Weekend Picks

Asian Heritage Month Picks

We wrap up this run of amazing films with a selection of picks from Central Asia. Until next year, we hope you continue to enjoy the variety of films from our eclectic and always growing collection of Asian films.

A headstrong young girl in Afghanistan, ruled by the Taliban, disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family.

The Polygon

The Polygon shines a light on the village of Sarzhal in East Kazakhstan, situated only 18kms from the perimeter of the former Semipalatinsk Test Site, that was home to over 600 nuclear detonations. Between 1949 and 1991 the Soviet Union detonated 116 above ground bombs, whose massive radioactive mushroom clouds were witnessed by thousands of innocent and unsuspecting Kazakh villagers.

The Kite Runner

After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in Afghanistan to help his old friend Hassan, whose son is in trouble.

Weekend Picks

Asian Heritage Month Picks

This long weekend, we go west for some picks to celebrate Asian Heritage Month in Canada. Enjoy these choice West Asian flicks!

Capernaum

Zain, a 12-year-old boy scrambling to survive on the streets of Beirut, sues his parents for having brought him into such an unjust world, where being a refugee with no documents means that your rights can easily be denied.

Arab Blues

Selma, a psychoanalyst, deals with a cast of colorful new patients after returning home to Tunisia to open a practice.

The Insult

After an emotional exchange between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee escalates, the men end up in a court case that gets national attention.

The Cave

Deep beneath the surface in the Syrian province of Ghouta, a group of female doctors have established an underground field hospital. Under the supervision of pediatrician Dr. Amani and her staff of doctors and nurses, hope is restored for some of the thousands of children and civilian victims of the ruthless Syrian civil war.

 

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | June Selection

Akin
by Emma Donoghue

Print | 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.

Please register here to discuss Emma Donoghue’s novel Akin, a brilliant tale of love, loss and family.

A retired New York professor’s life is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hopes of uncovering his own mother’s wartime secrets. Noah is only days away from his first trip back to Nice since he was a child when a social worker calls looking for a temporary home for Michael, his eleven-year-old great-nephew. Though he has never met the boy, he gets talked into taking him along to France. This odd couple, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, argue about everything from steak haché to screen time, and the trip is looking like a disaster. But as Michael’s ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family’s past, both of them come to grasp the risks that people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew. Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room a huge bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together. (Publisher)

Further Reading

About Emma Donoghue

About Akin (including a personal note by Emma Donoghue)

A Chatelaine interview

A Waterstones Blog interview

A Guardian book review

A Washington Post book review

An Irish Independent book review

An Irish Times book review

Discussion Questions

Historical background on Nice, France

Excelsior Hotel, Nice – history

About Odette Abadi (co-founder of the Marcel Network)

Washington Post article about the Marcel Network

 

WATCH & LISTEN

An Appel Salon (Toronto Public Library) video interview

A CBC Books video trailer

Interview by Shelagh Rogers on CBC’s The Next Chapter

Interview by Tom Power on CBC’s Q

 

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.