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  • UPDATE – Provincial announcement regarding public libraries and pickups

    15/05/2020

    We greatly appreciate the Province’s announcement that as part of the first phase of reopening libraries can begin to offer pick-up or delivery of materials. 

    There is a lot of work to do be able to offer these services while ensuring the safety of our employees and our customers. Our plan to resume our physical services needs to account for physical distancing requirements, provision of personal protective equipment, enhanced sanitary controls, and new protocols for employees and customers. We are working on offering holds pick-ups as soon as we can safely do so.  

    We will be communicating all new developments in our service offering to you on all our platforms, as soon as we have updates. 

    Thank you for your patience as we move through this rapidly evolving situation. 

    ******

    OPL branches, Bookmobile stops and Homebound delivery services are closed until June 30, 2020. The closure is in response to advice from Ottawa Public Health (OPH) with regards to COVID-19 (coronavirus) for the health and safety of our community. We will continue to monitor the situation and reassess as the situation evolves. Currently, please note:  

    • Due dates for all currently checked out materials have been extended and late fees suspended.
    • Book drops are not available since branches are closed. Hold on to OPL items and return them when branches reopen. 
    • Holds are suspended, and pick up expiry dates extended. This includes interlibrary loans (ILL).
    • Meeting room rentals are cancelled, and fees are being refunded; and
    • Computer bookings, programs, events and outreach activities are cancelled.
    • Expired cards, or those about to expire, have been extended. 

    You can use the Library online:

    We thank you for your patience and support, and we look forward to seeing you online and in person again soon.

V.S. Naipaul - Nobel Laureate - dies at 85

15/08/2018

V.S. Naipaul  died August 11, 2018 in his home in London.  A revered and controversial figure in the world of literature, Naipaul won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, and the Booker in 1971, just some of the worldwide recognition he had in his lifetime.

Compared to Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy for his fiction, he also attracted strong criticism for some of his expressed views, especially about Africa and women.

He was best known for A House for Mr. Biswas, set in Trinidad, and loosely based on his own father and family.  He also wrote non-fiction, and was written about: he was taken to task for his behavior by the travel writer Paul Theroux, in Sir Vidia's Shadow despite their longterm friendship.  A Bend in the River is a fascinating and dark novel set in a country resembling Mobutu's Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and indebted to Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

When winning the Nobel, the Academy described Naipaul as a "literary navigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice". 

Image: In A Free State

In A Free State

By Naipaul, V. S.
Image: Half A Life

Half A Life

By Naipaul, V. S.
Image: Between Father and Son

Between Father and Son

Family Letters
By Naipaul, V. S.
Image: In the Name of Humanity

In the Name of Humanity

The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust
By Wallace, Max

Comments

For years before he won the Nobel I thought Naipaul was the greatest writer working in English. 'A House for Mr Biswas' is a Dostoyevskyan family saga, sad and bitterly funny, easily relatable for people from many cultures. His early short novels about life in Trinidad- 'Miguel Street' and 'The Mystic Masseur', are lovely, funny, empathetic, and very revealing. I must say I was surprised when I began to hear what a nasty person he could be, as his writing did not betray that side of his character- but then, many great artists have been miserable people who used others to feed their own needs...
His travel books are also rich and highly worthwhile, though highly controversial as well- 'Among the Believers' about the Islamic world and the rising fundamentalism was quite overwhelming for me at a time when none of that was much discussed, though the Iranian religious revolution had already happened. It proved prophetic, it seems to me. Then he had his books about India, which, quite understandably, he found a very difficult place to be-- and he did not mince words.
Ah yes, another novel I loved of his was 'The Mimic Men', which I remember as the story of a failed politician from a fictional Caribbean island living in London and dreaming of his glory days.
Do read Naipaul if you haven't yet- or reread him--I intend to!