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

Monday Evening Book Club | April Selection

Akin
by Emma Donoghue

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 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 – historyWatch & LISTEN

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

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club | March Selection

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Print and eBook Options

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

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 | February Selection

Man’s Search for Meaning
by  Viktor E. Frankl

Print | eBook (simultaneous use) on Libby (Overdrive)

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

Register to drop-in and discuss this thought-provoking and inspirational classic.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory—known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)—holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America. (From the publisher.)

Further Reading

About Viktor Frankl

Viktor Frankl at Ninety: An Interview

Book Reviews

Discussion Questions

 

Watch & Listen

Monday Evening Book Club | January Selection

Moon of the Crusted Snow
by  Waubgeshig Rice

Print | eBook and eAudiobook (Hoopla)

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

Register to drop-in and discuss this slow burning thriller and powerful story of survival.

We’ve been waiting for this story. It irresistibly turns our gaze toward something we already knew but couldn’t quite make ourselves see. The result is intense, thrilling, and vivid as the darkest dreams – much like the old Anishinaabeg stories told by the Elders. As one revelation follows another, we come face to face with mystery and responsibility of being human. ~Warren Carious, director, University of Manitoba Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture. 

Further Reading

About Waubgeshig Rice

Toronto Star | At Home During COVID-19

Hamilton Review of Books Interview

CBC Books

Twitter

Watch & Listen

Monday Drop In Book Club November Selection

 

No Good Asking
by Fran Kimmel

Print | eBook (Hoopla) | eAudiobook (Hoopla)

You can also access the ebook via Libby (we have a “simultaneous use” subscription for this title).

Additional “book club only” print copies are available at the Adult Information Desk upon request.

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

Special exciting announcement: the author, Fran Kimmel, will visit our group for part of the meeting!

Register to drop-in and discuss this heart-felt and heart-warming novel.

A profoundly moving exploration of our capacity to heal one another.

Ellie and Eric Nyland have moved their two sons back to Eric’s childhood farmhouse, hoping for a fresh start. But there’s no denying it, their family is falling apart, each one of them isolated by private sorrows, stresses, and missed signals. With every passing day, Ellie’s hopes are buried deeper in the harsh winter snows.

When Eric finds Hannah Finch, the girl across the road, wandering alone in the bitter cold, his rusty police instincts kick in, and he soon discovers there are bad things happening in the girl’s house. With nowhere else to send her, the Nylands reluctantly agree to let Hannah stay with them until she can find a new home after the Christmas holidays. But Hannah proves to be more balm than burden, and the Nylands discover that the only thing harder than taking Hannah in may be letting her go.

Author website

Open Book interview

Lacombe Express interview

Author interview (Alexis Marie Chute blog)

A Kirkus book review

A Prism Magazine book review

Discussion Questions

 

Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club

The Skin We’re In
by Desmond Cole:
A Year of Black Resistance and Power

Print | eBook

Additional “book club only” copies are available at the Adult Information Desk upon request.

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

Register to drop-in and discuss this provocative and perspective-shifting book.

“The sheer strength of this book arises from its insistent linking of policing, public education, migrant labour, impoverished neighbourhoods, and the fates of refugees. The Skin We’re In is about the interlocking forces besieging Black life in Canada… Desmond Cole is an urgent and essential voice from a generation that will be heard.”

~ David Chariandy, author of Brother

Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club | September Selection

Recipe for a Perfect Wife : a novel by Karma Brown

eBook | Print |Additional “book club only” copies available at the Adult Information Desk upon request.

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

Please register here to discuss the novel Recipe for a Perfect Wife : a novel by 2020 STARfest author Karma Brown.

Monday Evening Book Club | July Selection

Molly of the Mall
by Heidi L.M. Jacobs

eBook | Print

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

Registration to discuss the 2020 winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal, Molly of the Mall is now open.

“Heidi L.M. Jacobs has created a delightfully whimsical protagonist in Molly. Always informed by the characters from literature she loves, she approaches life in her own unique, and fanciful, way. Such fun to follow the retail nightmares and romantic comedy mishaps of this Austenian heroine of mid-90s Edmonton.”

~ Dina Del Bucchia, author of It’s a Big Deal!
Further Reading
Audio & Video

Monday Book Club June Selection

One Native Life
by Richard Wagamese
eBook|eAudiobook

The Monday Evening drop-in book club will continue to meet via Zoom. Registration is required.

Begin Registration

Celebrate National Indigenous History Month and one of the foremost Indigenous authors and storytellers, Richard Wagamese. With the option to download both the eAudiobook and eBook, you’ll have no problem experiencing  Richard’s luminous connection to life this month.

“For Wagamese the land is sacred, and his passion for its healing powers is so contagious that readers may well find themselves inspired to tuck his book under one arm and carry it outside.” Winnipeg Free Press

Further Reading

Milkweed| Bibliography, Bio, & Interview

CBC|Book Review & Interview 

Now Toronto|Who gets to tell Indigenous stories?

Obituary

Globe & Mail

BC Book Look

Video

“An immaculate measure of grace.” Richard’s powerful speech from the Matt Cohen Awards.

Richard reads from One Native Life