Book Review: The Break

“One of the most important — and best– books of the year” –National Post

The Break

Canada has a problem with racism. It’s often downplayed – when the CBC shut down commenting on indigenous stories last year due to a disproportionate number that were “clearly hateful and vitriolic, simply ignorant, (or) hate disguised as ignorance,” they said it was a “small minority” causing the trouble. But the problem is much more pernicious than that. For every overt, vocal racist, there are dozens more whose “opinions about people and places (they have) never known or been to,” as Katherena Vermette says of one of her characters, go unchallenged.

Vermette’s debut novel, The Break, opens with the violent sexual assault of a young indigenous woman by a group of indigenous people in Winnipeg’s north end. It’s exactly the sort of story that would bring out comment-board trolls and misinformed opinions – “Nates beating on nates” is a phrase used by one of the police officers in the book. It’s a harsh opening that puts race front-and-centre, but beyond issues of race, The Break is also a deeply felt story of a family’s strength and healing. With adeptness and sensitivity, Vermette puts a human face to issues that are too-often misunderstood, and in so doing, she has written a book that is both one of the most important of the year …

Read the full review here.

Put a hold on this book via the Ottawa Public Library website here.


Hamish MacBeth is eBook of the week

Knock, Knock, You're Dead!: A Hamish Macbeth Short Story (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery) by [Beaton, M. C.]

The National Post fun and interesting books section chooses an eBook every week. This week it is a 25-page story by M.C. Beaton — a Hamish MacBeth story.

From the review, “the dogged investigator learns that the antique business is more cutthroat than he could ever have imagined.”

Available at for just 99 cents.


You can help WRITE a book!

In this, the 170th year of North Gower’s history, the Rideau Township Historical Society is working on a history of the village, and needs community input.

If you are a current or past resident of North Gower, the Society would like to hear from you, and see any photos or memorabilia you might have.

They will be doing this throughout the rest of September.

Drop in to the Archives any Tuesday 9:30-4:30 or email Susan McKellar at

You can pick up an information flyer at the Library or view the questions here:

While we have lots of historical documents, personal stories/memories paint a better picture. Think of the sights, sounds, smells, everything you can remember. What was the context/situation? Who was there? What year was it?

Can you tell me a story about an event in North Gower (e.g., a fire, a storm, a news-worthy event, etc.) and how it affected your life?

Do you have a memory of your school? Your church? The library? Any other building?

If you grew up in North Gower, tell me a story from your childhood, or your teenage years.

Describe a memory of spring in North Gower.

                        “           summer

                        “           fall

                        “           winter

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Do you have old pictures or documents that would enrich the book?

Three rural libraries to close in United Counties

August 27, 2016 —Today is a sad day in Dalkeith as a farewell party is scheduled for the library, which the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Library Board has decided to close. In fact, three rural libraries in the United Counties are slated for closure: Dalkeith, Morewood, and St. Andrews West.

This excerpt is from a report prepared by writer Tom van Dusen for the current edition of Ontario Farmer.

Hope is waning for three Eastern Ontario communities hoping to preserve their libraries as key centres for educational, social and children’s activities.

The libraries are at Dalkeith, Morewood and St Andrews West. All are small rural hamlets with little left at their cores but the libraries….Closure dates for the three branches has been given as September 3.

Dalkeith library: usage was up, and there is no “bailiff at the door,” say residents

The Board has blamed its decision on costs, insurance considerations and safety standards. It previously closed two other branches, at North Lancaster and Moose Creek. Once threatened, branches at Williamsburg and South Mountain remain open after residents manned the barricades.

Branch defenders caim book borrowers are increasing and operating costs are minimal. For example, a part-time librarian in Dalkeith costs $17,000 a year.

Supporters such as Leo Lehtiniemi feel the rug has been pulled out from under them, A member of Friends of the Dalkeith Library, Lehtiniemi said that, over the past year, borrowers have increased by 36 percent and visitors by 11 percent.

“That’s what we were asked to do,” he says of the spike in library use. “There are no safety issues and there is no bailiff at the door. Closing the library is like ripping the heart out of Dalkeith.”

St Andrews West branch: also on the chopping block

Renovated North Gower Branch open today

New seating area and racks for DVDs and magazines at North Gower --Photo Friends of the North Gower Library

New seating area and racks for DVDs and magazines at North Gower –Photo Friends of the North Gower Library

After what felt like two very long weeks (we LOVE our Library!!) the North Gower Branch of the Ottawa Public Library reopened today.

Dozens of people had dropped by in the first hour, including Councillor Scott Moffatt, to see the new space, and new features for library patrons.

The space feels fresher and brighter said some visiting, including retired North Gower librarian Karen Craig, who couldn’t wait to see what the new space looked like.

Staffer Louise Drouin-Backs was kept busy showing how easy it is to use the new self checkout feature — everyone can still go to the service desk and ask staff to process books, though, if they wish!

Coral’s Corner used books is also back in operation, with a small supply of gently used books for sale. Once “back of the house” operations are straightened away, the renovations will be truly complete.

Staff member Louise Drouin-Backs and Councillor Scott Moffatt. "The staff here are amazing," says Moffatt.

Staff member Louise Drouin-Backs and Councillor Scott Moffatt. “The staff here are amazing,” says Moffatt.