Tag Archives: Books & Co.

Book review: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I finally did it folks, I jumped on the Hunger Games bandwagon.

Absolutely outstanding.

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded y twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. (The Hunger Games book jacket.)

A post-apocalyptic, dystopian tale beginning with the incredible, macabre The Hunger Games and ending with the shocking, appalling and encouragingly hopeful Mockingjay.

The Hunger Games trilogy is written from the (first person) perspective of heroine Katniss Everdeen, District Twelve candidate and champion of the seventy-fourth Hunger Games: a brutal fight-to-the-death between twenty-four children, televised for mandatory viewing by all citizens of Panam.  The sixteen-year-old daughter of Panam’s mining district finds her life turned upside down when her beloved young sister, Primrose (Prim), is chosen as Hunger Games tribute for their district.  Though wisely fearful of the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take Prim’s place in them without hesitation.

While intended for a young-adult (fourteen to twenty-two-year-olds, roughly) audience, The Hunger Games trilogy has something for everyone.  Collins has given us an opportunity to study the fall and subsequent recreation of her imagined society: a post-apocalyptic world where Nineteen Eighty-Four meets Lord of the Flies, with hints of A Brave New World.  If you take a look beyond the horror and gloom of cataclysmic themes, this series is about hope.  Here you have a collection of characters, surviving an unforgiving world, who are heaved into unimaginable trials.  The major players in these books – Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, Haymitch Abernathy and even Finnick Odair – travelled the road from innocence to experience.  Sure they had all witnessed cruelty, tragedy and tyranny, from the get-go, but they were also always distanced from it.  The Hunger Games changed that, for those directly involved in them and for those whose loved ones were directly involved in them.  All the same, they fought on.  Katniss, despite her inner turmoil, is an incredibly strong, capable and independent woman who did not give up and did not stop finding ways to thumb her nose at despotic Capitol even when she knew that such egregious insult could cost her her life.  Even Peeta, while suffering grievous injury, neither slowed nor backed down in the face of adversity.  In both of these character cases tucking tail and running would result in pain to their loved ones and would strengthen Capitol’s hold on the districts and their people.  Katniss, Peeta and their family and friends fought because they believed it would help.  They loved, they lost, they grieved and, ultimately, they hoped.  Not a bad lesson.

My only real objection in this series is static nature of several of Collins’s characters.  She spent a great deal of energy, understandably and rightly, on Katniss, so much so that some of her other principles felt a little hollow.  Most glaringly, and unfortunately, Peeta and Gale.  Where they should have been just as dynamic and sympathetic, they were a bit too “Edward and Jacob” for my liking.  Though inherently more valuable (and considerably better written), these men seemed to act as little more than love interests for Katniss (neither of whom she was terribly passionate about) or plot drivers.  Miss Everdeen stands in the ranks of Princess Cimorene and Hermione while Peeta and Gale stumble to keep up.  It’s a terrible shame, they have great potential.

All in all?  An amazing read.  I can’t recommend the series enough.  It makes a fabulous gift for your favourite reader or a wonderful treat for yourself!  Pick up a copy . . . at Books & Co.  Then have a soup and a Panini, or a muffin and a coffee.  And read.

PS. The Hunger Games is going to be released as a feature film this month (March 23, 2012)!

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This post brought to you by your friendly neighbourhood Kim “G-Unit” G: former Books & Co. bookster, current UNBC bookster and constant reader.
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Upcoming Events at Books and Co for November 16

It’s getting cold and snowy folks, but we’ve got hot concerts and events all month at Books & Co, Café Voltaire and ArtSpace.

This Friday, November 18, Café Voltaire is pleased to welcome Eric Tompkins to the stage for our Friday Night Mics series.  Eric, as most of you will know, is our usual host for our Friday Night Mics, but this week he takes to the stage (at 7:00 pm because of the Alex Cuba concert in ArtSpace at 8:00 pm) on his own for a selection of jazz and blues guitar classics.  This is an event not to be missed!

There’s still time to get tickets for Alex Cuba in ArtSpace for this Friday, November 18.  This hot latin concert will warm the cold night!  Tickets are available NOW (and only $30)!  Come in and pick them up so you don’t miss out on one of the most fantastic concerts of the fall!

On Saturday, November 19 at 2:00 pm in Café Voltaire, Phoenix Whylock will be launching her new short story collection The Good, The Bad and Everything Inbetween.  Her collection explores all aspects of the human condition and this young PG writer is going to be a voice to watch in the future!

And Ed Zaruk, is presenting the 3rd in his Writing 101 workshops at 2:00 pm on Saturday, November 19 in ArtSpaceDrop in for this week’s workshop: Developing Characters With Emotion and get some valuable tips on how to make your reader really care about you characters.  Each workshop is $15.

And on Sunday, November 20 at 3:30 pm in ArtSpace, we’ve got a special All Things Munsch storytime and crafternoon!  We’ll be celebrating the wonderful world of Robert Munsch (Robert Munsch not included) with stories and crafts including paper bag puppets for The Paper Bag Princess.  This event is open to kids of all ages so if you love Munsch, drop by!

On Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 pm in Café Voltaire, come in and see realtor extraordinaire Trevor Bolin explain how to Take Charge and Change Your Life Today!  Trevor’s new book explains how he reached the top of his industry and provides techniques and skills to help you reach the top 1% of you industry.

And on Thursday, November 24 at 7:00 pm, Café Voltaire is pleased to welcome PG’s Outdoor Pool Open Mic hosted by Prince George Poet Josh Massey!   There will be 10 slots available for readers and you’re invited to come in beach attire! Come early and enjoy some of the best Prince George’s literary scene has to offer!

On Saturday, November 26 at 11:00 am, author and paramedic Michael Burzek is back to sign copies of his fascinating look into emergency medicine, Blood on My Shirt.  Mike’s book is an intriguing look into freak accidents, bar fights and heart attacks and provides an honest, eye-opening snapshot of a day in the life of an EMT!

And we’ve got tickets for some hot concerts later in November too!  On Saturday, November 26 Smithers musician Mark Perry, will be in ArtSpace with his unique brand of folk and BC favorite, Jill Barber will be in ArtSpace on Sunday, November 27.  Come in for tickets to both of these soon, ‘cause they’re going fast.

Books & Co and Café Voltaire are very, very pleased to announce our first Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 11 at 8:00 am.  Bring in your little ones for a special breakfast of French Toast Fingers (with berries and whipped cream of course), Fruit Salad, Bacon and Punch (and Coffee for Mom and Dad) and a visit from Santa and his elves!  There will be a Christmasy storytime, a holiday sing-along, crafts and lots of opportunity to tell Santa what you’d like for Christmas (and to take pictures).  Your $10 ticket includes your breakfast, but hurry because tickets are limited and on sale now!

No time for holiday baking and tired of Costco trays?  Look no farther than Café Voltaire’s Holiday Goodies Trays! These freshly baked plates of holiday cheer are perfect for office parties and family get-togethers.  The trays come in a variety of sizes to suit any office or family event.  They are sure to bring a smile to even the grinchest Grinch! Drop in and pick up a menu right away!

And remember, if you’ve got a club, group or organization that needs a place to meet, Café Voltaire has the perfect atmosphere!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less), our blog and on our fantastic homepage!

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September 28th Up Coming Events Email

GOOD MORNING PRINCE GEORGE!

So, things are humming at Books & Co, Café Voltaire and Artspace!

This evening, (Wednesday, September 28 at 7:00 pm), historian and storyteller Lloyd Jeck will be in to talk about his new book British Columbia Trails Heading North, which tells the tales of BC pioneers who traveled from across the globe to settle throughout the north.  Come in for the personal details that bring our history to life.

Friday, September 30 is a big one!  Andrew Nikiforuk and Charlotte Gill are going to be in Artspace at 7:30 pm to talk about their books Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests and Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe and give us some insight into what happening in the forests around BC.  If you want to know what happened to all of the pine and spruce and why the bark beetles ran rampant through our forests, you will not want to miss this event!

Remember Nitty-Gritty Non-Fiction Book Clubbers: This month’s pick is Empire of the Beetle and we’ll be meeting an hour before the event starts to discuss the book and then head on up to Artspace to listen to Andrew Nikiforuk talk about the ideas we’ll have just been discussing!

And at 8:00 pm, in Café Voltaire, our Friday night just keeps getting better!  Raghu Lokanathan is back with his particular brand of musical genius!  Come in for a concert by a certified Prince George musical celebrity and enjoy his gritty, achingly beautiful songs.

Saturday, October 1st we’ve got another musical treat!  Kate Reid will be in Artspace at 8:00 pm for the CD Launch of Doing It For The Chicks.  Her often funny, sometimes tragic folk-roots music has earned her accolades from across the country and we’re excited she’s stopping by Artspace to share the launch of her fantastic new album with US!  You’ve still got time to pick up advance tickets for $12, and as always tickets will be available at the door ($15).

Monday, October 3 (at 7:00 pm) is the beginning of Prince George’s New Favorite Evening: Three Minutes and a Microphone: Literary Karaoke at Café Voltaire!  For the Café Voltaire debut of literary karaoke – a fantastic idea borrowed from the amazing Word Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY –  Books & Company and Café Voltaire invite you to share a portion of your favorite debut work!  It can be a particularly stirring passage from a novel, play, short story or poetry collection by an author who has international renown or is almost unknown. You’ve got 3 minutes, a mic and an audience to entertain! What Will You READ! For more information please contact Nicole at booksandcompanyevents@gmail.com or 250-653-6637

And last but certainly not least, Barbara Stewart¸ will be in Cafe Voltaire on Tuesday, October 4 at 7:00 pm, to read from and sign copies of her book, Campie.  What’s it like to be the lowest rung on the big oil ladder?  A view from the bottom of the oil barrel into work-camp culture, Campie is an entertaining, compelling account of how an ordinary person survives when things fall apart and there’s no “eat pray love” holiday to put them back together.

Stay tuned here for event info on events with Stan Chung (Global Citizen), and Wayne Johnston (A World Elsewhere, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams)!

Also, tickets are currently available for concerts with Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard (October 13) and Roy Forbes (October 21st)

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less), our blog and on our fantastic homepage!

 

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September 9 – Upcoming Events Email!

To Prince George and beyond,

This Friday (September 9th) evening Books & Co. and Café Voltaire are proud to announce that Prince George’s very own Karl Standeven will take the Friday Night Mics stage at 8pm!  This singing and song-writing Blues guitarist is bound to knock your socks off!  Please c’mon down to the café, grab a coffee and a seat and take in this absolutely free performance by one of PG’s finest!

Retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Charles Scheideman is proud to announce the printing of a sequel to his wildly popular Policing the Fringe: The Curious Life of a Small-Town Mountie!  His new book Tragedy on Jackass Mountain: More Stories from a Small-Town Mountie is chalk full of the same wry humour and irresistible small-town-Canada stories you loved in Policing the Fringe!  Better yet – Scheideman is visiting Books & Co. at 2pm on Saturday September 10th to chat with you, swap shop talk, read from his new book and sign your dog-earred copies of his books!  See you there!

Come down to Café Voltaire Tuesday September 13th at 6pm and join members of the Prince George Safe Water Coalition as they come together for a Safe Water Panel to discuss water safety in Prince George and its mighty region.

The very next day, Wednesday September 14th, we are hosting another epic instalment of Café Scientifique!  Come down to the shop for 7pm for a scientifique discussion (we have not been advised of the topic yet, but we’re sure it’s going to be fabulous . . . and we’ll let you know as soon as we do)!

Your favourite Booksters have something very special planned for you and your family on Sunday September 18th at 2pm!  Come down to the shop for the Roald Dahl Day Peach Party!  Did you know that James and the Giant Peach was first published 50 years ago!?  Join us for a reading from that epic young adult novel and stay to play and make new monsters like those that menace your beloved Dahl heroes!  AND!  Your monster masterpieces will be posted and strung all around Books & Co. to strike fear into the hearts of customers and staff alike . . . or you can take them home to play and scare the wits out of your siblings, parents and friends!  This is going to be a super fun (and free) event – please c’mon down!

Oh family, friends and fans – we have some amazing musical acts lined up for you in the coming weeks!  We’re starting on September 21st at 8pm with “one of the major talents of our time” Garnet Rogers (tickets are $20 and available now at Books & Co.)!  Then, on October 13th at 8pm, we are so excited to present Canadian greats Valdy & Gary Fjellgaard (so excited – how many times have you walked passed the Books & Co. counter and saw your favourite Booksters singing along to VLT?  Too many to count – you’re absolutely right) – tickets for this event are $25 each and also available now!  Finally, on October 21st at 8pm, Canadian musical juggernaut Roy Forbes is returning to the Artspace stage!  That’s right, we have tickets for that show available for you now for $25 each!

Please join us in welcoming local wordsmith Vivien Lougheed to the Artspace stage as she launches her new book Sidetracked: The Struggle for BC’s Fossils from 7-10pm on Thursday September 22nd!  On her visit, Vivien will talk about this thrilling new book in which she “tells the fascinating tale of the [Monroe Dinosaur Trackway]’s discovery and, in the telling, weaves in stories of other major fossil finds in British Columbia and across North America, many of which demonstrate how egos, turf wars and a lack of resources diminish the science of palaeontology.”  Exhilarating indeed!  You do not want to miss this event!

From 7-10pm on Friday, September 23rd the contributing authors of British Columbia’s Inland Rainforest: Ecology, Conservation and Management will be at Artspace for an evening celebrating the paperback edition of their landmark book and they want you to join them!  Please come up to Artspace and meet the authors of this exciting book, which “illuminates the unique ecology of BC’s other rainforest, the one 500km inland, and provides  insight into the physical, social and ecological dimensions of the rainforest.”

Books & Co. is very proud to announce the birth (so to speak) of another new project of our own!  We have a brand new book club for all of the new parents in the crowd!  The Shhhh, Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) Reading book club has been designed for new parents who need to get out of the house to chit-chat about new literature and who are curious about new titles their new little bundles of joy would enjoy listening to just before bedtime!  While the books discussed won’t just be about babies and parenting, we may just throw one or two in for fun!  Our inaugural meeting is scheduled for Monday September 26th at 10am in Café Voltaire, where the books The Help by Katherin Stockett and Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin will be discussed.  Please come out and socialize over books, coffee and scones with us!

We have another author event for you!  At 7pm on Friday September 30th please join us in Artspace for a visit from Andrew Nikiforuk and Charlotte Gill as they give a reading from their books Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests and Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe!  Very poignant, very timely subject matter!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less) and on our fantastic homepage!

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June 22 – Upcoming Events Email!

It’s finally here, folks!  Summer!

Let’s start this season off right and proper!  This Friday (June 24th) we’re pretty excited to host Jeremy Stewart & Co. on the Café Voltaire stage!  Does Jeremy need an introduction!?  We don’t think so!  C’mon down to the shop at 8pm and bring your best toe-tappin’ shoes for this showcasing of one of Prince George’s favourite Renaissance Men!

Thursday June 23rd marks the return of one of our Books & Co. favourites!  Adam Pottle, PG poet and academic who has recently put down roots in Saskatoon, is coming back to the bookstore for the launch of his new poetry collection Beautiful Mutants.  This new anthology features the world of disability, “illuminating it with an idiom that is both unsettling and exhilarating.  [Pottle’s] subjects are gritty and multifarious: amputee sex swingers; drug-related shootings; institutionalized adolescents coerced into sterilization.”  We’ll see you at 7pm for a taste of Pottle’s genius and an opportunity to catch up with a fan favourite!

We have another fabulous author event on Saturday June 25th!  Local poet and photographer Don Neufeld will be visiting the bookstore from 1pm until 3pm to debut (and sign) his new book Song for a Midsummer Morning.  Passionate about his crafts, Don is excited to talk shop, or just about the beauty of nature and the nature of beauty, with you!  Please don’t hesitate to stop by his table for a visit!

For those of you not flocking to the CN Centre to witness The Hottest Band in the World (. . . KISS!) on June 29th, we’re offering an awesome alternative!  The Mip Power Trio will be taking the Artspace stage (by storm) at 8pm!  Mip has been described as “one of the most dynamic songwriters on the independent scene in Toronto,” and this show will absolutely not disappoint!  Tickets are $10 each and are available at Books & Co.

We have a new staff member for you to come say hello to, folks!  Next time you’re in the neighbourhood, stop in and welcome our new Events Planner and Coordinator Nicole Larson to the fray!  We’re super excited to have Nicole on the team and can’t wait to work with her to set up some truly outrageous events for you.

Do you have a (fantastic) community group in need of more volunteers, or new avenues of exposure or awareness?  You’re in luck – our new Bookster Nicole has set up an awesome program for you!  Several times a month, Northern BC’s favourite indie bookshop will be inviting local organizations, groups, businesses and clubs up to the mic to show us who they are and what they’re all about!  Give Nicole a shout at the store, or email her at booksandcompanyevents@gmail.com if you’d like to schedule a “Community Talk,” or if you have questions, comments or input!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter (140 characters or less) and on our fantastic homepage!

Have a great week and bask in all of this summery glory!

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Burn that mother down.

Have you ever wondered why a book has been banned?  Or who challenged its relevancy?

Do thoughts like this keep you up at night?

If you’ve answered an enthusiastic “OH HECK  YES!” to any or all of these questions, well then. . . .

 

Booksters Kim G and Mama Erin have been hosting an unofficial Books & Co. book club for just over a year now!  This book club is special for a myriad of reasons (chief among those is the collection of amazing members we’ve amassed who consistently wow us with with the scope of their discussions), but one of the things that sets us apart is that we read and discuss books that have been banned from or challenged in school and municipal libraries, cities, and even countries.  We’ve read Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Roy’s The God of Small Things, Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland along with several others and plan to tackle Capote’s In Cold Blood next!

We are fortunate to have some of Prince George’s finest minds join us in our (sometimes zany, mostly serious and always interesting) discussions and now we want you!  That’s right folks, we’d really like to have some new membership in the club!  So, if you’re looking for a new book to read, pick up Capote’s.  If you’re looking for some nifty folks to chat about that book with, come down to Café Voltaire at 3pm on Sunday June 26th for our next meeting!

And hey, if you have any comments, concerns or questions please feel free to leave us a comment on the blog, email us at booksandcopg@gmail.com, give us a call at (250) 563-6637, send us a message on Facebook,  or query us in 140 characters (or less) on Twitter!

We’ll see you on the 26th!

(If you’re interested in some Books & Co. Banned Book Club history, check out this article on Kim’s blog: Give that baby a steak!)

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May 16th – Upcoming Events Email!

Salut Prince George!

Stunning local songstress Dawn Boudreau is slated to grace the Café Voltaire stage this Friday (May 20th) at 8pm!  You know her, you love her, you must come down to the store and support our jazz/pop maestro!  As you know, this show is completely free of charge!

Another fabulous author will be making an appearance at Books & Co. on Thursday May 26th at 7pm!  UNBC alumnus, local poet and winner of the inaugural Barry McKinnon Chapbook Prize in 2006 Richard Krueger will be visiting Books & Co. to debut his new book The Monotony of Fatal Accidents!  Mark your calendars and we’ll see you there!

Books & Co.’s author month continues on Saturday May 28th when Dianna Holden visits with her book Daughter’s Choice!  Come down to the shop from 1-3pm to chat with Dianna about her passion and the subject of her book, “changing the Foster Care System as a whole. [Daughter’s Choice] tells the story of Holden’s childhood as one of Canada’s foster children and how she was victimized by her caregivers.”  This is an event you won’t want to miss – pencil Dianna in, folks!

Modern Celtic rock band out of the exquisite Okanagan Valley Cod Gone Wild will also be visiting on May 28th!  Come up to Artspace at 8pm and BE PREPARED to flip, flop, skip and jump . . . like a Cod Gone Wild!  Tickets are $20 each and available at the bookstore!

Are you confused about the delicate intricacies of Microsoft Office programs?  Are you dying to know what a hashtag is (and how to use one)?  Does it just kill you to know that you have no idea which wine pairs properly with which entrée?  If you have answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, or have your own personal curiosities that are eating away at you then May is your month!  May is “Dummies Month” and when you visit Books & Co. this month you will get your Dummies Guide books at 20% off!  This is the time to learn!

Now.  (Perhaps most importantly!)  Did you know that Books & Co. offers a children’s story time every Saturday morning at 10am?  We do!  Our lovely and amazing bookster Asia invites your wee gaffers into fantastic new worlds and teaches them about manners, how to hunt bears (swishy, swashy through long wavy grass) and the gastrointestinal problems faced by contemporary canines with the use of our favourite children’s books!  Bring the family in, and leave the kids in Asia’s care while you enjoy a coffee and a browse around the bookshop!

That’s it for this week, folks!  Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook (we love your feedback), Twitter and on our fantastic homepage!

Have an outstanding week!

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