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Charlotte Gray wins 2014 Toronto Book Award

October 16, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The massey murderThe Massey Murder by Charlotte Gray has won the 2014 Toronto Book Award. It tells the true story of the 1915 murder of Charles Massey, member of the prominent Massey family and the sensational trial of Carrie Davies, his maid.

The Massey Murder: a Maid, her Master and the Murder that Shocked a Nation by Charlotte Gray
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The other finalists for the award were:

The hungry ghosts Kicking the sky The stop how the fight for good food Wondrous woo

The Hungry Ghosts by Shyam Selvadurai
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Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa
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The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis
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The Wondrous Woo by Carrianne Leung
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The Book on the Shelf

October 16, 2014 | Brian Francis | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

As an author, a Toronto Public Library employee and a LGBT Positive Spaces Champion, I was happy when asked to recommend a book for Spirit Day. Specificially, a book that had meant a lot to me in my teenaged years. One book immediately came to mind. It was a book that had resonated with me and reflected my experiences as a gay teenager. Reading it gave me insight into my emotions. I was okay. And I wasn’t alone.

The only problem? I couldn’t remember the title of the book. Or the author. I couldn’t even remember what the book cover looked like.

That’s because the book never existed.

It wasn’t on the shelf. It wasn’t passed around the cafeteria. It wasn’t discussed in English class. And while LGBT books for teens may have existed in the ‘80s, no one talked about them.

Even if that book had existed, I likely wouldn't have read it. To take it down from the shelf would've meant self-acceptance on my part. And by the time I had reached my teen years, the only thing society had taught me about accepting gay people was that it was unacceptable.

In spite of that, it would’ve helped to know that the book was there. That someone considered LGBT teen lives important. To have that acknowledgement. To know the book was there on the shelf, whether I was ready for it or not, would’ve cracked the door open just a little.

Thankfully, much has changed since the '80s, although many teens today are still struggling. But at least days like Spirit Day acknowledge that struggle. And teens have access to a variety of YA books that reflect and validate their experiences. Here are a few that I recommend.

Grl2grl
Grl 2 Grl by Julie Anne Peters 

A collection of short stories that run the gamut of queer female sexuality.

Days that end in y

Days That End in Y by Vikki VanSickle

While the main character isn't gay, VanSickle does a great job of capturing a secondary character's coming out.

Realm of possibility

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Twenty teen voices in the same school intersect in this book of poignant free verse.


Spirit Day was founded in 2010 by Canadian teen Brittany McMillan. In memory of LGBT youth who lost their lives to suicide, Brittany encouraged her friends to wear purple on a day in October. The name Spirit Day comes from the purple stripe of the symbolic rainbow flag, which represents "spirit."

Since then, Spirit Day has turned into a global event that inspires million of people to wear purple in a stand against bullying.

2014 Man Booker Prize Awarded

October 14, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Narrow road to the deep north
The winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize was revealed on October 14. For the first time, the prize has been open to novelists writing in English regardless of their nationality.

The winner is Richard Flanagan for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

It was revealed at the ceremony that for the first time, Royal Mail will design a postmark celebrating the winning book.

 

The other finalists were:

How to be both J by howard jacobson Lives of others To rise again at a decent hour We are all completely beside ourselves

How to be Both by Ali Smith

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Toronto Public Library's Award Winners page lists the Man Booker Prize shortlist and winners dating back to 2007.

Related posts:

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, 2014 Finalists

October 14, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that offers support, scholarships and grants to Canadian writers. They also present ten literary awards in a variety of categories.

The nominees for this year's Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize were announced earlier this month.

All  my puny sorrows All saints Confabulist Girl runner Pastoral

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
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All Saints by K.D. Miller

The Confabulist by Steven Galloway
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Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder
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Pastoral by André Alexis
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The winner will be announced on November 4, 2014.

Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to Patrick Modiano

October 9, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

French novelist Patrick Modiano is the recipient of this year's coveted Nobel Prize for Literature. Modiano was born in Paris in 1945. His Belgian mother met his Jewish Italian father during the occupation of Paris. Modiano's works are frequently set in World War II during the Nazi occupation of France and explore themes of memory, loss and identity.

The Swedish Academy stated that they had chosen Modiano "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

Although he has published 30 books, few have been translated into English. This is expected to change given the importance of this award.

"It's weird," Modiano responded when contacted about the prize by his publisher Antoine Gallimard. The author is notoriously low-key, generally avoiding the media despite the popularity of his books in France.

Some of Patrick Modiano's books at Toronto Public Library:

French

Dans le cafe de la jeunesse perdue Herbes des nuits Lhorizon

Dans le Café de la Jeunesse Perdue: roman

L'Herbe des Nuits: roman

L'Horizon: roman

English

Night rounds Out of the dark Ring roads

Night Rounds

Out of the Dark

Ring Roads

Persian

Ufuq

Ufuq

Governor General's Literary Awards Finalists

October 7, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Governor General's Literary Awards were announced on Tuesday, October 7.

These are the finalists in the adult English fiction category.

Unlike previous years, there are no duplications between the finalists and the Scotiabank Giller Prize nominees announced October 6. How nice to have so much variety!

Finalists:

The back of the turtle Juliet was a surprise My october The opening sky Sweetland

The Back of the Turtle by Thomas King
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Juliet was a Surprise by Bill Gaston
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My October by Claire Holden Rothman
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The Opening Sky by Joan Thomas
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Sweetland by Michael Crummey
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More about the awards

Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist Announced

October 6, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The shortlist for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced on October 6:

All my puny sorrows Betrayers Ever after of ashwin rao

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
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The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis
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The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan
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The girl who was Saturday night Tell Us conductors

The Girl who was Saturday Night by Heather O'Neill
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Tell by Frances Itani
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Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
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Novels and short story collections are eligible for this prize. This year the prize money awarded has been increased. The winner will receive $100,000 and the 4 finalists each will take home $10,000. This doubles the amount of money given previously and makes it the most lucrative literary prize in Canada.

The winner will be announced on November 10, 2014.

Never too old for scary stories

October 3, 2014 | Lynn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Halloween is coming up this month and it’s a great time to revisit some scary old favourites and find some new terrifying treasures. Classics that are great for a stormy night read include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and more modern authors such as Stephen King who has been scaring readers since the 1970s with works such as Pet Semetary and Dolres Claiborne.

For kids we have some great ghost stories such as:

The Ghost in the Attic        Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

The ghost in the attic by Dori Hillestad Butler

Caz and Claire have solved one ghost mystery, can they solve another? The second book in the series will intrigue mystery lovers, fans of ghosts and things that go bump in the night.

 

Scary stories to tell in the dark by Alvin Schwartz.

These books continue to scare children at sleepovers and Halloween parties. Whether it's haunted house, wolf or the attic, the book part of a series is a great way to give yourself goosebumps.

 

For teens there are some new books 

Evil Librarian        Through the Woods

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

Cynthia's school just got a new school librarian who everyone is falling for, including her best friend Annie. But Cynthia doesn't fall for his charms, she thinks he is up to something and that he is not from around here, but something far more sinister....a Demon! Now she must save the school from the school librarian.

 

Through the woods: stories by Emily Carroll

Based on a super successful web comic, this is a collection of 5 stories that take the reader slowly through their fears, such as the dark or being the last one of a group, and holds you until you finish the book.

 

For adults we have plenty of new authors for the genre

The Phantom Coach       Amity      Rooms

The Phantom coach: a connoisseur’s collection of the best Victorian ghost stories by Michael Sims

This is a collection of stories that are sure to make your blood run cold with tales from Victorian times such as "The monkey's paw". These are collected from famous authors and forgotten authors that due a revisit.

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Amity by Micol Ostow

Based on the true story of a haunted house in Amity, this story will have you question the creaks in your house late at night.

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Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Richard Walker has just died and left his estranged family a house full of objects some physical, and some spiritual. The family is forced to deal with their muddled past and what to do when a third ghost appears.

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New and Upcoming Books - Fall 2014

September 26, 2014 | Kelli | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Autumn is always a great season for readers. So many new books are published that it is hard to know where to start.  

Below are just a few of the many books that are arriving this fall. Some have arrived in the library branches already, but many are only on order. So, go ahead and add them to your "To Read" list and place a hold today.

 

Fiction

Paying guests Children act Sweetland Adult onset Queenie hennessy

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.
It's 1922 in South London. In a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as Mrs Wray and her daughter Frances are obliged to take in lodgers.
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The Children Act by Ian McEwan.
Fiona Maye is a High Court judge in London presiding over cases in family court. Her personal life in shambles, she decides to throw herself into a complex case involving a seventeen-year-old boy whose parents will not permit a lifesaving blood transfusion because it conflicts with their beliefs. 
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Sweetland by Michael Crummey
For twelve generations the inhabitants of this remote island in Newfoundland have lived and died together. Now, the fish are gone and they are facing resettlement. Each has been offered a generous compensation package, but there is a proviso: everyone has to leave.
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Adult Onset by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Mary Rose MacKinnon is a successful author who has made enough to semi-retire in her early 40s. She lives in Toronto with her partner and their 2 young children. As a child, Mary Rose suffered from an illness, long since cured. However, as the frustrations of life mount, she experiences a flare-up of symptoms which compels her to rethink her memories of her own childhood and her relationship with her parents.   Ann-Marie Macdonald spoke with CBC's Matt Galloway at the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon on October 1st.  If you were unable to attend, you can watch this event on the library's YouTube channel.   

 

Love Song of Miss Queen Hennessy by Rachel Joyce . For fans of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, this is the story of the friend who inspired Harold's journey across England.
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Non-Fiction

This changes everything What i know for sure Mr hockey Innovators Common ground

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein.
The author of No Logo takes on capitalism and its effect of climate change. Nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.   
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What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey
After film critic Gene Siskel asked her, "What do you know for sure?" Oprah Winfrey began writing the "What I Know For Sure" column in O, The Oprah Magazine and has penned one column a month over the last fourteen years. Now these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in a book packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. 
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Mr. Hockey by Gordie Howe. 

Going back to Howe's Depression-era roots and following him through his Hall of Fame career, his relationships with his wife and children, and into the present. Mr. Hockey is the definitive account of one of hockey's most iconic players.

Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson.
The author of the popular biography on Apple's Steve Jobs looks into the people who created the most important inventions of our era - the computer and the Internet. This is the story of pioneers, hackers, and entrepreneurs, of how their minds worked and what made them so creative. 
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Common Ground by Justin Trudeau. 
Covering the years from his childhood at 24 Sussex through to his first campaign in Papineau to his role as Liberal leader today.


Justin Trudeau will be speaking about Common Ground at the Bram and Bluma Appel salon on November 10th. Tickets will be available starting October 14th. If are unable to attend, watch for the recording of the event to appear on the Toronto Public Library's YouTube channel.   

Elizabeth is Missing: Alzheimer's Disease in Fiction

September 22, 2014 | Viveca | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Elizabeth is MissingIn recognition of World Alzheimer's Day on September 21, here are some notable novels featuring characters affected by Alzheimer's disease, a disease that has touched so many families here in Canada and around the world.  

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey is a gripping mystery with not one, but two gone girls. Maud, a British pensioner, is convinced that her best friend, Elizabeth, is missing. The police, her children, and her caregiver won't listen to her. Even worse, Maud has chilling flashbacks about her sister, Sukey, who vanished 50 years earlier. But here’s the thing: Maud is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Her sleuthing becomes a race against time – she must find Elizabeth and solve the mystery of Sukey's disappearance before her memory slips away for good. Shifting between post-War Britain and the present, this story is told with grace and empathy as it depicts the fierce (and on occasion, fatal) connections that exist between friends, lovers and family. Despite the novel’s unflinching look at the cruelty of Alzheimer’s disease, Maud’s intelligence and dignity shine through in her search for the truth.  You will end up cheering for Maud – right up to the shocking conclusion. Also available in eBook

Other great reads featuring strong characters battling Alzheimer's disease:

Still Alive Hateship friendship courtship loveship marriage Turn of Mind The Memory Artists

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Alice Howland, a Harvard professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, struggles to maintain her sense of self and her independence. The film based on this novel was screened at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and will be released in 2015. 

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

"The Bear Came Over the Mountain" is a short story from Munro's award-winning collection. Fiona is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and moves into a nursing home. Her husband, Grant, is devastated when Fiona no longer remembers him and begins a relationship with another resident. Away From Her, directed by Sarah Polley, was based on this story and won a Genie for Best Picture. 

Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante

Dr. Jennifer White, a former surgeon suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease, finds herself accused of murdering her best friend, Amanda. 

The Memory Artists by Jeffrey Moore

Noel Buren is a scientist with a neurological condition that gives him near-perfect recall. Along with his group of eccentric friends, he begins his search for a cure for his mother's Alzheimer's disease. This touching story won the Canadian Author's Association Prize for Best Fiction. 

 Related links:

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