Nonfiction

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

 

blackberrysweetjuice

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.*

 

orangefish

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

 

NVCL Reads: Illustrated

Sometimes you want fewer words, and more pictures! Below we have a selection of 5 fabulous illustrated books that can be found on our shelves for your #NVCLreads Canada Reads 150 bingo! Kick off your sandals, find a hammock and get lost in the colorful pages of these beautiful works of art.

tokyoonfootTokyo on foot: Travels in the city’s most colorful neighborhoods, by Florent Chavouet

Florent Chavouet, a young graphic artist, spent six months exploring Tokyo while his girlfriend interned at a company there. Each day he would set forth with a pouch full of color pencils and a sketchpad, and visit different neighborhoods. This stunning book records the city that he got to know during his adventures. It isn’t the Tokyo of packaged tours and glossy guidebooks, but a grittier, vibrant place, full of ordinary people going about their daily lives and the scenes and activities that unfold on the streets of a bustling metropolis.

 

patternsPatterns: Inside the design library, by Peter Koepke

Every season, designers from fashion, home furnishings, textiles, graphic arts, and paper-product industries seek inspiration from patterns to bring their collections to life. Many of these designers – including Beacon Hill, Boden, Calvin Klein, Lululemon, Nike, Oscar de la Renta, Pottery Barn, and Target – look to the Design Library, the world’s largest archive of surface design. This one-of-a-kind book, drawn from the Design Library’s archive, is an exclusive and ultimate sourcebook of pattern and ornament.

 

rebeljesterRebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: contemporary Persians, by Fereshte Daftari

This beautiful illustrated title tells the story of the evolution of Iranian contemporary art by examining the work of 30 artists. This is art where the ills of internal politics remain astutely masked below a layer of ornamentation, poetry, or humor. What unite the disparate works into a coherent theme are the artist’s coping mechanisms, which consist of subversive critique, quiet rebellion, humor, mysticism, and poetry, hence the publications title.

 

aloneAlone, by Chaboute

On a tiny lighthouse island far from the rest of the world, a lonely hermit lives out his existence. Every week a supply boat leaves provisions, its occupants never meeting him, never asking the obvious questions: Who are you? Why do you hide? Why do you never leave? What is it like to be so alone? Years spent on a deserted rock – a lifetime, really – with imagination his sole companion has made the lighthouse keeper something more than alone, something else entirely.

 

secretpathSecret Path, by Gordon Downie

Secret Path is the heart-rending story of an Indigenous boy seeking to escape the residential school system and return to his family. Alternately hopeful and devastating, Secret Path traces the boy’s fateful journey into the wilderness, lending a personal face to a cold and distant chapter of Canada’s history.

 

– Brie

NVCL Reads: Written by a Margaret

Margaret_Atwood_2015Whether you love her or loathe her, there’s no denying that when many of us think of Canadian literature, we think of Margaret Atwood.  And with a hit TV show — and the Trump administration in full (golf) swing — there’s no denying our Margaret’s work is enjoying a renaissance.  If you’re planning to read #NVCLreadsMargaret this summer, you may look no further than The Handmaid’s Tale, or you may want to get your hands on Atwood’s Angel Catbird graphic novels, or her books for children.  However, if you decide you’d like to branch out from Atwood, Canada has several awesome Margarets for you to choose from.

stoneangelThe next most obvious choice is Margaret Laurence, best-known for writing books you have been forced to read in high school (The Diviners, The Stone Angel) and loved anyway.     Her earlier works, like This Side Jordan, are set in Ghana, where the Laurences lived for a few years.

mr jonesMargaret Sweatman is yet another solid choice.  She’s even won the Margaret Laurence Award for fiction (thus effectively doubling her Margaret-ness).  We recommend Mr. Jones. “Set in a time of rampant paranoia, Mr. Jones peels back the veneer of Canadian politics to reveal a nation willing to sacrifice its own. It is a fearful time, a time of “peace” at the onset of the nuclear age.” (description from publisher)

Sweatman’s works also work for #NVCLreadsHistorical or #NVCLreadsWinner

momentary darkIf poetry (#NVCLreadsPoetry) is more your speed, try Margaret Avison’s Momentary Dark, “a celebration of the world, but not without edge and a quiet challenge to care for a damaged earth and all its citizens equally, including a veritable populace of city trees graciously and beautifully linking the earth and the sky” (description taken from the publisher).

This would also work for #NVCLreads200 and  #NVCLreadsPoetry

cougar annieAnd finally, if you like your Margarets with a healthy dose of non-fiction, you might want to check out Margaret Visser, Margaret Horsfield, or Margaret Macmillan.  In her Massey Lecture, Beyond Fate, Visser “investigates what fate means to us, and where the propensity to believe in it and accept it comes from.”  Horsfield meanwhile takes local history as her muse, writing extensively about Tofino and Clayoquot Sound.  Like Horsfield, Macmillan is inspired by history.  She focuses mainly on the late 19th and early 20th century, and is best known for her book 1919: Six Months That Changed the World.

 

Whatever your reading tastes, we’ll bet there’s a Canadian Margaret for you.

-Patricia

**For those of you just joining us for NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo, please download your bingo card from our website.  Five lucky winners will each receive a $25 gift card to a local bookstore!

NVCL Reads: Pets

Being a pet owner is one of life’s greatest joys. Although it’s a big commitment and a lot of work, the experience teaches you a lot of good and beneficial things. A loving pet has the ability to convert even the most anti-animal person into an animal lover; be it dog, cat, bird, or even a moose.  The bond between people and pets can be just as powerful as a bond between family members.  Here are some pet books by Canadians to share with your child as you play #NVCLreads bingo or just for fun.

DogDayA Dog Day for Susan by Maureen Fergus

Spencer and Barney decide to teach Susan how to be a real dog. With Barney as a role model, they take her to the off-leash dog park to develop skills like barking at buses, cyclists and squirrels, eating garbage, resisting grooming, and refusing to come when she’s called. Susan returns from the park covered in burrs, having shed her dignity and grace enough to fully embrace her inner dog.

DogsinCarsDogs in Cars by Felix Massie

Join these canine critters as they zoom around town in their dogmobiles. Count to one hundred through the many breeds of dogs from French bulldogs to great danes, while they wreak havoc on the streets in some pretty recognizable locomotives.

NobodysCatsNobody’s Cats by Valerie Ingram

Based on the true story of how one little black kitty came in from the cold by a project that was started to help community cats in the small town of Burns Lake in rural northern British Columbia.

 

EmilyCarrEmily Carr & her dogs: Flirt, Punk & Loo by Emily Carr

This delightful book combines 25 stories about dogs with 16 playful drawings by famous Canadian writer, artist, and animal lover Emily Carr. She tells of her joys and tribulations raising Old English sheepdogs, from her decision to start a kennel to the sad day when she had to close it. With each story Carr brings the affectionate and loyal nature of her canine companions to life, making this book an ideal choice for any dog lover, child, or adult.

FarleyFarley and the Lost Bone by Lynn Franks Johnston

This children’s tale features fan favorite sheepdog Farley as he digs in Elly’s flowerbed, under Michael’s model railway set, and inside Lizzie’s sandbox until he remembers the special spot where he buried his tasty bone.

**This title also works for Author Has Spoken at North Shore Writers Fest #NVCLreadsNSWF

MooseMaking the Moose out of Life by Nicholas Oldland

Why not a moose for a pet? Here is a comic-adventure story of a mild-mannered moose who learns how to take life by the antlers. This moose may live in the wild, but he doesn’t act it — he watches from the sidelines as his friends have fun. Every now and then, he wonders if he’s missing out on anything. When the moose finally takes a chance and goes on a solo sailing trip, a raging storm carries him far from everything he knows. Will he curl up in a ball and cry, or make the most of it? The moose’s unlikely hero-journey is a lighthearted, contemporary fable that celebrates living life to the fullest

So what pet will you get, eh?

-Diane

Our Favourite Canadian Reads II

We asked staff to share their favourite Canadian read with you. If you’re taking part in our NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo game, you can use these reads for Five Star Reads (#NVCLreadsFiveStar) or use your own favourite (we’d love it if you shared it with us).

DeniseDenise, our Senior Public Services Assistant, loves Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery.  She says, “I love Anne; her perseverance in the face of adversity inspires, her creative spirit is a source of motivation and her tenacity should be modeled at all times.”

 

curveoftimeOne of our pages Janet is a big fan of The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchett.  She loves “the images of summer vacations on the BC coast in the 1930s – a story of a strong young widow with five young children – packed them all up and spent quality time exploring the coast.”  Janet adds, “We give a copy of this book to all our BC visitors and people always comment afterwards about how much they enjoyed the book.  I own at least two copies at all times.”

davidDavid, our Web Specialist, says his favourite Canadian novel is What’s Bred in the Bone, the 2nd novel in Robertson Davies’ Cornish Trilogy. “Set in part in Germany during the Second World War, it’s an engrossing tale of one Frank Cornish’s journey from childhood in rural Ontario – and from a family with a dark secret – to greatness as an artist, art forger … and spy. Davies’ inimitable novels combine witty, erudite, and elegant prose with highly imaginative and entertaining stories. A great summer read!”

mikale_HayBlogger and Community Librarian Mikale loves Late Nights on Air“Set in 1975, Elizabeth Hay’s story of the lives of the employees of a small CBC radio outpost in Yellowknife, and their accompanying summer canoe trip into the Artic is perfection. It reads like a role of 35mm film, with loons calling over the lake as a soundtrack.”

And finally, the always succinct Sandy, one of our Auxiliary Librarians, recommends “Bonnie Burnard’s A Good House for its clarity, conciseness, honesty and wit.”

We’d love to hear your favourites.  Please share in the comments!

-Patricia

 

 

 

Our Favourite Canadian Reads

We asked staff to share their favourite Canadian read with you.  If you’re taking part in our NVCL Reads: Canada 150 bingo game, you can use these reads for Five Star Reads (#NVCLreadsFiveStar) or use your own favourite (we’d love it if you shared it with us).

Fereshteh 22Our Multicultural Services Librarian, Fereshteh, raves about Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance.   Why? “After so many years,  I can still remember the story  vividly, this book transports the reader to a  world filled with colour , taste, smell and unforgettable characters challenged by their human condition and unpredictable destiny.”

Audrey AdminAudrey, our Administrative Assistant’s all-time favourite Canadian book is The Diviners by Margaret Laurence.  “This classic book, part of the Manawaka series, is not only well written and engrossing, it also accurately depicts small town Canadian life which is familiar to me, being from a small town myself.  I have also visited her homestead in Neepawa, Manitoba!”

Timothy StewartOne of our Auxiliary Public Service Assistants, Timothy, chose a non-fic pick: “My most recent favourite is The NHL: A Centennial History by D’Arcy Jenish. It is well written book with plenty of stories of  how the NHL grew from a struggling league based out of Montreal and Toronto into the predominant hockey league of the modern era.”

Wiedmann, Margaret1As did Margarete, our Special Services Coordinator, who chose 52 best day trips from Vancouver by Jack Christie as her pick. “Jump in your car and go out and explore this great area.  It has so much to offer.  Many of these places can be reached by bus too.  Jack gives some great short adventures usually within ½ hour of the North Shore.  Once you are at you location, you can walk or hike the location, and see its many sight or just sit and enjoy your surroundings.  The book also allows you to plan side trips on the way to your destination.

Why not a new location every day for the summer, or at least a weekend getaway, without the coast of lodging.  Staycation at its best.”

Bear 150And finally our beloved Bear wanted to share his favourite book, Winston of Churchill, though he was pretty quiet on what made it a favourite.  (I wonder why…)

Have a 5-star Canadian read you’d like to share?  Sound off in the comments below!

-Patricia

 

NVCL Reads: Folk and Fairy Tales

If you’re doing #NVCLreads this summer with the kids, they might want to read some Canadian folk and fairy tales for #NVCLreadsFairyTales. (And you may want to read some for #NVCLreadsIllustrated or #NVCLreads200.)  Homa from our fabulous Children’s Department has some ideas about where to start:

Our collection of folk & fairy tales aims to engage children in timeless stories and help them to discover diversity.  This collection represents a range of traditions from various cultures and countries.  Here are some of the Canadian authors that have written fables, fairy tales, legends and myths.

fingerlingLittle Fingerling by Monica Hughes

This familiar Japanese folktale, a cross between Tom Thumb and David and Goliath, is given sophisticated treatment in this attractive picture book. Hughes’s telling is leisurely and formal, with a traditional tone that suits the material. In ancient Japan, a tiny son is born to an elderly couple. As he grows older — but no larger — his courage and resourcefulness see him through many exciting adventures.

41Q+Z8fVfsLThe Nervous Prince and other stories by Michael B. Kerr   

What was Cinderella’s prince really like? Was Red Riding Hood rescued by a woodsman, or not? Was Jack’s beanstalk genetically modified? Why were Hansel and Gretel searching for carbohydrate treats in the forest? And who styled Rapunzel’s hair? These updated versions of popular folk and fairy tales answer all these burning questions and more.

The-King-and-the-Tortoise-1200x972The King and The Tortoise by Tololwa M. Mollel

Who is the cleverest creature of all? In order to find out, the king has issued a challenge: who can make him a robe of smoke? The swift hare, the sly fox, the fierce leopard, and the mighty elephant try but each one fails.  It is up to the tortoise, patient and slow, to win the day through wit alone.  In this gentle traditional story from Cameroon, master story teller Tolowa Mollel has woven a tale of humor and wisdom as magical as a robe of smoke.

mermaid's museThe Mermaid’s Muse: The Legend of the Dragon Boats by David Bouchard 

History meets myth in this dramatic re-telling of the story of Qu Yuan, celebrated poet-in-exile of ancient China. In Bouchard’s tale the poet and a sea dragon, in the appearance of a mermaid, develop a mutually inspiring friendship that drives them to sail away together, to the mistaken alarm of Qu Yuan’s neighbors. The surprising climax illustrates the traditional Chinese origin of dragon boats. Spectacularly illustrated, this book is truly amazing — you should read it!

TwoSistersThe Two Sisters by E. Pauline Johnson

Many thousands of years ago, two little girl with eyes of spring and hearts of summer had the courage to ask their father to stop a war. He does as they ask, and this brings about a lasting peace in the land. This book will lead you on your own adventure through the rich history of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest.  I highly recommend it. It is a book for all ages with a valuable message and fabulous illustrations.

 

howsummerHow Summer Came to Canada Pictures by Elizabeth Cleaver Retold by William Toye

When the giant Winter came down from the North to live in Eastern Canada the land became frozen and white. Glooskap, mythical lord and creator of the Micmac Indians, saves his people from endless cold when he brings a beautiful Queen to his country. Her name is Summer and she persuades Winter to relax his icy grip every Spring while she awakens the land from its deep sleep and gives life to everything that grows. The beautiful illustrations of this book feature scenes of icy desolation and sunny flowering greenness.

Let’s read more folk and fairy tales this summer to better understand ourselves and others.

-Homa