What WPL is reading: Featuring an update on our EBook drive

The Overdrive E-book challenge is on!  
We’re into the 3400 range and our goal is in reach. We need your help though. All month you can support your local library by downloading ebooks. We’ve got something for everyone, so start your summer reading a bit early.

You can find ebooks here http://windsor.lib.overdrive.com

If you’re not sure what to read, check out some of what Windsor Public Library staff have been reading on their e-readers and other devices.


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Normally a staunch hard copy supporter, being the month of our e-book drive I thought I’d give one a go. I enjoy well built stories, and read Pillars of the Earth on an e-reader checked out from WPL. As much as I tried not to, I liked e-reading. I’m not having to deal with keeping the right page, and not lugging a book around is a plus. It helps that I enjoy this piece of historical fiction. I’m finding it thoroughly fascinating to look into the thought process that went into building a major structure before any knowledge of architecture. Beyond the aspects of building, this look at the trials and perils of 12th century life provide an enthralling read. The characters are enjoyable and relatable, and the parallels between their life and today’s world provide some interesting aspects to consider. When I finish this one, I’m definitely going to move onto the sequel World Without End and might even check out the series on DVD (which you can find here.)


Bones of Paris by Laurie R. King on my iPad.

Perhaps best-known for her series featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, the author has also written a number of stand-alone novels, of which this is one. Set in Paris, in September 1929, the story revolves around an American private investigator trying to find a missing girl. His search takes him deep into the art world of Paris at the time while he follows disturbing clues. The author’s vivid descriptions bring to life Jazz Age Paris; the drinking, the smoking, the freedom felt by the young women testing their wings far from home…and the dangers lurking just under the surface.


Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Wonder is a truly inspirational and uplifting book about young 5th grader Auggie Pullman. It is Auggie’s facial abnormalities that take centre stage in this book, and as he would say himself, “Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” This is a book that both young and old should read, and written so beautifully by Palacio that it’ll have you laughing and crying. Filled with positive messages, this is the epitome of books trying to teach people the importance about treating other humans with respect and dignity.


Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital  by Sheri Fink

Having visited New Orleans years after Katrina, I am amazed at the rebuilding that has occurred, and the evidence of the destruction that still remains. Five Days at Memorial is a non-fiction account of doctors, nurses, patients, families and pets who were trapped for days in a hospital while flood waters rose. It is an account of how they survived the heat, the flooding, the looting and fear, while still providing care to their patients.

This is a fascinating glimpse into how circumstances lead ordinary men and women into extraordinary actions.


Similar to many people, I have a couple of books on the go at the same time.

The Hypnotist , by Lars Kepler, is a police procedural/mystery. I picked it up as a result of a display on “international crime — mysteries and mystery writers from outside of North America and the UK. Dispite my view of Scandinavia as a very civilized society, their writers can produce some grim fiction.

Another society, in another time, on the other side of the world is examined in Samurai: a History, by John Man. He describes the honour codes and events in Japan in the latter period of its feudal warrior era, using the life of Saigo Takamori as an exemplar. Other books on eastern culture by the same author can be found in the paper collection.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This book is told from the perspective of the 14-year old narrator, Arnold Spirit Jr., who lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA, and is based on the personal experiences of the author. On top of dealing with your typical teenage drama, a handful in itself, Junior is forced to deal with a series of deaths of people close to him, a fallout with his best friend, being surrounded by poverty and alcoholism, being cast-off by his community for wanting more out of life, and being the only Indian in an all white school (unless you count the mascot).

No doubt about it, there are some heartbreaking moments in this book; however, in the midst of all of the sadness, you’re always feeling hope. Arnold is a fighter; he is dealt many rough blows (literally and figuratively), but he never gives up. The author carefully balances sadness with humour; every time you’re down, it’s reassuring to know that in just a few pages you’ll be right back up again.  Illustrations (comics hand-drawn by Junior) are integrated throughout; these are a very important part of the story and really enhance the narrative. Although this book is geared towards a YA audience, it’s easy to see why it has been so well received and widely applauded by adults.


The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters (Available from WPL as a book and ebook)

What would you do if you knew the world was going to end? Not tomorrow, but in six months? That is the question posed by The Last Policeman. In this novel, a meteor is discovered to be heading straight for Earth and will hit in six months. This might sound like science fiction, but it is actually a crime novel with the interesting backdrop of how life would change if everyone knew the world was ending. Would there still be electricity, running water and food, or would people abandon their jobs? Would you try to live life to the fullest, doing everything you ever wanted to do from your bucket list? Or would you go on as you had before, taking it a day at a time?

Policeman Hank Palace is one man who is living his life one day at a time. Many of his colleagues became “bucket listers”, but Hank stayed on the force and has now been promoted to detective. The novel follows Hank as he is investigating a supposed suicide that he thinks might be a murder. No one else cares about the case, because even if it was a murder, six months from now everyone will be dead. But Hank can’t let this one go.

Even though the premise might seem far fetched, I found the details of how society goes on in the face of impending doom to be very realistic, and the twists and turns of the murder investigation to be quite compelling. I very much enjoyed this book and its sequel, Countdown City (bookebook), which picks up three months before the meteor is expected to hit. The last book in the trilogy, World of Trouble (book) will be published in July.

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