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If you liked The Girl on the Train

June 26, 2015 | Melanie | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

I just finished reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (also available in eBook and Audiobook format). This book was touted as the next Gone Girl, another addition to the dysfunctional female character thriller genre. While I didn't think it was the best book that I've ever read, it was certainly worth the long wait on the holds list.  

Some people who've also read the book thought that the first bit of the book was a bit monotonous - I agree, as there was quite a bit of time spent with the main character's train rides. Once I got past the first few chapters, I found that the story "sped" up immensely, and I literally spent every second of my spare time reading it, until the book was finished. The story kept me guessing "who did it" until almost the very end. 

Check out these other books that have girls doing thrilling things:

 Girl on the Boat Girl on the escalator Girl on the fridge Girl on the landing Girl on the stairs

Here are some recommended titles to read if you enjoyed Girl on the Train - or if you are still waiting for a copy of The Girl on the Train:

 Good girl  Silent wife Luckiest girl alive Before i go to sleep

The Good Girl, Mary Kubica
• Large Print
• Audiobook
• eBook
• eAudiobook
• Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Silent Wife, S.A. Harrison
• Large Print
• Audiobook
• eBook
• eAudiobook
• Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

 The Luckiest Girl Alive, Jessica Knoll
• Audiobook
• eBook
• Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

 Before I go to Sleep,  S.J. Watson
• Large Print
• Audiobook
• eBook
• eAudiobook
• Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons) 

 Unravel  Dear daughter  Unbecoming  Devil you know

Unravel, Calia Read
• eBook

 Dear Daughter, Elizabeth Little
• Large Print
• Audiobook
• eBook
• eAudiobook

 Unbecoming, Rebecca Scherm
• Audiobook
• eBook
• eAudiobook
• Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

 The Devil you Know, Elisabeth De Mariaffi
• Audiobook
• eBook
• Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

Did you enjoy The Girl on the Train? 

Extraordinary Tales: A Reading List Inspired by Christopher Lee (1922-2015)

June 19, 2015 | Andrea | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Extraordinary Tales, an animated anthology featuring the voice of legendary actor Sir Christopher Lee, is the latest adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's stories. But the true extraordinary tale is that of Lee, who passed away on June 7 at the age of 93, a man who led an amazing life that included remarkable careers in the military and in heavy metal music. Audiences were thrilled by his portrayals of Dracula and Frankenstein's Creature in the heyday of Hammer horror, and he was introduced to another generation of viewers as Count Dooku and Saruman. Here is a small fraction of his filmography represented in books. 

The Devil Rides Out Gormenghast The Man with the Golden Gun The Three Musketeers The Wicker Man

The Devil Rides Out by Dennis Wheatley

The 1968 horror movie written by Richard Matheson (one of Lee's own personal favourites) is based on this 1934 novel of black magic.

The Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake

In the BBC adaptation of the Gothic fantasy saga, Lee played the gaunt, spooky Mr. Flay who serves the lord of the castle.

Lee played the titular villain, one of 007’s most famous foes, opposite Roger Moore as James Bond.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Lee sported an eyepatch as the sinister Rochefort in the 1973 adapation of Dumas’ classic tale of swashbuckling spirit.

The Wicker Man by Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer

Lee was justly proud of his disquieting portrayal of Lord Summerisle. This novelization by director Robin Hardy and screenwriter Anthony Shaffer is not the same as David Pinner's Ritual, the original book on which the cult classic is based. (Ritual is currently available to read in the library at the Toronto Reference Library and the Merril Collection.)

Check out some of his other film and TV work. In addition, you can find out more about Lee’s astounding life by reading this tribute in the Guardian, penned by Alex Hamilton, the journalist who co-wrote his autobiography, Lord of Misrule.

She Blinded Me with Science

June 15, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

Nobel prize winner Tim Hunt gave a speech recently where he talked about the problems with "girls" in the lab. Apparently "you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize them they cry". Perhaps it was a mistake to share this insight at the World Conference for Science Journalists. He apologized for his attempt at humour but maintains that having men and women in the same lab is a bad idea. 

The comments inspired the wonderful #distractinglysexy Twitter campaign.

Fortunately for the world, some women have taken time away from crying and falling in love to make important scientific contributions.

Discovery of jeanne baret On a farther shore Bride of science I died for beauty

Jeanne Baret
Born in France in 1740, Baret is the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Poor and uneducated, she worked as a housekeeper for naturalist Philibert Commerson and became his lover. When he was asked to join Louis Antoine de Bougainville's 1766 expedition, they disguised her as a boy to allow her to go along. She worked as the sickly Commerson's nurse and assistant, helping him to collect and catalogue specimens and was an expert botanist herself.

The Discovery of Jeanne Baret: A Story of Science, the High Seas, and the First Woman to Circumnavigate the Globe by Glynis Ridley

Rachel Carson
Marine biologist and conservationist Carson helped launch the global environmental movement. During the 1950s she realized that ecological damage was a side-effect of the US post-war industrial boom. Her book Silent Spring alerted millions of readers to the dangers of pesticides.

On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson by William Souder
Talking Book: CD Format (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

Ada Lovelace
Daughter of poet Lord Byron, mathematician Ada Lovelace collaborated with Charles Babbage as he developed early computers. Considered the first computer programmer, she created an algorithm for the Analytical Engine to compute Bernoulli numbers, a complex equation specifically tailored for the computer. Lovelace is also considered the first person to perceive that computers could be used for non-mathematical functions.

The Bride of Science: Romance, Reason and Byron's Daughter by Benjamin Woolley

Dorothy Wrinch
High-spirited, irrepressible Winch made significant contributions to the fields of mathematics, biochemistry, philosophy and physics. She used mathematical principles to study life structures, becoming a pioneer in the field of mathematical biology long before the term was coined. Her contributions were overshadowed by a dispute with Lionel Pauling over the structure of the protein molecule which limited her career.

I Died for Beauty: Dorothy Wrinch and the Cultures of Science by Marjorie Senechal

A to Z of Women in Science and Math Headstrong Magnificent minds

More about women in science:

A to Z of Women in Science and Math by Lisa Yount

Headstrong: 52 Women who Changed Science--and the World by Rachel Swaby

Magnificent Minds: Sixteen Remarkable Women of Science and Medicine by Pendred Noyce

Return to Jurassic Park

June 12, 2015 | Lynn | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Today, June 12, the movie Jurassic World opens and we can return to Isla Nublar and genetically engineered dinosaurs.  Michael Crichton wrote the first book, Jurassic Park, back in 1990 and the dinosaurs came to the big screen three years later in 1993. In his story we learn of an island where scientists have created dinosaurs from the blood of mosquitoes trapped in amber back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It's all explained in a cartoon in the movie. The book and movie were so popular that Crichton wrote a follow up novel entitled The Lost World in 1995 with another movie in 1997. The franchise spawned yet another movie, this one not based on a Michael Crichton novel and it was entitled Jurassic Park III in 2001 and finally the new movie.  

All this got me thinking about dinosaurs and how as little children most people go through a dinosaur loving phase, but as adults we leave these prehistoric beasts by the wayside. Therefore, I have put together a list of dinosaur books and DVDs for dinosaur lovers of all ages.

Dino Books

The lost world The land that time forgot Anonymous Rex The doctor and the dinosaur 

The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

The science fiction classic was written by the same genius who brought us Sherlock Holmes.  This story is set in South America where Professor Challenger invites a reporter to travel with him to witness dinosaurs in person. 

The Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs

This story is the first of a trilogy set in 1918 during World War I and a sub that finds itself drifting towards an unknown land mass in South America where evolution was slowed down.

Anonymous Rex by Eric Garcia

This is a humourous dinosaur detective series with a cult following.  What if dinosaurs didn't die out 65 million years, but instead hide among us, just trying to make a living.

The Doctor and the Dinosaurs by Michael D. Resnick

Doc Holliday, post-Okay Corral, teams up with a succession of historical figures to battle the enemies of a steampunk America.

Dino Movies

Jurassic Fight Club  Walking with dinosaurs the movie  Dinosaur train Classic in the Jurassic

Jurassic Fight Club

This title says it all, how dinosaurs would do against each other in a fight, how their bodies help or harm them in a bloody fight.

Walking with Dinosaurs the Movie

Follow a dinosaur from birth to leading his family in an amazing CGI film.

Dinosaur Train Classic in the Jurassic

This PBS Kids show teaches kids all about dinosaurs from different eras on a train.

Dino Books for Kids

What the dinosaurs did last night Inside-outside dinosaurs Dinosaur Rory the dinosaur me and my dad

What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night by Refe and Susan Tuma

This is a series of photographs put together by two parents to show their children what their toy dinosaurs did every night. 

Inside-Outside Dinosaurs by Roxie Munro

You can study 8 dinosaurs from their skeletons outwards in this cool book. 

Dinosaur by Eyewitness

Eyewitness produced another great book that examines dinosaurs.  This book is great for all ages, from pre-readers who love the pictures, to new readers who can read the captions and older students for their research projects.

Rory the Dinosaur: Me and My Dad  by Liz Climo

Rory lives with his father on an island and one day, when his father needs some quiet time, Rory decides to go on an adventure by himself for the first time, unaware that his father is following behind to help.

Best Audiobooks: 2015 Audie Award Winners

June 9, 2015 | Kelli | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Audies, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), honours excellence in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

Listening to an audiobook is a wonderful way to 'read' a book. They are perfect accompaniment for long drives, flights or commuting, when doing chores around the house, while going for a walk, relaxing on the beach or enjoying hobbies. The skill of the narrator can really add to the experience of the story.  

If you are interested in trying out an audiobook, the Toronto Public Library has many available on CD. We also have two e-audiobook collections - OverDrive and OneClickdigital. eAudiobooks can be downloaded to computers, smartphones or tablets, so they are available even when you do not have an Internet connection.  

There are many different categories of Audie Awards. Visit the Audie Awards website for more information, including a full list of nominees.  

Here are some of the 2015 winners:

Not my father's son Words of radiance All the light Bully pulpit Yes please

Not My Father’s Son
by Alan Cumming; Narrated by Alan Cumming
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

Words of Radiance, The Stormlight Archive series, Book 2
by Brandon Sanderson; Narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr; Narrated by Zach Appelman
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
by Doris Kearns Goodwin; Narrated by Edward Herrmann

Yes Please
by Amy Poehler; Narrated by Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen and William Poehler, Patrick Stewart, and Kathleen Turner
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


Second machine age Silkworm Martian Assassination Those who wish me dead

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee; Narrated by Jeff Cummings 
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith; Narrated by Robert Glenister
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Martian by Andy Weir; Narrated by R.C. Bray
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
by Hilary Mantel; Narrated by Jane Carr
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

Those Who Wish Me Dead
by Michael Koryta; Narrated by Robert Petkoff
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

Always a Good Reason to Read

June 5, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

100 Reasons

The Toronto Public Library recently launched its 100 Reasons campaign. With so many great reasons to love the library, it’s hard to pick just a few faves, but here are four of my own, with a reading treat to match. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but, psst, I’m a pretty big believer in Reason #24!

Pride flag, waving.
Reason #25
Lots of LGBT material. And proud of it.

Along with our other booklists on all sorts of topics, we regularly publish a Pride list every year. Whether you're looking for non-fiction that narrates the challenges of coming out, or more classic love stories, there's a book for you.


Reason #79
Say ‘I do’. Get married at the library.

When tito loved claraIt’s true. You can actually book the lit-chic Appel Salon at Toronto Reference Library for your wedding or other event. What better place to unite book lovers? Here’s a book I loved that looks at love and librarians too.

When Tito loved Clara
John Michaud, 2011
Clara has done her best to separate herself from her chaotic Dominican roots, but when a former flame reappears, she’ll have to question her new life.


Reason #64
Literary Map of Toronto. Books from the ‘hood. Represent!

This probably goes without saying, but we’re pretty proud of this one. Check out the expanding list of books set all across our city. Poetry more of your thing? We’ve got that covered too.

Toronto skyline (2012)Toronto Skyline image used on a CC license.

Reason #8
Bookmobiles. Vroom, vroom.


Our bookmobiles help keep the library and its users connected – no matter where they are. We try to keep our bookmobiles drama-free, but some lending libraries get into a little more trouble. Here's a book-within-a-book recommendation:

The bad book affair: a mobile library mystery
Ian Sansom, 2010

Israel Armstrong lends the library's copy of American Pastoral to a troubled teenage girl and soon she disappears. Israel thinks there may be a connection, but he needs figure out what it is and find the girl, all while dealing with the trauma of a breakup and his impending 30th birthday.

These are just a few of the reasons to read your heart out. Have a fave? Share with us!

Marina Endicott: Online Chat Transcript

June 4, 2015 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Read the transcript from our Book Buzz chat with Marina Endicott. It was a wonderful conversation. 

Close to hugh
Her latest novel, Close to Hugh, was released on May 26. It takes place over seven days in Peterborough, Ontario. Hugh Argylle is an art gallery owner in his fifties. His mother is in a hospice and Hugh doesn't know how he'll manage when she dies. On Monday, he falls off a ladder; later at a party, he uncharacteristically punches an insufferable actor friend of his surrogate brother and falls again--down a flight of stairs this time. Hugh finds himself tuning in to the suffering of those around him in a way that he hasn't in the past. The people in his life include people his own age as well as contemporaries of his mother and high school students. 

It's a compelling look at age, ageing, relationships, life changes and art. The Toronto Star compared it to the works of Carol Shields. 

Marina Endicott
Marina Endicott won the Commonwealth Prize for Canada and the Caribbean in 2009 for Good to a Fault which was also on the Giller Prize shortlist. Open Arms was a finalist for the in Canada First Novel Award. The Little Shadows was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award. She also writes poetry, short stories and the screenplay for Vanishing Point.

Marina Endicott Chat Transcript

June 4 is Hug Your Cat Day

June 3, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

There is not much to say about Hug Your Cat Day. It's a day when cat owners are encouraged to hug their furry friends. Well, sure. Sounds great. 

Here are a few cat-loving authors:

Coraline Handsome man's deluxe cafe Jack of spades Let's pretend this never happened Wind up bird chronicle

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman often includes cats in his books. This is a quote from Coraline:

The cat wrinkled its nose and managed to look unimpressed. "Calling cats," it confided, "tends to be a rather overrated activity. Might as well call a whirlwind.”

The Handsome Man's Deluxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith
Talking Book: CD Format (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
In a Guardian article about cats and writers David Barnett writes "Alexander McCall Smith seems to want to make his cat the main subject of any photo he appears in".

Jack of Spaces by Joyce Carol Oates
An extremely prolific writer Oates once credited her productivity to her cat--"a fairly hefty, warmly furry cat on my lap who would not budge for hours" leaving her "no alternative but to write".

Let's Pretend this Never Happened: a Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Blogger and author of this very funny memoir, Lawson is open about her struggles with anxiety and depression. In a recent post, she shared tips for coping when she's having a bad time. The list includes "hiding in blanket forts with my cats".

The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
A young man searches Tokyo for his wife's cat and finds himself in increasingly odd situations.
Murakami has said:

I collect records. And cats. I don’t have any cats right now. But if I’m taking a walk and I see a cat, I’m happy.

May 29, 1453: The End of the Middle Ages

May 29, 2015 | Kelli | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

On May 29, 1453, a event occurred of such significance that some historians mark that day as the end of the Middle Ages. On this day, the city of Constantinople fell to the armies of the Ottoman Empire. This ended the thousand year-old Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire and began the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the city that we know today as Istanbul.

Historical fiction is my favourite way to learn more about history. If you are interested in finding out more about Istanbul, here are some titles set (at least partially) in that historic city.  

A place called armageddon Architect's apprentice Baudolino My name is red Sheen on the silk

 A Place Called Armageddon: Constantinople 1453 by C. C. Humphreys
The story of the fall of Constantinople told through several characters, including Sultan Mehmet II, the Greek mercenary and exile Gregoras  and Leilah, a powerful mystic and assassin. Canadian author. 

The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak
In 1540, twelve-year-old Jahan, an animal tamer in the sultan’s menagerie, falls for the sultan’s beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to the empire’s chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct some of the most magnificent buildings in history. 

Baudolino by Umberto Eco and translated by William Weaver.
It is April 1204, and Constantinople is being sacked  by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. After saving high court official from certain death, Baudolino tells his life story, from his birth in northern Italy, his adoption by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, and his arrival in Constantinople.

My Name is Red by Orphan Pamuk
In sixteenth-century Istanbul, the Sultan starts a furor when he commissions the most acclaimed artists to create a controversial illuminated manuscript.   When one of the miniaturists vanishes, panic erupts among the artists while the only clue to the mystery lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves.
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Sheen on the Silk by Anne Perry
Arriving in Constantinople in 1273, Anna Zarides sets out to prove the innocence of her twin brother, Justinian, who has been exiled to the desert for conspiring to kill a nobleman. To accomplish this goal, Anna disguising herself as a eunuch and uses her skills as a physician to get close to the people who have Justinian's fate in their hands.
Large Print
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

May is Photo Month

May 26, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Car interiorIn the United States, May is National Photo Month. During the month, everyone is encouraged to make use of all the technology at hand to take photos. This is a great idea and should be celebrated in Canada, too. 

The photograph on the right is the inside of my car. I took it accidentally when I was plugging my iPod into the car adapter. I love this photo...and I should probably wash that travel mug.

This summer use all your devices to take great pictures.

Get inspired by reading these books about photographers:

Ansel adams a biography Capturing the light Cecil beaton portraits and profiles David hume kennerly

Ansel Adams: A Biography by Mary Street Alinder
This biography of the legendary American photographer was written by the woman who was his chief assistant during the last five years of his life.

Capturing the Light: The Birth of Photography, a True Story of Genius and Rivalry by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport
Henry Fox Talbot, an English inventor and Louis Daguerre, a French artist both make significant contributions to the developing field of photography in the 1830s, changing the way people interact with the world around them.

Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Profiles by Cecil Beaton
Photographs from the famed fashion, war and portrait photographer with excerpts from his journals.

David Hume Kennerly on the iPhone: Secrets and Tips from a Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer by David Hume Kennerly
Kennerly won the 1972 Pulitzer Prize at 25 for his photographs of the Vietnam War. In 2013, he embarked upon an around the world, photograph a day project and decided to get rid of most of his conventional equipment and use only his iPhone. He discovered that his entire perspective on photography had changed--for the better. In this book, he shares his strategies for taking pictures that the novice can emulate.

Here i am the life and death of tim hetherington It's what i do Life of yousuf karsh Vivian maier

Here I am: The Life and Death of War Photographer Tim Hetherington by Alan Huffman
British photojournalist Hetherington was drawn to the human stories in the world's most troubled places. He was killed in 2011 on the front lines in Misrata, Libya during the Libyan Civil War.

It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
As a photojournalist in the world's most troubled places, Addario has had many terrifying experiences including 5 days in 2011 when she was held in captivity by the Libyan Army. In this memoir, she explains why she continues to risk her life to tell the stories of people living in war zones.  

Portrait in Light and Shadow: The Life of Yousuf Karsh by Maria Tippett
After a childhood during the Armenian genocide, Karsh became one of the most important and influential portrait photographers of the 20th century.

Vivian Maier: A Life Through the Lens by John Maloof, Howard Greenberg and Marvin Heiferman
Vivian Maier was a nanny who took photographs of people and the architecture in major US cities as a hobby. The 150,000 photographs she had taken were discovered when the contents of her storage unit were auctioned for non-payment of charges. Three collectors acquired the work and posted it online where it found an enthusiastic audience--unfortunately too late for Maier who had died just a few months earlier. 

Welcome to The Buzz...About Books -- the official blog of Book Buzz, Toronto Public Library's online book club.