Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | June Selection

Five Little Indians
by Michelle Good

Print eBook

The Tuesday Afternoon Book Club meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 PM at the Downtown Library.

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

Seniors Book Club | June Selection

Taken by the Muse
by Anne Wheeler

Print | eBook

This Library-led book club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2 PM at the Downtown Library.

Book Club Kit copies are available for participants. Visit the Adult Information Desk (2nd floor, Downtown Library) to get your book.

Please register to discuss Taken by the Muse, a humorous and revelatory memoir by legendary Canadian filmmaker, Anne Wheeler.

Anne Wheeler’s creative non-fiction stories tell of her serendipitous journey in the seventies, when she broke with tradition and found her own way to becoming a filmmaker and raconteur.

Join this celebrated screenwriter and director as she travels south of Mombasa after calling off her wedding; attempts to gain acceptance in a male-dominated film collective; travels to India to visit friends who are devoted to a radical Master, and ultimately discovers her sense of purpose and passion close to home, sharing stories that would otherwise be lost about ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

FURTHER READING

Author Biography 

Author Website

INTERVIEW: Taken with Anne Wheeler | The Tyee

INTERVIEW: Muse you can use: Filmmaker Anne Wheeler dips into a past that helped guide her future | Vancouver Sun

INTERVIEW: Canadian director Anne Wheeler traces her path in new memoir | Edmonton Journal

REVIEW | Quill & Quire

REVIEW | Alberta Views

WATCH & LISTEN

INTERVIEW: Anne Wheeler at STARFest 2021 | St. Albert Public Library

INTERVIEW: Episode 163: Anne Wheeler | YVR Screen Scene Podcast

INTERVIEW: Making Movie History: Anne Wheeler | National Film Board of Canada

Monday Evening Book Club | June Selection

Leonard and Hungry Paul
by Ronan Hession

Print

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

Bookmunch Blog interview

Discussion Questions

Guardian book review

Chicago Review of Books review

WATCH & LISTEN

Video interviews

Weekend Picks

Hello from Libraryland! Each week, I’ll be posting some fresh films and forgotten finds that are free and always available through our streaming movie services hoopla and Kanopy.

This week, I’m connecting you with a new isolation classic that’s a bit campy and a bit maddening, but overall a must-see, The Lighthouse. To get you viewers outside and enjoying the beauty… from the inside, I recommend the lush painterly scenes found in Renoir. 

Enjoy,

Geoff

The Lighthouse

A hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Trailer

Renoir

Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, this atmospheric drama tells the story of celebrated Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir and his son Jean, who returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I. When Andree, a free-spirited, beautiful young red-head enters their lives, they are both smitten.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

the old successThe Old Success
by Martha Grimes

Do writers have a “best before date”?  I’m beginning to think so, especially since reading Peter Robinson’s Many Rivers to Cross, Ann Cleeves’ The Long Call and now Grimes’ The Old Success.  For each of these stories is just not up to the caliber that one would expect of these authors.

The Old Success is the 25th in the Richard Jury series and I was looking forward to some insight into one of his old cases but this was not to be.  Instead, Grimes has Jury collaborate with a DI with the Devon-Cornwall police and a former CID detective who has the reputation of solving every case he’s ever taken on, but one.  The three are tasked with investigating a series of 3 murders over the course of a few weeks.

Missing is the wit that Grimes brings to our favorite characters.  In fact, missing are our favorite characters! For they get barely a mention in this story.  What we do get are some new characters who appear on the page without any introduction, causing me to ask: “who are you and what are you doing in this story?”  As a result, rather than becoming a book that I couldn’t put down, this one was a book that I had to force myself to finish reading.  

Maybe Grimes was counting on her previous reputation to carry this book – in other words, her “Old Success”.    If so, it didn’t work for this reader.

2 Daggers
Joanne gives this “2 daggers out of 5”

Weekend Picks

So ’90s Valentine’s Day Ed.

Like omg, when that little boy in Jerry Maguire asks for a hug… so kewt!

Romeo + Juliet
Trailer

Reality Bites
Trailer

Jerry Maguire
Trailer

Before Sunrise
Trailer

Sleepless in Seattle
Trailer

Romeo + Juliet
Trailer

Ghost
Trailer

The English Patient
Trailer

You’ve Got Mail
Trailer

Titanic
Trailer

10 Things I Hate About You
Trailer

Clueless
Trailer

ps – click here to take a totally awesome Valentine’s Day trip to the ’80s.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

Joanne's mystery picks - 3 book review

Having read these three mysteries, back-to-back, I thought I’d do a comparison of them.  Robinson’s latest centers on the discovery of the body of a teenage boy, stuffed into a wheelie bin.  A secondary story-line involves Zelda, Annie’s father’s partner, who is a victim of human trafficking.  Banks comes across as arrogant, pompous, and acting as a lone wolf as he interviews suspects and reveals details of the cases to the very suspects that he’s investigating.  His constant references to musical artists and obscure songs has now become tiresome and boring. The rest of his team are seldom present during this overly-long story. Banks and the other characters have no personality, no individuality, and are wooden and cold.

One would never be able to pick them out of a line-up, having no real sense of what they even look like.

Crombie takes her characters out of London and into the country as Duncan, Gemma, and family are guests at the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant.  But the quiet weekend that they’d all hoped for is not to be when a tragic car accident, followed by a series of mysterious deaths, draws Kincaid and Gemma into the investigation.  The complex relationships between the characters are fully explored, giving the reader a true picture of each participant in the story. I felt that I really knew these people and understood their motivations.

Logan McRae has a particularly gruesome case to tackle, in McBride’s fourth installment of this intense series.  A legal appeal has released a convicted serial killer back into the community 20 years after his crimes. Now people are going missing again and human meat is being found in butchers’ shops.   McRae, along with DI Steele and Insch literally jump off the page as they go about the grisly task of finding the killer, leaving the reader laughing at the gallows-humour and eccentricities of these colorful, well-formed characters.   McBride’s ability to bring his characters to life is second-to-none, and even the dead victims have more life than any of the characters in Peter Robinson’s latest.

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

A Dance of Cranes Dance of Cranesby Steve Burrows

Burrows creates fantastic momentum in this 6th novel in his Birder Murder Series by having a death occur at the beginning of each of chapters 1 and 2.  They are each profoundly disturbing in their own way. We are treated to three different story lines in two different countries (Canada and the U.K.) and we are hard-pressed to keep up with the pace that Burrows has created.  

Jejeune is back in Canada, estranged from his girlfriend Lindy who remains in the U.K.  When he is informed that his brother Damien has gone missing in Wood Buffalo National Park while conducting research on Whooping Cranes he sets out to search for him. Back in the U.K., Lindy has gone missing, and Danny Maik fears that she’s been kidnapped.  The sense of place that Burrows has created in this novel is so real and atmospheric that we’re right there whether it’s in the Canadian wilderness or in Jejeune’s former home in Saltmarsh.

As the story lines converge and the whys and hows are answered the peril faced by Jejeune and Lindy is palpable.  Their fate lies in the hands of so many.

4 Daggers
Joanne gives this “4 daggers out of 5”

Weekend Picks

Best Indie Films of 2019 Vol. I

The Farewell

Chinese-born, U.S.-raised Billi reluctantly returns to Changchun to find that, although the whole family knows their beloved matriarch, Nai-Nai, has been given mere weeks to live, everyone has decided not to tell Nai Nai herself. To assure her happiness, they gather under the joyful guise of an expedited wedding, uniting family members scattered among new homes abroad. As Billi navigates a minefield of family expectations and proprieties, she finds there’s a lot to celebrate.

Trailer

Booksmart

Told from a wildly original, fresh, and modern perspective, this is an unfiltered comedy about high school best friends and the bonds they create that last a lifetime. Capturing the spirit of the times, it is a coming-of-age story for a new generation.

 

Biggest Little Farm

John Chester chronicles the eight-year quest he and Molly Chester went on when they traded city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the Chesters unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.

Trailer

 

 

 

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

drowned livesDrowned Lives
By Stephen Booth

As a fan of Booth’s Cooper and Fry series, I was looking forward to reading this standalone mystery .  However, disappointment lay between the pages of this much-too-long tome. I can only wonder how lengthy this book was before the editor whittled it down because there was so much more that could have been deleted without losing the tone of the story, which was poor, at best.

Chris Buckley, a not too likeable character, has recently lost his parents, is facing redundancy and has entered into a business partnership in a rather dubious endeavor.  He is approached by an elderly man, Samuel Longden, who states that 

he is a distant relative of Chris’ and is writing a book about their family history and could use Chris’ help.  Chris is not at all interested in any collaboration with Longden and decides to forego a pre-arranged meeting with him only to later learn that Longden has been killed in a hit and run accident.  

Longden has left Chris a legacy in his will but only if Chris completes the book.  With his finances being severely strained, Chris decides to take on this task. With the introduction of Chris’ extensive family, I found it very confusing as to where to place each person on the family tree and how they were related to one another.  In some cases a character would appear briefly, interacting with Chris, and then drop out of the story for another hundred pages, leaving the reader to wonder what their importance was and how they fit into the mystery.

Reading the last page of this book was more of a “thank goodness that’s over” than “what a good story”.   I expected more of this author.  

2 Daggers
Joanne gives this “2 daggers out of 5”