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Hot Nonfiction: Place Your Holds Now!

November 25, 2016 | Kelli | Comments (0)

There are so many excellent nonfiction books available at the moment that it is difficult to decide which to read first!  

If you prefer to read nonfiction, or perhaps have a nonfiction reader on your gift list, have a look at this list of some of the recently books that are popular right now.


Book of Joy Born to Run Girl with the lower back tattoo Hamilton HIdden Life of Trees

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a changing world by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Told with humour and compassion, these two friends discuss how joy can become an enduring way of being.
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
Beginning in his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, Springsteen starts this memoir with his memories of his family and friends and how they constantly struggled to get by. While many of the events covered in the book will be well known to Springsteen fans, this is an opportunity to read about them from Springsteen's own point of view.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer and star, tells stories from her teenage years, her family, her relationships and the experiences that have shaped her.
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

Hamilton: The Revolution: Being the Complete Libretto of the Broadway Musical, with a True Account of its Creation, and Concise Remarks on Hip-Hop, the Power of Stories, and the New America by Lin-Manuel Miranda
The hip-hop musical Hamilton: The Revolution has been an incredible success. This is the story of the obstacles, influences and inspirational moments that occurred in the creation of the this Broadway hit. The soundtrack from this Tony Award-winning musical is also available to borrow in CD and digitally on Hoopla
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)

The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben
In this vivid glimpse into the secret world of trees, Wohlleben reports on research from scientists around the world who are examining how trees communicate and interact with one another. 


Hillbilly elegy Homo Deus Lab GIrl Pigeon tunnel Science of Why


Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
The Vance family story begins with J. D.'s grandparents who moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to escape the dreadful poverty of that area.  Settling in Ohio, they appear to raise a successful middle-class family. In reality, the family struggled with the demands of their new middle-class life and were never able to fully escape the impact of their family history. 
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval N. Harari
Harari examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between.  In this book, he asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? How will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? 


Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
An award-winning geochemist and geobiologist with a love of language, Jahren's memoir is both compelling and enlightening. She manages to combine her struggles as a woman scientist with the marvels of plants, and describes her collaboration with her partner Bill, in mischief, hard work and discovery.
Large Print


Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John Le Carré
Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire or celebrating New Year's Eve 1982 with Yasser Arafat and his high command, Le Carré endows each event in his memoir with vividness and humour. He also gives us a peek at his journey as a writer and his own hunt for the human spirit that has given so much life to his fictional characters.
Talking Book (Restricted to print disabled patrons)


The Science of Why: Answers to the Questions About the World Around Us by Jay Ingram
Acclaimed science writer and broadcaster Jay Ingram is here to put our scientific quandaries to rest. Jay shares his favorite head-scratchers and mind-benders. Whimsically illustrated and chock-full of fun science facts (and fictions), this book will appeal to anyone's inner science geek.
 • eBook


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What Should You Read Next? November Loan Stars Picks

November 22, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0)

Loan Stars is a readers’ advisory service that allows library staff across Canada to collaboratively select their favourite forthcoming titles. Library staff nominate and vote for their favourite picks and a top ten list of the most popular titles is distributed each month. 

November Loan Stars Top Ten:Absolutely on music

  1. Absolutely on Music: Conversations with Seiji Ozawa by Haruki Murakami

    A deeply personal, intimate conversation about music and writing between the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author and his close friend, the former conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

    Haruki Murakami's passion for music runs deep. Before turning his hand to writing, he ran a jazz club in Tokyo, and from The Beatles' Norwegian Wood to Franz Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage, the aesthetic and emotional power of music permeates every one of his much-loved books.
    Now, in Absolutely on Music, Murakami fulfills a personal dream, sitting down with his friend, acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa, to talk, over a period of two years, about their shared interest. Transcribed from lengthy conversations about the nature of music and writing, here they discuss everything from Brahms to Beethoven, from Leonard Bernstein to Glenn Gould, from record collecting to pop-up orchestras, and much more. Ultimately this book gives readers an unprecedented glimpse into the minds of the two maestros.

    It is essential reading for book and music lovers everywhere.

  2. Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

    Under the midnight sun This is the compelling story of a brutal crime and the two teenagers -- Ryo, the son of the murdered man, and Yukiho, the daughter of the main suspect -- whose lives remain inextricably linked over the 20-year search for the truth behind the crime. In Osaka in 1973, the body of a murdered man is found in an abandoned building. Investigating the crime, Detective SasagakI is unable to find the killer. Over the next 20 years, through the lens of a succession of characters, Higashino tells the story of two teens, Ryo and Yukiho, whose lives are most affected by the crime, and the obsessed detective, Sasagaki, who continues to investigate the murder, looking for the elusive truth. Under the Midnight Sun is a complex, psychological novel about crime and its after-effects by one of the most read and most accomplished contemporary mystery authors. A twisting, compelling work that will astonish and delight Higashino's old fans and new readers alike.

  3. Faithful by Alice Hoffman
    Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

    FaithfulGrowing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion — from dark suffering to true happiness — a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls — including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

  4. The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay

    TwentythreeFrom international bestselling author Linwood Barclay comes the third and final thriller in the Promise Falls trilogy.

    Everything has been leading to this. It's the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar symptoms — vomiting, dizziness, loss of consciousness — and dozens are dying. And those investigating the cause of the epidemic quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from poisoning this town? And what is their motivation? Meanwhile, as tragedies mount and the number of suspects grows larger, Detective Barry Duckworth is faced with another problem. The killer of Olivia Fisher and Rosemary Gaynor is still out there. And what's more, he knows that the mystery behind the significance of the number 23 is growing and is linked to a much larger scheme than he'd originally imagined. 

  5. Stone Coffin by Kjell Eriksson
    Stone coffin
    International suspense superstar Kjell Eriksson produces another masterful work of murder, intrigue and page-turning action in this latest thriller, featuring his popular series-detective Ann Lindell. One sunny summer morning, a young woman and her six-year-old daughter are run over by a car. Both are killed immediately. Is it an accident, or did someone kill them on purpose? The same morning the husband of the deceased young woman disappears. During the police investigation, it turns out that the husband had recently bought a property that nobody knew anything about. Later a macabre discovery is made in a forest nearby...

  6. Frantumaglia: A Writer's Journey by Elena FerranteFrantumaglia

    This book invites readers into Elena Ferrante’s workshop. It offers a glimpse into the drawers of her writing desk, those drawers from which emerged her three early standalone novels and the four installments of My Brilliant Friend, known in English as the Neapolitan Quartet. Consisting of over 20 years of letters, essays, reflections and interviews, it is a unique depiction of an author who embodies a consummate passion for writing.

  7. To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

    To capture what we cannot keepSet against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love. In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France — a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. She is a widow in a precarious financial situation. His bourgeois family expects him to join the business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.

  8. Inherit the Bones by Emily LittlejohnInherit the bones

    Secrets and lies can’t stay buried forever in Cedar Valley. Season by season, year after year, time passes and the lies, like the aspens and evergreens that surround the town, take root and spread deep. Now, someone has uncovered the lies, and it is his murder that continues a chain of events that began almost 40 years ago. Detective Gemma Monroe tracks a killer who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried.

  9. The Mayakovsky Tapes by Robert Littell
    Mayakovsky tapes
    In March 1953, four women meet in Room 408 of Moscow’s deluxe Hotel Metropol. They have gathered to reminisce about Vladimir Mayakovsky, the poet who in death had become a national idol of Soviet Russia. In life, however, he was a much more complicated figure. As they piece together their conflicting memories of him, a portrait of the artist as a young idealist emerges. The Mayakovsky Tapes is an ambitious, impressive novel that brings to life the tumultuous Stalinist era and the predicament of the artists ensnared in it.

  10. Testimony by Robbie Robertson Testimony
    Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

    Robbie Robertson’s singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history.

Best Grip-Lit Reads

November 20, 2016 | Viveca | Comments (2)

Blood on a Rose

"Grip-Lit" is certainly the fiction of choice for 2016 (as if this year wasn't tense enough). Psychological thrillers aren't new. However, these popular women-in-peril novels focus on domestic horrors: abuse, accidents, memory loss, missing children and (really) bad romance. Mix in unreliable narrators and huuge surprises -- and you have a gripping read. And isn't that appropriate for a year of post-truthiness and scary plot twists? 

Girl on the Train Book Cover Behind Closed Doors Book Cover Couple Next Door Book Cover Girls in the Garden Book Cover
I See You Book Cover Behind Her Eyes Book Cover Find Me Book Cover I Found You Book Cover

 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

After Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, this book has been a flagship title for this sub-genre. The film was released in October starring Emily Blunt. 

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

A British woman is living a storybook life with her charming husband. Except for what's in the basement.   

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapeña

A young couple's baby goes missing during a dinner party. You will endure the leaden prose just to find out what happened to the baby.  

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

After a tragic family incident, a woman moves into a new neighbourhood with a beautiful communal garden. A brutal attack on her 13-year-old daughter unearths terrible secrets at the heart of the community. Hint: it's not organically-grown kale.  

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Zoe's reading the newspaper on the train and spots an ad for "Find The One".  And it's got her picture underneath. To her horror, other women whose photos appear in these ads turn up dead.  

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

That awkward moment when the guy you smootched with in the bar last night turns out to be your new (married) boss.  And his wife seems scared of him. 

Find Me by J. S. Monroe

Jarlath's girlfriend killed herself when they were students.  Now he thinks he's seen her.  Is Rosa alive?  

I Found You by Lisa Jewell

In a British seaside town, single-mother Alice finds a man without a coat and his memory gone.  Naturally, she invites him in. 

I Let You Go Book Cover The Passenger Book Cover The Widow Book Cover In a Dark Dark Wood Book Cover

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Lives are shattered when a five-year-old boy slips from his mother's grasp and is killed by a hit-and-run driver. It's clear who's to blame -- or is it?  

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

Tanya's husband lies dead at the bottom of her staircase.  Looks bad. She bolts and changes her identity, which works -- until she's recognized.   

The Widow by Fiona Barton

A recent widow creepily contemplates telling the truth about the horrific crime her creepy husband was accused of committing. 

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Nora is invited to a bachelorette party for a friend she hasn't seen since "the accident" ten years earlier. Wait...what exactly did happen that night?

Related links: If You Liked the Girl on the Train

International Men for International Men's Day

November 17, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (1)

November 19 is International Men's Day. It has been celebrated annually on this date in much of the world since 1992. It was first observed in Canada in 2009. 

This year's theme is Stop Male Suicide. The coordinators of the event hope to raise awareness that a much larger number of men die each year from suicide worldwide than do women. Read more at the International Men's Day global website.

Celebrate International Men's Day with one of these novels about international men and boys.

American boy American boy taylor Boy from aleppo Boys from santa cruz

American Boy by Larry Watson
Coming of age story

The American Boy by Andrew Taylor
Large Print
Historical mystery

The Boy from Aleppo who Painted the War: A novel of Syria by Sumia Sukkar
Contemporary fiction

The Boys from Santa Cruz by Jonathan Nasaw
Suspense fiction

Dead man in malta German boy Man from beijing Man from berlin

A Dead Man in Malta by Michael Pearce
Historical mystery

The German Boy by Patricia Wastvedt
Historical fiction

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Crime fiction

The Man from Berlin by Luke McCallin
Large Print
Historical mystery

Man from saigon Our man in iraq Scotsman of my dreams Unfortunate englishman

The Man from Saigon by Marti Leimbach
Historical fiction

Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perišić
Political fiction

The Scotsman of my Dreams by Karen Ranney
Historical Romance

The Unfortunate Englishman by John Lawton
Large Print

Related post:

There is a Crack in Everything: Leonard Cohen, 1934-2016

November 11, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (1)

One of the most influential artists to come out of Canada, poet, musician, novelist Leonard Cohen died in Los Angeles on November 7, 2016. 

Cohen was born in Montreal and in his teenage years developed an interest in music founding a country/folk band called The Buckskin Boys. His real passion, however, was poetry. He was a devoted fan of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca and Canadian poets like Irving Layton, who taught at Herzliah High School where Cohen was a student. 

Let us compare mythologiesHe received a B.A. from McGill University where he found success as a writer, winning the Chester MacNaghten Literary Competition while a student. His first book of poetry Let Us Compare Mythologies was published in 1956. It contained poems he had written between ages 15-20. He attended law school at McGill but dropped out after one term to pursue literary success while attending graduate school at Columbia University. 

In 1961, his second book of poetry Spice-Box of Earth brought him wider recognition in the Canadian literary scene and with the financial support of a modest trust fund, he bought a house on Hydra in Greece where he completed work on another poetry collection, Flowers for Hitler and two novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers.

Spice-box of earth Flowers for hitler Favourite game Beautiful losers

Frustrated by the lack of success with his writing, Cohen returned to New York in 1966 where he joined the burgeoning folk music scene. His first album Songs of Leonard Cohen was released in 1967 followed by numerous classic albums:

Songs of leonard cohen Songs from a room Songs of love and hat3e

Songs of Leonard Cohen

Songs from a Room

Songs of Love and Hate

Death of a ladies man I'm your man Live in dublin

Death of a Ladies' Man

I'm Your Man

Live in Dublin

Ten new songs You want it darker

In the mid-1990s, plagued by depression Cohen dropped out of the public eye entirely, moving to a Buddhist retreat in California for several years. He returned to the recording studio with Ten New Songs released in 2001 and began touring again following the discovery that his longtime manager had misappropriated most of his savings. 

His final album You Want it Darker was released in October 2016. At this time, Cohen caused concern by telling the New Yorker that he was "ready to die". He subsequently clarified this by announcing "I think I was exaggerating. I’ve always been into self-dramatization. I intend to live forever."

...and he will--through his poetry and fiction but most of all through the songs that live on in our hearts. 

Lest We Forget: Bomb Girls

November 11, 2016 | Andrea | Comments (0)

On Remembrance Day, we pay tribute to our veterans in different ways, reflecting on the lives lost and sacrifices made in times of war and treasuring what peace can be found during these sobering days. It is especially important that the stories of women dedicated to serving their country are not swept into a dusty corner of history.

Bomb Girls: Trading Aprons for Ammo is about the women who toiled in a Scarborough munitions factory during the Second World War. The book collects detailed photos, maps and other documents alongside fascinating first-hand accounts of working with dangerous explosives.

Bomb Girls by Barbara DicksonBomb Girls by Barbara Dickson

Anti-aircraft guns were dependent on fuses from the General Engineering Company plant. Here is one on display at the Scarborough factory in 1944, being inspected by five workers: Frances Russell, Audrey McNabb, Sydney Cumberland, Norma Clark and Betty Carroll. One of these guns can throw hundreds of heavy shells every hour.

Five women inspect an anti-aircraft gun at GECO plant in 1944Source: Toronto Star Photo Archive


In addition, author Barbara Dickson will be speaking at North York Central Library next week. How historically accurate is the Toronto-filmed TV show that shares a title with her book? Here's your opportunity to ask!  

Bomb Girls Season One   Bomb Girls Season Two
Bomb Girls Season One
Bomb Girls Season Two


Related posts:

Remembering Those Not on the Front Lines
We honour Remembrance Day with WW1 Canadian vintage military posters
We shall not sleep. Though poppies grow in Flanders Fields.

International Cookbooks for World Vegan Month

November 10, 2016 | M. Elwood | Comments (1)

November is World Vegan Month. It was established by The Vegan Society in 1994 to raise awareness of animal cruelty and encourage people to stop exploiting animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

A plant-based diet doesn't mean you eat nothing but salad. If you've never tried vegan cooking, you may be surprised at how much variety there is.

These vegan cookbooks take inspiration from international cuisines:

30 minute vegan's taste Caribbean vegan Chinese vegan kitchen

The 30-Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe: 150 Plant-Based Makeovers of Classics from France, Spain, Italy and Beyond by Mark Reinfeld

Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free: Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion by Taymer Mason

The Chinese Vegan Kitchen: More than 225 Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Dishes from the Culinary Regions of China by Donna Klein

Chloe's vegan italian Great gluten free eats Indian vegan kitchen

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: 150 Pizzas, Pastas, Pestos, Risottos, and lots of Creamy Italian Classics by Chloe Coscarelli

Great Gluten-Free, Vegan Eats from around the World: Fantastic, Allergy-Free Ethnic Recipes by Allyson Kramer

The Indian Vegan Kitchen: More than 150 Quick and Healthy Homestyle Recipes by Madhu Gadia

Kansha Mediterranean vegan kitchen Vegan without borders

Kansha: Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions by Elizabeth Andoh

The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein

Robin Robertson's Vegan without Borders by Robin Robertson

Teff love V street Vegan eats world

Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cooking by Kittee Berns

V Street: 100 Globe-Hopping Plates on the Cutting-Edge of Vegetable Cooking by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

Vegan Eats World: 250 International Recipes to Savoring the Planet by Terry Hope Romero

Vegan indian cooking Vegan soul kitchen Viva vegan

Vegan Indian Cooking: 140 Simple and Healthy Vegan Recipes by Anupy Singla

Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry

Viva Vegan!: 250 Authentic and Fabulous Recipes for Latin Food Lovers by Terry Hope Romero

The recipes in these books will take you all the way through November and beyond. You may never eat meat again!

Madeleine Thien Wins Scotiabank Giller Prize

November 8, 2016 | Book Buzz | Comments (0)


Madeleine Thien's novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing tells the story of three music students in China before, during and after the Cultural Revolution, the sociopolitical movement that set out to purge China of traditional and capitalist art that did not reflect the values of the New China. As a result, the students lose both their identities as musicians and the music they love. 

This powerful novel is the winner of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize. 

Do not say we have nothing



Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien



The other finalists were:

13 ways of looking at a fat girl Best kind of people

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Party wall Wonder Yiddish for pirates

The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux

The Wonder by Emma Donahue
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)

Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin

Related posts:

[Photo of Madeleine Thien By Simon Fraser University - University Communications ( [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons]

November is National Alzheimer's Month

November 4, 2016 | Lynn | Comments (6)

This month marks National Alzheimer's Month, a disease that according to Alzheimer Society of Canada afflicts 564,000 Canadians currently, with 25,000 new people diagnosed each year. That means every hour roughly 3 new people will be diagnosed. This is a number that does not seem to be slowing down, but research continues. This diagnosis can be difficult to process not only for the patient, but for their family as well. For that reason here are some non-fiction materials, fictional account and movies that tackle this neurological disease.


Non-Fiction Books

Canadian Home Care Handbook a practical, visual guide for the home caregiver   Supporting parents with Alzheimer's: your parents took care of you, now how do you take care of them?    Alzheimer's disease: a complete introduction

Canadian Home Care Handbook: A practical, visual guide for the home caregiver

Reliable, straightforward advice and specially commissioned images provide helpful visual explanations for topics from basic nursing techniques and first aid emergencies to room-by-room improvements to make home care easier. Fully adapted for Canada to include useful information on federal and provincial benefits for caregivers, tips on funding and useful contacts.

Supporting your parents with Alzheimer's: your parents took care of you: now how do you take care of them?

Many of us are unprepared and confused about how to proceed when our parent begins to suffer the effects of old age. If your parent has been diagnosed with a cognitive illness, 'Supporting Parents with Alzheimer's' will arm you with the knowledge to meet your parent’s psychological and physical needs so that he or she can continue to live comfortably and safely, without feeling like a burden.

Alzheimer's Disease: a complete introduction

Alzheimer's Disease: The Complete Introduction is a comprehensive guide to the disease and its effects: getting a diagnosis, the ways it can progress and be managed, strategies for supporting sufferers and accessing care, legal concerns, and more. This guide addresses every aspect of the disease from the first doctor's visit to the long-term measures that can drastically improve the lives of sufferers and those close to them.


Fiction Books

Still Alice   Wrinkles  Before I forget

Still Alice

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. This was also made in a movie.


Admitted to a home for the elderly because he suffers from Alzheimer's disease, Emilio's community life feels like an ordeal. But soon he accepts his new environment and decides to fight to escape from giving in to his awful destiny. Even as his memory flutters, he and new friend Miguel, an overconfident ladies' man, invent creative ways to enliven their daily routines and strike a blow for personal freedom. It all culminates in a foolhardy, madcap, nighttime joyride... of sorts. 

Before I Forget

A man recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease takes a road trip to visit his ailing, estranged father, along with his troubled teen-aged son.



Can Alzheimer's be stopped?   The Alzheimer's Project    The forgetting a portrait of Alzheimer's

Can Alzheimer's be stopped?

Alzheimer's disease ravages the minds of over 40 million victims worldwide. The cause of Alzheimer's and whether it can be stopped is one of the greatest medical mysteries of our time. Join courageous patients participating in clinical trials, and then go behind the scenes of the major drug trials to see how researchers target and test therapies that may slow and even prevent Alzheimer's.

The Alzheimer's Project

The Alzheimer's project features a four-part documentary series (The memory loss tapes; Grandpa, will you remember me?, Caregivers, and Momentum in science), 15 short supplemental films, a website, and a nationwide community-based information and outreach campaign, to capture what it means to experience the disease, to be a child or grandchild of one who suffers, and to care for those who are affected.

The Forgetting: a portrait of Alzheimer's

Provides insight into the mysterious illness called Alzheimer's and its effects on the friends and family of the patient. Weaves together the real-world experiences of patients and caregivers, the history and biology of the disease, and the struggle to cure the disease.


Feature Films

  Away from her   Savages Aurora Borealis

Away From Her

This touching film directed by Canadian Sarah Polly follows a loving couple who are separated for 30 days after his wife admits herself to a care home due to her Alzheimer's.  When they meet again she seems to have forgotten her husband of 40 years and is showing affection to a fellow resident.


Jon and Wendy Savage (Hoffman and Linney) are two siblings who have spent their adult years trying to recover from their abusive father, Lenny (Bosco). Suddenly, a call comes in that Lenny's girlfriend has died and he cannot care for himself. Lenny suffers from dementia and her family dumps Lenny on his children. Despite the fact Jon and Wendy have not spoken to Lenny for twenty years and he is even more loathsome than ever, the Savage siblings feel obliged to take care of him. Now together, brother and sister must come to terms with the new and painful responsibilities with their father. The siblings are forced to face the struggle with their own personal demons.

Aurora Borealis

When he takes a job in order to be near his ill grandfather and grandmother, Duncan begins to find purpose. The newfound sense of being needed, plus a budding romance with Kate, begins to change Duncan profoundly.


There will also be a discussion on November 17, 2016 from 7-8:30 PM at Richview library. Dr. Ian Cohen will discuss a memory program with Canadian researchers in the field. As with all medical related things, please check with your own physician if you have concerns about yourself or a loved one.

NaNoWhatNow? Write Your Own Book for NaNoWriMo

November 1, 2016 | Maria | Comments (0)


Is everyone around you suddenly talking about NaNoWriMo? If not, they should be, because National Novel Writing Month is a pretty big deal. 

NaNoWriMo display at Albert Campbell Branch

What is National Novel Writing Month?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo for short) happens every year in November, when people from all over the world make a pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It's a mixed bag of writers: ones who have never written a book before (but always wanted to); seasoned authors with multiple books published; and people who have no idea how they got roped into it in the first place. I won't tell you where I fit in on the NaNo writer spectrum, but let's just say I've never regretted participating.

The reason I started off this blog by telling you that NaNo is a big deal is because thousands of people participate each year. Last year, there were 431,666 participants worldwide. Of those, 1,655 were from Toronto. Our city actually has one of the largest, most active NaNo communities. The latest NaNo stats (I could only find ones from 2013) had Toronto ranked #6 in the world. I wouldn't be surprised if we're now in the top five, if not #1. TonNaNo hosts tons of events (just scroll through the calendar), is active on Facebook and Twitter, and even has a chat room where participants can talk about their progress.

You're extremely lucky to not only live in Toronto, but to have come across this post. Today is November 1st. Day 1 of NaNoWriMo. If you've always wanted to write a book, here's your chance!

How Do You Participate?

Seasoned Wrimos (a Wrimo is a NaNoWriMo participant), you may want to skip this section.

Everyone else, just start writing.

You can write your novel on the computer, by hand, or on a typewriter (if you're so inclined). You can choose to write 1,667 words a day, every day. You can write 6,250 words every weekend. You can write sporadically, a thousand words here, four thousand words there. You can do anything you want; what matters is that you start writing on or after today, Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 and aim to write a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, November 30th, 2016.

To be an official participant, you can sign up on the NaNoWriMo website, which  will allow you to keep track of your progress and award you a certificate if, strike that, when you win. Best of all? Even if you don't win, you'll be a lot closer to finishing your novel than you were when you first started.

Where Do You Find Other Wrimos?

If you'd like to be part of the ToNaNo community, your first stop should be the official Toronto region forum. You'll find posts, discussions forums and a calendar of events.

If you're looking for NaNoWriMo advice and support halfway through the month, Albert Campbell Branch is hosting a NaNoWriMo themed Local Authors Night on Wednesday, November 16th from 6:30-8 PM. NaNo experts, past winners and authors will be on hand to answer all your questions and talk about their 2016 NaNo experience so far.

On Saturday, November 26th from 2-4 PM, you can also join other Wrimos in the east end, at Albert Campbell Branch for a write-in, where you can write your way closer and closer to that 50K.

 20161029_150139  20161029_150118

Tips for Success

If you made it this far, I'm going to assume you're on board the ToNaNo Star Ship and ready to write those 50,000 words. To guide you on your journey, here are five tips for success. They're based on my research as a librarian coupled with personal experience as a two-time NaNoWriMo winner (almost three, but I'd rather not get into that). BTW, a NaNoWriMo winner is someone who has written 50,000 words in the month of November.

#1: Have a Plan

We’re only on day one, so it's not too late to have a plan. Not just what you’ll write, but where. At a coffee shop or in your favourite chair?

Stephen King is a great role model for us Wrimos. Daily rituals: how artists work, a book that details the habits of various artists (including writers), notes that "King writes every day of the year, including his birthday and holidays, and he almost never lets himself quit before he reaches his daily quota of two thousand words” (page 224). That's enough to win NaNoWriMo and finish early. 

So what is King's secret? Habit. In his book On writing: a memoir of the craft, King recommends that aside from having a daily writing goal (the magic number for NaNo is 1,667 words per day), you should also write at the same time every day and have a dedicated writing space (pages 155-157). Why? So you can turn writing into a routine.

The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business explains that you need cues, or triggers, to tell your brain to get to work. That way, every day when the clock strikes 12 (or whatever time you pick to start writing), you automatically head to your dedicated writing space and get NaNo-ing. Even if you can't be as meticulous as King, you should still come up with a routine to turn writing into a habit. Maybe you make a cup of tea every time you start writing, or you have a dedicated writing laptop that you never use for anything else. You could even have a writing outfit, something you only wear to get that word count rolling. Whatever you choose, decide now, and then stick to your plan. Personally, I have a netbook I use exclusively for writing. I also keep my agenda on hand, and reward myself with colourful stickers as I write (an idea I got from Toronto author Rebecca Diem at the September Local Authors Night at Albert Campbell Branch, which she got from author Victoria Schwab's Vlog).

Lastly, in his article "How a Month of NaNoWriMo Can Lead To a Lifetime of Better Writing", Grant Faulkner suggests announcing your NaNo writing plan to friends and family, and to the larger NaNo community. That way, you'll be accountable to someone and are more likely to stick to your plan. Faulkner's article can be found in the November issue of Writers' Digest (pages 42-45). You can access it for free on Zinio with your library card, or stop by one of our libraries to read a physical copy.

 Daily Rituals  On Writing  The power of habit  The 101 habits of highly successful novelists

#2: Listen to the Experts

There is so much great advice already out there, you just have to know where to find it.

You'll find tons of advice from published authors on the NaNoWriMo website, the NaNoWriMo blog, in your inbox, and on NaNoWriMo's Twitter using the hashtag #nanocoach. A NaNoCoach is a published author who encourages NaNoWriMo participants on Twitter by tweeting tips and answering questions. Each NaNoCoach serves for one week in November.

There are also tons of great books that can help you win NaNoWriMo: 

No plot no problem  Book in a month  Write your novel in a month  Fast fiction 

#3: Exercise: No, Really.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't do this one as often as I should, but many writers swear by exercise as part of their creative routine.

Exercise is one of The 101 habits of highly successful novelists. "Different forms of physical activity enhance your creative juices" (page 100), which can give you that extra creative boost you need this November. If you don't normally exercise, maybe you could try walking, a really short workout, or yoga to help you write.  

Born to walk Fit in 5  Writing the fire  What I talk about when I talk about running

#4: Avoid Injury: Write Right

For the month of November, you need to think of yourself as a star athlete. Everyone's cheering for you to reach that 50K and you have an arsenal of tips and tricks to help you win. You may even be on a word count roll, but if you get injured and can't keep writing, you're out of the game.

NaNoWriMo involves a lot more sitting and typing (or handwriting?) than your body's used to. You may not see the inherent danger, but according to Deskbound: standing up to a sitting world, "sitting is as much an occupational risk as lifting heavy weights on the job" (page 7).

So what can you do? Make sure you write right. You could try a standing desk. If you sit, make sure to use an ergonomic workstation. Even if you're writing at a coffee shop or the library, keep an eye on your posture and write right. Also, don't forget to take periodic breaks and stretch, especially when your wrists start to ache. 

Deskbound The complete guide to stretching Anatomy & 100 essential stretching exercises

#5: Don't Stop on Day 30

When I blog about NaNoWriMo next year, I would love to include your book as one of this year's NaNoWriMo success stories. 

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. Did you know that Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus are among them? If you'd like to find out more, a colleague of mine wrote a blog post last year that talked about published NaNoWriMo novels. These novels were started in November, but they didn't end there. As these authors can attest, NaNoWriMo is just the beginning... it's the first draft of that story that's been trapped inside you. Then comes the hard part: editing, editing and more editing. Plus, many novels are a lot longer than 50,000 words. So when it's December 1st, and you're just glad it's over, remember that it's really not. Finish that novel. Edit it. Make it perfect. And don't forget to let me know, so I can include your story in next year's NaNo post!

Cinder  Fangirl  Water for Elephants  The Night Circus

It's Time to Start Writing!

Well... not quite yet. If you have NaNoWriMo advice you swear by, please post it in the comment section below. I'd love to hear what works for you, and I'm sure other Wrimos would too.

Okay. Deep breath. Here comes the hard part. You're at that point that you were trying to keep at bay by reading this post in the first place (unless you just discovered NaNoWriMo, in which case, welcome aboard!). Right now, it's time to stop procrastinating and start writing. There's really no advice that will help you put down one word after the other the way a writing session can. Which is why I'll take my own advice, retire my librarian blogger hat (at least for today), and get to work. After all, those 50,000 words won't write themselves.

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