Tag Archives: award-winners

And the Award Went To…

Book Awards. There are many, many awards given out for books, and whenever a book has been newly honoured with an award, or was recently nominated, this book often has lots of holds on it. So if you come to the library and find that the newly minted Governor General Award winning books aren’t available, have no fear, our lovely library staff members can place a hold on the book for you, and while you wait, why not take a look at some past award winners that may very well be available right away?

Governor General Literary Awards – Fiction:

sistersbrothers Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt (2011 Winner)

Contract killers and brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters set out from Oregon City to their mark’s gold-mining claim outside Sacramento in this darkly comic novel by Canadian-born novelist Patrick deWitt. Though Charlie enjoys his whiskey and being a killer, Eli does not and on this long road he starts to question what he does for a living and dream about a different life. Set during the Old West the novel is filled with interesting characters and humour, perfect if you like reading Western novels with a bit of quirkiness thrown in. 

Bram Stoker Award (Horror):

silence The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (1988 Winner)

This classic by Harris was not his first novel to include the infamous Hannibal Lecter, the first was Red Dragon which came out a few years prior. Though Lecter was only in that novel for a very brief time (much less than the movie version) his character certainly made a lasting impression. His follow-up to that novel features a strong female protagonist, Clarice Starling, as an FBI trainee, and of course the excellent character, Dr. Hannibal Lecter as they work together (“quid pro quo Clarice”) to find the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. This is a fantastically taut and fast-paced thriller that will have you breaking out in goose-bumps whenever Lecter is featured on the page (of course that may just be me as whenever I read any dialogue by Lecter I just imagined Anthony Hopkins’ reading the lines). Perfectly sinister!

Lambda Literary Awards (the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender books):

six Six Metres of Pavement by Farzana Doctor (2012 Lesbian General Fiction Winner)

Twenty years ago Ismail Boxwala mistakenly forgot his baby daughter in the back seat of his car and ever since then he has been racked by that grief. After a divorce and heavy drinking he has been alone and isolated for years until chance would have it that he befriends two women. One, Fatima is a queer activist who was kicked out of her parents’ home and the other is his neighbour Celia who is also grieving. All three find strength and safety together to help heal old wounds in Doctor’s second novel.  

Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction:

nightwatch Nightwatching by Méira Cook (2016 Winner)

In the Orange Free State of South Africa, Ruthie Blackburn feels like an outsider, everyone is at odds around her and she is constantly in conflict with her maid Miriam who is raising Ruthie due to her widowed father being more absent every day. She runs around during the dull days of summer until two guests arrive from the big city. This arrival, and one weekend, will alter the course of her adolescence and lead to a devastating tragedy. A beautifully written novel from local author and poet Méira Cook.  

Hugo Award (Science Fiction):

sandman The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by J.H. Williams III (2016 Best Graphic Story)

A prequel to the Sandman series of graphic novels by the fantastic Neil Gaiman, this collection of stories follows Dream/Morpheus/The Sandman (and his many other names) as he embarks on a journey in an attempt to fix what he had previously tried to repair (and failed). In his travels he meets some of his siblings, Destiny, Delirium, Desire and Despair as well as his father Time. Gaiman is a master at building fantastical worlds and interesting characters, and the art by J.H. Williams III gorgeously captures Gaiman’s world. Start with this graphic novel and you’ll want to continue reading more adventures with The Sandman.

RITA Award (Romance Fiction):

repressed Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton (2017 Romantic Suspense)

The first in a series of novels featuring adoptive siblings with troubled backgrounds, this book follows high school teacher Samantha Parker who, eighteen years ago witnessed her brother’s murder, and newcomer Dr. Ethan McClane a child psychologist, who turns out is not a newcomer to the town after all. When working together to help a troubled student, attraction grows between the two, but when new facts come to light of an incident long ago the newly formed bond will be tested and danger will be found just around the corner.

Don’t see a book listed here that peaks your interest? You can search other award-winners in our catalogue by clicking “Award Winners” and choosing an award in the categories listed.  

Happy Reading!


Summer Reading Challenge!


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.


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!


Drum roll: The nominees for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Two weeks ago the long list of nominees for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced. Perhaps surprisingly, no major Canadian authors were included in the list of 12 books by 12 authors. Many of the nominated books came from relatively unknown authors from smaller publishers. So who did make the nominees list for the Giller, Canada’s most notable annual literary award? And which title would you most like to read this fall? (The one that has caught my eye is André Alexis’ ‘Fifteen Dogs’ and its intriguing premise.)

The Scotiabank Giller Prize short list will be released October 5, and the winner announced on November 10.

fifteendogs-220Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis: When Hermes and Apollo make a bet about human happiness, they grant 15 dogs staying at a vet clinic the power of human consciousness. The dogs instantly become divided between those who prefer their old dog ways and those who want to take advantage of their newfound increased intelligence. What unfolds is a powerful story about what it means to have consciousness, and the good and the bad that comes with it.

arvida-220Arvida by Samuel Archibald,
translated by Donald Winkler:
Like a Proust-obsessed Cormac McCarthy, Samuel Archibald’s portrait of his hometown is filled with innocent children and wild beasts, attempted murder and ritual mutilation, haunted houses and road trips to nowhere, bad men and mysterious women. Gothic, fantastical, and incandescent, filled with stories of everyday wonder and terror, longing and love, Arvida explores the line which separates memory from story, and heralds the arrival of an important new voice.

ififallidie-220If I Fall I Die by Michael Christie: Will’s mother has kept him inside all of his life. But when he finally ventures outside, he befriends a boy named Jonah and discovers the world is bigger, better – but scarier – than the world of just inside. When a local boy goes missing, Will’s world is turned upside down yet again. An exploration of family, friendship and letting go.

outline-220Outline by Rachel Cusk: Rachel Cusk’s Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and stark, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing during one oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her students in storytelling exercises. She meets other visiting writers for dinner and discourse. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her neighbor from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves: their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss.

undermajordomominor-220Under Major Domo Minor by Patrick DeWitt: Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for begetting brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle’s master, Baron Von Aux. In the local village, he also encounters thieves, madmen, aristocrats and Klara, a delicate beauty whose love he must compete for with the exceptionally handsome partisan soldier, Adolphus.

closetohugh-220Close to Hugh by Marina Endicott: With chapter titles that play off the protagonist’s first name, from “If It Makes Hugh Happy” to “I Want to be Loved by Hugh,” Close to Hugh follows one week in the life of Hugh Argylle, an art gallery owner who has just taken a terrible fall from a ladder. What unfolds are the complicated relationships surrounding him. Several of his friends have children going off to college and Endicott weaves together these two turning points — becoming an adult and becoming old — together to look at the meaning of modern life. At turns hilarious and heartbreaking.

abeauty-220A Beauty by Connie Gault: In 1930s Saskatchewan, Elana Huhtala is looking for any excuse to get out of town. And when a stranger shows up at the local dance, she jumps at the chance to leave with him. What unfolds is a compelling cross-country journey that teaches Elana more than she ever imagined about her country, her fellow Canadians and herself.

All_True_Not_a_Lie_in_It_220All True Not a Lie in It by Alix Hawley: A fictionalized biography of legendary folk hero Daniel Boone. The book follows Boone from his life as a young Quaker living in Pennsylvania through to his exploration the American wilderness and subsequent capture by the Shawnee. A thrilling debut from a former CBC Short Story Prize finalist and Knopf New Face of Fiction 2015.

thewinterfamily-220The Winter Family by Clifford Jackman: Tracing a gang of ruthless outlaws from its birth during the American Civil War to a final bloody showdown in the Territory of Oklahoma, The Winter Family is a hyperkinetic Western noir and a full-on assault to the senses.

daydreamsofangels-220Daydreams of Angels by Heather O’Neill: From the author of Lullabies for Little Criminals and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night comes a compelling collection of short stories filled with quirky characters and captivating descriptions of worlds both real and imagined.

martinjohn-220Martin John by Anakana Schofield: Martin John sits beside you on the train. Can he see that look on your face? He needs to see that look in your eyes, the surprise of his touch upon your leg and your repugnance. Despite his work’s distractions, his evil flatmate’s enmity, his worn-out mother’s admonishments, his own rules and routines, nothing can diminish his determination to touch – and to repel. Martin John is a testament to Anakana Schofield’s skill and audacity. With a Beckettian grasp of the loops and circuits of a molester’s mind, Schofield’s novel is a brilliant exploration of a marginal character, but not a rare character. Martin John is the kind of character many women have experienced, but whom few of us have understood.

Confidence_220Confidence by Russell Smith: In this collection of short stories there are ecstasy-taking PhD students, financial traders desperate for husbands, violent and immovable tenants, seedy massage parlours, infestations of rabid raccoons, experimental filmmakers who record every second of their waking lives, and mommy-bloggers who publish insults directed at their partners. Whether in private clubs, crowded restaurants, psychiatric wards, or your own living room, everyone is keeping a secret.

(Descriptions from publisher notes)

– Lyle

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever

“If you can’t change the world with chocolate chip cookies, how can you change the world?” –  Pat Murphy

tiptree1The James Tiptree, Jr. Award is presented annually to a work of fiction that “expands or explores our understanding of gender.” It may be the only literary award partially funded by bake sales, or to include chocolate as part of the prize! Past winners and nominees have been collected in several volumes of The James Tiptree Award Anthologytiptree3

The award is named for science fiction author James Tiptree, Jr., a pseudonym of Alice B. Sheldon. Sheldon began publishing short stories under the Tiptree name in the late 1960s. Corresponding with fans and other authors only in writing, she gave ‘Tiptree’s’ biography true details from her own life, changing only her name and gender. For almost a decade, ‘James Tiptree’ was widely believed to be a man.

alicesheldonIn James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice Sheldon, Julie Phillips explores her fascinating life. As a child Alice accompanied her parents on their travels to Africa. She was an artist, but joined the army during World War II to work in photo-intelligence. After the war she was invited to join the CIA, but eventually left to get her PhD in experimental psychology.    hersmoke

When she began writing science fiction, Sheldon chose to use a male pseudonym both to separate her fiction from her academic career, and because she felt that using a man’s name gave her the freedom to produce the sort of stories she wanted to write. Many of Tiptree’s best work is collected in the anthology Her Smoke Rose Up Forever.

Though the Tiptree award is typically given to only one work, so much great writing was published last year that the judges decided on a tie!

girlintheroadThe first winner is Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne. Set in the near future, it follows two women on parallel journeys. As the story progresses, their lives become linked in interesting ways.  A young woman in India is attacked and flees her pursuers. She sets off to cross the Trail, a bridge stretching across the Arabian Sea used to harvest hydro power. In Africa, an orphan girl joins a trade caravan traveling to Ethiopia, where she hopes to start a new life. Byrne’s vivid characters and her descriptions of Africa and India kept me hooked until the very end!

The second recipient was My Real Children by Jo Walton.realchildren An elderly woman has trouble remembering the details of her present. Her past is another problem – she remembers different versions of her own life. Her childhood and life during the war are clear enough, but afterwards her life splits in two paths. She is confused about whether or not she was married, how many children she had, and what she did for her career. In each of these alternate pasts, her own history and the history of the world are changed by the choices she makes.

Along with the winners, several other fantastic works were nominated for the award.

memorywaterMemory of Water by Finnish author Emmi Itäranta takes place in a totalitarian future where water is a scarce resource. A seventeen-year-old girl and her father are ‘tea masters’, with special knowledge of local water sources. When her father dies, this girl must decide which secrets are worth keeping.

Jacqueline Koyanagi’s space opera Ascension is a fast paced adventure with a few twists. ascension A mechanic stows away on a spaceship that came looking for her sister. But this is not your typical ship, and the crew has some quirks, to say the least! While continuing to search for her sister, they may just end up saving the galaxy along the way.

elysiumIn Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett, a computer program tells a love story as it occurred during an alien invasion. But the program has been damaged, and the narrative is fragmented. As we piece together events, a complex story of love and identity emerges.


lagoonNnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon is another story of alien contact.  Three strangers witness a meteor strike on a beach in Lagos, Nigeria. Together they encounter a woman who is not what she appears. By helping her, they may find a way to save not only themselves, but also the rest of humanity.


If you’re looking for something a little different in your science fiction this summer, give one of these titles a try!


The Scotiabank Giller Prize, the 21st edition!

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is an award given to excellence in Canadian fiction, as chosen by a small yet award-winning group of jurists. The winner of the Prize, now in its 21th year, receives 100 grand and a whole bunch of publicity. The five finalists will be announced October 6 (the winner November 10), but until then, here is the full list of nominees, a handy list on what’s new to read during our long fall and winter seasons:

Arjun Basu’s Waiting for the Man9781770411777_1

“Joe, a 36-year-old advertising copywriter for a slick New York company, feels disillusioned with his life. He starts dreaming of a mysterious man, seeing him on the street, and hearing his voice. Joe decides to listen to the Man and so he waits on his stoop, day and night, for instructions. A local reporter takes notice, and soon Joe has become a story, a media sensation, the centre of a storm. When the Man tells Joe to “go west,” he does, in search of meaning.” (ECW Press)

bezmozgis-betrayersDavid Bezmozgis’ The Betrayers

“These incandescent pages give us one momentous day in the life of Baruch Kotler, a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the West Bank settlements, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior. He and the fierce young Leora flee the scandal for Yalta, where he comes face to face with the former friend who denounced him to the KGB almost forty years earlier.” (HarperCollinsCanada)

galchen-americanRivka Galchen’s American Innovations

“In one of the intensely imaginative stories in Galchen’s American Innovations, a young woman’s furniture walks out on her. In another, the narrator feels compelled to promise to deliver a takeout order that has incorrectly been phoned to her. In a third, the petty details of a property transaction illuminate the complicated pains and loves of a family. The tales in this groundbreaking collection are secretly in conversation with canonical stories, reimagined from the perspective of female characters.” (Macmillan)

itani-tellFrances Itani’s Tell

“In 1919, only months after the end of the Great War, the men and women of Deseronto struggle to recover from wounds of the past, both visible and hidden. Kenan, a young soldier who has returned from the war damaged and disfigured, confines himself to his small house on the Bay of Quinte, wandering outside only under the cover of night. His wife, Tress, attempting to adjust to the trauma that overwhelms her husband and which has changed their marriage, seeks advice from her Aunt Maggie. Maggie, along with her husband, Am, who cares for the town clock tower, have their own sorrows, which lie unacknowledged between them… As the decade draws to a close and the lives of these beautifully-drawn characters become more entwined, each of them must decide what to share and what to hide… [Itani] shows us how, ultimately, the very secrets we bury to protect ourselves can also be the cause of our undoing.” (HarperCollinsCanada)

lovegrove-watchJennifer Lovegrove’s Watch How We Walk

“Alternating between a woman’s childhood in a small town and as an adult in the city, this novel traces a Jehovah Witness family’s splintering belief system, their isolation, and the erosion of their relationships. As Emily becomes closer to her closeted Uncle Tyler, she begins to challenge her upbringing. Her questions about the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ insular lifestyle, rigid codes of conduct, and tenets of their faith haunt her older sister Lenora too. When Lenora disappears, everything changes and Emily becomes obsessed with taking on her sister’s identity, believing that Lenora is controlling her actions… The narrative offers a haunting, cutting exploration of the Jehovah’s Witness practice and practical impact of “disfellowshipping,” proselytization, and cultural abstinence, as well as their attitude toward the ‘worldlings’ outside of their faith.” (Amazon.ca)

michaels-conductorsSean Michaels’ Us Conductors

“In a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Lev Termen, the Russian scientist, inventor, and spy, tells the story of his life to his ‘one true love,’ Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world… Us Conductors is steeped in beauty, wonder, and looping heartbreak, a sublime debut that inhabits the idea of invention on every level.” (GoodReads)

mootoo-crabShani Mootoo’s Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab

“Written in vibrant, supple prose that vividly conjures both the tropical landscape of Trinidad and the muted winter cityscape of Toronto, Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab is a passionate eulogy to a beloved parent, and a nuanced, moving tale about the struggle to embrace the complex realities of love and family ties.” (GoodReads)

oneill-saturdayHeather O’Neil’s The Girl Who Was Saturday Night

“Nineteen years old, free of prospects, and inescapably famous, the twins Nicholas and Nouschka Tremblay are trying to outrun the notoriety of their father, a French-Canadian Serge Gainsbourg with a genius for the absurd and for winding up in prison….With all the wit and poignancy that made Baby such a beloved character in Lullabies for Little Criminals, O’Neill writes of an unusual family and what binds them together and tears them apart. The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is classic, unforgettable Heather O’Neill.” (HarperCollinsCanada)

page-paradiseKathy Page’s Paradise and Elsewhere

“The rubble of an ancient civilization. A village in a valley from which no one comes or goes. A forest of mother-trees, whispering to each other through their roots; a lakeside lighthouse where a girl slips into human skin as lightly as an otter into water; a desert settlement where there was no conflict, before she came; or the town of Wantwick, ruled by a soothsayer, where tourists lose everything they have. These are the places where things begin… Paradise and Elsewhere is a collection of dark tables at once familiar and entirely strange, join Kathy Page as she notches a new path through the wild, lush, half-fantastic and half-real terrain of fairy tale and myth.” (Amazon.ca)

rothman-october Claire Holden Rothman’s My October

“My October examines issues of history, language, and cultural identity amid the ethnic and linguistic diversity of today’s Montreal. Inspired in part by two real-life figures from Quebec’s past – James Richard Cross, the British diplomat who was held captive by FLQ terrorists, and Jacques Lanctôt, the man who was Cross’s captor – this is also a story about the province’s turbulent history and ever-shifting role within the country at whose heart it lies.” (Facebook)

toews-punyMiriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows

All My Puny Sorrows, at once tender and unquiet, offers a profound reflection on the limits of love, and the sometimes unimaginable challenges we experience when childhood becomes a new country of adult commitments and responsibilities. In her beautifully rendered new novel, Miriam Toews gives us a startling demonstration of how to carry on with hope and love and the business of living even when grief loads the heart.” (Amazon.ca)

viswanathan-raoPadma Viswanathan’s The Ever After of Ashwin Rao

“In 2004, almost 20 years after the fatal bombing of an Air India flight from Vancouver, 2 suspects-finally- are on trial for the crime. Ashwin Rao, an Indian psychologist trained in Canada, comes back to do a “study of comparative grief,” interviewing people who lost loved ones in the attack. What he neglects to mention is that he, too, had family members who died on the plane. Then, to his delight and fear, he becomes embroiled in the lives of one family caught in the undertow of the tragedy, and privy to their secrets. This surprising emotional connection sparks him to confront his own losses. The Ever After of Ashwin Rao imagines the lasting emotional and political consequences of a real-life act of terror, confronting what we might learn to live with and what we can live without.” (Amazon.ca)

(Visit cbc.ca/books for retrospective coverage of the Giller Prize’s past two decades.)

– Lyle

And the Audie goes to…

Awards season is starting to heat up in the literary world. These literary awards make my job easier, as I try to order copies of short-listed and winning titles.  Helps me spend our budget amounts wisely, helps get good books into our library’s collection, and (hopefully) helps make our patrons happy. Some of the awards I monitor include:

Coming up this weekend are the Audie Awards. These awards are given to recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment, and is sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association. Some of the awards relate to types of writing, including abridged and unabridged fiction and non-fiction, and such genres as romance and mystery; other awards recognize excellence in different styles of narration and production, such as multi-voiced performance and production values. This year’s finalists are an impressive bunch, and I can’t seem to make up my mind on potential winners.

So in honour of the Audies and audiobooks in general, and because I am once again late with my blog posting, I’d like to present WPL’s top 20 most popular audiobooks for the past month, and determined by you, the reader listener!

litigators20 – The litigators, by John Grisham, read by Dennis Boutsikaris
19 – The black box, by Michael Connelly, read by Michael McConnohie
18 – The lost years, by Mary Higgins Clark, read by Jan Maxwell
17 – The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment, by Eckhart Tolle, read by the author
16 – Private games, by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan, read by Paul Panting
15 – The bughouse affair, by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, read by Nick Sullivan and Meredith Mitchell
14 – The hit, by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy
13 – The sins of the father, by Jeffrey Archer, read by Alex Jennings and Emilia Fox
Bughouse Affair12 – Don’t go, by Lisa Scottoline, read by Jeremy Davidson
11 – Two graves, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, read by René Auberjonois
10 – The innocent, by David Baldacci, read by Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy
9 – Whiskey Beach, by Nora Roberts, read by Peter Berkrot
8 – Guilt, by Jonathan Kellerman, read by John Rubinstein
7 – Gone girl, by Gillian Flynn, read by Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne
6 – A week in winter, by Maeve Binchy, read by Rosalyn Landor
5 – The casual vacancy, by J.K. Rowling, read by Tom Hollander
4 – The storyteller, by Jody Picoult, read by various narrators
dontgo3 – Alex Cross, run, by James Patterson, ready by Michael Boatman and Steven Boyer
2 – The forgotten, by David Baldacci, ready by Ron McLarty and Orlach Cassidy
1 – Six years, by Harlan Coben, read by Scott Brick

— Barbara

Red Carpets for Writers and Readers

The Grammies have just wound up and buzz about this spring’s Oscar Awards has been in the air for months (or maybe it just feels like months?). But the red carpet treatment at this time of year isn’t just for the singing and acting sets; we are also smack-dab in the middle of book award season.

Two of the most well-known book awards were recently presented at the American Library Association’s mid-winter conference in Seattle, Washington.

THis is Not My HatThe Caldecott Medal (named for nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott) has been presented by the ALA since 1938 to the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” (To find out what was hot in children’s lit near the end of the Dust Bowl years, check out this list.) This year’s winner is This Is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Like the best fiction of any kind, Klassen draws out the imaginations of his young readers as they follow the actions of a small fish who, against his best judgment, steals the hat of another. The book has been described as “darkly humorous” – and it is – but both the storytelling and terrific illustrations balance things out with plenty of charm.

The One and Only IvanAlong with the Caldecott the ALA also presented its annual Newbery Medal (named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery). The Newbery honours “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children,” and has been around since 1922. This year’s winner is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, illustrations by Patricia Castelao. The book tells the story of “show” gorilla Ivan (his home is the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade) – who happens to have a penchant for art-making – and the way his life changes with the arrival of Ruby, a baby elephant. Themes of friendship and hope weave their way through this touching story, which is also not without a giggle or two.

Canadian libraries present their own awards for children’s books as well. We’ll find out this year’s winners at the 2013 Canadian Library Association conference (May/June) – held in Winnipeg this year! Stay tuned to learn the winner of the Book of the Year for Children Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award for outstanding illustrator of a children’s book.

Winnipeg Public Library makes it easy for you to get your hands on these and other award-winning titles. Just head on over to our catalogue and check out the Good Reads link for our holdings of local, national and international award-winners for all ages.

Happy reading!


Actual Conversation with Actual Tween about MYRCA

It’s spring break and while I am busy trying to renovate the bathroom, my tween is getting bored playing his same old video games.

“Can we go shopping for a new one?” he asks.

Well, “NO.”


I want to say: Can’t you see I am busy? But it comes out: “Because when I was your age, I had to use my imagination to entertain myself. Go read a book.”

Tween rolls eyes.

“Get the laptop and look up: www.myrca.ca. It’s the Manitoba Young Reader’s Choice Award. Reader’s Choice. You know, like the Teen Choice Awards… the one where they give out giant surfboards?”

A spark of recognition floats into the tween’s eyes.

“Well, you choose the winner, you! Not me, not your teachers, not the librarians, YOU!”

“That’s cool. I loved The Lightning Thief.”

The Emperor's Code

This is where I know I’ll lose him, but I valiantly try in spite of the drywall mud forming to a hard crust all over my hands.

“It’s a Manitoban award, the books are all Canadian. You can’t vote for The Lightning Thief because it’s not on the list.”

Tween sighs mournfully.

“You know, a lot of people read through a lot of books to pick the list, just take a look at it… See? You’ve already read all the 39 Clues; The Emperor’s Code is on there. Isn’t that the one where Dan gets lost in China and goes on tour with Justin Beiber?”

“It wasn’t Justin Bieber, he went on tour with his superstar cousin, Jonah Wizard.”


Dear George Clooney, please marry my mom

“Um, Mom, why is there water running down the stairs?”

As I run back the bathroom, I can hear the click clicking of the laptop keys.

“Hey Mom! Dear George Clooney is on the list, I’ve read that one too. Violet feeds cat poop to her baby twin sisters. It’s hilarious! Then she tries to get George Clooney to marry her Mom because she’s dating a man named Dudley Wiener!”

As he laughs hysterically, I wonder why, exactly, that is funny, but I am too busy mopping to care.  

“And my teacher had us do a project on The Adventures of Jack Lime. First he read it out to us in class and then we had to make a movie trailer.”

I come back downstairs to see my tween looking up books on the library’s website. I may not be a plumber, but I think I have this parenting thing down pat.

Adventures of Jack Lime

“Can we go to the library? It says I can vote anytime during spring break.”

“I have to drive your sister to Millennium for the Hunger Games party.   You can vote then.”

“Awesome. Can I call on Hunter now to see if he wants to make another movie trailer with me?”


“We can feed poop to his baby sister!”

As tween runs out the door with the video camera, I think to myself, maybe I should stick to renovations. It’s much easier.


Adrenaline rush

Image of a car crashing into a helicopterIt’s vacation time, and my first choice for holiday reading is always a good thriller – nothing like implausible plots, indestructible characters, and faraway settings to signal your brain that you’re officially on vacation!

Last month the International Thriller Writers association presented their sixth annual Thriller Awards. I haven’t read any of the winners yet, so I’m looking forward to catching up on these.

Bad Blood by John Sandford is the latest entry in his Minnesota-set Virgil Flowers series. State investigator Virgil Flowers quickly gets a murder confession out of a teenager – then the next day, the boy is found hanging in his cell. Remorse or something darker? Virgil’s further investigation uncovers a multi-generational conspiracy of truly monstrous crimes.

The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison follows a Nashville homicide detective in pursuit of one of the unending supply of fictional serial killers. This one’s called the Conductor, for his carefully orchestrated body disposal scenes.

Canadian author Chevy Stevens won Best First Novel for Still Missing, the story of a woman trying to rebuild her life after escaping a year of captivity in a psychopath’s remote cabin. Is she paranoid, or is someone who wishes her harm still out there somewhere…? Billed as nearly impossible to put down, this one sounds almost too scary for me.

Other mystery and thriller writers I can highly recommend:

Tana French writes atmospheric, spooky – almost Gothic – mysteries with a very strong sense of their Dublin, Ireland setting. Her gorgeous prose is definitely a cut above most thriller writers, too.

MI5 special ops spy Tara Chace makes James Bond look like a wimp. She’s appeared in a series of graphic novels as well as stand-alone thrillers, all written by Greg Rucka. His latest book tells the final installment of Tara’s story: The Last Run.

Lee Child‘s incredibly popular Jack Reacher series has won multiple awards and reached a peak in 2010 with two No. 1 New York Times best sellers. A movie is also in pre-production, with Tom Cruise apparently set to star (no comment). While ex-military cop Reacher miraculously absorbs any amount of pain and still comes back swinging, somehow Child ensures that he never seems cartoonish.