HCPL’s Book of the Month: Middle-Aged Boys & Girls

HL middle-aged boys girlsMiddle-Aged Boys & Girls by Diane Bracuk

With fifty being the new forty, and forty the new thirty, the ever shifting line of middle-age may make you wonder just when in your life you really do grow up. In Middle-Aged Boys & Girls by Diane Bracuk, characters deal with losses of confidence, looks, social status, job security and health. They are adults, but find themselves suddenly dealing with all the same feelings that they thought they left behind in their teenage years. Middle-Aged Boys & Girls explores the questions what does it really mean to grow up? And do we ever?

Middle-Aged Boys & Girls by Diane Bracuk is one of 2017’s Evergreen Award selections, part of the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading. Read one or more books through the year and vote for your favourite in September. Middle-Aged Boys & Girls is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Published in the Haliburton Echo/Minden Times.

Advertisements

HCPL’s Book of the Month: The Break

the break

The Break by Katherena Vermette

When Stella, a young mother, looks out her window and sees someone in trouble in the barren, snow swept field outside, she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime. What follows is a patchwork of shifting narratives, people who are directly and indirectly connected to the victim and their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. The social worker grappling with a break-up. The artist mourning the death of her sister. The single mother struggling with trust in a new relationship. The homeless teenager just released from youth detention. The Métis police officer feeling caught between two worlds as he patrols Winnipeg’s North End.

The Break by Katherena Vermette is one of 2017’s Evergreen Award selections, part of the Ontario Library Association’s Forest of Reading. Read one or more books through the year and vote for your favourite in September. The Break is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo/Minden Times.

HCPL’s Book of the Month: The Sellout

hl-the-sellout

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

From the publisher (Oneworld): “Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles and raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist. He is led to believe his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-through funeral. Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident – Hominy Jenkins – he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school which lands him in the Supreme Court.”

Winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize, the Wall Street Journal has called The Sellout a “Swiftian satire of the highest order. Like someone shouting fire in a crowded theatre, Mr. Beatty has whispered ‘Racism’ in a postracial world.” Chair of judges for the Man Booker Prize, Amanda Foreman comments “Paul Beatty slays sacred cows with abandon and takes aim at racial and political taboos with wit, verve and a snarl.” The Sellout by Paul Beatty is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo/Minden Times.

HCPL’s Book of the Month: Consolation by Michael Redhill

hl_consolationA renowned professor of forensic geology throws himself off a ferry into the frigid waters of Lake Ontario. In his wake, he leaves a historic mystery – the hypothesis that a sports arena is about to be built on the remains of a Victorian boat where there is a strongbox filled with never before seen photographs of Toronto, filling a gap in the city’s history. However, there is scandal in academia, and his colleagues believe he faked his research. But his widow is not prepared to give up on her husband’s legacy and sits vigil over the construction site. As we wait for treasure to be unearthed, we hear the story of a young apothecary in 1850 struggling to make a living who, along with two other down-on-their-luck Torontonians, turn to photography to capture the fledgling city where penny nails hold together wooden sidewalks, and the occasional bear strolls down Main Street.

Michael Redhill is this year’s guest at the Friends of the Haliburton County Public Library Book Gala. He also writes the Hazel Micallef series as Inger Ash Wolfe. Consolation is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo/Minden Times.

HCPL’s Book of the Month: Under the Visible Life

HL under the visibleUnder the Visible Life by Kim Echlin

Katherine carries the stigma of her mixed-race background through an era that is hostile to her and all she represents. It is only through music that she finds the freedom to temporarily escape and dream of a better life for herself, nurturing this hard-won refuge throughout the vagaries of unexpected motherhood and an absent husband, and relying on her talent to build a future for her family.

Orphaned Mahsa also grows up in the shadow of loss, sent to relatives in Pakistan after the death of her parents. Struggling to break free, she escapes to Montreal, leaving behind her first love, Kamal. But the threads of her past are not so easily severed, and she finds herself forced into an arranged marriage.
For Mahsa, too, music becomes her solace and allows her to escape from her oppressive circumstances.

When Katherine and Mahsa meet, they find in each other a kindred spirit as well as a musical equal, and their lives are changed irrevocably. Together, they inspire and support one another, fusing together their cultures, their joys, and their losses—just as they collaborate musically in the language of free-form, improvisational jazz.

Under the Visible Life takes readers from the bustling harbour of Karachi to the palpable political tension on the streets of 1970s Montreal to the smoky jazz clubs of New York City. Deeply affecting, vividly rendered, and sweeping in scope, it is also an exploration of the hearts of two unforgettable women: a meditation on how hope can remain alive in the darkest of times when we have someone with whom to share our burdens. [From the publisher.]

HCPL’s Book of the Month: The Jaguar’s Children

the jaguar's childrenThe Jaguar’s Children
by John Vaillant
Available in print, ebook and downloadable audio from Overdrive

Hector, a young Zapotec fleeing Mexico for a better life in the US with his friend Cesar, a biotech researcher, pays to be smuggled across the border by unscrupulous “coyotes,” concealed in the tightly sealed, empty tank of a water truck packed with illegal migrants. Abandoned by the smugglers in the desert, they are left to die, their only lifeline Cesar’s phone. When Cesar slips into unconsciousness, Hector reaches out to the one name with an American code–AnniMac–that becomes his lifeline to the world as he reveals what has brought him to this place, taking us back to an older Mexico; to the lives of his Zapotec grandparents and the ancient, mythic traditions, to the mystery behind the jaguar icon left to him by a mysterious archeologist, and the power of the corn myth. As legends fuse with the terrifying present, the dangers Cesar is fleeing become grippingly apparent: his research was threatening to expose the country’s largest manufacturer of genetically modified corn, set to impose economic and cultural genocide on the native population. Finding the courage to survive is critical, even as hope dwindles.

The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant is available to reserve at Haliburton County Public Library. It is also one of our Evergreen nominees for 2016. Read one or more of our Evergreen selections and vote for your favourite in October.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo/Minden Times the week of September 1st, 2016.

HCPL’s Book of the Month: All Saints

HL All SaintsAll Saints by K.D. Miller

In a linked collection that presents the secret small tragedies of an Anglican congregation struggling to survive, All Saints delves into the life of Simon, the Reverend, and the lives of his parishioners: Miss Alice Vipond, a refined and elderly schoolteacher, incarcerated for a horrendous crime; a woman driven to extreme anxiety by an affair she cannot end; a receptionist, and her act of improbable generosity; a writer making peace with her divorce. Effortlessly written and candidly observed, All Saints is a moving collection of tremendous skill, whose intersecting stories illuminate the tenacity and vulnerability of modern-day believers.

All Saints by K.D. Miller is available to reserve at Haliburton County Public Library. It is also one of our Evergreen nominees for 2016. Read one or more of our Evergreen selections and vote for your favourite in October.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo on March 1st, 2016.