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Historical – Your OPL Digital Book Club Picks for May

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Apr 28, 2023

Hey there, book lovers! Are you looking for a new genre to dive into? Well, have you considered mysteries and historical fiction set during war? Not only are these books exciting and suspenseful, but they also offer a unique window into the most fascinating periods of modern history.

There's something truly special about curling up with a good book that transports you to a different time and place. And reading mysteries and historical fiction set during wartime does just that. These books offer a chance to immerse yourself in the lives of characters living through the conflict, to experience their joys and sorrows, and to better understand the impact of the war on individuals and communities. So, if you're looking for a way to engage with history in a fun and entertaining way, try these suggestions from OPLs digital collection.

This blog was written by ChatGPT (could you tell?) but the picks are from bonafied librarians – no algorithms or predictive text bots employed there. You can depend on OPL for that human connection even if the books are digital.

In English try the eBook from Giller Prize winner, internationally acclaimed, and bestselling author Vincent Lam, The Headmaster’s Wager. This superbly crafted, highly suspenseful, and deeply affecting novel is set against the turmoil of the Vietnam War.

If you’d rather listen then there is the downloadable eAudiobook The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris -- Oprah Book Club pick and a Best Book of the Year for 2021 as named by NPR, The Washington Post, Time and others. In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry—freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction.

In French eBook try the first in the Bonneau and Lamouche mystery series, Le silence des pélicans by J. L. Blanchard is an ingenious page-turner. The relationship between the initially mismatched pair is fascinating, and, it turns out, highly effective in finding the link to seemingly unconnected murder cases. Two more books have followed Le silence des pélicans, and there are also audiobook versions available.

In eAudio Alma is a blend of fiction and poetry by author Georgette Leblanc. We follow the protagonist during the Great Depression and Second World War as she navigates life in an Acadian village. Alma was the winner of the prix Félix-Leclerc de la poésie in 2007. This audiobook, which was produced in 2019, is read by the author, who was also the Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate in 2018 and 2019. 

Suggestions and Resources for a successful online Book Club

In order to have your Book Club take place online you can try creating Facebook groups, or using various social media channels to discuss books. Or you could try meeting live via online video conferencing tools. The following tools are free:

  • Google Hangouts provides free video/chat/voice conferencing and does not have a time limit
  • Jitsi is a free open source video conferencing tool 
  • In French, there is a platform built by Les libraires that allows book clubs to meet online! You can request to create your own club, or there are groups that are already running that you can join.
  • All book clubs, including the current book club picks and comments, are visible to anyone accessing the site Le Regroupement des éditeurs franco-canadiens is offering a monthly book club called D’un océan à l’autre – here is more information (in French only), and the books available at OPL!

Finding eBooks and eAudiobooks for your Book Club 

Contact OPLs InfoService 613-580-2940 if you need help accessing these titles and resources

Hosting and Discussions

If you would like discussion questions for your book, here is a list of 40 Great Book Club Discussion Questions from Book Riot. They work for any book.

Here are some great tips about how to host an online book club from Bustle Magazine: 10 Tips For Hosting A Digital Book Club

If you’ve used our suggestions in your book club, tell us about it!