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Alix Hawley wins First Novel Award

May 21, 2015 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

All true not a lie

Alix Hawley has won the First Novel Award for All True Not a Lie in it. In the book, Daniel Boone gives a first person account of his life and adventures, including time in captivity with the Shawnee Indians. It is also available as an eBook.

First presented in 1976, this award is presented to a Canadian writer for a first novel. It was originally created by the literary magazine Books in Canada and sponsored by SmithBooks until 1994 and then by Chapters. The award is now presented by and The Walrus.


 The finalists for this year's award were:

Etta and otto and russell and james New tab Pedal Us conductors

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

New Tab by Guillaume Morisette

Pedal by Chelsea Rooney

Us Conductors by Sean Michaels


Just a Bunch of Heels: Books for Cannes

May 20, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Cannes Film Festival has been criticised this week for insisting that women attending screenings wear high heels. 

Here are some book covers that might meet their approval.

Afterburn & Aftershock Escaping reality Killer ambition Shopaholic to the stars

Afterburn: Aftershock by Sylvia Day
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Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark
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Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
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Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

Festival organizers have denied the allegations so here are some flats, too:

Footprints in the sand Love overdue Roost She wore red trainers

Footprints in the Sand: a Piper Donovan Mystery by Mary Jane Clark
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Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi

Roost by Ali Bryan

She Wore Red Trainers: a Muslim Love Story by Na'ima bint Roberts

Top Ten Books for David Letterman's Last Show

May 19, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

David Letterman has been a fixture on television for a long time. In the 1970s he worked as a radio host and weatherman in Indiana before moving to Los Angeles to become a comedy writer. He wrote for a number of shows and became a regular guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His television appearances led to a short-lived day time talk show on NBC which led to Late Night with David Letterman in 1982. In 1993, Letterman left NBC for CBS and The Late Show. David Letterman will host the show for the last time on May 20, 2015. Back in the 1980s Letterman had a recurring segment featuring the NBC Bookmobile staffed by Library Lady Kathleen Ankers and gruff but lovable old Gus, so it seems appropriate to mark the occasion with a book list.

Cool calm contentious Guy under the sheets How i got this way We'll be here for the rest of our lives

Calm, Cool and Contentious by Merrill Markoe
The co-creator and former head writer for Late Night with David Letterman, Markoe has written some very funny novels and non-fiction, often about her dogs. This is her latest collection of essays.

The Guy Under the Sheets: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Chris Elliott
Actor, writer, and comedian Elliott was a regular on Late Night with David Letterman playing such diverse characters as The Panicky Guy, The Conspiracy Guy, and The Guy Under the Seats. His novel The Shroud of the Thwacker was also a lot of fun. 

How I Got This Way by Regis Philbin
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Philbin made over 150 appearances on the Late Show--more than any other guest. Here he shares his life story and rules for living a happy life.

We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show Biz Saga by Paul Shaffer
Paul Shaffer's journey from Thunder Bay to David Letterman's band leader.

Fun facts Johnny carson Monologue

Late Show Fun Facts by David Letterman and The Late Show writers
A compilation of trivia from the Late Show Fun Facts segment.

Johnny Carson by Henry Bushkin
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Letterman was originally slated to take over The Tonight Show following Carson's retirement. It didn't work out but Letterman has always given Carson credit for his career. Following his retirement, Carson sometimes wrote jokes for Letterman's monologues. When Carson died, Letterman paid tribute by using only Carson's jokes in that evening's monologue.

Monologue: What Makes America Laugh Before Bed by Jon Macks
Why do so many people get their news from Letterman, Leno, and Stewart? Macks, a writer for The Tonight Show, explains the phenomenon of late night television.

This land was made for you Tricks and games War For Late Night

This Land was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me): Billionaires in the Wild by Bruce McCall and David Letterman
Ever wonder what it's like to be extremely wealthy? Find out in this parody catalogue featuring vacation homes of the 1 percent.

Tricks and Games to Teach Your Dog: 75+ Fun Indoor and Outdoor Activities for your Dog by Sophie Collins with Suellen Dainty
David Letterman's departure means that there will be no more televised Stupid Pet Tricks. Time to come up with your own!

The War for Late Night: When Leno went Early and Television went Crazy by Bill Carter
Carter has documented late night television show drama for years. In this book, he takes a closer look at the short-lived Conan O'Brien Tonight Show era.

If You Like This, Try That: Reading Lists for Adults

May 13, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

I love books because they go so nicely with everything. Toronto Public Library's Readers Services Committee tries to create booklists based on anything that people are talking about whether it's a book, movie or television show. 

These are some of the lists we've created recently:

Best-Selling Books

What do you do if you've already read the book everyone is talking about?

These lists will help you find something similar to:

Girl on the train Rosie project Yes please

The Girl on the Train 

The Rosie Project

Yes, Please


As soon as a new blockbuster movie is released, people rush into the library to read the book it was based on. After that, they look for something similar:

Fault in our stars Hobbit If i stay

The Fault in Our Stars

The Hobbit

If I Stay


Popular culture is a great guide to a person's likes and dislikes. People who are devoted to a particular television show may enjoy reading similar books. These are a few of the television-themed lists we've created:

Game of thrones Orphan black Outlander

Game of Thrones

Orphan Black


Take a look at the We Recommend page for more suggestions. 

Good Mothers vs Bad Mothers

May 8, 2015 | Lynn | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 10 and people will be making phone calls, buying flowers, making breakfast in bed and taking their mothers of all ages out for lunch. Mothers should be celebrated every day and fathers too. There are many books that illustrate beautiful mothers who will do anything for their children such as the mother bunny in The runaway bunny. On the other end of the spectrum are mothers in books that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy such as the stepmother in Cinderella or Hansel and Gretel. Here is a list of both good and bad mothers for your perusal.

Good Mothers

These are the mother who will take of you when you are sick, help with your homework, tuck you in at night and comfort you when you get nightmares.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little women by Louisa May Alcott

This classic tale centres around the lives of four sisters, but it is their mother that holds them all together and inspires them to become better and stronger people.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables

Anne is an orphan sent out to PEI to work on a farm with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert who were looking to take in a boy, not a girl. This Canadian classic shows that your mother is the one who loves and raises you, Marilla in this case, not necessarily the woman who gives birth to you. Motherhood can come in many forms.

A mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

A mother for Choco

This adorable picture book stars Choco, a little yellow bird looking for a mother all over the place, and learning that your mom does not have to look like you to be your mother.


Bad Mothers

These are the mothers more worried about themselves than their children, who will not look out for their children, will not worry about how their kids do in school and might even give their children nightmares.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare


Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude wastes no time in getting remarried once her husband is killed. She shows no real remorse to her son about getting married so quickly and doesn't see or care how much it hurts her son.

Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford

Mommie Dearest

This biography was released by Joan Crawford's daughter Christina after her mother's death and critics point out that Joan could not defend herself, which did not stop the story from making it onto the big screen.

Matilda by Roald Dahl


Matilda is a bright, compassionate child who is a passionate reader, but her mother sees her as someone to be home to sign for packages; and she doesn't know her daughter can read or that she should be in school.


This Sunday take time to thank your mother for all they do for you.  

Thanks Mom, love Lynn!

May the Fourth Be With You: Books for Star Wars Day

May 4, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

May 4th has become a celebration of the Star Wars franchise--especially important this year as fans await the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh installment in the film series. The earliest recorded Star Wars/May 4th reference comes strangely enough from the Conservative Party in the UK who placed an ad to commemorate Margaret Thatcher's inauguration as Prime Minister on May 4, 1979. It read "May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie". 

The first organized Star Wars-themed celebration on May 4 took place right here in Toronto in 2011 at Toronto Underground Cinema. Now everyone celebrates! Even library branches.

If you're between 5-12 years of age, you can attend events at these branches:
Fort York
Northern District

Really serious fans can also celebrate on May 5 on Revenge of the Fifth day. 

These books will help put you in the mood:

Star wars and history Star wars origami Star wars storyboards William shakespeare's star wars

Star Wars and History edited by Janice Liedl and Nancy R. Reagin
George Lucas is a passionate student of world history. This book, based on Lucas' own notes, shows the real life inspirations for plots and characters in the Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-Folding Projects from a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Chris Alexander
Who wouldn't want to spend the day doing this?

Star Wars Storyboards: the Original Trilogy
These are the complete storyboards from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher, inspired by the work of George Lucas and William Shakespeare
Star Wars: a New Hope, rewritten in Elizabethan English. There are also versions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

May the force be with you, today and everyday. 

Related Posts:

Ruth Rendell, 1930-2015

May 2, 2015 | Book Buzz | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Ruth RendellBritish crime writer Ruth Rendell was born Ruth Barbara Grasemann in London on February 17, 1930. Her parents were both teachers. Their marriage was tempestuous and as a result Rendell's childhood was not a happy one. After completing studies at County High School for Girls in Essex, she became a newspaper reporter but resigned after it was uncovered that she fabricated a story. (She reported on a local tennis club's annual dinner without attending and without realizing that one of the speakers had died during the event.)

She married fellow journalist Don Rendell in 1950. Their son Simon was born three years later. They divorced in 1975 but later remarried and remained together until his death in 1999. She had a number of relationships as a widow, including two marriage proposals, but said that she had all the companionship she needed from her cats. 

From doon with death No man's nightingale

Her first novel, From Doon with Death was published in 1964 and introduced her beloved detective Inspector Wexford. Wexford would appear in 24 books including the 2013 release No Man's Nightingale.

Girl next door Saint zita society Archie and archie Child's child

She also wrote numerous stand alone novels under her own name and psychological thrillers under the pseudonym Barbara Vine.  Her most recent releases are the stand alone novels The Girl Next Door (2014), The Saint Zita Society (2012),  and the  2013 children's book Archie and Archie all published under Ruth Rendell. A Barbara Vine novel The Child's Child was released in 2012.

Stephen King has written that "[n]o one surpasses Ruth Rendell when it comes to stories of obsession, instability, and malignant coincidence".

Ruth Rendell died on May 2, 2015. She had been ailing since suffering a stroke in January. 

(Photo Credit: Crime writer Ruth Rendell was at the Helsinki Book Fair 2005 by Anneli Salo, Creative Commons Licence) 

Weekend Read: The Damned

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

You may recall that I fell hard for Gone Girl a while back. While I thoroughly enjoyed the madness of that book, I was a little hesitant to get so wrapped up in yet another book with another insidious female character. There's only so much chaos you can handle at a time, right?

The Damned by Andrew PyperNevertheless, I found myself picking up The Damned by Andrew Pyper earlier this week. Pyper is no stranger to telling horrifying tales (you may have read The Killing Circle) and The Damned looks just as good.

The Damned follows Danny Orchard, a shy young boy who grows into a quiet man, tortured by the death of his picture-perfect twin sister, Ashley. He's not tortured in the way you'd expect though. He's not still mourning her untimely demise because he misses her. Rather, she's actually torturing him: her malevolent spirit just won't leave him alone. Pyschotic Ash isn't very happy that she perished in a the fire that Danny just barely survived and she's hell-bent on making sure he knows it.


I've only just begun reading this, but Ashley's character is already building up to be a memorable one. While the blonde haired, blue eyed twin is the vision of perfection in public, her family knows better. Danny, in particular, is privy to her twisted thoughts because as her fraternal twin, he says, "you just know".

Danny knows other things too. He knows what's on the other side of death. When Ash died, Danny did too. But somehow, mysteriously, he made it back. Years later, he writes and publishes a book about his experience and becomes somewhat of a celebrity expert about the afterlife.
While Danny is glad he returned to to the land of the living, he's a little weary of who he may have accidentally brought along with him on his ride back...

So far, The Damned is a creepy read that explores the connections between siblings and how scary it can be to have a sociopath living right under your roof. Danny's mother and father, both acutely aware of their daughter's dangerous mind, spend most of their time trying to stay out of her way.

If you're looking for a dark read from a Toronto writer that knows how to weave a gripping story, try out The Damned with me. Already read it? Let me know what you think: is it a hit or miss? Would you recommend it to an avid reader of the creepy/horror/supernatural genre? Leave a comment to share!

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Memoirs

April 30, 2015 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

In 1977, Ian Dury and the Blockheads released a song called Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll. This month I've written a blog post about sex (Birds Do It, Bees Do It: 5 Books about Animal Reproduction) and one about drugs (Pot of Gold: 5 Books for 420). So, in order to complete the trio here is a blog post about rock 'n' roll. 

These autobiographies have been published in the past couple of years. If you are a stickler for accuracy, you might point out that I have interpreted the term "rock 'n' roll" loosely. That's true but some of these books also contain sex and drugs, so that's kind of like bonus content. 

Clothes music boys Girl in a band I dreamed i was a very clean tramp Anger is an energy

Viv Albertine
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys
She was the guitar player for The Slits and inspired The Clash song Train in Vain. After playing an important role in the British punk scene, she retired from public life for more than a decade, restarting her musical career when she was in her fifties.

Kim Gordon
Girl in a Band
Co-founder, bass player and vocalist for the beloved alternative band Sonic Youth, Gordon released her autobiography in February 2015.

Richard Hell
I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp
Richard Hell is an influential punk musician who was a member of Television and Richard Hell and the Voidoids. He has written several books including this memoir.

John Lydon
Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored
Lead singer of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd (PiL). Although the Sex Pistols initially horrified British society, he was recently offered an MBE for services to music. He turned the honour down.

Morrissey autobiography Rocks Mo meta blues Punk rock blitzkrieg

Talking Book: CD Format (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Outspoken supporter of animal rights and critic of the British monarchy (among other things), this memoir covers his childhood, time with The Smiths and solo career.

Joe Perry
Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith
Although his family hoped he would become a reputable member of society, Joe Perry dropped out of school, grew his hair and cofounded Aerosmith in 1970. In this memoir he describes the high and low points of his life and the band.

Mo' Meta Blues: the World According to Questlove
The Roots' drummer Questlove shares his love of music and describes his evolution from childhood into a significant figure in hip hop. 

Marky Ramone
Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone
Marc Bell became Marky Ramone in 1978 when he joined the legendary punk band The Ramones. Although not an original member, Marky was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band in 2002. He is the only surviving member.

Art of asking Life Just kids Who i am

Amanda Palmer
The Art of Asking, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
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The often controversial Palmer has worked as a solo artist and in the bands The Dresden Dolls, Evelyn Evelyn and Grand Theft Orchestra. This book about the successes and failures in her life grew out of her popular TED talk.

Keith Richards
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Keith Richards documents his creative and frequently messed up life. I loved this book.

Patti Smith
Just Kids
In this autobiography, poet, artist and musician Patti Smith celebrates her relationships with photographer Robert Mapplethrope and New York City. Winner of the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Pete Townshend
Who I Am
Talking Book: CD Format (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
The angst-ridden musician describes his unhappy childhood, rock stardom with The Who, and struggles with addiction in this memoir. 

Powerful Stories: Novels about the Armenian Genocide

April 24, 2015 | Kelli | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

On April 24, 1915 several hundred Armenian intellectuals were rounded up, arrested and later executed. This event is generally viewed as the beginning of the Armenian genocide. Over the next few years, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were either massacred or deported from the former Ottoman Empire.  Overshadowed by World War 1, much of the world was unaware of the tragedy that was happening in Turkey at that time. Every year, Armenians around the world mark April 24th as a day of remembrance. This year is particularly poignant as it marks the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of the massacres. 

Reading historical fiction can be a great way to learn more about historical events. This recently published, debut novel by Aline Ohanesian, set partially in Turkey during the massacres, is receiving positive reviews

Orhan's inheritanceWhen Orhan's brilliant grandfather, Kemal, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old rug business. Other provisions in Kemal's will are much more surprising. Kemal has left the family estate to Seda, a stranger living thousands of miles away in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Orhan's family has no idea why Kemal left their home to this woman rather than to his own family.   Intent on finding answers,  Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles. There he unearths a story that has the power to unravel Kemal's legacy and Orhan's own future. The Toronto Public Library has Orhan's Inheritance on order, so place your hold now.



While you are waiting, here are some other novels about the Armenian genocide:

Bastard of istanbul Gendarme Sandcastle girls Skylark farm Summer Without Dawn

Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
From one of Turkey'’s most acclaimed writers, this the story of Asya, her mother and her three aunts who all live together in Istanbul. When the step daughter of Asya's estranged uncle arrives from the States, a secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres.
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The Gendarme by Mark Mustian
At age 92, Emmett Conn has had amnesia for 70 years, caused by his WWI injuries. Following surgery for a brain tumour, his past returns through disturbing dreams. There he relives his actions as a Turkish gendarme in the forced death march of thousands of Armenians into Syria and his obsession with a beautiful young Armenian girl, Araxie. After these revelations, Emmett decides that he must find Araxie and beg her forgiveness.

Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
When Elizabeth Endicott accompanies her father to Syria, to bring aid to the Armenian deportees, she meets Armen Petrosian. In spite of the loss and horror around them, they fall in love. In a parallel story, Laura Petrosian, Elizabeth and Armen's great-granddaughter, discovers some letters and photos and begins to piece their story together.
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Skylark Farm by Antonia Arslan, translated from Italian by Geoffrey Brock
In May 1915, Yerwant, after spending 40 years in Italy, is planning a long-awaited reunion with his family in Turkey. But then Italy enters the Great War and closes its borders. At the same time, his family begins a brutal odyssey of forced marches and prison camps at the hands of the Young Turks. They must struggle to survive as they set out to reach Yerwant, and safety, in Italy.

A Summer without Dawn by A. J. Hacikyan and Jean-Yves Soucy, translated from French by Christina Le Vernoy and Joyce Bailey
In the summer of 1915, days after the beginning of the deportation, Armenian journalist Vartan Balian is separated from his family and imprisoned. After a daring escape, he becomes a fugitive and begins the search for his wife and their young son.

If you prefer to read history over historical fiction, there are many non-fiction books on the Armenian genocide available to borrow.

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