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

Watch & Listen

Chicago Humanities Festival Interview

Wind of Change (podcast by author Patrick Radden Keefe)

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

Seniors Book Club September Selection

precious-cargoThe Seniors Book Club will meet in the 2nd floor “Aquarium” meeting room on Wednesday, September 14 at 2 pm. Our pick this month is Craig Davidson‘s memoir Precious Cargo : my year driving the kids on school bus 3077.

About the book:

Surprising and revelatory non-fiction from a talented young writer whose last book, “Cataract City,” was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Trillium Book Prize, and was a Globe Best Book and national bestseller. In this new work of intimate, riveting, and timely non-fiction, based loosely on an award-winning article he published, Davidson tells the story of one year in his life – driving a school bus full of special-needs kids. Davidson shows us how his evolving relationship with the kids on that bus, each of them struggling physically as well as emotionally and socially, slowly but surely changed his life along with the lives of the precious cargo in his care. This is the extraordinary story of that year and those relationships. It is also a moving, important and universal story about how we see and treat people with special needs in our society. (Publisher)

Craig Davidson’s website

Author biography on Wikipedia

Craig Davidson’s blog – reader questions

A Chatelaine interview

A Radio interview on CBC’s The Next Chapter

A TVO article and video interview

A CBC’s The Current podcast and transcript

A Globe and Mail review

A Quill and Quire review

Craig Davidson aka Nick Cutter

 

Monday Evening Book Club September Selection

Inconvenient IndianThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet in Forsyth Hall on September 12 at 7 pm. This month we’re discussing The Inconvenient Indian : a curious account of Native People in North America by Thomas King.

About the book:

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King’s critical and personal meditation on what it means to be “Indian” in North America, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands.
This is a book both timeless and timely, burnished with anger but tempered by wit, and ultimately a hard-won offering of hope–a sometimes inconvenient but nonetheless indispensable account for all of us, Indian and non-Indian alike, seeking to understand how we might tell a new story for the future. (Publisher)

About Thomas King

A Globe and Mail interview

Publisher’s Readers Guide, including discussion questions

An Amnesty International Book Club discussion guide

A book review by Richard Wagamese

A Quill & Quire review

thestar.com review

A Wikipedia article on ethnic stereotypes

Truth and Reconciliation resources

Seniors Book Club March Selection

Into the abyssThe Seniors Book Club will meet March 12th at 2:00 pm in the Training Room to discuss Into the Abyss : how a deadly plane crash changed the lives of a pilot, a politician, a criminal and a cop by Carol Shaben.

About the book:

In the tradition of Into Thin Air and The Perfect Storm comes the riveting account of a deadly plane crash in northern Canada and its aftermath. Written by an award-winning journalist who is the daughter of one of the survivors, Into the Abyss is a dramatic true story of survival, and a compassionate account of 4 men’s journey from the depths of tragedy to the riches of lives begun anew. On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. 4 survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Into the Abyss is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation.

Carol Shaben’s website

Review (Toronto Star)

Review (National Post)

Youtube: CTV Edmonton interview with Carol Shaben

Podcast of “The Wreckage of Flight 402” (The Current on CBC Radio)

NPR interview with Carol Shaben

Edmonton Journal article Oct. 19, 1984

About Larry Shaben

Non-Fiction Discussion Questions (generic)