Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult, by Bruce Handy (2017)

Nonfiction
Adult
Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult, by Bruce HandyI am SO glad to discover and share this book! As a regular reader of children’s literature, I’m often fielding questions about why I read it. Assumptions about “easy lit” abound, along with dismissals of great stories because “that’s just for kids.” But those of you who share my passion for reading know how powerful a story can be, regardless of the audience. And as Handy himself writes, it can be harder for authors because kids have no patience for poor (didactic) writing, no matter how well-intentioned! Anyway, Handy is a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, and this is his first book. Essentially, he is revisiting some kidlit classics reading them again as an adult, giving him an entirely new reading experience. Read More »

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Next Year, for Sure, by Zoey Leigh Peterson (2017)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult
Next Year, for Sure, by Zoey Leigh PetersonAfter nine years in a monogamous relationship that has others calling them the perfect couple, Chris and Kathryn challenge societal norms when Chris decides to act upon an attraction to Emily, with Kathryn’s encouragement. This is the story of that exploration into polyamory, and it’s not a linear path. Family and friends are horrified and upset, acquaintances judge them, feelings are soon hurt, rules are established and broken. This debut novel by Peterson raises a myriad of questions for the reader to ponder as we witness the changing relationship between Chris and Kathryn. What is love, what is a crush, and what does it mean to love? Is it possible to love two people, to be in love with both of them, at the same time? Read More »

Murder on Brittany Shores, by Jean-Luc Bannalec (2016)

Mystery
Adult
Murder on Brittany Shores, by Jean-Luc BannalecThree bodies wash ashore on a remote and uninhabited island off the French shore in Brittany after a storm. Despite the fact this is almost certainly an accident, Commissaire Georges Dupin is obliged to abandoned his beloved morning coffee and croissant at the local cafe in order to investigate. The islands fall within his area of responsibility. And to make matters worse, his boss, the hated Prefect, is using the helicopter, and so Dupin must travel by speedboat. He, a man who does not swim, who loves being AT the sea but not being ON the sea. It’s an important distinction. Robbed of his morning caffeine, Dupin heads off in full-blown cranky mode, and sure enough, gets thoroughly wet. Read More »

Cry, Heart, But Never Break, by Glenn Ringtved (2001, 2016)

Illustrated Book
4-9
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn RingtvedThis is the second of two books I’m reviewing today on grief and death. They are challenging issues for any of us, and when children are involved, books can offer a way for adults to help kids grasp an understanding of death and accept the pain of loss. This tender and sensitive book offers an honest and gentle approach to an impending loss. Four children are sharing a kitchen table with Death, who has come for their beloved grandmother. Death is presented as a visitor, a kind one, whose heart is surprisingly full of a love for life. The children naturally try to deter Death from his task. Read More »

Dog Training 101, by Kyra Sundance (2017)

Nonfiction
13-Adult
Dog Training 101, by Kyra SundanceAt not quite a year and a half, my dog is still a puppy, so life with her is all about training, ideally having fun while doing it. Positive training is about finding ways to reinforce the behaviour you want, so when I spotted this book on the new titles shelf at our library, I snapped it up. I’m not familiar with author Sundance, though she has a good backlist. This is one of the best positive training books I’ve found, as the instructions for each element are clear, simple, and short. I’ve already used a few of the instructions and found success. The book is ideal for someone like me, still going through the basic training stage, as opposed to more advanced tricks like getting the dog to push a snowblower (I’m not kidding – see our British Columbian sensation Morgan!). Read More »

Broken Promise (Promise Falls #1), by Linwood Barclay (2015)

Mystery
Adult
Broken Promise, by Linwood BarclayNewspaper journalist David Harwood finds himself back in Promise Falls, New York, working for the local rag. It’s a step down from the job he quit at a Boston newspaper in order to spend more time with his teen son Ethan. But when The Standard folds on David’s first day on the job, he and Ethan are forced to stay at his parents’ home, where his mother is increasingly forgetful and his father growing distant. Despite his desire to stay out of his parents’ lives, David is soon caught up in the family drama when he is sent to deliver a meal to his ailing young cousin Marla, who recently lost her baby during childbirth. Imagine David’s shock when he finds Marla with a babe in arms, delivered, she tells him, by an angel. Turns out the baby’s mother was savagely murdered, and Marla is now the prime suspect. Read More »

The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan (2017)

Romance
Adult
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny ColganNina Redmond is a 29-year-old librarian in Birmingham – she has watched life pass by over the top edge of whatever book she is reading. And she is always reading. Her raison d’ĂȘtre is to find the right book for each person at the very moment they need it, and she’s super good at this. So when her library closes and she loses her job, she is devastated. Only two staff members will be re-hired as “knowledge facilitators” at the multimedia hub the city is opening in town, and though she interviews for it, she’s clearly not going to get the job. Librarians, she realizes, are going the way of typewriter repairers. “She felt, at twenty-nine, oddly surplus to life’s requirements.” But at a workshop offered by the library for the reeling staff, Nina finds the courage to voice her dream of opening a bookshop. Given her limited resources, she decides to buy a used van and make it mobile. Read More »