Month: May 2013

Heidi’s Summer Beach Read Picks

It’s getting to be that time of year… the time when it’s completely acceptable to read books that are probably not going to win any literary prizes. That’s right — I’m talking beach reads.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to getting sandy and sunscreen-stained this summer:

Shining GirlsThe Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes

Described as The Time Traveler’s Wife meets The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and lauded by the NYT‘s Janet Maslin as “a strong contender for the role of this summer’s universal beach read,” this is the story of a time-traveling serial killer who is impossible to trace–until one of his victims survives. (June 4)

CuriosityThe Curiosity, by Stephen Kiernan

This time, The Time Traveler’s Wife meets Michael Crichton in this novel about a man, frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, who awakens in the present day. (July 9)

EngagementsThe Engagements, by J. Courtney Sullivan

From the author of Maine (a past favourite beach read of mine) comes this new story spanning nearly a hundred years featuring four wholly unique marriages. (June 11)

Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians, by Kevin Kwan

A supposedly hilarious novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season. (June 11)

Kiss Me FirstKiss Me First, by Lottie Moggach

A chilling and intense story of a solitary young woman drawn into an online world run by a charismatic web guru who entices her into impersonating a glamorous but desperate woman. (July 9)



Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps, by Kelly Williams Brown

Cheeky vignettes on the process of becoming a grownup? The perfect addition to real aloud to friends over sundowners in Tofino. (Out now)

What are your picks for beach-reading season?


Read This, Watch That: Books Coming to the Small Screen

A while back a TV show called 666 Park Avenue was cancelled.  I don’t know anyone who watched it besides me, but I was gripped from the word go.  It was a modern day horror story (LOVE horror) set in Manhattan (LOVE Manhattan) and based on a book (LOVE books).  Since it’s been gone I’ve tried other shows like Hemlock Grove, a Gothic werewolf soap opera based on a book, but nothing’s really caught my interest.

There’s not much time to wait now until the much much much anticipated return of Arrested Development (coming to NetFlix May 26), but after those 15 episodes have been devoured, I want to have something visual to look forward to.

Fortunately there’s some hope on the horizon.  New shows coming soon that promise much.  I bring them to your attention now, in case you are like me and need to read the book first. (Are you?  Let us know in the comments below…)

Under the DomeUnder the Dome by Stephen King (coming to CBS in June)

The town of Chester’s Mill (in Maine, naturally) is sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field in this epic horror/drama.

Orange is the New BlackOrange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (coming to NetFlix July 11)

This memoir takes us inside life at a Connecticut women’s prison.  The show will be a comedy-drama and is created by Jenji Kohan, of Weeds fame (LOVED Weeds).

About a BoyAbout a Boy by Nick Hornby (coming to NBC this fall)

The coming of age of a well-to-do manchild.  I don’t know whether to hold out much hope for this one: One of my favourite books (which was made into one of my favourite movies) being turned into a sitcom (not one of my favourite formats) starring Minnie Driver (not one of my favourite actresses).

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman (coming to HBO, release date TBA)

Kirkus raves, “A magical mystery tour through the mythologies of all cultures, a unique and moving love story-and another winner for the phenomenally gifted, consummately reader-friendly Gaiman.”  I can hardly wait.


Hugh Howey’s Wool

People read for all kinds of reasons. Normally, I tend to read books with complex characters I can relate to, or books that evoke a distinct time and place. On occasion, however, my life whirlwinds into a heady state of chaotic to-do lists, intense event-hosting responsibilities and a million and one little details to get right. When that happens, I just want to escape into a book.

WoolHugh Howey’s self-published phenomena Wool satisfied this need perfectly when I was deep in the midst of North Shore Writers Festival and panel planning for the British Columbia Library Association’s 2013 conference. Howey’s post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale is set far in the future, when the Earth’s air is fatally poisenous and all known humanity lives permanently underground in a massive,  air-sealed silo.

I can’t tell you how therapeutic it was to get on the bus after a long, crazy day and just sink into this fantastic novel. It’s the kind reading experience where the world around you falls away and you need to be careful not to miss your stop because you are so absorbed in  its fascinating universe and gripping plot.

Thank you, Hugh Howey, for giving me the needed reprieve from my crazy life during those two weeks!

For more escapist fiction, see my Bibliocommons list here.

And for more on the exhilarating moxie Hugh Howey has brought to the publishing world, check out this WSJ article.



NVCL’s New Website & Catalogue

FYI, we have a beeeautiful new website and catalogue! Check ’em out!

New Website








The website (screenshot above), is clean and easy to navigate. Be sure to check out all the booklists and readers’ resources under the “Explore” tab.


New Catalogue









The new catalogue (screenshot above), uses Bibliocommons, which is a much friendlier and intuitive catalogue than our old one. You can make and share lists, follow other readers, and tag things yourself! Try it out. Make sure to follow me (NVCLLibrarianHeidi) and check out my book lists. I only have three now, but am totally hooked on making them so keep checking back!



North Shore Stories: The Birds and the Bees

Poster_The Birds  The Bees

This month NVCL is partnering with the Edible Garden Project to bring you the second installment of North Shore Stories, an evening of community storytelling. On May 24th, we’ll present The Birds and the Bees, featuring six locals sharing stories about fresh starts, food, farming, and the buzz of spring.

Storytellers include City Councillor Craig Keating, local Seven Seas restrauteur and BC Restuarant Hall of Famer Diamond Almas, Jamaican cookbook author Sonia Haynes, Edible Garden Project Community Coordinator Emily Jubenvill,  Queen Mary Community School Principal Bill Reid, and outdoor enthusiast and Whole Foods Market Concierge Justin Malialis.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for wine and appetizers in the Dr. G. Paul Singh Study Hall on the third floor of the library. The event is free. Please register online here. For more info, visit our events calendar or the Facebook event page.

Below are the full bios of our stellar lineup of storytellers:

 CraigKeatingCouncillor Craig Keating is serving his fifth consecutive term on the North Vancouver City Council having first been elected in 1999. Councillor Keating holds a PhD in History from McMaster University and is currently a professor of History at Langara College in Vancouver. He has also taught at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. In 12 years as a City Councillor, Craig has established himself as a leader in the community, passionate about making North Vancouver a place where everybody matters. He has championed projects and programs that people in our community not only enjoy but depend upon – a new library, a new recreation centre, affordable housing initiatives, child care, and a new women’s centre, to name a few. An avid outdoor enthusiast, Councillor Keating enjoys hiking, jogging, skiing, camping and kayaking. He makes his home on the North Shore with his wife, Joanne, and their two children, Madeleine and Louis.

EmilyJubenvillEmily Jubenvill is working to build community and grow healthy fresh vegetables and a thriving local food system through her work as Community Coordinator with the Edible Garden Project. The Edible Garden Project is developing and strengthening a local network of people growing and sharing food, building skills, and increasing access to growing space. Emily grew up in North Vancouver and on Bowen Island, and was drawn to sustainable agriculture while studying environmental sciences at Royal Roads University. While traveling through Australia and New Zealand she studied permaculture and experienced working on dairy, cattle, and mixed vegetable farms. She enjoys working collaboratively to bring fresh ideas to the table, innovative ways to engage with people, and hope to communities. When not working or volunteering, you can find her tending to her vegetable patch, laughing, on a mountain, or by the sea.

Justin_Concierge_PhotoJustin Joseph Malialis was born in North Vancouver and has lived in the Vancouver lower mainland his whole life.  In his youth he had the honor of representing Canada at the World Youth Rock Climbing Competition in Imst, Austria, and achieved various titles in both Canada and the USA. His interests also include snowboarding, electronic dance music, his Chihuahua Beatrix and a passion for good, healthy foods inspired by his career at Whole Foods Market in West Vancouver.  If he had his way, everyone would have access to the healthy foods that inspired him and he will do whatever he can to help!

BillReidBill Reid is the principal of Queen Mary Community School in North Vancouver.  He is a long time North Vancouver teacher and administrator, having first been appointed as an elementary vice principal in 1988, after a number of years teaching at the secondary level.  He graduated from UBC with his BA, then went on to earn a BEd, and completed his graduate work at California State University in 1995.  Mr. Reid is from Vancouver, having been born at St. Paul’s Hospital in the West End, and grew up in the metro Vancouver area, with extended periods of residence in Australia, and in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).  Mr. Reid is a life long lover of food and cooking, and most recently has spent time in the deep south, exploring the varied techniques of Cajun cuisine and meat smoking.  Mr. Reid lives with his wife and four sons in the Deep Cove area of North Vancouver, where he is an avid biker, skier, and all around outdoor guy.

Sonia_HaynesSonia Nadina Haynes has been cooking since she was six years old. Sonia was sent to live with her grandparents. A picky eater, she tested her grandmother’s patience and was put to cook simple meals, which her grandmother believed would inspire her to eat. Sonia is a passionate cook and enjoys the alchemy between food and wine. She is focused on clean, healthy cooking that uses the best in natural ingredients for conscious and sustainable cooking. Sonia believes that everyone can learn how to and develop a passion for cooking. Sonia is always trying out new recipes and is pretty good at creating meals from around the world with the Jamaican flair. Her cookbook Caribbean Fusion (a cookbook bringing Caribbean cooking into the average kitchen with simple and delicious recipes, while sharing stories from her childhood kitchens) is in search of a publisher.

Diamond Almas‘ introduction to the restaurant business was peeling prawns and potatoes at his father’s fish and chips shop when he was 7 years old. By the time he was 20, Diamond Almas opened the Seven Seas restaurant afloat near the bottom of Lonsdale. The Seven Seas became the place to go, was well known for spectacular service, and Diamond was inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame as a Pioneer in 2008. Diamond also served a term as Alderman for the City of North Vancouver, and another for the district. Among his hundreds of friends, he counted Big frank Ross, the Cave’s Ken Stouffer, Frank Baker and Ross Filliponi of the Penthouse as close. Seabuses now ply the route once taken by the ferry that was to become the Seven Seas.

What a Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

There is very little in the world that is sweeter than being a mother on Mother’s Day:  the excited murmurings in the kitchen as little hands work to bring you the breakfast in bed of your heart’s desire.  The way each of the kids lay claim to the best part of the breakfast, the one that was their idea (“It was MY idea to mix Pepsi and orange in your Slurpee, Mama” has been overheard at my place a Mother’s Day or two.)  And then the best part of all, when your Monster Squad snuggles in deep and chats to you about how wonderful it is of them to let you have this time in bed to read whatever you want.

Here’s what I’d want to read, if I were you:

StorytellerThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Does a Nazi ever deserve forgiveness?  This is just one of the compelling questions at the heart of this multi-layered drama.  Sure Piccoult isn’t a fabulous writer, but she sure can tell a story… and make you want to talk about it for days.


GhostmanGhostman by Roger Hobbs

A casino heist in Atlantic City goes off… with a hitch and ‘ghostman’ Jack (not his real name) is called in to clean up the mess and recover the dough.  Fast-paced, entertaining and best of all: no children in danger.  (It can be hard to find a good thriller that doesn’t depict imperiled children, no?)


Harry PotterAs for me, I’ll be cozying up with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and three of the best kids in the world.

(Special thanks to my Monster Squad for letting me read all these books in peace, so I can bring you only the best in Mother’s Day recommendations.)  Happy Mother’s Day.




Annabel Lyon Reading at NVCL May 22nd

Lyon Annabel_cr  Phillip ChinTheSweetGirl









We are super excited to host a reading with renowned author Annabel Lyon here at NVCL on May 22 at 7pm. Annabel is the author of five published and critically acclaimed works of fiction, including The Golden Mean, which was shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award, the Ethel Wilson Prize, and the Commonwealth Prize. Winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize, The Golden Mean has been translated into 14 languages and became a #1 bestseller in Canada. Her newest book, The Sweet Girl, is a continuation of The Golden Mean, focusing on the life of Aristotle’s teenage daughter, Pythias.

Annabel studied classical music, philosophy, and law and taught piano before she decided to write full-time. She lives in New Westminster with her partner and two children. She teaches at the Creative Writing Department of the University of British Columbia, from which she received her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts.

Check out these review snippets of her books:


“The Sweet Girl is a remarkable novel, not just a pleasure to read but also a book that I expect to reread several times.”
—Jeet Heer, The National Post


“The intimate and the infinite are tangled together in this incandescent book, lit by Aristotle’s bright spark of a daughter. Lucid even in nightmare, The Sweet Girl slips sideways around the philosopher to examine the lives of girls and women when we were not yet human.”
—Marina Endicott, author of The Little Shadows and Good to a Fault


“The Golden Mean is more than a brilliant and beautifully told novel: it’s also a profound exploration of moral and philosophical issues that have troubled and perplexed us since Aristotle.”  — Russell Banks, author of Cloudsplitter


“The 4th century BC and the youth of Alexander the Great are marvelously re-imagined in Lyon’s justifiably garlanded novel… The daily intrigues of the court, the visceral aspects of battle, philosophical discussion, and Aristotle’s household are all evoked in measured, burnished prose, which combines thrilling immediacy with a stately timelessness.”  — The Guardian


“It takes chutzpah to make your main characters Aristotle and Alexander the Great, but Lyon pulls it off; she has the gift of finding the pulse of the ancient world and bringing it back to glorious life… gripping, with a powerful sense of time and place.”  — The Times, London


Lynn CrymbleJoining Annabel is Lynn Crymble, a North Vancouver novelist whose first book, It Can Happen to You, was published by Harper Collins in 2011. She is now at work on her third book, a novel about hockey fans.


Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for wine and light refreshments in the Dr. G. Paul Singh Study Hall on the third floor of the library. Readings are always free and open to the public. No tickets or registration required. For more info, visit