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    Book Club in a Bag

    Hear Ye, Hear Ye

    by Jasna Tosic - 1 Comment(s)

    By K. McAlister

    Weddings are always exciting, but the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton is exciting to many on an international scale. Many of us watched the wedding of William's parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on July 29th, 1981, and we celebrated the birth of Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, the heir to the throne, on June 21st, 1982. Now history will be made again when the prince marries his princess on April 29, 2011. If you would like books about Prince William and his bride-to-be, or about other Royal weddings, try:

    Royal Romance, Modern Marriage: the Love Story of William and Kate - Amy Hansen - ON ORDER

    William and Kate: Celebrating a Royal Engagement - Robin Nunn - ON ORDER

    Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton - Life Magazine - ON ORDER

    William and Kate: A Royal Love Story - Christopher P. Anderson

    William: HRH Prince William of Wales - Tim Graham and Peter Archer

    Kate: The Making of a Princess - Claudia Joseph

    Queen and Consort: Elizabeth and Philip: 60 Years of Marriage - Lynne Bell

    Five Gold Rings: a Royal Wedding Souvenir Album from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II - Jane Roberts

    For those of you who prefer the more infamous side of royalty, we have books for you, too. The histories of the world's royal families include centuries of war, insanity, beheadings, love affairs, genetic defects, divorce, abdications, power and tyranny. Royalty set the fashion standards for clothing, behavior, excess and frivolity.

    We have many books on the ever fascinating Tudor King Henry VIII, who enjoyed weddings so much that he had six of them. (In order, his wives were "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived"). Catherine de Medici decreed that all ladies of her court had to have waists no bigger than 13 inches, creating a long-lasting fashion for corsets. To escape the confines of court life, Marie-Antoinette and her ladies would dress up to play at being milkmaids and shepherdesses. For years after Prince Albert's death, the widowed Queen Victoria had her staff lay out his clothes each day and take hot water to his room. England's King George III went mad from time to time and had to be tied to a chair. If you prefer dark-and-seedy to pomp-and-circumstance, you might enjoy the following:

    Behind the Palace Doors: Five centuries of sex, adventure, vice, treachery, and folly from Royal Britain - Michael Farquhar

    Sex with Kings: 500 years of adultery, power, rivalry, and revenge - Eleanor Herman

    Sex with the Queen: 900 years of vile kings, virile lovers, and passionate politics - Eleanor Herman

    Royal Affairs: a lusty romp through the extramarital adventures that rocked the British Monarchy - Leslie Carroll

    Royal Babylon: the larming history of European Royalty - Karl Shaw

    The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor - Hugo Vickers

    The Duchess of Windsor: the Secret Life - Charles Higham

    Doomed Queens: Royal Women who Met Bad Ends, From Cleopatra to Princess Di - Kris Waldherr

    If you would like to read contemporary newspaper accounts of past monarchs, the Calgary Public Library subscribes to the digital newspaper archive for the Times of London, covering the years 1785-1985.You can find this database in our E-Library, under "History and Genealogy".

    Off the Shelf: Father of the Rain

    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    In Father of the Rain, Lily King explores why we stay in relationships that seem counterproductive and why we leave them. Daley’s father is an alcoholic, a behaviour easily sustained in the heavy-social-drinking small town where he lives. Her mother stays too long with him but does leave and takes Daley with her. As a conflicted daddy’s girl, Daley literally and emotionally seesaws between her parents. She never quite abandons one to fully support the other in the never-ending low-scale guerilla war between the two households.

    Her older brother left home before his parents split, and he remains emotionally uncommitted to his family despite occasionally paying cursory visits. As an adult, Daley has perfected detachment. Her mother’s sudden death causes a rift in Daley’s relationship her father, although her father is clueless about the reason for it, even when Daley confronts him with her hurt.

    Pursuing anthropology has been successful for Daley, and as the novel opens, she is on her way to UCLA Berkley for a tenured position. But much to the dismay of her devoted lover, Jonathan, she decides to take a brief side-trip to visit her father after many years of alienation.

    Daley wants her father to become sober; her father wants Daley to take care of him. So begins a symbiosis that befuddles both Daley’s friends and her father’s friends. Why has Daley embarked on such a hopeless quest? Why has her father agreed to such socially awkward abstinence in a community that socializes over liquour? And, who will crack first? Because no one but Daley thinks this is going to work.

    Over time, community is what saves her, and she learns much about herself as a part of community. By casting Daley as an anthropologist studying children in community, Lily King veils the whole story with a delicate and delightful irony. The deft handling of strained relationships is what makes Father of the Rain such a good novel.

    Judith Umbach