Anne DeGrace

COLUMN: Bingo! You win!

There are more books on my reading wish-list than I’ll get to in my lifetime. If it’s daunting, it’s also an embarrassment of riches.

There are more books on my reading wish-list than I’ll get to in my lifetime. If it’s daunting, it’s also an embarrassment of riches. How lucky am I to be able to read whatever book I choose! And so in the spirit of good reading and the lists to which we aspire, this column is about the books you’ve suggested, the books we’ve suggested, and the books you might find yourself reading when you play Book Bingo! with your library in the new year.

In our new cookbook Pairings, we asked the chefs of Nelson for their favourite recipes and books, resulting in a wonderfully eclectic culinary and literary collection. In celebration of our lovely new publication we offered a chance to win a copy by telling us about the book that lit up your life.

And you did.

Both kids and adults told us about unforgettable children’s books such as The Giver by Lois Lowry, C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, and of course Winnie the Pooh. Lois wrote “Last year when I was very ill I read a chapter a night. It was such a soothing, calming, delightful read that I felt if all was well with Christopher Robin and all the creatures of the 100 acre wood then all was well for me.”

It can be a matter of the right book at the right time that makes all the difference, especially if you’re a teen.Willa told us about This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl, and Nancy offered Forever by Mildred Cram, her “go-to book for a romantic story of unconditional love in life and death.”

For Mary, George Orwell’s 1984 “forever changed my perspective on government control,” and for Bonnie, TheSecond Sex by Simone de Beauvoir “opened my eyes to an idea that was just waiting to change my life: women’s liberation.”

Marcia loved The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks about the Sarajevo Haggadah, “the stories of the grains of sand, drops of wine, and bits found between the pages of the amazing illustrated and illuminated book.” This one’s now on my wish-list; I love books about books.

Alan’s grandmother read him A Flatiron for a Farthing by Juliana Horatia Ewing when he was a child in England,and it sparked a lifelong love of reading. “You will have to be getting ancient as I am to know what a flatiron was, or a farthing for that matter,” he says. “I have no idea now what it was about, but it got me started on the exploration of the real as well as the fictional world that books bring to us.”

A glutton for reading lists, I asked my colleagues for their best read in 2015. Like the disparate characters we are (in the best possible way), the list includes Cara’s recommendation of the sharply funny graphic novel and history send-up Step Aside, Pops! by Kate Beaton, and Helen’s choice, Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters,in which a bookstore clerk is “fascinated by what she finds inside the books the store receives, especially things like letters and postcards.”

From Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Heart Goes Last (thanks, Eva) to the Jacqueline Woodson’s poetic book for children Brown Girl Dreaming (thanks, Nancy), this list is a keeper.

Look for the full lists on our website at nelsonlibrary.ca, and in our newsletter, available at the circulation desk. And starting in the New Year, you can grow your own list by playing Book Bingo! Challenge yourself to step out of your reading norms, fill the lines on the bingo card, and win prizes.

Bingo! It’s going to be a great year for reading.

Anne DeGrace is the adult services coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every otherweek. For more information go to nelsonlibrary.ca.

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