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September 2020 Staff Picks

Brenda’s Pick: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

This novel appeared over 10 years ago. Written by a doctor, the story follows the lives of identical twin boys, Shiva and Marion. Set in Ethiopia, the story has so many levels of family life, medicine and physicians, political unrest, coming of age, loyalties and love…but written in such a compelling and brilliant way that this book is hard to put down! Marvellously crafted and now one of my favourites.

David’s Pick: Collected Stories by John Cheever

Chronicling the work of one of the 20th century’s masters of the short story form, this collection covers the period of time from the 1940s to the 1970s, capturing slices of American middle-class culture that now seem very far away from the present moment. The quality of the prose is fantastically high, and some passages are as beautiful and evocative as anything in the English language.

Linda’s Pick: Lost Children Archive: A Novel by Valeria Luiselli

A loving marriage slowly dissolving, refugee children disappearing, Apache tribes imprisoned — Lost Children Archive poignantly explores themes of loss, connection, and identity through the ambitious intertwining of these stories as a blended family sets off on a road trip across America.

Linda’s Pick: The Farewell (DVD)

A sweet, thought-provoking film about a Chinese family that decides not to tell their grandmother of her terminal cancer diagnosis; instead, planning a rush wedding as a ruse to bring everyone together to see her one last time. Told with gentleness and humour, the film focuses on the experience of the Chinese-American grand-daughter as she struggles to reconcile her American morals with this Chinese family tradition.

Mark’s Pick: At home with Madhur Jaffrey : simple, delectable dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, & Sri Lanka by Madhur Jaffrey

This is an excellent cookbook with a wide range of recipes from all over South Asia. What I like most about Madhur Jaffrey is her combination of technical skill with the use of simple traditional ingredients. It really is amazing how you can bring out the flavors of the ingredients you use by following the cooking techniques of a master.

Natalie’s Pick: Amazing Grace (DVD)

Rolling Stone magazine called this documentary the closest thing to witnessing a miracle! The film features Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, singing gospel live back in 1972 at her Baptist Church with a wild choir and audience in attendance. The footage hadn’t been seen until last year due to technical difficulties, so it’s a rare treat. The music is inspiring and it feels like you’re part of the action.