Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | April Selection

Leonard and Hungry Paul
by Ronan Hession

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The Tuesday Afternoon Book Club meets on the third Tuesday 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).

Please register here to discuss Ronan Hession’s charming novel Leonard and Hungry Paul.

A disarming novel that asks a simple question- Can gentle people change the world?

In this charming and truly unique debut, popular Irish musician Ronan Hession tells the story of two single, thirty-something men who still live with their parents and who are . . . nice. They take care of their parents and play board games together. They like to read. They take satisfaction from their work. They are resolutely kind. And they realize that none of this is considered . . . normal.

Leonard and Hungry Paul is the story of two friends struggling to protect their understanding of what’s meaningful in life. It is about the uncelebrated people of this world – the gentle, the meek, the humble. And as they struggle to persevere, the book asks a surprisingly enthralling question- Is it really them against the world, or are they on to something?

The Author

An Irish Times interview

A Bookmunch Blog interview

Discussion Questions

A Guardian book review

A Chicago Review of Books review

WATCH & LISTEN

Video interviews

 

 

Seniors Book Club | April Selection

Her Turn
by Katherine Ashenburg

Print| eBook

The Seniors 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).

Please register here to discuss Katherine Ashenburg’s delightful novel Her Turn.

A journalist in Washington, DC, Liz has turned lemons into lemonade after her husband walked out on her a decade ago. She likes her life–she’s the editor of My Turn, a weekly column in which readers write about their lives, has a few romantic nibbles–some better than others–a good relationship with her teen-aged son, and has come to terms with the shock and heartbreak of her divorce.

Or so she thinks.

One day at work, she receives a letter for the column she can’t ignore, because it’s written by her ex-husband’s current wife–AKA the other woman. It is the beginning of an unexpected correspondence between the two women–but only Liz knows the truth about their connection. Could it be she still cares? How far will she take this unusual relationship? And what happens if the truth comes out?

Her Turn is an immensely readable, joyful novel about fidelity and forgiveness that explores one woman’s second act in life, and the ties that still bind her to the first.

The Author

A 49th Shelf interview 

A Cece Scott Blog interview

A Johns Hopkins article on Forgiveness

A Pychology Today article on Forgiveness

Reviews

A Kirkus Book review

Other reviews

WATCH & LISTEN

Video Trailers, Reviews and Interviews

 

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | March Selection

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led book club meets on the third Tuesday 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).

Please register to discuss this heart-felt and atmospheric new novel by the bestselling Canadian author of Crow Lake, The Other Side of the Bridge, and Road Ends.

Rebellious teenager Rose been missing for weeks with no word, and Rose’s younger sister, the feisty and fierce Clara, keeps a daily vigil at the living-room window, hoping for her sibling’s return.

Enter thirtyish Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, where he promptly moves into the house next door–watched suspiciously by astonished and dismayed Clara, whose elderly friend, Mrs. Orchard, owns that home. Around the time of Rose’s disappearance, Mrs. Orchard was sent for a short stay in hospital, and Clara promised to keep an eye on the house and its remaining occupant, Mrs. Orchard’s cat, Moses. As the novel unfolds, so does the mystery of what has transpired between Mrs. Orchard and the newly arrived stranger.

Told through three distinct, compelling points of view–Clara’s, Mrs. Orchard’s, and Liam Kane’s–the novel cuts back and forth among these unforgettable characters to uncover the layers of grief, remorse, and love that connect families, both the ones we’re born into and the ones we choose. A Town Called Solace is a masterful, suspenseful and deeply humane novel by one of our great storytellers. (Publisher)

FURTHER READING

Author Biography

A CBC Radio’s Next Chapter Interview

A Style.ca Interview

Praise for A Town Called Solace

A Toronto Star book review

Maclean’s article by Mary Lawson: Why I write about the Canadian Shield (with family pictures)

Discussion Questions (no specific guide available at this time – generic Fiction questions)

WATCH & LISTEN

Video Interviews with Mary Lawson

A CBC Radio’s Next Chapter Interview

 

Monday Evening Book Club | March Selection

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led book club meets on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 PM via Zoom.

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

Please register to 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 (2021)

Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

There have been many Clayton Thomas-Müllers: The child who played with toy planes as an escape from domestic and sexual abuse, enduring the intergenerational trauma of Canada’s residential school system; the angry youngster who defended himself with fists and sharp wit against racism and violence, at school and on the streets of Winnipeg and small-town British Columbia; the tough teenager who, at 17, managed a drug house run by members of his family, and slipped in and out of juvie, operating in a world of violence and pain.

But behind them all, there was another Clayton: the one who remained immersed in Cree spirituality, and who embraced the rituals and ways of thinking vital to his heritage; the one who reconnected with the land during summer visits to his great-grandparents’ trapline in his home territory of Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba.

And it’s this version of Clayton that ultimately triumphed, finding healing by directly facing the trauma that he shares with Indigenous peoples around the world. Now a leading organizer and activist on the frontlines of environmental resistance, Clayton brings his warrior spirit to the fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples’ lands by Big Oil.

Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of the First Nations of this land into sharp focus, and lessons learned from a career as a frontline activist committed to addressing environmental injustice at a global scale, Thomas-Müller offers a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility. (From Allen Lane) — from cbc.ca

About Clayton Thomas-Müller

Life in the City of Dirty Water – a short documentary film (20 min.) on GEM

A Nature Canada interview

A CBC Radio The Current interview

An author reading on The Sunday Magazine (CBC Radio)

The CBC Canada Reads page on Clayton Thomas-Müller

A CTV News article

A Vancouver Sun article

350.org website

What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

From the widely acclaimed author of American War: a new novel–beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving–that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child’s eyes.

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one has made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials but of Vanna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though she and the boy are complete strangers, though they don’t speak a common language, she determines to do whatever it takes to save him.

In alternating chapters, we learn the story of the boy’s life and how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the girl and boy as they make their way toward a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world, it is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair — and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one. (From McClelland & Stewart) — from cbc.ca

About the Author

A CBC Books interview with Omar El Akkad

A Powells interview with Omar El Akkad

A CBC Radio The Next Chapter interview

Video interviews with Omar El Akkad

A Quill & Quire book review

A Guardian book review

A New York Times book review

A Washington Post book review

An NPR book review

Refugees of the Syrian civil war (Wikipedia)

Timeline of the European migrant crisis (Wikipedia)

The Alan Kurdi story (Wikipedia)

A Vancouver Sun article: Alan Kurdi: the life and death of the boy on the beach

Seniors Book Club | March Selection

Letters Across the Sea
by Genevieve Graham

Print | eBook

The Seniors 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).

Please register here to discuss Genevieve Graham’s engaging historical novel Letters Across the Sea.

Inspired by a little-known chapter of World War II history, a young Protestant girl and her Jewish neighbour are caught up in the terrible wave of hate sweeping the globe on the eve of war in this powerful love story that’s perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society .

The Author

A Reading Frenzy Blog interview

An essay by Genevieve Graham on How I Write Historical Fiction

Historical information

Discussion Questions (provided by St. Albert Public Library staff – please scroll to p. 6)

Reviews

“An epic tale of enduring love, loyalty and heroism, and a haunting portrayal of one of the most tragic yet overlooked battles of WWII, Letters Across the Sea has all the ingredients of a historical fiction masterpiece. Genevieve Graham has delivered once more a powerful, devastating, and ultimately redemptive story that stirs the heart in profound and lasting ways.”
— ROXANNE VELETZOS, internationally bestselling author of The Girl They Left Behind

“I always look forward to diving into a Genevieve Graham novel, because I know I’ll be swept away by her meticulous evocation of the past, her memorable and wonderfully observed characters, and her unmatchable flair for shining a light into the neglected corners of our shared past. In Letters Across the Sea, she sends us from 1930s Toronto, then under siege by a relentless plague of anti-Semitism, to a different battleground altogether: the last stand of Canadian troops at the Battle of Hong Kong. This is history worth remembering–and fiction that both enlightens and entertains.”
— JENNIFER ROBSON, internationally bestselling author of The Gown

“Readers weary of European-centric World War II dramas will delight in Genevieve Graham’s Letters Across the Sea, which centers on the courage and tenacity of Canadian soldiers, veterans, and home-front fighters. A budding love affair between Irish aspiring-journalist Molly and Jewish medical student Max is derailed first by a shocking anti-Semitic riot, then by the winds of war which send Max to fight in the Pacific as Molly carves herself a niche as a reporter. A lost letter has the power to bring them back into each other’s lives, but at what cost? A tender, moving tale illuminating a fascinating lesser-known chapter of World War II history!”
— KATE QUINNNew York Times bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network

WATCH & LISTEN

Video Trailers, Reviews and Interviews

 

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | February Selection

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led drop-in book club meets on the third Tuesday 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 highly entertaining and informative read set in contemporary Ghana.

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world. (Publisher)

FURTHER READING

Author Biography

Author website

An Essay on fiction writing by Peace Adzo Medie

The PEN Ten: an interview with Peace Adzo Medie

Other Interviews & Profiles

Discussion Questions

A Bookbrowse book review

Other reviews

WATCH & LISTEN

Video Interviews with Peace Adzo Medie

 

Seniors Book Club | February Selection

Five Little Indians
by Michelle Good

Print | eBook

The Seniors 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).

Please register here to discuss Michelle Good’s award-winning timely novel Five Little Indians.

Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can’t stop running and moves restlessly from job to job—through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps—trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew.

With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward. (Publisher)

The Author

A Canadian Press interview

A Quill & Quire interview

A Globe and Mail article

A Toronto Star review

The Ides Book Club discussion questions

WATCH & LISTEN

Michelle Good on why she wrote Five Little Indians || TIFA 2020 (2:07 min.)

Other video interviews

 

Monday Evening Book Club | February Selection

Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen Humphreys

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

Book Club Kit copies are available for participants upon request from the Adult Information Desk (780-459-1682). If you prefer a digital copy of the book, click here.

Register to drop-in and discuss this insightful, compelling novel based on the true story of a small town murder in 1940s Saskatchewan.

Canwood, Saskatchewan, 1947. Leonard Flint, a lonely boy in a small farming town befriends the local outsider, a man known as Rabbit Foot Bill. Bill doesn’t talk much, but he allows Leonard to accompany him as he sets rabbit snares and to visit his small, secluded dwelling.

Being with Bill is everything to young Leonard—an escape from school, bullies and a hard father. So his shock is absolute when he witnesses Bill commit a sudden violent act and loses him to prison.

Fifteen years on, as a newly graduated doctor of psychiatry, Leonard arrives at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, both excited and intimidated by the massive institution known for its experimental LSD trials. To Leonard’s great surprise, at the Weyburn he is reunited with Bill and soon becomes fixated on discovering what happened on that fateful day in 1947. (from harpercollins.ca)

FURTHER READING

INTERVIEW: 1947 Saskatchewan murder case provides the hook for ‘Rabbit Foot Bill’ | Global News

REVIEW: The Hauntings of History and the Human Condition in “Rabbit Foot Bill | Chicago Review of Books 

REVIEW: Lonely Hearts Club: Settling in with Helen Humphreys | Literary Review of Canada

REVIEW: Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen | Cloud Lake Literary

WATCH & LISTEN

INTERVIEW: The true story of a 1947 Saskatchewan murder case inspired Helen Humphreys’ latest novel | The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers

INTERVIEW: An Evening with Emma Donoghue & Helen Humphreys | Kitchener Public Library