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Super Bowl 50

February 5, 2016 | Lynn | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

This year marks the 50th Super Bowl of the National Football League (NFL). This year the NFL is not going with the traditional roman numerals, which would have been L, as reported here in a Rolling Stone magazine (available through Zinio). Here are some books that cover the history of the Super Bowl and cookbooks to give you ideas of what to serve at your Super Bowl party.


The ultimate Super Bowl book

The ultimate Super Bowl book: a complete reference to the stats, stars, and stories behind football's biggest game -- and why the best team won

If you are either a first-time fan looking to learn more about the game or if you need to double-check your stats to settle a debate with your friends, this is the book for you.

The Super Bowl of advertising: how the commercials won the game

The Super Bowl of advertising: how the commercials won the game

Maybe you are like me and you love the Super Bowl commercials.  These commercials can make or break a brand and are rumored to cost millions for a mere 30 seconds.

50 years 50 moments the most unforgettable plays in super bowl history

50 Years, 50 Moments: the most unforgettable plays in Super Bowl History

Perhaps you will be hosting a party and want to give your friends a quiz to earn best seat in the house. Ask them about these plays to see who deserves the best seat.

No excuses growing up deaf and achieving super bowl dreams

No excuses: growing up deaf and achieving my Super Bowl dreams

Derrick Coleman Jr. is the first deaf athlete the play offensive line in the NFL, no easy feat.  His autobiography is an inspiration to everyone about the importance of perseverance and the importance of hard work.


Good housekeeping the great potluck cookbook: our favourite recipes for carry-in suppers, brunch buffets, tailgate parties and more

Good housekeeping - the great potluck cookbook: our favourite recipes for carry-in suppers, brunch buffets, tailgate parties and more

This cookbook will give you plenty of ideas of what to offer your guests or what to bring to someone else's house.

Parties, potlucks and barbecues

Parties, potlucks and barbecues

The weather on Sunday may mean you can fire up your barbecues for some of your food choices for the party.

Emril's potluck comfort food with a kicked-up attitude

Emeril's potluck: comfort food with a kicked-up attitude

Emeril offers his take on foods to bring or make for your own potluck, and with classic Emeril style, a good amount of kick in all his foods.


Enjoy your Super Bowl!

Oscars So White: Diversity and Representation in Film

January 29, 2016 | Soheli | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

The 88th Annual Academy Awards are set to premiere on February 28, 2016. While the usual buzz around the Oscars has already started - best dressed, anyone? - a more bothersome controversy has also popped up. 

The nominations for this year's Awards brought with them much criticism as many pointed out the lack of diversity. There are a few limited exceptions (for example, Straight Outta Compton is a contender for Best Original Screenplay), but other than that, the nominee list is noticeably lacking in colour.

Aziz Ansari - White Roles
Comedian Aziz Ansari jokes about race and film/TV roles

In the four major acting categories - Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress - all nominees are white. This is despite some arguably stellar performances by actors of colour: Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nationthe majority of the cast of Straight Outta Compton, and Michael B. Jordan in Creed. The trend continues into the other big-ticket categories like Best Picture as well.

Beasts-of-no-nationBeasts of No Nation by Uzodinma Iweala

Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton -- check your local branch for DVD availability.

Creed SoundtrackCreed - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. Borrow it now from Hoopla Digital!

This isn't the first time the Academy has come under fire for the lack of representation. In fact, this is the second year in a row where diversity has been an issue in the top awards. Not surprisingly, this kind of controversy stirs up strong emotions in people, including the actors and celebrities in the midst of the Oscar buzz. Some have decided to make upfront remarks, with actors Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith deciding not to attend the Oscars this year at all, and George Clooney pointing out deeper issues of casting opportunities for black actors and other actors of colour.

February is also Black History Month, and is as good a time as any to consider some of the deeper issues surrounding diversity - even beyond film or art. Author Shakil Choudhury digs into the 'us vs. them' mentality in his book, Deep Diversity.

Deep Diversity Choudhury


Interested in other books and films about diversity and representation?

Dear White People, 2015
A sharp and funny comedy about a group of black students as they navigate campus life and racial boundaries at a predominately white college.
A sly, provocative satire about being a black face in a white place.

Screens Fade to Black, 2006
The triple crown of Oscars awarded to Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, and Sidney Poitier in 2002 seemed to mark a turning point for African Americans in cinema. But did it really mark the beginning of true change?

Black Hollywood, 2008
A feature documentary that explores the role of black actors, black directors and the black audience in American movies.

Heroes, Lovers, and Others, 2004
The fascinating history of Latinos in film, from the birth of the movies to the present, through a series of stories about Hollywood's most famous and enduring stars. The sparkling parade of Latino film stars presented against the backdrop of American social and cultural history changes the way we think of race and ethnicity in Hollywood.

Dreaming in Canadian, 2010
Second-generation immigrants are exploring new ways to make sense of who they are and where they belong in the face of competing cultural demands. Dreaming in Canadian turns the spotlight on the role of Bollywood cinema in the production of cultural, religious, and national identities among South Asian youth in Toronto, Vancouver, and Ottawa.

The Slanted Screen, 2006
A film that explores the portrayals of Asian men in American cinema, chronicling the experiences of actors who have had to struggle against ethnic stereotyping and limiting roles.

Let's Talk/Let's Write/Let's Share

January 25, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

January 27 is Bell Let's Talk Day. On this day, Bell donates five cents for every call and text made by Bell customers and for every tweet that includes #BellLetsTalk. One in five Canadians will develop a mental illness during their lives; these illnesses have an impact on family, friends and coworkers.

One of the goals of the Bell campaign is to raise understanding and remove the stigma of mental illness. These memoirs were written by people who have experienced mental illness:

Black rainbow Damage done Irritable hearts Just like someone

Black Rainbow: How Words Healed Me: My Journey Through Depression by Rachel Kelly
Journalist Kelly discusses her experience with anxiety and depression and shares the poetry she read for comfort during her darkest times.

Damage Done: a Mountie's Memoir by Deanna Lennox
When she suffered permanent hearing loss in a workplace incident, RCMP officer Lennox had no option but retirement. After leaving the force, she suffered from PTSD and profound depression and found that working with horses helped her cope. She founded an organization she called War Horse Awareness Foundation to help first responders suffering from occupational stress injuries.

Irritable Hearts: a PTSD Love Story by Mac McClelland
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Journalist McClelland returned from covering the 2010 Haiti earthquake and her life fell apart. Unable to sleep, haunted by memories, she was diagnosed with PTSD and decided to research the condition and rebuild her life.

Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness, Only More So by Mark Vonnegut
After recovering from 3 psychotic episodes in his 20s (documented in The Eden Express), Vonnegut attended medical school and became a pediatrician and then had a relapse. In this memoir, he discusses his life with bipolar disorder.

Last asylum Mess Monkey mind Open heart

The Last Asylum: a Memoir of Madness in Our Times by Barbara Taylor
Historian Taylor's severe anxiety and addiction to alcohol and prescription medication led to 20 years of psychotherapy including inpatient treatment in Friern Hospital, formerly a notorious lunatic asylum.

Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act by Barry Yourgrau
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Hoarding has been considered a mental illness since 2013 when it was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Yourgrau realized he had a problem when he couldn't let his girlfriend enter his cluttered apartment and decided to take control of his life.

Monkey Mind: a Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Dan Smith comes from a family of anxious people. As a teenager, his anxiety overwhelmed him. This, at times humorous, book documents his search for help with his condition.

Open Heart, Open Mind by Clara Hughes
The only Canadian to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, Hughes has also battled depression. In writing this memoir she hopes to "encourage people to better understand the struggle of mental illness and most importantly let people know they are not alone".

Reasons to stay alive Sharp Wasted Why not fifteen reasons

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
At 24, novelist Haig's anxiety and depression led him to the edge of a cliff with plans to jump. In this memoir he explains why he didn't and the tools he uses to cope with life. This blog post shares some of his advice.

Sharp: a Memoir by David Fitzpatrick
In his 20s, Fitzpatrick was consumed by feelings of failure and self-hatred and found relief through self-mutilation. Diagnosed as bipolar, Fitzpatrick recounts his years in hospitals and group homes in this memoir.

Wasted: An Alcoholic Therapist's Fight for Recovery in a Flawed System by Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer
Psychotherapist Michael Pond lost his practice, his family and very nearly his mind when he became an alcoholic. This memoir documents his decline, rehabilitation and the development of his personal recovery plan.

Why Not: Fifteen Reasons to Live by Ray Robertson
This memoir documents the author's battle with depression and examines the universal philosophical question of what makes life worth living.

Related post:

Bears, Zombies and the Taliban: Books to Movies Winter 2016

January 22, 2016 | Kelli | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Starting with the recently released movie The Revenant, books have been the inspiration behind several new movies this winter. If you like to read the book before seeing the movie, add these books to the top of your reading list:

The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke  (In theaters now)

RevenantIn the early 1800s, the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company lived a hard frontier life working along the tributaries Missouri River. Hugh Glass is among the Company's most experienced frontiersman. After he is mauled by a grizzly bear, the Company's captain orders two men to stay with Glass while he dies and then to give him a proper burial. These fellow trappers soon abandon Glass to his fate and steal his precious gun and hatchet. Left alone, defenseless and with life-threatening wounds,  Glass travels across more than 3,000 miles of frontier, relying on his knowledge of the environment, his ingenuity and most of all, his rage, to exact revenge.   

The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy and was partially filmed in Alberta and British Columbia. The Revenant has been nominated for Oscars in the Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (DiCaprio) and Actor in a Supporting Role (Hardy) categories as well as nine other categories.


Some other books that will soon be films in the local movie theatres are:

Choice How to be single Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Me before you Taliban shuffle

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks  (In theatres February 5th)
Veterinarian Travis Parker loves his life. He has great friends, a great job and absolutely no desire for a steady girlfriend. This changes when Gabby Holland moves in to his neighbourhood. Despite her boyfriend, Travis works his way into Gabby's life. Then tragedy strikes and Travis is forced to make a difficult choice that will haunt him. 
Large Print
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Seth Grahame-Smith  (In theatres February 5th)
The Bennett sisters must navigate the social world of the village of Meryton while working to wipe out the zombie menace that is plaguing England. The arrival of Mr. Bingley and his friend, Mr. Darcy, soon distracts them and complicates their lives. In this mash-up, Grahame-Smith has maintained most of the classic novel, while skillfully adding  battles with the undead. 

How to be Single by Liz Tuccillo  (In theatres February 12th)
New York publicist Julie Jenson and her friends are tired of the New York City dating scene. When Julie gets an opportunity to travel the world to learn how women from other cultures cope with being single, she stops in Paris, Rome, Rio, Bali and Beijing. Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, her friends are getting along the best they can with their own dating challenges.


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes  (In theatres March 4th)
Louisa Clark is surprised when she is hired as caretaker to recent quadriplegic Will Traynor, as she has absolutely no experience. As Louisa gradually gets to know the prickly Will, she learns that her six-month contract coincides with the amount of time Will has agreed to postpone his planned assisted suicide. Shocked and saddened by this news, Lou is determined to convince Will that he has reasons to live.
Large Print
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker (In theatres as Whisky, Tango, Foxtrot on March 4th)
Barker's darkly comic memoir is about her years as the Chicago Tribune's correspondent in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Starting out very 'green', she became a self-confessed adrenaline junkie. Equally at home embedded with troops as she was interviewing Taliban warlords and political elites, Barker witnessed violence, death and governmental corruption on a daily basis.

Related posts:

Safe Journey, Major Tom: Remembering David Bowie

January 11, 2016 | Viveca | Comments (5) Facebook Twitter More...

David Bowie

Photo: Creative Commons

Canada woke up on Monday to hear that the legendary David Bowie had died of cancer - two days after releasing his album, Blackstar. And indeed - the stars look very different today. We are left to marvel at Bowie's incalculable influence on music, art, and style. Read a fraction of the outpouring of grief, tributes, and accolades flooding the media: Toronto Star, BBC, Telegraph, New Yorker, New York Times, Rolling Stone. Transgressive, outrageous - Bowie both embodied and embraced the outsider with infinite grace and elegance. Humane, funny and continually reinventing himself, he pushed the boundaries of art throughout his long career.  He will truly be missed - and not just for one day.


Toronto Public Library offers a rich selection of material to enjoy and explore the legacy of Bowie's work.    


 Hunky Dory Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust Aladdin Sane Diamond Dogs  
Heroes Station to Station Scary Monsters  Nothing Has Changed


Hunky Dory (1971). Life on Mars became the theme song of the British television series of the same name. Look for Queen Bitch, used brilliantly in the last scene of Wes Anderson's film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972). D.A. Pennebaker's 1973 concert film is hard to find - we are currently trying to source copies for the library.  Ready?  All together now: Awwww...wham bam......!

Aladdin Sane (1973). The Jean Genie. Jean Genet?  Iggy Pop?

Diamond Dogs (1974).  Bowie came to Toronto with this tour. At 14, tottering on mile-high platform shoes, cadaverously-thin like our hero, we watched him soar above us during Space Oddity.  Transcendent. Years later, I would hear my toddler whisper the countdown as Major Tom prepared for blast off on the car stereo.  

Station to Station (1976). Golden Years with The Thin White Duke.

Low (1977). First of the Berlin trilogy. Collaboration with Brian Eno.

Heroes (1977).  Bleak and beautiful.  

Scary Monsters (1980). Ashes to Ashes, Fashion

Let's Dance (1983).  Modern Love, China Girl, Let's Dance.  

Nothing Has Changed (2014).  Compilation album of Bowie's works. Includes his achingly beautiful cover of the Merseys' Sorrow from the album Pin-Ups.

Interested in learning to play Bowie's music? Check out Bill V.'s post on David Bowie's Music Scores


In the July 1998 issue of Vanity Fair, Bowie answered the Proust Questionnaire:

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?  A: Reading.

Check out the New York Public Library's post about David Bowie's Top 100 Reads.

David Bowie Starman Bowie on Bowie David Bowie The Golden Years Heroes David Bowie Berlin
David Bowie The Biography David Bowie Style The Man Who Sold the World

The Complete David Bowie

Bowie: Starman by Paul Trynka, 2011. 

Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters with David Bowie edited by Sean Egan, 2015.

David Bowie: The Golden Years by Roger Griffin, 2015. 

Heroes: David Bowie and Berlin by Tobias Rüther, 2014.

Bowie: the Biography by Wendy Leigh, 2014.

  • Also available in eBook.

David Bowie Style by Danny Lewis, 2012

The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s by Peter Doggett, 2012.

  • Also available in eBook.

The Complete David Bowie by Nicholas Pegg, 2011. 


 The Man Who Wasn't There Labyrinth  Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence Absolute Beginners

Sadly, The Man Who Fell to Earth is currently not available. If you own a copy, hang on to it. 

David Bowie: The Man Who Wasn't There, documentary, 2013.

Labyrinth directed by Jim Henson, 1986.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence directed by Nagisa Oshima, 1983.

Absolute Beginners directed by Julian Temple, 1986.

Basquiat directed by Julian Schnabel, 1996.


It's hard to pick one song as Bowie's signature song - but we'll go with this: 

David Bowie: 1947 - 2016


Related Posts:

Past Presentation on David Bowie at North York Central Library


Best of 2015: Staff Members' Favourite Reads 4

January 6, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Mayor rob fordBrandon:

Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable: How I Tried to Help the World's Most Notorious Mayor by Mark Towhey
Mark Towhey, former chief of staff for former mayor Rob Ford, gives us an eye-opening (and at times jaw-dropping) glimpse into the world of municipal politics. While much of the content is centered around events that are now widely known, the author provides a behind-the-scenes perspective about what it was like to work for someone who is arguably the most infamous Canadian politician in recent history. 

Fifteen dogsJane:

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
The gods must be crazy! Why would it amuse them to give 15 dogs human consciousness? The answer is not really clear, who can understand a god after all but the consequences are sad, funny and poignant. I certainly learned a lot about canine behaviour and a little about human behaviour too. Bonus: Totally set in Toronto.



KindredKindred by Octavia Butler
Dana, a modern black woman living in 1976, is celebrating her 26th birthday when she is pulled back in time to the antebellum south by a young white boy (her great-great-great? grandfather) who is drowning. Her job, it appears, is to keep him alive and thus ensure her own existence in today's world. Each time she returns she learns more, sometimes in a horrible fashion, of what it is to be a slave. Don't wait for Black History Month to read this great book.

My brilliant friend


My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Flowing back and forth but basically the first novel in a four-volume series featuring the childhood of two young girls who live in a poor neighbourhood of postwar Naples, Italy. Both girls are very bright and I found the mere fact that one or both might be forced or decide to leave school at any moment a great source of tension.


Martian 200The Martian by Andy Weir
Large Print
Talking Book: CD format (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Seen the movie? Read the book and you will learn a lot more science! Like Robinson Crusoe, without Friday an astronaut is left for dead on Mars. Happily for him he is not dead. Sadly he must survive until the next Mars mission arrives in four years but he has only a year or so of rations.


Red risingRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Large Print
Mars again but this time more fantasy than sci-fi. Reds work the mines on Mars and Golds rule the universe. Reds accept their lot as lowest order of a colour coded society. For one thing, they are constantly told that they are vital to humanity's very survival. This is, as one young Red finds out, a big fat lie.
Volume One in a trilogy.


Barbara the slutSoheli:

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
A collection of short stories for people who don't even like short stories. Quirky and sometimes dark plots with realistically flawed characters make these memorable. Pick of the bunch: "How Am I Supposed to Talk to You?" for its 'tender' mother-daughter relationship.

Get out of my bath


Get Out of my Bath by Britta Teckentrup
I used this great book for a preschool program, which was well received by kiddies and their caregivers. Ellie the elephant’s bath time goes sideways, making for a very funny book! This  interactive book gets youngsters tilting and shaking the book to clear the tub of uninvited guests. Lots of fun to share!

Related posts:

New Year, New Resolutions: Books to get you started

December 31, 2015 | Lynn | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

A New Year means New Years Resolution List, an ambitious plan for self improvement in the upcoming year. It can be daunting knowing where to start so here are some suggestions for your own lists.

1) I resolve to learn a new language

The everything essential French book  The Everything essential Russian book  The complete idiot's guide to learning spanish  The complete idiot's guide to learning Italian  Get started in Hindi

2) I resolve to travel more

                                The complete guide to Alaska cruises  Eyewitness travel Morocco  Iceland the                          Eyewitness travel Japan  Fodor's New Orleans 2015

3) I resolve to lose weight

Eat clean stay lean  Ultimate plank fitness  Fitness steps to success  The body reset diet cookbook  Barre Fitness

4) I resolve to quit smoking

Quitting Smoking for Dummies  How to quit smoking without gaining weight  The easy way for women to stop smoking

5) I resolve to read more Canadian authors

  The painted girls  The bear  The nature of the beast                No relation  Fifteen dogs

6) I resolve to go back to school

Cracking the GED test 2016 edition  LSAT 2016  Nursing School Entrance Exams               Canadian firefighters exam  Mosby's comprehensive review of dental hygiene

7) I resolve to laugh more

Let's explore diabetes with owls  The authoratative Calvin and Hobbes a calvin and hobbes treasury  The most of Nora Ephron                 The penguin book of Canadian jokes  A funny thing happened on the way to the forum


Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Best of 2015: Staff Members' Favourite Reads 3

December 28, 2015 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

We should all be feminists



We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It's a super quick and easy read that's adapted from her TEDx talk. It's about sexual politics and the definition of feminism in the 21st century.



Gut: The Inside Story of our Body's Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders.
A book that goes into detail about the functions of the different parts of the digestive system sounds kind of gross and tedious. However it was very interesting, humorous and charming. As this system greatly impacts both our physical and mental health, it is important to know more about it keep it working well.



The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson.
Large Print
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
The history of computing starting from Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, through to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The audiobook was excellent.


Well-dressed woundSusan:

The Well-Dressed Wound by Derek McCormack
The latest genre-defying tour de force from McCormack features Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln at a séance that morphs into an outrageous and enraged Martin Margiela fashion show with gay ghosts, Civil War horrors, lots of infection and dazzling AIDS couture.



Truth commission


The Truth Commission by Susan Juby
A band of friends at an offbeat arts high school on Vancouver Island set out to discover and tell the truth about their classmates. Their adventures are often hilarious and reveal, in the end, much about the truth-seekers themselves.



Sidewalk flowers
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith
A wordless picture book for all ages that evokes the curiosity and joy of a child taking a walk with her distracted father through busy urban scenes.




Related posts:

Bah Humbug! Books for Scrooges and Grinches

December 23, 2015 | Soheli | Comments (7) Facebook Twitter More...

If you're reading this, chances are, you're probably hiding in a corner with your laptop, actively trying to avoid the company of less-than-favourite relatives, or already dreading the post-Christmas lineup at stores to exchange gifts you didn't like. Welcome, my friends. You are my people.

Since Halloween ended, haven't you felt the chill in the air? Felt the hustle bustle and the anxiety of dealing with pushy store clerks? What about the endless stream of lousy Christmas music blaring at every corner? It's enough to make this girl an outright Scrooge.

Grumpy Cat is not in the festive spirit.

If you're with me and would rather escape the holiday buzz, here's a few books to curl up with by the fireplace (glass of eggnog optional!)

The Dreaded Feast: Writers on Enduring the Holidays
Michele Clark and others, 2009

The Dreaded Feast

Writers reflect on the downside of the holidays. Extended family, buying presents for people you don't like, neighbours who put their lights up in October and don't take them down till March...and how to survive it all.

Wrapped in Seduction
Lisa Renee Jones and others, 2009

Wrapped In Seduction

Tired of the typical feel-good Christmas tale? Why not try a different type of feel-good story? (Sorry, that's terrible. I know.)
In this sizzling collection of holiday-themed erotica, you've got titles like Hot For Santa, Wrapped in Holly, and Mistletoe Bliss.
You probably won't be needing that fire to keep you warm after all.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss, 1957

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

A classic tale of the original Grinch. It's hard not to admire him, no? I mean, he got sick of the darned spirited Whos down in Who-Ville and he made it a mission to steal their joy. You may not want to go that far (please don't trip any mall Santas!) but this vintage read may have you cackling and rubbing your hands together in evil glee. Settle down with the kids and have a go at this one. Be careful, though: heartwarming ending ahead...ugh.


Holidays on Ice
David Sedaris, 2008

Holidays On Ice

Called one of "the funniest writers alive", David Sedaris shares holiday pain and joy (but mostly pain) in a collection of stories, including Santa Land Diaries, a semi-autobiographical account of his time working as one of Santa's elves in a department store. Picture runny-nosed brats, brawling shoppers, and an elf costume not designed for comfort.


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Barbara Robinson, 1972

Here's another classic kids' book that is worth (re)reading. The Herdmans are the worst bunch of children in the history of the world. No, really: they're a bunch of lying, thieving arsonists that have no qualms about smoking your cigars and slapping your kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant. Any idealistic notions of a calm, serene Christmas just went out the window...


Whether you're a true Grinch or just get slightly grumpy around the holidays, be sure to make the best of it. I hope you avoided the mall crowds and shopped online, ditched taking on the big family dinner alone and did a jumbo potluck - whatever works best! Be sure to also check out Maureen's write-up of Christmas reads too (complete with store elf encounter!) After all, 'tis the season to be jolly...or so I've heard. 


Best of 2015: Staff Members' Favourite Reads 2

December 22, 2015 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...


The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky
What went wrong and what went right in the Iraqi invasion and occupation? As a British civilian working as a Political Advisor to US General Ray Odierno, and Petraeus, Sky was an insider who never lost her initial resistance to the war. She was there from the premature declaration of victory, through the success of the Sunni awakening to the disastrous withdrawal in 2010, and writes frankly about the work, the people and the problems.

My dog bobFaye:

My Dog, Bob by Richard Torrey
Bob likes breakfast, car rides and digging for bones. Unlike other dogs, Bob can make his own breakfast, drives the family in their family car and other unusual things.

Find out what else Bob can do.





The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
A steampunk alternate history in which the Dutch have become the dominant colonial power through enslaved alchemical-mechanical golems called Clakkers. There are epic battles between human and machine and good and evil, spies, treachery, explorations of identity, free will, and immortal souls, and some very creative swearing thrown in for good measure.


Challenger deepChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
A desperate and terrifying dip into the mind of a teen named Caden with mental illness, this YA novel is based on the author's son's experience with schizophrenia. It pulls no punches; delusions and hallucinations are scary and the treatments are difficult and life-long, but Caden's story helps to humanize people suffering from mental illness.

A raw but very important read.


Fifth seasonThe Fifth Season: Every Age Must Come to an End by N.K. Jemisin
Orogenes are people with the ability to control the movement of the earth on this catastrophically seismic planet; they are universally feared whether controlled by the shady organization called the Fulcrum, or living on the run in secret. Pick this up if you like your fantasy very dark and filled with fabulous world-building, beautiful writing, and intense characters diverse in skin colour, gender, and sexual orientation.


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