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.

Seniors Book Club | May Selection

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

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 spell-binding novel and controversial publishing sensation.

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy–two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia –trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte , Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

FURTHER READING

Jeanine Cummins biography

Wikipedia biography (including timeline of publishing controversy)

Author interview (BookBrowse)

An Irish Times article discussing the controversy with the author

The Atlantic article about the controversy

A New York Times book review

A critical review (slate.com)

Discussion Questions (Publisher’s Reading Guide)

The Death Train (La Bestia)

https://theconversation.com/migrants-at-us-mexico-border-must-get-past-cartels-before-their-long-journey-ends-129403

Mexican Migration in 2021

Jeanine Cummins is working with the International Rescue Committee to raise funds to help support severely under-resourced programs that offer protection and hope to the men, women, and children waiting in Mexico to get to the United States. She is matching donations up to $100,000 until the end of 2020. https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/borderlands

WATCH & LISTEN

Youtube interviews with Jeanine Cummins

ARTE Reportage on La Bestia

An NPR Audio interview

A Bookreporter podcast

“Bookaccino Live” Book Group Event Discussing AMERICAN DIRT

Monday Evening Book Club | May Selection

Hamnet & Judith
by Maggie O’Farrell

Print | eBook

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

Please register here to discuss Maggie O’Farrell’s novel Hamnet and Judith,

“Hamnet & Judith is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is a story of the bond between twins, and of a marriage pushed to the brink by grief. It is also the story of a kestrel and its mistress; flea that boards a ship in Alexandria; and a glovemaker’s son who flouts convention in pursuit of the woman he loves. Above all, it is a tender and unforgettable reimagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written” ~ Women’s Prize for Fiction Website

The Author

‘The Angel Who Saved My Daughter'(you Magazine)

The Novel’s Inspiration (The Guardian)

NPR Review

Women’s Prize for Fiction: Reading Guide

WATCH & LISTEN

Politics & Prose Interview

The Author on Life & Death Scenarios

Giving New Life to Shakespeare’s Son 

Hamnet with Maggie O’Farrell and Bernard Cornwell

10 Tenuous Quick Questions

Spring Meeting

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Offbeat Book Club will discuss The Midnight Library on Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 PM via Zoom.

To find out how to register and more, email offbeat@sapl.ca

Further Reading

The Accidental Mental Health Guru

She’s So Full of Lit

WATCH & LISTEN

Ways to Change Your World

5 Books That Changed the Author’s Life

Author Stories Podcast: Matt Haig

Weekend Picks

Coming Soon

These flicks are “On Order” and ready for your holds!

Minari

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.

Percy

When a massive biotech company sues a farmer because of their genetically modified seeds have blown into his field, a fight is on between big business and the little guy.

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.

Iron Mask

The Russian Czar Peter the Great commissions Jonathan Green, an English traveller, to map the Far East territories of the Russian Empire. Green sets off on yet another long journey, full of unbelievable adventures, which eventually leads him to China. On his way, the famous cartographer makes breath-taking discoveries, meets mysterious creatures, Chinese princesses, deadly masters of oriental martial arts, and even Lun Van, the King of Dragons, himself. What could be more perilous than looking into the eyes of Viy? Only meeting him again… What will prevail this time — the unflinching scepticism of the scientist or ancient black magic, which has already gained influence over the Far East Lands?

 

Remain Silent
by Susie Steiner

This is the third book in the Manon Bradshaw trilogy.  I’m saddened by this fact because I’ve grown to love the characters that have been brought to life on the pages of these books. 

Manon is trying to juggle her family life with her husband and two kids while working part-time on cold cases.  While on a walk with her two year old son, Teddy, she comes across a young migrant found hanging from a tree.  She quickly heads home to report it, knowing somehow that she’ll be the one to investigate the case.  What she doesn’t know is that she’ll soon be dealing with the issues of illegal immigrants, racism, and xenophobia. As SIO on this case now, Manon has even less time to deal with issues at home until her husband, Mark becomes seriously ill.  

At times dark and disturbing, this novel reflects what is happening in so many countries today, showing to what ends people will go to in order to try for a better life.  

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this book is that while Steiner was writing it, unbeknownst to her, a tumor was growing in her brain.  How interesting that part of this story-line reflects what was happening to Steiner, personally.

A highly recommended series: 5 Bloody Daggers for each: Missing, Presumed; Persons Unknown; Remain Silent.

Joanne gives this book 5 stars out of 5!
         Joanne gives this book 5 daggers out of 5!

Weekend Picks

Long Weekend Long Plays

Some big-time flicks over 2.5 hrs in length for a looooong, weekend.

Enjoy,

Giant 

Sprawling epic covering the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates.

Tenet

Armed with only one word – Tenet – and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.

Silence

Two Jesuit priests travel to seventeenth century Japan which has, under the Tokugawa shogunate, banned Catholicism and almost all foreign contact.

The Deer Hunter

A group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos – not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven married his pregnant girlfriend – and Michael and Nick were in love with the same woman. But all three are different men upon their return.

 

Weekend Picks

Trans Day of Visibility Ed.

March 31 is Trans Day of Visibility! But you can enjoy some choice flicks this weekend!

Una Mujer Fantástica/A Fantastic Woman

Marina’s life is thrown into turmoil following the death of her partner. Mourning the loss of the man she loved, she finds herself under intense scrutiny from those with no regard for her privacy.

Laurence Anyways

The story of an impossible love between a woman named Fred and a transgender woman named Laurence who reveals her inner desire to become her true self.

Coby

Small town smack in the American Midwest. Suzanna age 23 changes gender and becomes a boy: Coby. Her transformation deeply disrupts the lives of all who love her. Ultimately, Coby’s chrysalis becomes the one of a whole family compelled to modify their own perspective. Not only a physical metamorphosis is at stake here but also a spiritual one that eventually takes place under the director’s luminous and unexpected eye.

Blue Lightning
by Ann Cleeves

Blue Lightning falls midway in the series of Shetland mysteries featuring Jimmy Perez.  It really shows Cleeves at her best in both storytelling and creating atmosphere.  Fair Isle becomes as strong a character as do Jimmy and the people who inhabit the island.  Jimmy accompanied by his new fiancé Fran, returns to his home with much trepidation, knowing that strangers are not readily accepted.  With the weather turning cold and stormy the feeling of isolation for many of the residents reaches a fever pitch.  And then a body is discovered.  A woman has been murdered.

Cut off from the mainland, Jimmy is forced to use what resources he can to conduct an investigation.  As he begins interviewing the people who were part of the victim’s circle of friends, family, and acquaintances, he realizes that everyone is hiding something.  Whether it’s pertinent to the murder or not – they all have secrets.

But no one, least of all Jimmy, could ever know that the tragic circumstances of this case would determine the direction of Perez’s future for some years to come.

Joanne gives this book 4 daggers out of 5!

Weekend Picks

From a sinuous melodrama during the Seven Years’ War to an exquisite romance from the Gilded Age, enjoy one of these sensuous period flicks today.

Barry Lyndon 

An Irish rogue uses his cunning and wit to work his way up the social classes of 18th century England, transforming himself from the humble Redmond Barry into the noble Barry Lyndon.

Mysteries of Lisbon

The tragic story of the many lives of Father Dinis, his dark origins and his pious works, and the different fates of all those who, trapped in a sinister web of love, hate and crime, cross paths with him through years of adventure and misfortune in the convulsed Europe of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Favourite 

England, early 18th century. The close relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Hill, resulting in a bitter rivalry between the two cousins to be the Queen’s favourite.

The Age of Innocence

Tale of 19th century New York high society in which a young lawyer falls in love with a woman separated from her husband, while he is engaged to the woman’s cousin.