It was in the early hours of April 15, 1912, that the RMS Titanic sank, leaving only 710 survivors from a total of 2 224 people on board. On this hundredth anniversary of the tragedy, delve into some historical fiction exploring the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic:
Seamstress Tess Collins finds her way aboard the Titanic because the maid of renowned designer Lucile Duff Gordon missed the boat. Yet this is not your mother's Titanic story; the ship hits the iceberg on page 37, and the exodus of survivors happens swiftly. What ensues back in New York is an investigation instigated by a senator who wants to prove negligence on the part of the White Star line. New York Times reporter Sarah "Pinky" Wade, however, smells stories of the wealthy and privileged vs. the poor and wants to pin blame on Lucile. Meanwhile, a young sailor and an older businessman both fall in love with Tess, and her responses to them and to the woman who could help her realize her dreams are at the core of this recounting of the tragedy.
Taking the tale of the Titanic out of the frigid sea and docking it in the courtroom and early 20th-century New York gives the familiar story a fresh feel. Tess makes a praiseworthy heroine, torn between her loyalties to the woman she so admires and her own principles, but would two men declare their love after knowing Tess for so brief a time? One fewer suitor might have been more plausible. Still, an engaging first novel in this year of everything Titanic.
From the glittering ballrooms of Manhattan to the fires of World War I, Danielle Steel takes us on an unforgettable journey in her new novel—a spellbinding tale of war, loss, history, and one woman’s unbreakable spirit....
Nineteen-year-old Annabelle Worthington was born into a life of privilege, raised amid the glamour of New York society, with glorious homes on Fifth Avenue and in Newport, Rhode Island. But everything changed on a cold April day in 1912, when the sinking of the Titanic shattered her family and her privileged world forever. Finding strength within her grief, Annabelle pours herself into volunteer work, nursing the poor, igniting a passion for medicine that would shape the course of her life.
But for Annabelle, first love, and a seemingly idyllic marriage, will soon bring more grief—this time caused by the secrets of the human heart. Betrayed, and pursued by a scandal she does not deserve, Annabelle flees New York for war-ravaged France, hoping to lose herself in a life of service. There, in the heart of the First World War, in a groundbreaking field hospital run by women, Annabelle finds her true calling, working as an ambulance medic on the front lines, studying medicine, saving lives. And when the war ends, Annabelle begins a new life in Paris—now a doctor, a mother, her past almost forgotten…until a fateful meeting opens her heart to the world she had left behind.
Taking a break from work to watch the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage, Michael Dunnagan meets passenger Owen Allen and decides to stow away in hopes of convincing Owen to let him join his uncle's business in America. But the so-called unsinkable ship strikes an iceberg, and a dying Owen extracts a promise from Michael that he will care for Owen's relatives in America and his sister Annie, still in England. Annie can't bear the thought that Michael lived when her brother was lost, but the two develop a friendship through the letters they exchange. When World War I breaks out and Annie's letters stop, Michael drops everything to find the woman he has come to love. No matter how many times the Titanic's sinking has been depicted in film and in print, the 1912 maritime tragedy continues to fascinate us.
If you've recently watched James Cameron's Titanic in 3D and are ready for some factual information about the tragedy, here are some new releases to satisfy your curiosity:
April 14, 2012, marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The "unsinkable subject," the story of the giant ship that sank on its maiden voyage, has become one of our most potent modern parables and enduring metaphors. The image of the ship's plunging stern is an icon, and expressions like "rearranging the deck chairs" and "hitting the iceberg" need no explanation. Yet on a cold, clear April night the disaster happened to real people--stokers, millionaires, society ladies, parsons, parlourmaids--people who displayed a full range of all-too-human reactions as the events of the night unfolded. With new research, R.M.S. Titanic weaves the dramatic story of that fateful crossing with compelling portraits of the people on board--those who survived, and those who tragically lost their lives--allowing us to place ourselves on that sloping deck and ask, "What would we do?"
Late in the night of April 14, 1912, the mighty Titanic , a passenger liner traveling from Southampton, England, to New York City, struck an iceberg four hundred miles south of Newfoundland. Its sinking over the next two and a half hours brought the ship--mythological in name and size--one hundred years of infamy. Of the 2,240 people aboard the ship, 1,517 perished either by drowning or by freezing to death in the frigid North Atlantic waters. What followed the disaster was tantamount to a worldwide outpouring of grief: In New York, Paris, London, and other major cities, people lined the streets and crowded around the offices of the White Star Line, the Titanic's shipping company, to inquire for news of their loved ones and for details about the lives of some of the famous people of their time. While many accounts of the Titanic's voyage focus on the technical or mechanical aspects of why the ship sank, Voyagers of the Titanic follows the stories of the men, women, and children whose lives intersected on the vessel's fateful last day, covering the full range of first, second, and third class--from plutocrats and captains of industry to cobblers and tailors looking for a better life in America. Richard Davenport-Hines delves into the fascinating lives of those who ate, drank, reveled, dreamed, and died aboard the mythic ship: from John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on board, whose comportment that night was subject to speculation and gossip for years after the event, to Archibald Butt, the much-beloved military aide to Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, who died helping others into the Titanic's few lifeboats. With magnificent prose, Voyagers of the Titanic also brings to life the untold stories of the ship's middle and third classes--clergymen, teachers, hoteliers, engineers, shopkeepers, counterjumpers, and clerks--each of whom had a story that not only illuminates the fascinating ship but also the times in which it sailed. In addition, Davenport-Hines explores the fascinating politics behind the Titanic's creation, which involved larger-than-life figures such as J. P. Morgan, the ship's owner, and Lord Pirrie, the ship's builder. The memory of this tragedy still remains a part of the American psyche and Voyagers of the Titanic brings that clear night back to us with all of its drama and pathos.
Fascinating firsthand accounts of the Titanic --in a deluxe package with gorgeous graphic cover art. Historic firsthand accounts and testimonies by survivors and eye- witnesses including Lawrence Beesley, Margaret Brown, Archibald Gracie, Carlos F. Hurd and many more.
Dracula: The Graphic Novel
Adapted by: Jason ColbeyJason
Illustrations: Staz Johnson and James Offredi
Editor: Clive Bryant
Jonathan Harker’s business trip to Transylvania, to advise Count Dracula on the purchase of English property, soon turns into a living nightmare. Locked in Castle Dracula, Harker believes he will never return home to be with his beloved Mina. He heroically escapes, but is quickly dragged back into the Count’s evil world, as he becomes involved with Van Helsing’s plot to destroy the Prince of Darkness and his “un-dead” – for the benefit of all mankind. Bram Stoker’s classic vampire tale is one of the greatest horror stories ever written. It first appeared in 1897 and rapidly gained momentum with Victorian readers. Its popularity grew through plays, further tales and later with movies, to the extent that the story and characters have become part of our culture. Now, using powerful, dynamic and dramatic artwork by the wonderfully talented Staz Johnson, we bring you an authentic adaptation of Stoker’s masterpiece in this full color graphic novel, for a reading experience you will never forget.
Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir
For four years, from the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960 until after the election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Clint Hill was the Secret Service agent assigned to guard the glamorous and intensely private Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. During those four years, he went from being a reluctant guardian to a fiercely loyal watchdog and, in many ways, her closest friend. Now, looking back fifty years, Clint Hill tells his story for the first time, offering a tender, enthralling, and tragic portrayal of how a Secret Service agent who started life in a North Dakota orphanage became the most trusted man in the life of the First Lady who captivated first the nation and then the world. When he was initially assigned to the new First Lady, Agent Hill envisioned tea parties and gray-haired matrons. But as soon as he met her, he was swept up in the whirlwind of her beauty, her grace, her intelligence, her coy humor, her magnificent composure, and her extraordinary spirit. From the start, the job was like no other, and Clint was by her side through the early days of JFK's presidency; the birth of sons John and Patrick and Patrick's sudden death; Kennedy-family holidays in Hyannis Port and Palm Beach; Jackie's trips to Europe, Asia, and South America; Jackie's intriguing meetings with men like Aristotle Onassis, Gianni Agnelli, and André Malraux; the dark days of the year that followed the assassination to the farewell party she threw for Clint when he left her protective detail after four years. All she wanted was the one thing he could not give her: a private life for her and her children. Filled with unforgettable details, startling revelations, and sparkling, intimate moments, this is the once-in-a-lifetime story of a man doing the most exciting job in the world, with a woman all the world loved, and the tragedy that ended it all too soon — a tragedy that haunted him for fifty years.
Lately I’ve been in a Sherlock mood! Although I’m not a Sherlock Holmes ‘purist’, I’ve enjoyed listening to Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories on Book CD or MP3, especially on long night-time drives. Many of the older BBC TV or other movie dramatizations of various Sherlock Holmes stories are excellent, and available at the library as well.
Recently, however, after enjoying the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, and having just had the pleasure of watching the second installment, I’ve stumbled across a wealth of Holmes spinoffs, remakes and tributes that I haven’t been able to resist.
The Sherlockian is Graham Moore’s debut novel, and tells two stories set in different time periods. It alternates between a fictionalized glimpse into Arthur Conan Doyle’s life and the life of Harold White, a modern-day ‘Sherlockian,’ and member of the Baker Street Irregulars, a kind of scholarly fan club dedicated to the Sherlock Holmes stories.
One of the long-standing questions about Conan Doyle is why he killed off his famous detective, only to bring him back to life in new stories 8 years later. Although the author kept a meticulous record of his life and work, the key diary that should explain this mystery has been missing for over 80 years. To keep the action rolling, Moore gives the reader (and his characters) several mysteries to be solved: in Arthur’s story, it appears someone may be trying to kill him, and he suspects there is a connection with the recent murder of a young woman. In Harold’s story, a man who claimed to have found Conan Doyle’s missing diary has been murdered at the Baker Street Irregulars’ convention. Both Harold and Arthur must try to apply Sherlock’s methods to solve the crimes, and stay one step ahead of the killers. The irony of basing their investigations on the exploits of a fictional detective (even by Arthur, Sherlock’s creator) is not lost on the characters, and even Bram Stoker makes an appearance as Conan Doyle’s mocking friend and sidekick. All in all, an enjoyable mystery with a bit of historic interest.
For a different perspective, or for one to read with your children, try the excellent series by Nancy Springer featuring a feisty and irresistible young heroine: Enola Holmes, the younger sister of the famous fictional detective. When her mother disappears, Enola must make her own way in a world determined to bind her in corsets and imprison her in a young ladies’ boarding school… luckily for us, she has other plans! Springer not only introduces a great character and involves her in page-turning plots, but also provides the modern reader a fascinating look at what life was really like for young women in late 19th century England. The first book in the series is The Case of the Missing Marquess.
If movies and TV are more suited to your mood, don’t miss the newer BBC TV series Sherlock, a modern-day incarnation featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the brilliant and antisocial detective. Be warned: there are only two seasons (so far season one is available at the library) and it will leave you waiting breathlessly for more! The next installment is scheduled for Fall 2012, so keep an eye out.
Ostensibly a love story about lower-class Mary Anning and upper class Henry De la Beche, this tale is based on the true story of Mary who may have been the most significant paleontologist of her day. To support herself and her family, she searched along the cliffs of Dover for fossils, or curiosities as they were called, to sell. While doing so, she made significant finds of dolphin-like creatures. However, most of her finds were taken over by the male scientific establishment and, as a woman, she was not even allowed to join the Geological Society of London, let alone publish any papers.
This story explores many of the fascinating issues of the early 1800s – the interaction between science and religion as scientific discoveries challenged biblical creation; the attitude towards women generally, and particularly in the scientific community; and, the division between upper and lower classes. I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Mary Anning and to early paleontology in Britain. Having had my curiosity piqued by this remarkable book, I am checking out Tracy Chevalier’s historical fiction about Mary Anning, Remarkable Creatures, as well as a non-fiction account of her life by Shelley Emling, The Fossil Hunter.
This is the second book by Winnipeg author Joan Thomas. Her first book, Reading by Lightning, won both the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ prize for Best First Book and the amazon.ca first Novel Award.
This is much more than a love story between two people; it is the story of a woman’s curiosity and her passion for scientific discovery.
Anita Rau Badami
In Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? Anita Rau Badami starts off gently – a rivalry between sisters. Sharanjeet wins the suitor. To her surprise he whisks her off to Canada, land of cold and of strange customs. Still, as a resourceful woman, she transforms herself into Bibi-ji, proprietor and den mother to the many Sikhs who look for better lives in Vancouver.
Nimmo is a child survivor of the dreadful partition of the Indian sub-continent. Always poor, she eventually creates a family of her own with the loving Satpal and three well-loved children. As the outward sign of her dedication to home and family, she keeps her tiny rooms in Delhi scrupulously clean.
Tension builds ever so gradually, almost unnoticeable except in the gut. Humourous interludes disguise the turmoil of social interactions amongst disparate immigrants and with those in faraway homelands. Inevitably the new Canadians paint a veneer of prosperity to impress their families back home, yielding unforeseen consequences. And where is home? Where you live or where you once lived? Who is owed loyalty? Your neighbours or your “kind”?
Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? is a history lesson for Canadians of all origins. It lulls the reader into empathy with characters who drift into or who choose undesirable actions to protect their personal identities, even while they struggle to know who they really are. Coincidentally, I was reading a biography of the Gandhi family at the same time as Badami’s novel. The story and the history converged at the point of the siege at Amritsar and the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The novel carries us on to the dreadful Air India disaster, a Canadian disgrace because of the government’s very slow recognition of the passengers as not Indian but Canadians who adhered to the Sikh faith.
We've just heard that an 18-year-old Calgary author, Tamara Itani, will be launching her first novel, Marble, tomorrow!
Join this upcoming young author at Cidex Design Centre, 1301 9 Avenue SW, from 3 to 6pm and hear more.
We have Marble on order, so place your holds to get a copy when it's in.
Here's a bit about the story:
15 year old Penny Kensington is about to take a journey that will reshape her entire life. Bored out of her mind, helplessly in love with a school heatthrob, and lost to the world, Penny appears the average teenage girl. In reality, that’s not anywhere near the case. Pursuing an eccentric, globe-trotting lifestyle with her grandmother and groaning pet chicken (chick actually), Penny receives a mysterious letter from her long deceased grandfather. She learns her grandfather’s dying wishes are for her to safeguard a strange, bejewelled lamp. Penny wonders who would play such a cruel trick on her. (But it’s no trick.) The lamp throws Penny into an unexpected, magical adventure that will have her meet some fantastical characters and propel her a decade into her future.
March is a huge month for television this year thanks to the much anticipated return of AMC’s Mad Men. About to begin its fifth season, this show has got everything I love about a good TV drama – great character-driven storylines and tons of style.
If you’re a fan of the show then you can probably empathize with the agony I’ve been going through during its 2-year hiatus, especially since the fourth season ended with such a punch to the chest. I'm not going to lie -- it’s been tough to fill the Don Draper-sized void in my life, but thanks to DVDs from our collection my heart has had a bit of a reprieve. Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked about the season premiere coming up in just a few days.
So, in celebration of Mad Men’s return to my PVR, I present to you a list of related reads. If you love Mad Men, then there’s a strong possibility you will love these books too.
The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing - not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband. Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.
The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
It is the middle of the twentieth century, and in a home economics program at a prominent university, real babies are being used to teach mothering skills to young women. For a young man raised in these unlikely circumstances, finding real love and learning to trust will prove to be the work of a lifetime. In this captivating novel, bestselling author Lisa Grunwald gives us the sweeping tale of an irresistible hero and the many women who love him. From his earliest days as a "practice baby" through his adult adventures in 1960s New York City, Disney's Burbank studios, and the delirious world of the Beatles' London, Henry remains handsome, charming, universally adored-and never entirely accessible to the many women he conquers but can never entirely trust. Filled with unforgettable characters, settings, and action, The Irresistible Henry House portrays the cultural tumult of the mid-twentieth century even as it explores the inner tumult of a young man trying to transcend a damaged childhood. For it is not until Henry House comes face-to-face with the real truths of his past that he finds a chance for real love.
The Learners by Chip Kidd
Set in the early 1960s, the Learners is the story of Happy, a young graphic designer who lands his first job at a wacky advertising firm in New Haven, Connecticut. Among his colourful co-workers is Sketch, the lovable, aging illustrator whose finely-crafted drawings of potato chips are regarded by Happy as near masterpieces; Tip, the quick-witted copy-writer who's always hunting for the next snappy slogan; and Mimi, the cold, eccentric matriarch, who treats her enormous dog as if he's her husband. Happy fits right in among these likable eccentrics, and together, they struggle to hold onto their most important client, Cringle Potato Chips, and land the new and lucrative Buckle Shoes account.
That Mad Ache by Francoise Sagan
That Mad Ache, set in high-society Paris in the mid-1960’s, recounts the emotional battle unleashed in the heart of Lucile, a sensitive but rootless young woman who finds herself caught between her carefree, tranquil love for 50-year-old Charles, a gentle, reflective, and well-off businessman, and her sudden wild passion for 30-year-old Antoine, a hot-blooded, impulsive, and struggling editor. As Lucile explores these two versions of love, she vacillates in confusion, but in the end she must choose, and her heart’s instinct is surprising and poignant. Originally published under the title La Chamade, this new translation by Douglas Hofstadter returns a forgotten classic to English.
A new novel by Louis Bayard is always an exciting prospect. In his latest, Bayard weaves factual historical information with a modern day literary thriller. There have always been rumors that a group of Elizabethan thinkers, led by Thomas Herriot, met regularly to discuss God, the world and everything else. They were called The School of Night. There is no evidence that the School actually did exist, but mentions of it in Shakespeare’s plays have led to much research and speculation. Did they discover the secret of transforming lead into gold? In modern Washington DC, Henry Cavendish receives a message from his friend, Alonso Wax: “The School of Night is back in session”. Wax then dies in a mysterious plunge into the Potomac. This sets Henry on a quest for a stolen letter, which may lead to the location of the treasure created by the School. He is teamed with a psychic investigator who has visions that may or may not be related to the case. The story ranges through time and place, from England at the beginning of the reign of James I to Florida in the present day. Bayard is a wonderful writer who is able to create effective historical and modern characters and scenarios. This is a great title for lovers of historical fiction and for the readers of literary thrillers such as The Club Dumas and The Dante Club.
With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, if staying in with a good book or DVD is more your style than drinking green beer (or if you’re between green pints and in the mood for a diversion), read on!
A compelling novel of complicated love, from one of Ireland's greatest living writers.
It is the Second World War, and tragedy strikes many families in Ireland. But it is also a thrilling time in which to be a child and Polly, spending months at her grandparents' house by the sea, barely notices the adults' grief and their efforts to escape the tyranny of religion and family expectation. However, in time Polly too will have a secret. No one else knows the location of her beloved uncle, Sam, barely older than Polly herself, who is meant to be in Cambridge but is dreaming of Communist Cuba, while his decimated family fears losing another son. And, as Polly shyly approaches womanhood, her love for Sam turns into something more explosive.
A "New York Times"-bestselling author weaves an absorbing tale of lasting love, dangerous risk, and the healing power of redemption. Brimming with fascinating Irish history, daring intrigue, and the drama of legendary love, "The Last Storyteller" is an unforgettable novel as richly textured and inspiring as Ireland itself.
Now & Then by Jacqueline Sheehan
In Sheehan's spellbinding latest (after Lost Found), former lawyer Anna O'Shea becomes a time-traveling ex-wife when she returns from a vacation in Ireland and is enlisted to pick up her brother Patrick's son from jail in Newark after Patrick is severely injured in a car accident. Anna retrieves troublesome 16-year-old Joe and sets him up at her home, then wakes in the middle of the night to find him rummaging through her luggage. Joe's intrigued by a mysterious swath of cloth Anna picked up at a tourist trap, and when she tries to take it from him, the two are zapped back 164 years to prepotato famine Ireland. Sheehan vividly depicts Irish-British conflicts as Anna becomes involved with an Irish smuggler's group and falls for a rebel cartographer. Equally compelling is Joe's experience as a wrestling champ and his romance with sparky lass Taleen. Throw in loyal Irish wolfhound Madigan, and you've got an altogether enjoyable romantic adventure yarn with a heavy helping of magic.
In this original tale about a shoemaking leprechaun and a greedy man named Tim, the reason behind why Leprechauns hide their pot of gold at the end of rainbows is revealed. Full color