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December 2018 Staff Picks

Brenda’s Pick: Land of lost borders: out of bounds on the Silk Road by Kate Harris

A Canadian and multi-faceted explorer, Kate Harris, and her friend rode a section of the Silk Road on bicycles. She totally captivates with her vivid description of the journey and musing (and humorous) narrative along the way.

“What if borders at their most basic are just desires written onto lands and lives, trying to foist permanence on the fact of flux?” …this interspersed amongst conversations with people met on the road, logistics of cycling through snow and mud, and reflections on her life blend into an honest, compelling and vital story!

David’s Pick:  Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Longlisted for the 2018 Giller Prize, this novel is scabrous, sad, out of control, and sometimes very lovely. Whitehead is a rising talent from the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and a hell of a writer. Not for the faint of heart, but a really intense and gripping read. And it’s funny!

Jayme’s Pick: The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint

In this whimsical, original folktale, written and illustrated throughout in vibrant full color by two celebrated masters of modern fantasy, a young girl’s journey becomes an enchanting coming-of-age story about magic, friendship, and the courage to shape one’s own destiny.

Joanne’s Pick: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by  Baltazar, Armand

This is a junior book for tweens with beautiful illustrations on almost every second page that bring the book to life like a graphic novel.  Our earth has been affected by a time collision that has combined the past, future and present worlds into one.  This collision has reshaped continents, re-formed the oceans, cities were rebuilt, and mountains sculpted anew. Dinosaurs roam the plains alongside herds of buffalo, and giant robots navigate the same waters as steam-powered ships.  The protagonist Diego and his friends must rescue his father and save the world as he knows it.

Joanne’s Pick: Very good lives: The fringe benefits of failure and the importance of imagination by J.K. Rowling

This is a tiny book containing the authors commencement address at Harvard University in 2008.  J. K. Rowling’s advice is full of wisdom and humor.  With her own life stories she illustrates how we can benefit from failure and also learn compassion and be motivated by others life experiences.

Natalie’s Pick: Love and Friendship (DVD)

Based on Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan, this is a fast paced period-piece with cheeky dialogue and good humour. The film features Kate Beckinsale as the infamous Lady Susan Vernon, a flirtatious widow who attempts to secure a husband for herself and daughter.

Sonia’s Pick : Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri

When a young bear and a young wolf meet in the forest one wintry night, they decide to go walking together, using their eyes and ears and noses to take in the snowy woods. Through shared sensory experience and enjoyment, they form a bond that lasts beyond the winter and, the reader expects, for many seasons to come. Employing unique perspectives, the illustrations capture the feeling of a wintry walk in the woods as well as the magic of exploring the natural world with another being in quiet companionship.