Saturday, July 26, 2014

Staff Pick - Gin O'Clock by The Queen

Oh my! I think this is the first book I've ever read that made me laugh, snort and/or chuckle on every single page. The Queen [of Twitter: @Queen_UK] has published her diary from a rather eventful year in her life which encompassed the Olympics, two royal weddings and her diamond jubilee.

Mrs "Call Me Carole" Middleton on the phone. Wanting to check we're not wearing the same outfit to George's party. Would have thought not.

The Queen has been on Twitter for some time reflecting on ruling her Commonwealth one day at at at time, often one country at a time (she talks about Tonga alot - she likes Tonga and can often rule them from bed), dishes on her large family, keeps tabs on her prime minister and drinks an unconstitutionally large amount of gin in Gin O'Clock.

The star of the show has to be Camilla. Poor, confused Camilla - frequently missing, often found in a large hole or a decorative vase, sighted only by the puff from her cigarette. She is always getting the wrong end of the stick at all their fancy dress parties (and they have alot). On one memorable occasion, at a Eurovision party, she thought it was a Eurotunnel party and came dressed as a train. Awkward.

And Charles - he's given Australia to rule for a day for practice (from a cardboard throne made by Harry and William perhaps). Every Christmas he makes a speech which they record on DVD, pop into into the machine and never tell him it's not broadcast.

Apparently the DofE is planning to publish his diaries, however he's having problems getting it past the lawyers.

A lovely way to pass an afternoon and a treat to follow her on Twitter.

For more chuckles try:

Friday, July 25, 2014

2014 Prometheus Award Winners

The winner of the 2014 Prometheus Award has been announced and there was a tie!

The Prometheus Award, sponsored by the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), was established in 1979, making it one of the most enduring awards after the Nebula and Hugo awards, and one of the oldest fan-based awards currently in sf. Presented annually since 1982 at the World Science Fiction Convention, the Prometheus Awards include a gold coin and plaque for the winners.For more than three decades, the Prometheus Awards have recognized outstanding works of science fiction and fantasy that stress the importance of liberty as the foundation for civilization, peace, prosperity, progress and justice.

This year's winners for Best Novel are Homeland by Cory Doctorow and Nexus by Ramez Naam.

Homeland by Cory Doctorow

"In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco—an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state. A few years later, California's economy collapses, but Marcus’s hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform. ... Fast-moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother—a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place." publisher

Nexus by Ramez Naam

" In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he's thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage - for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes. From the halls of academe to the halls of power, from the headquarters of an elite US agency in Washington DC to a secret lab beneath a top university in Shanghai, from the underground parties of San Francisco to the illegal biotech markets of Bangkok, from an international neuroscience conference to a remote monastery in the mountains of Thailand - Nexus is a thrill ride through a future on the brink of explosion." publisher

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Staff Pick - The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Looking for a great read and cannot find one in the adult section, try young adult. This book could surely pass as adult fiction with its rich writing and plot structure.

Truthfully, I put this book on hold from the new items list on the Discover Catalogue. Though, if I had actually laid eyes on the cover, I would have picked it up!

Most popularly recognized for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, I fell in love with Brashares' writing through My Name is Memory. I absolutely loved the story and characters and have been keeping an eye on Brashares publishing ever since.

“Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.' This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn't come from a different country. She came from a different time -- a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they're from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she's told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves" publisher

The Here and Now, a work of science fiction, brings you into a world of rules, secrets, deceit, and lies, lies, lies. The main character, seventeen-year-old Prenna James, comes from the future filled with death and decay. Others came too and formed a 'community', and to fight for a better life and a way to help prevent this world from crumbling. Or so Prenna has been told. Along with this rule, the rule to never, ever fall in love with someone outside her community is imprinted into her way of life.

This is okay, until she meets Ethan Jarves. And little do they know, they have met before, and together, will make this world a little better...maybe.

Other titles from Ann Brashares:

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series

The Last Summer (of you and me)

My Name is Memory

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Genealogy Mysteries

I have been an avid reader of the mystery genre. My favourites are cozies and historical mysteries, featuring amateur detectives in modern and historical times.

With my first experience researching customer’s family roots at the library, I felt so good in assisting to solve a genealogical "mystery". It inspired me to discover several mystery series that star professional genealogists as detectives:

Torie O’Shea Mystery series by Rett MacPherson. MacPherson is passionate about genealogy and her mystery series reflects that. In the charming cozy mysteries, genealogist Torie O'Shea always “seems to be right in the middle of it all in the goings-on in New Kassel, Missouri”.

Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective Mystery series by Fiona Mountain. This series features an intelligent and spunky genealogist who is also a sleuth in the Cotswold Hills, England.

Family Tree Mystery series by Patricia Houck Sprinkle. Katherine Murray, a bored housewife, finds excitement in an unexpected place when she investigates memorabilia belonging to families in the past.

Family History Mystery series by Brynn Bonner. Genealogist Sophreena McClure and her business partner and medium Esme Sabatier have learned that “every family has a black sheep— sometimes a whole flock of them”.

Suzie Fewings Mystery series by Fay Sampson. Suzie Loosemore Fewings, a keen family genealogist and "a married mother of two, becomes immersed in murder mysteries of past and present with devastating consequences for her family".

Lottie Albright Mystery series by Charlotte Hinger features Lottie Albright, a local historian and under sheriff in a small town in Western Kansas.

Nigel Barnes mystery series by Dan Waddell. "Scotland Yard recruits genealogist Nigel Barnes to assist in solving a grisly series of murders".

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Classic - The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is one of those books I have heard so much about that I was kind of surprised to find that I had actually never read it. Given the novel's autobiographical elements and the author's unfortunate and well documented suicide around the time of its publication, it's difficult to separate Esther Greenwood from Sylvia Plath.

Esther Greenwood, an academically gifted young women, finds a summer internship at a prestigious women's magazine. She is conflicted by the glamorous lifestyle swirling about her and she is both drawn to girls like Doreen who are adventurous and devil-may-care and still has the need to be the "good" girl. Esther is somewhat unofficially engaged to Buddy, but is not invested in this relationship. She returns to her Boston home in general low spirits only to learn that she was not selected for an academic opportunity she had so counted on. She falls further into despair and finds herself in the hands of a callous psychiatrist who ineptly performs electroshock therapy and ultimately ends up in a mental hospital.

The Bell Jar can be a dark and painful read, but also has sparks of humor and wry observation. Although Esther is the psychiatric patient, you often feel that it is the people around her who are actually ill. Esther reflects, "if being neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at the same time, then I'm as neurotic as hell." Despite the fact that the book was published 50 years ago, it remain relatable to young readers still. Some things have changed - we have greater sexual freedom and the choice between career and family is not necessarily an either or situation, but it remains that a young person must still figure out what she wants from life and how much of herself is she willing to give up to conform.

Sylvia Plath, frozen in time as a brilliant and troubled young woman, has gone on to inspire many writers. She herself is the subject of And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky, Wintering: a novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses, Sylvia and Ted: a novel by Emma Tennant and Nova Scotia's own Alice Walsh's Analyzing Sylvia Plath.

"English professor Isobel Harding knew she'd meet opposition when she invited her aunt, Dr. Elizabeth Wilcox, to be the keynote speaker at Evangeline University's literary conference, in Jacob's Ladder, Nova Scotia. As the best-selling author of the controversial new book 'Analyzing Sylvia Plath', Dr. Wilcox has drawn the ire of the academic and literary communities, who condemn her work - and its radical views on Sylvia Plath's life - as sensationalistic tabloid journalism. Even before the book's popularity exploded, Dr. Wilcox attracted headlines when a drug addiction very publicly ended her psychiatry career. But when someone attempts to poison Dr. Wilcox at the conference's welcoming reception, it's clear that her critics go beyond a few disgruntled professors. Now, to protect her aunt, Isobel must dig into the lives of her friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to determine who among them could be at the center of this deadly maze of intrigue, which grows more disturbing with every twist." Discover

Monday, July 21, 2014

Staff Pick - Mysteries by Борис Акунин

Staff Pick - Mysteries by Boris Akunin

Looking to start the new year with a new mystery series? Why not consider the author who has been described as "the undisputed champion of Russian crime fiction".

Boris Akunin is best known for two mystery series: featuring Sister Pelagia and Erast Fandorin.

While his writing may be at times a little heavy, and the long Russian names can get confusing, the reader is rewarded with such finely crafted, multi-layered plots that keep readers involved until the very end.

Giles Whitell of The Times, says "Boris Akunin is a sensation. He has created a popular hero [Erast Fandorin] to equal Sherlock Holmes and James Bond in his bestselling whodunnits."

“Akunin, best known for his Erast Fandorin series, has created another memorable sleuth in Sister Pelagia, a 19th-century Russian nun whose insights into human nature and curiosity will remind many of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown” Publisher’s Weekly

Checkout his neat website for further details and fun.

Akunin sets his novels in Tsarist Russia and excels at getting the historical details just right. His characters are also very likable and noble. They are portrayed with real human strengths and weaknesses. They fumble and make mistakes, but at the end of the day, they inspire those around them.


Дорогие читатели, знаете ли вы, что в стенах филиалов Halifax Public Libraries находится коллекция книг и журналов на многих языках мира и, в том числе, на русском.
и вы найдете около 200 книг на русском языке. Просто введите в поиск “Russian language materials” !

В своем первом блоге на русском языке я бы хотела поделиться с вами своими впечатлениями о книгах Бориса Акунина, а именно о сериях приключений Эраста Фандорина и монахини Пелагеи.  

Для меня всегда настоящее удовольствие читать книги Бориса Акунина. Язык Акунина живой, острый, богатый. Сюжеты  книг изрядно запутанны и очень увлекательны- невозможно оторваться от чтения. Автор красочно описывает реалии российской жизни конца 19-го - начала 20-го веков.
Так, например, каждое приключение Эраста Фандорина не похоже на предыдущее: эпопея "Турецкого гамбита" сменяется "Левиафаном", где в центре внимания узкий круг подозреваемых, ироничный "Пиковый валет" соседствует с  мрачным "Декоратором", в "Коронации" царская семья Романовых под угрозой, а в "Любовнице смерти" действие происходит в мрачных кварталах Хитровки.
Вот как появился на свет Эраст Петрович Фандорин:  «Это такой герой, на которого я хотел быть похожим в детстве. Такой невозможно красивый, очень сильный, невероятно благородный, загадочный, в которого влюбляются все женщины, а он остается холодным и равнодушным. литературе внешне он, наверное, больше всего похож на Григория Александровича Печорина. По части дефектов речи (Фандорин у меня заикается), он похож на другого моего любимого персонажа, на полковника Найтурса из "Белой Гвардии", который, правда, не заикался, а картавил, но это не важно. Не обошлось там, конечно, и без князя Мышкина, и еще без нескольких подобных персонажей из русской литературы».- Борис Акунин.
Очень рекомендую книги Бориса Акунина любителям занимательного детективного и исторического чтения. Дорогие читатели, а что вы сейчас читаете?

До скорой встречи!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summer Thrills - 2014 ITW Thriller Awards

Here for your summer reading consideration are four thrillers that the International Thriller Writers Association have chosen as the year's best.

Best Hardcover Novel
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

"Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a “phenomenon,” he turns her down. She leaves plane tickets and an address on his desk, advising David that her employer is not often disappointed. That evening, David’s wife announces she is leaving him. With his life suddenly in shambles, he impulsively whisks his beloved twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, off to Venice after all. The girl has recently been stricken by the same melancholy moods David knows so well, and he hopes to cheer her up and distract them both from the troubles at home. But what happens in Venice will change everything." publisher

Best First Novel
RedSparrow by Jason Matthews

"In present-day Russia, ruled by blue-eyed, unblinking President Vladimir Putin, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole. Spies have long relied on the “honey trap,” whereby vulnerable men and women are intimately compromised. Dominika learns these techniques of “sexpionage” in Russia’s secret “Sparrow School,” hidden outside of Moscow. As the action careens between Russia, Finland, Greece, Italy, and the United States, Dominika and Nate soon collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion that threatens not just their lives but those of others as well." publisher

Best Paperback Original Novel
The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon

"The summer of 1985 changes Reggie’s life. An awkward thirteen-year-old, she finds herself mixed up with the school outcasts. That same summer, a serial killer called Neptune begins kidnapping women. He leaves their severed hands on the police department steps and, five days later, displays their bodies around town. Just when Reggie needs her mother, Vera, the most, Vera’s hand is found on the steps. But after five days, there’s no body and Neptune disappears. Now, twenty-five years later, Reggie is a successful architect who has left her hometown and the horrific memories of that summer behind. But when she gets a call revealing that her mother has been found alive, Reggie must confront the ghosts of her past and find Neptune before he kills again." publisher

Best Young Adult Novel
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

"She's been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky . . . But now that she's been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last. Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they've given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do-or see-that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all of the Suits' rules-and her dad's silence. If he won't help, it's time she got some answers for herself. But Meg isn't counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who's too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed." publisher