The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley (2020)

Contemporary New Adult | Adult

The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley (2020)

When Monica discovers a green notebook in her London cafe, titled The Authenticity Project, she opens it to discover it’s a kind of diary. The first entry is by Julian Jessop, an aging artist who writes it’s time to tell his truth. “Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead? The one thing that defines you, that makes everything else about you fall into place?” Julian starts it off by writing his own truth, his shameful story, of how badly he treated his wife. It’s a story of regret, and Monica is fascinated. It ends after a few pages, and the rest is blank. Waiting for the next story. After giving it some thought, Monica writes her own truth, her desperate longing for a family of her own, a hope that is fading as time marches on. On an impulse she pops the book into a stranger’s pocket – a stranger whose own messed-up life needs close scrutiny.

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Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun & Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors, by Emily Vikre (2020)

Adult | Nonfiction

Camp Cocktails: Easy, Fun & Delicious Drinks for the Great Outdoors, by Emily Vikre

This is such a great idea! Part of my camping experience includes cocktail hour – usually cheese and crackers, veggies and dips, and either a cold beer on a hot day or a glass of wine. But why not make a fun drink? Emily Vikre recently opened a craft distillery with her husband, spurring her interest in creating original cocktails. Combine that with a lifelong love of camping and you get a beautifully conceived and rendered book of recipes for simple but spectacular campside drinks. After an introduction that explains the genesis of the book and how it’s organized, she helpfully lists suggestions for simple ways to equip yourself for tending bar in the woods, as well as camp-friendly techniques for straining, shaking, and muddling.

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Quilting Patterns: 110 Ready to Use Machine Quilting Designs, by Linda Macho (1984, 2019)

Nonfiction | Adult

Quilting Patterns: 110 Ready-to-Use Machine Quilting Designs, by Linda Macho (1984, 2019)

This little handbook is a useful resource for machine or hand quilters who want to step up their game, and are willing to invest time in making their own templates for a beautiful design. This book was originally published in 1984 under the title Quilting Patterns: 110 Full-Size Ready-to-Use Designs and Complete Instructions. Dover Publications has re-released the entire thing without any changes (except to the title) or updates. Modern quilters are rather cranky that there hasn’t been any updating; I rather enjoyed exploring these classic designs and techniques, and thinking about how I might try to use them. Macho includes filler designs, quilting designs, and border designs, and you can mix and match them up within a large quilt. I’ve included an image of one page so you get a sense of what is in this 80-odd page booklet.

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The Pollinator Victory Garden, by Kim Eierman (2020)

Nonfiction | Adult

Victory gardens were a thing of wartime Britain (and probably Canada too) – citizens were encouraged to develop kitchen gardens as a war effort, leaving more food for the soldiers, I guess. Or, more likely, diverting agricultural land into space for building military devices. Anyway, the term Victory Garden is being co-opted here to encourage citizens to help support the pollinators – bees, butterflies, beneficial flies, beetles, wasps and even bats (!) – in order to ensure our global food supply. No pollinators means no fertilizing and no apples, cherries, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes – you get the picture. So by turfing the turf and replacing it with flower and vegetable gardens, shrubs, and even piles of leaves and shrubs, we are helping to create habitats that feed, house, water, and protect the creatures that are in a sense feeding us.

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Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots, by Michael Rex (2020)

Picture Book | 4-8

Facts vs. Opinions vs. Robots, by Michael Rex (2020)

I don’t know how I feel about the need for a picture book that helps little ones learn to distinguish fake news. Sigh. Okay, I exaggerate. This timely informational picture book is intended to help youngsters differentiate between what is factual (this robot is red) and what is opinion (green is the best colour for a robot), and how to talk respectfully to people with different opinions. I am grateful that intelligent writers, illustrators, and publishers, are recognizing the desperate need for as much help as possible to turn our world around. I am grateful I am grateful. And that libraries (like the Grand Forks & District Public Library) are choosing these titles for their collections. So – this is actually pretty good. The premise is simple – help readers understand the difference between fact and opinion, get them to distinguish the two in a story, and then learn how to respect others’ opinions.

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Bad Dog, by Mike Boldt (2019)

Picture Book | 3-6

Bad Dog, by Mike Boldt (2019)

Rocky is a bad dog. He won’t come when called, he won’t sit or fetch. He scratches the furniture, is terrified of other dogs, won’t go for a walk, and generally disappoints his eager owner. She was SO excited to get a dog for her birthday! Children will instantly recognize the problem – Rocky is a cat, and will chortle at the young narrator’s struggles to train her “dog,” until finally she figures out a way to resolve the issue. The colourful and simple illustrations highlight the duality between reality and the unnamed protagonist’s desire, and add to the hilarity of the simple text. This is an excellent choice as a read-aloud for storytime or for lapsharing. Canadian Boldt is both author and illustrator, using digitally created images that emotionally develop the characters of both girl and cat to hilarious success. This simple premise is a top notch success – a joy for youngsters who will quickly get the joke. My thanks to the Grand Forks & District Public Library for including this title in its children’s picture book collection.
More discussion and reviews of this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42176504

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Supernova Era, by Cixin Liu (2019)

Science Fiction | 14 – Adult

Supernova Era, by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen (2019)

When a nearby star goes supernova, the Earth is bathed in radiation that kills everyone over the age of 13, while children’s DNA is able to repair itself. International leaders rally with an audacious, desperate plan – train the children to run countries, power systems, fly planes and drive cars, farm the fields, operate shops and cut hair – learn to do all the things that adults have had to look after, and in less than a year. The technical skills were pretty straightforward, but the softer skills of negotiation, leadership, patience and experience simply can’t be taught in such a short time. Still, the adults have no choice, and in time, the reins are handed over and the adults die. The book focuses primarily on a trio of child leaders in China, two boys and a girl, named Huahua, Specs, and Xiaomeng, as they struggle to keep the country operating.

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