Biblio File

  • The Biblio File: Library News (2/22/2021)

    The Biblio File
    February 22, 2021

    The online reserve and back door pick up is still the safest and most efficient method for getting books, and we encourage all patrons who are able to do so, to continue to use this service please.

    However, in light of some of the provincial restrictions being lessened, in order to better serve those who are uncomfortable with online browsing and reserving, we are going to take the first cautious step of allowing patrons back into the library on a limited basis.  Our hours will remain 1:00 – 4:00 Tuesday to Friday, and Sundays.  We are keeping a close eye on the restrictions and will continue to do so before making any further changes.

    Entrance to the library will be limited to one patron or household at a time, and will be by appointment only.  Entrance will be through the back door of the Community Centre across from the arena.  Please phone us or ring the buzzer when you are at the door.

    To book an appointment to pick up books or come into the library please call 753-2496 or email at

    We thank you for your patience while we work to provide the best possible patron services under the current uncertainty and decreased staff availability.

    Have you read any great books that you would like to see on our shelves for others to enjoy?  We would love to hear from you – we encourage suggestions and use these when making our shopping lists.  Please email us with your recommendations!


  • The Biblio File: Library News (2/15/2021)

    The Biblio File
    February 15, 2021


    We are trying something new at the library!  Kanopy has over 30,000 films and adds 50 new movies and documentaries a week.  It also has “The Great Courses” and kid’s content.  We are going to try this out for 30 days beginning today, Monday, February 15, 2021 and will need your feedback – if you like it we may sign up for the year.  The way it works is you will sign in at and log in to Pinawa (red label at the bottom left).

    You will be asked for your library card number which is your Patron ID (card number).
    Now you will need to create an account which is simply your name, email address and a password of your choice. After you are signed up you will only need your email address and password to access your account – you skip the initial “Library Card Number” and just head directly to the log in button on the top right of the screen. Once you are in you can start scrolling through all of the choices!

    During this trial period you will be able to watch 4 movies, and have full access for 30 days to one Great Courses, and the kid’s content.  Once you press play on the movies they are unlocked for 72 hours.

    Please let us know what you think.  Your feedback will determine whether or not the library signs up for this service.  We will do our best to answer any questions you have – we are learning this together so please be patient while we make sure to get the answers that you may need.


  • The Biblio File: Library News (2/11/2021)

    The Biblio File
    February 8, 2021

    We have all been faced with many challenges over the last year.  At the library we have tried to roll with the changes and keep serving our patrons as best as we can.  What we have come to realize even more than before is how great our patrons and volunteers are (and we already thought they were pretty awesome!).  We would like to put a big appreciative virtual hug out to all of our patrons that have helped us to make all of these changes seamless and very successful – we are busier than ever keeping everyone in books!  Also – now that we don’t have the huge benefit of our volunteers we are realizing more and more how much they took off our plates!  So another giant thank you to everyone who has ever volunteered past and present – you are a very important and helpful cog in the wheel of the library!

    Librarian book review! This book came over our desk as a return, and as with many returns I flipped it open and took a quick browse of the cover.  I read it in one day – this book has the perfect amount of intrigue to keep the pages turning.  It is about two women, Claire and Eva, who both feel trapped in their lives.  Claire appears to “have it all” but what everyone doesn’t see is the abuse that she is facing at home.  Eva is looking to escape the secrets of her past and current reality.   A chance meeting in an airport bar brings them together and they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets ― Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva travelling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They both think that this will give them the head start they need to begin new lives but when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life.  Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (2/1/2021)

    The Biblio File
    February 1, 2021

    January usually feels like the longest month ever, but maybe not so much this year?  Regardless – it’s over!  The milder weather has gotten a lot of people out and about trying new things – longer walks, snow-shoeing, skiing, skating, ice-fishing, sledding to name a few.  If you prefer inside pursuits that include a nice fire, a comfy chair and a book why not try the February challenge?

    Books to return?  Just a reminder to drop them off only during the designated drop-off times – Tuesday to Friday, and Sunday between 1:00-4:00.  These are the only times that we can guarantee that there is someone to collect them and this is the only way to ensure that your borrowed books get checked back in safely.  Books that are left out can get lost and most definitely damp and snow covered – all things that make librarians cringe.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (1/25/2021)

    The Biblio File
    January 25, 2021

    Our curbside pick-up/drop-off has proven to be very popular and has been going amazingly well!  We thank everyone for helping us make this change so easily.

    To reserve items, the following options are available:

    1. Search our website: to browse our collection, check availability, and reserve items.
    2. Email the library with your reservation requests:
    3. Leave a message on the answering machine at the library 204-753-2496. We will return your call when we have time to assist you.

    Schedule a pick up time:

    After we have prepared your order we will give you a call or send you an email to schedule a time slot to pick up your items.  We are open Tuesday to Friday, and Sunday from 1:00-4:00 and are scheduling appointments from 1:00-3:45, every 15 minutes. Please respond with the day and time slot that works for you.

    Pick Up

    Items can be picked up during your scheduled time slot at the back door of the Community Centre (across from the arena)

    You can let us know when you arrive in one of two ways:

    • Call 204-753-2496 from your cell phone
    • Ring the handicap buzzer for the back door

    Please stand back a distance of two meters while we bring your order out and place it on a cart by the door. After we go back into the building, you can pick up your items.


    • Books can be returned during drop off/pick up hours only
    • We will have boxes set up for your returns, at the back door of the community centre
    • You do not need to let us know that you are returning books, just put them in the box
    • Do not touch other books in return box
    • Please respect social distancing measures during pickups and returns

    There will be no interlibrary loan service at this time 


  • The Biblio File: Library News (1/18/2021)

    The Biblio File
    January 18, 2021

    Have you returned your books but still see them under your name?  Don’t despair – we have them!  In an effort to be extra safe, we have chosen to quarantine all of our returned books for 3 days before checking them back into the system.

    Bored of the conventional ways to find new reading material?  Asking a friend?  Looking online? Scrolling aimlessly through bookstore listings?  Try this January challenge instead.  You might find something great!

  • The Biblio File: Library News (1/11/2021)

    The Biblio File
    January 11, 2021

    Do you find that sometimes you’d like to try a new author or genre, or even an author that writes in a similar way to one of your favorites but don’t know where to start?  Or maybe you just enjoy browsing what’s new, what others are reading, or what makes a book a best seller.  Here are a few of our favorite bookish sources. is a great site that allows you to search and browse bibliographies of over 50,000 fiction authors. You can follow your favorite authors, keep a list of books you want to read, and keep track of what you have already read.  It also lists all books by the authors in date of publication and their series’ in order (which is so handy!).  Another useful part of this site is the “visitors to this page also liked…” section which suggests other books that one might like based on what they were looking at. is a site that provides a list of the top 20 best of the year books back to 2000, recommendations, discussions, reviews, previews of books publishing soon and lots of resources for book clubs.  You can search by genre, time period, setting, and a wide range of other themes.  There is also a “read-alike” link that allows you to look for similar topics to what you know you like – by author and title. is another fun site with many top-10 booklists, quizzes, collections and fun lists of things like the most beautiful bookstores and libraries around the world, or book related art.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (12/21/2020)

    The Biblio File
    December 21, 2020

    Happy holidays from the PPL!  Just a reminder that we will be closed from December 24th to December 28th, and January 1st to January 4th inclusive.  This year though, we will open for some bonus days on December 29th, 30th and 31st from 1:00-4:00 (for scheduled pick up and drop off) so that you have plenty to read over the holidays.   Take care and stay safe.

    During my search for some cozy reading pictures to post throughout the week I came across this one.  Is it just me or does her coffee art/garnish look like a dead spider?  Discuss.   Also – what are your favorite “reading by the fire” books?  Help us make a list to post for inspiration to others!



  • The Biblio File: Library News (12/14/2020)

    The Biblio File
    December 14, 2020

    COVID has changed a lot of things for us this year.  We will be safe at home, reading in front of the fire, or the fireplace channel.  We really don’t want you to run out of books over the holidays so we will open for 3 extra days this year – December 29th, 30th and 31st from 1:00-4:00 for pick up and drop off (last appointment 3:45).  Please continue to reserve your books through our website or email/call the library.

    We will be closed for the holidays from Thursday, December 24th to Monday, December 28th, 2020 inclusive, and Friday, January 1st to Monday, January 4th inclusive.  We will re-open on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021, 1:00-4:00.

    As a courtesy, due to our ever changing world in COVID times, we have chosen to temporarily suspend our “your book is almost due” emails.  We would appreciate it though, if you could make every effort to try to return your books on time.  We are having a very high volume of requests (yay!) and want to make sure that everyone has the chance to get their chosen books in a timely manner.  Thanks so much!

  • The Biblio File: Library News (12/7/2020)

    The Biblio File
    December 7, 2020

    Well it’s December!  Does anyone else feel like it came up really fast this year despite all the changes to our lives?  We are working hard over here at the PPL to get all of our new and new-to-us books catalogued so that you can start thinking about stacking up your reading pile for the holidays (and beyond).   Don’t forget that if you want to browse the new books and DVDs added you can do so by going to our website under “search our catalogue” on the top right of the screen.  This will take you to the newest 100 titles and the most recently viewed 100 titles (see what’s popular out there!).

    Our curbside pick-up and drop-off is going really well and we thank you for making this transition so seamless!  If there is a book or DVD that you would like to borrow please reserve it through our website (or call/email us at the library).  We will let you know when your books are ready and you can schedule a day and time that works best for you.  Our pickup and drop off times are 1:00 to 3:45 Tuesday to Friday, and Sundays.  We will book appointments every 15 minutes during those times.  Please also return your books during these allotted hours.  See our website for full details and instructions.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (11/27/2020)

    The Biblio File
    November 27, 2020

    Released early this week because we are too excited to wait until Monday to announce our Pinawa Trivia Quiz winners!  Drum roll please.  The winning team is Trail Mix – Cam and Diann Elliott, Peter Taylor, Libby Crust, Ed Eisner and Doreen Bigelow!  Congratulations to team Trail Mix!  They will be choosing 3 books each from our generously donated book prize box along with a book bag to take them all home in made by Pinawa’s own Leave it to Lou.  When you see these bags proudly carried around town be sure to congratulate our winners on their quiz question savvy.  This was a fun, unique, and safe way to continue our annual quiz tradition and we thank everyone who played and the hard working quiz question masters.

    We will be posting a link to the questions and answers on our website soon.

    Way back in September we posted a book review by Peter Sargent (“She” by Pete Brassett) along with the promise of the full trilogy (books 2 and 3 generously donated by Peter).  We dropped the ball on cataloguing these quickly but they are now ready to be taken out and enjoyed.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (11/23/2020)

    The Biblio File
    November 23, 2020

    2020 has been a difficult year for many people and businesses.  We have made many changes and continue to work to ensure staff and patron safety while still delivering library service during these uncertain times.

    We are very pleased to announce that the Pinawa Foundation has agreed to help us by including the Library in its fundraising campaign, which extends to the end of December.

    Contributions can be made to the Pinawa Foundation with a notation that the funds are for the Library.  Donations of $25 or more will receive a tax receipt from the Foundation.  We would very much appreciate your support during this challenging time.

    This year we have been able to build up our popular Nordic Noir collection with donations given to us from the May Pinawa Foundation giving month.  We hope that we can use any incoming funds to add more authors, and fill in some backlog or gaps in our series’.  We welcome any other suggestions as well for titles that you would like to see on our shelves.

    We hope you enjoyed this year’s new fun and COVID-friendly challenge – The 2020 Pinawa Trivia Quiz Contest.  9:00 am, November 24, 2020 is the deadline to return your answers to the library by email to or or in person to the mailbox at 27 Schultz Road.  Stay tuned for the winning person or team!


  • The Biblio File: Library News (11/16/2020)

    November 16, 2020

    Nordic Noir, also known as Scandinavian Noir, is a genre of crime fiction usually written from a police point of view and set in Scandinavia or Nordic countries.  This type of fiction has proven to be very popular so we have added many new titles to our library.  Take a look on our website under “search our catalogue” for the most recent 100 books added, or under “subject” for Nordic Noir.  Please reserve your titles and make an appointment for pick-up.

    Pinawa Public Library Pick up/Drop off services begin Tuesday November 17, 2020.

    Please read carefully, as we have made changes to the way the system was operated in the spring

    To reserve items, the following options are available:

    1. Search our website:  to browse our collection, check availability, and reserve items.
    2. Email the library with your reservation requests:
    3. Leave a message on the answering machine at the library 204-753-2496. We will return your call when we have time to assist you.

    Schedule a pick up time:

    After your items have been reserved, send us an email or leave a message on our answering machine to schedule a time slot to pick up your items. We will reply after we have had time to prepare your order.

    Pick Up

    Items can be picked up during your scheduled time slot at the back door of the Community Centre (across from the arena)

    You can let us know when you arrive in one of two ways:

    • Call 204-753-2496 from your cell phone
    • Ring the handicap buzzer for the back door.

    Please stand back a distance of two meters while we bring your order out and place it on a cart by the door. After we go back into the building, you can pick up your items.


    • Books can be returned during drop off/pick up hours only
    • We will have boxes set up for your returns, at the back door of the community centre.
    • Do not touch other books in return box
    • Please respect social distancing measures during pickups and returns

    There will be no interlibrary loan service at this time.

    Pick up/Drop off Hours

       Tuesday:                 1:00 – 4:00 pm

       Wednesday:            1:00 – 4:00 pm

       Thursday                 1:00 – 4:00 pm

        Friday                     1:00 – 4:00 pm

        Sunday                    1:00 – 4:00 pm




  • Flash Fiction April 19, 2020 (4/19/2020)
    Pinawa Public Library
    Flash Fiction
    April 19th, 2020



    This week, Flash Fiction introduces something new: a virtual field trip! Each week, we invite you to explore new places with us through movies and virtual tours.



    For our first week’s field trip, a “Night at the Museum” will be fun! Grab some popcorn and your quarantine buddy, and watch Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian the movie, then take a virtual tour of the actual Smithsonian Natural History museum together at:

    One of the character groups from the movie that you may not know about yet are the Tuskegee airmen. Here’s a quick clip about who they are and why they are important to history at:

    Who is your favourite person/exhibit from the museum? Take a few moments this week to learn a new fact about them and share it with a person you can’t get away from.



    As many of you may know, the library has a collection of Maclean’s magazine. We also receive daily newsletters from Maclean’s. If you are interested in receiving the newsletter during social distancing, please email the library and we will forward our newsletters on to you.



    And now for the story! This week’s flash fiction is the story of a grieving man after the death of his wife, and how he comes to acceptance.


    by John Smolens

    When your wife dies you find music tastes different and food sounds the same. You don’t walk, you creep. Some days you crawl. Others, best just to lie still. The closets are full of ghosts. Blouses she wore when she was twenty-six. A denim skirt. Killer dresses. Shoes—heels, pumps, a pair of Capezio tap shoes—entombed in boxes. When you open the closet door her coats hold still, suspecting they’re goners. Threads of memory. She wore this one there, that one here. Every garment a chapter. The clothes of the dead have no future. You could burn them. You could leave them be, decades of sartorial history hanging from a pole sagging with the weight of remembrance. You could cross-dress with a vengeance. Everything Must Go. Not discarded, donated. To the Women’s Shelter, cartons and paper bags and piles of clothes, until the woman behind the counter says they’re overstocked. You’re tempted to take them all back. Who denies the donation of a dead woman’s clothes? The rest to St. Vincent DePaul’s, and there her cottons and linens and rayon blends are added to bins heaped with corduroy and polyester. (But for one satin nightgown that will not be donated.) Until the closets seem empty. Your clothes don’t count—they aren’t you, but just neglected shirts, pants, and jackets. As summer wanes, you open a drawer and find sweaters, scarves, wool hats and gloves. Gear for a woman who understood winter. You send sweaters and shawls and silk scarves to the women and girls in her family. They respond with photographs of ten year old daughters wrapped in blue for the fifth grade’s Colonial Day.

    Still you are possessed by possessions. Even after you dispossess yourself, they turn up in the kitchen drawers and cabinets, where she kept jars of dry goods, beans and grains, future meals. And there, in the freezer, plastic containers: soups, tomato sauce, chilli. Nutritional messages from the afterlife. Hoard them. Defrost only as a last resort. Yet through the winter the freezer becomes as spacious and cold as your heart. By the time you open the last tub, labelled Black Bean Chilli 3/14/10, food no longer has any meaning. It’s no longer an act of love, a gesture of kindness. There is no intimacy in tuna salad or in marinating chicken thighs. It’s embarrassing to recall how often you ate by candlelight; it’s like the satin nightgown tucked away in a drawer you never open. Instead just heat and serve. Just nuke it. Just eat. Overcooked sustenance. When you eat dinner right out of the skillet or pot, the temptation is to glance over your shoulder in shame. No one is watching, except the cookbooks. Shelves of cookbooks, back issues of Gourmet and Bon Appetit, and a three-ring binder stuffed with recipes, a culinary legacy handed down from grandmother to mother to daughter. Recipes written in her short hand, scrolls and waves and loops fetching across the page with an occasional word, a white cap of English. Instructions for future meals, for candlelight dinners, for guests. There are no recipes now, there are no guests; no need for the wedding china, the good tablecloth. Don’t forget Widower’s Rule #1: Never turn down a dinner invitation. You’re the guest now. And after dinner you walk about the house, speaking to the dark. Go ahead, come back and haunt me. Move the book on the table. Slam the bedroom door. Anything, I’m ready. Go ahead, I dare you. Scare me to death. I am ready. The reply is the deepest silence. Yet sometimes you feel her in the silence: nothing moves, no hinges creak, no lights flicker. Just her silence. Fuck you, Stephen Spielberg; death has no special effects. There is no possession, just possessions.

    To break the silence you play music. CDs in horizontal stacks; vertical rows of plastic jewel boxes, never properly alphabetised (as she so often suggested). Songs with melodies, lyrics, choruses, verses, movements, codas. Songs you can’t live without. Songs you’ll never listen to again. Songs you know by heart. Songs you want to forget. Songs you can’t forget. Songs for dinner, for reading, for dancing, for killing a bottle of wine, for making love. Songs to break the silence. Songs against eternal darkness. But one day (maybe) you’ll make a deal with the silence. You’ll sit in her grandparents’ chair and it will only be a chair. Or you could give it away. All of it. Everything. Everything except the stones. She was forever (or so it seemed) gathering beach stones. She’d return from a beach with her coat pockets sagging, doing her best Virginia Woolf. Round stones, egg-shaped stones, disk-shaped stones, stones ground smooth by water and time. Stones from England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Cape Cod. Stones stored in shoe boxes, in plastic bags, in bowls; clusters of stones distributed about the house like incense. She liked the look of them, the feel of them, rattling in her palm. You could get rid of it all, but not the stones. You could walk on them, sleep on them, sit on them, eat off of them. Your house would be silent, filled with stones. You would have solitude. You would not be alone. You would have the stones.

  • Flash Fiction April 12, 2020 (4/12/2020)
    Pinawa Public Library
    Flash Fiction
    April 12, 2020



    The flash fiction stories continue! This week, Pinawa author Mike Luke shares his flash fiction story featuring a character some of you might recognize: Colin Therman. If any of you decide to try your hand at flash fiction and would like to share, email the Pinawa Public Library and we’ll feature it as our flash fiction story of the week!



    The library might be closed, but we’re continuing to look for new ways to stay connected with our patrons. Through our websites we have access to Tumblebooks until August (for free!), including Tumblebooks for kids, Tumblemath, teen books, audio books and adult romance books. And for those patrons who love Harry Potter or know people that do, for the month of April, J.K. Rowling has granted patrons access to Harry Potter at Home, an online learning resource, including free access to audio books.



    This week’s flash fiction story features fictional Pinawa investigator Colin Therman as he brings joy to an old friend during Covid-19.


    The Quartet

    By Mike Luke


    Officially it was the Retired Gentlemen’s Club, although it wasn’t really a club and there was nothing official about it. In fact the members – all six of them – referred to it, to themselves, as the Old Farts, although usually not with capital letters. They met every Thursday morning at the Pinawa Club for coffee and blather. They were all men, although in their view there was nothing stopping women joining if they wanted. They had nothing against women, quite the opposite, and one woman had sat with them for a while but she’d stopped coming after a few sessions, much to their disappointment, complaining that all they talked about was sports and who had died. It’s true that they did pour over obituaries perhaps more than was healthy. Possibly it was a form of survivor’s guilt as they thought about what so and so had been like when he was young and active and wondered how it was that he was dead and they were still alive.

    Colin Therman didn’t belong to the club although one of his friends had asked him on several occasions if he’d like to come along but in each case Colin had demurred. It’s true that officially he was retired. He’d had a celebration about it, planned to take up a couple of new hobbies but he seemed unable to turn down contracts that kept coming up, or, just on his own initiative, solving small mysteries. By now his wife Linda was getting exasperated with him. One or two of the jobs had certainly had elements of danger about them. “Retired means retired!” she kept telling him, but it turned out he was very poor at saying no or resisting his own inclination to fix things. So in his mind he didn’t qualify to be a member of the group: not only was he not really retired, he wasn’t sure he was a gentleman either, and he certainly didn’t consider himself a fart, old or otherwise.

    Of course, now that that nasty thing with 30000 nucleosides was infecting and sometimes killing creatures with several billion of them, meeting at the Club, or anywhere for that matter, was out. The Library was closed, the Community Centre and Vanier Centres also, shopping was awkward, strangers were a threat, you couldn’t get a slot for Walmart or Superstore curb-side pick-up to save your life and now the final straw was the closing of the Ironwood trail, supposedly because some yahoos didn’t practice social distancing. It was a bitter blow for everyone and Colin felt it deeply.

    One of the traditions of this group of old guys was to celebrate each other’s birthday. Usually that meant that brandy or some other high ethanol content drink would be poured surreptitiously into the coffee and there’d usually be a cake from Solo with candles – just a few – no point rubbing it in. Cigars unfortunately were out. This year, March 29 was Gerald’s turn, only of course getting together anywhere was potentially life threatening, maybe even illegal, with the threat of asymptomatic carriers, community transmission and other terms not normally present in ordinary conversation.

    Still, Gerald was turning 80 and they all agreed in their emails that it was important to recognize and celebrate the occasion. The problem was nobody knew what to do. How do you celebrate a birthday when getting together was hazardous to your health and would gain the disapproval of nosy neighbours?

    Most of the members, although not all, had an aversion to Facebook and Twitter or any kind of technology of that sort, so they backed and forth via telephone, email and the occasional text until finally one of them came up with a plan. A couple of them didn’t think they could do it, claimed to lack the necessary skill, although that was considered by the others just to be an excuse. One member said he would just embarrass himself and was told in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t about him it was about Gerald.

    Well of course the day came as days have a habit of doing, and it turned out that only three of them could make it. It need a fourth, one for each corner of Gerald’s house Colin was told in the last-minute phone call. Once again Colin’s inability to say no came to the rescue.

    It had snowed the day, before much to everyone’s irritation. It was supposed to be spring but winter is a long-term resident in Manitoba and always has its bags packed ready to visit the province. Now the sun was out and the snow was already subliming and melting. As they approached Gerald’s house they took care to maintain a good separation. Each of them took up position at one corner of the house near a window so that all four quadrants were occupied. Then one of them called Gerald and told him to open his windows. When he had done so, on a signal they all began:

    “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Gerald, Happy Birthday to you.”

    It wasn’t a chorus that would have won acclaim at any music gathering, but it did the job and that was all that mattered. Each of them had brought a balloon and they now released them, watched them drift away in the breeze, waved at Gerald who beamed back at them from inside the house and then made their way separately and safely back home.  Colin thought to himself, smiling in satisfaction at what they had done, that when things returned to normal, if there ever would be such a thing as normal again, that maybe, just maybe he’d drop by one Thursday morning and join in the conversation. Until then, well maybe he’d practice his singing.

  • Flash Fiction April 5, 2020 (4/5/2020)
    Pinawa Public Library
    Flash Fiction
    April 5, 2020

    The library remains closed, so we are trying something new!  For now, to keep us connected, and to satisfy the need for stories, we will be replacing the Biblio File with a Flash Fiction story for you to read.

    Flash Fiction stories are stories that are less than 1,000 words long and can typically be read in a couple of minutes. You might have heard it described as “micro-fiction,” “postcard fiction,” or “napkin fiction,” due to its length.

    Our first flash fiction story is about the power of friendship and siblings, even after a disagreement.

    Three is a Rational Number

    by Michele Finn Johnson

    Lola’s lost her rational numbers worksheet. She’s got the whole school bus looking for it —when Lola says to do something, it’s like she’s an orchestra conductor and we all just fall in line.

    “For God’s sake, people, it was here a second ago. Look a little harder.” Lola’s golden ponytail flops side to side as she paces the aisle. She taps Billy Maguire on the top of his head. “What? You give up already?”

    Billy Maguire is the goon of Darby Junior High. He’s easily a head taller than me. I stand up and start toward them; sometimes it’s no fun being Lola’s twin brother. My stomach’s cramping into a raisin, but then I see Maguire rip a sheet out of his spiral notebook.

    “I copied mine for you,” he says.

    Lola combs over Maguire’s sheet as if she’s grading it or might even reject it. I’m certain her original homework was wrong because she copied off of mine and I’m an algebraic head case. Billy Maguire’s a goon, but Billy Maguire is also the smartest kid in the seventh grade. That’s how I know life isn’t fair. Lola folds Maguire’s offering into her training bra and plops down next to him. I taste this morning’s Cheerios backing up in my throat.


    Typical day now. Lola and Maguire are holding hands at the bus stop. It’s 7:45 AM, which makes it even grosser.

    My best friend, Seegs, is obsessed with two things—Soldier of Fortune 3 and sex. He points at Lola and Maguire. “How far do you think they’ve gone?”

    I think about decking Seegs, but he’s a compulsive nose bleeder. It’s messy, and a weird part of him loves the taste of blood. “That’s my sister, you perv.”

    Everything I know about sex I’ve learned from Seegs. He knows practically nothing, but his brother told him stuff and he’s at State College. It’s sick to think about Maguire, his monster lips and hands oozing over my sister. Or maybe more. From the pictures Seegs showed me, the whole thing looks pretty impossible. Like winning a game of Soldier of Fortune 3 against Seegs.

    “Yeah,” Seegs says. “But do you think he’s gotten into her bra?”

    According to Seegs’ brother, once you get under the girl’s bra, you’re home free. I tried to talk to Lola about it the other night; I asked her if Maguire was behaving himself, which sounded cornball the second I said it. Lola gave me an eye roll, the one she usually gives Mom or Dad when they turn off a PG-13 movie because it’s ‘too risqué.’ I don’t blame her. I sounded like a freaking pilgrim.

    The school bus pulls up, and Lola and Maguire are the first to climb in. They prefer the first bench, the one everyone has to pass when they board. Maguire’s cronies slap him a high five as they walk by. Lola glows with her new secrets.


    It’s official—I’m rocking a solid C minus in algebra. Lola is pulling straight As, and Mom looks mystified as she posts Lola’s successes on the front of our fridge.

    I elbow Lola as she reaches for the milk. “Those are Maguire’s ‘As’ you know.”

    “Try and keep up,” she says. The way she laughs reminds me of Maguire and his friends, their roars that pierce all of us outcast gamers.

    After dinner, we sit at the kitchen table and do our homework like we have since we were six. Lola leaves after half an hour, and when I look at her algebra papers, I can see she’s barely touched them. Why does algebra matter so much—does it really develop real-world problem-solving skills? Lola seems to be solving all sorts of things by herself without even touching this stuff.


    Two months later. Lola bolts to the back of the bus, waving at Seegs and me.

    “Let me in,” she yells.

    She oreos herself in between us and grabs both of our hands. She’s pale, like the time our family went snorkeling and a school of stingrays circled around her.

    Maguire marches back to us.

    “I guess she doesn’t want you that bad,” one of his goonies yells.

    Lola squeezes my hand hard. “He made me touch it,” she whispers, loud enough that Seegs hears her too.

    Seegs and I stand up in the aisle, blocking Maguire from Lola. He opens his mouth and I want to rip into his A+ teeth, deliver an overdue slap.

    “I suppose she told you,” Maguire says.

    Yes, he towers over me and yes he’s a goon, but the thing is, there’s guilt in the way he says this—I suppose she told you—guilt mixed with something else—fear maybe—and standing here in the aisle of the Darby Junior High school bus, I can almost smell the lack of confidence that Maguire is oozing, like the stingrays probably sensed in Lola. There’s a sudden turn—I’m the stingray now—and I think I can actually solve this equation: boy + girl + twin brother + screw-up = trouble for boy! I’m a rational, problem-solving genius! I’m so wrapped up in the euphoria of solving teenage algebra that I barely notice Seegs push Maguire back up the aisle, or Maguire’s reverse charge and head-butt to Seegs. The bus erupts in roars and cheers. The bus driver is yelling and pulls over to the curb. Seegs’ nose drips blood like he’s been hit by a ghoul engine in Soldier of Fortune, but he is smiling. Blood streaks his teeth. Lola flips through her backpack, looking for tissues or a gym sock, something to sop up Seegs’ blood, but all she can come up with is a crumpled piece of paper. A rational numbers worksheet. I can make out xs and ys and squiggles, Lola’s sub-par handwriting. She rips the worksheet into strips and rolls a couple of plugs for Seegs’ nostrils.

    Maguire just stands there and stares at all of us for a long while. I wonder if he sees what I do—a girl who drinks Coke through cherry rope licorice, her crooked-scowling brother who has 33 teeth crammed into 32 sockets, a bloody action hero best friend who has overdue C-minus quality math homework stuffed up his nose; a trio that makes no sense; a problem that no one like Maguire will ever be able to solve.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (3/9/2020)

    Pinawa Public Library

    The Biblio File
    March 9, 2020

    Sunday, March 8th was International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality.

    The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

    An equal world is an enabled world.  Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue.  Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.   A gender equal world can be healthier, wealthier and more harmonious.  The race is on for the gender equal boardroom, a gender equal government, gender equal media coverage, gender equal workplaces, gender equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth.

    The theme for 2020 is Each for Equal, drawn from a notion of “collective individualism.”  We are all parts of a whole.  We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.  Our individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society.

    Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions.  Collectively, we can make change happen.

    If the forecast holds it will be snowing when this publishes and this cute picture will make sense.  If it’s sunny and warm instead then let’s just say this was a memory from last week.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (3/2/2020)

    Pinawa Public Library

    The Biblio File
    March 2, 2020

    In December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 3rd as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

    The theme for 2020 is “Sustaining all life on Earth”, encompassing all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity.

    Earth is home to countless species of fauna and flora.  We depend on the constant interplay and cooperation between all elements of the biosphere for all our needs: the air we breathe, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the materials we need for all purposes.

    However, unsustainable human activities and over-exploitation of the species and natural resources that make up the habitats and ecosystems of all wildlife are threatening the world’s biodiversity. Nearly a quarter of all species are presently at risk of going extinct in the coming decades, and their demise would only speed up the disappearance of countless others, putting humans in danger as well.

    On World Wildlife Day (and every day) take the time to notice and appreciate the plants, animals and nature around you.  We are so fortunate to be surrounded on a daily basis by the beauty of nature.  Let’s work together to appreciate and protect it.

    Don’t forget to move your clocks forward on March 8th!  Although we are all justifiably horrified by the idea of an hour less reading time, it will be nice to have some lighter evenings for…well… reading.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (2/24/2020)

    Pinawa Public Library

    The Biblio File
    February 24, 2020

    Every February, Canadians are invited to participate in Black History Month festivities and events that honour the legacy of Black Canadians, past and present.

    People of African descent have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.

    Black History Month is a time to learn more Canadian stories and about the many other important contributions of Black Canadians to the settlement, growth and development of Canada, and about the diversity of Black communities in Canada and their importance to the history of this country.  Our display has been updated – come and take a look.

    Black History Month was initiated in Canada by the Ontario Black History Society and introduced to Parliament in December 1995 following a motion by Jean Augustine, the first Black woman elected as a member of Parliament. The motion was carried unanimously by the House of Commons.  Black History Month was officially observed across Canada for the first time in February 1996.

    Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and online. This year, Pink Shirt Day, or Anti-Bullying Day, is on February 26. It is a day when people come together by wearing pink shirts to school or work to show they are against bullying. The focus for 2020 is “lift each other up.”

    Now a movement celebrated across the globe, Pink Shirt Day was inspired by an act of kindness in small-town Nova Scotia.  Here is a snippet of an article detailing the original incident:

    “David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school. ‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’ So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag. As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled. The bullies were never heard from again.”

    You will never know the true power of your words, and the lasting effect that they can have on a person.  It costs nothing to be kind and can make the world of difference.

  • The Biblio File: Library News (2/17/2020)

    Pinawa Public Library

    The Biblio File
    February 17, 2020

    Louis Riel Day is a provincial statutory holiday observed on the third Monday in February in Manitoba, and we have updated our library display shelf with reading to reflect this.

    Legislation proclaiming this date as Louis Riel Day was passed by Manitoba’s Legislative Assembly in 2007, and first celebrated on February 18th 2008.

    Louis Riel Day is a name that was suggested by Manitoba school students, in honour of Louis Riel, the political leader of the Métis people of the Canadian Prairies and regarded as the Father of Manitoba.

    Louis Riel was a passionate Métis leader. He was the driving force behind Manitoba becoming Canada’s fifth province and joining confederation. Louis Riel’s dream of a province that embraces all cultures is still shared by Manitobans today.

    He led two rebellions against the government of Canada and was executed after being convicted for high treason in November 1885.

    We will be closed on Monday, February 17, 2020 for Louis Riel Day.