Author: nvclpatricia

Patricia’s 2017 Fall Picks

Fall sunsetFall for me is a time of spectacular sunsets – when the days get a little darker and the evenings have a little more bite to them.  I like my fall reading to take that darkness and run with it.  The contrast between what I’m reading and my cozy surroundings, well, that’s what fall reading is all about.  Here’s are the new releases I’m drawn to this fall:

September

sleeping beautiesSleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King

You can’t get much darker than an epic new novel by the master of horror (and his son).  “In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent.”* Yes, please.

ngLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told Youwas a quietly thrilling look at the ways in which we fail to understand each other.  Her follow up, Little Fires Everywhere, deals in family secrets and centres around a custody battle that divides a town. “It explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”*

solar bonesSolar Bones by Mike McCormack

I often imagine what it would feel like to write something utterly fresh and technically masterful – like Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway.  And while such innovation is not in all of us, it certainly seems to have found a home in Mike McCormack.  In Solar Bones McCormack writes “a three-part harmony of experiment, comedy and metaphysics” within a single novel-length sentence.  

lostLost in September by Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter wrote Annabel one of those rare books whose writing made my stomach ache it was so good.  And it wasn’t just the writing — the characters, the story line, the evocation of place — Annabel had it all.  And thus I eagerly await Lost in September, a story about a damaged war veteran transplanted in time.

October

dunbarDunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

King Lear is recast with Henry Dunbar, “the once all-powerful head of a global media corporation” in the lead.  “Imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?”*

powerThe Power by Naomi Alderman

I couldn’t wait for this Bailey’s Prize winner to be released in Canada, so bought a copy online from the UK.  Alderman’s novel explores the metaphor of power by making it literal.  Women are capable of electrocuting others and therefore have power over men.  How do an abused foster child, an rising politician, and a crime boss’ daughter choose to wield what they’ve been given?  It’s rare to find a novel this dark that’s got a sense of humour too.  Easily one of the year’s best.

manhattanbeachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad is one of those books that makes me excited about the future of fiction.  It was so playful and connected and experimental that almost the only way you could follow something like that up is to do exactly what Egan has done and revisit traditional storytelling.  “With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.”*

hiddenseeHiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire

Hiddensee imagines the backstory of the Nutcracker, revealing how this entrancing creature came to be carved and how he guided an ailing girl named Klara through a dreamy paradise on a Christmas Eve. At the heart of Hoffmann’s mysterious tale hovers Godfather Drosselmeier– the ominous, canny, one-eyed toy maker made immortal by Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale ballet– who presents the once and future Nutcracker to Klara, his goddaughter.”*

turtlesTurtles All the Way Down by John Green

Okay. Okay.  This one might not qualify as dark.  But to be fair, I’ll read anything Green writes.  Until recently, the plot of his latest had been a closely guarded secret.  We now know it’s about a 16-year old girl named Aza, her BFF, and their quest to solve the mystery of a “fugitive billionaire” and claim “a hundred-thousand-dollar reward. […] In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.”*

This Thanksgiving let’s all be thankful for the time we get to read.  (To my children, yes, that IS a hint.)  Happy Thanksgiving!  Happy Reading!

-Patricia

*Descriptions provided by the publisher

 

 

 

 

 

Book Awards Season is (finally) here!!!

Some of us get excited about our kids going back to school, and some of us get excited about pumpkin spice season.  I’m sure I’m not alone in absolutely adoring fall because it marks the arrival of book award season — that wonderful time of the year when my TBR pile strains beyond all hope of ever reading every book on it — and I love it.

Here are some of the nominated works I hope to read soon:

From the Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist:

truckI Am a Truck by Michelle Winters

Agathe and Réjean Lapointe are about to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary when Réjean’s beloved Chevy Silverado is found abandoned at the side of the road—with no trace of Réjean. As her hope dwindles, Agathe falls in with her spirited coworker, Debbie, who teaches Agathe about rock and roll, and with Martin Bureau, the one man who might know the truth about Réjean’s fate. Set against the landscape of rural Acadia, I Am a Truck is a funny and moving tale about the possibilities and impossibilities of love and loyalty.*

Boy EatingThe Bone Mother by David Demchuk

Three neighbouring villages on the Ukrainian/Romanian border are the final refuge for the last of the mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Now, on the eve of the war that may eradicate their kind—and with the ruthless Night Police descending upon their sanctuary—they tell their stories and confront their destinies.  Eerie and unsettling like the best fairy tales, these incisor-sharp portraits of ghosts, witches, sirens, and seers—and the mortals who live at their side and in their thrall—will chill your marrow and tear at your heart.*

mindsofwinterMinds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin

Fay Morgan and Nelson Nilsson have each arrived in Inuvik, Canada, about 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both are in search of answers about a family member: Nelson for his estranged older brother, and Fay for her vanished grandfather. Driving Fay into town from the airport on a freezing January night, Nelson reveals a folder left behind by his brother. An image catches Fay’s eye: a clock she has seen before. Soon Fay and Nelson realize that their relatives have an extraordinary and historic connection — a secret share in one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of polar expedition.*

(I’ve read only one of the longlist, Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster and I highly recommend it for its refreshing blend of gritty and magic realism.)

From the Man Booker Prize Shortlist:

lincolnLincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Lincoln in the Bardo  is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?*

(I’ve read two of the remaining five on the shortlist — Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves.  I’m partway through a third, Paul Auster’s (possibly pointless but nonetheless enjoyable) 4 3 2 1.  So far my money is on Hamid to take the prize; I’d go for the audiobook read by the author.)

From the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers Literature:

marrowthievesThe Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden – but what they don’t know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.*

(If you haven’t already read it, please stop reading this post immediately and check out fellow finalist Angie Thomas’ gut wrenching The Hate U GiveIt’s topical, powerfully written, and well worth reading for Starr’s dad’s ideas about Harry Potter alone.)

From the National Book Award Longlist:

naomi kleinNo Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

Remember when it all seemed to be getting better? Before Trump happened? What went wrong, and what can we do about it? Naomi Klein – scourge of brand bullies, disaster capitalists and climate liars – shows us how we got to this surreal and dangerous place, how to stop it getting worse and how, if we keep our heads, we can seize the opportunity to make it better.*

manhattan beachManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.*

pachinkoPachinko by Min Jin Lee
Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history.*

I’d love to hear what book award nominees excite you.

Happy stacking! Happy reading!

-Patricia

*Blurbs provided by publishers.

NVCL Reads: BINGO!

Bryce, a Public Service Assistant here at the North Vancouver City Library, shares his NVCL Reads bingo.  There’s still time to get a bingo of your own — the contest closes end of day Tuesday, September 5 — and be entered into the draw to win one of 5 $25 gift cards to a fabulous local bookstore.

crosbieYOUR PICK:  Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Lynn Crosbie

The title of Crosbie’s book is derived from a lyric in seminal blues legend Lead Belly’s magnum opus “In The Pines”, later popularized by 90t’s alt-rock icon Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Cobain also happens to be the raison d’etre for self-described “teenage dirtbag” Evelyn Gray and her drug-addled fantasies, to the point where a stint in hospital after an overdose conjures the spirit of His Mope-iness himself in the body of a man dressed only in a Celine Dion t-shirt and pajama bottoms. What follows next is Wild At Heart done grunge-rock style, as Crosbie mind-bendingly weaves the adventures of these two tragi-comic characters together in a Shakespearian Bonnie-and-Clyde prose, finishing with the realization that there may be a next life beyond the one that so many kids like Evelyn struggled to find in the decade of music’s mixed-up metaphors.

klassanILLUSTRATED: This Is Not My Hat by John Klassen

No it certainly is not, but doesn’t it look fantastic on him? A precocious fish tries to prank the owner of his newly “acquired” headgear by leading us to believe that they will never know it’s gone. Or will they? The author and illustrator of the award-winning I Want My Hat Back pens yet another funny tale of fins gone too far that will delight youngsters and parents alike.

owlsUNDER 200 PAGES: Owls In The Family by Farley Mowat

Full disclosure: I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never read anything by Mr. Mowat. Until now. When most kids his age are tending to more domesticated pets, young Billy takes in two of the most unusual birds into his care. From bringing dead skunks to dinner and turning parades into riots, a rural town is turned upside down by their antics and no one (not even the family dog) will ever be the same again when Wol and Weeps make their home away from home.

 

ungiftedSET IN A SCHOOL: Ungifted by Gordon Korman

In Donovan Curtis’ world, school is a joke and pranks are his best subject. An “accident” involving a bronze statue and a big basketball game nearly puts an end to his hijinks for good until an administrative mix-up sends Donovan not to detention, but instead to ASD (the Academy of Scholastic Distinction). An “A” student Donovan is not, but he gets top marks for bringing a sense of normalcy to the staid and squeaky-clean lives of the students he befriends. As his “punishment” continues (to the chagrin of the Superintendent of Schools and faculty of ASD, the bewilderment of his parents and pregnant, panic-stricken sister and the awe of his peers), Curtis transforms from class clown to creative mastermind when the fate of summer school looks to ruin the future of the robotics club. Like Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility” and that responsibility for Curtis is to use his gifts for good even if he’s not exactly sure what they are. Filled with equal parts humour and humility, Korman takes us on a rollercoaster of middle school minds with enough twists and turns to make for a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

warsCANADIAN CLASSIC: The Wars by Timothy Findley

Gripping. Intense. Heartbreaking. Profound. All words used describe this epic tale of sacrifice in one of the darkest periods in Canada’s military history. Not convinced? Here are some more:

“Nobody knows what happened to prevent Robert from opening the doors. Perhaps he was injured in the moment (his collar bone was broken) by the panic-stricken horses and perhaps he even lost consciousness for those few precious minutes when he might have gotten them out. What in fact happened was that Robert began shouting “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t! and by the time Mickle realized this meant ‘I can’t open the doors’ it was too late. A man was sent running to pull them open – and he did so. Robert – riding the black mare – was seen trying to bring her under control in the middle of the barn. There were flames all around him and his clothing was on fire. Mickle admits that, at that moment, he said a quick prayer for Robert Ross – and the prayer was for a quick death.”

-Bryce

NVCL Reads: Set in a School

Back to school is almost upon us, which means that summer – and summer reading – is winding down.  For those of you participating in the NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo there are still a few more days to get your entries in.  The contest closes on Tuesday, September 5th.  You can enter in person or onlineOn Wednesday, we’ll draw 5 winners for the $25 gift cards to 32 Books and Kidsbooks.  If you haven’t finished your card yet don’t fear — there is still time.  And if ‘Set in a School’ is the square holding you back, we’ve got some suggestions for you:

class clownClass Clown (Picture book MUN) by Robert N. Munsch

Leonardo has been funny since the day he was born: he was a funny baby, he was a funny toddler, he was a funny first grader. Now he is in grade four; and Mrs. Gomez asks him to stop being funny. He tries his best, but he just has to make a funny face, then tell a funny joke, and then show a funny drawing–with predictable results. And when he finally SERIOUSLY promises faithfully never to be funny again, he makes the teacher laugh so hard she falls down on the floor!

athlete mathleteAthlete vs. Mathlete (Children’s Paperback MAC) by W. C. Mack

Owen Evans lights up the scoreboards. His brother, Russell, rocks the school boards. These twin brothers couldn’t be more different. They’ve long kept the peace by going their separate ways, but all that is about to change. The new basketball coach recruits Russell for the seventh grade team and a jealous Owen has to fight to stay in the game. When someone tries to steal Russell’s spot as captain of the mathlete team, will the two be able to put aside their differences in order to save his position? Or will they be sidelined?

geekThe Opposite of Geek (Teen Fiction VOR, or Cloud Library ebook) by Ria Voros

Gretchen Meyers doesn’t know exactly what went wrong, but life in the tenth grade is beginning to suck. As if having a semi-nudist, food-obsessed family wasn’t awkward enough, she has lost her best friend to the fanatical school swim team, and her math grade is so close to negative digits that only emergency tutoring can save it. So far, so high school.

 

fallFall (Online Audiobook) by Colin McAdam

Award-winning author Colin McAdam’s second novel takes place at St. Ebury, an elite Ottawa boarding school. It’s a place of privilege and hollow rules, of newly minted “traditions” and the barely restrained animal instincts of the boys. A handful of girls are also in attendance, among them Fall, a beautiful and elusive figure who becomes the object of fascination for many of the male students, including Noel, a smart, intensely idiosyncratic young man. Told from the very different perspectives of Julius and Noel, Fall is a psychologically acute and relentless literary thriller of the first order.

preciouscargoPrecious Cargo : My Year Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077 (Biography, Rows 8-11, 921 DAV or Cloud Library ebook) by Craig Davidson

One morning in 2008, desperate and impoverished while trying unsuccessfully to write, Davidson plucked a flyer out of his mailbox that read, “Bus Drivers Wanted.” That was the first step towards an unlikely new career: driving a school bus full of special-needs kids for a year. Armed only with a sense of humour akin to that of his charges, a creative approach to the challenge of driving a large, awkward vehicle while corralling a rowdy gang of kids, and unexpected reserves of empathy, Davidson takes us along for the ride.

residentialResidential Schools: The Devastating Impact on Canada’s Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Findings and Calls for Action (Teen Non-Fiction 371.8299 FLO) by Melanie Florence

In 1857, the Gradual Civilization Act was passed by the Legislature of the Province of Canada with the aim of assimilating Indigenous people. Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous young people is now recognized as a grievous historic wrong.

-Kate

*All descriptions courtesy of the publishers

 

NVCL Reads: Poetry

Its time to polish up on our Canadian Poetry — not just because poetry can be moving and rich and vibrant and naughty, and all kinds of other things — but also because this lot of poetry is distinctly Canadian, and one more step to completing our #NVCLreads Canada 150 bingo contest.

Just for the record, I’m not by nature a poetry reader. However, this particular post gave me a much needed opportunity to dip my hands into an overflowing pool of talent and perspective that I have for too long ignored, spanning idiosyncrasies of voice and style.  Take these for what they are, a small smattering of what’s available, and mostly, a sure-fire way to expose yourself to poetry from the insides to the margins of Canada’s evolving literary landscape.

GriffinGriffin Poetry Prize: The Griffin Poetry Prize anthology: a selection of the shortlist

Up first is the 2016 anthology put out by the organizers of The Griffin Poetry Prize. The Prize is one of the richest poetry awards in the world. For this edition, Editor Adam Sol selected from a host of international and Canadian poets, the latter of which include poems from Per Brask and Patrick Friesen’s Frayed Opus for Strings & Wind Instruments (Brick Books), translated from the Danish written by Ulrikka S. Gernes, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent by Liz Howard (McClelland & Stewart), and Tell: poems for a girlhood by Soraya Peerbaye (Pedlar Press).

wrongcatThe Wrong Cat: Poems by Lorna Crozier

One of Swift Current, Saskatchewan’s greatest gifts to Canada surely has to come in the form of poet Lorna Crozier, and particularly in this 17th work titled the The Wrong Cat: Poems.  Her style has evolved beyond just lyrical and effortless turns of phrase. Here she transcends the mediocre with an irreverence of style that never waivers from a clear sense of character and a simple story told – ah, but always with a twist, humor where it is right, and scrumptious bites of reality. Take ‘Book of Small Mistakes’ as an example, and there is one about A ‘Moose’ that is sure to require a revisit, for all the right reasons. Animals of all kinds help her reflect on everything from the subdued to the sublime.

somebirdsSome Birds Walk for the Hell of it by C.R. Avery

If irreverence is a style, C.R. Avery is its ambassador. He’s a local guy; fueled by his Commercial Drive roots, this avant- garde entertainer/slam poet gets to the heart of a variety of downtrodden, eccentrics, ‘temporaries’ and Bohemians that are the world around him in his home of East Vancouver.  While his live performance always adds that extra bit of spice to his ‘beat’ inspired meanderings, he is of us, and all of us in many ways. As one reviewer notes, however, be prepared, “Avery’s poetry is alternatively profane, brilliantly vulgar, outrageously funny, and brash in its lonesome courage”. But, he is innovative in his style, continuing to evolve as a poet, and well worth a read.

pemmicanThe Pemmican Eaters: Poems by Marilyn Dumont

John A. MacDonald referred to the Metis people as “pemmican eaters”. Such is the moniker that titles this collection of work by Marilyn Dumont, dedicated to illuminating characters and stories of the time of Louis Riel, and the rise of the Metis in Canada, bringing them seemingly into the present to face a reckoning. She confronts MacDonald directly, as well as all those who sought to denigrate the Metis by claiming herself and her identity as ‘halfbreed’ proudly.  She declares herself loudly and movingly — never ceding dignity and integrity in the process. I’m particularly informed by “What We Don’t Need”, as I am equally moved by “Our Gabriel”, a celebration of sorts of her ancestor, Gabriel Dumont, and his courageous place in our history.

injunInjun by Jordan Abel

Awarded 2017’s Griffin Poetry Prize, Jordan Abel confronts the legacies of our Colonial past with ‘Injun’ a single poem, wrought out of inaccurate depictions of Indigenous people throughout dozens of pulp western novels. He took these novels and painstakingly searched for occurrences of the word ‘Injun’, isolating the sentences they were contained in, and fashioning a single poem out of the results. What is created, along with annotations for a little bit of context is a confrontation with the language of the occupier, with the violence that has been wrought on the First People of the land, and an opportunity to heal from complicit attempts to erase and discount culture through language, as difficult as it may be to face that. It is that difficulty that makes the poem all that much more worthwhile to read.

milkandhoneyMilk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
The most tender chapters of our lives are written through experiences with abuse, loss, violence and love. Milk and Honey is a pilgrimage through these deepest of emotions but resolved with a softness that comes through the light that is always there, wanting to find its way through.  Divided into four sections that include “the hurting”, “the loving”, “the breaking”, and “the healing,” Kaur uses prose to address themes of loss and femininity.  Milk and Honey is one of the few books of Canadian poetry that has spent 52 weeks on the New York times best sellers list and has been translated into over 25 languages around the world.

To This Day: For the Bullied and Beautiful by Shane Koyczan
There wasn’t any Canadian who didn’t feel the pride of a nation bearing witness to poet Shane Koyczan’s stirring poem “We Are More” at the opening ceremonies of 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Here he takes another of his poems ‘To This Day’ and refashions it into a rallying cry against bullying. Based on his own experiences being bullied, the poem is heartfelt and emotional, but strong and inspirational.  Koyczan helps us rise to the resilience that lies beneath, confronting the bully within and around us all. So inspirational was the poem that he produced a YouTube video for a 2013 Ted Conference that has garnered millions of views, and continues to encourage others to this day.

-Chris

An Interview with Local Author Lawrence Verigin

seedofcontrolTell us about your book, Seed of Control

Seed of Control is the award winning sequel to Dark Seed. In Seed of Control, ex-journalist, Nick Barnes and his group figure out that the plot they discovered in Dark Seed is only a part of a much bigger plan, devised by some of the most powerful men in the world. These men and their corporations see themselves as the stewards of humanity and know what’s best for the world. However, they are self-serving and operate on power and greed.

Nick, with the help of scientists and an ex-member of the controlling society do everything they can to prove the plot to…(don’t want to give away the story)…while being mercilessly pursued by the security team of the power elite.

The story takes the reader from San Francisco, to Seattle and then onto Vancouver and Deep Cove. From there they have to escape to Paris and end up in Burford, England.

The third book in the trilogy, Beyond Control, will be published in the fall of 2018.

Lawrence VeriginWhy do you write?

I began writing a book as something I wanted to complete off my bucket list. Now I write because I love to create stories from nothing. There is so much satisfaction to be derived from writing and writing and writing, and ending up with a 100,000 word story that didn’t exist before I created it. Then, I really enjoy editing and polishing the manuscript to the best of my ability, at that moment. Also, it’s interesting to see how my writing is progressing with each new book.

In the end it’s gratifying to hear from readers who said they enjoyed the books and get their interpretations.

My goal is to delve into socially relevant subjects in an entertaining, fast paced form, with the hope of giving readers perspective that they may not have had before as to what’s going on.

writingDescribe your first ever piece of writing

I think I was in grade 5 and decided one rainy winter night that I was going to write a book. I wrote a page and a half and realized it was going to be too much work and put it away.

It wasn’t until I was 35 that I decided to learn how to write well enough to publish my work…or fake it to seem like I knew what I’m doing. That took 12 years.

NSWAI’ve read your book.  What should I read next?

I’m assuming you read Dark Seed too and you have to read something before Beyond Control comes out. I would suggest deviating from the best-seller lists and looking for books from local and less known authors. They don’t have the backing of the big publishers (yet), but their stories are quite often just as good and sometimes better.

Savour by Jackie BatemanWhat local authors do you love?

I’m biased to the two authors I was with at the North Shore Writers Festival panel this year – Jackie Bateman and Alexander Boldizar. Also, even though I’m not typically a science fiction reader, I’m currently reading Virtues of War, by Bennett Coles and really enjoying it.

sigmaWhat is the best book you’ve read so far this year?

All of the Sigma thrillers by James Rollins are great. However, so far this year the best books I’ve read are Stillpoint, by Colin Mallard and In Search of Sticks, by Randy Kaneen – both writers from Vancouver Island.

Where can fans find you?

My website is: www.lawrenceverigin.com and my e-mail is: lawrenceverigin@gmail.com

 

Thanks, Lawrence!

If you are a published local author who would like to be interviewed for The Top Shelf, please be in touch!  Email me at plesku@cnv.org

-Patricia

NVCL Reads: Canadian Graphic Novels for Children

The great part of graphic novels is that all levels of readers can enjoy them. Listed below are some of these novels by Canadian authors worth a read and exploration. Did you know that graphic novels are great for reinforcing language, memory sequencing and creative writing skills? Not only that but they are fun to read. Stay calm and read on with some our recommendations for the #NVCLreadsGraphicNovel category in our Canada 150 #NVCLreads bingo contest!

toweroftreasureThe Tower of Treasure, by Scott Chantler

As an acrobat in a traveling circus, 14-year-old orphan Dessa Redd flies through the air with ease. Still, she is weighed down by troubling memories. But when her ragtag circus troupe pulls into the city of Kingsbridge, Dessa feels a tickle of hope. Maybe here in the royal city she will finally find her twin brother — or the mysterious man who snatched him away when they were just children.  Meanwhile, Topper, the circus juggler, recruits Dessa and the circus strongman, Fisk, for the job of robbing the royal treasury. Hungry and desperate, both agree, setting off a series of adventures that will take the three thieves from one end of the world to the other in search of Dessa’s long-lost brother. Scott Chantler’s fast-paced story will engage readers while his bold-lined art with richly detailed backgrounds is a tribute to classic comic books.*


luzmakesasplashLuz Makes a Splash
, by Claudia Davila

Residents of the city of Petroville are suffering through the hottest and driest summer on record. Desperate for a way to cool off, Luz and her friends head out to Spring Pond to go swimming. But when they arrive, they’re shocked to discover the pond has virtually disappeared! It turns out a multinational company has purchased the nearby land and is using the water from the spring to make their soda. Meanwhile, back in the city, the gardens in Friendship Park are withering and at risk of dying because of the lack of rain. And now the city has imposed water restrictions in order to conserve. Luz and her friends are just kids, but is there anything they can do to help save two of Luz’s favorite places?*

claireandthewaterwishClaire and the Water Wish, by Jessica Poon

Summer’s over and Claire’s a bit nervous about starting at a new school. She doesn’t care about being popular — she just wants to fit in. Claire is thankful to have her best friend, Jet. But the girls quickly grow apart when Jet wins a digital camera. Jet’s bitten by the shutterbug and seems only interested in snapping photos with the cool kids. Tired of Jet’s antics, Claire strikes up a friendship with Sky, a girl from the local Lovesick Lake community. She learns that the water in Sky’s lake is undrinkable. The community suspects someone’s been secretly dumping waste in it for years. But when the three friends stumble across the polluters’ trail, will they be able to put their differences aside in time to save Lovesick Lake? The Claire graphic novels are built on stories of strong friendships and action-packed fun. Young girls will love to share the adventures of Claire and her friends — and then try the activities at the end of each book!*

thatonespookynightThat One Spooky Night, by Dan Bare-el

This collection of graphic short stories written by Dan Bar-el contains three separate tales of strange and surprising events that all happen one Halloween night. In Broom with a View, a girl’s broom for her witch costume mistakenly gets switched with a broom belonging to a real witch. Featured in 10 000 Tentacles under the Tub are two rambunctious boys who fight sea monsters while trick-or-treating as aqua-heroes, only to discover that their biggest challenge still awaits — in the bathtub. In The Fang Gang, everything gets turned around for four wannabe vampire girls when they meet up with the real thing. Naturally, all the parents are clueless about what’s going on (though in one, the pet dog is in on things!). The stories are just spooky enough and tempered with a touch of silly humor.*

hideandshriekHide and Shriek, by Sean O’Reilly

In this installment from the Mighty Mighty Monsters series, the monsters need to make some rules before they play Hide and Seek:  No flying like a vampire bat, no sniffing like a werewolf, and absolutely no magic!*

 

 
-Linda

* Descriptions from the publishers