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2014 Man Booker Longlist Announced

July 23, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

It is the first year that the Man Booker Prize has been open to writers from all over the world. Previously the award was restricted to writers from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth nations. A longlist of 13 books has been announced. It includes 6 Britons, 4 Americans, 1 Australian and 2 Irish writers. 

Blazing world Bone clocks The dog History of the rain

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

The Dog by Joseph O'Neill
• Expected publication date: September 9, 2014.

History of the Rain by Niall Williams

How to be both J by howard jacobson Lives of others Narrow road to the deep north

How to be Both by Ali Smith

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
• Expected publication date: August 12, 2014

Orfeo To rise again at a decent hour Us by david nicholls The wake We are all completely beside ourselves

Orfeo by Richard Powers

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Us by David Nicholls

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Book of the Week: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

July 23, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

We were liarsOne of the most talked about books of the summer is We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. It's been showing up on a lot of summer reading lists lately. It's even being talked about by us--Margaret of the TPL Teens blog posted a review earlier this month. I tend to stay away from books that get this kind of hype because they don't usually live up to my expectations but there are exceptions to every rule and We Were Liars is exceptional in many ways.

Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the novel's narrator, is a member of the elite Sinclair family. She notes that in the Sinclair family "No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.... No one is needy. No one is wrong". The extended family spends its summers on a private island near Martha's Vineyard. It's beautiful, idyllic, peaceful but something darker is present. Cadence's grandfather, family patriarch Harris, delights in watching his three daughters scramble for his approval, using his sizable estate to stir up conflict among them.

Although their mothers try to involve them in the drama Cadence and her cousins Johnny and Mirren spend their summers lounging on the beach with their friend Gat, whose uncle is dating Johnny's mother. The group is known in the family as "The Liars" for reasons that are not disclosed.

The novel takes place as 17-year-old Cadence returns to the island for the first time in 2 years. When she was 15 something happened that has left her with memory loss and paralyzing migraines. She doesn't remember what happened and no one in the family will tell her. The intense and suspenseful novel describes Cadence's attempt to rebuild her shattered memory and find out the truth about that mysterious summer.

We Were Liars is categorized as teen fiction but will appeal to adult readers as well. I really liked the literary references scattered throughout the book. The creepy, gothic tone reminded me a lot of Shirley Jackson's novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle--one of my favourite books.

We Were Liars is available in:
Regular Print

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Summer Is The Perfect Time To Read Non-Fiction

July 18, 2014 | Kelli | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Many people think of summer as the time for 'beach reads', those fast-paced, plot-driven novels that capture your imagination and hold it for many hours at a time. I find that summer is also a great time to pick up a book that requires a bit more concentration and focus over an extended period of time, something like a non-fiction book. It can be challenging to find the time to focus on these books during the normal course of life, but vacation time is perfect.  

If you feel like reading some non-fiction, have a look at one of these relatively recently published books. I know I'll be tackling a few before September.

Looking for more suggestions? Have a look at this at our We Recommend: Literary Non-Fiction list.

Blood telegram Capturing the light Five days at memorial Gulp War that ended the peace

The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J Bass
This is the first full account of the involvement of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1971 atrocities in Bangladesh. They supported Pakistan's military dictatorship as it brutally launched a crackdown on what was then East Pakistan. This lead to the killing hundreds of thousands of people and resulted in ten million refugees fleeing to India. The resulting war between India and Pakistan shaped the history of the area ever since. Winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize in 2014.


Capturing the Light: The Birth of Photography, a True Story of Genius and Rivalry by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport
During the 1830s, two men developed their own dramatically different photographic processes in total ignorance of each other's work. Henry Fox Talbot worked away on Talbotype, secluded in his English country estate. Louis Daguerre, living in post-revolutionary Paris, developed Daguerrotype. Both these men overcame extraordinary odds to discover how to capture the light to create a photograph and changed how we see the world. 


Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, exhausted hospital staff chose to select certain patients as the last for rescue. Months later, some of these health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Fink exposes what happened in those terrible days, as people tried to cope in the most extraordinary and challenging of circumstances. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.
Large Print
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Never one to shy away from taboo or icky subjects, Mary Roach takes the reader on another one of her hilarious, entertaining and informative investigations. This time she goes 'down the hatch' in an investigation into eating, digestion and elimination. She tries to find answers to many questions, such as why crunchy food is so appealing, how much we can eat before our stomach bursts and if constipation really did kill Elvis?
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Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret Macmillan
In her new book, the author of Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World turns her attention to the causes of the Great War.  In the century since the end of the Napoleonic wars, Europe had enjoyed its most peaceful era since Roman times. As they entered a new century,  Europeans looked forward to a happy and prosperous future. Instead, rivalries, colonialism, ethnic nationalism, and shifting alliances helped to bring about the  outbreak of a war that transformed Europe and the world forever. A finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing by The Writers' Trust of Canada.

Pining for the Pythons? Well, Say No More...

July 15, 2014 | Viveca | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

John Cleese in Monty Python's classic skit, 'Ministry of Silly Walks'. [PNG Merlin Archive]
John Cleese in Monty Python's classic skit, 'Ministry of Silly Walks'. [PNG Merlin Archive]

Tickets for Monty Python's long-awaited reunion show sold out in 40 seconds.  Didn't get a ticket? You can still re-live their finest moments with material available at the Toronto Public Library. While not something completely different, the show at London's O2 Arena was packed with fans who came to spot the legendary comedy troupe, together again for the first time in 30 years.  

Read the reviews in the Toronto StarGlobe, National Post, and the Guardian.

Unable to recite the Dead Parrot sketch by heart? Borrow the original television shows, features and documentaries on DVD including Monty Python: Almost the Truth and The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman. Chapman, an original Python, and co-author of the Dead Parrot sketch, died in 1989.

Monty Python Almost the Truth Monty Python and the Holy Grail Life of Brian The Meaning of Life

Hear the Pythons' history (and some of their best bits) on Audiobook.  "But, father! I want to sing!" Well, you can sing-along with the Pythons on CD or borrow the sheet music for such holiday classics as "Ya Di Bucketty" or "Dennis Moore."

Watch Mick Jagger's thoughts on a bunch of "wrinkly old men" trying to re-live their youth:


Further reading available from the Toronto Public Library, including:

Monty Python Encyclopeida Monty Python Speaks Monty Python's Flying Circus All the Bits Everything I Ever Needed to Know About I Learned From Monty Python

There is also plenty of post-Python material to choose from. This is a fraction of what is available from the Python alumni.

Art of Soccer Brazil by Michael Palin The Greedy Bastard Diary by Eric Idle Terry Jone's Medievall Lives Brazil by Terry Gilliam

"So, Mr. Phipps, why exactly do you want to become a librarian?"  


Cleese's Ministry of Silly Walks after all these years, continues to endure.  This year, it even got its own app.  And finally: 

The Larch
No. 1. The Larch

Book of the Week(end): The Girl with All the Gifts

July 11, 2014 | Soheli | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

I just finished reading one of the creepiest fiction titles I've read in a while. If you're not BBQing, off to the cottage or doing otherwise summery things, I suggest you get your hands on this as fast as you can.

Girl With All The Gifts by MR Carey
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey 

Melanie isn't like most other little girls. She's extremely bright and unusually kind, but she's also strapped into a high-security wheelchair each morning and locked into a special classroom. The scowling Sargeant and the lovely Miss Justineau are a few of the handful of adults she sees as her days go by. Why is the Sargeant pointing a gun at her as he wheels her out of her room? And why is Miss J's smile so beautiful, yet so sad?

When her carefully scheduled life is interrupted one day by a sudden, vicious turn of events, Melanie slowly becomes aware of who- and what - she truly is.

I imagined Melanie to be some sort of superhero, alien or exceptional genius, but she's all these things and more. At just over 450 pages long, there are no wasted words in this book. Every scene and every interaction is necessary, gripping and memorable. I was completely sucked into how dark and twisted this novel could get. Saying any more could really spoil it for you, so I'll just say that if you like speculative, creepy fiction, this is definitely a title to add to your reading list this summer.

Itching for a copy yet? Place a hold on The Girl with All the Gifts!

Boycott the Emmys, Read a Book

July 11, 2014 | Andrea | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

In the wake of every announcement of Emmy nominations, a wave of indignation breaks over the Internet as fans decry the snubs against their favourite shows. This year, critics and viewers are up in arms about the glaring absence of Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany from the lists. To deal with this affront, check out our Orphan Black read-alikes.

Meanwhile, here are some other books to soothe other slights regarding nominees for the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

The Good Wife and Philosophy Masters of Sex An Ordinary Spy Red Dragon The Simpsons Uncensored

The Good Wife and Philosophy edited by Kimberly Baltzer-Jaray and Robert Arp

Despite a strong season and several acting nominations, this network powerhouse was shut out of the Outstanding Drama category. Stop debating whether this is an egregious error with your co-workers and delve into this collection of essays... soon you will be able to debate legal ethics, loopholes and what it means to be a good spouse instead!

Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson by Thomas Maier

The show may be too provocative to be considered for Outstanding Drama, but the nomination for Lizzy Caplan for her role as Virginia Johnson is an interesting surprise. Delve into this biography about "the couple who taught America how to love."

An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg

The Americans only received one nomination for guest star Margo Martindale. But did you know the Cold War espionage drama's showrunner is also the author of a CIA novel?

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

The nightmarishly beautiful Hannibal was shut out even in the technical categories such as art direction and cinematography. Read the novel that introduced Hannibal Lecter to the world.

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved

Ay caramba! The long-running animated sitcom did not make it as an Outstanding Animated Program contender, but you can look back on its history and reminisce about its golden days.

You Say "Potato": How a Man's Plan to Make Salad went Viral

July 9, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Here I am just back from vacation and looking for blog inspiration when I noticed people on the Internet were talking a lot about a man and his potato salad. Zack "Danger" Brown, the co-owner of a software company, began a Kickstarter campaign with the hope of raising $10 so he could make potato salad. In less than a week, he had $40,000.

If you would also like to make potato salad, Toronto Public Library has books to help. You will have to find your own funding, though.

300 best potato recipes Haute potato Potato salad Yummy potatoes

300 Best Potato Recipes: a Complete Cook's Guide by Kathleen Sloan-MacIntosh

Haute Potato: from Pommes Rissolée to Timbale with Roquefort, 75 Gourmet Potato Recipes by Jacqueline Pham

Potato Salad: 65 Recipes from Classic to Cool by Debbie Moose

Yummy Potatoes: 65 Downright Delicious Recipes by Marlena Spieler

Toronto Public Library has a lot of other books to keep you entertained and busy during the summer, even if you have no interest in potato salad. Staff members at your local branch can help you find what you need.

Two More Books About Seniors Heading Off On Adventures

June 24, 2014 | Kelli | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Following up on my blog post from December 2012, Senior Adventures: Three Novels About Seniors Who Are On The Move, I've come across two more recently published books about seniors on the run.    I think this could now officially be called a trend!


Flee fly flownFlee, Fly, Flown by Canadian author Janet Hepburn is the bittersweet story of friends Lillian and Audrey, who hatch a plot to escape from Tranquil Meadows Nursing Home in Ottawa and head west.   They set out on their journey not taking into account that their memory problems might make driving and following directions somewhat difficult.  Luckily, they soon meet up with the unsuspecting Rayne, a young man who is also heading west in hope of reconciling with his family. Without minimizing the realities of old age and dementia,  Lillian and Audrey's tale is sweet story that reminds us that we are never to old for an adventure.  Flee, Fly, Flown is nominated for the Ontario Library Assocation's 2014 Evergreen Award .  Author Janet Hepburn  will be speaking at Runnymede branch on Wednesday, June 25th at 7 p.m.  Please call the branch for more information.  Also available in eBook.


Little old lady who broke all the rulesA new book that I just finished is The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Swedish author Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg.   Five friends and residents of the Diamond Retirement Home--Martha, Brains, Rake, Christina and Anna-Greta, are unhappy with the new owners of Diamond as the cost-cutting changes has resulted in microwaved food, limits on cups of coffee and a reduction in activities.  After watching a documentary about life in prison, the residents start to wonder if prisoners are not treated better than seniors.   This gives Martha an idea.  They should commit a crime like Robin Hood - stealing from the rich.  The crime has to be big enough to ensure conviction, but  not hurt anyone.   With bolt cutters and high-tech walkers, they set out to start their crime spree with a robbery attempt at a nearby luxury hotel.   Also available in eBook.


June 20th is Take Your Dog to Work Day

June 19, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Petsitters International created Take Your Dog to Work Day in 1999. Their purpose was to recognize the companionship of dogs and encourage adoption.

If you don't have a dog or can't bring your dog to the office remember that books about dogs are permitted in most workplaces.

These books about working dogs are welcome everywhere:

Comet's tale Devoted Dog who could fly Find momo

Comet's Tale: How the Dog I Rescued Saved My Life by Steven D. Wolf with Lynette Padwa
Large Print
A debilitating spinal condition forced Wolf into early retirement and made it necessary to move away from his family in Nebraska. Alone in Arizona, he became involved with a group rescuing abused greyhounds and was unable to resist Comet. Initially adopted for companionship, Comet took on the role of a service animal as Wolf's condition deteriorated. 

Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty, and Life with Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Ascher-Walsh explores the connection between people and dogs with 38 true stories, including some about working dogs.

The Dog Who Could Fly: the Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero who Flew by His Side by Damien Lewis
In 1939, Czech airman Robert Bozdech was shot down. While behind enemy lines, he stumbled upon an abandoned German Shepherd puppy. He tucked the dog in his jacket and carried him to safety. Bozdech brought Antis with him when he joined the RAF and the pair flew together on 30 missions. Antis was awarded the Dickin Medal, the Victoria Cross for animals, for his military service.

Find Momo: My Dog is Hiding in this Book, Can You Find Him? by Andrew Knapp
Some of the dogs on this list are serious working dogs--Momo looks like he's just having fun. Sudbury photographer Andrew Knapp began taking pictures of his border collie blending in to the landscape and posted them on the Internet. In 2014, the photographs were turned into this book. Can you find Momo?

Maddie on things Rin tin tin the life and the legend Until tuesday What the dog knows

Maddie on Things: a Super Serious Project about Dogs and Physics by Theron Humphrey
Maddie, like Momo, is a photographer's model. She accompanied her owner, Theron Humphrey, on a cross country trip where she worked hard standing on top of things and getting her picture taken.

Rin Tin Tin: the Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean
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A movie star with humble beginnings, Rin Tin Tin, along with his mother and siblings, was only 1 week old when he was rescued from a World War I battlefield by American soldier Lee Duncan. After the war, Duncan found work for the dog in silent films where he became a box office star.

Until Tuesday: a Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalván with Bret Witter
Montalván returned from Iraq with physical disabilities and suffering from agoraphobia and PTSD. Tuesday, a service dog, helped him cope with the transition to civilian life. 

What the Dog Knows: the Science and Wonder of Working Dogs by Cat Warren
After Warren trained her dog as a cadaver dog, she became curious about the capabilities of working dogs. In this book, she explores the subject with anthropologists, biologists, psychologists and other scientists.

For Father's Day - New Memoirs About Dad

June 13, 2014 | Kelli | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This Sunday, June 15th, is Father's Day.   Not sure what to do after giving Dad his new tie and socks?  How about reading one of these recent memoirs by adult children about their fathers - some they knew well, some they discovered later in life.

For more titles, have a look at Surviving Parenthood: Father's Day Memoirs, for memoirs about the experience of fatherhood, Life With Father for a list of books about famous fathers and Even After Father's Day for some father-daughter fiction.


Take this man The most dangerous Please be with me Death of santini Confessions of a fairy's daughter

Take This Man: A Memoir by Brando Skyhorse
Looking for a better life after being abandoned by Brando's father,  his mother reinvents herself and her young son as American Indians and moves them to Echo Park, California. There Brando and his mother live with his acerbic grandmother and a rotating cast of surrogate fathers. It will be over thirty years before he begins to untangle the truth about his real father.


The Most Dangerous Animal Of All: Searching For My Father... and Finding the Zodiac Killer by Gary L. Stewart and Susan D. Mustafa.   An emotionally powerful  memoir of a man whose ten-year search for his biological father leads to the chilling discovery that his father is one of the most notorious serial killers in the United States.
Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled Patrons)


Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman by Galadrielle Allman
Musician Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-four, when his daughter, Galadrielle was only two years old.  While she was growing up, friends and family found it too painful to talk about her father, so she listened intently to his music and read articles about him.  Needing to know more, Galadrielle finally  began to ask for stories from family, fellow musicians, and friends.  By this time, they were ready to talk.


The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and Son by Pat Conroy
Best-selling author Conroy, author of the Great Santini and many other novels, revisits the complicated relationship he had with his father and offers readers the final chapter on his relationship with his parents and his own late-found peace.
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Talking Book (Restricted to Print Disabled Patrons)


Confessions of a Fairy's Daugther : Growing Up with A Gay Dad by Alison Wearing
Alison Wearing led a largely carefree childhood in Peterborough, Ontario until she was 12, when her father came out of the closet.  It was a shock to everyone, especially to his wife and three children.   This is the story of Alison's struggle to "come out" as the daughter of a gay father as well as her father's determination to find a way to live both as a gay man and a devoted father. 



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