Saturday Storytime with Kita Szpak and her new book, “You’re Special Wherever You Are”

You’re Special Wherever You AreFor storytime, at 9:30 am on Saturday the 28th, Kita Szpak will be reading from her new book, “You’re Special Wherever You Are”.

From her website:

“No one can believe that Catalina would keep an old, dirty carpet she got from her very old grandmother. Charlie Zee would rather be anything else than black and white. And Alex has the biggest surprise of all when he opens his mouth to breathe fire… These are three stories about a camel, a zebra and a dragon who are all a little different. They show us how important it is to be yourself no matter what the situation may be. You’re Special Wherever You Are is a book both children and adults will enjoy time after time.”

Book Signing by Ron Poulton, “Pale Blue Hope: Death and Life in Asian Peacekeeping”

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On Saturday November 28th, from 11am to 1pm, Ron Poulton will be in the store to discuss his new book and sign copies.

About the book, from the publisher: “Working for the United Nations is often dangerous, and sometimes, an utterly futile endeavour. Human rights lawyer Ronald Poulton has experienced these realities first hand. Pale Blue Hope is his account of working for the UN in Cambodia and Tajikistan.
In Cambodia, Poulton investigated human rights violations and political murders before returning to Canada. Later, at the request of the un, Poulton accepted the position of legal advisor in Tajikistan to investigate the ambush and killing of a UN observer force called Team Garm.
Poulton vividly captures life in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, a city full of fear and general curfews and secure steel doors, where political murders are common and suspicion stalks the streets. He quickly learns that his task will be more daunting than he imagined, complicated by un incompetence and regulations and a Tajik culture that sees him as an intruder.
Haunted by his experiences in Cambodia, Poulton chooses engagement with the Tajik people over the security of the un enclave as he puzzles his way to discovering who really killed Team Garm.”

Book Signing by Larry D. Cotton, “Whiskey and Wickedness”

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Larry Cotton will be in the store Saturday November 14th, from 11am to 1pm to chat about his book and sign copies.

About the book, from a recent article: “Alcohol has never been something too far from the lips and hearts of residents, whether they live in Renfrew County or any other part of Canada. Prohibition and post-prohibition helped stamp the character of many Canadians and Canadian institutions.
Cotton, who lives in the village of Lanark, figures he has tapped into a side of history that fascinates even those who rarely open a book. The fourth in an Ottawa Valley series, entitled Whiskey and Wickedness, is subtitled Renfrew County, Ontario, 1825 to 1900.”

Book Signing by Robin Harlick, “Arctic Blue Death”

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Join author Robin Harlick as she discusses her new book and signs copies at the store on Saturday, November 7th at 12pm.

About the book: “Many years ago, Meg Harris’s father’s plane went missing in the Arctic. He was never seen again. Thirty-six years later, her mother receives strange Inuit drawings that suggest he might have survived. Intent on discovering the truth, no matter how painful, Meg travels to Iqaluit and soon finds herself sucked into the world of Inuit art forgery and murder.

Arctic Blue Death, the fourth in the series, is not only a journey into Meg’s past and events that helped shape the person she is today, but it’s also a journey into the land of the Inuit and the culture that has sustained them for thousands of years.”

Saturday Storytime with authors of “Sebastian Socks it Away”

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Authors Lori Mockson and Shirley Chewick will be in the store Saturday November 7th at 9:30am for a special storytime reading from their new book. Bring your little ones and enjoy this wonderful story.

The Story

Sebastian is excited about his new sock bank. With all the money he gets from his aunts and uncles, plus his own savings, he has enough to buy anything he wants. The problem is he just can’t decide how to spend his money. Come along with Sebastian as he tries to decide what to do with his sock bank savings. You will never guess what he decides to do.

“A Long Way from Verona” by Jane Gardam

“A Long Way from Verona” by Jane Gardam It’s easy to enjoy a Jane Gardam book but hard to review it.

She’s the British writer with a long list of novels and non-fiction, not to mention every literary prize you can think of. Her gift I suppose is her originality, and this, in turn, makes her very funny.

“A Long Way from Verona” came out in l97l and has been reprinted five times since then. This is an attractive paper edition by Abacus.

A little girl of nine is going to school in England during World War ll. She and her teachers go on reading Dickens, Hardy and Shakespeare until interrupted by an air raid on the Junior School. They carry on in British fashion, when one day the heroine, Jessica Vye takes a different route home and stumbles across an escaped prisoner of war. She turns her experience into a poem called “The Maniac”. To her teachers’ consternation this wins a prize in “The Times” .

Up til then, Jessica had been considered unconventional and troublesome in her far-out essays. The book is written from her point of view; it does contain the standards of her broad-minded father,as well as a couple of superior teachers.
It is an intimate look at a writer’s sensibilities, even one as young as nine years old. Unpretentious, it is joyful in its candour and very funny in its anecdotes.

Review by Anne McDougall

“The Lost Art of Gratitude” by Alexander McCall Smith

“The Lost Art of Gratitude” by Alexander McCall Smith Alexander McCall Smith takes you where you want to be…whether in sunny Africa (The No.l Ladies Detective Agency) or misty Edinburgh, with the Isabel Dalhousie series, which he does with this latest book.

The Scots writer has a penetrating pen in describing these neighbourhoods, as well as a canny way of bringing his characters to life. But these people are human,recognizable and likeable – a refreshing change from many of today’s books with their dark, unresolved stories of human relationships gone wrong.

In “The Lost Art of Gratitude” the Edinburgh philosopher, Isabel Dalhousie, is still editing her review on Ethics, and probing into social problems that come her way. But these days she is happy with her fiance Jamie, and their 2-year old son, Charlie and does not get as perturbed as in earlier books. It is a pleasure walking or driving the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh and enjoying the tea and scones, or wild salmon steaks in the dining-rooms she visits.

McCall Smith shows her growing more tender in her dealings, as her own home becomes ever happier. A woman financier deals Isabel a pretty wicked doube-cross, however, which she proceeds to resolve, with Jamie’s help. You can relate to these people – which is probably McCall Smith’s greatest gift.

He himself is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has served on national and international bodies concernd with bioethics. It is amazing how quickly he turns out these novels. This is another one to enjoy.

Review by Anne McDougall

“I am my Father’s Son” by Dan Hill

“I am my Father’s Son”   by Dan HillThis is brave and revealing story of a famous Toronto musician who made his name and fame almost despite his famous father.

Dan Hill is a singer-songwriter with a pile of hit records, a Grammy, five Junos as well as gold and platinum albums to his name.His father was Daniel Grafton Hill lll, a well-known Civil Rights Activist in Canada. He had suffered from racism, as a Black man in America, but in Canada he set very high standards of behaviour and achievement, both for himself and his three children. The eldest, the author of this book, bore the brunt of this pressure. Although he met, and exceeded his father’s expectations, this story gives a touchingly frank picture of his battle to the end to please his demanding, charming but bullying father.

The book gives fascinating insights into the world of music – its charm, as well as dangers and intrigue. With this book we get to know the Hill family quite well: Dan’s brother is Lawrence,who wrote “The Book of Negroes” two years ago – now a best-selling novel. On the larger stage, Barack Obama has written his own memoirs, of growing up half-white, half-black in America. It is a world this generation is finally getting to know. This book stands up well.

Review by Anne McDougall

“The Winter Vault” by Anne Michaels

“The Winter Vault”  by Anne Michaels This is a dark, moody book about the relationship between a man and wife. What makes it interesting is the brilliant descriptions of the parts of the world they inhabit.

Anne Michaels describes the rescuing of the temples at Abu Simbel from the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile. It remains a horrifying experience for the thousands of people of Nubia who lost their homes.

In the same way, Michaels brings back the relocation beside our own St. Lawrence Seaway. The novel’s couple, Jean and Avery Escher, are involved in both these undertakings – he as an engineer, she as an avid botanist.

Their own story reflects the intense trials of the work they’re doing which in turn affects their personal lives. Michaels stresses the feeling and need for home. Her book shows what can be saved from the violence of life. Their marriage, though precarious, turns out to be one of these things.

Anne Michaels is a Canadian writer, who lives in Toronto. Her earlier novel, “Fugitive Pieces”, has won literary prizes around the world, and also been made into an acclaimed feature film.

Review by Anne McDougall