“Forgotten On the Shelves”: ‘Bellwether’ by Connie Willis

“Forgotten On the Shelves”: ‘Bellwether’ by Connie Willis

Those who are familiar only with Connie Willis‘ most recent works, the alternate history WWII novels Blackout and All Clear (both published in 2010), may be pleasantly surprised by her earlier novel Bellwether.  It’s short — only 243 pages long — and although readers have debated whether or not it’s really sf, it was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1997.  Set in the present-day of its publication …

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If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home

If Walls Could Talk:  An Intimate History of the Home

If Walls Could Talk:  An Intimate History of the Home

Lucy Worsley

Why did the flushing toilet take two centuries to catch on? Why did medieval people sleep sitting up? When were the two “dirty centuries”? Why did gas lighting cause Victorian ladies to faint?  Why, for centuries, did people fear fruit?  All these questions will be answered in this juicy, smelly and truly intimate history of home life.  Worsley takes us through the architectural history of …

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The Magicians

The Magicians

The Magicians

Lev Grossman

The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea.” – George R. R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones

Like everyone else, high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn’t real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York.  There he indulges in joys of college — friendship, love, sex, and booze — and receives …

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Ecological Science Fiction

Ecological Science Fiction

After reading about the new sf movie Snowpiercer  (based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige) and its class warfare confined to a thousand and one train cars running through the Earth’s final ice age, I was reminded of the long tradition of ecological sf.  From J. G. Ballard’s post-ecological apocalypses of the 1960s and Frank Herbert’s classic Dune through to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Capital Code Trilogy, sf writers have come …

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New Book Club Set: ‘The Orenda’ by Joseph Boyden

New Book Club Set: ‘The Orenda’ by Joseph Boyden

We have received a very generous donation from The Lakeside Readers of Sharbot Lake:  a Book Club Set of  The Orenda  by  Joseph Boyden.   Publisher’s Weekly‘s reviewer wrote: “Epic in scope, exquisite in execution, Boyden’s spellbinding third novel tells the story of the French conquest of Canada from the point of view of both the conquerors and the conquered.  Boyden, winner of the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize for 

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New Book Club Set: ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls

New Book Club Set: ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls

A group at Queen’s University has recently made us a generous donation of a Book Club Set of Jeannette Walls‘ 2006 memoir  The Glass Castle.  As this is our second Book Club Set of this title, we will house the older set downtown at the Central Library, and the new set at the Isabel Turner branch.

The reviewer for Publishers Weekly observed:  “Freelance writer Walls doesn’t pull her punches.  She opens her …

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Vienna Nocturne

Vienna Nocturne

Vienna Nocturne

Vivien Shotwell

If you loved Paula McLain’s The Paris Wife or Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank, you will enjoy Vivien Shotwell’s novel Vienna Nocturne.  Taking place in the late eighteenth century, this novel is a sweeping historical saga that tells of the love story between British opera singer Anna Storace and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  The language is beautiful and the author’s love of music shines through every page.

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Necromancy in Fantasy and Horror Fiction

Necromancy in Fantasy and Horror Fiction

Necromancy, the branch of magic which involves communication with the dead, has a respectable history in fantasy and horror fiction. In some stories the necromancer communicates with the disembodied spirits of the dead; other writers explore the practice of using magic to raise the dead in a physical form, which may allow for the power to control dead entities such as vampires or zombies. The fictional necromancer may use this ability for benign purposes, such …

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WWI Graves in Kingston-Frontenac

WWI Graves in Kingston-Frontenac

The following list was compiled by searching the Commonwealth War Graves database for references to Kingston and Frontenac County cemeteries, with results limited to WWI casualties and/or those who were buried between 1914 and 1921. Comments, corrections and additions are welcome, either in the Leave a comment field below, or through the contact form on the the KFPL webpage.

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(1)  An excellent resource is the book Kingston Volunteers : The Thing To …

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New Book Club Set: Hugh MacLennan’s ‘Two Solitudes’

New Book Club Set: Hugh MacLennan’s ‘Two Solitudes’

Thanks to a generous donation we have a new Book Club Set in our collection: the iconic Canadian novel  Two Solitudes, first published in 1945 by Hugh MacLennan.  This set was given in memory of Brenda Cioci, who had a passion for Canadian literature, by the members of her book club.  Many of us remember reading Two Solitudes in high school, but it’s a novel which stands the test of time …

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“Forgotten on the Shelves”: The True Game

“Forgotten on the Shelves”: The True Game

Sheri S. Tepper is now generally thought of as a feminist writer of sociological sf.  She’s also interested in environmental themes, particularly in human overpopulation.  She’s been criticized for a certain polemical strain in her writing, but even critics tend to find her characters compelling and her worldbuilding strong and original.  I enjoy reading each new novel as it’s published, and even when I disagree with her premise I find she makes me think.  But …

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Girls in trucks

Girls in trucks

Girls in trucks

Katie Crouch

Sarah Walters tries hard to follow the time-honoured customs of the Charleston Camellia Society but she can’t quite ignore the barbarism just beneath all that propriety, and as soon as she can she decamps South Carolina for a life in New York City. There she tries to make sense of city sophistication and to understand how much of her training applies to real life. When life’s complications become overwhelming, Sarah returns …

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