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

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | May Selection

Hamnet & Judith
by Maggie O’Farrell

Print eBook

This Library-led 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. Visit the Adult Information Desk (2nd floor, Downtown Library) to get your book.

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

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | April Selection

Leonard and Hungry Paul
by Ronan Hession

Print 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | January Selection

Hum if you don’t Know the Words
by Bianca Marais

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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 Bianca Marais’ novel Hum if you don’t know the words.

“A perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy. Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a ten-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred. Until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds when Robin’s parents are left dead and Beauty’s daughter goes missing. After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection. Told through Beauty and Robin’s alternating perspectives, the interwoven narratives create a rich and complex tapestry of the emotions and tensions at the heart of Apartheid-era South Africa. Hum if You Don’t Know the Words is a beautifully rendered look at loss, racism, and the creation of family.”–WorldCat.

The Author

A medium.com Author Interview

Discussion Questions

A Toronto Star book review

A Kirkus book review

A history.com article on Apartheid

The June 16 Soweto Youth Uprising

A Guardian article on Segregation after Apartheid

WATCH AND LISTEN

Video interview

A WUWM podcast

An Alex Green Online podcast

 

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | November Selection

Rabbit Foot Bill by Helen Humphreys

The Tuesday Afernoon 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). 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

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | October Selection

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

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 (2nd floor of the library, 780-459-1682).

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

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | September Selection

The Goldfinch
by Donna Tartt

Print and eBook formats

Additional book club kit copies are available at the Adult Information Desk.

This Library led drop-in book club meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 PM via Zoom.

Please register here to discuss Donna Tartt’s highly acclaimed novel The Goldfinch.

The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind….Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.”–Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love–and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. (Publisher)

Further Reading

About Donna Tartt

A New York Times interview

An Irish Independent interview

Discussion Questions

A Vanity Fair book review

A Guardian book review

The Goldfinch movie information

The Goldfinch (painting by Carel Fabritius)

The Tragic true story of The Goldfinch

 

WATCH & LISTEN

Video interview with Charlie Rose

Other YouTube video interviews

Tuesday Afternoon Book Club | June Selection

Akin
by Emma Donoghue

Print | eBook

Additional book club kit copies are available at the Adult Information Desk.

This Library led book club meets on the third Tuesday 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 – history

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