I know I am Precious and Sacred by Debora Abood

preciousI came upon this book by accident, while searching for something else. But, as you all probably know, many of the best things in life come as a surprise and turn out to be completely different from what we were initially looking for. When I saw this picture book, the title got hold of my attention and I started reading it. Inside, there is a powerful voice that is telling a child (or you, as a reader) as to why everyone is special and precious. The many reasons why every child and every being is unique and valuable are shared through a strong and flowing verse. This beautiful poetic language is accompanied by gorgeous, photography. The combination of the two gives this book a breath and a heart beat (the latter one is like a steady beat of a mini drum). Highly recommend this First Nations picture book to anyone who wants to empower a child (or anyone else!). The book is all about self-confidence, respect for others, and appreciation of life. (Submitted by Mariya)

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The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

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As a mystery reader and audiobook fan, I love it when both combine to create the perfect literary experience. The Keeper of Lost Causes, and other works by Jussi Adler-Olsen, are available in four formats but I highly recommend the audio narrated by Erik Davies. The Keeper of Lost Causes introduces Carl Morck, a crusty Danish cop who’s recovering from a brutal shootout  that has left one of his partners dead and the other paralyzed. Unpopular with his peers, Carl is assigned to lead the newly created Department Q in Copenhagen to work on cold cases. There he battles his superiors, his guilt, personal life, and the complex, years-old case involving the disappearance of a young female politician.

All the characters, from the victim to Morck and his quirky team, quickly develop into people you want to know more about. None disappoint as they lead you through a satisfying plot to a knuckle-whitening conclusion. The great news is that there are more titles in this series, all equally as enthralling. (Submitted by Pippa)

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Circe by Madeline Miller

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I am not a Greek mythology buff by any stretch of the imagination, so you can understand my reluctance to pick up this book about the Greek goddess Circe, daughter of Helios (the Sun God).  Much to my surprise however, Madeline Miller’s Circe was completely accessible. I thought, oh boy I’m going to get confused with all the long Greek mythology names and places, but I did not have any issues at all with it. In fact, I could not put the book down and would rush home just so I could keep reading it. I wanted to keep going but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end! This is a fantastic epic about a forgotten Goddess, who truly deserves this homage. Circe is the Goddess of magic who turns men into pigs. What more do you need to know? This book delves into a wonderfully constructed backstory with cameos by some of your favourite Greek gods and goddesses. Without a doubt, Circe is a spellbinding read! (Submitted by Alan)

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Solanin by Inio Asano

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Solanin is a young adult manga written by Inio Asano.  First written in 2006, it has been reprinted last year with an additional epilogue.  Solanin is a critically acclaimed manga that depicts the lives of twenty-something millennials living in Japan.  The characters in the book have recently graduated from college and are attempting to find themselves and their place within Japanese society.  The prescient ennui of fretting by the characters for their futures within Japanese society permeates this manga.  The characters battle between what is expected of them by society and what they feel they should be doing with their lives.  At first the protagonists feel the choice is binary; either they should grow up and get jobs or drop out and fulfill their passion for music.  By the end of the manga we have observed the character’s growth through personal loss and see them triumph over the need to feel alive because they have recognized that their daily actions do have meaning. (Submitted by Shane)

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The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

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You think you are getting a light, ‘fast read’ kind of book when you first pick this one up, especially at the start, but once you get into it, the themes that emerge can be thought provoking. Loss is the main premise and the author gives it to us in many angles, of a child, a parent, a marriage. Even if you think this description sounds depressing, I feel Monica Wood has handled all of this with a gentle hand and humour. This book was recommended to me and I’m definitely going to recommend it to others. (Submitted by Renee)

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The Dry by Jane Harper

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The Dry is Jane Harper’s debut novel, set in a remote rural town in Australia. Immediately the story has an atmosphere radiating heat, tension and small-town secrets. It introduces Federal Agent Aaron Falk who was run out of town as a teen, returning to attend the funeral of his estranged best friend who’s killed his wife and son in a murder-suicide. I found myself engrossed in the town’s colourful residents, their past and their current tensions as they struggle in the grip of a severe drought that’s bringing their lives to the brink of ruin. Rich in Australian culture and interesting characters, it was hard to put the book down and the ending was both a surprise and a satisfying resolution. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery or is into Liane Moriarty’s novels. (Submitted by Pippa)

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The Quiet by Anne-Marie Turza

AN-TurzaTheQuiet_NEW COVER OPTIONSAnne Marie Turza’s debut collection of poetry uses language to hint at what is beyond language. For instance, the poet uses the image of moths with button holes sewn to their wings noting they are “drawn not to the bulb, but to the/ darkness beyond just beyond it, the darkness that light intensifies.” This is not unlike what it is like to read the book: the, vivid imagery—which pulls in language from science, myth and Russian literature—is entrancing, and one finds oneself drawn back to it. Sleep is a theme throughout the book but the pervading mood is not at all dreamy; rather an insomniac logic defines a poetic world where sleep is an industry, comes in snippets and is itself a foreign language that the poet does not understand. The book is divided into five sections, with sections about The Quiet placed at the beginning middle and the end of the book. The nature of the quiet is unfolded in zen-like passages that rest as little self-contained boxes on the page. The reader is told repeatedly what the quiet is “not unlike” and thus it becomes easier to say what the quiet is not, rather than what it is. The quiet surrounds the book’s two other sections, Not Mine, Not Anyone’s and Other Buzzing Passages. In these, carefully crafted prose poems composed of exquisite vivid sentences alternate with lined poems. While there is no obvious reference to the quiet, the theology of the quiet pervades these sections. It is here that the speaker makes reference to a god (like the quiet never capitalized within the text) who is similarly elusive, who is “leaving,/ leave snow to be snow/ of what kinds/of its kinds.// Snow of lit vestibules/Snow shadowed with algebra.”). This deity belongs to no-one, is in charge of “untrue colours” and “conditional tenses. The book is meticulously crafted. Despite the lack of obvious narrative structure, each poem is linked to the one before it, creating a coherent whole. (Submitted by Jennifer Z.)

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