Tag Archives: nonfiction

BookFest! The Bookiest of Days!

[Yes, we know ‘bookiest’ isn’t a word – but we couldn’t find the perfect one, so we made one up.]

We are super excited to have put together a really special event – our first ever BookFest is just two weeks away on Saturday, November 19! What is a book fest? Well I’m glad you asked. It’s a smorgasbord of prairie book goodness taking over the second floor of Millennium Library, brought to you by Winnipeg Public Library as well as the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, and generously funded by the Winnipeg Public Library Board. There are tons of things planned:

1-handwrittenBook Tastings

Like a wine tasting — but with books! We will provide small yummy samples of new and top titles in prairie fiction and non-fiction. A sure way to find new favourites, with one of the showcased books up for grabs at every ‘tasting’.
Running time is 11 am – 4 pm in the Anne Smigel Room (second floor, west side of the library).

Here are the 30-minute seatings:

11-11:30 am Life and Death: notable new memoirs & mysteries

12-12:30 pm Past and Present: compelling local history and military must-reads

1-1:30 pm Fact and Fiction: hot (and hidden gems) in non-fiction and fiction

3-3:30 pm Turtle Island Reads: new and classic Indigenous titles

2How to Judge a Book by Its Cover

I’ve started to notice a trend in what books pique my interest enough to pick them up (bold colours, retro photographs). What kind of cover makes you reach for a particular book? How does a publisher choose which cover to use? Why do so many book covers feature headless people, anyway? Charlene Diehl of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival will lead a discussion 2-3 pm in the Carol Shields Auditorium featuring cover designers from Doowah Design and Mel Matheson, Librarian Barbara Bourrier-Lacroix, and Jamis Paulson of Turnstone Press.

See what I mean by a headless cover?

matchmaker

3-2Book Fair

Tables and tables and tables of local authors and publishers scattered around the second floor, with prize draws every hour! From 11 am to 4 pm.

number-4   Colour & Create

Anishinaabe artist Jackie Traverse will be showcasing her brand new Indigenous colouring book, Sacred Feminine. Colouring sheets will be available to try out. From 11 am to 4 pm in Wii ghoss.

sacred

number-5-handwritten     Book Club Corner

We know you’re always searching for good book club picks and we’ve got titles your group will love (or love to discuss, at any rate)! Plus, enter to win a set of 10 copies of The Opening Sky and an appearance by its author Joan Thomas at your book club!

opening

 And Even More Books!

Just in case you weren’t already staggering under armloads and lists of to-read books, there’s still more! Displays of recommended reads on different themes will be stashed throughout the second floor, including a selection of titles personally curated (so fancy) by our Writers-in-Residence, Christine Fellows and John K. Samson!

wir2016image.jpg

See you Saturday, November 19 all over the second floor, Millennium Library, 251 Donald Street!!

 

 

 

GO WILD Week 5: Voices Week

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Hunt down titles to meet the challenge of your choice, chat with staff for help, browse our displays, or check out the picks below.

For every week you try something new, enter our prize draws at any WPL branch!

Week 5 is Voices Week, so prepare to hear from a new point of view.

  • Challenge 13: A book written for teens
  • Challenge 14: A graphic novel
  • Challenge 15: A book on LGBTTQ* issues

*All of the picks below can be requested for pickup at your closest branch! Search and place holds with our catalog.

Staff picks for Challenge 13: A book written for teens

CRANK by Ellen Hopkins

Kristina Snow is the perfect daughter, but she meets a boy who introduces her to drugs and becomes a very different person, struggling to control her life and her mind.

THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS by Marieke Nijkamp

The principal of Opportunity High School in Alabama has just finished her speech welcoming the students to a new semester, when they discover that the auditorium doors will not open. Someone starts shooting, and four teens, each with a personal reason to fear the shooter, tell the tale from separate perspectives.

TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra

Three students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet academy compete for the status of prima ballerina, each willing to sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab their way to the top.

thief.jpgTHE BOOK THIEF Markus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution

UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld

In a world where mandatory cosmetic surgery is performed on everyone when they turn sixteen, Shay escapes to join a band of outsiders avoiding surgery, and Tally is forced to find her and turn her in.

Staff picks for Challenge 14: A graphic novel

THE EXILE: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon

Retells in graphic novel format the first Outlander novel from Jamie Fraser’s point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story.

beardTHE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL by Stephen Collins

The fastidious life of clean-shaven Dave is upended on a fateful day when he grows an unstoppable, impressive beard, in a darkly comic, award-winning meditation on life, death and what it means to be different.

BLACK HOLE by Charles Burns

Seattle teenagers of the 1970s are suddenly faced with a devastating, disfiguring, and incurable plague that spreads only through sexual contact.

CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT? by Roz Chast

A loving celebration of the final years of the author’s aging (and quirky) parents through cartoons, family photos, and documents.

MARCH by John Lewis

A first-hand account of the author’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.

HABIBI by Craig Thompson

Follows the relationship between two refugee child slaves, Dodola and Zam, who are thrown together by circumstance and who struggle to make a place for themselves in a world fueled by fear and vice.

Staff picks for Challenge 15: A book on LGBTTQ* issues

BECOMING NICOLE: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt

The inspiring true story of a transgender girl, her identical twin brother, and an ordinary American family’s extraordinary journey to understand, nurture, and celebrate the right to be different.

missMISSISSIPPI SISSY by Kevin Sessums

A celebrity journalist chronicles his bullying behaviors throughout his Southern youth, his friendships with such figures as Eudora Welty, and the impact of journalist Frank Hain’s murder on his career.

I’M SPECIAL: AND OTHER LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Ryan O’Connell

Part-memoir, part-manifesto from a super popular web writer chronicles the coming of age story of a gay man with cerebral palsy in an all-wired, overeducated, and underemployed world.

ANNABEL by Kathleen Winter

Born a boy and a girl but raised as a boy, Wayne or “Annabel” struggles with his identity growing up in a small Canadian town and seeks freedom by moving to the city.

FUN HOME: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

An unusual memoir done in graphic novel format offers a darkly funny family portrait of her relationship with her father, a historic preservation expert dedicated to restoring the family’s Victorian home, funeral home director, high-school English teacher, and closeted homosexual.

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

One night, when Clementine goes with her friend to a gay bar, she becomes captivated by Emma, a punkish girl with blue hair. This event leads Clementine to discover and explore new aspects of herself.

 

 

Only one week left to jump in. What challenges have you tried?

 

 

 

 

Beyond Anne’s Diary

Diary Young GirlI have a vivid memory of being in my local library as a kid and picking up The Diary of a Young Girl (also known as The Diary of Anne Frank). My Mom said to me: “I’m not sure if you should read that. It’s very sad!” She thought it best to shield me from the heartbreak of Anne’s story for just a little bit longer. Fast-forward about 15 years and I was asked to be one of the tour guides for the travelling exhibit currently at Millennium Library – Anne Frank: A History for Today. At this point, I had seen the play multiple times and even visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, but I still hadn’t done the diary justice.

So, I just recently read the famed book and of course my Mom was right, it is a heartbreaking story! Most people know what happened to Anne, her family, and the six million other Jewish people the Nazis systematically murdered (not to mention the other groups Hitler persecuted based on ethnicity, ability, sexuality, etc.). It’s a devastating piece of history, but when reading the diary there are moments where you somehow forget how the story ends. Anne’s writing is eloquent and you can’t help but be sucked in by the unexpected humour, glimpses of teenage romance, and Anne’s perpetual charm.

As Anne’s diary is a cultural phenomenon, I was not entirely surprised to find a variety of other books about her life. The following titles take the diary in new directions and cross into different genres. No matter what your age, there is a version of Anne’s story for you. Each of these books can be found at the Winnipeg Public Library, but be sure to keep searching as this is just a fraction of our collection on Anne Frank, the Holocaust, and World War II.

 

Anne Frank MullerAnne Frank: The Biography

In this first biography of Anne Frank, Melissa Müller’s thorough research creates a compelling portrait of Anne’s life. Originally printed in 1998, this book contains interviews with family and friends, as well as previously unpublished letters and documents. A new edition of this biography was released in 2014, full of even more information that has since emerged. These documents, along with the Frank’s family tree and an epilogue by one of the family’s helpers, Miep Gies, shine light on this incredible girl.

 

Anne Frank House BioThe Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography

This biography in graphic novel form is an illustrated account of Anne’s life. New York Times bestselling authors, Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, seamlessly work Anne’s story into the history of World War II and the Holocaust. The book contains a concise chronology of events in the history of the Frank family – an extremely helpful tool for any reader.

 

Anne Frank Hudson-GoffAnne Frank

This graphic novel by Elizabeth Hudson-Goff focuses on both sides of the attic – life before going into hiding and a glimpse at what her final days in a concentration camp may have looked like. A quick read that can easily be finished in one sitting, illustrations bring a new dimension to this famous story of survival.

 

Anne Frank Poems AgosinDear Anne Frank: Poems

A poetry collection that is a tribute to Anne’s life. In most pieces, Marjorie Agosín holds a conversation with Anne, addressing her courage and curiosity. Poetry, and the dialogue Agosín creates, brings Anne’s narrative to life in a unique way.

 

 

Anne Frank PooleAnne Frank

A beautifully illustrated picture book that relays Anne’s story – from birth to death – to a younger audience. By explaining how the Franks end up in hiding, Josephine Poole provides an introduction to the Holocaust for children that is easy to understand. The story ends on a positive note, with Otto, Anne’s father, receiving her diary after the war. The diary ensures that the rest of the Frank family will live on after their senseless deaths.

 

Anne Frank WorldAnne Frank in the World, 1929-1945

This book is a history in pictures published by the Anne Frank House. While the focus is primarily on the Holocaust, the book is framed by Anne’s story. By continually returning to photos of the Franks, the reader is reminded that the victims of the Holocaust are not just a statistic but are real people.

 

“ANNE FRANK: A HISTORY FOR TODAY” Exhibit and Tours

 

Anne Frank Exhibit

The travelling exhibit has come all the way from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam! It officially launched on Monday, July 11, at the Millennium Library, where it will run until September 3rd. We encourage everyone to spend some time looking at the beautifully crafted panels.

There are also a number of guided tours available, in English or French, that you can register for by calling 204-986-6489. Each tour will begin in the Carol Shields Auditorium (second floor) and will last up to 90 minutes. Those who want to book group tours for more than 10 people can register by calling 204-986-6458.

  • Stephanie

GO WILD Challenge Week 2: AUTHOR WEEK

So we’re starting the second week of our GO WILD Summer Reading Challenge. Have YOU taken the challenge yet?

(I tried to read a horror book — HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt — but it was too creepy and I had to stop.)

This summer, the Library is challenging you to expand your reading horizons! Each week we offer three ways for you to read something you might never have read before. Find all the Challenges at your favourite WPL branch (or online).  Chat with staff to find a great title for any challenge, or check out the little list of recommended reads below.

For every week you try something new, enter our prize draws at any WPL branch!

Week 2 is Author Week, and all the challenges have to do with the author of the book:

  • Challenge 4: A book by a Manitoba author
  • Challenge 5: A book by an Indigenous author
  • Challenge 6: A book by a first-time author

 

Staff picks for Challenge 4: A book by a Manitoba author

indexTHE HOUSE ON SUGARBUSH ROAD by Méira Cook

Tells the story of an Afrikaner family and their domestic servant Beauty Mapule set in post-apartheid Johannesburg.

BALDUR’S SONG: A Saga by David Arnason

Musically blessed Baldur is haunted by Lara—his muse and tormentor – who leads him from small town Manitoba to the boom town days of early Winnipeg.

A LARGE HARMONIUM by Sue Sorensen

English professor Janey wonders if she’s coming unraveled, as she faces a daily life of work, friends and family, and her despotic toddler Little Max.

A COMPLICATED KINDNESS by Miriam Toews

Stuck working at a chicken slaughter-house in a town run by religious fundamentalists, 16-year-old Nomi still bears witness to the dissolution of her family with a dark, sly wit.

anothercountryTHE PAST IS ANOTHER COUNTRY: 12 Stories by New Canadians

Two volumes by 24 newcomers participating in writing groups held by the Winnipeg Public Library.

HAUNTED WINNIPEG: Ghost Stories from the Heart of the Continent by Matthew Komus

Early Winnipeg was full of excitement — murders, cheating lovers and tragic accidents. Discover the city’s best known ghost stories, as well as some new ones.

DANCING GABE: One Step at a Time by Daniel Perron

The journey of Gabe Langlois, one of Winnipeg’s most recognized figures.

LAURA REEVES’ GUIDE TO USEFUL PLANTS: From Acorns to Zoom Sticks by Laura Reeves

Identifying, harvesting and preparing over 65 of Manitoba’s most intriguing wild plants and mushrooms.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 5: A book by an Indigenous Author

SANAAQ: An Inuit Novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk

The daily life of Sanaaq, her daughter Qumaq, and their small northern Quebec community facing the growing intrusion of the qallunaat (the white people).

4-1THE LONE RANGER AND TONTO FISTFIGHT IN HEAVEN by Sherman Alexie

With wrenching pain and wry humor, these 22 linked stories present contemporary life on the Spokane Indian Reservation

THE ORENDA by Joseph Boyden

The French conquest of Canada through the eyes of Huron (Wyandot) warrior Bird, his Iroquois captive Snow Falls, and Jesuit Missionary Père Christophe.

MANITOWAPOW: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair

An amazing collection including historical writings, stories, poetry, nonfiction, and speeches.

BETTY: The Helen Betty Osborne Story by David Alexander Robertson

In 1971, aspiring teacher Betty was abducted and murdered by four young men. Initially met with silence and indifference, her story resonates loudly today.

THE STRENGTH OF WOMEN, ÂHKAMÊYIMOWAK by Priscilla Settee

jacketUFSH22F5Personal recollections by a wide spectrum of Aboriginal women tell stories of injustice, racism, genocide and sexism, but also of awakening, fierce struggles and hope.

THEY CALLED ME NUMBER ONE: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School by Bev Sellars

Bev Sellars, Chief of the Soda Creek Nation in northern B.C., describes the impact of St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School (which operated from 1891 to 1981) on herself, her mother and her grandmother.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 6: A book by a first-time author

SPEAK by Louisa Hall

Explores how the gap between computer and human (shrinking with each technological advances) echoes the one that exist between ordinary people.

SORCERER TO THE CROWN by Zen Cho

Former slave Zacharias Wythe has just been appointed England’s new Sorcerer Royal – and faces a dwindling national supply of magic.

gutHOW TO MAKE WHITE PEOPLE LAUGH by Negin Farsad

An Iranian-American-Muslim female stand-up comedian asks how can we combat the racism, stereotyping, and exclusion that happen every day?

GUT: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders

What’s the connection between diet and mood? Our gut reactions are intimately connected with our physical and mental well-being.

THE STAR SIDE OF BIRD HILL by Naomi Jackson

Sent to Barbados after their mother can no longer care for them, sisters Phaedra and Dionne spend the summer of 1989 with their grandmother Hyacinth, a midwife and specialist in the local spiritual practice of obeah.

videoTHE HOURGLASS FACTORY by Lucy Ribchester

Amid the suffragette movement in Victorian London, the disappearance of a famous trapeze artist in the middle of her act leads a young Fleet Street reporter and a police inspector into the world of a bizarre secret society.

THE LAST DAYS OF VIDEO by Jeremy Hawkins

When a Blockbuster Video opens up near a declining mom and pop video store owned by a drunk pop-culture junkie, the store’s misfit employees conduct a series of wild schemes to fight the big box invasion.

 

Have you tried something new? How did it go?

  • Erica

 

 

 

 

Are you up for the Go Wild Challenge??

book fly

Starting July 4, the Library is challenging you to EXPAND your reading horizons with the GO WILD! Summer Reading Challenge. Each week we will offer three ways for you to read something you might never have read before. To find the right book for you, browse our shelves or catalogue, check out our displays, and stay tuned to this blog.

For every week you try something new, enter our prize draws at any WPL branch!

Ready? Good! Go!

Here are your challenges for Week 1 – World Week (And, to get you started, some staff picks we think you might like…)

Challenge 1: A book set in South America

b1-3BEL CANTO by Ann Patchett

When terrorists seize hostages at an embassy party, an unlikely assortment of people is thrown together, including American opera star Roxanne Coss, and Mr. Hosokawa–Japanese CEO and her biggest fan.

THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS by Isabel Allende

The Trueba family embodies strong feelings from the beginning of the 20th century through the assassination of Allende in 1973.

WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys

In a prequel to Jane Eyre, Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway lives in Dominica and Jamaica in the 1830s before she travels to England, becomes Mrs. Rochester, and goes mad.

PASTWATCH: THE REDEMPTION OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS by Orson Scott Card

In a near future that is not quite ours, a major scientific breakthrough permits historians to view, but not participate in, past events.

THE LOST CITY OF Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author’s own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett’s final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle.

b1-4THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: A Journey Around South America by Ernesto (Che) Guevara

A chronicle of the author’s seven-month motorcycle journey throughout South America reveals the beginning of his transformation into a dedicated revolutionary.

WALKING THE AMAZON: 860 Days, One Step at a Time by Ed Stafford

Describes the author’s quest to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, offering details on the effects of deforestation and his encounters with both vicious animals and tribal members with machetes.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 2: A book set in the Middle East

3-2PERSEPOLIS: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

The great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval-al and vast contradictions between public and private life.

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS by Amos Oz

The award-winning author recounts his boyhood in war-torn Jerusalem of the 1940s and 1950s, his mother’s tragic suicide, his decision to join a kibbutz and change his name, and his participation in Israel’s political upheavals.

I AM MALALA: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

Describes the life of the young Pakistani who survived an assassination attempt and became the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

THE YACOUBIAN BUILDING by Alaa Aswani

The lives of a fading aristocrat, voluptuous siren, devout doorman, secretly-gay editor, roof-squatting tailor, and corrupt politician intertwine in an apartment building in downtown Cairo.

3-3ALIF THE UNSEEN by G. Willow Wilson

A young Arab-Indian computer hacker unearths a secret book of the jinn, a book that may open a gateway to unimaginable power.

DE NIRO’S GAME by Rawi Hage

Follows the lives and choices of two best friends, Bassam and George, caught in Lebanon’s civil war. Both men are desperate to escape Beirut but choose different paths to accomplish their goals.

 

Staff picks for Challenge 3: A book set in Africa

 

2-2RADIANCE OF TOMORROW by Ishmael Beah

A novel of postwar life in Sierra Leone, in which two friends struggle to rebuild their ruined village despite violence, scarcity and a corrupt foreign mining company.

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Re-creates the 1960s struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria, following the intertwined lives of the characters through a military coup, the Biafran secession, and the resulting civil war.

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver

The lives of a fierce evangelical missionary and his wife and four daughters begin to unravel after they embark on a 1959 mission to the Congo.

2-1THIRTY GIRLS by Susan Minot

Forced to commit unspeakable atrocities after being abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army, Ugandan teen Esther struggles to survive and escape.

ROAD TRIP RWANDA: A Journey Into the New Heart of Africa by Will Ferguson

Ferguson travels deep into Rwanda with friend Jean-Claude Munyezamu, who had escaped just before the genocide, where they discover a country reborn.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM by Nelson Mandela

The leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement chronicles his life, including his tribal years, his time spent in prison, and his return to lead his people.

 

Happy reading!

  • Erica

 

 

Fermentation 101: A Cook Book Club Update

Fermentation is a process that dates back more than 6,000 years, when it was likely used by our ancestors to make alcoholic beverages and preserve food. Fermented foods are enjoying a renaissance.  Examples include making alcohol from fruits and grains, kombucha from tea and sugar, kimchi from vegetables, yogurt or kefir from milk, and sauerkraut from cabbage.

fermentationfort garry

Danielle Nykoluk promoted the benefits of fermented  foods at a recent Taste Buds Cook Book Club meeting at the Fort Gary  Library. Danielle is a founder of The Real Food Revival which offers traditional food skill-based workshops for folks who want more choice and control over their health and the health of the environment. She demonstrated how to make the health-supporting elixirs kombucha (a fermented tea) and kefir (a tangy drink made from fruit of milk) or a fraction of the cost at the grocery store.

What is fermentation? In a nutshell it is the use of beneficial bacteria and yeast to preserve food and beverages. In scientific terms, yeast, moulds, or bacteria convert sugar and other carbohydrates to acids, gases, or alcohol.

Not only does fermentation preserve foods and enhance flavour, fermented foods are good for digestion. Eating these foods actually improves the balance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut. Numerous studies have documented the benefits of eating pre- and pro- biotic foods, which help to improve digestion and regular bowel function, enhance the immune system, ease anxiety and alleviate allergies.

For more recipes and instructions on how to make your own homemade fermented foods such as bread, cheese, yogurt, beer, pickles and other foods, check out these books:

artfermentation

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz

An in depth exploration of essential concepts and processes from around the world by a leading expert in the field.

fementvegetables

Ferment Your Vegetables

A fun and flavourful guide to making your own pickles, kimchi, kraut and more.

fermentedfoods

 

Fermented Foods for Health 

Use the power of probiotic foods to improve your digestion, strengthen your immunity and prevent illness

 

Join the growing movement of home fermenters and get great taste and good health with probiotic foods.

-Jane

Books about Libraries and Librarians!

“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” – Saul Bellow

Libraries and librarians seem, in some circles, to be under siege. Labour troubles at Toronto’s public libraries almost led to a strike this week, not to mention the dozens of libraries that have been slated for closure in Newfoundland due to budget cuts. And yet libraries and librarians are still nearly universally supported. How do I know? I continue to be amazed at how each day thousands stream into our Winnipeg public libraries to find their next good read, to research that nagging question about their genealogy or home renovation project, or bring their kids to story time. In addition, if we look at our shelves, virtual or in person, writers are still writing and publishers are still publishing excellent books about their cherished libraries and the interesting, skilled people who serve within them. Take a look at these selected works, all of which you can borrow from WPL:

 

icequeen The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

The Ice Queen is the tale of a librarian in a small town whose wishes come true, but not always for the best. When the unnamed narrator is 8 years old and her brother, Ned, 12, their mother leaves the children alone one night, ostensibly to celebrate her birthday with friends. The narrator wishes her mother would disappear – and she dies that night, her car crashing on an icy road. Years later, Ned becomes a meteorologist and moves from New Jersey to Florida, while his sister goes to library school, still feeling the guilt and self-loathing brought on by her wish the night her mother died.”

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” – Neil Gaiman

 

Niffenegger_TTW_mech.inddThe Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

“Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, have known each other since Clare was 6 and Henry was 36, married when Clare 23 and Henry 31. Impossible but true. Because Henry unintentionally jumps in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity, past and future. His experience can be harrowing or amusing.” (Goodreads)

“I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense.” – Harold Kushner

 

1379961People of the Book: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks

“In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding – an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair – she begins to unlock the book’s mysteries.” (Goodreads)

 

mediumThe World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

“A funny and uplifting story of how a Mormon kid with Tourette’s found salvation in books and weight lifting. Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old when he first began exhibiting symptoms. When he was twenty and had reached his towering height of 6’7”, his tics escalated to nightmarish levels. Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh tried countless remedies, with dismal results. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission using increasingly elaborate feats of strength. What started as a hobby became an entire way of life—and an effective way of managing his disorder. Today, Josh is a librarian at Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of five-year-old Max. Funny and offbeat, The World’s Strongest Librarian traces this unlikely hero as he attempts to overcome his disability, find love, and create a life worth living.”

“If we encounter a person of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

index.aspxLiving With Books by Alan Powers

“Some people never have more than a shelf or two of books. Others are more committed: they hoard books, rearrange them, and seldom get rid of any. Living with Books, aimed at the latter group, addresses the challenges and joys of a home masquerading as a library, from storage to display to the use of books as structural elements and furniture.Each chapter covers a different room and the special way that books can exist in or enhance that space. Obvious areas such as dens and offices are covered, along with more daring places such as hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms. Special features include a closer look at the care and display of decorative books, decorative papers, and bookplates, and a final chapter on custom-building bookshelves to suit every home.” (Goodreads)

“No two persons ever read the same book.” – Edmund Wilson
339147

The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Guillaume de Laubier

“Here, for the first time, architectural photographer Guillaume de Laubier takes the reader on a privileged tour of twenty-three of the world’s most historic libraries, representing twelve countries and ranging from the great national monuments to scholarly, religious, and private libraries: the baroque splendor of the Institut de France in Paris; the Renaissance treasure-trove of the Riccardiana Library in Florence; the majestic Royal Monastery in El Escorial, Spain; the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Bodleian Library; and the New York Public Library, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece.”

 

1527318.jpg In the Stacks: Short Stories About Libraries and Librarians by Michael Cart

“Libraries, with their miles and miles of books are, for writers and readers alike, the magical portal to new worlds-the source of terrors, delights, and pleasures aplenty. Here, in one volume, noted author and librarian Michael Cart has assembled a fascinating collection of twentieth century short fiction about libraries and librarians: from such classics as Borges’s ‘The Library of Babel’ and Isaac Babel’s ‘The Public Library,’ to such contemporary gems as John Cheever’s ‘Trouble of Marcie Flint’ and Lorrie Moore’s ‘Community Life.’ Love, lunacy, obsession, and the joy of reading come together in a collection that readers, booksellers, and librarians would agree is long overdue.”

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” – Neil Gaiman

 

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The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai

“In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?”

“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” – Ray Bradbury

 

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco119073.jpg

“The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon – all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where ‘the most interesting things happen at night.'” (Goodreads)

“The most important asset of any library goes home at night – the library staff.”
– Timothy Healy

  • Lyle

The Next Big Thing

 

Up here on the fourth floor of the Millennium Library we’ve been highlighting books about inventions and inventors, tinkering and making. Here are a few picks that have been moving off our shelves:

Black Inventors: Crafting Over 200 Years of Success by Keith Holmes

This book about African American inventors highlights history that is often overlooked. For more on Black inventors check out these profiles from Biography. We also loved finding this write-up about Elijah McCoy as part of his nomination to the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame: “The noted African Canadian inventor, Elijah McCoy was issued more than 57 patents for his inventions during his lifetime. His best known invention was a cup that fed lubricating oil to machine bearings through a small bore tube. Machinists and engineers who wanted genuine McCoy lubricators might have used the expression “the real McCoy.”

Milestones of Space: Eleven Iconic Objects from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Lunar modules, astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit, and the Hubble telescope. Milestones of Space provides gorgeous photographs and meticulous explanations of the inventions that have made space exploration possible.

The Eureka Method: How to Think Like an Inventor by John Hershey

Written by a PhD in Electrical Engineering (with 134 patents to his name!), the Eureka Method will show you how to scan the world around you and think systemically to spark big ideas.

Patently Female: From AZT to TV Dinners, Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas by Ethlie Ann Vare

From the hang glider to Jell-O, tract housing to windshield wipers, learn about the women behind these inventions and many more.

 

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Especially because of the recent announcement of a lower (if not low) cost Tesla, Elon Musk has been in the news a ton lately.  This bio discusses how his success is an example of the intersection of visionary thinking, inventing talent, and business acumen.

A History of Invention From Stone Axes to Silicon Chips by Dr. Trevor I. Williams

From the humble axe-head to the ubiquitous indispensable silicon chip, here’s a fun and informative history of “things”.

Makers: All Kinds of People Making Amazing Things in Their Backyard, Basement, and Garage by Bob Parks

From the publishers who brought us Make magazine this title featuring real-life – and definitely home-grown – inventions is sure to speak to your inner-tinkerer.

Rube Goldberg: Inventions by Maynard Frank Wolfe

The shortest path from A to B may be a straight line but what’s the fun in that? Here’s a wonderfully, whimsical title full of schematics for hair-cutters, Easter egg-dyers, a better golf tee and more, devised by the one and only Rube Goldberg.

 

-Monique W.

Take a Journey, Not Just a Trip

I’m intrigued by pilgrimages, journeys into the unknown that are more than just trips. When you are away from home yet still shopping at malls or peering out a car window with your smartphone camera, you are likely missing something important. Pilgrimages are trips to special or sacred places where you have opportunities to be reflective, or have your character tested, even to the point of being changed by encounters with the unexpected. A pilgrimage is both external and internal. You experience a new destination with the purpose of having your imagination opened, and your mind and heart engaged. What you find may not be what you expect, but even the anomalies – the mishaps, the chance encounters, the wrong turns – can be fodder for a meaningful experience.

Phil Cousineau in The Art of Pilgrimage has a great descriptive way of explaining the elements that come into play as we hope to make our next journey with soulfulness. It may sound corny or elusive at first, but perhaps any trip can become something ‘more’, particularly when we slow down and look more closely at what we are seeing and experiencing.

Clear as mud? Here are a few books at the library that can put you in the right frame of mind to make travel more than just a trip from point A to point B:

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The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred by Phil Cousineau

“Geared toward the modern-day pilgrim who is looking for inspiration and a few spiritual tools for the road, The Art of Pilgrimage weaves stories, myths, parables, and quotations from famous travelers of the past with practical suggestions and contemporary accounts of people traveling the sacred way today. A guide for the armchair traveler curious to know what it means to travel with a soulful purpose and travelers ready to embark on a sacred journey.”

index-1.aspxPilgrimage: Adventures of the Spirit by Sean O’Reilly & James O’Reilly

“Pilgrimage comes in many forms: traditional and unconventional, religious and secular, intended and accidental. Yet it always entails mindfulness – a soulful presence that summons meaning to the surface. This book showcases a diverse array of spirit-renewing journeys from pilgrims of many kinds from places as far away as Tibet’s Mount Kailish and as near as sacred New Mexico soil.”

I particularly liked the Camino Trail essay. The writer comes across an odd Spanish senior who seems to warn him about impending disaster (in Spanish). He continues walking, unfazed, only to face a potentially dangerous lightning storm while walking on the Camino Trail by himself. By the end of the day his life seems turned around, or at least his perception has been decidedly altered!

index.aspxA Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

“It is only ideas gained by walking that have any worth.”  – Nietzsche

“In A Philosophy of Walking, Frédéric Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B – the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble – and reveals what they say about us.

Gros draws attention to other thinkers who also saw walking as something central to their practice. On his travels he ponders Thoreau’s eager seclusion in Walden Woods; the reason Rimbaud walked in a fury, while Nerval rambled to cure his melancholy. He shows us how Rousseau walked in order to think, while Nietzsche wandered the mountainside to write. In contrast, Kant marched through his hometown every day, exactly at the same hour, to escape the compulsion of thought. Brilliant and erudite, A Philosophy of Walking is an entertaining and insightful manifesto for putting one foot in front of the other.”

index.aspxTraveling Souls: Contemporary Pilgrimage Stories edited by Brian Bouldrey

“Once upon a less secular time, almost everyone made pilgrimages, and most of the great works of our early literature – Dante’s ascent into the stars, Chaucer’s wanderers to Canterbury, the tales of Orpheus and Odysseus and Hercules – commemorate both inward and outward journeys; these days, I suspect, many of us travel in part to experience pilgrimage by proxy. Most of the travellers in this volume leave home, as I have done, to partake of someone else’s pilgrimage, and so to learn what animates people to undertake such sacrificial tasks; the destination of pilgrimage is pilgrimage itself.”

index-2.aspxThe Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along the Camino de Santiago by Arthur P. Boers

“Pilgrimage is a spiritual discipline not many consider. Aren’t the destinations far? Don’t they involve a lot of time and walking? Just a few years ago, Arthur Paul Boers wasn’t thinking about pilgrimage either. But he began to sense a deep call from God to walk the five-hundred-mile pilgrimage route known as Camino de Santiago, ending in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, at a cathedral that is said to hold the relics of the apostle James. In these pages he opens to us his incredible story of renewed spirituality springing from an old, old path walked by millions before him. It’s a story of learning to pray in new ways, embracing simplicity, forming community, living each day centered and focused, depending on God to provide. Joined by hundreds of others from all over the world, Boers points the way to deeper intimacy with God–a way made by walking in faith.”

indexThe Way of Wanderlust: the Best Travel Writing of Don George by Don George

“From his high-spirited account of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on a whim when he was 22 years old to his heart-plucking description of a home-stay in a muddy compound in Cambodia as a 61-year-old, this collection ranges widely. As renowned for his insightful observations as for his poetic prose, George always absorbs the essence of the places he’s visiting. Other stories here include a moving encounter with Australia’s sacred red rock monolith, Uluru; an immersion in country kindness on the Japanese island of Shikoku; the trials and triumphs of ascending Yosemite’s Half Dome with his wife and children; and a magical morning at Machu Picchu.”

My son and I are off for a trip – perhaps it will become a pilgrimage – walking in England this spring. Wish us luck!

– Lyle

Spring Training

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It’s not too soon to think about baseball, is it? I mean, the Toronto Blue Jays start their spring training schedule tomorrow (March 2) against the Phillies, and the regular season is only a month away. As a Blue Jays fan, I’ve had a few months now to reflect upon that remarkable run from August to October last year, which included acquiring David Price (albeit briefly), Josh Donaldson winning the MVP, and the triumphant return of Marcus Stroman (fully recovered from a knee injury sustained in spring training). We won’t mention the Pillar/Tulowitzki collision. I’m sure Tulo’s fine, now. Right?

It was the first time the Jays made the post season since their back-to-back World Series wins in 1992/93, and it seemed that everyone was talking about it.

The Jays faced the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship last fall, and the two public library systems of each city got into a bit of a good-natured “twitter war” using book spine titles to create “poems” that trash-talked the other city. You can read an article on it here.

tpl twitter war

It’s a whole new season, KC.

 

Although the Jays fell to the Royals in the ALCS, we will never forget those magical few weeks leading up to the post season which culminated in that wacky game five of the American League Divisional Series against the Texas Rangers. Even casual sports fans will remember that iconic image of José Bautista’s famous bat flip.

batflip

The Bat Flip

 

But here we are at the beginning of a new season, where anything can happen. Let’s take a look at a couple of baseball related items to get in the proper mindset.

Ken Burns’ Baseball

ken burns

I know this documentary is over 20 years old now, but it is still my favourite piece of pop culture dealing with baseball. Broken into 9 parts (for 9 innings, get it?), it tells the story of baseball from its earliest incarnations right up to the mid 1990s. There is also a lovely companion book to the series, which also tells America’s story for most of the 20th century. I’ve probably watched this documentary five times already, and I’d watch it again in a second. My favourite inning, by the way, is the fifth inning, “Shadow Ball”, which deals primarily with the pre-integration “Negro Leagues” and gives players like  Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige their due. This volume also talks about the early careers of future superstars Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. If you only have time for one “inning”, I recommend the fifth. Ken Burns did a sequel a few years ago, called “The Tenth Inning“, which covers the mid 90s and the 2000’s, but so much of it deals with the steroid era, it’s kind of depressing.

 

Full Count by Jeff Blair

full count

Sometimes it’s good to take a look back before looking to the future. Jeff Blair, host of the Sports talk show, “The Jeff Blair Show” took a stab at the first four decades of Blue Jays baseball. At just over 250 pages, it covers a lot of ground but does not go into a lot of depth on “behind the scenes” stories. Still, it is a very readable way to get up to speed on the history of “Canada’s Team”, (sorry, Expos fans!), and for a fan it’s fun to relive some of the great moments. I was just about to turn three years old when the Jays played their first game in 1977, so I obviously don’t remember it, but my Mom had the game on at home and my Dad was calling from work every 15 minutes or so for updates. That was back in the day when the Jays played at Exhibition Stadium and it snowed during the first game. Welcome to Canada!

Change Up: How To Make the Great Game of Baseball Even Better by Buck Martinez

buck martinez

This book won’t even be published for another couple of weeks, but I can’t wait to read it. Buck Martinez was a former Major League catcher, who spent some of his career with the Jays. In fact, I used to have a book written by him called “From Worst to First, the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays” or something like that. That was the year the Jays won their first division title, but went on to lose to the Kansas City Royals. What’s up with these Royals? On July 9th, in a game against Seattle, Buck Martinez was blocking home plate and was on the receiving end of a terrible collision and ended up with a broken leg and a dislocated ankle. Still, he was able to complete one of the craziest double plays I’ve ever seen. You can read more about that play here. After he retired from playing, he made his way to the broadcast booth, and even managed the Blue Jays for a brief time in 2001-02 before eventually becoming the Jays’ play-by-play commentator in 2010. I’m sure his latest book will be full of interesting insights from a guy who has been around baseball his whole life.

 

Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Trust, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball by R.A. Dickey

dickey

For a slight change of pace, you may enjoy R.A. Dickey’s memoir. He is currently part of the Jays’ starting rotation, and his journey to becoming Major League Baseball’s only active knuckleball pitcher is quite remarkable. He was originally offered a $810,000 signing bonus from the Texas Rangers as their first round draft pick in 1996, but when it was discovered that he was missing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm (a defect from birth), they reduced their offer to $75,000. He struggled in the early part of his career to remain at the major league level after making his debut in 2001. It wasn’t until 2005 that things started to go his way, when he decided to perfect his knuckleball pitch as a way to stand out from the crowd and extend his career. In 2012, he was selected as an All Star for the very first time, and was the first knuckleballer to ever win the Cy Young award that year. The following year, he signed with the Jays. It’s a very well written memoir, full of humour and optimism, despite his many challenges.

Opening Day isn’t all that far away, and once the season starts: ANYTHING can happen.

-Trevor