What We’re Reading: Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Amy Elliott Dunne is missing.

That’s really all I can tell you about this brilliant (dare I say amazing?) mystery novel, except for the fact that the story is told from two points of view.  Alternate chapters are told from the perspective of Amy’s husband, Nick, who comes home one day to find signs of a struggle and that his wife is missing.  Nick and Amy have been having some marital troubles lately, you see, and the police seem to think that he is a suspect.  And frankly so do we, as Nick admits (to us) that he’s a big fan of the lie of omission.  There may be more to his story than he’s telling.

Meanwhile, the other chapters are diary entries written by Amy herself, in the years and days leading up to her disappearance.  We slowly learn that she might have some secrets of her own.

And that’s just the beginning.  To say more would be to spoil all the intricate plot twists and surprises.  As Amy might put it, by the end of the novel the reader:

a)     can’t help but wonder what might happen next

b)     will ponder the merits – and dangers – of inside jokes, treasure hunt clues, and true crime novels

c)     will wonder how well they truly know their family and friends

Read the book to learn more!

- – Ryan S.

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What We’re Reading: The Bear

The Bear by Claire Cameron

I’ve gone camping a few times in my life but I’ve never been enthusiastic about it.  I like being close to washrooms and places with electricity and air conditioning.  This book takes “dislike for camping” to a whole new level.

The story is told from the perspective of  5-year old Anna  as she witnesses a bear attack her family’s campsite and kill her parents. Her mother’s dying words are for her to take her 2-year old brother and “get into the canoe and paddle away”.  Two children in the wilds exposed to the elements trying to find food and shelter. Terrifying.

I felt sick with worry reading the book but yet I couldn’t put it down.

- – Christine B.

 

 

 

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What We’re Reading: Parasite

Parasite by Mira Grant

This book caught my attention because of the heavy duty marketing behind it and then it turned out that part of the book had to do with the marketing and corporate machine behind the evil pharmaceutical company at the centre of the whole story.  Too many uncomfortable things were going on with this book to really sway me to want to read the next two but I will say, it is unusual to read a book where parasitic tapeworms have deliberately been inserted into the bodies of people who have been declared brain dead and then the tapeworms start to take over the world… and I don’t think I need to read any more about that.  I’ll be interested to learn if anyone else chooses to read this unusual read and see what patrons say also.

- – Penny M.

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Let’s Get Outside!

After a long winter the weather is finally starting to become more agreeable. It appears that spring has arrived.  To celebrate – - let’s get outside! Click on the image below to see some of the books that inspire us to embrace spring and life outdoors.

 

Lets-Get-Outside-1Lets-Get-Outside-2

 

 

 

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What We’re Reading: The King’s Grave

The King’s Grave: the discovery of Richard III’s lost burial place and the clues it holds by Philippa Langley

In 2013 the remains of a man with a curving spine, who possible was killed in battle, were discovered underneath the paving of a parking lot in Leicester, England. Phillipa Langley, head of The Richard III Society, spurred on by the work of the historian Michael Jones, led the team of who uncovered the remains, certain that she had found the bones of the monarch. DNA verification  confirmed that the skeleton was, indeed, that of King Richard III.

For those of you who are abit unsure of who Richard III actually was (other than the dastardly villain in a Shakespeare play), he was King of England from 1483 – 1485 when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard was portrayed by Shakespeare as physically deformed machiavellian villain who clawed his way to power.

The story of the discovery of Richard III’s grave made the headlines, in part because there was a Canadian connection through Richard III’s sister Anne of York. You can read about it in the article linked below.

The book was suspenseful.  All the research and planning that preceded the actual excavation. As I read it I went back and forth between computer and book to look up various information about Richard III and his lineage. Fascinating!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/two-canadian-links-to-discovery-of-richard-iii/article8158525/

- – Christine B.

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What We’re Reading: The Beatles

         

The Beatles: All These Years by Mark Lewisohn and The Beatles: the BBC Archives 1962-1970 by Kevin Howlett

Lately I have been living in a Beatles universe. (Or should I say Across the Universe?)

Just recently I caught the show celebrating the 50th anniversary of their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and am currently taking a short, on-line course on their music.

On top of that, I just signed out two brand new Beatle books from the library.

Tune In is Volume 1 of The Beatles: All These Years by Mark Lewisohn.  This book (the first of three) looks at The Beatles from their childhood days to 1962, when they were on the verge of big success.  Now I am a serious fan, but at 803 pages of text, this is just way too much. I read bits and pieces, mostly picked out at random, and it’s engaging and well written. But, honestly, I will not be reading the whole thing.

I also recently signed out The Beatles: the BBC Archives, 1962-1970 by Kevin Howlett. I placed my hold months ago, so I was really thrilled when this new book finally appeared atWPL.  This book is packed with photos, some very familiar, others that I have never seen before.  As well, there are transcripts of interviews with the band.  Not so interesting are BBC memorandum related to The Beatles and full documentation of every song they ever performed at the BBC.

Both these books are worth a look. But if you are looking for the best Beatle book, ever, then I would recommend The Beatles Anthology (published in 2000 and available at WPL).  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

- – Penny D.

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2014 Early Spring Featured Titles

This spring (please let it be spring!!) , WPL’s Featured Titles offer a real mix of recent fiction and non-fiction titles we think you’ll enjoy, from survivalist fiction to political shenanigans and the science of aging.

We hope everyone finds something to pique their interest here. Please click on the image below to view a full-sized version of the list.   Happy spring reading!

Early Spring 2014 Featured Titles

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What We’re Reading: Gabrielle Zevin’s trilogy

          

So.  I liked Katniss and her love for Peeta and Gale in the Hunger Games series.  I really did care for her and I was rooting for her through all three of those books!  Then I was very fond of Triss (but secretly preferred Tobias and his Divergent story) and I was, for a while, a big fan of June (Marie Lu writes such a wonderful half boy’s-half girl’s perspective tale with that trilogy).  I took a tiny trip down a side street to really appreciate Kasta and all things medieval in Graceling and Bitterblue.  Then I read about Cassia Maria Reyes and her mixed up Dystopian world, where the government decides everything, including who will be your ‘match’ for life.  The story contained in those three books became my absolute favourite.  In all library and non-library conversations about trilogies with strong female characters I would talk about Ally Condie’s world and the characters she created.

Weeks went by and I still felt that I was sure I knew what was my favourite in all I had read on our shelves until I chatted with a library patron about our favourite books.  This library patron had also loved the Matched, Crossed and Reached books but had a suggestion for me – a book trilogy with a strong female main character that reminded her of Cassia.  Encouraged, I took the first one home that evening and was instantly hooked.  This girl is just 16 years old, with a younger sister, a severely injured older brother, a slowly dying grandmother AND she is an orphan (one parent was a police officer and the other was the head of an organized crime family).  Anya Pavlova Balanchine is a girl with a lot to worry about but she is going about her daily life with high school classes, friendships, boyfriends and thoughts about her future.  Everything else continues to swirl around her and she falls for the son of the ambitious DA.  With a star-crossed lovers kind of twist she can’t continue her relationship with the lovely Goodwin Delacroix and takes the first of so many steps she feels she has to take as the heir to an empire which deals in the sale of black market chocolate.

That’s right.  In the New York city of 2083 it is illegal to have chocolate and caffeine.  The parks are too dangerous to cross alone and water is so scarce that the lake in Central Park is just a big dust bowl.  Paper books are considered rare and people line up each market day to try and find enough food to eat.  Anya is an incredibly smart and loyal friend and sister and these qualities take her on an gripping path through a few prison stays, long trips to Mexico and Japan, multiple marriage proposals, the deaths of family members and close friends, poisonings and a serious attempt to end her life and starts a successful business that she feels might have made her parents proud.  In just three books.

Three solid books with rollicking action that I couldn’t stop reading.  Gabrielle Zevin lets the reader into Anya’s thoughts with clever asides in each chapter but they are never annoying -they seem like bonus material that we are lucky to know about her main character, like a little gift from a generous author.  There is humour in the book and the chapter titles alone are worth your time but there is so much more than that in her books.  Her Anya is a fully fleshed out high school student and she gives the reader a chance to feel like you are in her head.  It’s one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever read and right now Ms. Balanchine has risen to the top of my list for inspiring Dystopian heroines.

- – Penny M.

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What We’re Watching: Coast

I recently borrowed the BBC’s award-winning documentary, Coast.  This multi-desk set takes viewers on a magical journey around with coast of the UK and Ireland.

Archaeologist and author, Neil Oliver, is the main narrator on the journey.  He works with a small team of experts in a variety of fields as we explore the history and geography of the coast, its people, industry and inventions.  It was terrific to see places I’ve visited myself, from an entirely new perspective.

With each episode I learned more and was treated to more (and more!) spectacular aerial footage. It would be difficult to pick just one or two favourites.  There is an accompanying book full of photos but the series far surpasses it, although I would say the book is worth a browse.

The series was an award-winner, and it’s easy to see why.

- – Sandi H.

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What We’re Reading: That Woman

That Woman: the life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor  by Anna Sebba

The story of the abdication of the King to marry his love Wallis Simpson is well known.  As a teenager I thought the story sounded terrifically  romantic – a king giving up his throne for love. Sigh.  However, since those starry-eyed days of my youth my opinion on the subject has changed considerably.

In That Woman the author does a thorough job of leading the reader through Wallis’ childhood and first two marriages. It was during Wallis’  second marriage to Ernest Simpson that she met and became close to Prince Edward. Was she seeking notoriety and wealth?  Perhaps. Was Edward being selfish for putting love ahead of his responsibilities to his family and country? Although it does seem that both Wallis and Edward got their heart’s desire, was it enough?  Read the book and see if you think it was.

- – Christine B.

 

 

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