Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Leaving Tommorrow by David Bergen

The first half of Leaving Tomorrow is set in a small town in southern Alberta, and is very descriptive of Arthur’s formative years. Arthur is a romantic and is very much influenced by the many women in his life.

Young Arthur has a love of vocabulary and a wide range of interests that make him an outcast from his peers and creates a rivalry between himself and his older brother.

When interviewed, David Bergen stated that he grew up in a small town in Manitoba and took all the emotion and experiences of that small town life, the longing to leave, the closeness, the awkwardness, and laid it all over Arthur’s life.

Arthur does “Leave Tomorrow” to follow his dream of living in Paris and writing his novel. I feel that one of this writers great strengths is his ability to transport the reader to the various settings which he realistically describes.

This was a “Coming of Age” novel with some interesting scenery, believable characters and fine writing. Staff and patrons alike recommend giving it a read!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions by Stephen Macknik & Susana Martinez-Conde

In Sleights of mind, neuroscientists Stephen and Susana decided to research the science behind illusions. They attended magic shows around the world, interviewed magicians, ran tests on observers and magicians alike, and even became accredited magicians themselves. And what it comes down to is that your brain is hardwired to be fooled. 

The mechanisms your brain uses to make sense of the world can be exploited by magicians to make you see things that aren’t there. Magicians don’t necessarily know how it works – just that it does. 

Macknik and Martinez-Conde study the how and why of illusions, not just to understand magic, but to understand more of the way the brain functions, with the hopes of finding other ways to apply those principles to real life.

One of our staff found the book fascinating, and was intrigued both by the magic and how the brain works. The writing is clear and quite entertaining. There are descriptions of tricks and magic shows, interviews with magicians, and an explanation of the principle that makes each class of illusion work, but that’s the thing – even when you know it’s not magic your brain will still be amazed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Love Letters by Debbie Macomber

After her husband is killed in Iraq, Jo Marie Rose purchases the Rose Harbour Inn, located in Cedar Cove, in an attempt to start over. 

In the book Love Letters, by Debbie Macomber,  Jo Marie has a variety of guests staying at the inn who are dealing with different relationship problems.

One couple is trying to work out some difficulties with their marriage. After some indiscretions from both sides, they have to decide if they want to hang on to their marriage or go their separate ways.

A young girl is also staying at the inn and planning on meeting her online romance. Her Mother does not approve and this causes conflict within their relationship.

However, Jo Marie has problems of her own. She has hired Mark Taylor to do some work for her and his more consistent presence around the inn makes her wonder about his personal life. Jo Marie begins to try to find out more about him.

This is a good book about relationships and the characters of Cedar Cove. One of our staff members says it was a great read, and highly recommends it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Liz's Favourites

Well, this is my last OFF THE SHELF.  As many know, I am retiring.  It has been an honour offering these book suggestions every week.  There have been almost 300 in total, and I thank CFAM for allowing me this time to spend with you.  Today they are allowing me to indulge myself and offer up a list of my favourite books.  

Children’s books:
Jeremiah learns to read by Jo Ellen Bogart
Our Library by Eve Bunting illustrated by Maggie Smith
Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker (I love the illustrations by Werner Zimmermann)
Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk (that’s a favourite because the librarian in the book is named “Mrs. Forrester”)

Junior Fiction:
Kalifax by Duncan Thornton
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans
Lionheart’s Scribe by Carleen Bradford
The Pirate Captain’s Daughter by Eve Bunting
Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

Photographs that changed the World by Lorraine Monk
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Oxford Treasury of Classic Poems

Fiction (My favourite genre because it sheds light on human struggles in a way that non-fiction cannot.)
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy
The Purchase by Linda Spalding
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway.

My Favourite of all time:  Who has seen the Wind by W. O. Mitchell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

Much has been written about World War II, but Denise Kiernan’s The Girls of Atomic City sheds light on a little know group of women who made tremendous sacrifices during that war. The town of  Oak Ridge Tennessee was created 1942, from the ground up; solely for the purpose of assisting with the Manhattan Project. By the end of the war it was home to more than 75,000 people - most of whom had no idea what they were doing there.

Many of the residents were young women recruited from the surrounding small towns, drawn by the promise of good pay and cheap housing. The living conditions were deplorable and privacy was almost unheard of, but it was the secrecy that was the most difficult.  Telling one’s  family where you were or what you were doing was not allowed, and mail was strictly censored. It wasn’t until the bomb “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, that the residents began to realise what exactly they were doing: enriching uranium for use in atomic bombs.  

Oak Ridge didn’t appear on any maps until 1949; four years after the bombs were dropped. This temporary town however still exists 70 years later, and many of its founding residents still live in Oak Ridge. This book reveals how a small group of women did their part for the war effort.