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Five Books about Weekends

August 29, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

These books are about weekend getaways. Some weekends are pleasant; others are not.

Long weekend

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Ten strangers are lured to an island where they discover that they are the target of a crazed killer.

The Last Weekend by Blake Morrison
Two couples spend a tense weekend in a remote cottage where old rivalries and conflicts resurface.

The Long Weekend by Veronica Henry
A seaside hotel in Cornwall is the long weekend destination for several families in this engaging summer read.

Osterman weekend The weekend

The Osterman Weekend by Robert Ludlum
A television network manager is planning a weekend four couples and is horrified when a CIA agent approaches him with information that one of the guests is a terrorist.

The Weekend by Bernard Schlink
Old friends gather at a secluded estate but it's no ordinary weekend. They've met to celebrate the pardon of one of their number--who had been convicted of murder and terrorism.

Enjoy your long weekend!

Subways, Subways, Subways: Fiction

August 25, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Public transit is always in the news so I decided to write about Toronto subways in fiction. Using Google Books, I searched for novels that mentioned specific subway stations. It was ridiculously successful. Dear little Bessarion Station has not made it into a novel yet but practically every other station has. A blog post listing all the books that mention subway stations would be unwieldy to say the least.

While I work on the formatting for that monster post, check out these books. Each involves a subway system in some part of the world.

Acceleration Girls fall down Third rail Baptism


Acceleration by Graham McNee
Duncan has a summer job cataloguing lost items at the TTC Lost and Found office located at the Bay station. One of the items he finds is a diary apparently written by a serial killer stalking people in the subway system. An award-winning YA novel.

Girls Fall Down by Maggie Helwig
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
After a girl faints on the subway and her friends develop strange rashes, the city of Toronto goes on alert. Is this evidence of a terrorist attack or something else? Photographer Alex is determined to document the city on film and travels around the city on foot and by transit.


The Third Rail by Michael Harvey
A sniper is targeting passengers on the Chicago Transit Authority and ex-cop turned private detective Michael Kelly is asked to assist with the investigation.


Baptism by Max Kinnings
Religious fanatics hijack a London subway with plans to kill everyone on board by flooding the tunnel. It's up to blind hostage negotiator Ed Mallory to avert this tragic outcome.

Man in the brown suit Neverwhere Metro 2034 Stalin's ghost

The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Large Print
Anne Beddington becomes suspicious after witnessing the death of a man at Hyde Corner Station and follows a cryptic note that has fallen out of the dead man's pocket.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
An act of kindness destroys Richard Mayhew's life and forces him into London Below, a hidden world of abandoned subway stations, sewers and bizarre creatures.


Metro 2034 by Dmitry Glukhovsky
A nuclear war has forced the surviving population to live underground where subway stations have become miniature countries. When supplies unexpectedly stop, a small group of Sevastopolskya Station citizens is sent through the Metro to investigate.

Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith
Large Print
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Arkady Renko investigates when passengers report seeing the ghost of Joseph Stalin in the Chistye Prudy Metro Station.

New York City

Chasing windmills Gone tomorrow Lowboy Please look after mom All tomorrow's parties

Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde
A chance meeting on a subway car inspires strangers Sebastian and Maria to change their lives.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
Large Print
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Jack Reacher suspects that one of the passengers on his subway car is a suicide bomber.

Lowboy by John Wray
A schizophrenic teenager on a mission to save the world disappears into the New York subway.


Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
Large Print
A family is distraught when its matriarch goes missing at the Seoul Station subway.


All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson
A clairvoyant cyberpunk living in a cardboard box in a Tokyo subway station,  mobilizes his friends to prevent a world disaster. Although part of Gibson's Bridge Trilogy, this book can be read on its own.

Toronto Book Awards Shortlist Announced

August 22, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

The Toronto Book Awards were created in 1974 to celebrate the diversity of writing in the city. Any type of writing--fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama--are eligible for the prize as are books written for adult, young adult and juvenile audiences. This year the nominees include both fiction and non-fiction.

The 2014 shortlist was announced on Friday, August 22.

The hungry ghosts Kicking the sky The massey murder The stop how the fight for good food Wondrous woo

The Hungry Ghosts by Shyam Selvadurai

Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa

The Massey Murder: a Maid, her Master and the Murder that Shocked a Nation by Charlotte Gray

The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis

The Wondrous Woo by Carrianne Leung

The winner will be announced on October 16.

Meet the nominees at Yorkville Branch on October 8, 7-8:30 PM.

Five Tales from the Fairgrounds

August 15, 2014 | Andrea | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

'Tis the season for Ferris wheels and farm animals, Mardi Gras beads and mad food concoctions, sand sculptures and showmanship! The 136th Canadian National Exhibition opens today, and you can check out the schedule of events online. Want to see some snapshots from the Exes of yesteryears? The Toronto Public Library's Preservation and Digitization Team has collected lots of old photos, paintings and other CNE ephemera on a Pinterest board, which you can browse online.

After you tire of making laps around the Polar Express and the Food Building and the warehouse outlets, you can unwind with these books offering different takes on fairs and amusement parks:


Devil in the White City Down and out in the Magic Kingdom Joyland St. Peters Fair Wild Ride   

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
by Erik Larson

The 1893 World's Fair in Chicago is the backdrop of this true story about an architect and a serial killer, and the event where their paths converged.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

What could possibly go wrong when death has been cured and you're living in Disney World? Plenty, as this sci-fi satire shows us!

Joyland by Stephen King

A melancholy ghost story/whodunit from the master of horror, set in a haunted amusement park.

St. Peter's Fair by Ellis Peters

The fourth book in the Brother Cadfael medieval mystery series sends the monk detective on the trail of a murderer... who strikes at a summer fair!

Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

If you enjoy action-packed paranormal romance and quick-witted heroines, take a trip to this abandoned theme park that doubles as a prison for demons.

Previous blog posts on the CNE and its history:
Let's All Go To The Ex
At the Ex: Past, Present and Virtual

Love is in the Air

August 11, 2014 | M. Elwood | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

It's a story as old as time--boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy begins a Twitter campaign to get her back and they live happily ever after.

Irishman Jamie Kelly was seated next to Canadian Katie Moreau on a flight from Barcelona to Dublin. They quickly discovered they had a lot in common and were smitten by the time the flight ended. Unfortunately in the chaos of disembarking, the pair were separated and never had a chance to exchange information. Jamie harnessed the power of the Twitterverse in his search using hashtags #findkatie and #loveatfirstflight. His efforts were publicized in Canada where Katie's sister helped reconnect the couple.

Yearning for a vacation romance? Try one of these books:

Carrie goes off the map Dreamboat In the bag
Knight in shining armor Wish you were here

Carrie Goes Off the Map by Phillipa Ashley
Carrie plans to forget her ex-fiance with a European road trip but ends up with an unexpected travel companion--a handsome doctor--after her friend backs out.

Dreamboat by Judith Gould
Large Print
When two friends take a month-long cruise from Athens to Brazil they expect a relaxing vacation, instead they find romance and danger.

The Food of Love by Anthony Capella
An American woman on vacation in Rome is charmed by a handsome man offering her delicious food in this modern update of Cyrano de Bergerac.

In the Bag by Kate Klise
Mixed-up luggage and a spilled glass of wine spark unlikely romances between single parents and their teenagers as they travel through different parts of Europe.

Invitation to Provence by Elizabeth Adler
Large Print
Talking Book (restricted to Print Disabled patrons)
Suddenly single Franny Marten is invited to a family reunion in Provence where she discovers dark family secrets and meets an irresistible man.

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
Large Print
A woman vacationing in England is visiting an isolated churchyard when a long-dead 14th century Earl appears and asks for her help.

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Large Print
While on vacation in Italy, Lucy Honeychurch is courted by both Cecil Vyse, a socially appropriate mate and George Emerson, a man who challenges and stimulates her. Will she flaunt convention and marry for love?

Summer at the Lake by Erica James
Floriana, Esme and Adam drawn together by an accident, travel to Italy's Lake Como to recover from broken relationships.

Wish You Were Here by Victoria Connelly
A getaway in the Greek Islands becomes romantic when mousy Alice meets a handsome gardener.

2014 Man Booker Longlist Announced

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

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

Blazing world Bone clocks The dog joseph o'neill
History of the rain

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

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

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

History of the Rain by Niall Williams

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

How to be Both by Ali Smith

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

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

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

Orfeo by Richard Powers

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Us by David Nicholls

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

The shortlist will be revealed on September 9.

The winner will be announced on October 14.

Toronto Public Library's Award Winners page lists the Man Booker Prize shortlist and winners dating back to 2007.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Were Liars is available in:
Regular Print

Related Post:

Boycott the Emmys, Read a Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Ordinary Spy by Joseph Weisberg

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

Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

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

The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History by John Ortved

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

Two More Books About Seniors Heading Off On Adventures

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

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


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


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


Toronto Reading Map

May 17, 2014 | Book Buzz | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

It's no secret that Toronto is a great city with great writers. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the city provides the setting for a whole lot of novels.

Toronto Public Library's Neighbourhood Reading Map not only identifies books that are set in Toronto, but breaks them down into specific parts of the city. There are 19 separate neighbourhoods identified including Don Mills, Parkdale and Kensington Market.

Neighbourhood Reading Map
Take a look and see what we've found in your neighbourhood or explore another part of the city through fiction.

If your favourite Toronto book is not listed, don't despair. The Neighbourhood Reading Map is a work in progress and we're still adding titles.

What's your favourite Toronto novel? Tell us about it in the comments.

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