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February 2018 Staff Picks

Andrea’s Pick – Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

wide sargassoA prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s classic “Jane Eyre,” this novel unlocks the attic door to introduce the supposed “madwoman” imprisoned within.

Andrea’s Pick – The Great Fuzz Frenzy by Janet Stevens

great fuzzTake a community of prairie dogs, add a lost tennis ball, and you have the perfect zany read aloud!  Full of action, humour and character, this one is sure to charm.

Andrea’s Pick – Home:  Tales of a Heritage Farm by Anny Scoones

homeEver dream of a heritage homestead, complete with Naked Neck chickens and Gloucester Old Spot pigs?  If so, this local author from Saanich, BC may prove a kindred spirit.

David’s Pick – Thalia: A Texas Trilogy by Larry McMurtry

thaliaComprising McMurtry’s first three novels, this collection will provide you with enough lonely nights, coyote calls, and hungover mornings to last you a while. Horseman, Pass By (1961), filmed as “Hud” with Paul Newman, is the story of a ne’er-do-well and a family in conflict, told from the point of view of a sensitive young man; Leaving Cheyenne (1963) is a sort of Texan “Jules et Jim”, with two men pursuing the same woman over many years; The Last Picture Show (1966), memorably filmed by Peter Bogdanovich in 1971, is a story of adolescence, rivalry, violence, and the pain of growing up and falling in love. The combined effect of all three novels is to plunge the reader into a time not so far back in the past, but seemingly centuries ago now.

David’s Pick – Beyond Incarceration: Safety and True Criminal Justice by Paula Mallea

beyondIncarceration and what goes on in Canada’s prison system is something most of us prefer not to think about. Mallea’s short, well-written book is a call to stop ignoring the problems with our current judicial system and the over-incarceration of non-violent offenders, and a reminder that other approaches are possible and do work. A good survey of recent history (which strongly condemns the Harper government’s cynical tough-on-crime policy) and lots of pointers to resources about prison systems and restorative justice methods. It’s a hard topic to read about, but Mallea makes it approachable.

Deb’s Pick – There’s a mystery there: the primal vision of Maurice Sendak by Jonathan Cott

theres a mystery thereThis biography/analysis of master writer/illustrator, Maurice Sendak, delves deeply into the meaning behind his life’s work. It illuminates his most controversial children’s book, “Outside Over There.” I found this a fascinating read.

Deb’s Pick – LIFE by Cynthia Rylant Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

lifeThis book encompasses the energy of life in the fewest words ever! It is beautifully written and is one of those amazing books that speaks to adults while engaging children. Wenzel’s illustrations are strong and work seamlessly with Rylant’s text.

Deb’s Pick – Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett Illustrated by Jon Klaasen

samIt’s a basic thing, digging a hole. It looks simple, but not really. Anything can happen when you dig a hole! This book is full of the possibilities. Just ask the dog in this downward and sideways tale.

Deb’s Pick – Robinson by Peter Sis

robinsonThis story, so beautifully and simply written, is about the power of imagination. The boy in this story risks the scorn of his friends when he dreams to be the ever-resourceful Robinson Crusoe instead of a pirate and part of a crew. Peter Sis’s illustrations are awesome; his double-spreads are wonderful to roam around in. p.s. Don’t miss the author’s photo and note to the reader in the back of the book.

 Joanne’s Pick – Pitlighting through conscription: memoirs of Golden Stanley, 1916-1923 by Golden Stanley

pitlightingThis is an interesting local memoir through the eyes of a young boy whose family homesteaded near Lois Lake in an area called the Horseshoe Valley.  This book is full of the difficulties and good times of the old days.  I really enjoyed the stories of his mother’s famous pickles and canned goods, berry picking excursions and community picnics.  The locals looked after each other and traded and shared food and labor.  It also talks of the 1920 fire that burnt most of the area from Saltry Bay through Paradise Valley.

Megan’s Pick – The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

marrowWith the impacts of Climate Change becoming an everyday reality, the world created by Cherie Dimaline, doesn’t seem like a dystopian future existing in the distant future, instead it serves as a warning to a society sitting on the edge of a knife. On the surface, The Marrow Thieves seems like a cautionary tale to the current generations around what will happen to our planet if we continue on the path we’re on, but it also paints a picture of a world where reconciliation goes wrong, where we pay lip service to our wanting to right the wrongs of our past, and history continues to repeat itself. The Marrow Thieves is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. Cherie Dimaline’s words will sit with you long after close the book.

Mel’s Pick – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer

 all the lightA beautifully written book following the lives of two children growing up in wartime. This  book will break your heart as it heals it.

Mel’s Pick A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

gentleman in moscowMoscow after the revolution. An aristocrat in exile. The world is falling to pieces outside yet inside the Metropol Hotel you’ll find a world so full of charm, refinement and delightful sweetness that you’ll want the book to last forever.