Jane Harper’s first book, The Dry, took us into the punishingly hot Australian outback. Now, Detective Aaron Falk and his new partner, Carmen, are sent into the heavy, close, jungle-like Giralang Mountain Ranges.
Alice Russell, one of five women on a corporate team-building trail retreat, has disappeared. Tensions between the returning survivors are high, and Aaron and Carmen must get to the bottom of what happened – as well as hope to find Alice in a race against time and nature.
I can’t convey how excellent Harper is at creating tension and atmosphere, and I can’t convey how masterfully she balances the mystery with a sense of simmering tension. I should also mention that each of her mysteries is impressively real. The situation and characters (and detectives!) all feel natural and organic – nothing far-fetched to be found.
Engaging, human mystery with a real sense of pervasive danger set against nature’s stunning (and vicious) backdrop – this should be on your reading list. (Submitted by Veronica)
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A beautifully, sparely written novel about a young man and his estranged father, who find themselves on a final walk together. Franklin Starlight, an Ojibway teenager, knows next to nothing about his family, or his past. Along comes (returns) Eldon, his alcoholic absentee father, who takes Franklin on a last “medicine walk” to try and reconnect and finally share Frank’s history.
This was so beautiful. There are no saccharine, overtly emotional scenes. Richard Wagamese writes with careful expertise, and we share so much with these two characters without having too much unneccesary actual dialogue. Nature plays a great and important role, calming and vast, giving the Starlight men a world to disappear into.
This is a story about making mistakes, finding forgiveness, and moving on. There are no pleading excuses from Eldon, no righteous speeches from Frank. The themes of loyalty, family, love, and finding peace within yourself are all here, and explored beautifully. I look forward to reading more of Wagamese’s titles. (Submitted by Veronica)
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If you’ve read Active Vancouver by Roy Jantzen, I am sure you would agree with me that the author put his heart and soul into the book. It’s a perfect reference guide for any Lower Mainland resident or visitor who enjoys outdoors and is looking for a new place to explore. The book is finely written, with warmth and humour, and superbly organized. You can read about or search for an outing depending on: type of activity (hiking, biking, walking, kayaking), difficulty level, distance, transit accessibility, location, or type of participants (children, teens, seniors). The author provides excellent practical advice as to how to be safe, bring the right gear, and enjoy any park visit to its fullest. The historical and ecological insights give the book a unique flavour and make an outdoor adventure more relatable, more fascinating. (Submitted by Mariya)
Would you like to meet Roy Jantzen, talk to him, and get an autograph? Surrey Libraries can help! On Wednesday, September 27th, 6:30pm-8:30pm, there will be an event happening at the Guildford Library called – Authors Among Us. Roy Jantzen will be joining other local authors in our panel discussion. If you would like to attend this event, please, call 604-598-7360 to register. Event is free!
Enjoyed reading this book of nonfiction, which has three story-lines. The first storyline involves the author’s lifelong fascination with the sport of falconry, and how she comes to own and train a goshawk named Mabel. The book is also a memoir of grief: MacDonald makes the decision to purchase and train Mabel as she deals with the sudden death of her father, which leaves her lost and unmoored. Yet another storyline is a sort of mini-biography of TH White, the author best known for writing The Once and Future King and The Sword in the Stone. As well as these Arthurian novels, White wrote a work of non-fiction titled The Goshawk about trying and ultimately failing to train a hawk. MacDonald writes about White’s tortured life, and how his own struggles and shortcomings impacted his efforts to train his hawk. You’ll enjoy this if you like literary fiction or non-fiction, memoirs, or well-written nature writing. (Submitted by David)
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I absolutely loved Mark Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive. This book won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2015 and it deserves all of it’s accolades. Dr. Winston is a bee scientist and a professor at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue. His writing on the topic of bees, sustainability, environment, food, science, history, and art flows seamlessly. I’ve always known that bees are remarkable and a valuable part of the ecosystems that make Earth function as a planet, but I never knew quite how valuable. This was a fascinating exploration of a topic that is more timely than ever as the environmental changes to our planet accelerate.
You have a chance to meet Dr. Winston in person at Honey, Hives, & Poetry in Surrey on Tues, March 15 at 7pm at City Centre Library. He will be joined by Surrey Poet Laureate Renee Sarojini Saklikar, Surrey poet Heidi Greco, and the Surrey Beekeepers Association. Black Bond Books will have books for sale. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot. (Submitted by Meghan)
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In The World Before Us
by Aislinn Hunter, we meet Jane Standen, an archivist for a small London museum who is haunted by her past. When she was 15 years old, she lost sight of the 5-year-old girl who she was babysitting for only a few minutes during an adventure in the forest, and the young girl was never seen again. Now, she’s researching the similar disappearance of a woman from a mental asylum 125 years ago as part of her archival work. Hunter weaves past and present in this story of loss. I’d never read anything quite like this book–it was nostalgic and grief-stricken, but hopeful and poetic. It was historical fiction, suspense, and a ghost story all wrapped up in one. A book to be slowly devoured over a cup of tea. (Submitted by Meghan).
Aislinn’s book has been selected for KPU Reads. Meet Aislinn in person at Semiahmoo Library on Thursday, March 10 at 7pm. Call 604-592-6908 to save your spot.
Join Aislinn for a writing workshop, “Creating a Real World: 10 Tips for Writing Great Fiction,” at Write Here, Read Now on Sat, April 12 at City Centre Library from 10:15-11:45am. Call 604-598-7426 to save your spot.
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In February 1959, nine experience mountaineers trekked into the Russian Ural Mountains on a multi-day wilderness trip during a break from university. They never returned. Their bodies were found miles from their tent in separate groupings. None of them were wearing shoes. Some bodies demonstrated evidence of a blunt force. One’s tongue was missing and one piece of clothing had high levels of radiation. What happened to the group has been a mystery for decades. American writer Donnie Eichar became obsessed with finding out the story. This book is the culmination of his research, interviews, and personal trek to follow in their footsteps. I found it a fascinating, terrifying journey into the unknown and a stark reminder of the dangers that lurk in the wilderness. A chilling tale that woke me from my sleep with a feeling of isolating anxiety-this was the perfect book to curl up with when you are safely indoors on a cold, winter evening. (Submitted by Meghan).
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