Neil Gaiman

I Want All the Books!

The weather might be terribly treacherous, and driving might be dangerous, and I might not be able to be on social media or the Internet much these days because too much negativity is just plain bad for me; but THIS IS THE BEST BOOK WEEK in a very long time!  I’m pretty sure many of us could read only books that were published this week and be happy little bookworms for quite some time to come.  There’s something for everyone.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a selection of this week’s choicest goodies:

impossibleThe Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak*
Until May 1987, fourteen-year-old Billy Marvin of Wetbridge, New Jersey, is a nerd, but a decidedly happy nerd.  Afternoons are spent with his buddies, watching copious amounts of television, gorging on Pop-Tarts, debating who would win in a brawl (Rocky Balboa or Freddy Krueger? Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel? Magnum P.I. Or T.J. Hooker?), and programming video games on his Commodore 64 late into the night. Then Playboy magazine publishes photos of Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White, Billy meets expert programmer Mary Zelinsky, and everything changes.**

norseNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman*
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.  In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki–son of a giant–blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.**

pachinkoPachinko by Min Jin Lee*
A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.**

possessionsThe Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy*
In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances. […] A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.**

refugeesThe Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen*
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but also the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen’s next fiction book, The Refugees , is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.**

 

Happy reading!

-Patricia

*Thanks to NetGalley and Edelweiss for advanced readers’ copies of these titles.

**Blurbs provided by publishers.

 

 

Holiday Gift Suggestions: Children’s

giftbookIt is so satisfying to give a child a book that they truly love.  Here are my recommendations for children of all ages.

Middle Graders

sunnySunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

If the child in your life has read their copies of Smile and El Deafo to tatters, you’ll want to pick up Sunny Side Up, a big-hearted graphic novel about a girl sent to visit her grandfather at his retirement community.

Absolutely any novel by David Walliamswalliams

It’s too much of a challenge to pick just one David Walliams book to recommend.  His books are very funny and read aloud well.  They are perfect for families who’ve read everything by Roald Dahl and still want more.

nestThe Nest by Kenneth Oppel

Even as a child, I was drawn to the darker side of life.  Sentient wasps are pretty darn dark.  This tale of a boy dealing with his anxieties over a very sick baby brother is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline without being derivative.  It’s probably the best book I’ve read this year.

 

For The Picture Book Crowd

The Princess and The Pony by Kate Beatonprincesspony

Don’t be fooled by the title — this book isn’t just for pink-frilled Frozen fans.  My 5-year old loves this tale of a would-be battle ready princess and her “cutey-wootey” [his words] farting pony.

waitingWaiting by Kevin Henkes

Perfect for quiet cuddles before bed, Henkes’ Waiting is the quiet story of a collection of treasured toys sitting on a windowsill.  It’s destined to be a classic.

I Will Chomp You by Jory Johnchomp

As much for parents who remember the delights of There’s A Monter At the End of this Book as it is for kids, I Will Chomp You is the utterly interactive story of a monster who desperately doesn’t want young readers to turn the page.

Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

minimythWhile you can’t go wrong with the classics, like Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You?, I would buy one of Joan Holub’s Mini Myths titles and Herve Tullet’s The Game of Finger Worms for the babies on my list.  The Mini Myths are a mix of moral and good humour, while Tullet’s Finger Worms encourage young ones to see books as a kind of play.

Happy shopping!

–Patricia

Patricia’s Best Reads of 2013

If you’d asked me earlier this year to write this post, I’d have written, “Donna Tartt bothered to write a new novel.  The end.”  But when I bother to take a serious look back on the year, it was (of course) so much more than that.  In 2013, I found myself rooting for a drifting escaped criminal courtesy of the ever-fabulous Lisa Moore; awake in the wee hours stunned by the audacity of Alissa Nutting’s shamelessly pedophiliac narrator in Tampa; and finally (finally!) finding out whatever became of Danny Torrance.  Here are my best reads of 2013:

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–Patricia

(Many thanks to Edelweiss, NetGalley and Scholastic for providing advanced readers copies of many wonderful titles throughout the year!)

Patricia’s Picks for Horrific Halloween Reads

dragonsAt my house, my children (aka The Monster Squad) are all going trick-or-treating dressed up as book characters.  I am the proudest mama on the block to have Hermione, a wumpire and a dragon who loves tacos in my home.  I am also a HUGE fan of horror movies be they classic, schlocky, about genetically mutated animals or all three.  Sometimes my horror movie nights inspire me to pick up a book that may be classic, schlocky, about genetically mutated animals, or all three; I hope they inspire you too.

 hallow

Happy All Hallow’s Read!
–Patricia

Patricia’s Fall Picks

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E-readers Updated!

There are currently 31 holds on one copy of  The Cuckoo’s Calling by, ahem, Robert Galbraith.  We have other paper copies on the way too.  But if you are at all like me…  You.   Simply.   Can’t.  Wait.  We get that.  So The Cuckoo’s Calling is among the 10 new titles available to be read when you borrow our Kobo, Kindle or Sony e-readers.  The others are pretty exciting too.  Take a look:

City of BonesThe Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

Artistic teen Clary Fray’s life is turned upside down when she discovers the existence of the Shadowhunters – a race of  demonhunters – in modern day New York City.  This is my favourite teen series with adult appeal AND it’s due out in theatres at the end of August.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kermanorange

Critics are enthused about the new Netflix show, but is the real Piper’s life anywhere as dramatic as her fictional counterpart?  Only one way to find out…

timebeingA Tale for a Time Being* by Ruth Ozeki

The Booker’s Dozen was announced earlier this week and Ozeki is one of three Canadians up for the prestigious Man Booker prize thanks to this novel about the connected between a bullied Japanese teenager and a blocked novelist.

The Silver Star* by Jeannette Wallssilver-star

Made famous by The Glass Castle, a memoir of her unconventional childhood, Walls turns to fiction with The Silver Star.  Two sisters are casually abandoned by their mother.  They travel cross country to the town where their mother was raised to be taken in by their eccentric uncle.  Recommended for book clubs.

old man100 Year-old-man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

A centenarian with a long a colourful life behind him escapes from his 100th birthday party.

fault

Other new additions to our ereaders include David Sedaris’ latest, Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls, John Green’s NYT bestseller, The Fault in Our Stars, Neil Gaiman’s latest (and one of my Summer Picks) The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Khaled Hosseini’s And The Mountains Echoed.

Happy E-reading!

–Patricia

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing e-galleys of these titles!

Patricia’s Summer Picks

It’s summertime and the living is easy.  Especially the outdoor living.  Whether you are camping, headed out to the beach or swinging gently in a hammock, we have great reads for you.

Here are my Summer Picks :

To Bring Camping

camping  Ever since I nearly gave myself a heart attack reading The Girl Who Loved Tom      Gordon while camping near Lake Erie, I’ve felt that camping and horror are a natural fit for one another.  Thrillers also work.  (Basically, anyway you can be miles away from anywhere and scare yourself silly works for me.)  This year we’re spoilt for choice, modern masters Stephen King and Neil Gaiman both have new works out.  silent wifeKing’s Joyland immerses us in the bittersweet world of the smalltown carnival, while Gaiman shows us the immensity of The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  Joyland is delightfully pulp tinged with nostalgia, The Ocean is mythic and leaves you wanting more.  Both are good bets.

Another good bet to bring camping is A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife*.  Like last year’s Gone Girl this psychological thriller takes us on a heartpounding ride through a dying marriage.

beachOn The Beach

Heading out for a day lounging in the sun?  What better to bring with you then some juicy fiction about relationships.  Hot beach reads on my list this summer include Lauren Weisberger’s Revenge Wears Prada (the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada), Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret* and Jessica Brockmole’s debut, Letters from Skye*.skye

Letters from Skye is a story told in letters, perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  It tells the story of Elspeth Dunn, a Scottish poet, and the relationship she strikes up with an American fan of her work.  Full of love and secrets and spanning two world wars, this debut is a perfect summer read.

hammockFor Times of Quiet Contemplation

Find yourself up with the early sun and need a deeper read?  Try J.M. Sidorova’s The Age of Ice*.  A blend of Russian historical fiction, science fiction and magic realism, this novel tells the tale of twin boys conceived because of a bizarre order from a Russian empress and spans 300 years.

Another good bet is Niccolo Ammaniti’s satire of the superficiality of modern life, Let the Games Begin*. (And may I say, awesome cover.)

 

For Reading With a Flashlight Under the Covers During a Summer Rain

watchmenOkay, I don’t do this as much anymore as I used to.  But this summer I just might make an effort to because of the (non-Alan Moore approved) Watchmen prequels, Before Watchmen*.  This four-volume series is written and illustrated by a variety of people at the top of their game.  The series standout is Brian Azzarello’s volume on Comedian / Rorschach*.

Another good under-the-cover read is Jason Mott’s The Returned, in which an elderly coupleflashlight are reunited with their dead son — who is still 8 years old.

They say that every summer has a story.  This summer I’m hoping yours has many.

–Patricia

*Thank you, as always, to NetGalley for allowing us access to access to copies of these fabulous summer reads.