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

Monday Evening Book Club | May Selection

The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

Print | eBook

This Library-led book club meets on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 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 The Exiles, a captivating and incisive story about 19th century Australia which weaves together both the hardships of exiled British convicts and the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities.

Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to “the land beyond the seas,” Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land.

During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel–a skilled midwife and herbalist–is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors.

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

FURTHER READING

Author Biography

The author’s website has lots of great information about the making of the book, real life inspiration and other bonus content, including themed cocktail recipes!

INTERVIEW: Tell it Slant: An Interview with Christina Baker Kline | Fiction Writers Review

INTERVIEW: A Different Settler Story in “The Exiles” | Chicago Review of Books

REVIEW: “The Exiles” paints vivid portrait of 19th century English Prisoners

REVIEW | New York Journal of Books

WATCH & LISTEN

INTERVIEW: Book Reporter Talks to….Christina Baker Kline | The Book Report Network

INTERVIEW: Christina Baker Kline Presents: The Exiles with Amor Towles | The Center for Fiction

INTERVIEW: Christina Baker Kline & ‘The Exiles’: Complicated Conversations Series | Pop Fiction Women Podcast

INTERVIEW: Ep 8: Talking with Christina Baker Kline | Biblio Happy Hour Podcast

Monday Evening Book Club | April Selection

Taken by the Muse
by Anne Wheeler

Print | eBook

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. 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 | 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)

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

Monday Evening Book Club | January Selection

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led drop-in 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).

Register to drop-in and 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 | November Selection

Five Little Indians
by Michelle Good

Print | eBook

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).

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 Book Club | October Selection

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Print and eBook Options

This Library-led drop-in book club usually meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom. Please note: this month we are meeting on the third Monday, October 18!

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

 

Monday Evening Book Club | September Selection

Five Wives by Joan Thomas

“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 here to discuss this riveting, wrenching account of evangelism and its legacy.

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

In the tradition of The Poisonwood Bible and State of Wonder, a novel set in the rainforest of Ecuador about five women left behind when their missionary husbands are killed. Based on the shocking real-life events

In 1956, a small group of evangelical Christian missionaries and their families journeyed to the rainforest in Ecuador intending to convert the Waorani, a people who had never had contact with the outside world. The plan was known as Operation Auca. After spending days dropping gifts from an aircraft, the five men in the party rashly entered the “intangible zone.” They were all killed, leaving their wives and children to fend for themselves.

Five Wives is the fictionalized account of the real-life women who were left behind, and their struggles – with grief, with doubt, and with each other – as they continued to pursue their evangelical mission in the face of the explosion of fame that followed their husbands’ deaths.

Five Wives is a riveting, often wrenching story of evangelism and its legacy, teeming with atmosphere and compelling characters and rich in emotional impact.

Further reading

Interview: Why Joan Thomas wrote about the wives of missionaries killed trying to convert Ecuador’s Waorani people | CBC Books

Interview: The Chat with Governor General’s Literary Award Winner Joan Thomas | 49th Shelf

Review: Left Behind: A novel look at an evangelical mission | Literary Review of Canada

Review: Into the wild: Novelist’s latest offering a riveting fictional account of missionaries’ plight | Winnipeg Free Press

Operation Auca – Wikipedia

Life Magazine article by Cornell Capa

Cornell Capa (Photographer) Biography

An Uncommon Victory for an Indigenous Tribe in the Amazon| The New Yorker

A Walrus article about traveling to “untouched” places

Watch & Listen

Interview: The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers – Nov. 30, 2019: Joan Thomas on Five Wives

Interview: Author! Author! with Joan Thomas and Jane Urqhart | Kingston WritersFest

Beyond the Gates of Splendor (2004 documentary)

End of the Spear (2005 Drama)

 

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)