Extraordinary by David Gilmour

“Over the course of one Saturday night, a brother and sister meet at her request to spend the evening preparing for her assisted death. They drink and reminisce fondly, sadly, amusingly, about their past…A gentle consideration of assisted suicide, Extraordinary is Image result for extraordinary by david gilmouralso a story about siblings – about how brothers an sisters turn out so differently: about how little, in fact, turns out the way we expect.”

This story is told in the third person, past tense and flows easily from page to page. The dialogue is superb and realistic, the characters believable.

The ending is a bit abrupt, but perhaps that is intended to portray the sudden end to life, no matter how well planned.  I felt as though I had been left hanging, details about what ensues for the assistant, missing from the narrative. Even with that, I would recommend this as a quick and satisfying read.

Review by Christine


Goodnight Grizzle Grump!

Goodnight Grizzle Grump! by Aaron Blecha

It’s time for Grizzle Grump to hibernate and he can’t wait. Each time he thinks he’s found a good spot there is too much noise for him to sleep. Will Grizzle Grump ever find the perfect place for his long winter nap?Image result for good night grizzle grump!

This beautiful picture book is for 4 to 8 year old children. It goes through the typical story telling pattern of things happening in threes before reaching a satisfactory conclusion.  The repetition of words will help young readers recognize them as well as making it somewhat predictable and comfortable for little ones to listen to.

The action and sound effects will make it a favourite bedtime read.

Review by Christine

Flint and Feather

Flint and Feather by E. Pauline Johnson

I have recently discovered the poetry section in Lanark Highlands Public Library. It is ,in very large part, comprised of Canadian works.Flint and Feather; The Complete Poems by  E. Pauline Johnson - Hardcover - Reprint - 1931 - from Dave Shoots, Bookseller and Biblio.com

Flint and Feather is the complete collections of poems by E. Pauline Johnson, a native Mohawk. The small book was published in 1912 and the copy at our library is the twenty second edition. Though the poems are from another era they are in no way outdated.  In her work she expresses the intensity and passion as well as the tragedy of the lives of her own people.

Her poems are powerful and captivating. I just couldn’t get enough. I re-read much of the book, devouring the imagery and emotion. In my opinion Ms. Johnson’s  poetry not only rivals but surpasses the works of Frost, Yeats and Keats in its ability to elicit strong reaction and sympathy in the reader.

If you read this poetry be prepared to be moved, to have your sensibilities challenged.

Review by Christine


Munich by Robert Harris

Like other fine historical novels Munich is part thriller and part examination of a seminal period of the twentieth century. Set in 1938 when the world was on the brink of war and desperate to avoid it. Adolf Hitler threatened to attack Czechoslovakia over what was sImage result for Munichubsequently called the Sudetenland that bordered Germany and contained a large proportion of German speakers. It also, coincidentally, included most Czech border defenses, banking and heavy industrial districts.

The book revolves around the efforts, championed by British prime minister Neville
Chamberlain, to appease Hitler and avoid war through the eyes of one German and one British mid level assistant who happened to attend Oxford together prior to the current tensions. Ultimately an agreement is reached in late September, 1938, signed by Germany, France, Britain and Italy known as the Munich agreement. Czechoslovakia wasn’t included. Chamberlain was seen as a hero and declared “peace in our time”. This is the point where the book ends and all in all is a sympathetic view of appeasement.

Even those that aren’t history buffs will enjoy this fast paced read.
By the way, Hitler attacked and occupied Czechoslovakia six months later. History hasn’t been quite so kind to Chamberlain. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Review by Bob

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate Di Camillo illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse – until he meets Maybelline, that is. It is love at first sight. There are three rules to follow  to keep Maybelline happy. Leroy manages the first two but not the third. Tragedy strikes. Can Leroy rescue the horse of his heart? The fast paced, action packed narrative will have you turning pages to find out.Image result for Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

Leroy Ninker Saddles up is cute little chapter book that is perfect for children 8 to 11 years old. The younger ones will be able to read it themselves and the older set will love the easy and entertaining word play that is scattered throughout the book.

This is a great book for children and the adults who read to them. The ending is a little quirky, but I loved it.

Review by Christine

Wolf: Legend, Enemy, Icon

Wolf: Legend, Enemy, Icon by Rebecca L. Grambo

Have you ever lain awake in your tent or cabin and heard the eerie call of wolves? The deep primeval longing and fear associated with that call sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it.Image result for Wolf: Legend, Enemy, Icon

Wolves have always evoked both fear and admiration in humans – their only enemy.  Their image has changed dramatically through the centuries – from creator and helper to symbol of evil, from predator to prey, from legend to icon.

The many legends, myths and facts in Wolf  provide a compelling look not only at a remarkable animal, but also at a complex and ever-changing relationship.

This book is superbly written and illustrated. (Photographer Daniel J. Cox is internationally published, his specialty being natural history.)

It is a great resource for students researching wolves as well as an informative read for anyone interested in one of our close neighbours, here in Lanark Highlands.

Review by Christine


Slated by Teri Terry

Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She has been slated. The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance-as long as she plays by their rules. In spite of the advanced technology used to wipe Kyla’s past, she is able to remember snippets of her previous life and being curious by nature, stitches them back together creating even more problems for herself than could possibly be imagined.

The main characters are Kyla and Ben. The story is set in a present day, urban centre and told in first person narrative. The theme is mind control vs free will. Slated is the first in the Slated trilogy

Interest level: ages 15 – 22

Controversial points:

  • removal of free will

  • mind control

  • government interference

  • rebellion

  • teens as trouble makers

  1. Outstanding points:

  • the will to survive

  • the ability to overcome adversity

  • people helping one another in dire times

  • knowing the difference between good and evil and acting on that knowledge in a positive wayReview by Christine