Seniors Book Cub | February Selection

Akin
by Emma Donoghue

Print | eBook

The Seniors Book Club meets on the second Wednesday 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 – historyWatch & LISTEN

 

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

 

 

Seniors Drop-In Book Club | January Selection

Chop Suey Nation
by Ann Hui

Print | eBook (Hoopla)

The Seniors Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

Please register here to discuss Ann Hui’s road-tripping cultural and culinary exploration in Chop Suey Nation.

In 2016, Globe and Mail reporter Ann Hui drove across Canada, from Victoria to Fogo Island, to write about small-town Chinese restaurants and the families who run them. It was only after the story was published that she discovered her own family could have been included—her parents had run their own Chinese restaurant, The Legion Cafe, before she was born. This discovery, and the realization that there was so much of her own history she didn’t yet know, set her on a time-sensitive mission: to understand how, after generations living in a poverty-stricken area of Guangdong, China, her family had somehow wound up in Canada.

Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurantsweaves together Hui’s own family history—from her grandfather’s decision to leave behind a wife and newborn son for a new life, to her father’s path from cooking in rural China to running some of the largest “Western” kitchens in Vancouver, to the unravelling of a closely guarded family secret—with the stories of dozens of Chinese restaurant owners from coast to coast. Along her trip, she meets a Chinese-restaurant owner/small-town mayor, the owner of a Chinese restaurant in a Thunder Bay curling rink, and the woman who runs a restaurant alone, 365 days a year, on the very remote Fogo Island. Hui also explores the fascinating history behind “chop suey” cuisine, detailing the invention of classics like “ginger beef” and “Newfoundland chow mein,” and other uniquely Canadian fare like the “Chinese pierogies” of Alberta.

Hui, who grew up in authenticity-obsessed Vancouver, begins her journey with a somewhat disparaging view of small-town “fake Chinese” food. But by the end, she comes to appreciate the essentially Chinese values that drive these restaurants—perseverance, entrepreneurialism and deep love for family. Using her own family’s story as a touchstone, she explores the importance of these restaurants in the country’s history and makes the case for why chop suey cuisine should be recognized as quintessentially Canadian.

Further Reading

Globe & Mail Review

The Tyee Review

Calgary Herald Interview

Forbes Interview

The Adroit Journal Interview

Watch & LISTEN

The Agenda with Steve Paikin | Stirring Up my Chinese Family History

The Next Chapter | Ann Hui on Chop Suey Nation

CBC Radio | 5 Delicious podcasts on food & identity

The Sporkful with Dan Pashman | Your Mom’s Food 

Seniors 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 Seniors Book Club usually meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom. Please note: because of Remembrance Day this month, we will meet a week later on November 18!

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

 

Seniors 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 Seniors Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 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

Seniors 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 Seniors Book Club continues to meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

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

Seniors Book Club | July Selection

Molly of the Mall
by Heidi L.M. Jacobs

eBook | Print

The Seniors Book Club continues to meet on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00 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

Seniors Book Club June Selection

One Native Life
by Richard Wagamese
eBook|eAudiobook

The Seniors 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

 

 

Seniors Book Club April Selection

Empress of Idaho

Our Monday Book Club meeting, originally scheduled for April 6, is being converted to a “virtual” discussion of the book The Empress of Idaho by Todd Babiak via email. Members are being contacted and can participate via email. Non-members are welcome to add their comments to the blog!

About the book …

Monument, Colorado, July 1989. Fourteen-year-old Adam Lisinski is mesmerized the moment Beatrice Cyr steps into his life. Adam has a lot going for him: he’s hoping to be a starter on his high school football team, he has a fiercely protective mom, a girlfriend, and a part-time job at Eugene’s Gas Stop, where he works with his best friend. But he neglects everything that matters to him after Beatrice, his neighbour’s enigmatic new wife, comes to town. Soon he finds himself alone with her–in the change room at Modern You, a clothing store on Second Street; in the back row of the theatre at Chapel Hill Cinema; in the front seat of her truck. He’s confused about who she is, what she wants, and where she comes from. Adam is desperate, caught between wanting to spend time with Beatrice–whose past is catching up with her–and lying to everyone he cares about. The guilt overwhelms him. And when Beatrice convinces Adam’s mom to quit her job and partner in a risky real estate venture, he has to do something before everything spins further out of control. The plan he comes up with tests his courage and leads him to an unshakable truth about loyalty and love.

By turns riveting and tender-hearted, The Empress of Idaho is a story about the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence at the moment when it slams against adulthood. It’s an unforgettable portrait of a boy’s difficult coming of age.

About the author …

Author website

A CBC Radio Next Chapter interview with Todd Babiak

An Edmonton Journal book review

A Quill and Quire book review

Discussion questions (Penguin Random House reading guide)

Research article on female sexual predators

Seniors Book Club September Selection

EducatedThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, September 11 in Forsyth Hall to discuss the memoir Educated by Tara Westover.

About the book…

Tara Westover was seventeen when she first set foot in a classroom. Instead of traditional lessons, she grew up learning how to stew herbs into medicine, scavenging in the family scrap yard and helping her family prepare for the apocalypse. She had no birth certificate and no medical records and had never been enrolled in school.

Westover’s mother proved a marvel at concocting folk remedies for many ailments. As Tara developed her own coping mechanisms, little by little, she started to realize that what her family was offering didn’t have to be her only education. Her first day of university was her first day in school—ever—and she would eventually win an esteemed fellowship from Cambridge and graduate with a PhD in intellectual history and political thought.

Author website

Discussion Questions

Video Interviews

CBC’s The Current interview (audio)

A Book Review by Bill Gates

A New York Times Book Review

A Guardian Book Review

Ruby Ridge siege (an event that radicalized Tara’s father)