Book Talks: They Left Us Everything and The Rook

they left us everythingThey Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

Plum Johnson was 63 when her 93-year-old mother died, bringing to an end almost two decades of elder care, first for a father stricken with Alzheimer’s and then a cantankerous mother. After that, Johnson settled down to what she thought would be a six-week job clearing out her parents’ 23-room house, a task that stretched to 16 months, changed Johnson’s view of the past and eventually resulted in a lovely memoir. In They Left Us Everything Johnson describes how she and her three younger brothers experienced conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother died. She remembers her loving but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the handsome, disciplined British father and her high-spirited Southern mother. The house clearing task consumes her but unearthing new facts about her parents helps her to reconcile those relationships with a more accepting perspective about who they were and what they valued. Johnson says she wrote the book because she “felt everyone was going through this experience of caring for long-lived parents, but no one was writing the honest truth about it.” They Left Us Everything, a funny, heartfelt story about what parents leave behind, is one of ten titles nominated for this year’s Evergreen™ Award and can be requested through the Haliburton County Public Library.

the rookThe Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley begins with a letter: “The body you are wearing used to be mine.”

Myfanwy Thomas wakes up in a park, in the pouring rain, surrounded by dead bodies wearing latex gloves. She has no memory, no sense of her own personality, she is a completely new person with a letter from herself in her pocket, and the promise of more. She soon finds out she is a high ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy which specializes in battling supernatural forces in Britain. She also discovers that she knew that she was going to lose her memory, and that it was someone in the Chequy who betrayed her. As the new Myfanwy tries to navigate the world of the old Myfanwy and figure out who the traitor is, an old enemy thought destroyed long ago returns. And, in an organization where everyone has a supernatural ability, Myfanwy discovers that hers is far stronger and deadlier than she, or her old self, ever imagined.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley is available to reserve in print at the Haliburton County Public Library and in downloadable audio from Overdrive.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM April 3rd to April 16th, 2016.

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