HCPL’s Celebrity Reader: Gay Bell discusses Inside Out by Mark Tewksbury

gay bellMark Tewksbury’s Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock is an autobiography of a swimmer who is a three-time Olympic medalist, a seven-time world record holder and member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like the book at first. I thought the details of male-to-male sexuality were going to be a bit much! However, once he started describing how he was bullied at school because of it, I was compelled to read on. He tells how the bullies affected him and how he problem solved by seeking out allies.

inside outMark has a good memory for the details of his extraordinary life and an ability to articulate the contradictions. For example, after he won the Olympic gold he made his living as a speaker for corporations. However, he always had to sign a contract that he wouldn’t put the corporation in an embarrassing position which made him fearful of coming out as a gay man. After he lost a speaking contract, he found other work on CTV’s Canada AM and did a lot of organizing with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and for Montreal Gay Games.

Gay people wanting to know about our history might be interested in this book. So might relatives of a gay man; those who’d like to be an ally of a queer person as well as people who take an interest in the politics of the IOC and the Federation of Gay Games.

Pride Week is happening in Peterborough from Sept. 12 to 19th. This year’s theme is sports. On Saturday the 19th everyone is welcome at the Pre-Parade Brunch at 11am hosted by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It will be held at George Street United Church, 534 George St North in Peterborough. The Parade starts across the street at City Hall at 1:30 pm and goes to Millennium Park from 3-6pm with youth activities, food, a beer garden, DJ music and info booths.

Gay Bell is Chair of County Swimming Pool Initiative, a committee working towards getting a Recreation Centre and Indoor Pool for the residents of Haliburton County.

*Originally published on September 8th, 2015 in the Haliburton Echo.

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HCPL’s Celebrity Reader

Jaklin 3Jaklin Casper discusses The Witness Wore Red: the 19th wife who brought polygamous cult leaders to justice by Rebecca Musser

This month’s Celebrity Reader is Jaklin Casper from Minden. She read The Witness Wore Red: the 19th wife who brought polygamous cult leaders to justice by Rebecca Musser.

“I heard about the book through radio and television,” says Jaklin. “It is a first person biography of a woman who escaped a forced marriage to the prophet of the FLDS, an extreme isolated fundamentalist sect.”

the witness wore redIn The Witness Wore Red, Rebecca Musser details her life within and escape from the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints in the United States headed by Warren Jeffs. At the age of 19 she became the 19th wife of then 85 year old Rulon Jeffs, Warren’s father. Musser suffered years of abuse before the elder Jeffs died at 92. Musser then fled the Yearning for Zion FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas in 2002. In order to protect her sisters still in the compound, she would testify against Warren Jeffs 20 times in federal court which ultimately resulted in a life-sentence for the FLDS leader. When she testified, she wore red – a show of defiance against the cult leader who forbade the wearing of the colour.

Of the book, Jaklin says: “I liked the writer’s approach to the psychological impact that being in a cult has on a person and how much strength it takes to break free.

“Anyone who is interested in the sacrifices made for freedom will enjoy this book.”

Thank-you, Jaklin, for being this month’s Celebrity Reader! The Witness Wore Red: the 19th wife who brought polygamous cult leaders to justice by Rebecca Musser is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally published in the Minden Times on October 22nd, 2014.

HCPL’s Celebrity Reader

gail gillespieGail Gillespie discusses Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels 

This month’s Celebrity Reader is Gail Gillespie, Branch Assistant at the Haliburton County Public Library. She read Fugitive Pieces by Canadian poet and author Anne Michaels.

“It is beautifully written, with wonderful images and an almost lyrical quality. fugitive piecesThe story is poignant, and the two main characters are gentle and endearing.” Says Gail of the Anne Michaels’ Giller Prize nominated title.

“The reader is drawn immediately into the story as Jakob, a young Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland, is traumatized by the killing of his parents and disappearance of his adored older sister.”

Fugitive Pieces will appeal to “readers who enjoy lyrical writing, a compelling and moving story, touching characters or stories about Holocaust survivors.”

The book chronicles not only Jakob’s experiences during World War Two, fleeing Poland for Greece with his rescuer Athos a Greek geologist, but also explores his post-war life. “They move to Toronto after the war, but Jakob is haunted for years by his memories and loss.”

Thank-you, Gail, for being this month’s Celebrity Reader! Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels along with the motion picture based on the book are available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally published in the Minden Times on September 24th, 2014.

HCPL’s Celebrity Reader

the alienistRobert Hill discusses The Alienist by Caleb Carr 

This month’s Celebrity Reader is Robert Hill from Hill Chiropractic & Physiotherapy in Haliburton.

“I was interested in an intelligent thriller/mystery type of book. I also really enjoy period pieces.” Says Robert of why he initially chose to read The Alienist by Caleb Carr.

The Alienist is set in the Guilded age and a series of brutal murders have taken place across New York City. When psychologist Laszlo Kreizler suggests that the murders are connected he finds himself at odds with the police coroner and in a politically sticky situation. Theodore Roosevelt appoints Kreizler and New York Times crime reporter John Moore to quietly investigate the murders. Kreizler and Moore recruit a number of young police officers to use cutting edge methods to close in on the killer.

“It is a turn-of-the-century ‘CSI’ Sherlock Holmes type of investigation with a core group of interesting characters,” says Robert, adding that it is full of tension and suspense with a nice dash of historical information. The novel has “wide appeal as it crosses genres.”

Thank-you, Robert, for being this month’s Celebrity Reader! The Alienist by Caleb Carr is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally published in the Minden Times on August 27th, 2014.

HCPL’s Celebrity Reader

MichaelPixMichael Fay discusses Journey: Making Decisions When Your Life Depends On It by Anje Bruch-Hilkers

This month’s Celebrity Reader is Michael Fay from Minden.

journeyJourney: Making Decisions When Your Life Depends On It is written by Algonquin Highlands resident, Anje Bruch-Hilkers. Written after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, the book is a series of essays written as she underwent treatment. As part of the Algonquin Highlands Writer’s circle, she attended regular meetings as she wrote about her experience with cancer. Michael was introduced to the book by his wife, Fay, who attended the formal launch of the book in June.

“I devoured it,” says Michael. “I’m a cancer survivor and always look for fine reading material.”

Elegant and engaging, Michael describes Anje’s book as “a quick and easy read and anyone in a family faced with a ‘frightening’ diagnosis would benefit, likely marking passages, filling the margins with notes, jamming post-its throughout.”

“However, the journey is described in all the wild, chaotic rush involved in a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Anje zeroes in on the perfect strategy to deal with the journey that more and more families face.”

Michael, an author himself, found a shared experience between one of the essays from Anje’s journey, and a story that he has published. “Coincidentally, there is a beautiful and brief memory in the book about the author as a young girl in a children’s’ ward of a hospital, with one of the patients facing imminent death. This is the plot of The Healer, one of my digital long form stories.”

Thank-you, Michael, for being this month’s Celebrity Reader! Journey: Making Decisions When Your Life Depends On It by Anje Bruch-Hilkers is available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library. As well, Michael Fay’s story, The Healer, is available as an e-book through our Overdrive platform accessible at www.haliburtonlibrary.ca.

*Originally published in the Mindent Times on July 30th, 2014.

HCPL’s Celebrity Reader

georginaGeorgina Kernohan discusses An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

This month’s Celebrity Reader is Georgina Kernohan from Minden.

For her Celebrity Read, Georgina chose An Inquiry into Love and Death by Canadian author Simone St. James. “An Inquiry into Love and Death was recommended to me by my daughter as well as being an HCPL Book of the Month. I also read The Haunting of Maddy Clare [by the same author] because I enjoyed the other so well.”

haunting of maddy clareAn Inquiry into Love and Death, which has also been nominated for the 2014 Evergreen Award, follows Jillian Leigh as she travels to Rothwell to take care of her Uncle Toby’s affairs after his mysterious death. She soon encounters a haunting, a dashing Scotland Yard Inspector, and finds herself in the centre of Rothwell’s many secrets. The Haunting of Maddy Clare features Sarah Piper and ghost hunter Allistair Gellis tasked with investigating the spirit of a nineteen year old maid. Both books take place post-WWI and the characters are still reeling from the conflict.

an inquiry into love and deathGeorgina, who is a fan of British mysteries, says: “Both stories are easy but good reads – flowing stories set in the 1920’s which are not overly descriptive. The author sticks to the tale and keeps your attention. It’s like watching a good British mystery on the BBC.”

Georgina would recommend both An Inquiry into Love and Death and The Haunting of Maddy Clare to “anyone who enjoys English period stories and light ghost stories.”

Thank-you, Georgina, for being this month’s Celebrity Reader! Both An Inquiry into Love and Death and The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James are available to reserve at the Haliburton County Public Library.

Do you have a book that you want to share? Contact Erin Kernohan-Berning at 705-457-2241 or ekernohan@haliburtonlibrary.ca and we may feature you as one of our Celebrity Readers.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo on June 24th, 2014.

HCPL’s Celebrity Reader

the oneWilhemena Kocot discusses The One by Kiera Cass

This month’s Celebrity Reader is Wilhemena Kocot, a student at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.

For her Celebrity Read, Wilhemena chose The One by Kiera Cass, the third and final book in The Selection series. This series features a futuristic society divided into castes. Each caste nominates one who will be in competition to rule Illea. “I was really excited to see how [the series] ended.” Says Wilhemena.

Wilhemena enjoyed how the books kept surprising the reader with new plot twists. As an example, the main character, America, remains true to her values despite reasons to stray from them. This, Wilhemena says, “leads to unexpected consequences.”

When asked to whom she would recommend this book, Wilhemena marks it as a good book for “teenage girls who like some romance, action, and drama, because this book, and whole series, has plenty.”

Thank-you, Wilhemena, for being this month’s Celebrity Reader! The One by Kiera Cass, as well as the first two books of the series, The Selection and The Elite, can be reserved at the Haliburton County Public Library.

Do you have a book that you want to share? Contact Erin Kernohan-Berning at 705-457-2241 or ekernohan@haliburtonlibrary.ca and we may feature you as one of our Celebrity Readers.

*Originally published in the Haliburton Echo May 27, 2014.