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.

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!