By Kit Darling

At our March meeting we discussed Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie.

This novel describes the development of the printing press, an invention that changed the known world rapidly. We follow the events through the eyes of Peter, a trained scribe who is co-opted by his foster father, Johann Fust to apprentice to Johannes Gutenberg in order to keep an eye on Fust’s investment in the project. The writing is detailed but not boring, immersing us in the smells, sounds and labour in the workshop and the political intrigue and events that swirled around Europe at that time. Some members found the book a bit too long; others thoroughly enjoyed it.

And here are recommended reads available from the Hamilton Public Library. Visit the Bookmobile at Bennetto Recreation Centre on Tuesday (2:30 to 4:30) and Thursday (6:00 to 8:00) or go online at to reserve a copy.

The Song of Batoche by Maia Caron.  Caron was inspired to write a story of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. Riel returns from his exile in Montana to lead the Métis in the fight for their lands. An interesting perspective on Riel, Dumont and the politics of Canada and the role of Sir John A. MacDonald, the roman Catholic Church and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Engaging and informative.  (Kit)

Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell. The opening sentence of this novel grabs you immediately. “My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.” In some ways, this line may be the best part of the book. Elsie returns home upon her mother’s death and becomes embroiled in a mystery. Who was her mother? Why was she so attached to a new-age cult? What event caused her to move precipitously from South Africa to Canada with her young daughter? Eventually Elsie unravels the mystery to the reader’s satisfaction. Engaging if not great fiction. (Kit)

Have you read any of our recommendations? Liked any of the same books we talked about or disagreed totally? Let us know at .