Books, books and more books…

News Date: 
01 October 2017

Since I work in a library I am often asked two questions: Have you read this book yet? and What are you reading right now? Most often my answer to the first question is “no”. We simply receive too many new and ordered books for the staff to keep up with. The answer to the second question can be quite long as I am always reading something. So I thought I would share with you what I have been reading this past month. My reading selections at any time can best be described as eclectic. There are some genres that I am drawn to like suspense novels so let’s start there. My daughter and I went to Winnipeg for Thanksgiving weekend so my activity of choice for the flight was to finish reading Sue Grafton’s Y is for Yesterday, which is the 25th novel in the Kinsey Millhone private detective series. Sue Grafton began this alphabetic sleuth series with A is for Alibi in 1982 and has produced another volume every year or so since then. Although the writing of the books has covered 35 years, only seven years have passed in the fictional world of Kinsey Millhone. So, it’s always a wonderful blast to the past (that’s if you were alive back then) to a time before internet searches and cell phones. As a fan of the series, who discovered the books around letter G, I’ve always worried that the author might not make to Z but all looks good on that front and the final book Z is for Zero should be making its appearance in fall 2019. So, I landed in Winnipeg with my hunger for solving a mystery sated and moved onto this month’s selection for the  Library’s Austentatious Book Club which is devoted to reading and discussing the classics. October’s book was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  If any of you have had to delve into this literary classic either in school or university you know it is not a light read. Margaret Atwood’s introduction to the new Penguin edition throws a thought provoking light on the novel from the perspective of someone who also creates dystopian worlds (The Handmaid’s Tale). It did make for an interesting discussion at book club as we talked about freedom of choice and happiness in light of the impending elections.  John the Savage`s plea at the end of the novel rings as true today as it would have in Huxley’s time, “But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”  Havingfinished Brave New World well ahead of returning home, a trip to the local second hand book store was required. My daughter and I sauntered down the street in Wolseley under the elms to The Neighbourhood, a combination bookstore and coffee shop. With lattes in hand we perused the shelves. Now you might think that being in a library all day would cancel out the need for buying used books. Not so. Especially when we hit the one day 50% off sale.  My 17 year old chose The Rosie Project, which she proceeded to devour over the weekend. I toted home The Rosie Effect, My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff and The Hidden Mountain by Gabrielle Roy. Sometimes I choose an author I know well, other times I am seduced by the opening lines as with Gabrielle Roy, “The aged seeker after gold, had he been able to disentangle that endless waiting in the heart’s depths that men call hope, might perhaps have discerned that his liveliest desire was to  behold the unexpected once again entering his life.” However, I put The Hidden Mountain on hold, no matter how wonderful the prose, for the hilarity of The Rosie Effect which I felt I deserved after Brave New World. Returning to the library meant putting down the Rakoff and turning my attention to the authors of our Out Loud Series. So, next I picked up Terry Fallis’ latest book One Brother Shy. To date I am about half way through. I was hoping to have it finished before Terry spoke at the library but as his arrival is imminent, that does not seem likely. Like his others books it is full of comedic moments and memorable characters but the protagonist of this novel differs from Fallis' earlier work in that his issues are of a more serious nature as he comes to terms with the discovery that he has a long lost identical twin.

So, next time you ask me what I am reading at the moment or can you recommend a book, BE PREPARED for a long answer. I love reading and always have and I guess, always will.  What stories people tell and how they tell them will forever be a fascination to me, and I hope to you as well.
Jan Burney