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June's Author of the Month: ALISON WEIR

Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 3:04pm

Alison Weir is the bestselling author of numerous historical biographies, including Elizabeth of York, Mary Boleyn, The Lady in the Tower, Mistress of the Monarchy, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. In her historical novels, she mixes fact mined from her biographical work. Using inspired guesses and invented episodes, she focuses on the interpersonal relationships of her characters and the outside events affecting them, while illustrating the political climate, from the English and French monarchs' complicated feudal ties to Henry's troubles with the church.

The author of numerous works of historical fiction (The Marriage Game, A Dangerous Inheritance, Captive Queen, The Lady Elizabeth, and Innocent Traitor) Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen is the third book in Weir's epic Six Tudor Queens series which tells the story of 25-year-old Jane Seymour who wants nothing more than to become a nun. But her ambitious father has forced her to live at court as lady-in-waiting to Queen Katherine of Aragon, a fellow Catholic whom she soon comes to love and admire. So Jane is appalled when King Henry shunts Katherine aside in his lustful pursuit of Anne Boleyn, but even more so when he takes Anne’s life in his rush to wed — Jane herself!

Unwilling to marry but terrified to resist Henry’s advances for fear she might share Anne’s fate, and propelled by her family, Jane becomes Queen of England a mere ten days after Anne’s execution. She knows she must produce a male heir without fail. Her very life depends on it. (Hardcover. $37.00. Ballantine. May)

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month, The Forks

May's Author of the Month: SIMON WINCHESTER

Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 2:03pm

Simon Winchester is a British writer, journalist and broadcaster who resides in the United States. Before his breakout book, The Professor and the Madman (1998), which chronicles the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, he reported on such significant events as Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal for The Guardian. With a string of nonfiction bestsellers behind him, he continues to write for travel publications that include Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic.

With an uncanny ability to deliver a fascinating read on a wide range of subjects, he turns his attention to the history of technology in his latest book, The Perfectionists, in which he argues the rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. Winchester takes us back to the origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia.

Along the way, he explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society? (Hardcover. $36.99. HarperCollins. May)

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month, The Forks

April's Author of the Month: LISA GENOVA

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018 at 5:19pm

Lisa Genova is an American neuroscientist and author who is best known for her debut novel, Still Alice, which introduced us to a woman who suffered from early onset Alzheimer's disease. Genova selfpublished this novel before it was picked up by Simon & Schuster in 2009 and found itself on the New York Times bestseller list for 59 weeks. Genova's next three novels, Left Neglected, Love Anthony, and Inside the O'Briens, all became New York Times bestsellers as well.

Genova began writing full-time in 2004 and is now known worldwide for her powerful fiction involving characters dealing with neurological disorders. She travels worldwide speaking about the neurological diseases she writes about and has appeared on many different television programs. Her TED talk, What You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's, has been viewed over 2 million times.

In Genova's latest novel, Every Note Played, our main character, Richard, has been transformed from an accomplished concert pianist who received standing ovations from audiences all over the world to an ALS sufferer dealing with encroaching paralysis. The loss of movement in his right arm feels like a death. He knows his left arm will go next.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, his ex-wife Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late. Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

March's Author of the Month: STEVEN PINKER

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2018 at 5:12pm

Montreal-born Steven Pinker is known not only as an author, scientist and Harvard professor, but also for his frequent participation in public debates surrounding the contributions of science to contemporary society. He has previously been selected as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and named as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers. He is also a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books.

In Enlightenment Now, Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom and instead follow the data. In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

In a book that presents us with the big picture of human progress, Pinker shows us that now more than ever, a vigorous defense of humanism is necessary. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature — tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking — which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

In an era of increasingly “dystopian rhetoric,” Pinker’s sober, lucid, and meticulously researched vision of human progress is heartening and important.

Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

February's Author of the Month: ALAN BRADLEY

Tuesday, Jan 02, 2018 at 11:36am

Alan Bradley was born in Toronto. After a long career in television broadcasting, he took early retirement from the University of Saskatchewan to write full-time. He has published many children’s stories and was the recipient of the first Saskatchewan Writers Guild Award for Children’s Literature. The first novel of his Flavia de Luce series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, won the 2007 Debut Dagger Award of the Crime Writers Association in the UK; the 2009 Agatha Award for Best First Novel; the 2010 Dilys, awarded by the International Mystery Booksellers Association; the Spotted Owl Award, given by the Friends of Mystery, and the 2010 Arthur Ellis Award, given by the Crime Writers of Canada for Best First Novel.

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Categories: Authors, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Author of the Month

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