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What to Read While Waiting for the Next Game of Thrones Book

April 29, 2016 | Kelli | Comments (0)

Game of Thrones is back (finally!) with its sixth season on HBO Canada. Until this season, fans who had read the books of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin had the advantage of knowing what was going to happen in the television show. This is the first season to take the story beyond the published books. Fans of the books and the show are curious (and perhaps somewhat anxious) to see where the story leads. 

George R.R. Martin is expected to write at least two more books in the series.  The next book, The Winds of Winter, was expected in the spring of 2016, but it has been postponed and a new publication date for the book has not been announced as yet.  

Here are some series to keep you busy while George R.R. Martin writes and writes and writes....

Black prism Iron king Name of the Wind Prince of thorns Queen of the tearling

Black Prism by Brent Weeks. Gavin Guile is facing his final years as high priest and emperor. Seeking to rectify the lingering wrongs from the war against his twin, he is forced to acknowledge a bastard son, face down a corrupt governor, and stop a challenge to the state religion. The Lightbringer series also includes The Blinding Knife and The Broken Eye.

Iron King by Maurice Druon. George R.R. Martin has called this series the original Game of Thrones. Beginning in 1314, the French king, Philip the Fair, rules France with an iron fist. Philip's persecution of the Knights Templar causes the Grand Master, as he dies, to unleash a terrible curse on Philip that sets the stage for all the events that follow. The Accursed Kings series is based on history and is full of political intrigue, family drama and characters who would do credit to the Lannister, Frey and Bolton houses. The Accursed Kings series continues with The Strangled Queen, The Poisoned Crown, The Royal Succession, The She-Wolf, The Lily and the Lion and The King with Kingdom.

Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. These are the stories of Kvothe, a presumed dead hero and villain, as told to the Chronicler. From his upbringing as an actor in his family's traveling troupe, through his education at "the University," Kvothe tells of his drive to learn the higher magic of naming and to discover as much as possible about the Chandrian, the demons of legend who murdered his family. The Kingkiller Chronicles also includes The Wise Man's Fear and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. When he was nine, Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath was forced to watch his mother and brother being killed in front of him. Now leader of a band of bloodthirsty thugs, it is time for him to return to his father's castle, claim his inheritance and get his revenge. Yet, at the castle, treachery and dark magic await him. The Broken Empire series also includes King of Thorns and Emperor of Thorns.

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Although the rightful Queen of the Tearling, Kelsea has been kept in hiding since birth for her safety. Now that she has reached the age of ascension, she travels to the capital to claim her throne. Kelsea wants to abolish the slave lottery that plagues her people, but that earns the wrath of the powerful and magical Red Queen of the neighbouring kingdom which expects to keep on receiving shipments of the Tearling slaves. The Queen of the Tearling series also includes The Invasion of the Tearling and the upcoming The Fate of the Tearling.
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If you have not read George R.R. Martin's books as yet, the five published so far are:

Game of Thrones A Clash of Kings A Storm of Swords A Feast for Crows A Dance with Dragons

Game of Thrones
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A Clash of Kings
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A Storm of Swords
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A Feast for Crows
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A Dance with Dragons
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If you prefer to watch the television series, there are five seasons so far.  They are:

Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5


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Want to be Becky with the Good Hair?

April 27, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (3)

Beyoncé's new song "Sorry" has been the talk of the Internet this week. Widely interpreted as proof that Jay Z has cheated on his wife, people are desperate to learn more. Who is "Becky with the good hair", mentioned in the song? Some women are denying it -- Rachel Roy, for example. Others, like Rita Ora, are hinting that they are Becky. Poor Rachael Ray is an innocent bystander caught in the Rachel Roy fallout and Taylor Swift is a suspect because she always is. Although if Taylor is Becky, she would have already written her own song about it.

I have no idea who Becky is but I am annoyed that the world is focused on finding a woman to blame, when we all know exactly where Jay Z is. That is a subject for a different blog post, however. This one is all about hair. 

For the record, I think you all have perfect hair but if you're looking for a change or are curious about why we care so much about hair, check out these books:

Better than good hair Diy dye Diy updos

Better than Good Hair: the Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair by Nikki Walton

DIY Dye: Bright and Funky Temporary Hair Coloring that you do at Home by Loren Lankford

DIY Updos, Knots, and Twists: Easy Step-By-Step Styling Instructions for 35 Hairstyles from Inverted Fishtales to Polished Ponytails by Melissa Cook

Every woman's guide Going gray Hair a human history Hair story

Every Woman's Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age: Learn What Can Be Done to Keep a Beautiful Head of Hair for a Lifetime by Lisa Akbari

Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else that Matters by Anne Kreamer

Hair: A Human History by Kurt Stenn

Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd

Hairstyled Me my hair and i Politics of black women's hair Red a history

Hairstyled: 75 Ways to Braid, Pin and Accessorize Your Hair by Annie Thoumieux

Me, My Hair and I: 27 Women Untangle an Obsession edited by Elizabeth Benedict

The Politics of Black Women's Hair by Althea Prince

Red: a History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey

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Chernobyl 30 Years Later

April 25, 2016 | Andrea | Comments (2)

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. On April 26, 1986, a reactor at the nuclear power plant in Pripyat exploded, spreading radioactive material across Ukraine and the rest of the continent, the effects and ramifications of which are still plainly seen and keenly felt. A great deal of the conversation during Earth Month revolves around preservation, sustainability and preparing for tomorrow, and nothing throws the future into more devastating relief than looking to the past. The fragility and resilience of life is demonstrated in Chernobyl's cataclysmic wake, but danger remains: the seeping radiation, and more nebulous threats posed by bureaucracy and greed. Today, a new steel sarcophagus nears completion and a government-sanctioned wildlife preserve is in the works, but rebuilding efforts are hindered by political turmoil and illegal logging, fishing and poaching. Learn more about the current situation in this Scientific American article.

Telling stories about terrible events can help fulfill a human need to understand, process and move on from tragedy. Here are four books, both fiction and non-fiction, covering the incident at Chernobyl and its aftermath in different ways:

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon   Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell   Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Aleksievich   Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon 

The lives of a surgeon, a dissident and a child piano prodigy converge when the incident at Chernobyl sets the world aflame and burns away everything they thought they knew. This literary debut novel is a coming of age story, a romance and a work of historical fiction mapping the decline of the Soviet Union and the plight and suffering of its people. 

Visit Sunny Chernobyl, and Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places by Andrew Blackwell

When you think of environmental tourism, the Great Pacific garbage patch probably isn't the first destination to come to mind. Blackwell takes his readers off the beaten path, journeying to some the most polluted places on Earth, including a computer recycling plant in China, a poisonous river in India, and even the tar sands of Canada. Described as "a love letter to our biosphere's most tainted, most degraded ecosystems," this unusual travelogue/guidebook explores the uglier aspects of our planet, including Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone. (Yes, it's open to sightseers!) Read more about the day tours in this article from The Guardian. The less adventurous can opt for a virtual reality tour, as the BBC reports here

Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

Alexievich, a Belarusian journalist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015, listened to the stories of hundreds of people whose lives were shattered by the disaster and recounts them in this harrowing book. The interviews, compiled in monologue form, are intensely personal and offer a heartbreaking look at a turning point in history through the eyes of villagers, scientists, teachers, soldiers, firefighters, politicians — all citizens, all people, all irrevocably changed by Chernobyl. 

Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

World-weary detective Arkady Renko investigates the death of a Russian billionaire who seemingly committed suicide. But why was radioactive salt found at the scene? The mystery leads Renko into the ghost town of Chernobyl's Exclusion Zone, contaminated but still inhabited by scientists, scavengers and other shady characters. An eerie atmosphere and the underlying conspiracy make for a gripping read.

Other Earth Month-related posts:
Cli-Fi, A Fiction Genre for Climate Change
Fragile Planet: DVDs for the Weekend
Our Fragile Planet: Magazines to the Rescue
It’s Earth Month

'Cli-Fi', A Fiction Genre for Climate Change

April 22, 2016 | Patricia Naughton | Comments (1)

It's Earth Month 2016 and the time has come to take seriously our impact on the planet. Toronto Public Library is happy to present the best of our collections on environmental education, geared to children, teens and adults. Watch for environmental displays in branches across the city and pick up some reading material. At the same time, please join us for Our Fragile Planet, our free environmental programming series. Learn about issues that impact our city, and what you can do to tread lightly on our planet.


April 22.  ‘Earth Day’. ‘Protect Our Planet’ should be the watchword for this day, and motivate us into action.

But what are the dangers threatening Earth? Why does our planet need protecting? And more importantly, what can we do about these dangers?

Worrying about the future of our fragile planet has become a feature of everyday life, so much so, that a genre of fiction called ‘cli-fi’ or ‘climate fiction’, has grown out of these anxieties. The term ‘cli-fi’, originated by author Dan Bloom, is a variation of ‘sci-fi’, and first made an appearance some 10 years ago. See this article from The Guardian, Global Warning: the rise of 'cli-fi'.

There are similarities between 'climate-fiction' and 'science-fiction' -- both genres tend to feature dystopian worlds, and characters who take on the struggle to prevent further devastation to give humankind some hope of survival.

However, in 'cli-fi', the major threat to Earth and its civilization is climate change and its deadly outcomes, and not necessarily an alien invasion from Mars or a takeover by hostile robots equipped with artificial intelligence.

Search tip: TPL has a sizeable 'cli-fi' collection and a catalogue search using the term ‘climatic changes fiction’, will give you access to these titles.

Check out some of the cli-fi titles in TPL’s collection:

The Drowned World   Gold Flame Citrus  Loosed Upon the World

The Drowned World, J.G. Ballard, 2006 (first published in 1962)
Authors such as J.G. Ballard were speculating about the possible effects of climate change long before the term 'cli-fi' made its first appearance. First published in 1962, Ballard's highly imaginative novel examines the psychological effects on its characters when they are forced to adapt to a new Earth, irreversibly transformed by the effects of global warming.

Gold Fame Citrus, Watkins Claire Vaye, 2015
Watkins won numerous literary awards for her debut story collection, Battleborn (2012). Critics claim this follow-up novel is equally impressive. Set in the near future, Luz an ex-model and her friend Ray, a soldier just back from serving in the Middle East, join forces to survive in drought-devastated California.

Loosed Upon the World: the Saga Anthology of Climate Fiction, various contributors, 2015
New to ‘cli-fi’? Want to find out what it’s all about but don’t know where to start? Then this collection of ‘cli-fi’ stories, with contributions from award-winning authors such as Paolo Bacigalupi and Seanan McGuire, is for you!


Memory of Water  The Healer  Flight Behaviour

Memory of Water, Emmi Itaranta, 2014
In this coming of age novel, the effects of global warming bring about a new world order -- China rules Europe, and water is so scarce that wars are fought over it. Against the backdrop of a remote, northern landscape, 17-year-old Noria carries on the family tradition in her role as 'tea-master', responsible for guarding fresh water sources. After her father dies, Noria is alone, faced with making the most difficult decision of her life: "Should she keep the location of a fresh water source secret to prevent it from being controlled by the military, or reveal the location, at risk to her own life, to save a village slowly dying from thirst?"

The Healer, Antti Tuomainen, 2013
Tapani and his wife Johanna decide to stay behind in a Helsinki devastated by climate change, even as its inhabitants seek refuge further north. When Johanna, an investigative journalist goes missing, Tapani is determined to find her. Amid the devastation, Tapani’s search for his wife uncovers a puzzling connection between her and ‘The Healer’, a serial killer bent on punishing those he believes responsible for climate change.

Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver, 2012
Dellarobia Turnbow witnesses a mystifying sight -- a forested valley absolutely teeming with Monarch butterflies. The locals believe the event to be a miracle, but Dellarobia and Ovid Byron, a gifted entomologist, suspect that the effects of climate change may be responsible for preventing the butterflies from migrating further south for the winter. A New York Times bestseller, this suspenseful drama is a real page turner.


I'm With the Bears  Solar   Far north

I'm With the Bears, ed. Martin, Mark, 2011
Ten short stories on the theme of climate change and its possible consequences by various award-winning authors such as Margaret Atwood and Bill McKibben, environmentalist, author and founder of, an organization dedicated to increasing public awareness about environmental issues.

Solar, Ian McEwan, 2010
There's no dystopian setting here. Instead, McEwan looks at the issue of climate change in the here and now, and through a rather satirical lens. Nobel prize winning physicist Michael Beard funds his extravagant and environmentally UN-friendly lifestyle by educating the public about the threat climate change poses to civilisation. When Michael is given the chance to save the climate and his marriage, will he accept the challenge and change his self-indulgent ways? McEwan's storylines are never predictable and Solar is no exception.

Far North, Marcel Theroux, 2009
In this post-apocalyptic Arctic adventure, civilization has been wiped out by global warming. Sheriff Makepeace Hatfield, the only survivor from her remote Siberian town, sets out in search of other possible survivors. Along her journey, the resilient Makepeace faces danger and loneliness, but never loses her insight or sense of humanity.


The Year of the Flood a Novel  The Road

The Year of the Flood: a Novel, Margaret Atwood, 2009
This second installment in Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy, expands on the storylines and characters of Oryx and Crake (2009). Extreme social inequality and catastrophic climate change have brought about a tipping point. Most of civilization has been destroyed by 'The Flood' with the exception of two women, Ren and Toby -- their affiliation with 'God's Gardeners', an eco-religious group devoted to protecting plants and animals, has helped them to survive. This is dystopic cli-fi at its best! 

The Road, Cormac McCarthy, 2006
This is the story of a father and son and their quest to reach the coast through a post-apocalyptic, climate ravaged America, where it is always ‘winter’. Intense, dark and reflective, The Road is considered McCarthy’s ‘masterpiece’, something to read in 'late-night solitude’.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. It's 420.

April 20, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (0)

April 20, has become the day when people around the world celebrate cannabis culture. There are a number of theories about why this is so but it may date back to the early 1970s when a group of high school students in Northern California used the code number 420 to plan a little after school recreational drug use--at 4:20 PM. 

There is some speculation that the Canadian government will officially legalize marijuana on April 20, 2016. 

If you are downtown, Yonge/Dundas Square is the site of Toronto's annual pot rally or you can spend the day reading books.

Some recent titles:

Big weed Cannabis manifesto Marijuana the unbiased Stoned

Big Weed: an Entrepreneur's High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business by Christian Hageseth with Joseph D'Agnese
After 20 years working in the mainstream white collar world, Hageseth founded Green Man Cannabis and became one of the most successful legal growers in the United States.

The Cannabis Manifesto: a New Paradigm for Wellness by Steve DeAngelo
DeAngelo is an activist who has spent 40 years leading the fight to reform drug laws. Throughout he has observed the consequences of the American war of drugs and shares his experiences as the founder of the world's largest medical marijuana dispensary.

Marijuana: the Unbiased Truth about the World's Most Popular Weed by Kevin P. Hill
Psychiatrist and addiction specialist Hill takes a look at the debate surrounding marijuana laws in the United States and finds the situation is complicated and nuanced. In this book, he examines the controversy using scientific and historical research.  

Stoned: a Doctor's Case for Medical Marijuana by David Casarett
A medical practitioner conducted his own investigation into the pros and cons of treating patients with medical marijuana.

From Panel to Big Screen: Movies to Look Forward to as a Comic Fan

April 15, 2016 | Lynn | Comments (0)

Comics continue to be tapped by Hollywood for new television shows and movies. So far this year on the big screen we have Deadpool and Batman v Superman. This summer is no exception with four movies based on comics coming to the screen. Civil War (May 6th) is from Marvel and continues to follow the story of the Avengers; X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27th) follows the X-Men and is also from Marvel; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (June 3rd) is part of the newer TMNT movie series published by IDW; and finally Suicide Squad (August 5th) is published by DC Comics.

Some critics of comics may feel the market has been overflowing of late with comic book superheroes everywhere, but to those critics I say, give comics a try. There is a reason why these stories are popular and women are openly reading these books and going to these movies. Why not read some issues before seeing the movies to get a better understanding of the medium and their storytellers?

Civil War is a long story line that was published originally from 2006 to 2007. According to Marvel, the story line takes place over 98 individual issues. We don't catalogue individual comics so here is a reading list of the graphic novels or trade paperbacks that Toronto Public Library carries. There are a number of main characters whose personal story lines intersect with Civil War, but you don't have to read each one, unless you wish to. It is lengthy and complex and worth the read, in my humble opinion. We do not have all the issues, but readers should still be able to follow the story. In addition, the story continues with a new issue published this year called Civil War: Warzones.


Civilwar Civil war: the road to civil warCivil War: Black PantherCivil War: Captain AmericaCivil War: Fantastic FourCivil War: Front Line Vol 1Civil War Front Line Vol 2Civil War Iron ManCivil War Mavel Universe  Civil War Ms MarvelCivil War New Avengers Civil War: Peter Parker, Spiderman
Civil War Punisher war journalCivil War: the amazing SpidermanCivil War: ThunderboltsCivil War: war crimesCivil War: WolverineCivil War: X-Men  Civil War X-Men universeComic17 

The X-Men have been around since the early 1960s and have had many story lines to follow. They have also had a children's television show, video games and books for children. The movies follow general story lines, but don't follow the comics the same way as the Civil War movie might. Therefore, these books are a great place to jump in for newer fans. This current story line involves time travel with the characters' younger versions being brought forward to present day. The characters know what happens to them as they get older, but since they know what will happen, does that change the outcome?

All new X-Men Yesterday's X-Men All new X-Men Here to stay All new X-Men Out of their depth

X-Men Battle of the Atom All new X-Men All Different Guardians of the Galaxy/ all new X-Men The Trial of Jean Grey

All new X-Men One Down All new X-Men The Ultimate Adventure All new X-Men The Utopians

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics are more written for children, but we do carry some for adults, a few at the Merrill Collection. This series started in the 1980s and at its height in the mid 1990s had a film franchise with Vanilla Ice, for those of us old enough to remember the Ninja Rap. The movie franchise was rebooted in 2014 and a new children's television show started in 2012. Not sure how long the franchise will remain popular, but it seems to be going strong.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Ultimate Collection Vol 1 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The ultimate Collection Vol 2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles The Ultimate Collection Vol 3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol 2 Enemies old, enemies new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shadows of the Past Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Collected Book Volume 1

Suicide Squad, which was filmed mainly in Toronto, is from DC Comics. The series involves super-villains who are put together for missions that no one else is willing to take on, hence their name. It's a fun and dark comic featuring Harley Quinn, the on again/off again girlfriend/former psychiatrist of the Joker. Harley Quinn and the rest of the members of this squad are seeking to reduce their prison sentences, allowing for new characters to join and older characters to leave. Most of the issues are available online to be read on computers or handheld devices.

Suicide Squad Vol 1 Kicked in the teeth   Suicide Squad Vol 2 Basilisk Rising  Suicide Squad Vol 3 Death is for suckers

Suicide Squad Vol 4 Discipline and punish  Suicide squad Vol 5 Walled In New Suicide Squad Vol 1 Pure Insanity

P.S. Remember that the weekend of May 14-15 the Toronto Reference Library will be hosting Toronto Comics Arts Festival, a chance to meet some amazing comic creators and tons of fans.







Man Booker International Shortlist Announced

April 14, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0)

The Man Booker International Prize shortlist was announced on April 13. Prior to 2016, the award was presented every two years and honoured a writer's entire body of work. The focus of the award changed when it formed a partnership with The Independent Fiction Prize; it now celebrates a single work of fiction translated into English and will be presented annually.

The finalists for this year's award are:

Four books General theory of oblivion Story of the lost child

The Four Books by Yan Lianke, translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas

A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein

Strangeness in my own mindVegetarian Whole life

A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk, translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap
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The Vegetarian by Han Kang, translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith

A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler, translated from the German by Charlotte Collins

The authors and translators of the shortlisted works each receive £1,000. The author and translator of the winning book will split £50,000. That announcement will take place on May 16.

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2016 Baileys Women's Prize Shortlist

April 12, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0)

The Baileys Women's Prize shortlist was announced on April 12, 2016. Six books are competing to win the prestigious award which will be revealed on June 8. The winning author receives £30000 and a bronze sculpture.

This year's finalists are:

Glorious heresies Green road Improbability of love

Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

The Green Road by Anne Enright
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Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
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Little life Portable veblen Ruby

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
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The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

Ruby by Cynthia Bond
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Fragile Planet: DVDs for the Weekend

April 8, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (0)

It's Earth Month. Toronto Public Library is happy to present the best of our collections on environmental education, geared to children, teens and adults -- we all need to play a role in rescuing our planet. At the same time, please join us for Our Fragile Planet, environmental programming across the city. Learn about issues that impact our city, and how you can do your part to tread lightly on our planet.

It's the weekend and I hear it's going to be cold. What better way to pass the time than to watch movies? These documentaries examine various environmental issues. You may not agree with everything they say but they will give you something to think about.

Blackfish Cowspiracy_poster Food inc

A powerful look at the lives of captive Orcas following the death of a SeaWorld trainer. This film questions the practice of keeping these powerful intelligent animals in captivity.

Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret
This documentary explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.

Food, Inc.
Since the 1950s, United States food production has shifted with family farms disappearing and being replaced by those run by large multinational corporations. How does this change impact the lives and health of citizens.

Gasland Lethal seas More than honey

Filmmaker Josh Fox became interesting in the fracking process when he learned his family property was on top of a reservoir of natural gas. After he was offered $100,000 to lease his land to a gas company, he took a closer look at the process of extraction and the impact on human life and the environment. 

Lethal Seas
The Earth's oceans are absorbing massive amounts of carbon dioxide as carbon emissions grow. As a result, the acidity level is increasing rapidly. This film profiles scientists who are looking at the potential problems this situation causes. 

More than Honey
Swiss filmmaker Markus Imhoof examines the relationship between humans and honeybees as the problem of colony collapse disorder continues to threaten the bee population around the world. 

Of the land Thin ice This changes everything

Of the Land
Technological changes have a tremendous impact on agriculture in Canada. This film looks at different types of farming in the country, contrasting corporate practices with those of small organic farms. 

Thin Ice: the Inside Story of Climate Science
Geologist Simon Lamb spent three years recording interviews with scientists all over the world to look at climate research from different perspectives. The image above links to the 75 minute version of the documentary. A shorter (56 minute) Broadcast Edition is also available. 

This Changes Everything
Based on the award-winning book by Naomi Klein, this movie considers the impact of community action upon environmental change.

Visit Our Fragile Planet to see the Earth Month programs taking place in library branches. 

For April Fools Day: Books About Pranks Gone Wrong

April 1, 2016 | Kelli | Comments (0)

Many people celebrate April 1st, otherwise known as April Fools' Day, by playing practical jokes on friends and family. The joke is revealed by calling out "April Fools", which is hopefully followed by lots of laughter by everyone.

Sometimes even respected broadcasters, such as the BBC, get in on the fun. On April 1, 1957, the BBC aired a short documentary on the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. As spaghetti was still new to the UK, and given the fact that the short report was aired by a respected broadcaster, many people were fooled by the hoax.   

Here is the April 1, 1957 report on the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest by the BBC:

Some consider this the best April Fools joke ever. 

Practical jokes are not always so tame as the BBC's fake documentary. Here are some novels where pranks have had unexpected consequences:   

April fool dead Dead simple The Keep Longings of wayward girls Kickback

April Fool Dead: A Death on Demand Mystery by Carolyn G. Hart
Annie Darling, owner of the Death on Demand bookshop, has created an ingenious promotional scheme for the upcoming visit by mystery author Emma Clyde. Offering a free book to anyone who can solve a series of clues about popular whodunits, she distributes flyers all over town. She soon discovers that a prankster has created a counterfeit flyer, offering clues to several lethal local "accidents" that have occurred lately, including the drowning of Ms. Clydes own husband.

Dead simple by Peter James 
It was meant to be a harmless stag night practical joke. Michael Harrison's friends decide to celebrate his upcoming marriage by burying him alive (with a breathing tube and a walkie-talkie) for a couple hours. When the friends are killed by an oncoming vehicle shortly after leaving Michael buried, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called in to find the missing groom.


The keep by Jennifer Egan
After two decades apart, two cousins, Howard and Danny, are brought together to work on the renovation of an isolated and creepy medieval castle.  Their estrangement was caused by a cruel prank when they were kids and Danny is worried that Howard has never forgiven him. 
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The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown
When she was 13, Sadie and her best friend Betty were always getting into mischief. That is until they played a prank on another girl who subsequently disappeared. Twenty years later, the disappearance is still unsolved. After a boy from her neighbourhood returns to town, Sadie is forced to relive that summer as the mystery begins to unravel. 

Robert B. Parker's Kickback by Ace Atkins
When Dillon Yates set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he didn't expect to be brought up on criminal charges. In Blackburn, Massachusetts, Judge Joe Scali has a zero tolerance for minors getting into trouble. Dillon's mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, is determined to protect her son from the same fate and hires Spenser to find the truth behind Judge Scali's harsh sentencing.
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Welcome to The Buzz...About Books -- the official blog of Book Buzz, Toronto Public Library's online book club.