Our secret

As I am in the throes of finishing my presentation for this Tuesday, I am truly experiencing our “Book Club with a Difference!” That is, I have 8 books which have now been on my kitchen table for weeks, along with the computer. These books are marked up with stickies (Library books) or marked excessively with a yellow highlighter (my collection). I’m lucky it’s only 8:  Flora recently presented Orson Scott Card with a body of work of over 70 books. She had personally read over 40 and brought them to her presentation! [Rest assured: 4 to 5 books suffice for a presentation to the Club.] In spite of the hours spent reading, researching, re-reading and composing my talk, I know I have gained hugely by the effort. My knowledge of an author, normally based on what the cover states, is now in-depth. I have found out fascinating things about Italy in modern times. I have looked at these books to try to understand the craft of writing. Had I not been presenting this author, I would have still loved reading the books, but now the experience is in technicolor, not in black & white.

Click here for Janet’s Presentation Summary

Rich presentations are what this Club is all about, and both presenters and audience are the winners. You will gain a broader reading list, guaranteed!

The 2018-19 season beginning October will open up literature’s treasure trove of “Humour, Irony, and Satire”. Mary has collected a surprising list of the most diverse authors imaginable, for us all, and particularly as a guide to those to be presenting. How lucky you will be to pick “your own” author (from Mary’s list or your own choice) and share your insights with those of us who are lucky enough to be in the audience!  And as for stage fright? Of course, we all have it! But a kinder more receptive audience one cannot find. In other words, please sign up for next season’s slate, especially if you haven’t presented within the last two years!

2018_humor_irony_satire_reading_list WEB


Memorial Park Library

With a photo of the front entrance and the bold headline “A National Treasure” on the front page of its January 19, 2018 edition, the Calgary Herald announced that Memorial Park Library has been designated a national historic site.

Although the article on page A2 doesn’t mention the Calgary Women’s Literary Club by name, it does explain that the library “was built thanks to the efforts of a group of local women, including one of Calgary’s cultural pioneers, Annie Davidson.” Memorial Park Library served as the city’s main library from 1912, when it opened, until 1963.

Although it may not be published, I did write the following e-mail to the newspaper:

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Winter Party 2017 Photo Gallery

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful Winter Party! Ruth was the perfect hostess, Cecilia the social coordinator,  Anne directed our readers’ theatre of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas and our flash mob choir. There are many other “elves” who contributed greatly to the success of the afternoon. Thanks, everyone! Enjoy the show!

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Discovering Orson Scott Card

Della Mae is behind the collection of Orson Scott Card books.

On Tuesday, October 24, Flora Spackman gave her paper on Orson Scott Card.  She brought 45 of his over 70 books and interspersed her remarks with a video presentation of an interview with Mr. Card about writing.

Orson Scott Card, in describing his writing, has said that fiction can be (indeed always is) a kind of pulpit.  What the storyteller believes about the way the world works, about what is good and important and true–and what is evil and distracting and false, will always show up in his stories.  He said, “Stories can be constructed in such a way that they entertain even as they teach–because without that level of entertainment, the audience doesn’t stick around to learn.”

We had that element of entertainment at the Calgary Women’s Literary Club meeting on Tuesday, October 24 as Flora delighted us and informed us about Orson Scott Card and his storytelling.  Her delivery and infectious enthusiasm charmed us, once again, and may have prompted a whole new readership for Card’s books.  At the end of her presentation, Flora gave each member a copy of one of Orson Scott Card’s most popular novels:  Ender’s Game, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Della Mae Wood

Our Club founders are noted in Swerve Magazine’s Dec 1, 2017 issue

Open old book, studio shot (with permission from Getty Images)

The Calgary Herald’s Swerve Magazine has once again given our Club a lovely tribute, this time to our founders who championed bringing the first library to Calgary. The article ends by reminding us that our Club has been using the Memorial Park premises for 103 years!

You can read the entire article here:

New Central Library, East Village

Click below for more about:

Our History

And while you are at it, Sue recently gave us a presentation:

CWLC Archives at the Glenbow


Amy Tan: A life as fascinating as any of her novels

Amy Tan Portrait 2 by David Sifry [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Wilda Dow’s 3 daughters were very special guests for her presentation on Amy Tan.

Although Amy Tan’s main characters are Chinese and Chinese-American women, Wilda emphasized that the author does not write to inform readers of cultural differences. Rather, Tan captures the complex relationships between mothers and daughters, especially when they are raised in different cultures.

Wilda described Amy Tan’s own childhood in California, growing up primarily with a Chinese mother who was superstitious, eccentric and fiery, leading to violent clashes.  This tumultuous life with her mother exerted an enormous influence on her books.

A new book is being published by Amy Tan and will be on shelves soon!

Enjoy reading Wilda’s presentation summary, here.



William Gibson: Reluctant Oracle of Technology and Creator of Cyberpunk

Photo by Frederic Poirot (Fred Armitage at Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On November 7, Robin brought us into the realms of new Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction and Cyberpunk with her favorite author, William Gibson. She explained how this “Oracle of tech” changed science fiction “in a good way”. His books:

  • Present strong female characters
  • Read like mystery thrillers
  • Imagined virtual reality, cyberspace, artificial intelligence, hackers and more. His ideas put shape to their development a decade or more later.
  • Reveal the mixed blessings of how technology changes culture
  • Warn of loss/isolation when people prefer living in virtual worlds
  • Include art and artists

William Gibson’s books have, in fact, greatly influenced our culture.

Learn more about William Gibson here.