Book Talks: Shovel Ready and The Painted Girls

shovel readyShovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

In a near-future New York City, people are split between those who can “tap in” to a sophisticated and hedonistic virtual reality, and those who are left to fend for themselves in the still radioactive ravaged streets. Spademan was a garbageman, but now he’s a hit man for hire. He doesn’t ask questions, doesn’t discriminate, and is handy with a box cutter. But when he’s hired to kill the daughter of a powerful evangelist, Spademan finds his mark has a shocking secret and his client a sordid agenda that may see him be the one that winds up in the ground.

In Shovel Ready, author Adam Sternbergh takes us into a city ravaged by an incremental apocalypse – where the world didn’t end with a bang, but a whimper. In the dying city of New York, Spademan must navigate between a wasteland reality, a slick fantasy, a man promising heaven, and a deal with the devil.

Shovel Ready, Adam Sternbergh’s gritty pulp noir debut, is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

The Painted GirlsThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan 

Paris, 1878. Marie is a scrawny thirteen year old student of the ballet when the novel The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan opens. Her father has died, leaving Marie and her two sisters, Charlotte and Antoinette, in the care of their alcoholic mother. Their environment is dismal – the four share a single room in one of the seedier districts of Paris. Marie believes that the opera is her chance “for grace upon the stage, and meat in all of our bellies and cups that are not cracked and walls that are properly whitewashed instead of black with soot.” Antoinette, an extra of the stage, becomes derailed by love.

People Magazine says The Painted Girls is “Deeply moving and inventive . . . Buchanan’s evocative portrait of 19th-century Paris brings to life its sights, sounds, and smells, along with the ballet hall where dancers hunger for a place in the corps. . . . But nothing is more real or gripping than the emotions of Marie and her older sister Antoinette. . . . Their tale is ultimately a tribute to the beauty of sisterly love.”

The Painted Girls can be requested through the Haliburton County Public Library and is one of ten titles nominated for the Evergreen Award 2014. Read one or all ten titles and vote for your favourite at your library branch in October.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, June 15th-28th, 2014.

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