The Book Club Hub – Local Authors

Book clubs offer a great opportunity for friends and book lovers to gather (whether virtually or in person) to catch up and discuss a good book. There’s only two problems with this activity and they seem to come up at every meeting: what book should the group read next and how do you find enough copies for everyone?

TBPL is here to help with our Book Club in a Bag service. Each bag includes 10 paperback copies of the same book, discussion questions for your group to ponder, author information, and book reviews. With over 200 different titles available, there is bound to be one that is the perfect next read for your group.

Visit our online catalogue to place holds on book club bags as well as individual copies of any of the books mentioned below. If you’re looking to view all of the book club bags available, simply click the link and search “book club bag”. Any Library patron can place a hold on a bag for pick up at any of our open branches. These bags are loaned out for 8 weeks, which gives you and your book club plenty of time to read and discuss.

Every month, a new set of book club titles will be highlighted in The Book Club Hub post. This month features novels written by local authors. As Canada Day celebrations are right around the corner, we here at The Book Club Hub wanted to celebrate talented and Canadian authors, but decided to take it one step closer to home and focus on four local authors. All of the authors featured in this month’s article have called Thunder Bay home at some point in their lives. Whether the authors were born here, grew up here or moved here later in life, each of these authors shares a connection with us and the streets we call home. The stories vary widely in topic, from struggles with Alzheimer’s to a job as a gravedigger. Here are this month’s selections:

If I Fall, If I Die – Michael Christie

A heartfelt and wondrous debut, by a supremely gifted and exciting new voice in fiction.

Will has never been to the outside, at least not since he can remember. And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who drowns in panic at the thought of opening the front door. Their little world comprises only the rooms in their home, each named for various exotic locales and filled with Will’s art projects. Soon the confines of his world close in on Will. Despite his mother’s protestations, Will ventures outside clad in a protective helmet and braces himself for danger. He eventually meets and befriends Jonah, a quiet boy who introduces Will to skateboarding. Will welcomes his new world with enthusiasm, his fears fading and his body hardening with each new bump, scrape, and fall. But life quickly gets complicated. When a local boy goes missing, Will and Jonah want to uncover what happened. They embark on an extraordinary adventure that pulls Will far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood and the dangers that everyday life offers.

If I Fall, if I Die is a remarkable debut full of dazzling prose, unforgettable characters, and a poignant and heartfelt depiction of coming of age.

In the Land of Long Fingernails – Charles Wilkins

During the hazy summer of 1969, Charles Wilkins, then a student at the University of Toronto, took a job as a gravedigger. The bizarre-but-true events of that time, including a midsummer gravediggers’ strike, the unearthing of a victim of an unsolved murder, and a little illegal boneshifting, play out amongst a Barnumesque parade of mavericks and misfits in this macabre and hilarious memoir of mortality, materialism, and the gradual coming-of age of an impressionable young man.

Reverberations: A Daughter’s Meditations on Alzheimer’s – Marion Agnew

Most people think Alzheimer’s Disease is the same as memory loss, if they think about it at all. But most people prefer to ignore it, hoping that if they ignore it hard enough, it will go away. That was certainly Marion Agnew’s hope, even after she knew her mother’s diagnosis. Yet, with her mother’s diagnosis, Marion’s world changed. Her mother ? a Queens and Harvard/Radcliffe-educated mathematician, a nuclear weapons researcher in Montreal during Word War II, an award-winning professor and researcher for five decades, wife of a history professor, and mother of five ? began drifting away from her. To keep hold of her, to remember her, she began paying attention, and began writing what she saw. She wrote as her mother became suspicious on outings, as she lost even the simplest of words, as she hallucinated, as she became frightened and agitated. But after her mother’s death, Marion wanted to honour the time of her mother’s life in which she had the disease, but she didn’t want the illness to dominate the relationship she’d had with her mother. This moving memoir looks at grief and family, at love and music. It is a coming-to-terms reflection on the endurance of love and family.

If Tenderness Be Gold – Eleanor Albanese

If Tenderness Be Gold is set in 19th-century and early 20th-century northern Ontario and Manitoba. An Irish mother, an Italian herbalist, and a Scottish midwife come together on the night of a difficult birth, and the result of their union has effects that echo through the generations.

Thunder Bay has been the home to many famous faces. There are many athletes, musicians, and artists, but we cannot forget the famous authors that have been a part of our community. Thunder Bay, while once two separate cities, has really come together and embraced our local talent, whether its with the growers at the Country Market, the makers at our craft shows, or the many delicious local restaurants to order from. We are a community that loves to acknowledge each other and the talent we possess here on Lake Superior, so consider adding a book by a local author to your book club’s lineup!

Not in a book club? No problem! These books are also available as single copies in our online catalogue.

Book descriptions via GoodReads

Lindsay – www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you

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