Weekend Picks

Asian Heritage Month

This week we put the spotlight on some stellar films from East Asia to celebrate Asian Heritage Month in Canada!

Burning

Deliveryman Jongsu is out on a job when he runs into Haemi, a girl who once lived in his neighborhood. She asks if he’d mind looking after her cat while she’s away on a trip to Africa. On her return she introduces to Jongsu an enigmatic young man named Ben, who she met during her trip. And one day Ben tells Jongsu about his most unusual hobby…

The Cave of the Yellow Dog

The little nomad girl, Nansal, finds a baby dog in the Mongolian veld, who becomes her best friend – against all rejections of her parents. A story about a Mongolian family of nomads – their traditional way of life and the rising call of the City.

Norwegian Wood

Set in the 1960s, high school student Toru Watanabe loses his only friend Kizuki after he commits suicide. Toru, now looking for a new life, enters a university in Tokyo. By chance, Toru meets Kizuki’s ex-girlfriend Naoko in the university. They grow close because they both share the same loss. As Toru and Naoko grow even closer, Naoko’s sense of loss also grows. After Naoko’s 20th birthday, she leaves for a sanitarium in Kyoto. Watanabe, devastated …more

The Farewell

A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is given a terminal diagnosis. Billi struggles with her family’s decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.

Tokyo Sonata 

Ryûhei Sasaki is keeping a secret from his wife, Megumi and his two teenage sons. Even though he leaves the house every day, he’s not really going to work. He’s going to an employment office. He recently lost his job due to outsourcing, but is determined to find another position, all while supporting an old friend who is also out of work. But when Megumi accidentally finds out Ryûhei’s secret and doesn’t tell him, her trust in him, and their marriage, suffers.

Seniors Book Club | June Selection

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led drop-in book club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

Book Club Kit copies are available for participants upon request from the Adult Information Desk (780-459-1682).

Register to drop-in and discuss this quirky new novel by the bestselling Swedish author of A Man called Ove.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn’t turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths. As police surround the premises, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people. (Publisher)

FURTHER READING

Author Biography

Author website

A New York Times interview

A Pen America interview

A Bookweb interview

A Kirkus book review

A Washington Independent book review

A USA Today book review

A Read It Forward essay on Backman’s work

Discussion Questions

WATCH & LISTEN

Fredrik Backman video interviews

Netflix series coming in 2021

 

 

Murder by Milk Bottle
by Lynne Truss

Truss’ second Constable Twitten Mystery is a combination of “The Keystone Cops” meet “The Carry-On Gang” in a performance in an old English panto!  It’s a complete and utter silly farce!  Some might find it TOO silly, but one cannot help but laugh at many of the antics that take place during the August Bank Holiday weekend of 1957.

Truss’characters are more like caricatures than personages.  There’s Constable Twitten: painfully naive when it comes to matters of the heart; Inspector Steine: self-absorbed and totally oblivious to what’s going on in his own station house; and Sergeant Brunswick: the bumbling and dim-witted officer who cannot see the “forest for the trees”.  Only Mrs. Groynes, the police station charlady is a fleshed-out character and yet we know that she is not what she seems to be!

When three seemingly unconnected people are murdered by being bashed over the head with milk bottles, it’s up to this bumbling lot to solve the murders.  Their unorthodox methods are worthy of great guffaws but would certainly not be sanctioned by either Morse or Gamache!

Illustration of 3 bloody knives, with only 3 of them coloured in. The other two are just grey.
       Joanne gives this book 3 daggers out of 3!

Monday Evening Book Club | June Selection

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe

“Book club only” print copies are available at the downtown location of the Library. To pick up a copy, visit the Information Desk on the 2nd floor.

Register to drop-in and discuss this acclaimed, award-winning book which expertly blends true crime and the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Monday Evening Book Club meets on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 PM via Zoom.

In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville’s children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress–with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.

Patrick Radden Keefe’s mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders.

Further reading

Review: How Conflicts End – And Who Can End Them | The Atlantic

Review: ‘Say Nothing’ — Part History, Part True Crime — Illuminates the Bitter Conflict in Northern Ireland | The New York Times

Review: ‘Say Nothing’ reexamines a mother’s murder in Northern Ireland’s most violent years | Los Angeles Times

Whatever You Say … Say Nothing: An Interview with Patrick Radden Keefe | Los Angeles Review of Books

‘My Only Real Loyalty is to the Truth’: An Interview with Patrick Radden Keefe | Hazlitt

The Troubles: Northern Ireland History | Britannica

A Guardian article from May 2021

Watch & Listen

Chicago Humanities Festival Interview

Wind of Change (podcast by author Patrick Radden Keefe)

Weekend Picks

Asian Heritage Month Picks

Embrace the opportunity to celebrate Asian Heritage Month in Canada! This week we’re featuring some fresh films from South Asia.

Enjoy!

Lipstick Under My Burka

Four ordinary women, inflicted by silly societal norms, have to steal, lie, cheat and hide in order to lead the lives that they rightfully deserve.

Machines

This portrayal of the rhythm of life and work in a gigantic textile factory in Gujarat, India, moves through the corridors and bowels of the enormously disorienting structure—taking the viewer on a journey of dehumanizing physical labor and intense hardship.

Weekend Picks

The Oscars

Hey everyone! Here are the nominees for your next hold…

Stay tuned for more films from this year’s Academy Awards coming to a library catalogue near you!

A woman in her sixties embarks on a journey through the Western United States after losing everything in the Great Recession, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad.

Sound of Metal 

A drummer begins to lose his hearing and has to come to grips with a future that will be filled with silence.

The Father

A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

Another Round

Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood. Starring Mads Mikkelsen.

Better Days

Nian is trying to get into shape for the state gaokao exam. Her chances of getting a spot at university depend on her score and the constant bullying of her classmates is not helping much. Bei’s world is the street, with all its dark corners. A night-time encounter brings the shy schoolgirl together with the street-savvy trickster, Bei. When Nian’s school nemesis turns up dead, the new allies come under suspicion.

It’s the 1980s, and David, a seven-year-old Korean American boy, is faced with new surroundings and a different way of life when his father, Jacob, moves their family from the West Coast to rural Arkansas. His mother, Monica, is aghast that they live in a mobile home in the middle of nowhere, and naughty little David and his sister are bored and aimless. When his equally mischievous grandmother arrives from Korea to live with them, her unfamiliar ways arouse David’s curiosity. Meanwhile, Jacob, hell-bent on creating a farm on untapped soil, throws their finances, his marriage, and the stability of the family into jeopardy

Judas and the Black Messiah 

The story of Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party, who was assassinated in 1969 by a Cook County tactical unit on the orders of the FBI and Chicago Police Department.

News of the World

A Texan traveling across the wild West bringing the news of the world to local townspeople, agrees to help rescue a young girl who was kidnapped.

In 1800s England, a well-meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends.

Promising Young Woman

A young woman haunted by a tragedy in her past takes revenge on the predatory men unlucky enough to cross her path.

Mulan

When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Chinese Army to defend the country from Huns, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father. She is spirited, determined and quick on her feet. Disguised as a man by the name of Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her innermost strength and embrace her true potential.

Soul

Joe Gardner is a middle school teacher with a love for jazz music. After a successful gig at the Half Note Club, he suddenly gets into an accident that separates his soul from his body and is transported to the You Seminar, a center in which souls develop and gain passions before being transported to a newborn child. Joe must enlist help from the other souls-in-training, like 22, a soul who has spent eons in the You Seminar, in order to get back to Earth.

Onward

In a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there.

The Mole Agent

A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.

 

Weekend Picks

Here’s a couple of massive hits that even have this blogger excitedly waiting on their holds to arrive!

Judas and the Black Messiah

The story of Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party, who was assassinated in 1969 by a Cook County tactical unit on the orders of the FBI and Chicago Police Department.

Promising Young Woman

A young woman haunted by a tragedy in her past takes revenge on the predatory men unlucky enough to cross her path.

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | May Selection

The Inconvenient Indian
by  Thomas King

Print | eAudioBook (Hoopla) | eBook

Additional book club kit copies are available at the Adult Information Desk.

This Library led book club meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

Register to drop-in and discuss this modern masterpiece by one of Canada’s foremost Indigenous authors.

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King’s critical and personal meditation on what it means to be “Indian” in North America, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope–a sometimes inconvenient but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future. (Publisher)

Further Reading

About Thomas King

A Globe and Mail interview

Publisher’s Readers Guide, including discussion questions

An Amnesty International Book Club discussion guide

A book review by Richard Wagamese

A Quill & Quire review

thestar.com review

A Wikipedia article on ethnic stereotypes

Truth and Reconciliation resources

One Arranged Murder
by Chetan Bhagat

Keshav and Saurabh are business partners as well as flatmates and best friends. That is until Keshav falls in love with Prerna and wedding plans are being made. When things go awry, Keshav turns to his best friend for help and the two of them collaborate on solving a grisly murder.

Steeped in customs, food, and culture, Bhangat creates a colorful depiction of life in Delhi.  Initially I would reach for my dictionary (Google) for the definition of some of the words used in the telling, but slowly it became easier to understand what was meant through the context of the sentences and paragraphs.  With occasional laugh-out-loud passages and descriptions of the day-to-day interactions of family members, the story unfolds methodically and keeps the reader’s attention.

Joanne gives this book 3 daggers out of 3!

Weekend Picks

Here are some fresh films to go with the summery vibe this weekend.

Barb and Star Go Visit Del Mar

The story of best friends Barb and Star, who leave their small midwestern town for the first time to go on vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida, where they soon find themselves tangled up in adventure, love, and a villain’s evil plot to kill everyone in town.

The Mauritanian

A detainee at the U.S military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center is held without charges for over a decade and seeks help from a defense attorney for his release.

A Call to Spy

The story of Vera Atkins, a crafty spy recruiter, and two of the first women she selects for Churchill’s “secret army”: Virginia Hall, a daring American undaunted by a disability and Noor Inayat Khan, a pacifist. These civilian women form an unlikely sisterhood while entangled in dangerous missions to turn the tide of the war.