Category Archives: Miscellaneous

It’s Time to Read: Beartown

Hello, dear readers.  It’s that time again! No, not the holidays. What I have to say might help you if you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the season. It’s that time when I tell you what the Time to Read podcast book club will be reading in December. It’s Beartown by Fredrik Backman.

 Though I haven’t read it yet, I know the book takes place in a tiny forest community on the ropes that has all of its hope riding on the local junior hockey team and a violet act that “leaves the town in turmoil.”

I’ve thought a lot lately about how geography influences culture and life and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so while reading this book. I touch a little bit on that in our latest episode of Time to Read, available today. But I’m looking forward to thinking about those ideas further while reading Beartown as I grew up in a northern Manitoba town in which hockey was woven tightly into the fabric of community life. In fact, I already know what my “Book you would also like” will be, but you’ll have to listen to the episode when it releases in January to find out.

But what I’m most excited to know is what you, dear readers, think about the book. Do you have any experiences with small town life? And if so how do they compare to the book? Or are you a lifelong urbanite? If so, in what ways do you relate to stories about rural life? And if none of these questions appeal to you, let us know what your liked (or didn’t) about the book.

Reach us by email at or leave a comment on our website.

~ Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

DIY Book Stack Management

I can never read all the books I want.
Sylvia Plath

I love books, the more the better. The mere thought of being somewhere without something to read is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. Fortunately this doesn’t happen very often, given where I work and the size of my book collection. Sometimes, though, too much of a good thing is simply too much. My TBR (To Be Read) book stacks, reading lists, wish lists and downloads can and do get out of hand at times. I’ve discovered a few tricks that work for me to wrestle my TBR to a manageable size, at least until the next time it gets out of control.

I’ve spent many fascinating hours in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, created by George R. R. Martin. But at a certain point I simply had had enough, and I have yet to finish reading the entire series. I might be the only fan out there who isn’t concerned with when the next book comes out, but I refuse to feel guilty. Alright, maybe I feel a little guilty, but not enough to continue the series until I’m ready for it.

Ian Rankin’s Rebus character is one of my favorite literary detectives, to the point where I found myself craving Irn Bru, bacon butties and brown sauce on chips, even though I’m not entirely clear on what brown sauce is. I mourned the end of Rebus’s career when Ian Rankin retired him, but I still appreciated all of the great writing. When Rebus returned I found I didn’t have much interest in reading his new stories. I’m sure that the quality of the writing is excellent, I mean we are talking about Ian Rankin, after all, but sometimes you just have to let a character go. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, at least for now.

Apples and Robins by Lucie Felix is an amazing picture book that uses die cut shapes to reveal a surprise on each page. It’s absolutely beautiful, but I’ve never been tempted to find more books by this author. This stems partly from a fear of being disappointed, and partly as a means to stop myself from adding yet another book to my stack.


The first time I read Rainbow Rowell’s book Eleanor and Park I was enchanted, and I only became more enchanted each time I read it. Despite all of the tempting reviews and recommendations I’ve gotten about her other books I haven’t rushed to read them. Sometimes it’s good to wallow in the undiluted greatness of one book for awhile before picking up another one by the same writer. I have read several of her books, and plan on reading everything that she writes, but for me having a bit of a hiatus lets me savor the stories that much more deeply. Plus it keeps the book stack just a wee bit shorter.

Other book stack management methods that work for me are suspending my holds, editing the lists on my library account, clearing out my Goodreads lists, and periodically moving the stacks of books in my house from one room to another. Somehow, even with all of this, I never seem to have enough time to read everything that I want, but on the bright side I never have to worry about running out of books, either.




What’s new in the Local History Room?

With the coming of Winter it’s time to have a look at the new arrivals in the Local History Room collection.

Cover image for Rooster Town : the history of an urban Métis community, 1901-1961

A long-anticipated arrival is Rooster Town: The History of an Urban Métis Community, 1901-1961 by Evelyn Peters which is the product of years of exhaustive research into a part of Winnipeg’s history that has re-surfaced after decades of obscurity, thanks to her work.  Rooster Town, which grew on the outskirts of southwest Winnipeg from 1901 to 1961, was one of many Métis communities in Manitoba on the edges of urban areas, and probably the most famous of them all with 59 recorded households at its peak in 1949. Those years in Winnipeg were characterized by the twin pressures of depression and inflation, chronic housing shortages, and a spotty social support network.  Rooster Town grew without city services as rural Métis arrived to participate in the urban economy and build their own houses while keeping Métis culture and community as a central part of their lives.

Cover image for Stolen city : racial capitalism and the making of Winnipeg

Stolen City: Racial Capitalism and the Making of Winnipeg by geographer Owen Toews is a widely-acclaimed new arrival that critiques what he identifies as the emergence of a ruling alliance that has installed successive development visions to guarantee its hold on regional wealth and power.  Through a combination of historical and contemporary analysis, Toews argues how settler colonialism, as a mode of racial capitalism, has made and remade Winnipeg and the Canadian Prairie West over the past one hundred and fifty years. The author gives particular attention to “an ascendant post-industrial vision for Winnipeg’s city centre that has renewed colonial ‘legacies’ of dispossession and racism over the past forty years.”


Cover of Memories of the Moonlight Special and Grand Beach Train Era

In the first half of the 20th Century, the Canadian Northern Railway, later CN, established a train service to the east shores of Lake Winnipeg called The Victoria Beach Sub Division. This rail line opened up cottage country and changed people’s lives forever. Author Barbara Lange offers to take us through a time capsule with Memories of the Moonlight Special and Grand Beach Train EraSixty years after train service to the east shores of Lake Winnipeg ceased, a writer embarked on a journey of discovery. “People remember the boardwalk, concessions, the Moonlight Inn, picnics, the carousel, the dancing pavilion, Daddy Trains, beach romances, Hot Lips ginger beer, bands, Morse code, ice boxes, honey pot toilets, red boards, the Wye, fishflies, bittersweet vine, the Snowshoe Special, and a bygone era when passengers felt part of one big family.”

Cover image for Settlers of the marsh

Settlers of the Marsh by Frederick Philip Grove is actually an old read: first published in 1925 after much resistance, and welcomed with much condemnation from critics, it has gradually become recognised as one of the greatest novel about the experiences of immigrants settling in the Prairies. The story centers on recent Swedish immigrants to Canada, based partly on the author’s own personal experience, taking place in northern Manitoba where settlers like protagonist Niels Lindstedt were hoping to start their own homestead despite inhospitable climate and the arduous work it required. Niels’ attempts to come to terms with his new land and community, and the toll that these attempts take on him are further complicated by his relationships with two very different women. His dreams of domestic happiness married to his neighbour’s daughter, Ellen, being dashed after she rejects him, Niels is seduced by a local widow, Clara, with devastating consequences for all three.

  • Louis-Philippe

Cozy Up with some Royal Happily Ever Afters

As the holiday season is well underway, Hallmark movies and Lifetime romance movies start popping up fervently on our TV screens. The hot-ticket theme that re-occurs almost every year is royal romance, and with the royal wedding having occurred this year, it is no surprise. Lucky for you if you’re a fan of some “Royal Romance” there are plenty of books to choose from. Here are some titles that will help tide you over this holiday season if you can’t get enough royalty on your television screen.


Royal WeddingMeg Cabot

Fans who watched Mia grow up from an awkward 14-year-old to a still awkward adult are in for a treat with Cabot focusing on an adult audience for Mia’s next adventures. Mia’s long-time boyfriend Michael finally popped the question, and Mia (naturally) said yes, but when it comes to planning their big day, they have plenty of interference, from her grandmother, the paparazzi and a politico who wants to depose her father from the throne.


The Royal WeHeather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan provide a spin on the story of Prince William and Kate Middleton in this fun and likable read. Nick is the heir to the British throne and Rebecca “Bex” is an exchange student from America. They meet at Oxford and fall in love. All is not perfect, however, as Bex has to navigate the press hounding their every movement, familial issues (both hers and his), and the possibility of being married to the future King of England. Happily Ever After isn’t easy, it’s a lot of work, will Bex and Nick make it through? Read the novel and find out!


A Princess in TheoryAlyssa Cole

Have you ever dreamed that you are a long-lost princess, or were even promised to a prince? If you answer no to the question, you are just like Naledi Smith, a former foster child who is just trying to balance grad school and multiple jobs. She keeps receiving e-mails stating she is the long-lost betrothed to a prince, but naturally dismisses them as a hoax. Prince Thabiso, the heir to the throne of Thesolo is not a fictitious prince however and is desperate to find his betrothed; he meets Naledi who mistakes him for a pauper, which Thabiso does not contradict, and decides to get to know her before asking for her hand and telling her who he is.  Will their love be able to handle all the secrets? Find out in this steamy novel, the first in the Reluctant Royals series.



The PrinceKatharine Ashe

Miss “Libby” Shaw is determined to become a surgeon, despite the fact that women are not supposed to practice medicine. Her work-around for that ruling? Disguise herself as a man and board with exiled Mediterranean prince and portrait artist Ibrahim Kent, also known as Ziyaeddin Mirza. Though they clash at first, Ziyaeddin not wanting Libby to create a prosthesis for his foot and Libby not able to sit still for a portrait, love finds a way. Also included in this romance novel, a murder mystery, a strong, well-developed female character and of course, true love.

If you love Hallmark movies but don’t get the channel, the library has a nice selection of holiday and heartwarming movies to choose from here.

Happily Ever After and Happy Reading!


Sand, Genes, and Robots – Great Science Reads of 2018

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. – Edwin Powell Hubble

Winter is definitely here, and so we have come to that time of year where having a good stash of books is crucial. With all those long winter nights ahead, what better time to re-ignite (or continue to fan) the flame of wonder, to kick back and take a closer look at the world around you, from your cosy armchair or the forest path.

A good science writer can take us on a journey to some pretty amazing places — from the smallest gene to the farthest reaches of the universe, in a way which is both accessible and inspiring. Ever wondered to what extent Artificial Intelligence (AI) will shape humanity, for good or bad (Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence)? Or which emerging technologies will ‘improve and/or ruin everything’ (Soonish)? Or how sand has transformed civilisation (The World in a Grain)? Grab one of these science reads and prepare to be amazed!

This Idea is Brilliant book cover image

This Idea Is Brilliant: Lost, Overlooked, and Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know by John Brockman

What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of the acclaimed science salon, presented to 205 of the world’s most influential thinkers from across the intellectual spectrum — award-winning physicists, economists, psychologists, philosophers, novelists, artists, and more. From the origins of the universe to the order of everyday life, This Idea Is Brilliant takes readers on a tour of the bold, exciting, and underappreciated scientific concepts that will enrich every mind.


How to Change your Mind book cover imageHow to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

Driving around the city a few weeks ago on one of those days of endless errands, I was lucky enough to hear Michael Pollan being interviewed on the CBC about his new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. I found it to be an engaging and interesting interview. In the book Pollan not only goes into the history of how psychedelics have been used throughout history, but also into his own personal ‘journey’ into the world of psychedelic use. He looks at how psychedelics are being used presently to provide relief for people with conditions ranging from terminal cancer to depression and addiction. How to Change Your Mind is both an informative and very personal read. One interesting point Pollan made was how psychedelics could punch a tiny hole, a little window, into people’s materially grounded everyday lives, and give  them a glimpse of what more might be out there.


The World in a Grain by Vince Beiser book cover image

The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser

Sand isn’t something I had thought much of before, or rather, thought of as one of those absolutely necessary things. I hadn’t really acknowledged that as I walk through my day I am walking on sand (concrete), looking at sand (computer monitor), answering calls with the help of sand (iPhone), and the list goes on. The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How it Transformed Civilisation, is the compelling true story of the hugely important and diminishing natural resource that grows more essential every day, and of the people who mine it, sell it, build with it — and sometimes, even kill for it. It’s also a provocative examination of the serious human and environmental costs incurred by our dependence on sand, which has received little public attention. Award-winning journalist Vince Beiser delves deep into this world, taking readers on a journey across the globe, from the United States to remote corners of India, China, and Dubai to explain why sand is so crucial to modern life. Along the way, readers encounter world-changing innovators, island-building entrepreneurs, desert fighters, and murderous sand pirates. The result is an entertaining and eye-opening work, one that is both unexpected and involving, rippling with fascinating detail and filled with surprising characters.


She has her mother's laugh book cover image

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer


With the increasing availability of genetic testing, paired with some important recent strides in genetic research, it seems like we can all figure out where we came from, where our little quirks, and possibly our larger health issues, arise from. In part this is true, but as Carl Zimmer points out in She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity, “Each of us carries an amalgam of fragments of DNA, stitched together from some of our many ancestors. Each piece has its own ancestry, traveling a different path back through human history. A particular fragment may sometimes be cause for worry, but most of our DNA influences who we are — our appearance, our height, our penchants — in inconceivably subtle ways.” Heredity isn’t just about genes that pass from parent to child. Heredity continues within our own bodies, as a single cell gives rise to trillions of cells that make up our bodies. We say we inherit genes from our ancestors — using a word that once referred to kingdoms and estates — but we inherit other things that matter as much or more to our lives, from microbes to technologies we use to make life more comfortable. We need a new definition of what heredity is and, through Carl Zimmer’s lucid exposition and storytelling, this resounding tour de force delivers it.


The Order of Time book cover image

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli

Why do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to “flow”? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike. For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe.


Soonish book cover imageSoonish by Kelly and Zach Weinersmith

What will the world of tomorrow be like? How does progress happen? And why do we not have a lunar colony already? What is the hold-up?

In this smart and funny book, celebrated cartoonist Zach Weinersmith and noted researcher Dr. Kelly Weinersmith give us a snapshot of what’s coming next — from robot swarms to nuclear fusion powered-toasters. By weaving their own research, interviews with the scientists who are making these advances happen, and Zach’s trademark comics, the Weinersmiths investigate why these technologies are needed, how they would work, and what is standing in their way.

Happy Reading!


Lest We Forget

This November marks the 100th year since the Armistice of the First World War. We take a moment of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember those who gave their lives that we might continue to live in peace. The first Armistice Day was commemorated in 1919 and it was later renamed Remembrance Day as it is now known.

The postcard below gives an idea of the great number of soldiers who went to war. It shows a ceremony for the presentation of cap badges to the members of the 27th Battalion (City of Winnipeg) before their departure for England in 1915.

Presentation of Badges to 27th Battalion

The hundreds of thousands of Canadians who enlisted to fight, including many Manitobans, are remembered as heroes, but they were more than just numbers. These men were real people with families. They were sons, fathers, husbands, and friends and they made many sacrifices by leaving their loved ones behind. Some made the ultimate sacrifice and would never return. I am reminded of everything they gave up when I see a farewell scene like this one of a train leaving the station for the war, sent off with such an outpouring of support.

Off to the War

Did you know that Winnipeggers used to observe another military memorial day? I learned about Decoration Day by looking through the PastForward website, Winnipeg’s digital public history. Even before the Great War, there were many postcards featuring Decoration Day photographs. This day was originally to commemorate those who died in the Battle of Ridgeway on June 2, 1866. It was first held in 1890, always on a weekend close to June 2, and eventually recognized soldiers lost in the North West Rebellion, the South African War and the First World War as well.

Decoration Day - 1925

Monuments and memorials are another way we have strived to ensure the legacy of those who fought for our freedom lives on.

The Angel of Victory (or Winged Victory) statue used to stand before Winnipeg’s Canadian Pacific Railway Station on Higgins Avenue. The monument can still be seen at its current home of Deer Lodge on Portage Avenue.

“To commemorate those in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company who, at the call of King and Country, left all that was dear to them, endured hardship, faced danger and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others might live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names be not forgotten. 1914-1918.”

Angel of Victory

The Next of Kin Monument is another; it stands at the corner of Broadway and Osborne Street on the legislative grounds.

“To the immortal memory of the men and women from Winnipeg who gave their lives in The Great War 1914-1918. Erected by the Loving Hearts of Kinsmen.”


You may have also seen the Volunteer Monument which used to stand before City Hall but now resides next to the Centennial Concert Hall, the bronze soldier standing before the Bank of Montreal at Portage and Main, or the Winnipeg Cenotaph on Memorial  Boulevard.

Soldiers Monument

Bronze Soldier


The first is an older monument that commemorates the men of the 90th Winnipeg Battalion killed in the North West Rebellion of 1885. The soldier honours the bank employees who fell during the First World War. Finally, the Cenotaph commemorates those who died during the First World War and later was rededicated to also recognize those lost in the Second World War and the Korean War. There are several more sculptures around our city to help us keep the past in our minds and in our hearts.

On this 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War may Remembrance Day continue to help us honour the brave men and women who gave their lives serving our country.

~ Christy



Books on Film

Movie buff, film freak, cinephile.  Words that pretty much describe me and sum up my love of moving pictures. From cinematic art to bad movies, I love them all! I also really enjoy reading about movies. Happily, Winnipeg Public Library has a great collection of fascinating titles on the art and angst of movie making. The genre has many classics, including Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies, Julie Salamon’s The Devil’s Candy and Peter Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. I’ve read and loved them all but for today, I’m going to give you a sneak preview of some other must-read titles.

We’ll always have Casablanca: the Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie

I grew up watching ‘old’ movies and Bogart was one of my first movie heroes. My favourite Bogie films are Key Largo, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep and of course, Casablanca. Noah Isenberg’s recent “making of” treatment of the film is a riveting, exhaustive look at one of the most-loved movies from Hollywood’s golden age.  The book traces Casablanca from its origins as an unproduced stage play to cultural icon. Highly recommended!

High noon: the Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic

In this gripping story, Frankel digs into the production of High Noon – the classic western made during the madness of the blacklist era. The book casts a light on the impact of the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ (HUAC) “naming names” investigations in Hollywood and reveals the allegorical impact of High Noon’s take on moral strength in the face of mob mentality. This book really sparked my interest in the film. High Noon is now on my watch list!

Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece

I lost my dog-eared copy of Jerome Agel’s The Making of Kubrick’s 2001 decades ago so I was super happy to check out Michael Benson’s new book on the sci-fi epic – once tagged “the ultimate trip”. Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece is the definitive and detailed story of the making of 2001. Benson describes the amazing collaborative process that created 2001’s groundbreaking visual effects (e.g. the first monolith was a translucent lucite slab) and provides new insights into the personalities of Clarke and Kubrick.

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

This book had me at the concept: over 50 years ago, five wildly diverse movies were nominated for the 1967 Academy Award for best picture. The films included new Hollywood visions (The Graduate and Bonnie and Clyde), a controversial for the time take on racism (In the Heat of the Night), an old-school Tracy & Hepburn vehicle (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) and a musical flop about veterinary medicine (Doctor Doolittle). Pictures at a Revolution is a new classic with an insightful take on the impact of 60s culture on mainstream movie making.

The Film Club: a True Story of a Father and Son

Canadian writer and film critic David Gilmour made a deal with his 15-year old son: he could drop out of school if he agreed to watch 3 movies a week with his father. Sounds great, right? Whether you agree with a movie-based homeschool curriculum or not, The Film Club is not just a collection of film reviews – it’s a really touching story about the relationship between Gilmour and his smart, funny son Jesse. And, yes, it’s also about the movies they watch together! And their first assignment: Truffaut’s The 400 Blows.

Room to Dream

The three filmmakers who’ve had the biggest impact on my visual imagination are Kubrick, Fellini and David Lynch. I have vivid memories of watching films like 2001, 8 1/2 and Blue Velvet for the first time and leaving the theatre thinking, “the worlds looks different now”. Room to Dream is a unique biography that delves into the art, artistry and life of David Lynch. Here’s Lynch on growing up in the fifties: “It’s dreamy, that’s what it is. The fifties mood isn’t completely positive, though, and I always knew there was stuff going on.” Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks fans know exactly what Lynch is talking about here!

I hope you find the above titles as entertaining and educational as I did, whether you’re just a movie dabbler or a hard-core cinemaniac. And if reading about movies leads you to watch more movies, be sure to check out Kanopy: a fantastic source for streaming film, especially Criterion Collection classics and unexpected cult favourites. Happy screening!



It’s Time to Read: I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Welcome, dear readers!  Happy first Friday of the month.  In the past, we’ve celebrated the all-important first Friday of the month by letting you know the latest episode of Time to Read was available to download.  We thought this was a pretty good way to spend your weekend. We were wrong.

What we should have been doing, and what we promise to do from now on, is to tell you what book we’re reading now.  Why? So you have Time to Read it of course!  And then you can let us know what you think. And when we record the next episode we can let you know what we think of what you think. We think that’s pretty neat.

reid For the month of November we’ll be reading I’m Thinking of Ending Things.  A Novel. By novelist Iain Reid.  I don’t know much about it … yet.  But I have it on good authority that it’s good.  Whose authority you might ask? An author I really admire, Heather O’Neill of Lullabies for Little Criminals fame calls it “Addictive.”  Charlie Kaufman of Charlie Kaufman fame is apparently turning it into a television series.  I can only hope he brings on Donald Kaufman to help him out.

But what I’d really like to know, dear readers, is what you think of it.  Did it keep you up at night? Because it was too scary? Or, maybe you couldn’t put it down?  Let us know by email at or leave a comment on our website.

And don’t forget to check out our latest episode, in which we discuss The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Available now.

-Alan and the rest of the Time to Read team

Spooky Songs and Terrifying Tunes

I’ve seen nothing but candy in stores since the middle of September.  It must be the Halloween Season.  A time for candy apples, Jack-o’-lanterns, ghosts, ghouls, zombies and witches.  At Sir William Stephenson, our Halloween books are as scarce as garlic in a vampire’s kitchen.  The same could be said for steak or is it stake?  Books are one of our most popular Halloween commodities, but, we have other treats for you to enjoy this Halloween.

The library has a huge selection of music for you to listen to and set the proper mood for a party.  What Alfred Hitchcock described as “mood music in a jugular vein.”  I’ve selected a small sample of what you can find using either Hoopla or Naxos Music Library.  Apps for both services can be downloaded to either Apple or Android devices.  You can also access these services through your computer.

I’ve grouped my selections in four categories:

  • Must haves
  • Film/TV
  • Classical
  • Halloween sounds

Must Haves

Halloween without these tunes would be like Christmas without Christmas trees or laurel without Hardy.  It just doesn’t work.

“Thriller” (Album Thriller artist Michael Jackson)  thriller

“Monster Mash” (Album The Original Monster Mash artist Bobby (Boris) Pickett)

“Purple People Eater” (Album The Purple People Eater artist Sheb Wooley)

“The Time Warp” (Album Music From the Rocky Horror Picture Showshrek 2

“Werewolves of London” (Album Excitable Boy artist Warren Zevon)

“Little Drop of Poison” (Album Shrek 2 artist Tom Waits)


No Halloween party would be complete without these staples from TV and the big screen.

“Ghostbusters theme song” (Album Ghostbusters II)

“Jaws theme song” (Album Jaws John Williams) jaws

“Halloween theme song 1978” (The Ultimate Halloween Collection: Spooky Anthems for your Haunted House)

“Once Upon a Dream” (Album Maleficent)

Psycho – Great Hitchcock Movie Thrillers

Addams Family (TV show or movie)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents Music to be Murdered By nightmare

“This is Halloween” (Album The Nightmare Before Christmas artist Danny Elfman)

“The Shining” (Album As Seen on Terrorvision Halloween Movie Hits artist The Hit Crew)


The next group of music is a selection of classical works from Naxos Music Library.

“Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” composed by Johann Sebastian Bach

“Symphonie Fantastique V Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath” composed by Hector Berlioz

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” composed by Paul Dukas

“In the Hall of the Mountain King” composed by Edvard Grieg

“Carmina Burana: O Fortuna” composed by Carl Orff

“Dies Irae” composed by Giuseppe Verdi

“Night on Bald Mountain” composed by Modest Mussorgsky

Halloween Sounds halloween

The last group is a grab bag of albums with different sound effects.  Need the sound of a cemetery, witches’ cackle, werewolf howl, the sound of hell or demons, look no further.


I do hope you enjoy these selections and take time to explore Hoopla and Naxos to find other composers and artists.  In closing, I will leave you with a piece of advice, particularly relevant in October, from the master of suspense himself Alfred Hitchcock;  “It is a good thing to know that if ever you are staring into the darkness and you see something staring back simply say boo and it will go away.”

Thank you and goodnight.


Spooky Scary Comic Books


If you love reading something scary around Halloween, Winnipeg Public Library has a great variety of horror-themed graphic novels to check out.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

This isn’t  Sabrina the Teenage Witch you remember from the comics (except for taking place in the ‘60s, which was when the original Sabrina comics started) or the fun ‘90s TV show. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is the creator of the hit TV show Riverdale as well as the Sabrina show based on the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina which will be coming out this month.  While Sabrina lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda (who are very cavalier about their taste for human flesh) she doesn’t know a lot about her tragic family history.  The plot thickens as a mysterious figure known as Madam Satan, disguised as the drama teacher, comes to town and starts to stir up trouble for everyone.   Definitely not for the squeamish!

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn

Harrow County is a limited series which just wrapped up this year. which just wrapped up this year. A farm girl named Emmy learns on her 18th birthday the life she thought she was living is a lie.  Her father is not really her father and she has strange and mysterious powers.  Finding out her identity is only the beginning of the story.  One of the most fascinating characters is the “haint” she befriends.  He’s the skin of a boy who she often brings in her bag with her, though his skinless body often goes and gathers information for her.  The art is entirely done in watercolour and is often beautiful and horrifying.  The American TV network Syfy has picked it up to be developed into a show.

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror: Dead Man’s Jest (multiple authors)

Even after The Simpsons went past its prime long ago, the Treehouse of Horror Halloween episodes were often still the best part of a season. I always end up watching a few of those classic episodes every October.  The writers add all sorts of supernatural and weird elements to the stories since they weren’t part of the ongoing canon.  Dead Man’s Jest has many spooky stories, some written by celebrities like Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie.  Some particular standout stories are “Two Tickets to Heck!” and “The Legend of Batterface”.

Penny Dreadful (based on the TV series created by John Logan)

Penny Dreadful was a was a very dark TV show that starred multiple figures from classic literature such as Frankenstein and Dorian Grey. The figure at the heart of the show, however, was the complicated and flawed woman Vanessa Ives.  This graphic novel is a prequel of the show, which goes into the history of Vanessa’s failed mission of trying to save her doomed friend Mina Harker from the clutches of Dracula.  A scary story but I would recommend watching the television show first (all DVDs are available through the library) before reading the graphic novel as there is a lot that the reader is assumed to know already.

The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

This was originally published as a short story by Neil Gaiman, then turned into a graphic novel with the help of Michael Zulli and Todd Klein. The story seems almost semi-autobiographical—the main character sounds very similar to Neil Gaiman himself and the artistic depiction looks like him as well.  However the story itself has some mysterious supernatural elements that leave you wanting more.  The Gaiman character and his friends take a rather grumpy and tiresome acquaintance named Miss Finch for a night on the town to a strange circus which seems to appear rather cheesy and laughable.  Things take an unexpected and exciting sharp turn when a performer asks them which one of them “will gain all that you desire, in the cabinet of wishes fulfilled”.  Great for fans of Gaiman as well as first time readers.