Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Canadian guide to prostate cancer by Leah Jamnicky

By now, all the Movember mustaches are looking pretty good.  We applaud all the guys who are attempting to bring more attention to prostate cancer and men’s mental health issues.  For this reason I am suggesting The Canadian guide to Prostate Cancer by Leah Jamnicky.

This book is described as being a comprehensive guide for Canadian men.  The latest scientific breakthroughs are described in easy to understand language.  Risk factors, screening, and treatment options are clarified.  There is a complete step-by-step guide to surgery and recovery.  This book includes a detailed description of the drugs used in the treatment of the disease.  This description comes from the 2008 edition of this book.  A new edition was just released within the last month and is on order.  

Movember also attempts to bring attention to men’s mental health.  There are books in the library dealing with mental health, and if there are specific titles, or concerns that patrons have, please ask the staff.

Thanks to the “Mo brothers”, there is much more information available on these issues than there was a few years ago.  We are suddenly seeing more books being published, and these are making their way onto library shelves and into the hands of those who seek this information.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Swerve: how the world became modern

A common theme in fiction, and we find it occasionally in non-fiction, is how the actions of one person can have an effect on their surroundings that can last for a short time, or a long time.  Stephen Greenblatt’s book, The Swerve: how the world became modern, is such a book.  He writes about how one action changed the course of human history.

In 1417 a renaissance book hunter came across a forgotten text, Lucretius’ ancient poem, On the Nature of Things, which had been lost for more than a thousand years.  It was a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas concerning the universe, religion, virtue, and science.   This discovery was the catalyst for modern thought.   This is a broad examination of the circumstances around the poem's initial writing, its rediscovery, the papal courts’ attempt at suppressing it, and its influence on the great thinkers like Galileo, Einstein, Darwin, Freud and Thomas Jefferson.

Adam Gopnik writes, “Full of weird Latin lore, vivid Renaissance characters, and startling new stories, this is truly the book that puts the epic back in Epicurean”.  This book has been awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

Friday, November 16, 2012

419 by Will Ferguson

A couple of weeks ago, Al mentioned that Will Ferguson’s novel 419 had won the Giller Prize, and he wondered whether we would be featuring that book on OFF THE SHELF.  I read this book when it was first released, it made my hair stand on end.  

 This is a tale that begins with an email, “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help...”.  Many of us have seen those unsolicited emails, and recognize them for the scams they are.  Laura, the heroine of the novel, loses her father to suicide after he is drawn into the scam.   She sets out to get the money back and this takes her to Nigeria, and into a dangerous world we cannot imagine.  We learn a great deal about these scams, and the people caught up in them on both sides of the globe.

There’s an old saying “the truth is stranger than fiction”.  When this novel was released months ago, I heard a CBC interview with the author in which he stated that while the book is fiction, it is based in fact.  That's the scary part!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Daughter's tale by Mary Soames

This weekend we remember all those Canadians who fought in the wars of the past century.  A new book gives us insight into one of the great military leaders of the 20th century.  Mary Soames, the youngest daughter of Winston Churchill, is approaching her 90th birthday, and has written a fascinating and revealing memoir, entitled A Daughter’s Tale.  Drawing from her diaries, family history, and many research sources, this is an intimate look at the household in which she grew up and at the events that shaped our society.

What an interesting life she has led.  Soames offers warm memories of growing up in idyllic surroundings of the family estate.  She always had a warm relationship with her father, and as she matured became one of his trusted companions.  We are given a glimpse inside the glittering social life of the aristocracy, and the British parliament as it debated what to do about events on the continent.  Soames describes the debate in parliament that forced Neville Chamberlain’s resignation and her father ascension to party leadership.  During the war she became a gunner in the women’s auxiliary, and she was by her father’s side when the war ended.

This book shows us a twentieth century icon who was a brilliant leader, and a loving father.