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 | 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

Life in the City of Dirty Water by Clayton Thomas-Müller

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

There have been many Clayton Thomas-Müllers: The child who played with toy planes as an escape from domestic and sexual abuse, enduring the intergenerational trauma of Canada’s residential school system; the angry youngster who defended himself with fists and sharp wit against racism and violence, at school and on the streets of Winnipeg and small-town British Columbia; the tough teenager who, at 17, managed a drug house run by members of his family, and slipped in and out of juvie, operating in a world of violence and pain.

But behind them all, there was another Clayton: the one who remained immersed in Cree spirituality, and who embraced the rituals and ways of thinking vital to his heritage; the one who reconnected with the land during summer visits to his great-grandparents’ trapline in his home territory of Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba.

And it’s this version of Clayton that ultimately triumphed, finding healing by directly facing the trauma that he shares with Indigenous peoples around the world. Now a leading organizer and activist on the frontlines of environmental resistance, Clayton brings his warrior spirit to the fight against the ongoing assault on Indigenous peoples’ lands by Big Oil.

Tying together personal stories of survival that bring the realities of the First Nations of this land into sharp focus, and lessons learned from a career as a frontline activist committed to addressing environmental injustice at a global scale, Thomas-Müller offers a narrative and vision of healing and responsibility. (From Allen Lane) — from cbc.ca

About Clayton Thomas-Müller

Life in the City of Dirty Water – a short documentary film (20 min.) on GEM

A Nature Canada interview

A CBC Radio The Current interview

An author reading on The Sunday Magazine (CBC Radio)

The CBC Canada Reads page on Clayton Thomas-Müller

A CTV News article

A Vancouver Sun article

350.org website

Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighbourhood east of Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America; like many inner-city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighbourhood under fire: among them, Victor, a Black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.

And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father’s mental illness; Sylvie, Bing’s best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father.

Scarborough offers a raw yet empathetic glimpse into a troubled community that locates its dignity in unexpected places: a neighbourhood that refuses to be undone. (From Arsenal Pulp Press) — from cbc.ca

About the Author

Now Magazine Interview

49th Shelf Interview

q on cbc Video Interview

National Post Review

Plentitude Magazine Review

Hamilton Review of Books Review

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

When two English brothers arrive at a Barbados sugar plantation, they bring with them a darkness beyond what the slaves have already known. Washington Black — an 11-year-old field slave — is horrified to find himself chosen to live in the quarters of one of these men. But the man is not as Washington expects him to be. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde — naturalist, explorer, inventor and abolitionist — whose obsession to perfect a winged flying machine disturbs all who know him.

Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea is set alight with fields of jellyfish, where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning — and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human.

But when a man is killed one fateful night, Washington is left to the mercy of his new masters. Christopher Wilde must choose between family ties and young Washington’s life. What follows is a flight along the eastern coast of America, as the men attempt to elude the bounty that has been placed on Washington’s head.

Their journey opens them up to the extraordinary: to a dark encounter with a necropsicist, a scholar of the flesh; to a voyage aboard a vessel captained by a hunter of a different kind; to a glimpse through an unexpected portal into the Underground Railroad. This is a novel of fraught bonds and betrayal. What brings Wilde and Washington together ultimately tears them apart, leaving Washington to seek his true self in a world that denies his very existence. (From HarperCollins Canada) — from cbc.ca

About the Author

A CBC Radio Sunday Edition Interview

BookPage Interview

CBC Books: Esi Edugyan answers eight questions from eight fellow black Canadian writers

The Globe and Mail Review

The New Yorker Review

Canada Reads at the Library

FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2022
7-8:30 PM
Online via Zoom

We are back with our sixth Canada Reads @ the Library!  Every year we invite five community celebrity panellists to debate which of CBC Canada Reads books is the year’s winner. You can join in on this lively literary discussion here, and vote for the winning book at the end of the evening.

The 2022 Panellists and the CBC Canada Reads titles they will be defending are: 

Check out the Library’s catalogue to access these titles.

Be part of a fun, stimulating evening, and help us decide what Canada’s Next Great Read will be.

What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

From the widely acclaimed author of American War: a new novel–beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving–that brings the global refugee crisis down to the level of a child’s eyes.

More bodies have washed up on the shores of a small island. Another over-filled, ill-equipped, dilapidated ship has sunk under the weight of its too many passengers: Syrians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Palestinians, all of them desperate to escape untenable lives in their homelands. And only one has made the passage: nine-year-old Amir, a Syrian boy who has the good fortune to fall into the hands not of the officials but of Vanna: a teenage girl, native to the island, who lives inside her own sense of homelessness in a place and among people she has come to disdain. And though she and the boy are complete strangers, though they don’t speak a common language, she determines to do whatever it takes to save him.

In alternating chapters, we learn the story of the boy’s life and how he came to be on the boat; and we follow the girl and boy as they make their way toward a vision of safety. But as the novel unfurls, we begin to understand that this is not merely the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world, it is the story of our collective moment in this time: of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair — and of the way each of those things can blind us to reality, or guide us to a better one. (From McClelland & Stewart) — from cbc.ca

About the Author

A CBC Books interview with Omar El Akkad

A Powells interview with Omar El Akkad

A CBC Radio The Next Chapter interview

Video interviews with Omar El Akkad

A Quill & Quire book review

A Guardian book review

A New York Times book review

A Washington Post book review

An NPR book review

Refugees of the Syrian civil war (Wikipedia)

Timeline of the European migrant crisis (Wikipedia)

The Alan Kurdi story (Wikipedia)

A Vancouver Sun article: Alan Kurdi: the life and death of the boy on the beach

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Find out more about Canada Reads @ the Library and register here for this fun-filled night of lively debate on March 25 at 7PM (via Zoom).

About the Book

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.  (From HarperCollins Canada) — from cbc.ca

About the Author

Canadian Press interview

Quill & Quire interview

The Globe and Mail article

A Toronto Star review

Toronto International Festival of Authors Interview: Michelle Good on why she wrote Five Little Indians

Video Interviews with Michelle Good

The Lost Ones
by Sheena Kamal

It is debatable if one can find a more emotionally and physically scarred character than Nora Watts, the protagonist in Kamal’s first book in this new series.  A five a.m. phone call from a man whose name means nothing to her, sets Nora off on a journey that she’d hoped she’d never have to go on.  A girl is missing – one whom Nora is intimately familiar with yet has neither spoken to nor seen – Nora’s fifteen year old daughter whom she gave up for adoption upon her birth.

With only her mutt, Whisper, as a companion, Nora begins her search, relying on her uncanny ability to detect a lie from the truth, and instincts honed by the years that she lived on the streets.  She trusts no one – for placing her trust in others has so often backfired in the past.  

Kamal’s atmospheric description of Nora’s journey from the rain-soaked streets of Vancouver to the snowy Canadian interior and ultimately to a beautiful island had me shivering from the damp and cold. And Nora, too, is shivering as she faces the demon who has monopolized her nightmares for so many years. 

An auspicious beginning to a new series!

  Joanne gives this book 4 daggers out of 5!

Canada Reads at the Library

Friday, March 5, 2021
7:00-8:30 p.m.
Online via Zoom

Click here to register for an evening of lively, literary debate!

And now, our panellists and the CBC Canada Reads titles they will be defending:

Check out the Library’s catalogue to access these titles, or support a local bookstore and buy from Audreys Books or Glass Bookshop.

Be part of a fun, stimulating evening, and help us decide what Canada’s Next Great Read will be.