Mount Royal University library, Calgary

I’m a library aficionado visiting many around the world every year. My own city — Calgary — has offered some of the crappiest.

The University of Calgary modernized long after I’d finished my degree. I’ve only been there a few times. And the new Calgary Downtown Library will not open until  November 2018.

Happily the library most walkable for me has just gone ultra-modern. I love it.

The Riddell Library and Learning Centre (RLLC)  opened Sept 7th, 2017.

From treadmill desks to cubbies for catnaps, everything a student needs to feel learning-ready will be available …

Soundproofed project rooms allow users to record, edit and manipulate sound and video to create podcasts, music and media-rich presentations.

Visitors can take a break from research or end the day in the café or fireplace lounge. Group-use rooms will increase from three to 34. The number of student stations (or seats) will nearly triple from 650 to 1,800.

Currently, the library’s holdings include twice as many eBooks as print, and its collection of eJournals outnumbers print journals by about 80 to one. Balancing the collections is a matter of establishing a long-term strategy, says Shepstone. …


External community members may book Group Rooms in-person at the Service Desk.

I grabbed this one with a view of the Taylor Centre for Performing Arts.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Cool as it is, I actually prefer to work in an empty classroom. With blackboard for brainstorming. Most Universities lock them up when not in use, but MRU leaves them open.

Surprisingly every classroom still has an overhead projector. And they seem to be well used.

related – Rocky Ridge Library at Shane Homes YMCA opened January 15.


Outlander – book 1

A romance. More a bodice-ripperOutlander (1991) was not nearly as good as I had hoped. I won’t continue with either books nor TV series.

Outlander is the first in a series of eight historical multi-genre novels by Diana Gabaldon.

Published in 1991, it focuses on the Second World War–era nurse Claire Randall, who travels through time to 18th century Scotlandand finds adventure and romance with the dashing Jamie Fraser.

… A television adaptation of the Outlander series premiered on Starz in the US on August 9, 2014. As of fall 2017, the series is airing in its third season and has begun pre-production on the fourth. …

World Without End by Ken Follett

The audio book is 45 hrs long. A sweeping historical novel set in 12th-century England during the time of the Black Death. The plague.

It follows characters over 40 years.

The Church is still powerful. New architecture and building techniques are revolutionizing the lives of people as they move from serfdom to free entrepreneurs.

It’s a bit of a soap opera with too high a percentage of the pages devoted to love stories and romantic disaster.

Still … I’ll be continuing on to book 3 in the series –  A Column of Fire, published 2017.  It’s set in the same English city starting 1558.

World Without End is a best-selling 2007 novel by Welsh author Ken Follett. It is the second book in the Kingsbridge Series, and is the sequel to 1989’s The Pillars of the Earth.

World Without End takes place in the same fictional town as Pillars of the Earth — Kingsbridge — and features the descendants of some Pillars characters 157 years later. …

television miniseries based on the novel aired worldwide in 2012.

For We Are Many (Bobiverse #2)

Released April 2017, I wouldn’t rate the sequel as good as We Are Legion (We Are Bob) Book 1 2016.

Still … it kept me going. Science Fiction nerds will love it.

Bob and his copies have been spreading out from Earth for forty years now, looking for habitable planets. But that’s the only part of the plan that’s still in one piece. A system-wide war has killed off 99.9% of the human race; nuclear winter is slowly making the Earth uninhabitable; a radical group wants to finish the job on the remnants of humanity; the Brazilian space probes are still out there, still trying to blow up the competition; And the Bobs have discovered a spacefaring species that considers all other life as food. …


It gets confusing keeping track of Bob’s clones. Happily he posted a family tree.

Artemis by Andy Weir – a review

Wait for the film.

That’s my advice.

Recall Matt DamonThe Martian. … Mark Watney, I mean.

Weir’s first book was a huge, surprise hit.

Yet Weir, who wears a jaunty cap and a cheery grin during most of his public appearances, says he is plagued by crippling self-doubt. What if he’s a one-hit wonder, he wonders? What if his just-released follow-up novel, “Artemis,” fails to measure up? Has his success been a fluke? Weir is clearly suffering imposter syndrome anxiety.

L.A. Times

The charm of The Martian was contrast between the down-to-earth, relatable protagonist and the fascinating hard science of travel to Mars.

In his second book Weir recreates Matt Damon … this time as a young, female Muslim  named Jazz.

You have to admire his attempt at diversity.

The title Artemis refers to the name of the first lunar city, population 2,000. His characters are members of the underclass of workers, criminals and opportunists.

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of.

Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.


Many don’t find Jazz believable. But she’s a geeky 14-year-old boy’s dream girl. Profane. Irreverent. Bawdy, but there’s no sex. After all this book is written at a children’s level.

The plot is stupid too.

But it doesn’t matter. Weir won Best Science Fiction in the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards for The Martian. And he wins again this year for Artemis.

Before he wrote it, Weir had a traditional print book deal. And because its 2015 adaptation of “The Martian” was such a success, 20th Century Fox has already agreed to turn “Artemis” into a movie, to be directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who previously directed “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street”).

My guess is that Artemis will make an excellent film.

This book is not nearly as good as The Martian. But I did enjoy the detailed science included on how humans could live on the Moon.

Daniel Silva – Mark of the Assassin & Marching Season

The Mark of the Assassin (1998)

The Marching Season (1999)

Those are prequels to Silva’s much more famous Gabriel Allon spy thrillers.

Michael Osbourne is the hero of these two. He faces Jean-Paul Delaroche, the world’s most dangerous assassin.

I’d say the Osbourne books are as good as the Allon series. Highly recommended.


In 1999, after publishing The Marching Season, the second book in the Michael Osbourne series, I decided it was time for a change.

We were nearing the end of the Clinton administration, and the president was about to embark on a last-ditch effort to bring peace to the Middle East. I had the broad outlines of a story in mind: a retired Israeli assassin is summoned from retirement to track down a Palestinian terrorist bent on destroying the Oslo peace process. …

The Accidental Series – Daniel Silva on the Gabriel Allon series

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis Taylor

A book for nerds written by a nerd.

Bob got rich selling his software company. But is killed crossing the street in Vegas.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state. He has been uploaded into computer hardware and is slated to be the controlling AI in an interstellar probe looking for habitable planets. …


He’s a human (sort of) Von Neumann probe.

This book is juvenile. It will appeal most to teenage geeks. But I enjoyed it thoroughly too. There are many interesting concepts.

The down-to-earth tone is somewhat similar to Old Man’s War and The Martian.

Check some GoodReads reviews.

The second book in the series is supposed to be even better. I’ve already downloaded it.