“Books of My Life”-- Q and A with Abigail Steel, Rossland Public Library Board Member:
My favourite childhood book and favourite book to read aloud -- because I spent part of my early childhood in England, my much loved, favourite books are those by A. A. Milne, including The House at Pooh Corner. The “hundred acre wood” referred to in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories is in Ashdown Forest, located not far from where I lived in East Sussex. As my three children were growing up in the country near St. John’s, NL, reading aloud was a pastime that helped replace television in our family. The Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling are entertaining and fun to read, and the characters still slip into conversations with my now adult children.
The last book that made me laugh is Rick Mercer’s The Paperback Book, which I recently reread. I enjoyed a lot of “good for the soul” belly laughs. Mercer is clever, witty, and often spot-on with his Canadian political commentary.
I recently finished reading The Navigator of New York by prizewinning Canadian author, Wayne Johnston. I appreciate how this book interweaves fictional and non-fictional characters in the era of Arctic exploration and the quest for the North Pole. Having spent time working both offshore and up North, I can personally relate to some of the main character’s musings while at sea or on the ice.
Everyone should read Adrienne Clarkson’s Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship, one of CBC radio’s Massey Lectures. This series, held annually since 1961, brings to Canadians some of the greatest minds of our times and are described as “exploring ideas that make us who we are and asking questions that make us better human beings.” For many of the past years, I have listened to the Massey Lectures, but am often only able to catch one or two. The lectures are both published and available for online listening. They educate, motivate and inspire me, all while making me proud to be Canadian.
The book that inspired me is Walden: Life in the Woods and Henry David Thoreau’s essay on the duty of civil disobedience, which I read early in my adult life. Walden was first published in 1854 and chronicles Thoreau’s life and his reflections during his time spent close to nature in a cabin near Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts. From the time I was a teenager, I have found nature a constant companion and source of wonder. Thoreau’s narrative about living at Walden Pond appeals to me as parts of his life mirror a few of my own experiences, and his musings were and still are thought-provoking. This book contains many of Thoreau’s well-known quotations including, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” I find this short book not an easy read, but a gem.
Announcements and Information
The Rossland Public Library is exceedingly pleased to announce that it will be displaying the artwork of Tom Drescher and Tim Peacock in January. These paintings will be the first works featured in the library's new gallery, which is open to the public. Artists’ contact information is available if you wish to purchase a piece. Artists interested in submitting their work for future consideration may visit our homepage or this link: https://rossland.bc.libraries.coop/local-artwork-in-the-library/.
If you’re a train, model train, or Kootenay train history enthusiast, stop by and check out the December issue of The Australian Hornby Collector. This magazine arrived unexpectedly in the mail and features an in-depth piece on the history of trains in the Kootenays and the description of a trip the author, George Coop, took by train and barge when he lived here in the mid-sixties. Included are old maps, photos, and descriptions of our spectacular scenery. Coop ends with recommended further reading and an enthusiastic endorsement his Australian readers visit this section of the world.
The Book Club will reconvene on January 28thwith The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor by Sally Armstrong. Register online at firstname.lastname@example.org. This meeting will take place via Zoom. Copies of this novel are available at the library now.
Rossland’s Abigail Steel will be hosting the March 2021 KLF Book Club featuring I am Herod by Richard Kemick.
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