Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction Shortlist

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction shortlist for 2012 has been announced. The winner will be chosen on November 12, 2012. 

Kamal Al-Solaylee | Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
In the 1960s, Kamal Al-Solaylee's father was one of the wealthiest property owners in Aden, in the south of Yemen, but when the country shrugged off its colonial roots, his properties were confiscated, and the family was forced to leave. The family moved first to Beirut, which suddenly became one of the most dangerous places in the world, then Cairo. After a few peaceful years, even the safe haven of Cairo struggled under a new wave of Islamic extremism that culminated with the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. The family returned to Yemen, a country that was then culturally isolated from the rest of the world. As a gay man living in an intolerant country, Al-Solaylee escaped first to England and eventually to Canada, where he became a prominent journalist and academic. While he was enjoying the cultural and personal freedoms of life in the West, his once-liberal family slowly fell into the hard-line interpretations of Islam that were sweeping large parts of the Arab-Muslim world in the 1980s and 1990s. The differences between his life and theirs were brought into sharp relief by the 2011 revolution in Egypt and the civil war in Yemen. Intolerableis part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis. This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much about.

In Solar Dance , acclaimed writer and scholar Modris Eksteins uses Vincent van Gogh as his lens for this brilliant survey of Western culture and politics in the last century.   The long-awaited follow-up to Modris Eksteins' internationally acclaimed Rites of Spring and Walking Since Daybreak . Now he has produced another thrilling, iconoclastic work of cultural history that is a trailblazing biography of an era--from the eve of the First World War and the rise of Hitler to the fall of the Berlin Wall--that illuminates our current world, with its cults of celebrity and the crisis of the authentic. Solar Dance is a penetrating examination of legitimacy and truth, fakery and pretence--highly relevant to all of us today.

Taras Grescoe | Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile

For years, journalist and amateur tailor JJ Lee tried to ignore the suit hanging at the back of his closet. It was his father's suit. But when JJ decides to make the suit his own, little does he know he is about to embark on a journey to understand his own past.   As JJ cuts into the jacket, he begins to piece together the story of his relationship with his father, a charismatic but troubled Montreal restauranteur whose demons brought tumult upon his family. JJ also recounts his own ups and downs during the year he spent as an apprentice at Modernize Tailors -- the last of the great Chinatown suitmakers in Vancouver -- where, under the tutelage of his octogenarian master tailor, he learns invaluable lessons about life. Woven throughout JJ's tale are stories of the suit's own evolution, illuminating how this humble garment has, for centuries, been the surprising battleground for the war between generations.

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A bestselling author embarks on a profound and dramatic journey through the eloquent landscape of southwestern Saskatchewan. When Candace Savage and her partner buy a house in the romantic little town of Eastend, she has no idea what awaits her. At first she enjoys exploring the area around their new home, including the boyhood haunts of the celebrated American writer Wallace Stegner, the backroads of the Cypress Hills, the dinosaur skeletons at the T.Rex Discovery Centre, the fossils to be found in the dust-dry hills. She also revels in her encounters with the wild inhabitants of this mysterious land -- two coyotes in a ditch at night, their eyes glinting in the dark; a deer at the window; a cougar pussy-footing it through a gully a few minutes' walk from town. But as Savage explores further, she uncovers a darker reality -- a story of cruelty and survival set in the still-recent past -- and finds that she must reassess the story she grew up with as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of prairie homesteaders. Beautifully written, impeccably researched, and imbued with Savage's passion for this place, A Geography of Blood offers both a shocking new version of plains history and an unforgettable portrait of the windswept, shining country of the Cypress Hills, a holy place that helps us remember.

Try them out and see which you would vote to win the prize. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Polaris Music Prize Winner 2012

The Polaris Music Prize winner has been announced for 2012.
Fiest for her album Metals was the winner!

The other nominees for the prize were:
Cadence Weapon for his album Hope in Dirt City
Cold Specks for their album I Predict a Graceful Expulsion
Drake for his album Take Care
Kathleen Edwards for her album Voyageur
F***ed Up for their album David Comes to Life
Grimes for their album Visions
Handsome Furs for their album Sound Kapital
Japandroids for their album Celebration Rock
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan for their album YT//ST

More information about the prize, nominees and winner can be found at Polaris Music Prize.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rogers Writers' Trust Shortlist 2012

The five finalists for the Rogers Writers' Trust Prize 2012 have been announced. The winner will be presented November 7, 2012.

Tim Bowling The Tinsmith
During the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, Anson Baird, a surgeon for the Union Army, is on the front line tending to the wounded. As the number of casualties rises, a mysterious soldier named John comes to Anson's aid. Deeply affected by the man's selfless actions, Anson soon realizes that John is no ordinary soldier, and that he harbors a dangerous secret. In the bizarre aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, this secret forges an intense bond between the two men. Twenty years later on the other side of the continent, Anson discovers his old comrade-in-arms is mysteriously absent, an apparent victim of the questionable business ethics of the pioneer salmon canners. Haunted by the violence of his past, and disillusioned with his present, Anson is compelled to discover the fate of his missing friend, a fate inextricably linked to his own.

Tamas Dobozy Siege 13 - presently not available in Parkland Regional Library system.

Rawi Hage Carnival
In the Carnival city there are two types of taxi drivers -- the spiders and the flies. The spiders patiently sit in their cars and wait for the calls to come. But the flies are wanderers -- they roam the streets, looking for the raised hands of passengers among life's perpetual flux. Fly is a wanderer and a knower. Raised in the circus, the son of a golden-haired trapeze artist and a flying carpet pilot from the East, he is destined to drift and observe. From his taxi we see the world in all its carnivalesque beauty and ugliness. We meet criminals, prostitutes, madmen, magicians, and clowns of many kinds. We meet ordinary people going to extraordinary places, and revolutionaries trying to live ordinary lives. Hunger and injustice claw at the city, and books provide the only true shelter. And when the Carnival starts, all limits dissolve, and a gunshot goes off . . . With all of the beauty, truth, rage, and peripatetic storytelling that have madeCockroachandDe Niro's Gameinternational publishing sensations,Carnivalgives us Rawi Hage at his searing best. Alternately laughing at absurdity and crying out at oppression, by turns outrageous, hilarious, sorrowful, and stirring,Carnivalis a tour de force that will make all of life's passengers squirm in their comfortable, complacent backseats.

Alix Ohlin Inside
When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence,Insidepoignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.

Linda Spalding The Purchase - presently not available in Parkland Regional Library System.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist 2012

The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize is out. The winner will be announced on October 16th. Take the time to check them out and see which one you would choose to win.
 Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice "until the monsoon comes." Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?
Deborah LevySwimming Home 

Hilary MantelBring up the Bodies By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. But Henry's actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as Henry falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour. The minister sees what is at stake: not just the king's pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, and its miasma of gossip, he must negotiate a ?truth? that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne's final days. In Bring Up the Bodies, sequel to the Man Booker Prize? winningWolf Hall, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn.
Alison MooreThe Lighthouse 

Will SelfUmbrella 

Jeet ThayilNarcopolis 
Wait now, light me up so we do this right, yes, hold me steady to the lamp, hold it, hold, good, a slow pull to start with, to draw the smoke low into the lungs, yes, oh my&Shuklaji Street, in Old Bombay. In Rashid’s opium room the air is thick with voices and ghosts: Hindu, Muslim, Christian. A young woman holds a long-stemmed pipe over a flame, her hair falling across her eyes. Men sprawl and mutter in the gloom. Here, they say you introduce only your worst enemy to opium. There is an underworld whisper of a new terror: the Pathar Maar, the stone killer, whose victims are the nameless, invisible poor. In the broken city, there are too many to count. Stretching across three decades, with an interlude in Mao's China, it portrays a city in collision with itself. With a cast of pimps, pushers, poets, gangsters and eunuchs, it is a journey into a sprawling underworld written in electric and utterly original prose.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


(Great After School Program)

From art and board games to food and music, this program
will amaze and entertain.
Come and hang out with your friends.
Date: Thursdays (during the school year)
Time:  4-5 pm
Ages: 7-12


Mystery Book Club
Calling all mystery fans! Did you know the Sylvan Lake Library has a
Mystery Book Club?
For September we will read and discuss,

"Judgment Call" by J.A. Jance

When: Tuesday, September 11th
Time: 7pm
Where: Library reading lounge

Join us for good story.

 Shawna Moore, author of "House of Dreams", will be reading a selection from her first book Saturday, September 8th, at 3pm.
Children ages 10+ would love this reading.
Attendance is FREE!
Shawna will have time after her reading to answer questions about the story, her writing, what it's like to publish a book, and more.
Don't miss this exciting local author.

Our new season has begun!

Films screened the last Monday of the month from September to April.
November and December being the exception.

Time:  7:10 p.m.

Where: Landmark Cinemas
              9 Beju Industrial Drive

 Individual tickets $8.
Seasons passes are $40.  You get one film FREE!


September 24, 2012
· Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce
· Director:  Tanya Wexler
· Duration: 100 minutes
· Year: 2011
· Rated: 14A

 In Victorian London, Dr. Mortimer Granville, a young doctor struggles to establish himself. He is hired by a doctor to investigate treatments for women diagnosed with female hysteria using 'pelvic massage'. The doctor's two daughters develop an interest in the young Dr. Granville, each tempting to woo him.

For more information on the Sylvan Lake Film Society visit


Discover, experience and celebrate our unique blend of peoples, passions and the importance of the arts and culture to a healthy and vibrant Alberta.

From September 28-30, come in and check out our theater, music, and fine arts displays.
Alberta Arts Days is an important part of the Spirit of Alberta, Alberta's cultural policy. To learn more about Alberta's cultural policy visit

Alzheimer Coffee Break @ the Library
Date: Thursday, September 13
Time: 10 am - 7:30 pm
Everyone welcome!
Make a donation in support of the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and enjoy a cup of coffee and a homemade muffin.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Giller Longlist 2012

The Scotiabank Giller Prize jury has announced the longlist for the 2012 Giller Prize. The shortlist will be announced on October 1st and the winner will be announced October 30th.

Marjorie Celona for her novel Y, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada

Y. That perfect letter. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wine glass. The question we ask over and over. Why?
My life begins at the Y.

Lauren B. Davis for her novel Our Daily Bread, published by HarperCollins Canada
A novel about what happens when we view our neighbours as "The Other" and the transformative power of unlikely friendships; Our Daily Bread is inspired by the true story of the Goler Clan of Nova Scotia. The God-fearing people of Gideon shun the Erskine Clan, who have lived on North Mountain in poverty, secrecy and isolation, believing their neighbours to be beyond salvation. "That's the mountain," they say. "What do you expect from those people?" Yet in both groups nearly everyone has secrets and nothing is as it seems. On the mountain, Albert Erskine dreams of a better and safer life for his younger brothers and sisters. He lives by his code: "You keep your secrets to yourself and you keep your weaknesses a secret and your hurts a secret and your dreams you bury double deep." In town, young Ivy Evans is relentlessly bullied by her classmates. Though her father, Tom, is a well-liked local, his troubled marriage to a restless outsider is a source of gossip. As rumors and innuendo about the Evans family spread, Ivy seeks refuge in Dorothy Carlisle, an independent-minded widow who runs a local antique store. When Albert ventures down the mountain and seizes on the Evanses' family crisis as an opportunity to befriend Ivy's vulnerable teenage brother, Bobby, he sets in motion a chain of events that changes everything.

Cary Fagan for his short story collection My Life Among the Apes, published by Cormorant Books
Cary Fagan began his writing career with the short story and now, after five novels, he returns to his first love. A woman leaves her husband, a retired judge, when he refuses to give up his passion for performing as a magician. A young man exiled from the downtown arts scene finds himself living in the suburbs in a community of new immigrants. A widow moves to New York to confront the woman who was her late husband mistress. A bank manager in a bad situation turns to his childhood obsession with Jane Goodall for inspiration

Will Ferguson for his novel 419, published by Viking Canada
A car tumbles through darkness down a snowy ravine. A woman without a name walks out of a dust storm in sub-Saharan Africa. And in the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims. Lives intersect, worlds collide, and it all starts with a single e-mail: “Dear Sir, I am the daughter of a Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help...”

Robert Hough for his novel Dr. Brinkley’s Tower, published by House of Anansi Press
Equal parts Mark Twain and Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, Robert Hough's wildly imaginative new novel takes us to 1931 and Corazón de la Fuente, a tiny Mexican border town where the only industry is a run-down brothel. Enter Dr. Romulus Brinkley and his gargantuan radio tower, built to broadcast his revolutionary goat-gland fertility operation. Fortunes in Corazón change overnight, but not all for the good. Word of the new prosperity spreads, and the town is overrun by the impoverished, the desperate, and the flat-out criminal. The tower's frequencies are so powerful the whole area glows green, and the signal is soon broadcasting through every bit of metal it can find: fencing wire, toasters, even a young woman's new braces. Meanwhile, Dr. Brinkley has attracted the affections of Violeta Cruz, Corazón's most beautiful resident. But is he really all that he seems? Peopled with unforgettable characters and capturing a young Mexico caught between its own ambitions and the imperialist designs of its neighbour to the north,Dr. Brinkley's Toweris a stunning achievement in storytelling.

Billie Livingston for her novel One Good Hustle, published by Random House Canada
From award-winning writer Billie Livingston, an unsparing novel of loyalty and survival that is fierce, sharp and funny even when it's breaking your heart. The child of 2 con artists, 16-year-old Sammie Bell always prided herself on knowing the score. But now she finds herself backed into a corner. After a hustle gone dangerously wrong, her mother, Marlene, is sliding into an abyss of alcoholic depression, spending her days fantasizing aloud about death--a goal Sammie is tempted to help her accomplish. Horrified by the appeal of this, Sammie packs a bag and leaves her mother to her own devices. With her father missing in action, she has nowhere else to go but the home of a friend with 2 parents who seem to actually love their daughter and each other--and who awkwardly try to extend some semblance of family to Sammie. Throughout a long summer of crisis among the normals, Sammie is torn between her longing for the approval of the con-man father she was named for and her desire for the "weird, spearmint-fresh feeling" of life in the straight world. Sammie wants to be normal but fears that where she comes from makes that beyond the realm of possibility. One Good Hustle chronicles 2 months in Sammie Bell's struggle with her dread that she is somehow doomed genetically to be just another hustler.

Annabel Lyon for her novel The Sweet Girl, published by Random House Canada
Pythias is her father's daughter, with eyes his exact shade of unlovely, intelligent grey. A slave to his own curiosity and intellect, Aristotle has never been able to resist wit in another--even in a girl child who should be content with the kitchen, the loom and a life dictated by the womb. And oh his little Pytho is smart, able to best his own students in debate and match wits with a roomful of Athenian philosophers. Is she a freak or a harbinger of what women can really be? Pythias must suffer that argument, but she is also (mostly) secure in her father's regard. But then Alexander dies a thousand miles from Athens, and sentiment turns against anyone associated with him, most especially his famous Macedonian-born teacher. Aristotle and his family are forced to flee to Chalcis, a garrison town. Ailing, mourning and broken in spirit, Aristotle soon dies. And his orphaned daughter, only 16, finds out that the world is a place of superstition, not logic, and that a girl can be played upon by gods and goddesses, as much as by grown men and women. To safely journey to a place in which she can be everything she truly is, Aristotle's daughter will need every ounce of wit she possesses, but also grace and the capacity to love.

Alix Ohlin for her novel Inside, published by House of Anansi Press
When Grace, a highly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man in the snowy woods who has failed to hang himself, her instinct to help immediately kicks in. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. At the same time, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace's ex-husband, a therapist as well, leaves the woman he's desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With a razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the manifold dangers and imperatives of making ourselves available to, and indeed responsible for, those dearest to us.

Katrina Onstad for her novel Everybody Has Everything, published by McClelland & Stewart/Emblem
Combining a pitch-perfect, whip-smart dissection of contemporary urban life with a fresh and perceptive examination of our individual and collective ambivalence towards parenthood, Katrina Onstad's Everbody Has Everything balances tragedy and comedy with verve and flair, and is destined to be one of Canada's most talked-about novels of 2012.   What happens when the tidy, prosperous life of an urban couple is turned inside out by a tragedy with unexpected consequences? After a car crash leaves their friend Marcus dead and his wife Sarah in a coma, Ana and James are shocked to discover that they have become the legal guardians of a 2½-year-old, Finn. Finn's crash-landing in their lives throws into high relief deeply rooted, and sometimes long-hidden, truths about themselves, both individually and as a couple. Several chaotic, poignant, and life-changing weeks as a most unusual family give rise to an often unasked question: Can everyone be a parent?

CS Richardson for his novel The Emperor of Paris, published by Doubleday Canada
Like his father before him, Octavio runs the Notre-Dame bakery, and knows the secret recipe for the perfect Parisian baguette. But, also like his father, Octavio has never mastered the art of reading and his only knowledge of the world beyond the bakery door comes from his own imagination. Just a few streets away, Isabeau works out of sight in the basement of the Louvre, trying to forget her disfigured beauty by losing herself in the paintings she restores and the stories she reads. The two might never have met, but for a curious chain of coincidences involving a mysterious traveller, an impoverished painter, a jaded bookseller, and a book of fairytales, lost and found . . .

Nancy Richler for her novel The Imposter Bride, published by HarperCollins Canada
When a young, enigmatic woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she left and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know.

Kim Thúy for her novel Ru, translated by Sheila Fischman, published by Random House Canada
A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim Thúy's Governor General's Literary Award-winning Ru is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland. Ru. In Vietnamese it means lullaby; in French it is a small stream, but also signifies a flow - of tears, blood, money. Kim Thúy's Ru is literature at its most crystalline: the flow of a life on the tides of unrest and on to more peaceful waters. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec. There, the young girl feels the embrace of a new community, and revels in the chance to be part of the American Dream. As an adult, the waters become rough again: now a mother of two sons, she must learn to shape her love around the younger boy's autism. Moving seamlessly from past to present, from history to memory and back again, Ru is a book that celebrates life in all its wonder: its moments of beauty and sensuality, brutality and sorrow, comfort and comedy.

Russell Wangersky for his short story collection Whirl Away, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
From critically acclaimed and award-winning writer, Russell Wangersky, comes a new collection of short fiction. Everyone has something they're good at: one particular personal skill that they use to keep their lives moving forward when their worlds suddenly become difficult or near-impossible. For some, it's denial; for others, blunt pragmatism. Still others depend on an over-inflated view of self to keep criticism and doubt at bay. In his new short story collection, Whirl Away , Russell Wangersky-author of critically-acclaimed fiction and non-fiction including The Glass Harmonica, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself and The Hour of Bad Decisions - looks at what happens when people's personal coping skills go awry. These are people who discover their anchor-chain has broken: characters safe in the world of self-deception or even selfdelusion, forced to face the fact that their main line of defense has become their greatest weakness. From the caretaker of a prairie amusement park to the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, from a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road to an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage while sensuously burying himself in the tastes and smells of the kitchen, these are people who spin wildly out of control, finding themselves in a new and different world