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    Book Club in a Bag

    Karen Dudley and Chadwick Ginther reading at Louise Riley

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    Join authors Karen Dudley and Chadwick Ginther

    at Louise Riley library on Tuesday, November 20 at 7pm.

    Come to hear two Canadian authors read from their latest work, and stay to get your autographed copy!

    This event is part of Karen and Chadwick's author tour that includes stops in Toronto, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Calgary. Stay tuned for more information at

    Food for the Gods

    Food for the Gods by Karen Dudley

    By turns whimsical, thrilling, hilarious and touching, Karen Dudley’s ingeniously original Food for the Gods and its sequel, Kraken Bake (forthcoming in 2014), reinvent a classical hero, while bringing to life the crowded, throbbing streets of ancient Athens in a way that both honours the Greek myths and reinterprets them for a new generation of readers.

    "Karen Dudley takes Greek mythology and gives it a wild spin. This giddy mashup of fantasy, mystery, comedy, cookbook, and self-help column is bawdy, inventive, and just plain fun."—Sharon Shinn, author of the Twelve Houses Series

    Thunder Road

    Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther

    In a flash, Ted Callan’s world exploded. Now he’s on the road looking for a fresh start. What he finds is a mysterious young woman named Tilda who tells him he’s destined for more than an ordinary life. When three stout men assault Ted in his hotel room, ordinary starts to look very appealing. The next thing he knows, his body is covered in an elaborate Norse tattoo, complete with the power of the Gods. Accompanied by the trickster Loki and the beguiling Tilda, Ted wants nothing more than to have his old life back. No more tattoos. No more mystic powers. No more smart-ass Gods. The problem is, if he succeeds, it might just be the end of the world. This novel is the first in a trilogy, the sequel Tombstone Blues, is set for release in 2013.

    "Chadwick Ginther is a major new talent. His stunning debut novel grabs you by the throat and shakes you mercilessly; his prose is vivid and sharp and his are settings gritty and terrifyingly real. This is serious fantasy for grownups." —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Triggers

    We Will Remember

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    Remembrance Day marks a time to call to mind those who went to war, those who have lived through it, those who died, and those whose lives were and are forever changed by the far-reaching impact of war and conflict. For me, although I've read various history books examining different aspects of many conflicts, the most immediate window into a historical time period is through historical fiction. If you'd like to 'remember' through the eyes and lives of fiction, we've put together a small sampling of this vast literature to get you started.



    The Sojourn

    Andrew Krivak

    Krivak follows his revelatory memoir (A Long Retreat) with this lush, accomplished novel. After Jozef Vinich's mother dies while saving his life as an infant, Jozef and his widowed father relocate from a small Colorado mining town back to their Austrian homeland. Though Jozef's boyhood is marred by lingering feelings of abandonment, resentment, ingrained sadness, and two bullying stepbrothers, his life is enhanced by frequent dreams of his mother and a close friendship with troubled distant cousin Zlee. Both boys revel in the family hunting trips, which hone their sharpshooting abilities, expertise put to use when both go off to fight in WWI as marksmen, over Jozef's father's objections. Krivak dexterously exposes the stark, brutal realities of trench warfare, the horror of a POW camp, and the months of violent bloodshed that stole the boys' innocence. Once home from war, the author's depiction of Jozef's arduous return to life, love, and family is charged with emotion and longing, revealing this lean, resonant debut as an undeniably powerful accomplishment. (Novelist)


    The return of Captain John Emmett

    Elizabeth Speller

    Londoner Laurence Bartram, three years after coming home from WWI and a shell of his former self, starts to reawaken at the outset of this moving mystery debut from British classics scholar Speller (Following Hadrian). The young widower begins probing the apparent suicide of fellow veteran John Emmett—whom he remembers most vividly as a fearless schoolboy—primarily as an excuse to see Emmett's fetching sister, Mary. But as Bartram and his intrepid friend, Charles Carfax, uncover Emmett's role in the execution of a "boy officer" court-martialed for desertion—as well as discover how many others involved have subsequently met with suspicious ends—the investigation becomes compelling in its own right. It also spurs Bartram to finally confront some hard truths about himself. Though Speller eventually falters with an overreliance on coincidence, for the most part she delivers an elegant, engrossing read. (Novelist)


    War Comes to the Big Bend

    Zane Grey

    Prolific writer Grey (1872–1939), best known for his countless westerns, also wrote about pressing social and political issues of his day. This novel, originally serialized in 1919, takes place during WWI and addresses patriotism, immigrant tensions, labor unrest, socialist agitators, and Bolshevik saboteurs. And despite its corny 1919 dialogue, it delivers powerful commentary. Kurt Dorn is a young wheat farmer in the Columbia River basin of Washington State, in debt and in conflict with his stubborn German father and fighting the threats and intimidation of the Industrial Workers of the World, portrayed as a well-financed pseudo-labor union. The IWW intends to disrupt the wheat harvest and hamper America’s entry into the war. But Dorn is a patriot, and through force of will, fists, and gunplay, he and other patriotic farmers battle the IWW. But Kurt loses everything, including his father. In despair and desperation, he joins the army and goes to France to fight the Germans, only later realizing that his love of a woman is more important than the death he seeks. Add a kidnapping, pursuit, escape, vigilante justice, and vivid scenes of brutal trench warfare, and Grey serves up a gripping tale with a sober message. (Novelist)


    My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

    Louisa Young



    It’s 1907, and 11-year-old Riley Purefoy leaves his working-class home to become the benefactor of Sir Alfred Waveney. He meets Nadine, Sir Alfred’s daughter, and a relationship begins that will span both personal and global uncertainties. When the chaos of WWI erupts, Riley enlists in the army, in which he is transformed by the nightmare of war and the resulting physical and emotional scars. As Riley and his commanding officer, Peter Locke, fight for their country in the trenches, their families await their return. When a horrific injury sidelines Riley, he finds himself on a new kind of battlefield, where a lengthy and complicated rehabilitation leaves him uncertain of his and his country’s futures. Moving between the battlefields of Europe and the lives of those working and waiting at home, My Dear I Wanted to Tell You is the story of people torn apart literally and figuratively by war. Through it all, Riley Purefoy is an irresistible, deeply memorable character, whose travails bring the Great War and those who suffered from it to life. (Novelist)


    The Postmistress

    Sarah Blake

    To open Blake’s novel of WorldWarII and the convergence of three strong women is to enter a slipstream, so powerful are its velocity, characters, and drama. How can you resist Frankie Bard, an American journalist of gumption and vision who is bravely reporting on the Blitz from London? Her distinctive voice and audacious candor are heard on radios everywhere on the home front, including Cape Cod, where Iris James, in love for the first time at 40, keeps things shipshape at a small-town post office. The third in Blake’s triumvirate of impressive women, Emma, the waiflike wife of the town’s doctor, is not as obvious a candidate for heroism until a tragedy induces her husband to join the war effort. As Frankie risks her life to record the stories of imperiled Jews, Iris and Emma struggle to maintain order as America goes reluctantly to war. Blake raises unsettling questions about the randomness of violence and death, and the simultaneity of experience––how can people frolic on a beach while others are being murdered? Matching harrowing action with reflection, romance with pathos, Blake’s emotional saga of conscience and genocide is poised to become a best-seller of the highest echelon. (Novelist)



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

    Jamie Ford

    Henry Lee is a 12-year-old Chinese boy who falls in love with Keiko Okabe, a 12-year-old Japanese girl, while they are scholarship students at a prestigious private school in World War II Seattle. Henry hides the relationship from his parents, who would disown him if they knew he had a Japanese friend. His father insists that Henry wear an "I am Chinese" button everywhere he goes because Japanese residents of Seattle have begun to be shipped off by the thousands to relocation centers. This is an old-fashioned historical novel that alternates between the early 1940s and 1984, after Henry's wife Ethel has died of cancer. A particularly appealing aspect of the story is young Henry's fascination with jazz and his friendship with Sheldon, an older black saxophonist just making a name for himself in the many jazz venues near Henry's home. Other aspects of the story are more typical of the genre: the bullies that plague Henry, his lack of connection with his father, and later with his own son. Readers will care about Henry as he is forced to make decisions and accept circumstances that separate him from both his family and the love of his life. (Novelist)

    2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Will Ferguson

    by Shannon S - 0 Comment(s)

    Calgary author Will Ferguson’s 419 has been named winner of the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize. The Scotiabank Giller Prize is Canada’s most distinguished literary prize, awarding $50,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English.

    Will Ferguson presents 419 at a WordFest Special Event at the Calgary Public Library:

    Tuesday, November 13
    John Dutton Theatre, Central Library

    Will Ferguson will discuss his writing career, his latest venture into literary fiction and reflect on the Scotiabank Giller Prize experience.

    Copies of 419 will be sold at the venue and a book signing will follow the event. Tickets for the event are $10 and can be ordered through the EPCOR Centre Box Office at 403.294.9494 or online at

    Will Ferguson is the author of several award-winning books and is an extremely talented and diverse writer that includes travel and humourous novels:

    Beyond Belfast Hitching Rides With Buddha Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw
    How to be a Canadian Happiness™ Spanish Fly


    Check out Will Ferguson’s books at your local library and check him out in person at this very special WordFest and Calgary Public Library event!

    Freading ebooks

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    Did you know? Calgary Public Library has an excellent selection of e-books.

    You may already be familiar with OverDrive, which was kind of a pioneer in the providing of e-books through libraries, and was our first ebook provider. Click here for more information about OverDrive.

    Recently, we’ve added another service to our e-book collections: Freading is an e-book source that provides access to a very wide variety of reading material. I was exploring a bit the other day to see exactly what was available and found a treasure-trove of classic fiction and literature titles. There was Turgenev, James, Dickens, Austen and more, all waiting for me to download!

    Fathers and Sons (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    The Wings of the Dove (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    Oliver Twist (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    Pride and Prejudice (Barnes & Nobleics Series)

    Freading is a little different from OverDrive in that there are unlimited downloads available for each title so if you see a book you want to read, you can download it immediately. It uses a token system where each reader is allotted a specific number of “tokens” each month and each book “costs” a certain number of tokens. As long as you have the right amount of tokens in your account, you can borrow a Freading title. It is a very neat little system and really good for people who want an e-book right away. If you are a lit-geek like I am, you will love the selection of classics. (Be sure to check out the history titles, too.) Click here for tips on how to get started with Freading.

    Marathon Quest

    by Luke Gray - 0 Comment(s)

    Please join us for an inspirational reading and book signing with world-record holder Martin Parnell, author of Marathon Quest on Thursday, October 25 at the Signal Hill library at 7pm.

    Marathon Quest

    Register in person, by calling 403-260-2620 or online.

    Time for a Long Novel

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    We’ve all heard the phrase “short and sweet,” but sometimes the best novels are those that you can lose yourself in for days or weeks at a time. As the weather turns colder and I spend more time indoors, curling up with a good, long book is just the thing to keep me happy. If you have time to dive into a long novel, there are many great ones to choose from, from the classics to something more contemporary. If it's an older book still in print or something newer that has made it to publication and it's a thick book, it's a good sign that there's something there to make it worth your time!

    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

    (originally planned as a single volume, but published in three at the insistence of the publisher)

    A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

    Off the Shelf - Townie: A Memoir by Andre Dubus III

    by Jasna - 0 Comment(s)

    Andre Dubus III grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, and “townie” was the insulting nickname whispered by college students when he tried to participate in the mainstream. His autobiography, Townie, is a personal exploration of how he was able to rid himself of destructive emotional responses from his adolescence while honestly embracing the foundations of his own life.

    Andre had potentially good parents who neglected their children through emotional laziness, cold despair, and near-addiction to drinking. His father was a college professor and well-known writer. His mother was a social worker who helped other people’s kids improve their lot. Meanwhile her own children grew up without a proper home (meals, bedtimes, supervision) and estranged from their father.

    Frustrated with his self-image as a skinny weak boy, Andre turned to self-taught body-building. Clearly a success for the first time with his training, he added boxing skills. As his abilities blossomed, he conquered his weak-boy inner self by beating up those who had beaten him, and then those who threatened to beat him, and gradually those who might beat him or others. His salvation probably was that he wanted to keep his body healthy enough to fight, thus drugs and weapons were no attraction to him.

    Obviously bright, Andre did get into the college where his father taught. But his father liked the violent side of this son, plus he treated him more like a drinking buddy, having long forfeited his right to give fatherly advice. After a couple of years, Andre quits college because he cannot see the point. Through his twenties, Andre’s search for a “point”, combined with his interest in philosophy and the arts, keeps him moving away from the violence of his hometown. Better than any textbook, his introspection shows why it is so difficult to avoid relapsing into familiar behaviours - why he cannot flee psychological triggers just by changing environments.

    Now Andre Dubus III is a respected author in his own right. (His novel, House of Sand and Fog was made into a movie and was a selection in Oprah’s Book Club.) The scenes in Townie are vivid - full of action, tension, smells, and sounds. For those of us never driven by violence, this is a lesson in its awful attraction.

    Judith Umbach

    WordFest and the Readers’ Nook present...

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    Richard Ford

    September 24 @ 7:00 – 9:00 PM

    John Dutton Theatre, Central Library


    The Pulitzer-Prize winner reads from his new novel Canada - a magisterial coming-of-age story and talks about the rootless protagonists that populate his books, and typify the fragility of human experience.

    American writer Richard Ford is an internationally lauded author of novels and short stories. He is the author of the Bascombe novels including The Sportswriter; The Lay of the Land and Independence Day, which received the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN Faulkner Award. He has also written a screenplay, non-fiction works and short story collections such as Rock Springs and A Multitude of Sins.

    Tickets are $15. You can purchase them online at or phone 403.237.9068.



    Fiction Hunters at Crowfoot

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    Hunting for your next fiction read can be like hunting for lost treasure! But there ARE secrets of the Fiction Hunters' trade and we are willing to spill the beans...

    For example:

    ...if you liked Wolf Hall, might also enjoy Mistress of the Art of Death

    ...or even The Enchantress of Florence

    Learn how to find read-alikes, even those that you may not at first expect, and see the reasoning behind the recommendation. These suggestions came from Novelist Plus, a fantastic database in our E-Library (and now Novelist content is available right in our catalogue for most book records), but there are other great ways to hunt down some good fiction.

    If you're an avid reader, you've probably had those moments... you NEED a book to read, but you've run out of books by your latest favourite author(s), or are waiting for the next installment in a series... (or a few series...)

    Don't panic. There are ways to find your next great read, and our expert library staff would like to share them with you! Whether you read across all fiction genres or have very specific tastes, we'll find something for you.

    Learn about the great resources available to you (at home or anywhere you connect to the internet) through our E-Library or in person at your local branch, and let the hunting begin... We'll also be sharing some of the best books just released this fall.

    Become an expert Fiction Hunter-- register now! And join us at Crowfoot library on Saturday, September 22nd at 2pm.

    Fifty Shades of Summer

    by Suzen - 1 Comment(s)

    Unlike many of my colleagues, I didn't get a chance to take a traditional vacation this summer. While everyone else was jet setting to exotic locales like San Francisco, Orlando and Edmonton, I didn't even make it past the downtown core, never mind leave the city! Truth is, I didn't mean for my summer to turn out this way. I had big plans to take a road trip through the Rockies, even ride my bike through Regina, or go shopping in Montana but I unintentionally turned into one of "those people" I vowed never to be. You know the type of person that tries to juggle a million different things at once and constantly forgets to take time for herself until the entire summer has gone by and she doesn't even have a tan to show for it. You know, one of those...

    The closest I came to taking an actual vacation was to put my brain on one by reading the most popular adult fiction book of the summer: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Along with the other books of this trilogy, Fifty Shades has been on the New York Times Fiction Bestseller List for past 27 weeks and counting. The Calgary Public Library consistently has over 750 patrons on the wait list, including normal paperback, large print and electronic formats. And any retailer that sells books – be it Chapters, Costco or Walmart – has hundreds upon hundreds of the prolific but unassuming black and white covers lining the shelves.

    Fifty Shades of Grey by EL JamesFifty Shades has saturated the adult reading market, grabbing the attention of avid readers and occasional readers alike. I picked up the trilogy in ePUB format after weeks of fielding requests for the novel at the information desk. I had no idea what the book was about when I picked it up and at page 150, I still had no idea what it was about. Even now, after finishing it, my comprehension of the plot is still quite hazy. Here's what I know:

    Fifty Shades of Grey introduces our socially awkward heroine, Anastasia Steele, a recent university graduate who is as hopeless with computers as she is in love. Ana meets a man that completely turns her world upside down, Christian Grey - a mysterious 20-something billionaire who, despite his designer clothes, aloof demeanour and casual use of the company helicopter, has noble philanthropic inclinations. As the story meanders along, Ana and Christian become tied together in a predictable "opposites attract" dynamic. Ana, annoyingly insecure in her appearance and sexual prowess, channels her "inner goddess" to crack Christian's painfully constrained outer shell. As their relationship slowly progresses, Ana falls in love while Christian remains at an arm's length, expressing his affection through aggressive and controlling behaviour. The constant push and pull between Ana and Christian goes nowhere pretty quickly, the emotional tension lifting only by the barest of measures during their sexual encounters which are, at times, long winded and emotionally tiresome.

    From what I can figure, Fifty Shades of Grey has a character-driven plot but the characters are so devoid of depth that it is impossible to decipher any plot at all. It's my opinion that the driving force behind this otherwise plotless romantic story is sex. Like many books in the contemporary romance genre, steamy love scenes are integral to the progression of the story and often the primary reason we're drawn to such escapism. What makes Fifty Shades different from the majority of popular contemporary romance is the taboo nature of such steamy love scenes which are less about "lovemaking" and longing glances from across the room and much more about sadomasochistic desires and being flogged for pleasure. Christian, an emotionally unavailable man, expresses his (un)affection with Anastasia by controlling everything she does - including what clothing she wears, what she eats, how she acts in public and her role in the bedroom. Granted, Ana doesn't take to the submissive role easily and repeatedly questions Christian's actions; but she ultimately resigns to the predictable romantic but ultimately self-destructive adage "If I love him hard enough maybe I can change him!". And we all know how that age-old story ends....

    While I pride myself in being very liberal minded and open to all sorts of subjects when it comes to my reading, I was put off not by the taboo nature of the story but how the book was written. I know I am not alone in my opinion when I say that Fifty Shades is not the most scholarly or poetic book ever written. All over the Internet you will find extensive reviews that center on this aspect alone. E.L. James, herself, admits to not being a writer and is genuinely surprised about how well this book (and it's sequels) are doing. There's an excellent interview on CBC Radio's Q with Jian Ghomeshi where James speaks candidly about her literary beginnings and the inspiration behind the trilogy. The author, a former television producer, caught the writing bug after reading Stephanie Myer's Twilight series and decided to write her own version of the vampire saga but with non-supernatural characters. The book, first self-published online as fan fiction, received a cult-like readership and eventually garnered attention from publishers before catching on like wildfire across the world. Yet, despite it's unprecedented popularity, Fifty Shades of Grey is meandering and repetitive, and would have benefited greatly from a critical once-over by more than one editor. James' lack of experience as a fiction writer is so evident that the story feels as if it is just a vehicle for describing, in provocative and explicit detail, sexual encounters that are meant to shock readers as much as it is supposed to enrapture them. However, I suppose that is what erotic fiction essentially is, in which case E.L. James totally hits the mark.

    Now for all the criticism I've been giving this book, I should be completely honest with you: I read Fifty Shades from cover to cover in a matter of days. Sure, it may have been out of sheer stubbornness and the naive belief that maybe, just maybe, this book would get better as I read on, but I read it just the same. It is the epitome of a guilty pleasure read: guilty because I took so much pleasure in reading something I genuinely disliked from beginning to end. The experience can be equated to the cult-classic television show, Mystery Science Theatre 3000, where a man and his robot companions spend every episode watching terrible B-grade movies and make hilarious commentary about what they are seeing throughout the entire screening of the film. I received more enjoyment talking, criticizing, philosophizing, pondering and making fun of this book than I ever did reading it and I think that is where Fifty Shades of Grey gets its strength.

    This book has an uncanny ability to engage readers. Whether you loved it, despised it or couldn't care less, you probably have an opinion about it. So, I'll leave this forum open: What do you think about E.L. James trilogy Fifty Shades? What number are you on the wait list? Who should play Ana and Christian in the movie slated for production in the next few years? Give us all Fifty Shades of your opinion in the comments!

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