Canada Reads is on!

canadareadsIt’s Day Two of Canada Reads and I for one, can’t wait to see which book wins.  This year’s theme is all about breaking barriers — which means that there’s quite the range of subject matter being covered in both fiction and non-fiction.  In today’s debate, Craig Kielburger and Lainey Gossip engaged in a heated debate about whether When Everything Feels Like the Movies is too graphically sexual for it to engage meaningful debate about homophobia and bullying.  Craig argued passionately that it is, while Lainey countered that the language and preoccupations of the book were merely representative of teenage reality.

moviesNot to sound like a prude, but I tried and failed to engage with the story for precisely the reasons Craig described.  To me, the writing felt deliberately provocative — to the point that I couldn’t get into the story.  Is this what it means to break barriers though?  Is the reason I decided not to finish the book precisely the reason it’s a good candidate for this year’s Canada Reads winner?

Which book do you think should win?


Book News Roundup: March 13, 2015


The longlist of my favourite literary award — the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction — was announced this week.

Check out the Canada Reads nominees’ book trailers.

And the BC Book Prize nominees, too!

And also the National Book Critics Circle Award Winners.

Inside the search for the new Q host: Shad.

21 debut authors of 2015 to check out.

RIP Terry Pratchett.

George R. R. Martin on Station Eleven and the Genre Wars.

Vancouver’s Literary Landmarks.

Is anyone else as excited for this documentary as I am?

Happy weekend!


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Book News Roundup: March 6, 2015

YawningCatThis much-hyped actress will star in a film adaptation of the recently released, much-hyped memoir, It’s What I Do, by Lynsey Addario.

Science proves what I’ve always known: reading aloud is the best.

Confessions of a bookcase.

In honour of International Women’s Day, here are 12 Canadian authors you need to read.

Fascinating literary rumors.

24 brilliant bookmarks you need in your life.

On the persistence of the physical book in the digital age.

Happy weekend!


I <3 You, Mark Bramhall!

amtSigh.  I am in love.  The whole world seems brighter, birds sing more sweetly, and going to the gym — which mere months ago was *ahem* not my favourite thing to do — is now something I cherish.  For three hours a week as I sweat and curse my lack of core strength, Mark Bramhall and I are together.  Well, his voice and I are together anyway.  For those of you who haven’t met my beloved, he is an audiobook narrator.  Our love began with The Magicians Trilogy (a firm favourite of mine made better by Bramhall’s narration which ably captures Quentin Coldwater’s continuing angst as he comes of age in the fantastical world of Fillory).architect

We continued to meet discretely in Charles Belfoure’s The Paris Architect, which Malcolm Gladwell described as “a beautiful and elegant account of an ordinary man’s unexpected and reluctant descent into heroism during the second world war.”

And now I’ve hit paydirt with Edward Rutherfurd’s sweeping novel New York – a whopping 37 hours and 17 minutes that Mark (he said I could call him Mark) and I can spend together.

newyorkAll silliness aside, it was challenging for me to find an audiobook whose narrator I liked.  Some people’s voices sound affected in a way that can be off-putting; I just want to listen to an audiobook that makes listening easy. 

 I can’t be the only one who chooses their audiobooks by narrator, can I?  Have you got a favourite audiobook narrator to share?  Share away in the comments below.


Resources for the Tiny Home Craze

It seems no matter where you look, the “Tiny House” movement is everywhere. The FYI channel airs its own tiny house series Tiny House Nation. Local governments are talking more and more about laneway houses, the recent award-winning documentary Tiny: a story about living small (available from iTunes), and there’s even Caravan: a tiny house hotel in Portland, Oregon, that allows you to try out staying in one of their five tiny houses for a weekend or longer!

The growth of the tiny house movement has been triggered by the need for affordable housing options, flexible housing solutions that can “move with you,” and for some, it’s about the conscious effort to downsize in the interest of reducing our carbon footprint.

Here at the Library we’ve taken notice and selected out a few titles to help people get started in their own research. Below are not just links to books, but also links to blogs and current websites that may be of interest.

Books that speak to the tiny house lifestyle:

YouCanBuyHappinessYou Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too, by Tammy Strobel

Tammy Strobel and her husband gave up suburbia and the pressures of the rat race to build their own tiny house. This memoir is as much a guide as it is a source of practical information on how small changes can make the biggest difference.

BigTinyThe Big Tiny: A Built-it-myself Memoir, by Dee Williams

Dee Williams is an advocate for micro living. Giving up her large Portland, Oregon home, she provides what is mostly a memoir of her experience building and moving into her small, 84-square-foot house. You would do well to read this, not so much for plans or technical tips, but for inspiration if you are considering a migration to a tiny house of your own.

Books that help you plan, design and construct your own tiny house:

Being able to understand everything from zoning to the most effective way to provide for toileting requires research. The following offer a mixture of photographs and examples of dozens of tiny homes, as well as practical, how-to advice on everything from insulation to storage solutions.

Blogs about Tiny House Living:

 Websites that promote Tiny House services and resources:


Book News Roundup: February 20, 2015

NYPLLion1Tina and Amy will play Patience and Fortitude, the NYPL Lions.

A newly discovered Dr. Seuss book will be published in July.

Next week is Freedom to Read week!

And on that note, here is an infographic of the history of banned books.

Oliver Sacks on dealing with terminal illness.

Looking for some good Science Fiction? Try the Nebula Awards shortlist.

Ewan McGregor will direct and star in a film version of Philip Roth‘s American Pastoral.

JLo’s newest movie sparks interest in the “first edition of The Iliad.” (For Dad).

Amazon’s Top 100 Biographies and Memoirs to read in a lifetime.

Happy weekend!


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