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!


Image via.

Patricia’s Fresh Picks for February 2015

Man, was it rainy last week.  And my much longed for DIBWB (day in bed with books) has yet to materialize.  Still… a girl can dream.  These titles just arrived at NVCL, and I think they all look amazing.

sasquatchThe Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac by Sharma Shields

Family patriarch Eli is obsessed with finding the sasquatch after growing up abandoned by his mother.  (She willingly left him… maybe for a sasquatch?)

Rodin’s Lover by Heather Webbrodin

Try as I might to swear off books that are titled “Famous Man’s Name + Relationship = Not Famous Woman”, I can’t help but think that this story of the obsessive love affair between Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin looks compulsively readable.

scapegoatThe Scapegoat by Sophia Nikolaidou*

Based on the real life of journalist James Polk, this novel jumps back and forth through time from 1940s Greece, where an American journalist is murdered, to the present day where a high school student works to find the truth.

What would you read on your DIBWB?


*Thank you to NetGalley and Edelweiss for ARCs of these titles.

Book News Roundup: February 13, 2015


In honor of Valentines Day, here are 10 books that are hotter than Fifty Shades of Grey.

And… Last-minute Valentines gifts for your literary love.

Also, the real love letters of Canadian poets.

The 26 Worst Things That Can Happen to a Book Lover. Sadly, I can relate to most of these.

Looks like my favourite book of 2014, Station Eleven, is getting a screen adaptation!

Pets getting in the way of reading. Adorable.

Happy Weekend!


Image via.

Love Stories


In the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, I offer you a few of my favourite love stories:

AmericanahAmericanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Why I love it: The relationship between the two main character is complex and believable.

Just KidsJust Kids, by Patti Smith

Why I love it: Patti Smith’s ode to the late photographer Robert Maplethorpe is passionate, unpredictable, and written with such beautiful prose it will make you cry.

OneDayOne Day, by David Nicholls

Why I love it: This book is the perfect love story. It’s funny, human, endearing, tragic, and ultimately hopeful. And so much better than the movie!

Prodigal SummerProdigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver

Why I love it: This is Barbara Kingsolver at her finest. Prodigal Summer is an intricately woven braid of three love stories set in Appalachia, each of which mirror a relationship in nature.

ThisIsTheStoryofaHappyMarriageThis is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett

Why I love it: The stories detailing Ann Patchett’s relationship to her husband in this sublime collection are intuitive and wise. Everyone who wants to understand what makes a relationship work should read her title story.

TinyBeautifulThingsTiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed

Why I love it: This collection of Cheryl Strayed’s advice columns as The Rumpus’s Dear Sugar will knock your socks off with their unequivocal, loving, and totally true relationship advice.


Book News Roundup: February 6, 2015


Possibly the biggest book news of 2015 so far is that Harper Lee is publishing a sequel to Kill A Mockingbird.

Celebrate Black History Month with these Canlit authors and books.

The adorably accurate 22 Stages of Visiting Your Public Library.

How to be a good book club member. (Mom).

Writing advice from Virginia Woolf.

Flavorwire gives us the “Girl Canon:” 50 essential coming of age books for girls.

Oprah Winfrey and Selma Director Ava DuVernay will join forces to create an adaptation of Natalie Baszile’s book, Queen Sugar.

George R.R. Martin’s original plans for his Game of Thrones series included a love triangle between Arya, John Snow, and Tyrion. (Plus other plot twists that never came to be!)

Happy weekend!


Image via.