Library Moments: December Online Book Club

my true love gave to meBessie Sullivan, County Librarian: Hello, I’m Bessie Sullivan 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. You don’t even have to read from a particular month’s selection you can simply go online and make comments about books and reading in general.

It should come as no surprise that this month’s online book club selections are all seasonal reads. A New York Christmas by Anne Perry is a mystery, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a classic, My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of Young Adult short stories edited by Stephanie Perkins and finally Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand is a Christmas story by a popular writer of Women’s fiction.

Today on library moments, Sherrill Sherwood, Erin Kernohan Berning and I will tell you about the book club selection we chose.

a new york christmasSherrill Sherwood, Collections Development: For the first time, Anne Perry’s annual yuletide offering is set in New York City. The year is 1904. Twenty-three-year-old Jemima Pitt is crossing the Atlantic as companion to Delphinia, who is to marry the aristocratic Brent Albright in a high-society New York wedding–a grand affair that will join together two fabulously wealthy families. But Jemima senses a mysterious shadow darkening the occasion. Missing from the festivities is Delphinia’s mother, Maria, who is marked by disgrace. Nearly sixteen years ago, Maria abandoned young Delphinia and disappeared–and now the Albrights refuse to mention her name. But when the groom’s charismatic brother asks Jemima to help him search for Maria and forestall the scandal that would surely follow if Maria turned up at the wedding, Jemima agrees to assist him. From Hell’s Kitchen to Fifth Avenue, the Lower East Side to Central Park, Jemima trudges through strange, snowy streets, asking questions but getting few answers–and never suspecting that she is walking into mortal danger, from which not even a handsome young police officer named Patrick Flannery may be able to protect her.

a christmas carolErin Kernohan-Berning, Branch Services Librarian: Even if you have never read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, you probably feel that you know the story inside and out. The image of Jacob Marley’s ghost burdened under the chain he forged in life and warning Ebenezer Scrooge that he too faces the same fate if he doesn’t change his ways; the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future visiting Scrooge during the night of Christmas Eve; Bob Cratchit and his spirited but sickly son Tiny Tim and their joy despite their impoverished circumstances; the joyful and generous Fezziwig; and Scrooge’s transformation as he embraces the Christmas spirit and changes his miserly ways. A Christmas Carol was written in 1843 at a time when Christmas celebrations had decreased in popularity. Large celebrations had become unfashionable among the wealthier classes, and an increase in poverty that came with the industrial revolution meant that the poorer classes could only observe Christmas modestly if at all. To say that Dickens “invented” Christmas, as some do, may be an exaggeration, though his story certainly created a resurgence of the holiday – particularly with respect to showing generosity to those in need during the Christmas season. Dickens himself had a keen interest in poverty among children, in part because of his own brush with poverty as a child. Other influences on our modern holidays include the popularity of the phrase “Merry Christmas”, the serving of turkey or goose for Christmas dinner, and the addition of the exclamation “humbug!” and “Scrooge” as a declaration of miserliness to our lexicon. A Christmas Carol has been adapted in numerous times in print, theatre, motion picture and radio, as well as parodied and satirized. The version of A Christmas Carol available at the Haliburton County Public Library is beautifully illustrated by P.J. Lynch and makes a wonderful family read.

winter streetBessie: In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel Winter Street, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises. Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines. As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn. Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays.

That’s it for this week’s episode of Library Moments here on 100.9 CanoeFM.  Wishing you and those dear to you a happy and safe holiday season.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM, December 21st – 27th, 2014.

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