2014 Hugo Awards, or How I Found My Next Read

 

The 2014 Hugo Awards were presented in London on Sunday, August 17th. This year’s winner for Best Novel went to Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice, which tells the story of One Esk – an electronic artificial intelligence – who once commanded an entire starship, the formidable Justice of Tore. Now confined to a mortal body cobbled together from interchangeable human parts as the entity called “Breq,” the AI must survive as a multi-segmented, ancillary humanoid being in a galactic empire ruled by an oppressive government — without disobeying the law that forbids AIs from harming their creators. I will definitely put this down on my reading list!

In fact, I’ve always strived to read as many Hugo-winning books as possible. When you’re as avid a reader as I am, it’s always exciting to discover a new author, along with her or his body of work. I thought I would share some of my favourite Hugo winners, in the hopes that you might also find someone new!

RedshirtsRedshirts, by John Scalzi, won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Novel and Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. While familiar with the author, I’d never read any of his works previously. Redshirts was a great introduction – definitely recommended for any classic Star Trek fan! Follow Ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned to the Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union, as he works in the xenobiology lab. He and the other new ensigns notice something weird about life aboard the Intrepid — on any away mission, at least one crew member dies. And each away mission seems to follow a bizarre set of rules. The crew of the Intrepid has become very superstitious and fearful about getting involved in the bridge crew’s missions. After meeting with a lost crewmember, the ensigns learn that they are characters in a TV show. As the new ensigns understand their lot, the story is similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, where the story tells what happens when its characters find out they are not in the “real” storyline. In what I see as inspired genius, Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook version.

SagaSaga, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, won the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. Not only that, but the series also won the three Eisner Awards it was nominated for in 2013 (Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer), and won six 2013 Harvey Awards (Best Writer, Best Artist, Best Color, Best New Series, Best Continuing or Limited Series, and Best Single Issue or Story). Brian K. Vaughan is one of my favourite comic writers – Pride of Baghdad holding a special place in my heart – so I was quite excited when this new series was announced. Not familiar with Fiona Staples’ work, I found myself blown away! In this first volume (collecting issues of Saga #1-6) bits of sf space opera and classic fantasy mesh in setting a sprawling stage for an intensely personal story of two lovers, cleverly narrated by their newborn daughter. Though recently soldiers from opposite sides of a massive intergalactic war, moth-winged Alana and ram-horned Marko simply want peace and anonymity to raise their daughter (an abomination to the powers that be) away from conflict and hatred. Action, adventure, love, sex, grief, and joy combine in one amazing book!

Among OthersAmong Others, by Jo Walton, won the 2012 Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the British Fantasy Award, and was a nominee for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Set in 1979 and 1980, this book tells the story of 15-year-old Morwenna. After engaging in a classic good-magic-versus-bad-magic battle with her mother that fatally wounds her twin sister, Morwenna leaves Wales and attempts to reconnect with her estranged father. Sent to a boarding school in England, her riveting backstory unfolds gradually as she records her thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a series of journal entries. An ominous sense of disquiet permeates the nonlinear plot as Morwenna attempts to avoid a final clash with her mother. In addition to casting an irresistible narrative spell, Walton also pays tribute to a host of science-fiction masters as she peppers Morwenna’s journal with the titles of the novels she devours in her book-fueled quest for self-discovery.

The Windup GirlThe Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi, won the 2010 Nebula Award and the 2010 Hugo Award (tied with The City & the City by China Miéville), both for best novel. This book also won the 2010 Compton Crook Award and the 2010 Locus Award for best first novel. This novel is set in a future Thailand where calories are the greatest commodity. Anderson is a calorie-man whose true objective is to discover new food sources that his company can exploit. His secretary, Hock Seng, is a refugee from China seeking to ensure his future. Jaidee is an officer of the Environmental Ministry known for upholding regulations rather than accepting bribes. His partner, Kanya, is torn between respect for Jaidee and hatred for the agency that destroyed her childhood home. Emiko is a windup, an engineered and despised creation, discarded by her master and now subject to brutality by her patron. The actions of these characters set in motion events that could destroy the country. Bacigalupi has created a compelling, if bleak, society in which corruption, betrayal, and despair are commonplace, and more positive behavior and emotions such as hope and love are regarded with great suspicion.

DiggerDigger, Volumes 1-6 by Ursula Vernon, was nominated for the Eisner Award and won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2012. Originally a webcomic, it has been released in 6 volumes, and features an anthropomorphic, no-nonsense wombat named Digger who finds herself stuck on the wrong end of a one-way tunnel in a strange land where nonsense seems to be the specialty. Now, with the help of a talking statue of a god, an outcast hyena, a shadow-being of indeterminate origin, and an oracular slug she seeks to find out where she is and how to go about getting back to her Warren. Vernon’s black and white illustrations are fantastic, and the story will stay with you for days after reading.

To Say Nothing of the DogTo Say Nothing of the Dog: or, How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last, by Connie Willis, won both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1999, and was nominated for the Nebula Award in 1998. This funny romp through time from 2057 back to Victorian England, with a few side excursions into World War II and medieval Britain, will have you glued to the pages. Rich dowager Lady Schrapnell has invaded Oxford University’s time travel research project in 2057, promising to endow it if they help her rebuild Coventry Cathedral, destroyed by a Nazi air raid in 1940. In effect, she dragoons almost everyone in the program to make trips back in time to locate items–in particular, the bishop’s bird stump, an especially ghastly example of Victorian decorative excess. Time traveler Ned Henry is suffering from advanced time lag and has been sent, he thinks, for rest and relaxation to 1888, where he connects with fellow time traveler Verity Kindle and discovers that he is actually there to correct an incongruity created when Verity inadvertently brought something forward from the past. Take an excursion through time, add chaos theory, romance, plenty of humor, a dollop of mystery, and a spoof of the Victorian novel, and you end up with what seems like a comedy of errors but is actually a grand scheme “involving the entire course of history and all of time and space that, for some unfathomable reason, chose to work out its designs with cats and croquet mallets and pen wipers, to say nothing of the dog. And a hideous piece of Victorian artwork.”

If you’re looking for more Hugo magic, please visit our catalogue for a listing of past winners.

– Barbara

Library apps on your Tablet – more than just eBooks!

You’ve got devices, we’ve got apps!

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This fall, the Library is offering a new series of tech workshops designed to expand the range of “things we show you how to do” on your devices. We’ve focused on eBooks (and to some extent, eAudiobooks) in the past, but we’ve never covered the whole RANGE of options. This is partially because some of our services are newer than others – our eMagazines service has only been on offer since January, and our streaming movies and music service only since April.

The other major reason that the range has been limited is that to explain all the services on all of the various tablets that people bring in takes a lot of time and can be confusing (brain/information overload!). To deal with this, for our fall series we’re splitting the sessions by device type – iPads in one class, Android tablets in another – so that no one is presented with information that doesn’t apply to their device and everyone can follow along, step-by-step.

The drawback to this arrangement is that to cover the range of tablets available, we need to have more sessions, and our resources are limited. To start off, we’ll be offering sessions for iPad and Android only, but Windows 8 devices will be offered as an option in the near future. If you’re interested in having the Windows 8 session at a branch near you, please contact the branch directly and let them know!

A listing of when & where these sessions will take place can be found in the September/October issue of @ the Library (coming to a branch near you next week). Subscribe to our email newsletter to get it delivered the first day it’s available!

Because some people prefer the “Do-It-Yourself” method, here’s a rundown of the library services you can get on your device with links to our “visual guides” for setup and installation:

OverDrive Media Console App: for eBooks and eAudiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Overdrive

OverDrive is our most popular eBooks platform! To download books from OverDrive, you need to install the OverDrive Media Console app, even if you already have an app like iBooks or Kobo for your purchased eBooks. Library eBooks have “time-lock” software attached to them that controls the lending/returning of the books (the “library” part of the deal!), and you need an app that knows how to handle the library code. Luckily the OMC app is free and easy to use – just follow the steps in our visual guides:

OverDriveiPad

Guide to OverDrive for your iPad

OverDriveAndroid

Guide to OverDrive for your Android Tablet

OverDriveWin8

Guide to OverDrive  for Windows 8 tablets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoopla app: For streaming and downloading Movies, Music and Audiobooks

Search your app store for the keyword: Hoopla

Hoopla is the newest download service offered by WPL, but it’s quickly becoming one of our favourites! Hoopla allows you to stream movies, TV, music and audiobooks on any computer, and if you’ve got an iPad or Android tablet, you can download your items and save them for offline use (like road trips, plane rides or days at the cottage!). You can check out 10 items per month, per card.

hooplaiPad

Guide to Hoopla for iPad

hooplaandroid

Guide to Hoopla for Android

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zinio app: for downloading and reading eMagazines

Search your app store for the keyword: Zinio

Zinio eMagazines are great because they never expire! Once you’ve checked out an issue, you keep it for as long as you like. The only complication is that the account setup process can seem a bit confusing. If you read through our Zinio Account Setup Guide, though, you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. Once you’ve got your accounts ready, download the Zinio app and start checking magazines out! Note that even though the eMagazines don’t need to be “returned” to the library like our eBooks do, you still need to use this specific library app to download the files. The eMagazines are in a proprietary file format that can only be opened in the Zinio app, so other apps like Newsstand can’t open them.

zinioiPad
Guide to the Zinio App for iPad
ZinioAndroid

Guide to the Zinio App for Android

ZinioWin8

Guide to the Zinio app for Windows 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

WPL to GO: the Library’s OWN App!

Search your app store for the keyword: Winnipeg

Last but not least, we have our own app – one that gives you quick access to the library catalogue, shows you holds you have available and when your items are due, all in a touch-friendly environment. For more details and links, head to our demo page where you can try the app live before you download it!

Enjoy!

-Sophie

On The Same Page 2014-15: it’s time to choose your adventure

“On The Same Page” is the province’s biggest book club (now in its seventh year) during which we invite all Manitobans to read and talk about the same book at the same time.

Check out the four works on the shortlist below, and help decide which one every Manitoban should read! Once the title is selected – as voted on by youbook giveaways, author appearances, and other special events get underway in late 2014 and early 2015.

Voting continues until Monday, September 15. You can vote online at www.onthesamepage.ca, or by paper ballot at McNally Robinson Booksellers (1120 Grant Avenue) and any of our twenty Winnipeg Public Library branches.

Whenever you vote, be sure to enter your name to win a prize package of the four nominated books. You’ll also be able to meet the creators in person at a celebration of the shortlist titles at McNally Robinson on Thursday, September 11 at 7 pm.

footeImagining Winnipeg : history through the photographs of L.B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones.

 

 

 

northendNorth End love songs by Katherena Vermette

 

 

 

 

stuckStuck in the middle : dissenting views of Winnipeg by Bartley Kives & Bryan Scott

 

 

 

wittenbergsThe Wittenbergs by Sarah Klassen

 

 

 

Danielle

iPad Apps We Love for Family Reading

Family with a tablet computerWe hear from lots of parents, caregivers and educators who would like to share digital content with young children and want to know the best way to do it.

A key component?  Sharing apps together.  Research shows that parent-child interaction plays a huge role in a child’s experience with an app. Make sure you take the time to experience an app with your child, just as you would sit down with a picture book.

It’s also important to incorporate a variety of media in your child’s experiences, just as you do in your child’s diet. Picture books, oral stories, rhymes, songs and play are all an important part of your child’s healthy development.

It’s true, the experience of flipping through a physical book can never be fully replicated in the digital world. But in many ways, reading apps are complementary to physical books, and they offer interactive benefits that simply cannot be conveyed via black ink on white pages. Whether you are looking for games that reinforce retention and comprehension, content that encourages letter recognition, or next generation “choose your own adventure” stories, there are tons of apps out there that can foster the development of literacy skills!

Of course, in this swiftly changing tech obsessed era, it’s tough to sort through which iPad apps are must-have.  Not to worry.  We’ve got you covered. Check out this list of nifty and distinctive reading apps to share with your kids.

Pre-School

snappAnimal SnApp Farm
Push the slider to snApp the correct halves of each animal together in order to launch these short, rhyming stories featuring Cuddly Cow, Diggity Dog, Gobbly Goat, Higgly Hen, Lucky Lamb or Portly Pig. Users may choose to read the stories alone, or have them read aloud; in the read aloud option text is highlighted as it is spoken. Includes music, animations, and silly sound effects that will intrigue even the youngest, who will easily intuit how to operate this app. Winner of the Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review.

monsterThe Monster at the End of This Book….Starring Grover!
Grover narrates the book while kids are given the power, and the choice, to move the story forward by sabotaging his efforts to not turn the page.  Grover’s hilarious book-binding attempts bring an element of humour and playfulness to the more serious topic of facing fears, and provide an easy segue to more serious conversations between parents and children.

freighttrainFreight Train
Read Donald Crew’s popular picture book to learn more about colours, words, and numbers with great railway sounds. Each page features a different type of car; each car is specially designed to carry a certain type of cargo. Touch the cars to see what’s inside! Sing along to the catchy tune of I’ve Been Working on the Railroad as you read through the picture book and engage with the interactive features.

Ages 6-8

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This Apppigeon
With this hilarious app from award-winning children’s author/illustrator Mo Willems, children create their own stories. Kids start by answering the bus driver’s questions, and their answers blend into the storyline to create a unique narrative! Also includes a drawing feature that allows children to follow along with Mo and learn step-by-step how to draw the pigeon!

wild2Wild About Books
When a passionate librarian mistakenly sets up her bookmobile at the zoo, the animals discover a love of reading and pretty soon start penning their own stories! Filled with hilarious references to seminal works of children’s literature, Wild About Books captures the pure joy of reading and sharing stories as Molly the librarian finds the perfect book for each animal.

Cozmo’s Day Off  cozmo2
Follow Cozmo, a friendly little green alien, in this interactive e-book.  Read along with the narrator as Cozmo struggles to make it to work on time.  Kids will delight in the adjustable speed of the narrator’s voice, progressing from super fast to super slow with the swipe of a finger.  Hearing the story at different speeds encourages kids to record their own voices reading the story, an excellent activity for improving oral fluency and expression.

Ages 9-12

meanwhileMeanwhile
Based on the comic strip by Jason Shiga, Meanwhile is a choose-your-own-adventure app that puts kids in control of the storyline.  They must decide the fate of Jimmy, a young boy who stumbles upon a scientist’s lab where he must choose one of three objects:  a mind-reading device, a time-travel machine, or the Killitron 3000 (we don’t know what it is either!).  Each path includes puzzles and clues, and while most lead to certain DOOM, one path will lead to SUCCESS.  Kids will be hooked trying to find the right one!

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmorefantastic
A unique blend of animation and storytelling, readers follow the heartfelt journey of Mr. Morris Lessmore as a hurricane causes him to start a new life among a household of books. The animation is spectacular and engaging, but the heart of the app is in the story that unfolds. There are some interactive features and games interspersed among the sea of animation.  Help the wind blow, make the books fly, play Pop Goes the Weasel on the piano, or create alphabet cereal messages.

Weird But True weird
Did you know that a bottle-nose dolphin has a brain bigger than a human?  After using this app, your kid will be able to cite weird facts like this all day long.  Brought to you by National Geographic, this app features obscure, yet interesting little nuggets of information about animals, the weather, outer space, geography, and science.

~ Lindsay

Taste Buds Cook Book Club Launching Soon

coffee-cookbook

By popular demand, Fort Garry Library will be hosting a Taste Buds Cook Book Club modelled after Osborne Branch’s Cook by the Book and Westwood’s What’s Cooking? clubs. If you are a foodie who loves to browse through cookbooks and try new recipes, join our monthly book club!  Choose from several cookbooks set aside for you based on the month’s theme, then make a recipe or two at home. Be prepared to share your experience with photos and discussion at our monthly meetings. The meetings will run from October to May on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm.

To whet your palate, here are some of the themes we will be exploring :

Best Ever Cook Books: What is your go to cook book – the one you cannot live without? Amy Rosen listed a few of hers in a Chatelaine article and included:

joyThe Joy of Cooking, which “taught a generation of North Americans how to cook.”

masteringMastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, who brought a taste for fine food to America.

silverpalateThe Silver Palate recipes have become family traditions including Chicken Marbella.

barefoot And Ina Garten’s first Barefoot Contessa Cookbook is still her best.

quinoaNext we’ll explore trends from  Cupcakes to Quinoa. According to Forbes magazine, the Hottest Food Trends include locally sourced everything, veggies galore, healthier kids’ meals , better quality pizza and gluten free dishes. We will review the latest cookbooks devoted to new foods and share member’s secrets about where to source the best local ingredients.

We can’t wait for our featured guest Alison Gillmor,  editor of the delectable Recipe Swap column at the Winnipeg Free Press and famous for her annual 12 Days of Christmas Cookies to speak about her favourite cook books in December. This meeting will be open to the public, so come and be tantalized by the tales of a journalist’s adventures in her kitchen.

one dishComfort Foods and one dish meals will be the plat du jour in January as we pull out the slow cookers and La Creuset casserole pots to make that rib sticking mac and cheese or classic coq au vin.

 

chocolateJust in time for Valentine’s Day we explore all things chocolate as well as toothsome desserts to make for your loved ones – heart shaped crème de coeur anyone?

 

Is your mouth watering yet? Commit to cook and come chat about it at Fort Garry Public Library this fall.

Call 204-986-4918  and we’ll tell you all about how to become a member of the Taste Buds.

Jane

Suspended Holds and Auto-Checkout now available for OverDrive

We’re happy to announce that some long-anticipated features are now available in our OverDrive eBooks/eAudiobooks catalogue:     

Suspend a Hold

suspended3This feature allows you to temporarily suspend a hold on an item in the waiting list. Just like when you suspend holds in our “physical items” search catalogue, your position will continue to advance in the queue while the hold is suspended, but the hold will not be filled. This can be useful for a number of reasons, like stopping new book deliveries while you’re at the cabin for a week or away from your email, or if you’ve got ten books to read and can’t check out anymore until you’re finished with them.

suspended2
suspended1

You can choose to suspend your title for 7, 14, 21, 28, 60 or 90 days. Once the suspension ends, the title will go back to advancing in the list until the hold becomes available. If you advance to the first position in the waiting list while the hold is suspended, the system will skip ahead to fill the next available hold – but you’ll stay there waiting at position #1 until your suspension ends. If you’d like more details, here’s a link to OverDrive’s instructions on their Help site.

Auto-Checkout for Holds

At the time that you place a hold, the option to ‘auto-checkout’ the title when it becomes available can be set.

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autocheckoutsIf you choose this option, you will receive a notification email when your title is available, but the email is just to confirm that it has been checked out and can now be found on your account bookshelf. Basically, when the previous user’s loan period expires, the book automatically adds itself to your account. You’ll still need to log in and download the item to your computer or tablet from the bookshelf page, but you won’t have to worry about the hold expiring after 96 hours if you miss the email!

If you select this option but are unable to borrow the title at the time it becomes available (for instance if you’ve already reached your maximum checkout limit) you’ll be sent the same hold notification email you’ve seen in the past and will have the full 4 day/96 hour hold pickup period to make your checkout. If you leave the auto-checkout option unchecked, you’ll also get the old 4 day/96 hour notification email.

Here’s an article in OverDrive’s Help that explains this in more detail.

“Recommended for you” collection

recommended for you

After you sign in, a collection of recommended titles will appear on the homepage. Recommended titles will be available for checkout and suggested based on titles you currently have checked out or on hold. If you do not have any checkouts or holds, this collection will not appear.

Maturity Settings

Two options have been added to the Account Settings page that will allow you to customize your browsing and discovery experience based on content maturity level:

1. The ability to exclude certain content based on the maturity level (Juvenile, YA, General, Adult). This will allow adult users to exclude titles for younger readers and young readers to exclude adult-only titles from their experience.

maturity levels
More information how to use this setting is available in this Help article: http://help.overdrive.com/customer/portal/articles/1492447.

2. The option to “mask” all adult cover images with a basic cover image. This option will be set to “No” by default.

cover images

Search Relevance Improvements

Based on feedback from users, the default word used between your search terms in the OverDrive search box has been changed from “OR” to “AND.” What does this mean? Basically, previous searches for ‘Stephen King’ would return all records that contain either the word ‘Stephen’ or the word ‘King.’ That means in addition to books by Stephen King, your search result list would show books by Stephen R. Covey, Laurie R. King, etc. With the new search style, your search will only return records that contain both the words Stephen and King. The new search style means the number of results returned for a search will likely be lower than with the old search behavior, but the relevancy of the results will be higher.

If you have questions about these new services, drop us a line in the comments!

 -Sophie

SDL Anyone?

“Self education is, I believe, the only education there is.” – Isaac Asimov

I know, I know,  SDL sounds like some sort of nasty infection you should see a doctor about, right? Well, in fact, it’s pretty common, although some people do consult experts on the topic.  You may not even realize that you yourself engage in a bit of SDL now and again, or perhaps more often than that. Some people seek out SDL on a daily basis, do it in groups, and even brag about it!

So what exactly is SDL? It’s actually Self-Directed Learning, that is, choosing to learn something new on your own, with no teachers, classrooms or final exams. It should take more than seven hours of your time, not necessarily attempted just for fun, and end up making some sort of significant difference in your life.

Cover image for Things I learned from knitting-- whether I wanted to or notI personally prefer SDL experiences that involve fiber of some sort – knitting primarily, with the occasional side trip into embroidery, crocheting, sewing, and, most recently, spinning. On the more scientific side, I have an abiding interest in physics. Not a whole lot of understanding, mind you, but a great deal of interest. I’ve certainly spent more than seven hours on all of these subjects, not all of them fun by any means, but I can say that all of these SDL experiences have had a lasting impact on me, and changed my view of the world, from the pride I feel at wearing something hand-knit to an abiding sense of satisfaction about knowing where Schrodinger keeps his cat.

Cover image for Jazz for dummies

SDL projects and the public  library are natural partners. If there’s a subject you want to learn about in depth, odds are you can find information at the library. The hugely successful For Dummies series makes an excellent jumping off point for an SDL project. I’ve used the For Dummies books to learn more about jazz, Canadian history and religion, and there are literally hundreds more in the series on almost any subject imaginable.

Achieving and maintaining good health is a lifelong project, and learning more about how to manage a health issue, or take preventative measures before something happens is a vital SDL issue. The library has a wide range of the latest books on prevention and treatment of many health issues, both in print and e-books, as well as links to the latest in health information.

Cover image for Complete language pack. French [sound recording].Learning a new language is another SDL project a lot of people like to try, and it can certainly impact your life in many ways. Whether you want to be able to ask directions in Spain, understand the waiter as he lists the daily specials at a café in France, or improve your English, borrowing language learning kits from the library is an excellent way to listen, read, and learn a new language. If learning online is more to your taste, check out Mango, the language learning database found on the Winnipeg Public library’s website.

Some people like to share their SDL projects with others. If that’s your preference, the library offers the opportunity to talk with and learn from people who share a common interest in subjects like cooking, writing or knitting. Take a look at the Library Event Calendar for an opportunity to have a group SDL experience.

So, the next time you think about SDL, don’t call the doctor, go to WPL!

Lori