Tag Archives: Aileen @ WPL

Hair-raising Podcasts

This year I made an amazing discovery. I tried my first podcast, which, naturally, was Winnipeg Public Library’s Time to Read. Through this discovery I realized what all the excitement and fuss about podcasts was about. I can now say that I am a faithful listener to the Time to Read podcast, though I haven’t always read the books discussed, as the easy banter between hosts is excellent and I always learn a few new things every time I listen. After realizing how amazing podcasts are I decided to further explore this sensation that has been around for a while (and which people have been talking about for years, I know, I’m a bit slow on the uptake). As I have mentioned many times before in my blog posts, I am a lover of horror novels and certain horror movies, some are too scary for me to watch, as my sister can attest,* books are okay though. I get goose-bumps, I sometimes am disgusted, but usually, usually, I’m okay sleeping with the lights off after devouring a horror novel. Yet I digress. So I am a fan of horror novels, I bus to work every day, and I am unfortunately prone to car sickness if I attempt to read on a moving vehicle. My solution? Audiobooks or, handy, dandy podcast episodes which are just like audiobooks and offer often short, quick hits that help pass the time on my commute to work. Both are easy enough to download to your phone, MP3 player (I think those still exist?) or iPod and listen to offline throughout the day. The library offers a wonderful selection of eAudiobooks through Overdrive and RBDigital, simply download the app and you can listen to them offline, and best of all, no late fees!

So, for this blog post I will showcase a few horror/thriller podcasts that might be of interest as well as offer some further reading recommendations should you really enjoy these podcasts. And, if you have not done so already, check out our Time to Read podcast, you can even see our wonderful librarians host a live recording at the Goodwill Social Club on Tuesday, March 26 from 7:30-9:00PM where they will be discussing favourite childhood books! (adults only)

Lore

lore This podcast features real-life scary stories taken from the history books. For all the history buffs out there or true crime fans, this would be an excellent podcast for you, if you like a little bit of unease or creepiness alongside those genres. In the creator’s own words: “Lore exposes the darker side of history, exploring the creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.” If that doesn’t hook you, I don’t know what will. One of the episodes I listened to discussed the “re-animation” of a corpse, and naturally mentioned Mary Shelley, her husband Percy, and how his study of re-animating a body with electricity brought about her idea for Frankenstein. With this podcast there is no need to listen to the episodes in order, each is a stand-alone. Want more Lore? Creator Aaron Mahnke has written a book, Wicked Mortals which includes illustrations and further information of some of the creatures and people discussed in the podcast.

Alice Isn’t Dead

alice This podcast thriller/mystery story follows a trucker who is searching for her partner, Alice, whom she is certain is not dead (hence the title!). Through strange towns, meeting serial killers and witnessing devastating events where Alice seems to always show up, we follow her on her search for answers. This podcast has an excellent voice actor, some great sound effects that truly bring you into the story and fills you with suspense. Unlike the others on this list, this podcast must be listened to in order to follow the development of the story and to help unravel some of the mysteries. This podcast is part of Night Vale Presents, which also produces another podcast series on this list. Alice Isn’t Dead is also available as a book, which is described as a complete re-imagining of the podcast, and written by creator Joseph Fink.

Nightmare Magazine

kelley These podcasts are fictional short stories written by a variety of writers, including some well-known authors such as Carrie Vaughn, Christopher Golden, Clive Barker, Jonathan Maberry and Kelley Armstrong. With such an A-List of authors as well as some fantastic up-and-comers, many of these episodes are top-notch, some of course may be better than others, or more your cup of tea than others, if that’s the case, simply skip to the next episode as each is a stand-alone. With a variety of narrators you will be sure to find a story that will give you the chills and make your heart race. If you like the stories from this podcast, as many are by well-known authors, simply search our catalogue for further books in their repertoire, we have plenty to keep you reading long into the night.

Welcome to Night Vale

night vale This excellently written and acted podcast takes place in a radio broadcast centre in, you guessed it, a small town called Night Vale. Though characters do reappear in different episodes, it is not required to listen to them in a particular order and, if you’re not enjoying a story, simply skip to the next one. Let me allow the creators to describe this podcast in their own words: “[Welcome to Night Vale] is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures and unknowable powers, and cultural events. Turn on your radio and hide.” Want to read more Night Vale and delve deeper into the mysteries? Creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor have published a couple books about the legends discussed in their podcast titled It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel.

Knifepoint Horror

This podcast doesn’t have as many stories as some of the others mentioned here, only a few are released every year, but the stories themselves are truly frightening and bone-chilling. Each episode is narrated by a single person, explaining the event from their point-of-view to offer a creepy first-hand account of a range of different supernatural stories. The stories here are top-notch horror and range in length from just a few minutes to over an hour, which makes for a perfect listening experience on your commute, you can time it to end perfectly! If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone many of these stories follow similar tropes.

Happy Listening!

-Aileen

 * As a bit of an anecdote, when the first Insidious movie came out in theatres my sister mentioned that she thought it was funny, so I went to watch it with her. It was NOT funny, and I proceeded to sleep with the lights on for many nights afterwards and shied away from even watching trailers of the sequels. What are older sisters for if not to terrify their younger siblings? ;)

Faeries and Wendigos and Witches, Oh My!

I love reading short story collections featuring many different authors, especially the horror collections edited by Ellen Datlow. Short stories allow us to get a taste for an author’s writing style and if we enjoy their story we can look further for other books of theirs. Or if we aren’t enjoying a particular story, we can skip to the next one. Short stories are also great for delivering quick hits of suspense in just a short amount of time (you can usually finish one on a coffee break and not have to wait until your lunch break to find out what happens next). Needless to say I was very excited to hear that a collection of speculative fiction short stories was coming out, all stories written by Manitoba authors and all take place in Manitoba or are partly set in Manitoba as travelling to other realms/worlds/planes is inevitable in speculative fiction.

parallel-prairies

Image courtesy of Great Plains Publications Ltd.

 

The collection is titled Parallel Prairies: Stories of Manitoba Speculative Fiction and it is edited by Darren Ridgley and Adam Petrash who also contribute a story each. The 17 other authors who contributed to the collection are Chris Allinotte, Wayne Arthurson, Jonathan Ball, S.M. Beiko, Sheldon Birnie, Keith Cadieux, Jennifer Collerone, Gilles DeCruyenaere, Will J. Fawley, Chadwick Ginther, Kate Heartfield, Patrick Johanneson, Lindsay Kitson, J.M. Sinclair, David Jón Fuller, Craig Russell, and Christine Steendam. The best part of this collection is that it is has something for everyone and as each story uses the local landscape and landmarks, Manitobans are sure to be able to picture the setting perfectly and be in the know regarding certain Manitoba customs. Lest I bungle up a nice synopsis of the collection, I’ll let the book explain itself to you: “Get acquainted with baby dragons, killer insects, faery kings, infernal entities, and more; as 19 authors let the Manitoban landscape inspire weird and wondrous tales. You thought the prairies were flat, plain, and boring. You were wrong.” Does that not sound intriguing to you? As mentioned these stories feature faeries, wendigos, witches, dragons, folklore and everything in between so there should be something for everyone. Some of my personal favourites were The Comments Gaze Also Into You by David Jón Fuller which discusses cyberbullying in online message boards on news websites in a very unique way, Seven Long Years by Jennifer Collerone which follows a young woman and Wisp, a coyote, as they set out to complete a task that must be undertaken every seven years, and finally Eating of the Tree by Chadwick Ginther which explores Norse mythology in present-day Winnipeg. The other stories in this compilation are of course very good as well, but these three especially stood out for me.

If you are craving more Canadian short stories that are speculative fiction, we have a couple of collections available titled Imaginarium which may be right up your alley.

In other Canadian speculative fiction news, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Testaments, is now available to request from Winnipeg Public Library so be sure to get your requests in, as it is sure to be a popular and talked-about read!

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

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.

royalwedding

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.

royalwe

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!

princess 

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.

 

prince

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!

-Aileen

It’s Alive!

It is a famous line most commonly associated with Frankenstein. This line, however, never actually appears in Mary Shelley’s ground-breaking novel. It does appear in the 1931 film version of the novel and has been associated with the story of Frankenstein ever since. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and with National Frankenstein Day fast approaching (it’s October 26th FYI) I thought it would be appropriate to showcase books exploring the impact Shelley’s novel has had on horror, science and female horror writers.

frankenstein Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley

A Titan from Greek Mythology, Prometheus created man from clay and stole fire from the gods to give to man. This mythological being is an appropriate comparison to Victor Frankenstein, the creator of the “Monster”, and an apt alternate title to the novel. The original text still haunts readers today, and has never been out of print for the last 200 years. If you haven’t read the original, do so, not only will it frighten and horrify you, but it will also have you thinking and questioning the possibilities and ramifications of science today.

frankenstein2 Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling

In his incredible book (the pictures alone are amazing), Frayling explores the origins of Frankenstein and the lasting impact the novel has had on popular culture. He has included movie stills and posters from the many film versions of the novel as well as photos of Shelley’s original manuscript. It is truly a work of art.

frankenstein3 Frankenstein: How a monster became an icon: the science and enduring allure of Mary Shelley’s creation edited by Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy Von Mueller

As a physicist and as a filmmaker, Sidney Perkowitz and Eddy Von Mueller have compiled essays from scientists, directors, artists and scholars who speak to and dissect the lasting impact of Shelley’s work on the world as well as explore what the future may hold for the legacy of Frankenstein.

frankenstein4 Frankenstein by Dean Koontz

In his five-book series Koontz takes inspiration from Shelley’s original novel and sets his in modern-day New Orleans. The first book in the series, Prodigal Son, follows Deucalian, a mysterious man who teams up with two detectives to solve a string of murders that leads back to a race of killers and their mysterious maker.

Shelley’s novel has inspired many film versions as well as TV series that include the characters from the novel. You can find many of these in our catalogue here.

Frankenstein not only has had a huge impact on popular culture but also on female writers, especially female horror writers. Many of the fantastically frightening horror writers today are women, and we owe many thanks to Mary Shelley for helping pave their way. Some of these award-winning writers are: Carmen Maria Machado, Shirley Jackson, Octavia Butler, Angela Carter, and Anne Rice, just to name a few. You can find all these women in our library catalogue. If you would like more suggestions, and a longer list of female horror writers, this article by Lithub gives you even more names to explore.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

Can you tell me where your Horror section is?

Multiple times a day I receive a question similar to this. If it isn’t about horror it might be about short stories or historical romance or thrillers. I would love to say to our customers “it is just right here, follow me”, however unlike book stores we do not have a section devoted specifically to horror or these other subgenres for many reasons. This is of course not to say that you can’t search for books that are horror novels, you just may have to go about it in a different way. First, you can ask our fabulous library staff who would be more than happy to find books that will scare the pants off you, or, you can browse our online catalogue at the library, on the bus or in the comfort of your own home (as long as it is not haunted).

From our online catalogue you have the power to search for these subgenres that aren’t always on display at the library, and I will show you just how to do so.

I recently finished the excellent horror novel Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. This novel was of a “haunted house” variety and I am interested in books that take place in haunted houses, or books in where a haunted house is an important aspect of the novel. How do I find more books that have haunted houses? Well there are a few ways to find them in our catalogue. One way would be to go into the record of the novel Kill Creek. From that record we see the following information: Title, Author (you can select the author’s name to find more books written by them), Publication Information and finally Subject Term. Beside and underneath “Subject Term” we have the following: Authors – Fiction. Haunted houses – Fiction. Halloween – Fiction.

killcreek2

What is so wonderful about this feature is that the books that fall under these subjects are grouped together by these subject terms. If you select “Haunted houses – Fiction.” you will be taken to a list of books that have been given this subject term.

Now this list is by no means exhaustive. Some older books don’t have these detailed records and sometimes only “Genre” is listed, but it is certainly a start. Following this, you can also look under “Genre” and go to the listing of “Horror fiction.” and find all sorts of different books under the genre horror fiction, for a much broader search result. Or, simply search “horror fiction” in the general search bar, you will get over 1800 items but you can narrow them down using the limiters on the left-hand as is shown in figure 2 below, especially if you wanted further subgenres of horror like vampires, occultism etc. Your choices are endless, but it helps seeing what subject terms we use in our catalogue to be able to find exactly what you are looking for.

killcreek4

General search bar

killcreek5

Fig. 2

 

Finally, if you really enjoyed a particular book and would like further suggestions of read-alikes, look no further than the book’s record page. Scroll down to the bottom and where the tab says “Novelist Content” simply click on it and voilà, there will be read-alike titles, authors, reviews, etc. Just like having your very own librarian at your fingertips! If you haven’t checked out NoveList, a database we subscribe to and you have free with your library card, do so! There are tons of reading suggestions that will help you find exactly what you are looking for, and with links to our catalogue it makes it easy to find and place a hold on your book.

killcreek3

Of course with anything like this, don’t hesitate to ask staff at your local library, we love to help!

-Aileen

Summer Reading Challenge!

summerreading

Display at Millennium Library

While the libraries are all set with their TD Summer Reading program for the kiddies, we also have a challenge for the adults. At all Winnipeg Public Library branches you will find the Summer Reading Challenge, a large Bingo-type card with 24 themes to expand your reading horizons. Once you’ve read a book or listened to an audiobook from one of the themes listed, fill out a card and have your selection posted on or by your branch’s card. Let’s see which branch can fill up their card, and let’s see how many books from the different themes you can read during the summer. If you need help finding a book to read from any of the themes listed just ask a library staff member for suggestions, we are more than happy to help you with your summer reading challenge. To start you off I’ve included some reading suggestions for a few of the themes listed below.

Chosen by Cover

hypnotist  The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Though the age-old saying of “don’t judge a book by its cover” can be applied to many occasions, it doesn’t always ring true. I am often attracted or intrigued by a book solely based on its cover, this is for good reason as plenty of work goes into cover design to attract a prospective reader. For many months I had seen this book returned over the counter and every time I saw the cover I would get chills. The story itself is no less chilling. A family is gruesomely murdered and with the only witness, their son, unable to remember the events inspector Joona Linna enlists the help of Dr. Erik Maria Bark, an expert in hypnotism to try and unlock the boy’s memories of that night. This novel marks the first in the series featuring Inspector Joona Linna, and true to Swedish mystery form it is dark, suspenseful and has fascinating characters. Alternate themes: Book in Translation, Book in a Series, Set in a country you’ve never visited, Mystery.

Science Fiction

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

This is an unconventional science fiction novel in that it is also a mystery/thriller featuring a serial killer. A serial killer during the Great Depression discovers a House that takes him to another time period where he finds his “Shining Girls”. He believes he will never be caught as after the murders he escapes back to his own time, but one of his victims survives and is keen on finding him and stopping him before he kills again. If you like your books with a bit of time travel, a serial killer and a strong female character, this book is for you. Alternate themes: Takes place more than 50 years ago, Mystery.

Collection of Short Stories

strange Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Depending on your typical reading genre, this book may fall under a couple themes (many of these suggestions could), it is a collection of short horror stories by Joe Hill, an author who, though he is the son of Stephen King, has been making a name for himself in the horror genre. In this collection Hill has written four short novels each as unique as the one before, though all written in a way that ratchets up the terror and horror as each page is turned. My personal favourite of the stories was the final one, Rain about an apocalyptic event where instead of water falling when it rains, it is a downpour of nails. Where does one find cover when nails are raining from the sky? Read the book and find out. Alternate themes: Title outside your comfort zone.

Book From Your Childhood

Le Petit Prince or The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I read this French classic in french when I was in school and loved it then, I read it recently and loved it even more. This short book takes place on earth with a pilot whose plane has crashed in the desert and there he encounters the little prince who asks him to draw a sheep. At first the pilot has difficulty until he decides to draw a box and tells the prince that the sheep is in the box. The little prince is delighted, much to the pilot’s surprise and recounts his life on asteroid B-612, his travels from different planets and his encounters with those on each planet. The message related in this book is accessible to children and imperative to adults. Though children will love this book and understand the little prince, it is us adults who will truly come away from this book with a new appreciation of seeing life through a child’s eyes and grasping what is truly important. Alternate themes: Book in translation, book that involves travel.

Audiobook

lincoln Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Not only is the novel the winner of the Man Booker Prize, the audiobook is also an Audie Award Winner for Audiobook of the Year, and it is no wonder. Lead by a full star-studded cast including the voice talents of Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Don Cheadle, Kat Dennings, Bill Hader, Keegan-Michael Key, Susan Sarandon and Rainn Wilson to name a few, and George Saunders himself, Lincoln in the Bardo takes place during the Civil War in a graveyard where then president Abraham Lincoln has just laid his son to rest. A fascinating setting for a unique book.

Winnipeg Author

You have plenty of books to choose from that are by a Winnipeg author, just check out the winners and nominees from the Manitoba Book Awards. This year’s list includes our very own Writer-in-Residence Jennifer Still who won the Landsdowne Poetry Award for her book Comma. The library also carries the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction winner The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan, and though there are a few requests on this book, click on the link to Award Winners on the catalogue home page and select Manitoba/Local Awards for a list of past winners that may be more likely of being available to borrow, and they’re just as good!

Best of luck to you all in completing the challenge, and happy reading!

-Aileen

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…”

This film was released the summer of 1975 and helped coin the term, “summer blockbuster.” After seeing the film people were afraid to go swimming, and they couldn’t get enough of it. What film am I referring to? Well I’m sure if I played you the titular score that won John Williams an Oscar you would know.

The film is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley. I’m certain many of you have seen the film, whether it was when it first came out in theatres (I was not yet born, however I did ask my father his thoughts on the movie when it first came out and he said he jumped many times in the theatre), or on Blu-Ray/DVD/Streaming or however you watch your movies. I remember the first time I saw the film; it was our last day at the cottage. I really was too young to have watched it, because when we went for our last swing, I was terrified that a shark would come up from the murky depths and eat me. (Never mind the fact that we were at a lake that could not possibly hold sharks.) Since then in the back of my overactive mind I always thought, “What if?” Of course someone decided to make a movie of sharks surviving in freshwater lakes so clearly I wasn’t the only one with that fear. I am proud to say that I have since swam with sharks a few times (they were small sharks of course and didn’t really come near me), and I am well aware that being bitten by a shark is extremely unlikely as they would much rather not be around humans. However, I still get excited hearing about monster movies and shark movies coming out, and this summer we have two big ones, both of which I am excited to see.

The first is The Meg which looks incredibly cool, hilarious, and full of jump scares. The film asks the question, “Could the Carcharodon megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive…and on the hunt?” (IMDB) Does a giant 70-foot prehistoric shark attacking boats sound like your cup of tea? Check out the trailer if you’re not certain, they make excellent use of the classic song Beyond the Sea.

The second big “monster” movie coming out is Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to Jurassic World and part of the Jurassic Park series, which was based on the books by the late Michael Crichton. This film looks like a fun romp at the movies, with some new dinosaurs, more evil scientists and Jeff Goldblum back to reprise his role as mathematician Ian Malcolm who still believes that “life finds a way”.

In honour of these summer monster blockbusters coming out I thought I would include a few shark/monster books that will whet your appetite and give you something you can really sink your teeth into, if you get my drift.

jaws Jaws by Peter Benchley

Benchley’s first book ever to be published turned out to be a huge hit, and had a young Steven Spielberg behind the camera directing the movie. Sink your teeth into the novel the film was based on, and experience the suspense and horror in a whole new format. A perfect beach read, and perfect for those visiting Amity Island. We also have the film Jaws in our collection to borrow should you like to revisit this scary movie or experience it for the first time.

 

jurassic park Jurassic Park and The Lost World Michael Crichton

A wealthy businessman wants to create the most amazing theme-park filled with dinosaurs cloned by scientists, and tests this theme-park out on his grandchildren and paleontologist Alan Grant. Giant dinosaurs created in a lab around humans, what could go wrong? The sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World, continues where the first book left off six years later with more dinosaurs and everyone’s favourite mathematician. These books are both exciting, filled with suspense and asks ethical questions, some of which have come up recently with talk of de-extinction, a topic which Britt Wray explores thoroughly in her novel Rise of the Necrofauna: A Provocative Look at the Science, Ethics, and Risks of De-extinction.

cujo Cujo Stephen King

What happens when a good-natured St. Bernard becomes infected by the rabies virus? Naturally, he becomes a menace to a small town in Maine. This suspenseful novel explores the relationship one has with man’s best friend and the heartache one experiences (and terror) if that relationship changes. Leave it to Stephen King to take a sweet, loving animal and change him into a terror.

 

hatching The Hatching series Ezekiel Boone

I know I’ve written about this series before, but I just finished the last book in the trilogy, and am just getting over my spider nightmares. These books may not be for the arachnophobes out there, but they are still an exciting read. A plague of man-eating spiders descend on the world attacking, and eating those in the way, but this is just the first wave, there are more to come and it is up to spider expert Melanie Guyer and others we meet along the way to stop them before the whole world is destroyed. These books are excellent, short and quick reads that play like an action movie, which make them perfect summer monster reads.

river River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

This book is a bit of an odd duck, it is a novella nominated for the 2017 Nebula Award, set in an alternate history of the United States during the 1890s. In this alternate history feral hippos have roamed unchecked in the Mississippi River. They were originally brought over by the government to eat the invasive water hyacinth and would then become food to the humans, however now they have become wild and it is up to Winslow Houndstooth and his crew to corral them. We all know that hippos are fast and with their powerful jaws can snap someone in half, so to hunt one would be extremely dangerous, and Winslow has many to hunt. Part western, part horror, part action/adventure, this novella is the perfect summer read, and as a bonus includes wild and feral hippos.

Happy Reading!

-Aileen

3rd Annual Prairie Comics Festival

Prairie-Comics-Festival-by-Alice-RL

Are you a fan of local and Canadian writers, artists and creators? Are you a fan or writer of comics, graphic novels, zines and webcomics or are interested in finding out more about them? Well, do we have a treat for you! From Saturday, May 5th 10:30-5:00 pm to Sunday May 6th 1:00-5:00 pm at the Millennium Library in the Carol Shields Auditorium, we are co-hosting the 3rd annual Prairie Comics Festival. Over 25 Comics writers, artists and publishers will be exhibiting their works for purchase in the auditorium, meeting with fans and writers and participating in panels throughout the day.

This year we are also excited to have three special guests at the festival: Mariko Tamaki is a comics creator who co-created This One Summer with Jillian Tamaki, a graphic novel which received Caldecott and Printz Honors as well as the Eisner and Ignatz Awards. ALB is an illustrator and digital content creator, whose videos you may have seen on YouTube and CBC. Valentine de Landro is a Canadian comic book artist, illustrator and designer who has illustrated for Marvel, DC Comics, IDW, Valiant, and Dark Horse and is the co-creator of BITCH PLANET.

You can find a full list of all the exhibitors and publishing houses who will be attending the festival at the official website prairiecomics.com.

As I mentioned the festival will also be offering some amazing panels which all are welcome to attend, the following is the panel schedule for the two days.

 

Saturday May 5:

11 am-12 pm      

Working for U.S. Publishers

Comic creators discuss the experience of working as editors, colour artists, writers, and artists for the largest comic book companies in the world. How they broke in, what the benefits and limitations are of working for large publishers, and how their experience has changed over time.

Panellists include:

Mariko Tamaki (She-Hulk, writer, Marvel)

Chris Chuckry (The Flintstones, colour artist, DC)

Valentine de Landro (Bitch Planet, artist, Image)

Hope Nicholson (The Secret Loves of Geeks, editor, Dark Horse)

1:00-2:00 pm    

Social Media and Comics

Comic creators and journalists discuss the role of social media. Is it necessary? How far do you let your personal self shine through? How do you use different platforms, and why is it important to diversify your posts on each? What are the current hot topics when it comes to comics on social media?

Panellists include:

Nyala Ali (Comics journalist)

Autumn Crossman (Comic creator)

ALB (Comic creator/Youtube creator)

Ryan Harby (Webcomic creator)

3:00-4:00 pm                   

Breaking out of the Panel

Comic creators discuss the different formats comics can take, and innovative ways to showcase the medium. Whether this is in massive side-scrolling comics, mini self-made zines, or comics made in the shape of bubblegum wrappers, we will showcase ideas and brainstorm new ways to look at the medium of comics.

Panellists include:

Scott A. Ford

Robert Pasternak

Hely Schumann

Alice RL

 

Sunday May 6:

1:30-2:30 pm    

Young Adult Comics Panel

Come join a roundtable of librarians discussing what are the best young adult graphic novels to read! A focus on inclusive programming, this will also showcase graphic novels that are available to be checked out immediately from the library after the panel.

Panellists include:

WPL Librarians                

3:00-4:00 pm    

Prairie Comic Festival Guest Spotlight

Mariko Tamaki, Valentine de Landro, and ALB are our special guests this year for the Prairie Comics Festival. Come join the panel and hear about their current and past projects, and engage in an open Q&A where you can ask them questions about their work.

This festival and its panels are free to attend, so please come on down; we look forward to seeing you!

If you are unable to make it to the festival, the Blankstein Gallery at the Millennium Library will feature artwork by the local publishers and invited guests throughout the month of May.

 

-Aileen

February Has Gone to the Dogs

A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.

-John Grogan

I am, for the next two weeks, the caretaker of my furry nephew, all 130 some pounds of him. Did I mention that he is only 7 months old?  Being from a family who love dogs, it’s nice to have an animal in the house again, and to be greeted with a wagging tail when I come home. We had to put our family dog to sleep many years ago, yet I still catch myself thinking of her and missing her every once in a while. Animals can do that to you, especially dogs. What other animal can put a smile on your face (even if you had a terrible day at work), can be so excited to see you return home every day and can help brighten those cold winter months? It is called Februweary for a reason. While the month is drawing to a close, and spring is just on the horizon, I thought in this blog post I would offer up some animal-loving happiness to hopefully put a smile on your face, a bounce in your step, and perhaps a tear in your eye as animal stories often do (Where the Red Fern Grows had me blubbering like a baby, but in a cathartic way). Enjoy!

 marley  Marley and Me by John Grogan

Anyone who has ever had a pet all know they misbehave at some point, but Marley the dog just happens to do so more than other animals. Marley is labeled as the world’s worst dog by his owners, and from these stories I can understand why. However, despite his destructive behaviour they love him just the same and the love he has for them all makes this story truly beautiful and heartwarming (and tear-inducing). I’m sure many of us can attest to misbehaving animals, for what dog doesn’t have their issues, yet they are loved by their family despite their quirks (our dog had plenty, including the time she ate my hemp necklace). The film is just as good!

Training People: how to bring out the best in your human by Tess of Helena

Let’s face it; we humans need plenty of training when it comes to having a dog, and who better to offer this insight than Tess of Helena. Tess of Helena, I should note, is a Labrador retriever, and has written this informative book with the help of Brian Kahn, for dogs looking for a human companion. Tess helps dogs understand training and what is expected of them (strange as it may be), and how to navigate the world of humans and the odd things they do (though men are often stronger than women they can still easily be tripped up with the leash). Funny and insightful, this book will have dog owners nodding their heads at the strange things their pet does. The Dogma of Rufus: A canine guide to eating, sleeping, digging, slobbering, scratching, and surviving with humans a book written by Rufus, an old dog, offers similar advice, such as informing dogs that human beds are much more comfier than dog beds, therefore even if your owner tells you not to climb on the bed with them you just have to wait until they are asleep.

 art The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Told entirely from the perspective of Enzo the dog, “a philosopher with a nearly human soul”, the book follows Enzo as he looks back on his life with his owner, a race car driver. Through his flashbacks we understand what it means to be human and the special bond dogs and humans have, a perspective which only a dog can possess.

 

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis

Alexis’ novel was the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner, the winner of 2017’s Canada Reads and bears an interesting premise: Gods Hermes and Apollo gift dogs at an animal clinic with human reasoning and language, naturally the dogs escape the clinic and set up their own society in Toronto’s Hyde Park. How will the dogs react to their new knowledge and abilities, will some change and become more “human” and “corrupt”, or will some still retain the undeniable exuberance which dogs seem to naturally emit? A mixture of Greek mythology with a modern-day twist Alexis’ novel will certainly have people pondering the bet the gods make, “would animals be happier with human reasoning and language?”

 dog A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

This book was recently made into a film (and filmed around Winnipeg!). It follows a dog who is reincarnated over and over again, sometimes he has excellent owners, other times he is abused and neglected yet he continually searches for his purpose and remembers the love he felt from his owner Ethan. It is a beautiful, funny and touching story, and if you enjoy this one Cameron has written a sequel titled A Dog’s Journey focusing on another dog Buddy finding his/her purpose.

The library offers plenty of insightful dog books for those wishing to learn more about particular breeds, tips on training, on purchasing your dog or true heartwarming stories of dogs that battled the odds and their special bonds with humans; you can find them all in our 636.7 section.

 

-Aileen

Books-to-Movies, 2018 Edition

The New Year has kicked off, and with it a new list of books being made into movies this year! I thought I would compile a list of the upcoming releases to give our readers a chance to read the book before the movie. (If you’ve already read the book, I hope you’re looking forward to seeing the movie on the big screen and comparing it to the book.) I’ve divided the list by genre so that there is something for everyone, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Enjoy!

Sci-Fi

 playerone   Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Set in a futuristic society where humanity’s only escape from the desolate, unfriendly world is a virtual utopia called OASIS, teenager Wade Watts has studied the puzzles and intricacies of the game and hopes to unlock the clues laid by the OASIS creator who promises power and fortune to those who can unlock them. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and judging from the trailer features some fantastic special effects.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

I have written about my love for Jeff VanderMeer’s writing in a previous blog post, so naturally I have to include the film adaptation in this list as well. I hope the film will do the book justice! A biologist, a psychologist, a surveyor, and an anthropologist are sent out to explore an area known as Area X. We are not given much information regarding Area X, simply what the narrator, the biologist, tells us. VanderMeer ratchets up the suspense and dread throughout the novel to its shocking conclusion, which luckily to the readers isn’t a conclusion at all as there are two other books in the trilogy afterwards.

Romance

fiftyshades  Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James

The last book in the trilogy takes place after Christian Grey’s big announcement, and we see Christian and Anna living blissfully until someone from their past threatens their happily ever after. The movie promises to be romantic, steamy and passionate and is, naturally, being released on Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t read the first two of the trilogy, you’ll want to start with those before reading this one.

Fiction

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Though this could be considered a romance, as well as a comedy, I have opted to put it in general fiction, a place where you will find the novel in the library catalogue. Rachel Wu is meeting her boyfriend of two years’ family for the first time in Singapore, a family which her boyfriend has been very secretive about. Is he ashamed because they are not wealthy? Quite the opposite, he hails from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore where opulence and luxury are the norm. They’re not just rich, they are crazy rich.

Children’s

peterrabbit   The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

The trailer for the movie has touted some controversy and groans from the audience for appearing to be nothing like the book. There is, however, still a protagonist called Peter Rabbit (voiced by Late Night host James Corden) and of course a Farmer McGregor chasing him out of his garden. Read the beloved picture book that began the series before you bring the kiddies to the remake, nostalgia abound!

Young Adult

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This classic novel of one young girl’s journey to find her father who is trapped by “The Black Thing” is sure to bring in people of all ages, not only for nostalgia’s sake but also the A-List cast which includes Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Be sure to delve into the classic before you head to the cinema.

 everyday  Every Day by David Levithan

A fascinating concept for a book, the protagonist, known simply as “A”, wakes up in a different body every day. One such body is a boy named Justin and there A meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon and forms a connection with her. This connection leads them to find a way to be with Rhiannon every day no matter which body they find themselves in. It is a book and film which can explore many issues pertinent to the present day, and reminds us that love is love.

Graphic Novel

Black Panther

Yet another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther the film is naturally getting a lot of hype, and fingers crossed the film does the comics justice. If you’re unfamiliar with the character, the library has plenty of graphic novels to get you up to speed on who/what/where/when and how is Black Panther and his secretive nation of Wakanda.

Mystery/Thriller

spiderweb   The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz

I find it interesting that they chose to make the most recent entry in the Lisbeth Salander series into a film when they have not continued with the English version of the other two in the series. Nevertheless, the book and movie continues with hacker Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they tackle yet another mystery together. Though not penned by the author of the original Millennium trilogy, Lagercrantz continues delving into the story and history of Lisbeth Salander. If you would like to watch the rest of the trilogy on film you can borrow the three films from the library with Noomi Rapace in the lead role, they are absolutely phenomenal.

Suspense/Spy

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

This upcoming spy/thriller stars Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton who play spies on opposite sides. Lawrence plays Dominika Egorova, a spy trained to seduce the enemy. Edgerton plays a Nate Nash, a CIA operative who handles Russian Intelligence. Their attraction to each other, and Dominika’s having been forced into becoming a “sparrow” leads her to choose a double life, working for the CIA and working for Russian Intelligence, a choice which has deadly consequences. A fast-paced thriller that is action-packed, and which stars the incredible Jennifer Lawrence is sure to bring people to the theatres, but I assure you, the book is just as good.

Historical Fiction

 guernsey The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A writer looking for inspiration learns of a book club in Guernsey created during the German occupation as a way for the townspeople to get together without arising suspicion. Written as an epistolary novel the book features the protagonist’s correspondence with a native of Guernsey as she learns of and speaks to those in the society. The movie stars Lily James in the lead role, along with Matthew Goode and Jessica Brown Findlay.

Are there any book-to-movies coming out you’re looking forward to seeing that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading and viewing!

 

-Aileen