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A Soldier, A Jesuit and a Gunslinger: Books to Movies Fall 2016

October 21, 2016 | Kelli | Comments (2)

Now that we are well into autumn, it is time to again have a look at the upcoming movies that are based on books.  


Never Go BackNever Go Back, the 18th book in Lee Child's popular series, has been made into a film that is opening in theatres today, October 21st. Tom Cruise is back as former military cop, Jack Reacher.

In this book, Reacher returns to the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP, to meet with the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He is in for a surprise when it isn't Turner behind the CO's desk.  Reacher must stay a step ahead of the army, and the FBI, the D.C. Metro police, and four unidentified thugs who are after him if he is going to find Turner and clear his name.

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These books are also being made into movies that are coming to theatres in the next few months. Place your holds now to make sure you get a chance to read the books before the movies are released. 

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk A Long Way Home (Lion) Tony and susan (noctural animals) Silence Gunslinger

Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain
Billy Lynn and the surviving members of the Bravo Squad, heroes from the war in Iraq, have a stop in their "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, the football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys. In this sharp satire, Fountain explores the disconnect between the war at home and reality of the war abroad.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in 2012, the film is directed by Ang Lee and is scheduled to open in theatres on November 11th.
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A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. (Film title: Lion)
In this memoir, Brierley tells of his quest to find his family in India.  At only five years old, Saroo was separated from his family and survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta.  Eventually adopted by an Australian couple, he always wondered about his family.  He began his search by poring over satellite images in Google Earth, looking for landmarks he recognized.  One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for.
The film Lion stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman and is scheduled to be in the theatres on November 25th.
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Tony and Susan by Austin Wright (Film title: Noctural Animals)
At his request, Susan Morrow agrees to read her ex-husband's first novel, Nocturnal Animals.  In the novel, Tony Hastings and his family have their ordinary lives violently thrown off course and delivered into the hands of strangers who terrorize them. As Susan becomes involved in the story, she is forced to name the fear that gnaws at her future.
Directed by Tom Ford and winner of the Silver Lion - Grand Jury Prize of this year's Venice Film Festival, the film Noctural Animals stars Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal and is scheduled to be in theatres on December 9th.  


Silence by Shūsaku Endō
In seventeenth century Japan, Portuguese Jesuit priests arrive from Rome to try to find a renegade priest who saved his own life by denying his faith.  Alone and hunted by samurai, Jesuit Sebastian Rodrigues is eventually captured and faces his own ordeal of faith.
Starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver, the film is currently scheduled to be in the theatres on January 6, 2017.


The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Film Title: The Dark Tower)
In this first book of King's Dark Tower series, Gunslinger Roland Deschain, tracks the enigmatic 'The Man in Black' toward a forbidding dark tower.  Along the way, he must fight forces both mortal and supernatural in his quest to preserve his dying world.
Starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, the film The Dark Tower is currently scheduled to be in the theatres on February 17, 2017. 
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Essential Books for the Zombie Apocalypse

October 19, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (1)

The Walking Dead is back for its seventh season on Sunday. We will finally find out who died at Negan's hand (and bat). If you watch the show, I'm sure you also think about what you would do if there really was zombie outbreak. These books may help you plan for that possibility. 


Despite what we learned at Terminus, cannibalism is not the only way to survive a zombie apocalypse. If you forage for wild plants, you can create delicious, nutritious meals without luring innocents into your fake sanctuary, killing and eating them.

Adventures in edible plant foraging Backyard foraging Wild edibles

Adventures in Edible Plant Foraging: Finding, Identifying, and Harvesting, and Preparing Native and Invasive Wild Plants by Karen Monger

Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You didn't Know You Could Eat by Ellen Zachos

Wild Edibles: a Practical Guide to Foraging with Easy Identification of 60 Edible Plants with 67 Recipes by Sergei Boutenko


Hm. Where to start? Campground? No, too exposed. Farm? Didn't end well. Abandoned prison? Not bad unless you make enemies with a megalomaniac who has a truckload of zombies. Planned community? Nice place but not enough walls.

I plan to wait out the zombie apocalypse in the nearest mall. You may have other ideas. Do your best to create a safe shelter with these books:

Complete survival shelters handbook Perfect tree house Tiny houses built

The Complete Survival Shelters Handbook: a Step-by-Step Guide to Building Lifesaving Structures for Every Climate and Wilderness Situation by Anthonio Akkermans

The Perfect Tree House: From Site Selection to Design and Construction by Django Kroner
Because maybe zombies can't climb trees.

Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspirations for Constructing Tiny Homes using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies by Ryan Mitchell


Maybe you'll make friends with an awesome woman with a katana, or a damaged loner with a crossbow but you can't count on it.

Guide to improvised weaponry Rubber band engineer

A Guide to Improvised Weaponry: How to Protect yourself with Everything you've Got by Terry Schappert and Adam Slutsky

Rubber Band Engineer: Build Slingshot Powered Rockets, Rubber Band Rifles, Unconventional Catapults and More Guerrilla Gadgets from Household Hardware by Lance Akiyama


You might feel differently, but for me, good comfortable socks are the key to my happiness during a crisis. Unfortunately, I don't currently know how to knit or crochet but I expect there's a lot of downtime when you're living in a mall hiding from zombies.

Custom socks Happy feet Sock art

Custom Socks: Knit to Fit your Feet by Kate Atherley

Happy Feet: Unique Knits to Knock your Socks Off by Cathy Carron

Sock Art: Bold, Graphic Knits for your Feet by Edelgard Janssen and Ute Eismann

Bob Dylan: Winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature

October 14, 2016 | Viveca | Comments (3)

Bob Dylan

(photo: Rowland Scherman on assignment from The US Information Agency, 1963)

The legendary Bob Dylan is the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." Dylan is the first musician to win this illustrious prize -- and it came as a surprise to many. Read the coverage in The New York Times, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Toronto Star and The New Yorker.  A departure from the pattern of previous prize winners, social media is ablaze with both outrage and approval. Should the choice have been a complete unknown? I think the Swedish Academy's choice was brilliant. Leonard Cohen in 2017?

Growing up with Dylan on my dad's turntable, I read Dylan's songs as much as I listened to them. If you haven't heard Dylan before, or you want to bring it all back home again, here are some of his early works available on CD at the Toronto Public Library: 

Bob Dylan CD cover Freewheelin' Bob Dylan CD cover The Times They are a-Changin CD cover Bringing It All Back Home CD cover
Highway 61 Revised CD cover Blonde on Blonde CD cover Nashville Skyline CD cover Blood on the Tracks CD cover

Bob Dylan Encyclopedia


Despite Dylan's mercurial changeability and resolute inscrutability, there is no shortage of material written about his life and his work -- catalogued, dissected, analyzed and mythologized. And sometimes, fabricated. Here is a selection of books available from Toronto Public Library. 

 The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia by Michael Gray


Bob Dylan All the Songs book cover Dylan Goes Electric book cover No Direction Home book cover Bob Dylan The Essential Interviews

Bob Dylan: All the Songs - The Story Behind Every Track by Philippe Margotin

Dylan Goes Electric: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night that Split the Sixties by Elijah Wald

No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan by Robert Shelton

Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews by Jonathan Cott


And speaking of fabricated, one reader reminded me of Dylan's own "misrememoir":

Chronicles Volume book cover
Chronicles Volume 1 by Bob Dylan

Also available in 

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Some great material available on DVD:

No Direction Home DVD cover Bob Dylan Don't Look Back DVD cover I'm Not There DVD cover Bob Dylan the American Troubadour DVD cover

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan directed by Martin Scorcese

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back directed by D.A. Pennebaker

I'm Not There directed by Todd Haynes

Bob Dylan: American Troubadour directed by Stephen Crisman


Blue Jay Books (Books with Blue Covers written by people named Jay)

October 11, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (3)

Perhaps I am exhausted from Sunday's epic game but I thought this blog post was a good idea.

Anchorboy Channel blue

Anchorboy by Jay Onrait
This book is strangely appropriate. Jay Onrait was a sportscaster on TSN for a number of years and now hosts Fox Sports Live on Fox 1. This fun memoir traces his path from Alberta to broadcasting success documenting the lessons and failures along the way. 

Channel Blue by Jay Martel
Sounds like a good channel for baseball! This is a science fiction novel about aliens broadcasting a reality show of Earthling lives. Perhaps the baseball playoffs are not a big deal for those Earth dwellers, but it certainly is the topic of conversation around Toronto this week. 

Fashion india Fisherman's bible

Fashion India by Phyllida Jay
Already known for his hairstyle choices, this year Josh Donaldson embraced fashion by experimenting with gold and white high-tops and knee socks. Toronto Public Library has lots of books and other resources for people who want a style update. 

Fisherman's Bible: the World's Most Comprehensive Angling Bible edited by Jay Cassell
Here's hoping the Blue Jays don't need this book for a little while.

Great answers great questions Hug your haters

Great Answers, Great Questions for your Job Interview by Jay A. Block
Perhaps a little off-season reading for members of the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles?

Hug your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep your Customers by Jay Baer
Toronto does indeed have a love/hate relationship with its sports teams. Right now we love the Jays but will we still love them next week? Both the players and the team's management might want to read this one and prepare for whatever happens.

Who is Elena Ferrante?

October 7, 2016 | Andrea | Comments (0)

The literary world is agog at the unmasking of Elena Ferrante, the mysterious author of the internationally popular Neapolitan Novels. Using financial records and real estate documents, an investigative journalist traced the true identity of the writer behind the pseudonym and published the results of his detective work in the New York Review of Books. Dozens of essays were penned in response, decrying the controversial article. Is the exposé simply poor journalism, as The New Republic suggests? Or is it sexism at work, as The Independent opines

Haven't caught Ferrante fever yet? The quartet of books collectively called the Neapolitan Novels chronicles the lives of two girls growing up in Naples during the 1950s and follows them into tumultuous adulthood, vividly exploring themes of female friendship and the changing roles of women through modern Italian history. The English translation of the fourth book was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize this year, and inevitable TV and theatre adaptations are in the pipeline. Find out for yourself what the buzz is about:

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante  The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante  Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante  The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante      

My Brilliant Friend   


The Story of a New Name


Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay


The Story of the Lost Child


eBook collection of all four novels


If you've read and enjoyed the series, here is a list of read-alike titles for your sampling. Interested in learning about connections between the books and Neapolitan legends? Don't forget to mark this Thought Exchange lecture at Yorkville Branch on your calendar! 

Governor General's Literary Award Shortlist Announced

October 4, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (1)

The finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards were announced on October 4, 2016.

There are awards given in 14 categories--7 in each of the official languages.

These are the nominations in the 5 adult English categories:


Concord floral Kill me now A man a fish Pig girl Refuge

Concord Floral by Jordan Tannahill

Kill Me Now by Brad Fraser

A Man A Fish by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Pig Girl by Colleen Murphy

Refuge by Mary Vingoe


The break 150 Do not say we have nothing The parcel 2 Willem de kooning's paintbrush 2 Yiddish for pirates 2

The Break by Katherena Vermette

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

The Parcel by Anosh Irani

Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush: Stories by Kerry-Lee Powell

Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin


Brown kamal Firewater In-between-days-3 Marconi the man who networked the world A world we have lost

Brown: What Being Brown Means in the World Today (to Everyone) by Kamal Al-Solaylee

Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing my People (and Yours) by Harold R. Johnson

In Between Days: A Graphic Memoir about Living with Cancer by Teva Harrison

Marconi: the Man who Networked the World by Marc Raboy

A World we have Lost: Saskatchewan before 1905 by Bill Waiser


Marry & burn Prairie harbour Regeneration machine Throaty wipes Waking comes late

Marry & Burn by Rachel Rose

Prairie Harbour by Garry Thomas Morse

Regeneration Machine by Joe Denham

Throaty Wipes by Susan Holbrook

The Waking Comes Late by Steven Heighton

Translation: French to English:

Goddess of fireflies Guano Party wall

The Goddess of Fireflies by Geneviève Pettersen, translated by Neil Smith

Guano by Louis Carmain, translated by Rhonda Mullins

The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux, translated by Lazer Lederhendler

The full list of nominees can be found on the Governor General's Literary Awards website.

A prize of $25,000 is given to the winning author, translator or illustrator in each category. The other finalists receive $1000. The publisher of the winner is given $3000 to aid with promotional activities.

The winners will be announced on October 25, 2016.

You Should Read This Book! Feedback by Mira Grant

October 4, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (0)

FeedbackFeedback by Mira Grant is being released on October 4, 2016.

As a fan of Mira Grant, I was very grateful to get an Advanced Readers Copy of this book. I absolutely loved it and you should read it, too. 

What's it about?

Zombies. It's about zombies. Before you stop reading this review, please understand that Feedback is a zombie novel of great quality.

Mira Grant is the pseudonym of Seanan McGuire who writes phenomenal books under both names.  

In Feedback, Mira Grant revisits events from her award-winning Newsflesh series. Don't be put off if you haven't read any of the other books. You can start here. The Newsflesh series is set in the United States of the near future. A zombie apocalypse, called The Rising, began when a virus created to cure cancer and a virus created to cure the common cold were created. Activists fearing that the cures would be withheld from regular people released the viruses into the atmosphere. The virus combined and cured everything but there was a side effect--the dead rose from their graves as zombies. All people and other large mammals now carry the virus and will turn into zombies after death.

Feed, the first book in the series takes place two decades later. Bloggers Sean and Georgia Mason go on the campaign trail with a Republican presidential hopeful. They soon discover to their surprise that zombies may be less deadly than politics.

Feedback tells a parallel story of a different blogging team embedded with one of the Democratic candidates. The book is narrated by Aislinn, an Irish immigrant who likes to film herself poking zombies with a stick--she's an "Irwin", a daredevil journalist. Also on the team are her husband Ben, her lover Audrey and Mat, a wonderful character who is equally at home with mechanics and makeup.

My Thoughts:

It is tempting to dismiss a novel about zombies but you'd be missing a terrific book. Yes, it is zombie fiction but it is extremely well-written zombie fiction. There are chills and thrills and violence; there is sarcasm and humour; there is poignancy and heartbreak, joy and sorrow. There are also wonderful characters, villains and heroes who always feel human

Obviously this book is not for everyone. People who don't like zombies, people who don't like violence and people who aren't comfortable with nonbinary gender characters will probably want to steer clear, but they'll be missing a fantastic read.

It will be available from the library in these formats:

Regular Print

Black Moon: An Astrological Phenomenon

September 30, 2016 | Lynn | Comments (5)

The Internet, especially websites devoted to astrological events, is full of references to tonight's "Black Moon". A black moon refers to when a new moon phase starts in the same month as the previous new moon -- two new moons in one month. This last occurred in March 2014, and the next one will be in 2019. This special moon will not be visible, as we are seeing the moon completely in shadow, which means that if the night is clear, the stars will be especially bright. If you are follower of your horoscope or a Wiccan, this night will be important to you and here are some materials to further that interest.


Parkers' astrology: the essential guide to using astrology in your daily life   Astrology 101: from sun signs to moon signs, your guide to astrology   Astrology plain and simple: the only book you'll ever need

Parkers' Astrology: the essential guide to using astrology in your daily life

You'll learn the basics of astrology, discover astrological techniques and learn to interpret them as you take a look at the planets. Includes the latest developments in astrology and explores advanced birth chart techniques using midpoints, harmonics and the moon's nodes. 

Astrology 101: from sun signs to moon signs, your guide to astrology

Astrology 101 cuts out the boring details and lengthy explanations and instead gives you a hands-on lesson that keeps you engaged as you learn how the movements of the stars and planets affect human behaviour. From the four elements and 12 houses, to astrological personality types and sign compatibility, this compact primer is packed with hundreds of fascinating star sign facts, informative charts and illustrations, and stories of famous astrologers and their predictions for the future.

Astrology plain & simple: the only book you'll ever need

Almost everyone reads their horoscope in the newspaper and online; however few really understand very much about astrology. To the uninitiated, astrology can seem rather daunting. All those measurements, degrees and logarithms -- what's simple about it? This wonderful introduction demystifies a topic that everyone knows a little bit about and provides a basic framework for understanding it.


The only book of Wiccan spells you'll ever need   The green Wiccan herbal   The Provenance Press guide to the Wiccan year: spells, rituals and holiday celebrations

The only book of Wiccan you'll ever need

Written by noted Wiccan authorities Marian Singer, Trish MacGregor and Skye Alexander, this collection of spells is perfect for understanding the basics of Wiccan philosophy and ideology. Starting with a brief rundown of witchcraft tools and symbols, this book helps you create spells for virtually every aspect of your life.

The Green Wiccan herbal

This beautiful, insightful compendium is the ultimate guide to herbal magic. Covering magical tools, growing and gathering herbs in the wild, and spell-casting, discover more than 50 enchanting herbs, fruits and flowers, including their elements, deities and magical and healing properties, along with spells, kitchen witchery and more.

The Provenance Press guide to the Wiccan Year: spells, rituals and holiday celebrations

In The Provenance Press Guide to the Wiccan Year, Judy Ann Nock offers you a definitive guide to "the wheel of the year." Capturing the essence of the major and lesser holidays, this complete and practical reference will appeal to Wiccans of all levels of experience. The handbook offers something for everyone: recipes, crafts, activities, spells, rituals and meditations. In these pages, Wiccans will find several appropriate cyclic activities.

 But, if you prefer hard science to explain the changing moon, here are some examples:

Moon   Race to the moon   Moon observer's guide


A guide to the moon discusses its physical characteristics, its relationship to the Earth, the history of human reactions to and exploration of it.

Race to the moon

Take an up-close look at the most dangerous mission in the history of exploration. Recount the triumphant first crewed space flight and enjoy interviews with Apollo 8 astronauts, mission control and journalists.

 Moon observer's guide

A guide to the geology of the moon, the causes of its mountains and craters, and finding the best equipment for you to observe the moon.


Enjoy the sky!


Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction: 2016 Finalists

September 28, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0)

The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalists were announced on September 28. The award celebrates literary nonfiction books by Canadian writers.

This year, five books have been nominated:

Disappearance in damascus Mad enchantment Pumpkinflowers

A Disappearance in Damascus:  A Story of Friendship and Survival in a Time of War by Deborah Campbell

Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King

Pumpkinflowers: An Israeli Soldier's Story by Matti Friedman
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Red star tattoo Sixty

Red Star Tattoo: My Life as a Girl Revolutionary by Sonja Larsen

Sixty: A Diary of My Sixty-First Year: The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning? by Ian Brown

The author of the winning book will receive $60,000. Each of the finalists takes home $5,000.

The winner will be announced on November 2, 2016.

Scotiabank Giller Prize Finalists Announced

September 27, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0)

The shortlist for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced on September 26. The prize is awarded for the best fiction published in English in the year. Both novels and short story collections are considered.

These six books are finalists for the $100,000 prize: 

13 ways of looking at a fat girl Best kind of people Do not say we have nothing

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Party wall Wonder Yiddish for pirates

The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux

The Wonder by Emma Donahue
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Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin

The winner will be announced on November 7.

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