With thousands of titles available and new books added weekly, including bestsellers, there are always great choices to both read and recommend on the shelves at the library.
A World Elsewhere, published last August and a 2011 Giller nominee, is the latest from Canadian writer Wayne Johnston, author of the acclaimed Colony of Unrequited Dreams.
In this new novel, we meet the flawed protagonist Landish Druken and his rich schoolmate, Padgett ‘Van’ Vanderlyden, an American railroad heir. The eccentric pair become friends at Princeton University, but their relationship sours intensely following an academic scandal that sends Druken back home to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Here he is thrown in to a life of abject poverty when his wealthy father disowns him. Matters are complicated when Druken feels compelled to adopt a young boy named Deacon following the death of the boy’s father.
Two years later, a desperate, moneyless Druken, with Deacon in tow, seeks reconciliation and employment with his old school mate now living at the lavish Vanderland estate in North Carolina. The re-union, however, is far from conciliatory and fraught with tension as truths are revealed and a villainous past is exposed.
One of this book’s remarkable qualities is the writing and how Johnston effortlessly employs wit and wordplay in contrast to uncovering the malicious motivations of life.
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is an evocative love story wrapped in 1920’s period tourism. The central character is Hadley Richardson, the first wife of Ernest Hemingway. It is through her eyes that we witness her marriage to the iconic American writer.
The story is set during the Jazz Age and takes place, as the book’s title states, mostly in Paris, making this familiar terrain for anyone who has read Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.
Though this is a fictionalized account imagined through the central character, the author has obviously researched the subject meticulously with much based on factual detail. The result is a convincing story resting on the palpable atmosphere of sparsely furnished artists’ garrets, smoky cafés, and friendships within the literary world of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear, and James Joyce.
As an aside, a film to see that complements this book is “Midnight in Paris”, the recent movie by Woody Allen.
In addition to new books, the library holds countless classics and overlooked older titles that make worthwhile reading.
The Way of a Boy – a memoir of Java by Ernest Hillien is one such book. Published in 1993, it was Maclean’s #1 non-fiction choice that year as well as the Editor’s Choice Selection of The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and The Financial Post.
It is the beautifully written and poignant recollection by the son of a Dutch father and a Canadian mother whose life is transformed by war when Japanese troops arrive at the tea plantation that is his home in the mountains of Java.
Hillien’s vivid account of what follows in prison camps is delivered through the innocent eyes of youth, detailing everyday life in a manner that exposes not only the ravages of deprivation but the strength and beauty of human relationships in horrific times.
The epilogue sees a middle aged Hillien, now in Canada, providing a glimpse of modern day Java and the recovery of the island, the people and himself.
Watch for more recommendations here soon.
Wednesday, February 1 7 p.m.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
based on the best-selling book by Lisa See
All adults welcome! Free admittance, snacks for sale.
The County of Prince Edward Public Library & Archives presents an evening of poetry with two special guests on Friday, January 20 at 7 p.m. at the Picton branch library.
Ryan Bradshaw is a published writer of short fiction, non-fiction and poetry currently based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. As a performance poet, he is most commonly known as Conrad Fusion, a boylesque personality for Saskatoon’s Rosebud Burlesque Club. He has also appeared at the Comedy Club in Toronto and the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival where he performed his unique blend of comedic and thoughtful rhyming poetry. Other works include speculative fiction and erotica published in various queer anthologies by publishers Cleis Press, STARbooks Press, and QueeredFiction. An early self-published booklet of local interest, titled “The Monster of Quinte’s Bay”, incorporates non-fiction and poetry. Bradshaw also writes, designs and distributes a line of romantic greeting cards called Corby Cards www.corbycards.com. Currently, he is working on his first novella and developing a one-man stage production.
Published author and poet Andrew Binks will also be reading his poetry at the library event. Binks is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. In 2007, he returned to Ontario after fifteen years on Canada’s west coast because he “missed the heat, the snow and the tempests.” He currently lives in Prince Edward County.
Binks’s work has been published in Joyland.ca, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, Xtra and Xtra West, among others. He received an honourable mention in the Writer’s Union of Canada’s short prose contest, and was a finalist in both the Queen’s Alumni Review poetry contest and This Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Additionally, his poetry has appeared in Quill’s ‘Lust’ issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Two of his plays received public workshops in Vancouver and Toronto in 2010.
Nightwood Editions published Binks’s first novel, The Summer Between, in May 2009. The second chapter from his as-yet-unpublished novel, The Catalytic Seduction of Brian White, was published in the Harvard Square Editions anthology, Voice From The Planet. This past summer, he was a contributing writer to The Festival Players “Sounding Ground” audio plays.
David Sweet, of Books & Company, is the guest host for the evening at the library.
Please note that this event will present adult material.
The County of Prince Edward Public Library & Archives supports book clubs across Prince Edward County.
There are ten library book clubs which all welcome new members. We also have “Book Club Sets” of popular discussion titles available to be borrowed.
Book Club Sets Available:
The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
The Girls by Lori Lansens
The Gold Diggers by Charlotte Gray
Bride of New France by Suzanne Desrochers
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis
Away, by Jane Urquhart
Reinvention of Love by Helen Humphreys
Tomorrow Country by Gail Hamilton
THIS SATURDAY JANUARY 7TH, 2012
Indoor Wii Bowling is coming to the Consecon Branch!
Drop by for a demo with Whitney.
OR Having difficulty with your computer or e-reader?
Stop in or schedule a 1:1 session. Call 613-392-1106.