3M eBooks

NVCL Reads: Colour in the Title

To help you with one of our trickier #NVCLreads Canada 150 Bingo contest categories, here are our picks for Canadian books with a colour in the title!


Through Black Spruce, by Joseph Boyden (2008)throughblackspruce

From internationally acclaimed author Joseph Boyden comes an astonishingly powerful novel of contemporary aboriginal life, full of the dangers and harsh beauty of both forest and city. When beautiful Suzanne Bird disappears, her sister Annie, a loner and hunter, is compelled to search for her, leaving behind their uncle Will, a man haunted by loss.While Annie travels from Toronto to New York, from modelling studios to A-list parties,Will encounters dire troubles at home. Both eventually come to painful discoveries about the inescapable ties of family. Through Black Spruce is an utterly unforgettable consideration of how we discover who we really are.*

As a Giller Prize winner, Through Black Spruce could alternately be used for #NVCLreadsWinner



Black Berry, Sweet Juice, by Lawrence Hill (2001)

In Black Berry, Sweet Juice, Book of Negroes and The Illegal author Lawrence Hill movingly reveals his struggle to understand his own personal and racial identity. Raised by human rights activist parents in a predominantly white Ontario suburb, he is imbued with lingering memories and offers a unique perspective. In a satirical yet serious tone, Hill describes the ambiguity involved in searching for his identity – an especially complex and difficult journey in a country that prefers to see him as neither black nor white.*



The Orange Fish, by Carol Shields (1989)

Emerging from these twelve beautifully articulated stories are portraits of men and women whose affairs and recoveries in life take us into worlds that are both new and yet unnervingly familiar. A smile of recognition and a shock of surprise await readers of these finely crafted stories. From the magical orange fish itself — enigmatic and without age — to holiday reunions; from the passions and pains of lovers and friends to the moving uncertainty of a Parisian vacation, this exquisite collection is bound to delight and enchant Carol Shields’ fans everywhere.*

bluebeardseggBluebeard’s Egg, by Margaret Atwood (1983)

In this acclaimed collection of twelve stories, Margaret Atwood probes the territory of childhood memories and the casual cruelty men and women inflict upon each other and themselves. She looks behind the familiar world of family summers at remote lakes, ordinary lives, and unexpected loves, and she unearths profound truths. A melancholy, teenage love is swept away by a Canadian hurricane, while a tired, middle-aged affection is rekindled by the spectacle of rare Jamaican birds; a potter tries to come to terms with the group of poets who so smother her that she is driven into the arms of her accountant; and, in the title story, the Bluebeard legend is retold as an ironic tale of marital deception.*

Bluebeard’s Egg could alternately be used as an #NVCLreadsMargaret


greengrassGreen Grass, Running Water, by Thomas King (1993)

Strong, Sassy women and hard-luck hardheaded men, all searching for the middle ground between Native American tradition and the modern world, perform an elaborate dance of approach and avoidance in this magical, rollicking tale by Cherokee author Thomas King. Alberta is a university professor who would like to trade her two boyfriends for a baby but no husband; Lionel is forty and still sells televisions for a patronizing boss; Eli and his log cabin stand in the way of a profitable dam project. These three—and others—are coming to the Blackfoot reservation for the Sun Dance and there they will encounter four Indian elders and their companion, the trickster Coyote—and nothing in the small town of Blossom will be the same again…*

Green Grass, Running Water could alternately be used for the #NVCLreadsFirstNations category

And for the Kids:

bluehippopotamusThe Blue Hippopotamus, by Phoebe Gilman (picture book)

A young hippo falls madly in love with an Egyptian princess. Desperate to be with her, the hippo asks a magician to change him into “something she could love.” The magician reveals that he’s unable turn a hippo into a human, but can turn him into a toy, and he grants the hippo the power to turn himself back into his real self whenever he chooses. The excited hippo accepts this offer, and becomes the princess’s new toy – but will this be enough?*


redisbestRed is Best, by Kathy Stinson (picture book)

First published in 1982, Red is Best is not just a Canadian classic, but an overall children’s classic about a child’s insistence that everything is better in red – stocking, mittens, jackets, cups, and most definitely boots.


silverwingSilverwing, by Kenneth Oppel (novel)

A relatively recent classic but a classic nonetheless, Silverwing is the story of Shade, a young Silverwing bat. He’s the runt of his colony, but he’s determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a fierce storm, he loses the others and soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life.*



anneofgreengablesAnne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery (novel)

A list of books with colours in the title obviously wouldn’t be complete without this Canadian icon. Also, it was first published in 1908 so this classic Canadian book will be 100 next year! What better time to revisit it?



Happy (and colourful!) summer reading!
– Kat


* descriptions from the publisher


Apps for Booklovers

It’s no great secret that I love books and all things bookish.  That love certainly extends to apps.  Apps make me a more prolific and enthusiastic reader, and I’m excited to share some of my favourite apps for booklovers with you.

find-materials-downloadbles-ebooks-3m-app3M Cloud Library

What is it?  An e-book lending app.  Basically it allows you to borrow e-books from your local library.

Available for:  Desktop devices, Android devices, Apple devices

Note:  Due to licensing restrictions, the 3M Cloud Library is only available to North Vancouver City Library card holders.

My favourite thing about it:  The selection is really good — especially for newer releases, and it’s super easy to use.

OverdriveOverdrive Media Console

What is it?  An e-book and e-audiobook lending app that allows you to borrow and download e-books and audiobooks from your local library.

Available for: Android devices, Apple devices, Microsoft devices

Note:  Due to licensing restrictions, you need to access Overdrive Media Console from the library of the municipality you live in with a card from that municipality.

My favourite thing about it:  I love how easy it is to filter out books that are checked out so I can focus on titles I can read right now.  I also love that the catalogue contains both e-books and audiobooks so I can checkout my lunchtime reads (e-books) at the same time as my gymtime reads (audiobooks).

serialreaderSerial Reader

What is it?  An app that delivers classic public domain novels to you daily in small easy-to-read chunks.

Available for:  Apple devices (though an Android version is in the works)

My favourite thing about it:  The app inspires me to wake up 15 minutes early most days so I can polish off a bit of Moby Dick before breakfast, which is great; but the best part is truly the congratulatory messages that pop up when you finish your daily dose — they’re adorable!


What is it?  Imagine Instagram was all books.  It’s like that but much better.

Available for:   Apple devices (though an Android version is planned)

My favourite thing about it:  Litsy is everything I want social media to be.  It constantly inspires me to seek out new authors and makes me generally more knowledgeable about my favourite passion:  books.



Recently my 8-year old and I were having a conversation in which I explained to her that it wasn’t always considered acceptable for girls to marry girls and boys to marry boys.  The idea flummoxed her — she couldn’t imagine why other people would care who you marry.  That conversation really drove home to me how important Pride is, and how far the LGBTQIA movement has come.  Happy Pride, everyone!

Classics & Contemporary Fiction

mauriceMaurice by E.M. Forster

A young man goes away to college, meets someone, falls in love.  While the plot summary sounds cliche, this novel — from a time when homosexuality was illegal in England — is anything but. It is widely considered to be a founding work of modern gay literature influenced by the author’s own life.

orangesOranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Young Jeanette comes of age in an Evangelical family, certain she is meant to be a missionary, but unsure how to reconcile her faith and her attraction to women.  Winterson denies that the novel is ‘a lesbian novel’ saying, “I’ve never understood why straight fiction is supposed to be for everyone, but anything with a gay character or that includes gay experience is only for queers.”

udalaUnder the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

This is a sweeping tale of forbidden love set against the backdrop of the Biafran conflict in Nigeria.  Ijeoma and Amina fall in love despite the taboos: they are both girls, and of different tribes.  The novel follows Ijeoma throughout her life.  In her Author’s Note Okparanta reports that homosexuality continues to be illegal in Nigeria; death by stoning is a possible sentence.

danishgirlThe Danish Girl by David Ebershoff

One day Gerda, an Art Deco painter, asked her husband Einar to dress as a woman and pose for her.  This small request triggered a sea change in him, and awakened his desire to become a woman.  Based on a true story, The Danish Girl asks us to imagine what it must have been like to ardently want something that  “simply did not exist, [and] simply could not exist.”

For Children and Teens

whateverThe Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

17-year old Quinn sees his life as a movie in-production.  While he’d expected to live a  “fairly standard coming-of-age L.G.B.T. genre film,” instead his sister/movie-making partner dies in a car crash. Quinn becomes a virtual shut-in until his best friend pushes him to re-enter the world.  Readers will find it refreshing to read about a gay character who struggles with more than just their sexuality.

georgeGeorge by Alex Gino

In this endearing middle grade novel, George is a girl who was born a boy and is determined not to let her sex get in the way of her dream of playing the lead role in the class production of Charlotte’s Web.


For more great LGBTQIA reads, check out our 3M e-book catalogue3M e-book catalogue.



Kat’s Anticipated Reads: 2016 Fantasy & Sci-Fi Series

While my 2016 reading-resolution is to broaden the scope of books I take home with me, that’s certainly not going to stop me from devouring the latest releases in all of my favourite Fantasy and Sci-Fi series that are coming out next year.

While there’s still no sign of a release date from two out of my top five current series (Doors of Stone from Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle, and The Core from Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle), three out of five should keep me sated for now!

stakedThe Iron Druid Chronicles, by Kevin Hearne
2016 Release: Staked (January 26)
Start With: Hounded

Atticus O’Sullivan is a 2,100-year old Druid hiding out with his Irish wolfhound in Arizona, while masquerading as a New Age shop owner.  It’s equal parts humour and action, mixed with a romp through mythology; it’s is one of the funniest, most enjoyable series I’ve come across in a long while (it’s tied with The Parasol Protectorate series for my “All-Time Most-Fun Fantasy” award).
The Red Rising Trilogyby Pierce Brownmorningstar
2016 Release: Morning Star (February 9)
Start With: 
Red Rising

In this world, society’s classes are rigidly divided by colour, and each colour has a specific role: Red are labourers, Browns are servants, Greys are military and police, Golds are the rulers, etc.  A Red, Darrow was willing to work and serve until tragedy struck home, and his quest for revenge drives him into becoming a revolutionary. Dark, gritty, and thrilling, the first two were definitely up-past-your-bedtime page turners.



A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab
2016 Release: A Gathering of Shadows (February 23)
Start With: A Darker Shade of Magic

Featuring four parallel-world Londons with varying degrees of magical influence, Schwab’s first story featured one of the last magicians who could travel between the worlds. The characters were perfect, and I loved this concept. The mystery of what happened to Black London is definitely going to send me running for the next book when it comes out.



Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, by Brian Staveley
2016 Release: The Last Mortal Bond (March 15)
Start With: The Emperor’s Blades

The Emperor’s three children are spread across the world, each following very different paths. But when the Emperor is murdered, his children will each attempt to unravel the conspiracy in their own way, while trying to stay alive and complete the destinies their father laid out for them.  This is for the epic fantasy fan, featuring rich world-building, intriguing, strong characters, and a steady pace up to what promises to be an exciting conclusion.


halflostHalf Bad Trilogy, by Sally Green
2016 Release: Half Lost  (March 29)
Start With: Half Bad

Nathan is the son of two witches – one white and one an infamous, violent black witch.   It’s been assumed he’ll be just like his father, so he’s been beaten and kept in a cage for years, planning escape after escape. This one gets pretty dark, but I loved Nathan and the desire to see more of the world and the magic, and find out more about Nathan’s family, kept me reading. I burned through the first two in a couple of days….


tearlingThe Queen of the Tearling Trilogy, by Erika Johansen
2016 Release: The Fate of the Tearling (Expected June 7)
Start With: The Queen of the Tearling

A part coming-of-age story, this features a Queen who has just come of age to take the throne. She’s smart and courageous but has everything stacked against her, and her choices may save or destroy her kingdom. This one has really been a surprise for me – I didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up loving the first one, and the second one has started to bend genres in the most fascinating way. I can’t wait to see where Johansen is going with it!


The Gemberlainentlemen Bastards Sequenceby Scott Lynch
2016 Release: The Thorn of Emberlain (Expected July 21)
Start With: The Lies of Locke Lamora

This is probably #2 or #3 on my current Top-Five list (although it’s so hard to choose, let alone rank!). Think of a Robin-Hood style band of thieves, but then add incredibly elaborate, long-term cons, and of course keeping their ill-gotten gains for themselves because why on earth would you go to all that work and then just give it away? Exciting, unpredictable, and equal parts funny and serious, it’s made its way into my all-time favourite series list.



The Broken Earth Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin
2016 Release: The Obelisk Gate (August 16)
Start With: The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is tied for my #1 read of 2015 (with Naomi Noviks’ Uprooted), so I’m very excited by the short wait for the second one.  This is a challenging and unusual fantasy, using three entirely different narrative styles to tell its story, which takes place in a world where the ‘seasons’ are divided by the environmental disaster that starts and defines them. The narrative choices can feel really strange at first, but stick with it and I promise it’s SO worth it!

Add the potential of a Winds of Winter release, and it looks like 2016 will be a great year in SF/FAN! So if you’re looking for a new series to dive into, give one of these a try and you’re (pretty much) guaranteed a new release this year.


Christmas Gift Suggestions: Fantasy & Science Fiction

There’s nothing better than escapist fiction – immersing yourself in a different world while the one here gets cold, dark and/or wet.  So, here are my recommendations for the fantasy and science-fiction lovers on your list this year!

Uprooted, by Naomi Novikuprooted

Agnieszka’s village pays dearly for their protection from the corrupted wood that surrounds them; once every ten years the Dragon (a powerful but inhumanly cold wizard) chooses and takes one girl.  This time, the Dragon’s unexpected choice will forever change Agnieszka’s world.  This is my favourite book this year, and, even better, a rare standalone fantasy novel. It’s reminiscent of a fairy tale, with a fascinating – and at times downright chilling – world that Novik so expertly brings to life.

darkershadeA Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last of his kind – a magician who can travel between the four worlds that are connected by their different incarnations of the city of London: Grey, Red, White, and Black London – although no one goes to Black London since it fell to its obsession with magic.  This is so far relatively light non-gritty fantasy, and a great pick for someone looking for a new series.


The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1), by Jim Butcher aeronaut

This is the first in a new series by the author of the Dresden Files features.  Its part steampunk, part dystopian sci-fi, and part fantasy, and promises to be extremely entertaining. And for the record, while I’m normally anti-talking-cat I was completely won over this time by the fiercely loyal, arrogant, thirty-pound warrior cat featured here; he was by far my favourite characters by the end, and his last chapter was actually laugh out loud.  A good pick for someone looking for a new series of the epic adventure variety.

The Shattered Sea Trilogy, by Joe Abercrombiehalfaking

While the first in this series (Half a King) was technically a 2014 novel, the remaining two in the trilogy (Half the World and Half a War) came out this year so now would be a good time to acquire the complete set for someone (or yourself). Abercrombie is normally known for gritty fantasy; this one’s a bit of a departure for him that way, but it’s still filled with his morally-grey and wholly believable characters, and it’s a thoroughly engrossing series, mixing coming-of-age, revenge, and world-encompassing war. It repeatedly kept me up way past my bedtime, so thank you, Patricia, for recommending this one, and for costing me so much sleep.

Red Rising & Golden Son by Pierce Browngoldenson

If you’ve got a Hunger Games fan on your list, try the first two in the Red Rising Trilogy. In a highly class-segregated world, its protagonist – Darrow – was willing to work and to serve until tragedy strikes home, and he’s driven to becoming a revolutionary in his quest for revenge.  Red Rising was a gritty, action-heavy 2014 hit, and its 2015 sequel, Golden Son, only upped the game in tension, twists, and of course, action. And good news, the final book in the trilogy – Morning Star – will be released in February 2016 so you won’t have your gift recipients upset with you for hooking them on a new series with a long wait for the next book!

Happy shopping!
– Kat

Patricia’s Fresh Picks for October 2015: Comics and Graphic Novels

I’ll read anything.  Anytime.  Anywhere.  I love literary fiction (and hit refresh on my browser several times today waiting for the Man Booker winner to be announced — Congratulations, Marlon James!); and I love YA and Children’s lit whether I’m reading to my children or on my own (Confession — it was very hard not to write this entire post fangirl-style about the 10th anniversary edition of Twilight, which we now have available through 3M).  And I get almost giddily excited on Wednesdays (aka new comic day) when I can go down to Big Pete’s and pick up the latest issues of my favourite comics.

Not everyone likes to read issue-by-issue though.  Sometimes it’s nice to devour an entire volume of five or six issues in a single sitting.  This month, my fresh picks are a selection of great comics and graphic novels that you can borrow from us.

Saga (Volumes 1 to 5)

Alanna and Marko are star-crossed lovers, soldiers on opposite sides of the war.  They are on the run because they have dared to break society’s greatest taboo by giving birth to their interracial daughter, Hazel.  The Star Wars-influenced story is lovingly brought to life through the vibrant art work of Fiona Staples.

Wayward (Volumes 1 and 2)

Wayward is like Buffy with creatures based on Japanese folklore.  Rori Lane is the teenage daughter of an Irish father and Japanese mother, now divorced.  When Rori moves to Japan she discovers that she has supernatural powers.  And she’s not alone…

Wytches (Volume 1)

Sailor’s family moves to Litchfield, NH to escape from Sailor’s past.  At her last school Sailor was bullied, and when her bully mysteriously went missing, vicious rumors circulated that Sailor was a murderer.  But Litchfield doesn’t offer Sailor the respite her family had been hoping for as it harbours menacing supernatural secrets.

Sunny Side Up

I love this middle grade graphic novel that is itself a love letter to comics, and my daughters love it too.  Sunny is sent to stay with her grandfather in his Floridian retirement community, while her family deals with Sunny’s elder brothers delinquent ways.  We particularly love the book’s humour and heart, but also enjoyed the pop culture details from a world gone by.  (Yes, girls these were real.)

As it’s not Wednesday yet, I still have time to sneak in a few chapters of Life and Death before it’s time to pick up my pull list.  Happy Reading!


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.