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    Book Club in a Bag


    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    I love mysteries! I particularly love mysteries by Canadian authors that have a Canadian setting. And I know I’ve hit the jackpot when I find a series with a strong woman as the lead character. Vicki Delany’s novels resonate with me as they meet all these criteria as well as being good, suspenseful, well-written stories! She has two series on the go at the present time.

    In the Shadow of the Glacier is Delany’s intriguing series opener with young Constable Molly Smith. Molly’s home, Trafalgar, British Columbia, is a small idyllic mountain town to which many draft dodgers had fled in the 60s. Molly stumbles across a murder victim, Reg Montgomery, a newcomer planning to develop a luxury resort outside the town over the protests of many of the residents. Molly is called upon to assist hard-edged Sgt. John Winters as he sorts through the many people who wanted Montgomery out of the way. This is the start of a great series with a strong lead character and a cast of interesting supporting characters such as Molly’s aging hippy parents.

    Gold Digger is the first in a series set in Dawson, Yukon Territory, in the spring of 1898. Fiona MacGillivray has made the difficult journey over the Chilkoot Pass and is now co-owner of the Savoy dance hall. The Klondike Gold Rush is in full swing and the town is filled with characters of all sorts. Life is not easy for a single woman making her way, but it becomes even more difficult when a dead body is found centre stage at the Savoy. Fiona is a woman who knows her own mind and navigates the perils of life in a gold rush town.

    Vicky will be reading from her newest book, Among the Departed, a Constable Molly Smith novel, at the Central Library on Thursday, June 9 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm on the Main Floor.

    Off the Shelf (9)

    by Patti Nouri - 0 Comment(s)

    A Woman Among Warlords

    Malalai Joya

    Malalai Joya was the youngest person elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005. Such a distinction was not achieved by being a shrinking violet. In every aspect of her life, Joya is outspoken and blunt.

    Her critique of President Hamid Karzai makes tough reading for Canada and other NATO countries with troops in Afghanistan. The parliament suspended her in 2007, contrary to the constitution, for her direct, non-diplomatic criticism of powerful warlords, many of whom were also representatives in the parliament.

    In A Woman Among Warlords Joya gives the reader specific details about many contentious incidents and she names names – except when the security of her supporters is at stake. Her language is both direct and passionate, especially when she quotes from her own comments to parliament, media, opponents and supporters. (For the text of the book, her co-author is Canadian writer, Derrick O’Keefe.)

    Malalai Joya grew up in refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran. Educated, well-read and with a supportive family, she began early to campaign for women’s rights. After grade twelve, her family could not afford university, so she joined the Organization for Promoting Afghan Women’s Capabilities and on their behalf went to Herat during the Taliban era to start classes for girls. When her actions began to draw the attention of extremists, she adopted a different surname to protect her family. (She now lives apart from her husband for the same reason.)

    The impoverished people she helped as a teen encouraged her to run for the Loya Jirga that would develop the constitution of Afghanistan and later to run for election to the parliament. Throughout, she became notorious for denouncing warlords, corrupt politicians, and military occupation. She is infuriated by the poverty and violence that prevent girls and women from realizing any of their aspirations. Her grasp of Afghan history is illuminating which helps her readers understand the events that brought Afghanistan to its current state of turmoil.

    A Woman Among Warlords is both a memoir and a polemic that fills in many details behind the headlines written by our own media. The arguments and denunciations offered by Malalai Joya are partisan, but it is hard not to be on her side.

    Judith Umbach

    Twisted Classics

    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    If you struggle with classical titles, there is something you may consider trying - mushup fiction.

    Mushup is a derived art, which mixes pre-existing text – often classical works – with a specific popular genre, notably but not exclusively, vampire and zombie fiction.

    The genre ancestry can be traced to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, one of its the most successful examples. It combines Jane Austen’s classic novel with modern zombie fiction. While parody novels such as Bored of the Rings (Beard/Kenney) and parallel novels like The Wind Gone Done (A. Randall) or Wicked (G. Magiure) make fun of the original text or offer an alternative version of it, the mushup-fiction take a literary twist to the next level introducing the themes and characters of an entirely defferent genre.

    What started in 2009 with horrification of Jane Austen has continued - more or less successfully - with Abraham Lincoln, the Vampire Hunter by S. Grahame-Smith, Android Karenina by L. Tolstoy & B. H. Winters, Jane Slayre by C. Bronte & S. Browning-Erwin, Little Vampire Women by L. M. Alcott & Lynn Messina, and many other titles that came from a creative blender.

    Robinson Crusoe (The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope), which entwines the original novel with elements from the works of H. P. Lovecraft and werewolf novels, is the newest variation of mushup fiction, and has been attributed to three authors: Daniel Defoe, H.P. Lovecraft and Peter Clines.

    Some other literary reinventions recast a classic text with the some best known pop-icons of our time, as Ben Greenman did in his novel Celebrity Chekhov. Former friends Nicole and Paris exchange prickly pleasantries, talk-show host Dave narrowly averts a potential domestic crisis, Sarah Palin shows her appreciation for the highest reward she received for serving the people of Alaska… Replacing Russian peasants, aristocrats, clerks and disappointed wives of Chekhov’s time with “flawed (contemporary) specimen of humanity ruled by ego and insecurity”, Greenman spins the stories of love, loss, pride, vanity, heartbreak, reward… the very stuff of life, in a new, surreal way, adding to our understanding of the original work.

    The Zombie Renaissance

    by Jasna Tosic - 0 Comment(s)

    A vibrant horror sub-genre, zombie fiction has been around for a long time. The recent comeback of the living dead has been credited to publishing hits such as Max Brook’s World War Z and Seth Grahame Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And of course, there are movies, video-games, music… Some sociological observers see the zombie renaissance as a metaphor for our turbulent political and economical times, but regardless the reason, zombie horror fiction is a big deal now.

    Try some zombie titles from Calgary Public Library collection.

    Night of the Living Trekkies by Kevin David Anderson

    Jim Pike was the world's biggest Star Trek fan-until two tours of duty in Afghanistan destroyed his faith in the human race. Now he sleepwalks through life as the assistant manager of a small hotel in downtown Houston. But when hundreds of Trekkies arrive in his lobby for a science-fiction convention, Jim finds himself surrounded by costumed Klingons, Vulcans, and Ferengi-plus a strange virus that transforms its carriers into savage, flesh-eating zombies! As bloody corpses stumble to life and the planet teeters on the brink of total apocalypse, Jim must deliver a ragtag crew of fanboys and fangirls to safety.

    The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell

    Zombies have infested a fallen America, and a young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, she moves back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond - seeking salvation and a place to make a home.

    Also available also in MP3 format

    Paul Is Undead by Alan Goldsher

    In this hilarious chronicle of the zombified Liverpudlians' rise to fame, "bloody" is no longer just a four-letter word. It's a fookin' way of life for the undead moptops, whose arrival is heralded by the bloodcurdling screams of sanguine American girls who twitch, and writhe, and scratch their own eyes out in manic ecstasy. Come on, surely you've seen the footage from the Ed Sullivan Show! Through hidden messages in their songs, the Beatles mind-meld millions of delicious fans, and their infamous backstage door becomes a one-way ticket to a particularly gruesome session of sucking face. That is, until a notorious zombie hunter named Mick arrives, the fierce wiggle of his lithesome hips and shoulders his only defense against a seemingly impenetrable glut of reanimated corpses.

    Also available in e-book format.

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the Classic Regency Romance Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
    So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton - and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennett is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers-and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan and overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you would actually want to read.

    Check our catalogue for the graphic novel version.