If you were at our Holiday Social on Dec. 3rd and chatted with our library staff, you probably know by now that we are a pretty diverse bunch. So what are we doing this holiday season when we are not:
Big surprise – we read!
We are happy to share with you our Second Annual Law Society Library Staff Holiday Reading List:
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep… They even built humans. Emigrants to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Breaking the Chains of Gravity: The Story of Spaceflight before NASA – NASA’s history is a familiar story, one that typically peaks with Neil Armstrong taking his small step on the Moon in 1969. But America’s space agency wasn’t created in a vacuum. It was assembled from pre-existing parts, drawing together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer… Breaking the Chains of Gravity tells the story of America’s nascent space program, its scientific advances, its personalities and the rivalries it caused between the various arms of the US military. At this point getting a man in space became a national imperative, leading to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, otherwise known as NASA.
Iron Curtain : The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 – In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. She draws on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time to portray in devastating detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief and took away everything they had accumulated. Today the Soviet Bloc is a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Applebaum captures in the electrifying pages of Iron Curtain.
Watch Me (Anjelica Houston) – A few years ago Angelica Houston released her memoir A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York , telling stories that span from her childhood in Ireland to her modeling days as a young twenty-something in New York. And, as a long-time fan, I thought it was so good but was left wanting more. The rest of the story. Well, I asked and I received in 2014 when Watch Me was released. While the turkey is roasting and house is quiet I’ll be dipping into this for the juicy Jack Nicolson gossip alone. Here’s what Amazon Has to say about it:
“In A Story Lately Told, Anjelica Huston described her enchanted childhood in Ireland and her glamorous but troubled late teens in London. That memoir of her early years ended when Anjelica stepped into Hollywood. In Watch Me, Huston tells the story of falling in love with Jack Nicholson and her adventurous, turbulent, high-profile, spirited seventeen-year relationship with him and his intoxicating circle of friends. She writes about learning the art and craft of acting, about her Academy Award-winning portrayal of Maerose Prizzi in Prizzi’s Honor, about her roles as Morticia Addams in the Addams Family films, Etheline Tenenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums and Lilly Dillon in The Grifters, and about her collaborations with many great directors, including Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Bob Rafelson, Francis Ford Coppola, and Stephen Frears. She movingly and beautifully writes about the death of her father, the legendary director John Huston, and her marriage to sculptor Robert Graham. She is candid, mischievous, warm, passionate, funny, and a superb storyteller.”
The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories (Dr. Seuss) – I don’t know about you but my favorite part of the holidays beside the never-ending trail of chocolaty treats is spending time with the family and most importantly seeing the little ones. Auntie is in there like a dirty shirt playing with toys, winding them up with sugar and sending them off to bed, but surely there’s always time for a bedtime story first. Dr. Seuss has always been a favorite and most likely embedded the love of puns and silliness in me from the get-go. So, let’s keep the silliness going with not one, but seven lost gems from the Dr. himself. From “The Bippolo Seed” (in which a scheming feline leads a duck toward a bad decision) to “Steak for Supper” (in which fantastic creatures follow a boy home in anticipation of a steak dinner) you and the littles will surely be entertained. The best part? These tongue twisters only get better after an Egg Nog or two.
Chronicle of the World – Hartmann Schedel’s Weltchronik, or Chronicle of the World, is better known today as the Nuremberg Chronicle, after the German city in which it was created. Both a historical reference work and a contemporary inventory of urban culture at the end of the 15th century, the Chronicle is a remarkable record of the cultural, ecclesiastical and intellectual history of the Middle Ages.
Taschen (publisher) procured a rare, hand-colored, early modern High German translation of the original Latin version and created a complete facsimile down to the yellowed and stained paper. The reproduction quality is superb. The book comes in a slipcase with a booklet (in English) summarizing the main stories.
I bought this book for the 1,800+ woodcut illustrations by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and possibly the young Albrecht Durer who apprenticed with Wolgemut until 1489. A full English translation of the original Latin edition (with images) is available online at Morse Library, Beloit College (Beloit, Wisconsin) website. But this is a book you want to hold in your hands, not to read on a screen.
The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection: Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction 2014. The Economist said this: “Mr Harris combs through what remains of our pre-internet lives, separating the things we will carry forward into the connected world from the worthy things we may leave behind.” I’m excited to read this little gem over the Christmas holidays and try to balance the season of excess with a little absence.
I came across the blog of a local Regina naturalist, Trevor Herriot, and it turns out he’s a multi-award winning author, including being short-listed for a Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction back in 2000 for a book called River in a Dry Land: a Prairie Passage. His most recent title, The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimage Through Nature, Desire, and Soul, came out last year, and I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy of it. HarperCollins describes it this way: “The Road Is How re-enchants our understanding of desire, spirit and nature. It offers believers and skeptics alike an illuminating look at how brief passages in our lives can help us find grace in the way we walk upon this good earth.”
Gargantua And Pantagruel – by François Rabelais, M.A. Screech (Foreword, Translator)
Canadian History For Dummies (2nd Edition) – by Will Ferguson
The 12 Screams of Christmas – by R. L. Stine
The Cuckoo’s Calling – When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost…
A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel from Robert Galbraith. – from robert-galbraith.com
Young, Brave and Beautiful – SOE agent Violette Szabó was one of the most incredible women who operated behind enemy lines during the Second World War. The daughter of an English father and French mother, and widow of a French army officer, she was daring and courageous, conducting sabotage missions, being embroiled in gun battles and battling betrayal. On her second mission she was captured by the Nazis, interrogated and tortured, then deported to Germany where she was eventually executed at Ravensbrück concentration camp. Violette was one of the first women ever to be awarded the George Cross, and her fascinating life has been immortalised in film and on the page. Written by her daughter, Young, Brave and Beautiful reveals the woman and mother behind this extraordinary hero. – from The History Press
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine – Mma Ramotswe, the proprietress of the No 1. Ladies’ Detective Agency delved into the past of a famous man whose reputation has been called into question, and to join forces with a new assistant detective (and part-time science teacher), Mr. Polopetsi. While ‘on holiday’ Mma Ramotswe also manages to help a young boy named Samuel in the search for his missing mother; and then of course there is the agency’s arch-enemy Violet Sephotho, scheming to set up a rival secretarial college. – from Alexander McCall Smith
Armada – Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.
And then he sees the flying saucer.
Wizard’s First Rule – The protective barrier that separates Westland from its neighbors to the east is about to fall, letting loose a monstrous evil upon the world. Only the combined efforts of a young man dedicated to finding the truth, an enigmatic woman intent on concealing her past, and a crusty old hermit resigned to his inevitable destiny can prevent the opening of the three boxes of Orden-an event with the potential to destroy existence itself. The inclusion of graphic scenes of sado-eroticism, though integral to the story, may deter purchase by some libraries. Nevertheless, this first novel offers an intriguing variant on the standard fantasy quest. The richly detailed world and complex characters will appeal to mature fantasy aficionados.