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April 2019 Staff Picks

Jayme’s Pick: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

People can see into the future; lives and deaths are predetermined at birth; magic, especially women’s magic, plays an important role. To give one’s life for one’s child, one’s lover, one’s friend or one’s god, is the highest honour. Suffering and death are an inescapable part of life, especially for women. And the “world-to-come” is inextricably part of the whole.

This story of love in all its many forms, but especially love for one’s children, pulls at your very core. The constraints and philosophies Hoffman’s heroines live by are rare in today’s world.

Jayme’s Pick: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mixed tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love.  “Eleanor and Park is funny, sad, shocking and true – an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.”

Joanne’s Pick: Man of the Trees by Paul Hanley

This is a biography of a conservationist before his time.  Richard St. Barbe Baker the Man of the Trees recognized in the 1920’s the global effect that deforestation would have and took action to address the problem.  He is one of the founders of the International Forest Foundation.  Before climate change was recognized by scientists he understood the impact of deforestation on global climate and warned that to avoid weather changes one third of every nation should be covered with trees. He’s a remarkable man and this is an interesting and inspiring read.

Leanne’s Pick: 20 Projects for Alcohol Inks: A Workbook for Creating Your Best Art by Karen Walker

I’ve been using alcohol inks for over a year now, and have enjoyed experimenting with this vibrant medium. I loved looking through this book and finding new techniques and ideas. Filled with 20 easy-to-follow projects, as well as extra pictures for further inspiration, this book will certainly ignite your creativity!

Mary Jane’s Pick: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

This is the story of twelve year old Rill Foss and her valiant struggle to protect her four siblings after they were forcibly taken from their river boat home. Her bravery and determination will keep you wanting to know how it will end.

Megan’s Pick: The Art of Leaving: A Memoir by Ayelet Tsabari

There are only a few books I’ve mourned after finishing. Where I want to savour every word on the page as I get closer and closer to the end. This beautiful book by Ayelet brings together themes of home and belonging, with history of both her family and her culture. I can honestly say I devoured this book, and will go back to it again and again to get lost in Ayelet’s words.

Megan’s Pick: To The River: Losing my brother by Don Gillmor

This beautiful book dives into one of the most intimate, but also universal experiences a person goes through. After the death of his brother Don Gillmor needed answers. He wanted to understand what would have caused him to take his own life. Suicide has been called the a silent epidemic among both young and old men, and this beautiful memoir is both an ode to a loved one and an exploration of what leads some people into a darkness they can’t come back from.

Megan’s Pick: A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

This book should be required reading for all Canadians. This debut book of essays showcases the power of both Alicia Elliott’s writing but also her voice. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground isn’t light escapist reading, but instead is grounded in the reality that makes up so many people’s lives. In her essays, Elliott tackles issues of mental illness, racism, sexism, Canadian politics and more. A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is honest and genuine, and will be part of the conversation that will hopefully change the trajectory of Canada’s future.

Natalie’s Pick: The Beggar’s Garden by Michael Christie

This collection of short stories is set in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. While the stories are at times heart-breaking, Christie brings magic, dignity and beauty to the characters portrayed. He also avoids didactic or condescending delivery considering some of the sensitive topics addressed. The Beggar’s Garden was an impressive debut, as it won the City of Vancouver Book Award and was long-listed for the Giller Prize. Christie now lives and writes on Galiano Island.

Sonia’s Pick Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley

In this new book by the author and illustrator of “Tough Guys Have Feelings Too,” a girl named Mary challenges social and gender norms and in the process inspires a change that echoes through history. Based on a true story, “Mary Wears What She Wants” captures the difficulty and the bravery required to live your truth ahead of your time.

Sonia’s Pick: Trampoline Boy by Nan Forler and Marion Arbona

This is a book about the joy of jumping. It is also a book about finding common ground and friendship way, way, off the ground – up past the red wings on a blackbird, beyond whispy white clouds, in the blue blue sky. Nan Forlor’s text loops and soars with fun repetitions and Marion Arbona’s illustrations are buoyant and bright.