The Christmas Secret follows Alex Hyde, a business coach with an impeccable reputation. At the beginning of the novel she is hired by a fellow business partner of Lochlan Burr’s to help with employee relations and to improve business culture. It’s too bad that Lochlan, the person Alex received a complaint about and was hired to help, doesn’t want to have anything to do with her or her business coaching tactics. Opposites attract, in this heart-warming romance by bestselling author Karen Swan. Alex must earn the trust of Lochlan if she is to successfully finish the job she was hired for.
As Alex begins her work at the company she must discover who she can trust, as not everything is as it first appears. Will Alex be able to navigate political tensions and discover what is truly going on at the centre of the company without shattering her heart in the process? Swan delivers an enticing and enjoyable story which is bound to captivate the reader throughout. She also manages to enthrall the reader with many well-timed and well-imagined plot twists.
Although this novel has a romance at the heart, it also focuses on the Scottish whiskey trade, and the sacrifices people sometimes make for family business. It also shows how traumatic experiences in a person’s childhood can influence a person’s life into adulthood. With unforgettable characters and many differing perspectives, Swan caters to many different reading interests, and will leave the reader craving more.
A Man Called Ove is a charming debut novel by Fredrik Backman, originally published in 2012 under the Swedish title En man som heter Ove. The English version climbed its way onto the New York Times Best Seller list 18 months after publication, where it stayed on the list for 42 weeks. By 2015, an award winning Swedish film of the same title was produced.
The story is about a man, named Ove, who has a tendency to complain about anything and everything. He is the angry neighbour who gets grumpier with age, but behind this grouchy exterior is sadness and a heart of gold. This is a story about Ove and the connections he makes despite his difficult personality.
I found the movie portrayed Ove exactly as I imagined him. Just when you think his character is too irritable, something happens to warm your heart. The book slowly reveals Ove’s story, and once you get to know him you can’t help but develop a sense of admiration for the warm and honorable man he is. We get to learn that while the world is black and white to Ove, his wife was ‘colour’. We learn that she was his anchor and after losing her, he loses all will to live. Despite the dark undertones, the humorous plot and meaningful connections Ove builds with his neighbours creates a rather uplifting story.
At times, the movie felt heavier than the book as it lacks Ove’s narration. The movie provides an outside perspective of Ove’s acts of kindness and interactions, while the book offers Ove’s skewed and humorous view of the world which develops a deeper understanding of his heart. Despite this difference, both the book and movie are brilliant.
The story is full of love, sorrow, and laugh-out-loud humour. The movie transports you into a whimsical world with a charming setting, while the book offers deeper insights into the man called Ove.
Click here to stream the movie from the comfort of your home, or request the DVD here.
If you want to check out the book, get a print copy here or listen to the audiobook here.
- Laura A., Information Services
What We're Watching
directed by Tomas Alfredson
The Snowman, based on the novel of the same name by Jo Nesbo, is a crime thriller set in Oslo, Norway. Michael Fassbender plays Harry Hole (yes, that’s really his name), a well-known police detective who is struggling with alcohol issues. When a new addition to the force, Katrine (played by Rebecca Ferguson), enlists his help with the case of a missing woman, they find some similarities to an old case in another city. As they investigate, the killer’s attention starts to turn on them.
This movie feels like it should be a decent entry in the genre, but it never winds up that way. I’m all for the idea that you don’t have to explain every little thing to the audience, but there are a lot of things missed in this one. Story lines aren’t followed through to completion, and there are gaps in the narrative. It leaves the viewer wondering what’s going on, and not in a “whodunit” kind of way. My biggest complaint concerns the end of the film. As in most films of this type, the detective is put into a one-on-one situation with the killer. And while the author/director attempts to use the setting (a cold and snowy frozen lake) to make the conflict more intriguing, the final showdown is almost laugh-out-loud bad. It's a pretty forgettable film.
In a nutshell: The Snowman is a poorly executed crime thriller; its wildly uneven storytelling doesn’t quite make sense, and has a laughable conclusion.
Did you know admission to the KW Art Gallery is free? Or that the gallery frequently offers free programs and events? If you haven’t been there before or haven’t visited in a while, there’s amazing upcoming offerings to satisfy a wide array of ages and interests. Better yet, plan your visit to accompany a trip to Central Library!
Explore the Gallery with your little ones and their supervised older siblings, and engage in adult conversation as our Artist Educator leads a tour of our current exhibitions. Visitors are invited to drop-in from 9:30 – 11:30 am; a casual guided tour of our current exhibitions is offered between 10 – 11 am. FREE.
Join co-curators Jennifer Bullock and Linda Perez for a free walk-through and discussion of the works and themes found in the Permanent Collection exhibition Storylines - The Long and the Short of it. FREE.
- Kristin, Information Services
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
Good science fiction can weave strange and beautiful narratives, which broaden your perspective on a topic. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, is a classic example of a novel which stays relevant to this day, as it explores the meaning of being human in an age of limitless technological advances.
Often people want to read the novel after watching the cult classic movie Blade Runner, which loosely follows the novel. However, I find the aspects of the novel that Ridley Scott left out of the movie are in fact the most intriguing and thought-provoking. Imagine an Earth where nuclear fallout has pushed the healthy and wealthy off planet and the mark of wealth on the planet is a living breathing pet. People use Penfield mood organs to alter the state of their emotions, and the Mercerism religion uses empathy boxes to connect people to a virtual reality based on communal suffering.
Enter Rick Deckerd, a man whose bounty hunter job requires him to hunt down and eliminate androids, obsessed with upgrading from an electric sheep to an organic pet. Throughout the novel, Deckerd contemplates the morality of hunting androids, his own status as a human, the nature of the technology-based Mercerism religion, and finally an understanding of true empathy. While Deckerd’s story is interesting, side characters like Rachael Rosen, Phil Resch, and Pris Stratton are far more compelling and often leave you guessing if they are android or human...or if the question truly matters at all.
For the science fiction fan, this winding, atmospheric tale is a necessary addition to your classics reading list. To find out if those android sheep are dreaming, click here.
- Amanda, Information Services
Kitchener Public Library 85 Queen St. North Kitchener, Ontario N2H2H1 519-743-0271 http://www.kpl.org/