Winter reading can feed the brain

Getting into a good book is easy as 1, 2, 3 at Agassiz Library

What do you do when we get the ‘once-a-year’ regularly unexpected dump of snow? You turn on the radio (to see if it’s a day off school) you get out the candles, matches and flashlight (in case the power goes out) and you organize that pile of books and movies that have that ‘come hither’ message pouring off them! You went to your library and stocked up, just like you went to the grocery store and took in supplies. Let it snow, I say. Bring it on, we will be okay now.

Winter book piles are different from summer book piles. I think the stack of books you have in the winter may have titles that are a bit more, shall we say, literary. Is this your choice or is it a conspiracy by authors that fun, light reads come out for summer and the book-award kind of reading comes out in the colder months of the year? I will leave that topic for you to ponder, but, there is nothing wrong with deeper topic and pages of that carry a wonderful turn of phrase.

Is it one of your resolutions to read some award winners or join in the Canada Reads sponsored by CBC? If it is, you can easily find the lists on the FVRL website begin to begin.

Step one: www.fvrl.bc.ca

Step 2: under the search bar, click on ‘Access catalogue’;

Step 3: right under the Explore tab, you can see it, Awards. You have arrived and can pick from national lists to international lists of award wining and nominated books. Very exciting!

Our wonderful webmasters even have descriptions with the titles telling you the year of the book, and whether it was a winner, short-list or long-list title. With advice like that, I worry about being out of a job! But there is nothing like a recommendation for an actual person, so, that’s where I come in.

If you choose a Pulitzer Prize winning read from 2011, you would be holding Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit From the Goon Squad”. Not your average novel, and that is what makes it a winter novel. In it, you will read about Sasha, a woman who shoplifts to appease her own troubles and self-esteem issues. We get a very clear idea of Sasha’s coping mechanism and a glimpse at kleptomania all rolled into the pages of this fascinating story. Sasha is on a date with a new fella, Alex and heads to the ladies room at the bar they are at. She steals a wallet from a purse in the restroom.

“She’d flicked open the bathroom door and floated back through the lobby to the bar. She and the wallet’s owner had never seen each other.”

Just like that, but it gets better. We are about to read how this plays out for Sasha, who was sure her date was going to be a bomb.

“Post-wallet, however, the scene tingled with mirthful possibility. Sasha felt the waiters eyeing her as she sidled back to the table holding her handbag with its secret weight. She sat down and took a sip of her Melon Madness Martini and cocked her head at Alex. She smiled her yes/no smile. “Hello,” she said. The yes/no smile was amazingly effective.

“You’re happy,” Alex said.

“I’m always happy,” Sasha said. “Sometimes I just forget.”

Like most current award winning books, there are holds on it, so get your name on the list. And like many books at FVRL, you can pick your format: order the regular print edition, the large print, audio or ebook download, all free and accessible with your FVRL library card.

If you want to indulge your patriotism, as you should when it comes to reading, you may pick Newfoundland’s award winning author, Wayne Johnston, and his latest contribution, ‘A World Elsewhere’. It is well written, has places as far flung as St. Johns Newfoundland and the ivy league university, Princeton, in New Jersey. It has Landish Druken though, who has a bit of a weakness for punning and is disowned. I am always fascinated by dis-ownerships. “Landish Druken lived in the two-room attic of a house near the end of Dark Marsh Road that was in no way remindful of any other place he’d ever lived. A mile away, in a twelve-room house, his father lived alone. Under the terms of what Landish called the Sartorial Charter, his father had let him keep his clothes but had otherwise disowned him.” Already, you have to know more! Landish is also a bit of a punster and while this novel is not a comedy, the play on words here and there is a bonus and define Landish. You will find this one, almost too clever for words, in my opinon: “He should write Van and tell him they had dined tonight on Sham Chowder, Lack of Lamb, Crazed Ham and Duck à Mirage. Steam of Mushroom Soup and Perish Jubilee”. There is much more to this novel, than puns of course, it is a very good, diverse, full-bodied read. It is well worth the nominations for the Scotia Giller prize for 2011. Fit for your winter reading list!

And speaking of fit, have you ever lamented to yourself how hard it is to do that fitness, activity thing? To get yourself on the track to health and wellness? You know we are there for you, and our feature this month is ‘Fit for the Fit-less’. We have an extensive book and DVD display to help you make some new habits and get smart about getting fit. We have an display from Kent Leisure Centre, focusing on the ‘Climb Cheam Challenge’. That is another way to get busy. Grab a friend, go the gym or the new Zumba class. If we don’t watch it, we are going to be one fit community! Maybe we need a town wide resolution on that. Hmmm ….

As always look for great happenings at the library too. Book club 3rd Wednesday of every month, preschool storytime every Friday at 10:15. Coming up on Friday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. we will celebrate Family Literacy Day. There will be a book launch of this summer’s Storytime in the Park writing contest book, and the recent local Family Writing Contest put on by our local Literacy co-ordinator at Community Services. Come to the library for this great evening, refreshments and a scavenger hunt too. In the next week or so look for a Fraser Valley Regional Library program guide in your Observer. This guide is jam-packed with library happenings. Keep it, refer to it. Call us if you want to know more.

 

Now, back to stoke shovel the walk, and see you in the stacks soon!