Library Moments: April 2014 Online Book Club

crystal gardensSherrill Sherwood, Collections Development: Hello, I’m Sherrill Sherwood from the Haliburton County Public Library and this is Library Moments. Once a week some of us from the library will come and talk about books, upcoming events, or the services we offer at the library.

Anyone can participate in Haliburton County Public Library’s Online Book Club, by choosing to read one or more of four books selected each month.

In our part of the world we are all dreaming of spring and of gardens. Every book for the month of April has the word “garden” in the title. The choices include The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt and Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick. Bessie Sullivan, Erin Kernohan-Berning and I will each talk about one of the titles.

the secret gardenBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one the most beloved books from my childhood.  A fantastic story for young people and adults alike, published in 1911 the themes are such that it can still be enjoyed today.Who doesn’t like mystery and intrigue?  What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite Manor? Recently arrived at her uncle’s estate, orphaned Mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won’t enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty–unaware that she is changing too. Misselthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night. High in a dark room, away from the rest of the house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him.  The Haliburton County Public Library also has a movie version of this story.

midnight in the garden of good and evilErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Magazine editor John Berendt finds himself in Savannah, Georgia after realizing that he can fly from New York to Charleston for the price of one of the haute cuisine dinners he and his cohorts dine on every week. From Charleston, a rental car and a road map take him to Savannah, which beckons him with whispers from Treasure Island and Gone with the Wind. What he finds is far stranger than any fiction with a colourful cast of townspeople including a transgender performer called The Lady Chablis, an eccentric inventor named Luthor who carries a bottle of poison destined for the city well and an equally respected and reviled antiques dealer, the nouveau riche Jim Williams. Berendt starts as a frequent visitor to Savannah, initially visiting for the small city’s slower pace of life, quirky socialites, and vibrant gossip mill. When Jim Williams kills Danny Hansford, whose antics characterize him as “a good time not yet had by all”, Berendt remains in Savannah for eight years, observing the spectacle as Williams is tried four separate times for murder before ultimately being acquitted. The result of that eight years is Berendt’s debut non-fiction novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a somewhat embellished but captivating account of his years in Savannah and the events surrounding the murder trials that captivated “The Hostess City of the South”. Published in 1994, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil spent a record 216 weeks on the New York Times best seller list, was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, and earned Berendt the key to the city in Savannah. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is available at the library in print and downloadable audio, and the movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack is available on DVD.

the forgotten gardenSherrill: The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton transports the reader from the back alleys of poverty of pre-World War I London to the shores of  Australia where so many made a fresh start, and back to the windswept coast of Cornwall, England, past and present. A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book – a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dock master and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday they tell her the truth. With her sense of identity crushed and very little to go on, “Nell” sets out on a journey to England to try to trace her story. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled.

To join the Online Book Club, visit our website at www.haliburtonlibrary.ca and follow the book club resources link. Thanks for listening here on 100.9 Canoe FM and, Happy Spring!

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM April 20th – April 26th, 2014.

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