Library staff offer their August picks

Catherine Coles
Coles Notes

The staff of the County of L&A Libraries are avid readers and always eager to share their most recent hits. Here we bring you a list of some of the reads we’ve enjoyed this month, which includes compelling titles of both fiction and non-fiction, and even a juvenile title about Andrew Carnegie – the ultimate library supporter.

Hopefully you’ll find something here that piques your interest!

Kristin suggests The Man Who Loved Libraries: The Story of Andrew Carnegie by Andrew Larsen

This is a beautiful tale that I think both children and adults alike will adore, as it teaches them about a generous man from the past who appreciated all that libraries can offer to people and their communities.

This book tells the story of Andrew Carnegie, who immigrated to America when he was a child with his family in the 1800s in search of a better life.

Once he was in the United States, this thoughtful and imaginative child grew into a hard-working man that took advantage of his opportunities which allowed him to become quite wealthy in a short amount of time.

Instead of keeping all his riches, Carnegie believed in sharing it with others, and one way he did this was by funding the construction of over 2,500 public libraries worldwide.

Reading about a man who was willing to donate his own money and time so that all of us would be able to feel the joy of borrowing books for free is incredibly inspiring.

Karen N. suggests The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben

In The Inner Life of Animals, Peter Wohlleben discusses the latest research on animal feelings and emotion.

He draws insights from multiple studies as well as from his personal experiences of the woodland where he has lived and worked for decades.

The book argues that animals’ inner lives are really not so different from our own. If you own a pet, are interested in psychology and neurology, or are an animal rights activist who could use some new arguments, then I suggest you try this book.

Marg suggests Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding

Her Pretty Face is a fast-paced, character-driven book by Robyn Harding who also wrote last year’s smash hit The Party. This book is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Frances and Daisy in the present day and of DJ who is relating occurrences from over 20 years ago.

Frances Metcalfe, a woman with very low self-esteem, has recently moved her young, challenging son to a private school called Forrester Academy. It is there that Frances meets and befriends confident, smart and beautiful Kate Randolph at a school function. Against all odds they become fast friends as do their sons.

Daisy, the other present day narrator, is Kate’s fourteen year old daughter. She suffers typical teenage angst and feels terribly alone and misunderstood. Eleven year old DJ comes into the story telling of the murder of his older sister years ago.

The killers, Amber Kunick and her domineering boyfriend Shane Nelson, were eventually brought to justice.

In a series of flashbacks we discover the chilling connection between all of these characters and learn that one of these women is really the convicted murderer Amber Kunick. This novel is rumoured to be loosely based on the Bernardo/Homolka serial killings in the early 1990s.

Andree suggests Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is based on a true story. During the Second World War,       Italian teenager Pino is sent to the Alps for safety. There a friend teaches him to drive and a priest recruits him to lead Jews out of occupied Italy to Switzerland.

Pino has many close calls which prompt his parents to call him home. They know boys are being drafted to the German Army and believe he will be safer if he enlists. Once he joins he is injured by a bomb. Temporarily unfit for duty he returns to Milan.

A chance encounter with General Leyers results in a job as the general’s driver. This role allows Pino to spy for the Allies. He leads a secret, dangerous life and witnesses many terrible acts carried out by the Fascists and the Nazis. Similar to the fantastic, fictional life of  Forrest Gump, Pino meets the Cardinal of Milan, Alberto Ascari a race car driver, Mussolini, and becomes friendly with an American war reporter. He always seems to be in the middle of the action making this an amazing, fast-paced story full of intrigue, danger and daring.

Patricia suggests The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown

This is Karma Brown’s latest heart wrenching novel. Lucy wakes up from a coma after falling and hitting her head and has lost all of her memories from the last four years.  Her brain has created memories that feel real but her doctors call false memories or honest lying.

Through therapy sessions along with the help of her friends and family, Lucy works to unravel the details of her life that seem scattered and broken. The fictitious memories seem very real, with Lucy being able to describe them down to exact details, but as she tries to recover her memories she begins to understand that though the memories are real, some may not be her own.

In the end Lucy must decide which life she wants to lead and who she really is.

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