Tag Archives: Novelist Plus

Don’t Forget the Books!

The library is a fantastic place to learn a new skill, check your email, write a resume or entertain your kids with a story time or MagFormers program. With all those choices you may forget we still have books.  We have friendly staff and resources to help you choose a read just right for you.  If you wanted to try something more adventurous, you could join one of 17 book clubs at library branches around the city.

Book clubs are a great way to meet new people and read books you may not normally choose.  The book club I organize has chosen many unique books that everyone found fun and entertaining.  Here are a few examples of what we’ve been reading:

Game Change and Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann

The book tells the story of the 2008 Presidential campaign.  The book is broken into three parts.  The first and second parts deal with the Democratic and Republican nomination battles and the third the race for the White House.  The book is a fun and informative.  Spoiler alert Sarah Palin steals the story.  With insider information from both campaigns, Sarah Palin’s lack of knowledge and experience is revealed.  Her poor performance was demonstrated in interviews such as the ones with Kaite Couric (being unable to give examples of newspapers she reads) and Charlie Gibson (I can see Russia from my house bit).  The book was also made into a movie staring Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin.

Double Down is the second book by Mark Halperin and John Heileman about the 2012 Presidential election.  Written in a similar style and format to Game Change you read about Mitt Romney’s long drawn out battle for the republican nomination and the difficulties he faced once he was the Republican candidate for President.  Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair at the party convention was the least of Mitt Romney’s problems.  In 2012 Obama ran unopposed for the democratic nomination and some of his problems were within his own campaign. The section on Obama’s preparation for the first presidential debate paints him as someone who is unready and pessimistic.

The Hogfather Terry Pratchett

Welcome to Ankh-Morpork.  It’s Hogswatch Eve and the Auditors, beings responsible for ensuring the Laws of Physics work, have decided to have The Hogfather assassinated.  The auditors find human beings very disruptive to the workings of the universe and are puzzled by their need to create anthropmorphic beings like the Hogfather.  Death, Death’s grand daughter and Death’s personal servant, Alfred, race to stop the The Hogfather’s assassination.  You will also find out what death looks like in a Hogfather outfit, how many pork pies Alfred can eat and meet Bilious, the God of Hangovers.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

One of Hemingway’s shortest works, the book tells the story of Santiago, an old fisherman who has not caught a fish in 84 days.  Santiago’s luck changes a short time later when he hooks a huge marlin.  Santiago battles against the fish and nature and eventually wins while finding a certain camaraderie with his opponent.  Once he has caught the fish, Santiago battles sharks to get back home with his catch.  A great read, the Old Man and the Sea won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Peter Brown is an intern in a Manhattan hospital.  A former Mafia hitman now in witness protection, he encounters a colleague from his old life.  Over an eight hour period Peter has to figure out how can care for his patient and hide his identity.  Written in the first person, Beat the Reaper is a hilarious read with a good dose of salty Mafia language.  Josh Bazell, a former medical intern, also provides an interesting if somewhat disturbing look at the US medical system.


If you are part of a book club or looking to start one, the library has many resources you can use.  Book Club packs have ten copies of many different fiction and non-fiction titles. They can be borrowed and placed on hold like regular books.  The pack also contains a literature guide and questions to start a discussion about the title.

Novelist is a database you can access at home with your library card. You can look up different titles and authors as well as read summaries of books. In case you’ve read all the books by your favorite author, Novelist provides lists of author read-a-likes and title read-a-likes.

If you’re interested in any of the titles above or a book club please don’t hesitate to Ask Us!


10 Interesting Things I Learned From Databases at WPL

Winnipeg Public Library pays for databases that everyone with a library card can access for free.  These databases are intended for anyone with an information need (adults and children) and they include a wealth of information  for both research and leisurely information pursuits.  Here are 10 things I learned today by accessing our databases:


1. I was recently wondering about my heritage, and was asking my siblings if they knew what my paternal grandfather did for a living.  No-one knew, and there are very few living relatives left to ask.  I decided to check on Ancestry Plus (available in-library at all locations) and immediately located a voting list that listed my grandfather as being a millworker.  I’m now curious to do much more research on my family tree, and Ancestry Plus is a great place to start!

2. I remember seeing Husker Du at the Royal Albert Arms when I was much younger, and I was curious as to which year this concert wfpoccurred.  I checked out the Winnipeg Free Press Archives (available in-library at all locations) and discovered that they played there for 2 nights in 1984.  This also means that I went to see them at the bar before I turned 18, and this is a fact that I’ll never share with my son as he reaches his teen years!  The review of the Husker Du show was on a page that also included ads for restaurants and other businesses, many of which don’t exist any longer.  One ad is for Mother Tucker’s restaurant, and they’re advertising a sirloin steak dinner for $7.95!

3. Career Cruising is an extremely popular database that provides acareer wealth of information about various careers, educational requirements, resume building and even provides assessments to help point you in the direction of jobs and careers that would be well-suited to you.  I took the assessment out of curiousity and the results indicated that were I not currently a librarian, fields that might be well-suited to me would be lobbyist, criminologist or proofreader- interesting!  Many job counselors use Career Cruising with their clients and it’s definitely a database that’s worth checking out, whether you’re a high school student looking for career options or you’re looking to change careers.

4. We have several streaming music sites, including Naxos Music.  


I was interested in seeing whether Naxos Music had any bellydance music, as this can be difficult to locate.  A search on Naxos Music revealed many CDs of bellydance music that could be streamed for free, and this is a database that can be accessed from home as well!

5. My son loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and I was curious about what other authors he might be interested in.  Using Novelist jacketPlus, I was able to search for these books and then click on ‘author readalikes’ and ‘series readalikes’ to discover other items he might be interested in.  Results included Gordon Korman, Tom Angleberger , Jordan Sonnenblick, Knights of the Lunch Table, Big Nate and Zombie Chasers – some good choices for my son to try.  Novelist Plus is a great resource to use for reading recommendations both for children and adults.

6. A colleague of mine is moving to Peru for a year, and I was curious to csimagelearn more about Peru.  Our database Lands and Peoples contained an article about Peru, and I learned a few things I didn’t previously know (all food-related, which means it’s close to lunchtime and I’m getting hungry!).  I discovered that most stores and businesses in the large cities close at noon and reopen at 3:00, as the mid-day meal is the largest.  The potato is a staple food in Peru and other popular dishes include anticuchos (main ingredient is beef heart) and seviche (raw fish marinated in lemon and lime juice).  Cuy (guinea pig) is also eaten in Peru, often barbecued on skewers.  As an owner of three guinea pigs named Max, Arthur and Felix, I quite hope that my colleague will not partake of cuy!

7. The Mango Languages database is an awesome resource for learning languages, and it includes a multitude of language choices.  In addition to mangoFrench, Spanish, Italian, Polish (and many others) Mango also includes Pirate.  I discovered that ‘buddy’ in Pirate is ‘me matey’ so I just might annoy everyone I know by calling them ‘me matey’ from now on.  Judging by how often Pirate is accessed on Mango, I won’t be the only one!

8. When using Consumer Health Complete, I discovered that there is untitledan actual disease called Rabbit Fever (or tularemia).  This is a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by small animals such as rabbits and mice, and can be transferred by the animal or by a tick or fly bite.  If eating wild game, it should be cooked thoroughly so as not to transmit disease – so, if you’re eating rabbit, make sure you cook it thoroughly.  However, as a bunny lover who has been known to feed carrots to backyard rabbits , don’t tell me if you’re cooking up some rabbit stew!

9. In the database Columbia Granger’s Poetry database I searched for popoetry about Winnipeg, and located an absolutely lovely poem entitled Winnipeg – At Sunset, written by Emily Pauline Johnson (or Tekahionwake).  You can even listen to audio of the poem being read aloud.  My favorite stanza of this poem is:

Twilight is lingering over the rim
Of prairie and sky,
Its purple and amethyst, born in the dim
Horizon, to die.

tita10. I was curious about the Manitoba connection to the sinking of the      Titanic, and did a search on the Canadian Reference Centre database to locate articles about this.  I found an article entitled Titanic – The Manitoba Story from a journal entitled Manitoba History.  Very interesting article about local people who died in the tragedy.

Spend some time exploring Winnipeg Public Library’s databases, and you just might be surprised at the interesting things you discover!