.

Set in the late 1800s against a backdrop of coal mines and child labour, this book spans a quarter century including the aftermath of World War I. The main character, Olive, her husband and their many children live the privileged life of the upper class. Olive writes “Grimm” like fantasy tales for each of her children. She is a charming, successful author, and ultimately the financial support of the family. Sprinkled through are anarchists, financiers, Fabians, puppeteers, New Women, suffragettes, soldiers and philanderers.

The interjection of fairy tales with the life events of these interesting characters gives this book a very rich appeal, and we highly recommend it.

Worth any price by Lisa Kleypas

February is I Love to Read month, and with Valentines Day falling this month, we must recommend a romance. A staff person enjoyed the historical romance Worth Any Price by Lisa Kleypas. It is the last book in the “Bow Street Runner “Series.

The setting is London 1839. The bow street runner Nick Gentry is a complicated man with a tortured history and Charlotte Howard is a woman hiding from a man who would ruin her. The plot includes a secret marriage of convenience, a shunned daughter, angry parents, and a cruel jilted lover.

This book has a fast paced plot, interesting characters, heated love scenes, and a great English setting. Many readers enjoy Historical Romance because they are light reading and it fit into a busy lifestyle. All branches of the library hold an assortment of romances, from historical to futuristic and fantasy.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

February is I Love to Read month, and all month long I’ll be letting you know what books library staff love to read. Today’s recommendation comes from the Morden Branch, and I think I can safely say that Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels are favourites among the staff of that branch.

Gone tomorrow, the 13th book in the Jack Reacher series is another page turner. Reacher left home at 18, graduated from West Point, spent 13 years in the army, was promoted, and demoted, and has become a drifter after leaving the army. He could be described as a knight without armour, an action hero, and a lone wolf. He is intelligent, enigmatic, tough, and no stranger to trouble.

In Gone Tomorrow, our hero finds himself in the New York subway. He suspects that a fellow passenger is a suicide bomber. The choices he makes triggers a chain of events that find him embroiled in a conflict involving the Defence dept., the FBI, and Al-quaeda.

As usual, Lee Child does not disappoint and his loyal fans are eagerly awaiting the next Jack Reacher novel.

The Wayfinders by Wade Davis

Our society views the extinction of plant and animal life with alarm, however, we seem to ignore the rate at which ancient cultures are disappearing from the planet. As they disappear, so does much of the knowledge which they have accumulated over the millennia. The Wayfinders by Canadian Ethno-botanist, Wade Davis, addresses this matter.

Davis points out that of the 7,000 languages spoken today half are not being taught to children. Along with the language goes the social, cultural and intellectual heritage. An example is the Polynesian people who, while on the ocean, guide themselves by noticing thousands of details about the sky, stars, and water.

Davis discusses the role that location plays in culture and that destroying the geography also destroys the culture. He also notes how European culture has negatively impacted on so many others.

This book reminds the reader that the path we have chosen is not the only one, and other voices matter in today’s global village.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our Library by Eve Bunting

Family Literacy celebrations at all branches of the library take place on Tues. Jan. 26 at 7:00. Children, parents, & grandparents – all are welcome to come to the library in their pajamas, listen to bedtime stories read by guest readers, and have a bedtime snack.

One of my favourite children’s books from the past year has been Our Library by Eve Bunting. This is a beautifully illustrated story that gets at the heart of what reading and libraries mean to families. The animal children in the story are afraid of losing their library and take it upon themselves to fundraise and move the library (literally). But first they must convince grumpy old beaver that his land would be a perfect location, and when he learns that this will be a place where he can go and read to his grandson his mind is made up.

This book is sentimental, somewhat nostalgic, inspiring, and absolutely perfect for sharing.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Early this month we learned of the dire predictions being made regarding the expected increase in the number of Alzheimers cases. It points to the importance of research and awareness. January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Lisa Genova’s hugely successful novel, Still Alice, offers a glimpse into the heartbreak of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease.

Alice Howland is happily married, has 3 grown children, a house on the cape and is a distinguished Harvard professor. She begins to notice her failing memory and clouded thinking. She receives the devastating diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Alice struggles to maintain her dignity and independence as her sense of self is stripped away.

This book has been described as heartbreaking and terrifying, and an inspired must-read.

The Olympics

The Olympic Torch Relay is making its way across the country and people are getting more and more excited about the upcoming Olympics. The library has purchased new books for those who would like to delve deeper into the history of Canadian athletes at the Winter Olympic games.

A new book, just in, is Ralph Mellanby’s book, Let the Games Begin: my life with Olympians, hockey heroes and other good sports. Mellanby enjoys a long and distinguished career as the executive producer for Hockey Night in Canada, and worked on the coverage of 13 Olympic Games. This book is filled with stories of the situations he’s covered, and of the people he’s known and worked with. It’s an up close and personal look at many of sports greatest figures.

Another possibility is Canadians in the Winter Olympics by J. Alexander Poulton. This book is full of inspiring stories from some of Canada’s greatest Olympians of the past and those who seek Olympic glory in 2010.

These are just 2 of the many books on the library shelves that cover the Olympic games, past and present.