Seaside Book Club –
by Deborah Rogers –
It seems we all love a good mystery, and Thomas King provided a fun and refreshing one in Cold Skies. It’s the third book in a series with Thumps Dreadfulwater as the main character. King has a great time setting up Thumps as the grumpy, permanently tired, possibly unwell, retired detective who just can’t avoid getting pulled back into an investigation. Everyone at our meeting had enjoyed the humour of this book. The dialogue was snappy, the supporting characters were well drawn and the depiction of small-town life seemed totally apt. In fact the only thing really missing was the mystery, which felt like a plot device rather than the heart of the story.
We meet Thumps at a low point in his life. He’s given up police work after a murder that was too close to home, and taken up photography. But the small town of Chinook needs a stand-in Police Chief and the Sheriff has his eye on Thumps for the role. At the same time a large water conference is coming to town, and then the dead bodies start appearing too.
This novel is a shift in tone from An Inconvenient Indian and Green Grass, Running Water. Readers of King’s other works of fiction will know him as a proud native writer, deeply concerned with indigenous peoples’ rights and especially their land. He weaves the issues of land access and water rights into this storyline, adding a backdrop of conspiracy and greed that contrasts nicely with Thumps’ wholly down-to-earth and open manner. Certainly there are some real caricatures amongst the cast, but they are so funny too that it doesn’t seem to matter.
One of our readers commented that her favourite character in the book was the coffee! It certainly plays a key role, and King’s descriptions of the beverage, and in fact of food throughout, are really wonderful: playful, sometimes absurd and really pleasurable to savour.
Several members had already set out to find the first books in the series, always a sign of a book club hit! Thanks to everyone who came along to share their views, and to Quince Café for the delicious baked goods and coffee.
For our September meeting we have selected Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter. We’ll be meeting on Wednesday September 18 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Sidney/North Saanich library. To find out more about the Book Club, and sign up to our email list, please visit www.seasidemagazine.ca/book-club.
Book Club Q & A
Q How do you choose the books?
A The book selection is a little down to luck – each month the Sidney/North Saanich Library tries to get hold of a book club set for us to use. Availability is based on demand. So far we have had a choice between several titles each month, and have voted which one to use. Generally this will mean that people can leave the meeting with a copy of next month’s read. Book Club members can suggest titles they would be interested in reading from the VIRL book club sets list:
Q How do you structure the meeting?
A Members bring questions or discussion points with them, written down. These are put in a “hat” and drawn from to keep the discussion going. It leads to diverse questions and no need for anyone to feel self-conscious. The meeting is facilitated by Seaside Magazine’s Deborah and Sidney/North Saanich Library’s Virginia.
Q How do I stay up to date with Book Club happenings?
A Sign up for our mailing list and you’ll get meeting reminders by email. And follow us on Facebook to see everything that’s happening at Seaside Magazine!