Tammy McLean

Tammy McLean

Library Corner: Books of My Life with Tammy McLean

If you would like to contribute to Books of My Life, contact the Rossland Public Library

Tammy McLean has lived in Rossland for 27 years, and although she wasn’t born here, her family has very deep roots in this community.

Her Great-Grandfather, Jim Shellard, came over from England in the early 1920s and was the town ‘Veterinarian’ in the early days. He also worked at the Orwell Hotel and served himself up a fair bit of the beverages that were on tap.

Tammy and Robert (Bob) McLean have two beautiful daughters that they have been blessed to bring up in Rossland. They love skiing, mostly cross-country these days, hiking, climbing, and hanging out at The Grind.

Tammy has worked at the Kootenay Boundary Hospital for many years in the ER and ICU and also in Palliative Care. She then worked for Selkirk College, teaching in the nursing program, and most recently, has been a family nurse practitioner with Mental Health and Substance Use and Addiction Medicine.

Tammy is thinking about retiring soon so there will be more time for reading books (and skiing, hiking, and drinking more good coffee).

• What is your favourite childhood book?

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. I love the notion of being loved no matter how shabby, old, and worn out; that everyone has worth despite how they looks on the outside.

2. What book did you most enjoy in school?

The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. This book was read aloud by my English teacher, Mrs. Hall. I have never forgotten the joy of being read to, the beauty of the writer’s language, the enchanting love story, the healing of things that are broken, and the ongoing human desire to feel connected and contribute to others.

3. Name an author/book that changed your life.

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley. I had just finished reading this book and the next day went into the room of a patient who was dying. This person had been very confused and had I not read this book, I would have chalked up what they were telling me to a delirium. I was able to ‘hear’ with a very different kind of listening, that they weren’t ready to die yet. I acknowledged that I had heard them, they settled and went on to have a very peaceful death a few days after the birth of their long-awaited grandchild. Final Gifts changed the way I approached all of my patients at the end of life.

4. What book scared you the most?

Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche. I had to put the book down a number of times as it was so hard to read, but I also felt it was my responsibility to know what happened during the Rwandan Genocide. It was scary because it described first-hand how easy it is to see our fellow humans as ‘other’ and the horrific consequences of doing so.

5. What genre would you read if you could only pick one?

Historical fiction. I absolutely love the richness of this genre and the detailed research that goes into the writing. Anything by Sharon K. Penman, Ken Follett, and Philippa Gregory.

6. Name one book you couldn’t finish.

I have a rule that once I have started a book, I have to finish it before starting another. This rule helps me to choose well, as I don’t want to get stuck readin – if I am not allowed to start another one.

7. What are you reading now?

Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard. This book is challenging some of my beliefs about what I had been taught about the Underground Railway and the benevolence of Canadians towards people of colour – not in a good way. I have so much to learn.

Rossland Public Library Announcements and Information

Programming News: Cool Crafts is on Thursdays at 3 p.m. Next week is macrame and the week after that is a Halloween themed craft.

• We are celebrating the Library’s birthday and October is Library Month in Canada. Look for lots of book lists, bookmarks, and fun social media posts.

• Books & Babies is back on Friday, Oct. 22!

• We are hosting a Halloween Costume Party on Oct. 29. There will be games and prizes for everyone!

The Raven Reads Book Club: Is meeting at the library at 7 p.m, Wednesday, Oct. 27, and features Practical Magic by New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman. To participate, register at ravenreadsbookclub@gmail.com.

Kootenay Library Federation Book Club: On Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m., local Rossland author Jennifer Ellis will be online to chat about her book, Confessions of a Failed Environmentalist. Patrons can sign up through the events page on our website.

Indigenous Book Club: The next Indigenous Book Club selection is Five Little Indians by Michelle Good. See our website or the library front desk for details.

Books of My Life: Have you enjoyed reading “Books of My Life” interviews? Do you love reading and sharing your favourites? If so, please consider participating in a “Books of My Life” interview. For more information, email rplpublicrelations@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from readers of all ages.