The Ghost Clause, by Howard Norman (2019)

Mystery | Adult

The Ghost Clause, by Howard Norman (2019)

This new novel from National Book Award-winning author Howard Norman is a mashup of a ghost story, a missing child mystery, and a love story/domestic fiction. Mostly it’s a ghost story, as Simon Inescort sticks around his house after dying of a heart attack at age 48. He is surprised by his consciousness and his corporality – he can pick up and read books as well as write in a journal. Unfortunately he keeps setting off the motion sensor in the library where he spends most of his time, creating an ongoing annoyance for the new homeowners, Muriel and Zachary, and their cat Epilogue – the only creature aware of Simon’s presence.

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The Missing Season, by Gillian French (2019)

Mystery | 13-16

The Missing Season, by Gillian French

Here’s another title chosen after appearing in an e-newsletter from the Grand Forks & District Public Library. If you aren’t subscribed yet, give it a go! It’s a great way to discover new titles as well as others in the collection that might interest you but have escaped you so far. This is the first book by Gillian French I’ve read, but she’s got a couple of other YA titles under her belt. It’s October in Maine, and school has been in session for a month when Clara arrives in town with her parents as she starts her final year of high school. Her dad has a job helping to close down the mill, so this is a town on the slide. She’s hesitant about making friends, but quickly finds allies when a bully zones in on her.

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Backyard Foraging, by Ellen Zachos (2013)

Nonfiction | Adult

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Did Know You Could Eat, by Ellen Zachos (2013)

This handy guide to finding food on your walks and hikes was featured in one of my library’s newsletters, on nonfiction. I’m subscribed to several of these great newsletters from the Grand Forks & District Public Library that let you know about new titles on various topics, and also occasionally feature interesting gems you might not know about. This is one of them. The book is a few years old, but offers some great guidance in finding edible shoots, leaves and berries all around you. There are 65 entries, many of them quite familiar, such as the well-known dandelion for its many edibles, from flower petals to roots and leaves, as well as surprising discoveries like the annoying Japanese knotweed (aka false bamboo) that is so difficult to eradicate from your home garden. Turns out its young shoots are a great alternative to those canned bamboo shoots called for in many Asian recipes. While the author is from the American east coast, she has chosen plants that are commonly found across North America, many of them recognizable from the garden, such as bee balm and spiderwort. On hikes, you will probably come across wild garlic and hawthorn berries. Our common saskatoons here in the Boundary Country are also listed, under the new-to-me moniker “juneberries,” Each entry is typically four pages long, and includes lots of full-colour photos. There is information on when to harvest, where to find it, and what parts of the plant are edible, along with helpful guidance on recognizing the plant, what and how to harvest, and how to use the bounty in a meal. There is a helpful introduction that addresses tools for harvesting, offers tips on where to forage, reminds readers to beware of sprays and herbicides in parks and to ask for permission on private property, and how to generally make sure you are making good food choices when foraging. I learned that fruits with a five-point crown (like apples, saskatoons, and even rosehips) are always safe to eat, and to stay away from mushrooms with gills. Appendices include some preserving guidance and basic recipes, resources for further research, and a very good index. My thanks to the Grand Forks & District Public Library for including this title in its nonfiction collection, and grabbing my attention in the newsletter!
More discussion and reviews of this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16192356

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Recursion, by Blake Crouch (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Recursion, by Blake Crouch (2019)

Holy hannah – hang on to your hat! It’s another another terrific, mind-blowing story from the author of Dark Matter. Where to begin? Or rather, when? NYC Detective Barry Sutton stumbles across an amazing device as he investigates False Memory Syndrome, a phenomenon in which people are suddenly remembering entire alternative lives that aren’t real. The device is a memory chair, the work of physicist Helena Smith. Having watched her mother deteriorate from early-onset Alzheimer’s Syndrome, Dr. Smith has has spent her life trying to find a way to capture our most precious memories so they aren’t lost when brain disease takes hold.

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Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science Fiction | Adult

Vessel, by Lisa A. Nichols (2019)

Science fiction meets domestic drama in this terrific debut novel that sees astronaut Catherine Wells return from a mission to an exoplanet via a wormhole, three years late and missing her entire crew. Worst of all, she can’t remember visiting the planet or what happened to the crew. And back on Earth, the blackouts are still happening and she hasn’t told anyone. At home, things are little better. Catherine has been gone nine years; her mum’s dementia has deepened, her middle school daughter is about to graduate, and her husband has found a new love. The family does its best to try to bring Catherine back into the home, and in fact, she’s the one who can’t seem to adjust.

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Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies (2019)

Nonfiction | Adult

Outside In: A Political Memoir, by Libby Davies

Libby Davies. Well known to me, for those who don’t recognize the name, she served for many years as the NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver East; an outspoken, passionate, and devoted public servant who never wavers (at least, not on the outside!) I never lived within her riding, but it’s a testament to her work that I was familiar enough to want to read her biography. I learned a lot, including the fact she started out in the Downtown East Side in the early 1970s while at university, ultimately giving up her studies. She served on both Vancouver Parks Board and city council, getting a grounding in politics before turning to Ottawa.

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Storm Rising, by Sara Driscoll (2018)

Thriller | Adult

Storm Rising (series FBI K-9 #3), by Sara Driscoll (2018)

This is the third entry in the FBI K-9 series by Sara Driscoll, but the first one I’ve read. Meg Jennings and her rescue dog Hawk, a superbly trained black lab, are sent from Washington D.C. to help find missing people when a hurricane devastates the Virginia Beach shore. Partners in the FBI’s Human Scent Evidence Team, the two searchers and their colleagues work hard to find live victims, not than bodies. But when Meg and Hawk find a terrified young woman in the Great Dismal Swamp, they are diverted into a criminal investigation into a human sex trafficking ring that was disrupted by the storm. The chaos gives police an opportunity to break up the ring and save even more young lives, but promising leads fade as the evidence they need is washed away.

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