Month: August 2015

Heidi’s Fond Farewell

ElephantsThe time has come, dear readers, for me to move on. I start a new job at Vancouver Public Library next week, so my Top Shelf blogging days are over. But have no fear! Patricia and Michael will hold down the fort until my replacement is found. As a parting gift, I give you my Top 10 favourite books I have read since I started here at NVCL in May 2011 (in alphabetical order):

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler

The Likeness, by Tana French

The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller

The Son, by Philipp Meyer

The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, by Bob Schocochis

Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

Honourable mentions: Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill; The Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff Vandermeer; The Interestings, by Meg Wollitzer; Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain; and Just Kids, by Pattie Smith.

It has been a joy blogging about books and reading, and I especially want to thank my colleague Patricia, whose blogging and book enthusiasm is neverending delightfully contagious. Blog on P!



Image via.

Heidi’s Fall 2015 Picks

Fall … the season when the big guns of publishing come out. Luckily, there also seems to be a nice mix of smaller literary titles being released. The following are my picks, both large and small.

DidYouEverHaveAFamilyDid You Ever Have a Family, by Bill Clegg

This novel about a community in the aftermath of a major tragedy has been getting a lot of good hype. Clegg is a literary agent who is renowned in the publishing world as a ruthless negotiator. He has also published a memoir about addiction and recovery.  I can’t decide whether I’m more intrigued by the story or the author, but either way, this one is definitely on my to-read shelf.

(Sept. 1)

PurityPurity, by Jonathan Franzen

It’s the new highly anticipated door stopper from the author of The Corrections and Freedom. Not everyone loves Jonathan Franzen, but I do, and I can’t wait for this one — about a young woman named Purity Tyler trying to make a life for herself.

(Sept. 1)

WhyNotMeWhy Not Me, by Mindy Kaling

I’m a huge fan of Mindy Kaling. I love her show, The Mindy Project, and I loved her last book of essays, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? So this one is a no-brainer for me.

(Sept. 15)

NotonFireButBurningNot on Fire, but Burning, by Greg Hrbek

A boy navigates a terrifying near-future San Francisco. My Fall book list would not be complete without some literary post-apocalyptica.  (Sept. 22)

GoldFameCitrusGold Fame Citrus, by Claire Vaye Watkins

Okay, well, my Fall book list apparently needs two post-apocalyptic novels, surprise surprise. This one is from an author who has been named one of “five under 35” writers to watch by the National Book Foundation. Her debut novel follows the story of a young couple in extreme drought-stricken, near-future Los Angeles as they try to survive after almost everyone else has left.  (Sept. 29)

HoursCountThe Hours Count, by Jillian Cantor

The fictionalized account of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg,  the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War, and their neighbour, who takes care of their two children during the 1953 trial. (Oct. 20)

WitchesThe Witches, by Stacy Schiff

Schiff wrote the wildly success nonfiction account of Cleopatra a few years ago and this one is sure to be just as engrossing. (Oct. 27)

Book News Roundup: August 14, 2015

WindowReadingPhilip K. Dick on the small screen.

George R.R. Martin on how he’ll end Game of Thrones.

Last week we had best Canadian book stores, this week it’s best Canadian bookstore CATS! (My favourite is ‘Dos.’)

Have you seen the great monthly LibraryReads lists? Here is September’s.

Patti Smith’s wonderful memoir, Just Kids, is being adapted by Showtime.

Happy weekend!

Image via.

Quickpick: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Can't We TalkCan’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast

Graphic storytelling like you haven’t experienced before. Roz Chast’s memoir is told in her trademark New Yorker “cartoon” style, along with photographs and handwritten text. The mix gives an immediacy to the narrative that wouldn’t be available in a straight-up, conventional memoir. Chast is really frank about the mixed emotions experienced as she takes on an ever-greater care-taking role vis-a-vis her aged parents. The book is a kind of road-map for those of us facing these circumstances, and more than that, it is engaging and absorbing and cringeworthy and amusing and anxious, and…. I’m recommending this book to anyone.

-Michael K.

New 3M eBook Titles: August 11, 2015

Check out these new 3M eBook titles recently added to our catalogue:

ManWhoWasn'tThereThe Man Who Wasn’t There, by Anil Ananthaswamy

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, a tour of the latest neuroscience of schizophrenia, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, ecstatic epilepsy, Cotard’s syndrome, out-of-body experiences, and other disorders–revealing the awesome power of the human sense of self from a master of science journalism Anil Ananthaswamy’s extensive in-depth interviews venture into the lives of individuals who offer perspectives that will change how you think about who you are.

SickInTheHeadSick in the Head, by Judd Apatow

This book is a collection of 30 years worth of conversations — always funny, often poignant, and incredibly intimate — that not only span Apatow’s career, but his adult life. Featuring interviews with luminaries like Mel Brooks and Chris Rock and modern icons like Louis CK and Amy Schumer, this is a book for fans of comedy, from the nerdiest fan of all.

DaughtersThe Daughters, by Adrienne Celt

Haunted by a family curse that took away her voice, opera sensation Lulu devotes herself to motherhood and sifts through the stories of her women ancestors, whose experiences were steeped in folkloric Polish traditions.

WomanWithASecretThe Woman With A Secret, by Sophie Hannah

Fleeing a checkpoint being manned by a police officer she recognizes from her secret past, Nicki is targeted with suspicion in the murder investigation of a controversial newspaper columnist.

Marriage of OppositesThe Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman

A beautiful love story of a man and woman and a mother and child intricately woven together to capture the author’s true message: Love more, not less.

VillaAmericaVilla America, by Liza Klaussman

A tale based on the real-life inspirations for Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night finds expats Sara and Gerald Murphy sharing freewheeling days, hosting parties and hiding heartbreaking secrets in the 1920s French Riviera.

DietlandDietland, by Sarai Walker

A fresh and provocative debut novel about a reclusive young woman saving up for weight loss surgery when she gets drawn into a shadowy feminist guerilla group called “Jennifer.” Equal parts Bridget Jones’s Diary and Fight Club.

Book News Roundup: August 7, 2015

DockA Michigan book store is offering refunds for Go Set a Watchman.

How fiction can change the place of women in history.

A definitive list of the artworks found in The Goldfinch.

The best Canadian book stores.

Airport and train stations are experiencing a book store revival. (This makes so much sense! I LOVE buying books in airport and train stations!)

More evidence that reading is good for you, (as if anyone who reads this blog needs evidence to read).

Happy weekend!


Image via.

Quickpick: The Jaguar’s Children

Jaguar'sChildrenThe Jaguar’s Children, by John Vaillant

“Hector is one of 13 Mexican immigrants trapped and abandoned in a metal tank with little food and water. Smugglers, called ‘coyotes,’ have taken their money and possessions with a promise to come back and fix the tank. The people are slowly dying from heat and thirst and the suspense is intolerable. Suspense and insecurity is at the core of the story.”