Vacation Holds Haul

VacationHoldsHaulSometimes, the perfect holds haul comes in at the perfect time. This happened to me today. RIGHT BEFORE I GO ON VACATION. This is a magical and rare occurrence, and I feel so, so lucky.

I got three novels I am dying to read, that are incidentally also perfect vacation books (substantial enough to not be embarrassed seen reading them, but still gripping and/or entertaining enough to be be perfect for the beach). I got two project-y cook books, and a running guide.

Here’s the haul:

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub is being called the smart beach read of the season. (See my Summer Picks description). Yay!

Land of Love and Drowning, by Tiphanie Yanique is a novel that follows three generations of one family living through the modern history of the Virgin Islands territory. It has been getting great reviews.

An Untamed State, by Roxanne Gay is a debut novel about a Haitian-American woman’s kidnapping is being called “riveting” in its many glowing reviews.

Preserving by the Pint, by Marisa McClellan: Because I have a very small kitchen, but still want to try my hand at urban homesteading.

Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauces Making, by James Peterson: Apparently, this is the Bible of sauce-making.

Complete Book of Women’s Running, by Dagny Scott Barrios: I just finished my first 5k and want to progress. Vacation running! It’s a thing.

What are you reading on vacation this Summer?


Staff Picks: Kate

Kate2Name: Kate

Job Title: Teen Services Librarian

Best book I read this year so far: Sorrow’s Knot, by Erin Bow. Erin Bow creates beautiful visuals and an utterly believable fantasy world, with many ties to the real world. This story is fascinating. I learned so much from this book about life, death, and love. It also made me want to spend more time appreciating nature.

I will read any book by: John Green, until I read them all…

Best place to curl up with a book on a rainy day: At the café with a cookie and a coffee.

Best place to lounge with a book in the sun: For sure the beach.

If I was stuck on a desert island, the book I’d have with me is: I guess if I wasn’t just spending all my time just trying to survive, I might have time to finally look at all of the art and pages in Carl Jung’s The Red Book.

A book I know I should read, but haven’t: The Harry Potter series, I know, I know..

A guilty pleasure favourite: Pretty Little Liars series

Favourite magazine: Make

Best beverage to pair with a good book is: Tea (iced, ‘cause it’s summer)

Best snack to pair with a good book is: Chocolate (ice-cream, ‘cause it’s summer)

If I’m not reading, I’m: Swimming in the ocean, or cooking and listening to podcasts or audiobooks.

The two book characters I would most love to have dinner with are: “Tiny” from Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, and “Ulysses”, from Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate DiCamillo

The book I push on all my friends because it is soooooooo good: The Ballad of the Sad Café and other stories, by Carson McCullers

Elaine’s Picks for Mindfulness Meditation

“If you peel back the layers of your life — the frenzy, the noise— stillness is waiting. That stillness is you.” –Oprah Winfrey from Words That Matter

In today’s high paced world, anxiety and stress have become overwhelmingly prevalent in people’s lives. Thankfully there are current research-based strategies to cope with these factors and help to internalize everyday positive experiences in order to develop lasting inner strength.

Originating from Zen Buddhism, mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have been scientifically proven to build new neural structures in the brain and change them from a state of negativity to that of calm, happiness, and well-being.

Just a few minutes per day can make a measurable difference in your life. Give some of these titles a try; it could change your life:

Peacehardwiring happinessfullypresentsearchinside





Peace is Every Breath by Thich Nhat Hanh

Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson

Fully Present by Susan L. Smalley

Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

Mindfulness Meditations for Anxiety (DVD)

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Some techniques to help children manage stress and live more peaceful lives:

10mindfulmindful parenting





10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn

Mindful Parenting by Kristen Race

Key authors in Buddhist meditation and the practice of mindfulness:

Nhat Hanh

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Pema Chodron


Book News Roundup – July 18, 2014

FemaleThorClassic Marvel comic book characters Thor and Captain America get new identities.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Penguin is launching a golden ticket contest.

How the French sell books.

A literary atlas of Ireland.

The biggest heartbreaks in literary history.

If you have about 15 minutes, read this fascinating analysis in the New Yorker about digital reading and how it differs from print reading.

Happy weekend!

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Staff Picks: Michael

MichaelKName: Michael Kerr

Job Title: Digital Services Librarian

Best book I read this year so far: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan. No, wait. Alison Wearing’s Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter: Growing Up with a Gay Dad (sometimes being a Gemini has its drawbacks). Let’s call those a tie for first place with Gypsy Boy, by Mikey Walsh a close second.

I will read any book by: J. K. Rowling or J.D. Salinger.

Best place to curl up with a book on a rainy day: In front of the fireplace chez nous.

Best place to lounge with a book in the sun: On the roof-deck of our new place – anyone know where I can get some nice Adirondack chairs?

If I was stuck on a desert island, the book I’d have with me is: Does it have to be only one? How about I get stranded with a suitcase full of books. Or my iPad and a power-source. If it had to be only one, how about something like The Complete Works of Jane Austen. I’ve read them of course, but they do bear re-reading

A book I know I should read, but haven’t: Anything by Proust.

A guilty pleasure favourite: Popular Young Adult fiction – Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.; Archer.

Best beverage to pair with a good book is:Cabernet Sauvignon, a nice beefy one. Or an Australian Petit Verdot.

Best snack to pair with a good book is:Cheesies, the soft kind that dissolve in your mouth (goes smokin’ well with Cab Sauv too).

If I’m not reading, I’m: writing or working or eating or cooking

The two book characters I would most love to have dinner with are: Harry Potter and Zooey Glass

The book I push on all my friends because it is soooooooo good: A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary, (Anonymous). Unputdownable, if disturbing.

Dear Tana French …

InTheWoodsDear Tana French,

Every time I read one of your books, I feel completely transported into another world. It’s as if for a week I am living a double life. Your characters and dialogue are amazingly atmospheric, and you have inspired in me a deep longing to visit Ireland, and also to become a detective in my next career.

I am writing to you today to offer up some unsolicited advice: Please, please, please pitch your Dublin Murder Squad mystery series to HBO, AMC, or Showtime to be made into a dramatic miniseries. Think of the successes of True Detective, Top of the Lake, and The Killing. In addition to your novels’ perfect film adaptability, your background in theatre makes you an expert consultant and screenwriter.

I think this is a brilliant idea and I can’t believe it hasn’t been done yet. If you need me to write to HBO, just let me know!


A Major Fan,



Book News Roundup – July 11, 2014

Blurbs1Hilarious, imagined blurbs of great works, courtesy of Tom Rachman.

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned Canlit feud!

Apparently, this is what Jane Austen really looked like.

ICYMI: Beloved owner of Victoria book store, Munro’s, gives his employees the most amazing gift ever.

Essayist Katie Roiphe wonders whether people would pay as much attention to Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle books if they had been written by a woman. It’s a good question.

New literary travel destination alert!

Happy weekend!






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