Squee! New books!

6 Feb

Here it comes…the next big thing…


Seven Canadian authors have come together to write this massively cool idea into a series of books. Here’s the idea, a grandfather dies and leaves notes in his will for his grandsons, essentially he leaves his bucket list (climb a mountain, get a tattoo, you get the idea).

The seven authors include heavyweight Eric Walters, Ted Staunton, Richard Scrimger, Norah McClintock, Sigmund Brouwer, John Wilson, Shane Peacock.

 The books are written with boys as the main characters. Why? Because the publishers say girls will read about boys, but boys won’t read about girls. Right! More boy-girl divisions! Would you guys seriously not read a book about a girl?



Battle of the Books takes over!

23 Jan

Our book club met and dissolved quickly into a loud battle of book talks with slick sales-pitches that rivaled the skills of the best sellers around. In fact, it kind of sounded like this:

There was a strong volley for all of us to read Divergent, by Veronica Roth.  The Book Club Member who was pitching the book couldn’t sit down she was so excited to get us all hooked on the dystopian novel set in Chicago. The kids in the book get sorted (like the Harry Potter Sorting Hat, only bloodier) into five factions…but some have wonky blood that is divergent, and those kids can choose where they want to go! What follows mixes suspense and some love stuff that will surely please most of the crowd — or so says our one member who had simply fallen in love with the book after three chapters.

Also, a plea went out for all of us to read Louise Erdrich’s The Birchbark House and a vocal lobby for Peak, by Roland Smith. The club fell into a rehashing of our favourite scenes of Island of the Blue Dolphins which turned into a lively mock battle…ending with a lot of shouting and laughs!

Books are so dramatic.

What next?

17 Jan

Our book club meets on Thursday and we are ready for a new book. All of our members are in the Battle of the Books this year, and we have decided we better choose a battle book so no one gets totally overloaded and grumpy.

My choice is Michael Wade’s, And Then It Happened…

These books are really, really laugh out loud. M & L Wade has very, very kindly put chapters from all 10! books on his site  for you to peruse before you commit. We’ll see what the club votes on.

Suggestions anyone?


New and Old France

9 Jan

When I was 13 I wished for a time machine. Not so I could visit the future and google image Johnny Depp, but so I could go back to 1674 and pose as an orphan in Paris. Then, I could get sent to Quebec and marry a Coureurs de Bois. I wanted to be a King’s Daughter, like my favourite book of 1987.

You can’t find the book in our library — but it’s in Huntsville’s collection and we are stars of the Inter Library Loan here! We do have Alone in an Untamed Land, which is a pretend diary of a King’s Daughter.

So, you want to know what a King’s Daughter is right? Something like this in the world of happy memories: 

but actually more like this:

The King’s Daughters were actually orphans and poor girls who were sent from Paris, which was a bustling city with lots going on, to Canada, which was essentially forests and lakes. They were married off to lonely trappers or settlers who were trying to get Quebec City going. I’ve always liked the idea of hardship and starvation and freezing in theory and get entertainment value out of historical fiction.

This holiday I picked up Bride of New France, a grown-up version of my favourite book of 1987. You can’t imagine my glee! More orphans! More starvation! And, more explicit descriptions of bugs and pests! Here is the pleasure of lifelong reading, you can hunt down the themes from loved books from your past and superimpose it into your future (like a cheap version of time travel).

Think of books you re-read now. What are they? Are there versions for younger kids and adults? What is it you love about them? The characters or the plot, or was it something that was going on while you were reading the book for the first time?

holiday reading

22 Dec

Things are stressful for you now, right? You’re looking at two agonizing weeks of holidays with your family — car rides, long dinners with annoying adults, and maybe some guests kicking you out of your room and onto the livingroom floor?

Luckily, I am librarian with the mission to save you from the doldrums! There is holiday reading to rescue. No one is going to mess with you if you have a book in front of your face. Who would scold you? No one! They will reward you with quiet time and possibly sugary treats and a cup of cocoa.

But what is that you say??? You forgot to check out books and the library is closed??? No worries. We have books that you can grab online, and even put on your iPad or iPod or laptop or super-cool-contact-lenses-with-online-access (*to come in 2015).

Go to our library website and search overdrive for books galore! (You’ll need your library barcode number for this one). I suggest…


You’ll find something you like, for sure!

If Overdrive is too tricky (or you have overdue fines on your library card which will block you from the online books in our library, too), there is some good reading on the world-wide web.

Check out an addictive site: pintrest. It’s a virtual pin board, which means it’s full of cool stuff to look at and *maybe* make.

For manga lovers, there is always mangafox. Days can be spent lost in the rabbit hole of Japanese reading pleasure.


On the island with secret names

13 Dec

Our book club dove into the Island of the Blue Dolphins this week. The main character is Wonapalei. In her tribe, they have secret names that hold power — names that are only told to people who are in a trusted circle with you.

I needed a secret name fast, so I went to Baby Name Genie get one.

Just type in your last name and…voila!A secret name. Don’t tell anyone what it is. Okay. I’ll tell you mine, because you are my trusted friend…it’s Monique. Shhh. I only tell you as an expression of my trust.

Seriously, back to the book.

Themes of identity and trust run through this book like a fern motif runs through a Matisse.

Which is to say, it comes up a lot.

Right away, chapter one is presenting the tricky situation of what happens when you give away your secret name. The book doesn’t mess around. We are right in the midst of both international and existential crises. Karana’s father is murdered, her tribe is under siege…all starting with the simple slip of the secret name.


Is there something that you hold close, only telling people after you are sure they are trustworthy? Or, have you ever been like Karana’s father — given away your secret to the wrong person?

Illustrating…big dreams

7 Dec

A few weeks back there was a big surge in making anything into a graphic novel. We have a few armfuls on our library’s shelves of attempts to illustrate the previously unillustrated. Some of them are duds, and some are super-amazing.

This version of the Wizard of Oz was taken over by the creative forces at Marvel — they did a bang!-up job!

Luring reluctant readers into the world of books with the magic of pictures got me thinking. If I were in charge of the world…

I’d ask Barbara Reid to illustrate the Warriors series. Imagine those fierce wild cats coming to life in her hands? Spectacular! 

I’d like David Shannon to tackle Judy Blume’s coming-of-age novels. When I was 12, I felt a lot like David on the inside.

And my current favourite book, The Hunger Games?

Dave McKean — for sure. He has set Neil Gaiman’s work on fire with his talent, and I would love to see what he could do with Katniss Everdeen.

Who would you get to illustrate a favourite book?