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    Book Club in a Bag

    Book News

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Book cover image of David and Goliath by Malcolm GladwellHave you heard...

    ...the latest book news around the world?

    • Find out what project Canadian authors Vincent Lam, Camilla Gibb, Miriam Toews and Linwood Barclay are involved in this winter.

    Did you know?

    More book news is at your fingertips! You can, as a library member, read and download (for FREE!!) such titles such as:

    Learn about Zinio eMagazines and set up your free account today! Browse the "Literary" listings for more of these titles.

    Off the Shelf: Longbourn by Jo Baker

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Upstairs, the almost desperate Bennet family seeks husbands for five charming daughters. Downstairs, the servants scurry through endless labour and winter mud. In Longbourn, Jo Baker successfully recreates life on the other side of the kitchen door, a life secreted from the readers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

    Young Sarah is the senior housemaid; in reality, this means she has the assistance of the dreamy eleven-year-old Polly as they hasten to fulfill the orders of the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill. Sarah’s hands are raw, both from prying mud from Miss Elizabeth’s petticoats and shoes and from using lye to restore the whiteness of the undergarments. (Lizzie does love to wander the fields whatever the weather.) And, the housemaid has the duty of carrying the full chamber pots down the stairs and across the muddy, rutted yard to deposit the contents in the “necessary”. She rises earlier than everyone else to light the fires so others will be warm, and sometimes she stays up late to help the gentry with their coats after a night out with friends. Sarah has no friends, no nights out, nothing.

    Three men come into Sarah’s constrained world. Ptolemy Bingley, assigned his employer’s name, of course, is a footman with a roving eye and plans for a smoke shop in London. His kiss has the expected effect on a completely innocent but desiring girl. James Smith (a suspect surname), new footman in the Bennet household, persuades Sarah that her efforts to decamp to London seeking Ptolemy’s dream may be misplaced. And, the charming but despicable Mr. Wickham, an upstairs man who too often invades the downstairs sphere, disturbs Sarah’s stultifying but safe world, just as he disturbs the family life of the Bennets.

    Jo Baker has written a novel not in the tradition of Jane Austen sequels but in an engaging parallel universe. The doings of the Bennets are seen from the perspective of how much work will be created for the servants and how events will affect their lives. The pressures that affect servants are much different than for the gentry: the militia, the miserable weather, the importunities of guests, and the gaining or losing of a penny. As ever with near-poverty, the servants can afford neither pride nor prejudice.

    - Judith Umbach

    Staff Picks: 47 Sorrows by Janet Kellough

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    Sometimes we pick up a book and have a totally different reading experience than we expected. I checked out 47 Sorrows: a Thaddeus Lewis Mystery because it was a Canadian historical mystery written by a Canadian author. What more could one ask for? Janet Kellough certainly delivers on those expectations, but there is a whole different element to this book.

    Her story starts with a body being discovered on the beach. It is set in southern Ontario in the mid-1800s. Young Luke Lewis is travelling from his brother’s homestead near Lake Huron to Montreal to train as a doctor. This is where the book becomes much more than I expected. Luke stops in Kingston to assist the doctors, nuns and volunteer workers who are dealing with the influx of Irish immigrants. Thousands have fled the potato famine, many of them suffering from typhus. Luke and his father Thaddeus do solve the mystery of the body on the beach, but this becomes secondary to the plight of the immigrants.

    I have often heard of the potato famine and the Irish immigration of that time, but this book raised my awareness of the plight of the immigrants as their lives and families are torn apart by the epidemic. I might have guessed that this would not be a happy read by the title – 47 Sorrows – but I am glad that I read it. This look at history brings a greater understanding of the dislocation suffered by the immigrants of that time and by the experience of many in modern times.

    - Pat

    Stay Home, Relax, and Read!

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    The holidays are a great time to visit with friends and family. But it can also be an extremely busy season.

    Now that all of the holiday rush is winding down, why not take some time for yourself, and stay in? There is so much fantastic content available to you with your library card that you don't even have to leave to house to access!

    Enjoy an eBook

    Borrow an eBook from Overdrive with your library card. With more and more nonfiction available, there is truly something for everyone. And have you heard? Penguin has just recently made over fifteen thousand of their US titles available to Canadian libraries! This includes many big-name authors such as Ken Follett, Khaled Hosseini, Tom Clancy, Nora Roberts, and Charlaine Harris.

    Or if you're travelling, why not borrow a travel guide in eBook format? It's so handy, and there are lots to choose from. You can even bring a phrasebook eBook to help you with the local lingo.

    If eBooks are new to you, join a library program for a demo or some hands-on troubleshooting. You can also browse the Getting Started with Overdrive page for videos and step-by-step instructions.

    Browse an eMagazine

    Maybe browsing a magazine is more your speed at the moment. Don't miss out on the fantastic database Zinio. There are over 350 titles you can borrow & download. Once you have them, you can always browse them later!

    These types of databases are increasingly popular (and expensive, through an individual subscription!), so take a look and don't miss out.

    Any questions? Contact us by email or phone or use the Info Chat link on our homepage to chat with staff (open hours only).