Each year the New Westminster Public Library chooses titles to purchase in book club sets – multiple copies of the same title so all book club members can read it at the same time. The library runs its own monthly book club and also makes sets available to any book club that wishes to use them.

For 2020/2021, we want your input to help us choose titles we purchase as book club sets. You can join us at New West City Reads, or read the books with your own book club. After reading about the choices below, (links take you to NWPL catalogue descriptions), cast your vote in our online survey for your 6 favourites.

Access the Online Survey Here

(open until July 15 only)

  • Circling the Sun by Paula McLain: “Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, this powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.”
  • Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: “As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.”
  • Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance: Hillbilly Elegy “tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.”
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan: In this historical fiction about Frank Lloyd Wright’s affair, the author “weaves little-known facts into a compelling narrative, vividly portraying the conflicts and struggles of a woman forced to choose between the roles of mother, wife, lover, and intellectual.”
  • Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller: A survivalist father kidnaps his daughter and convinces her they are the only two people left on earth.
  • Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp: “These stories are filled with in-laws, outlaws and common-laws. Get ready for illegal wrestling moves, pinky promises, a doctored casino, extraterrestrials, love, lust and prayers for peace.”
  • Crow Winter by Karen McBride: “What would you do if you found yourself in contact with the trickster demigod that you heard stories about growing up? What would you do if you found out that you could contact the Spiritual world, and cross between through memories and dreams?”
  • Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Coles: “A blistering Newfoundland Gothic for the twenty-first century, a wholly original, bracing, and timely portrait of a place in the throes of enormous change, where two women confront the traumas of their past in an attempt to overcome the present and to pick up a future.”
  • Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta: “A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker.”
  • Educated by Tara Westover: “Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.”
  • Aria by Nazanine Hozar: “This extraordinary, gripping debut is a rags-to-riches-to-revolution tale about an orphan girl’s coming-of-age in Iran – an Iranian Doctor Zhivago.”
  • Bina by Anakana Schofield: “My name is Bina and I’m a very busy woman. That’s Bye-na, not Beena. I don’t know who Beena is but I expect she’s having a happy life. And I don’t know who you are, or the state of your life. But if you’ve come this way to listen to me, your life will undoubtedly get worse. I’m here to warn you …”
  • Dead Wake by Erik Larson: The sinking of the Lusitania “is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era.”
  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswell: ” A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages.”
  • Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: “A thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad.”
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer: “Drawing on her life as an Indigenous scientist, and as a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings–asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass–offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.”
  • This Place: 150 Years Retold: A graphic novel anthology, “beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through magic realism, serial killings, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.”
  • Recursion by Blake Crouch: “Investigating a suicide, New York City police officer Barry Sutton finds a connection to the outbreak of a memory-altering disease and a controversial neuroscientist working to preserve precious memories.”
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann: “1920s Oklahoma. The richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma after oil was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off.”
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: “A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants’ gender is fluid. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters…”


Join us for our August meeting of the New West City Reads Online!

We know that many of you prefer to read your eBooks in Overdrive. We’ve heard you and we are thrilled to make our August book (no meeting in July) available through Overdrive.

Please vote on the possible selections for our next meeting. Because they are eBooks, we are thrilled that we can offer some brand new titles (no need to wait for paperbacks).

Without further ado, here are the five potential books for our August meeting. Click through the links to read more about each title.

  1. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

“Poet Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a sweeping and shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity”

  1. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswall

“A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages.”

  1. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This novel “explores the ways an unplanned pregnancy changes two families. Woodson’s nuanced voice evokes the complexities of race, class, religion, and sexuality in fluid prose and a series of telling details. This is a wise, powerful, and compassionate novel.”

  1. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

“A thrilling, profoundly moving, and utterly unique retelling of the legend of Achilles and the Trojan War. A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad.”

  1. The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities.”


Click here to vote on August’s title!


ZOOM MEETING WILL BE ON August 20 AT 7:00 AND August 21 AT 10:30.

To take part in the meeting, you must register by emailing AskUs@nwpl.ca . Please indicate your name, and which session you would like to register for. When you register you’ll also gain access to the eBook. We will purchase copies depending on registration numbers, so please register early.

If you need help accessing Overdrive (also known as Library2Go or Libby), please drop us a line by email (AskUs@nwpl.ca) or phone (604-527-4660). We’ll be happy to assist you!

Happy reading!

Please join us for our June online book club!

Thanks to those who participated in our poll, we will be reading The Whale Chaser by Tony Ardizzone.

You can access the book through Freading on our website or search for it on the Freading app on your phone or tablet. If you’d like to read the paired non-fiction book, it is The Whaling People of the West Coast of Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery by Eugene Arima and Allan Hoover (this is optional but may help provide some context to the novel).

Our discussion for the book(s) will be held on June 25 at 7:00 p.m. and June 26 and 10:30 a.m. If you’d like to join us, please email AskUs@nwpl.ca and let us know your name and which session you’d like to come to. The meeting will be held by Zoom, and closer to the date, registered participants will be sent a secure link to join the meeting. For anyone who has never used Zoom before, we will also host a practice meeting before the discussion date so you can be sure your setup is going to work.

Happy reading!

The New Westminster Public Library will be continuing the gradual reintroduction of services throughout the remainder of 2020. This will be guided first and foremost with the safety of staff and residents as a top priority. The gradual reintroduction of services are specifically being guided by New Westminster City Council and Public Library Board priorities, while also informed by BC’s Restart Plan, WorkSafe BC Regulations, and with consideration for the regional Public Library sector as a whole.

In May the library was successfully able to expand Wi-Fi access to its outdoor plaza, launch its Library Takeout service and continue work to move a number of programs online. The library is now concentrating on the restart of general circulation activity with the opening of the book return at the Uptown Main Branch in early June. The regular holds service will then be reactivated shortly after, which will also be managed using the appointment-based Library Takeout service.

As materials are returned customers will notice their accounts will not be updated for up to a week, until those materials come out of a mandatory 72-hour quarantine. The library will continue to waive any and all fines related to overdue materials for the foreseeable future as a result.

Library staff continue to return from a number of COVID-19 related assignments throughout the City, and are acquainting themselves with the systems and procedures necessary to safely handle and move various types of material that will once again be circulating. Staff are also working to develop procedures that will allow customers to return to the library for in-person services, with library hours initially taking place Tuesday to Saturday, and expanding thereafter.

Restarting services at Queensborough will be dependent on the reopening of the Queensborough Community Centre, something Parks and Recreation staff are working hard to consider in line with their own safety requirements and directives.

While in-person programs and access to meeting rooms will remain suspended for the foreseeable future at both branches, the following is a general outline of proposed service re-introductions planned to take place throughout the remainder of the year.

June – July

  • Book return at the Main Branch opens June 9
  • Summer Reading Club 2020 launched June 16
  • Appointment-based holds service reactivated via Library takeout June 16
  • Online technology demos and coaching launch June 16
  • Plexiglass and other protective safety measures installed
  • Online programs for children and teens continue
  • Library Takeout service continues

August – September

  • Technology Device loans reactivated (chromebooks, ereaders etc.)
  • Appointment-based access to the Main Branch introduced (ex. children’s picture book room, information services, study space, and internet computers)
  • Online adult, teen and children’s programming continue
  • Library Takeout service continues

Fall, 2020

  • Access opened to both the Main and Queensborough branches
  • Online  programs continue to expand
  • Library Takeout service continues

It’s our sincere hope that we can increasingly welcome customers back into the various spaces and services at the library as the year unfolds. This of course will be dependent on the status of COVID-19 through time, staff availability and our ability to resource the planned reintroduction of services through time.

Questions can be forwarded to us via our email address AskUs@nwpl.ca or by phone, Tuesday to Saturday 604-527-4666.