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From the Staff Bookshelf...
It's no secret that librarians love books! Find out what we've been reading. Click the title to reserve your copy today.
Archived Editions: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012


Blood and Daring John Boyko 12.30.2013

Blood and Daring by John Boyko details Canada's involvement in the Amercian civil war and afterwards. Library user Peter found it an exciting read that revealed much about our forefathers and even more about the American appetite to inhabit Canada.

The Glass Harmonica Russell Wangersky 12.23.2013

Set on a street in St. John's Newfoundland, The Glass Harmonica by Russell Wangersky lets the neighbours who live there share their joys and sorrows and family legacies. Library user Joan says here is another talented Canadian writer doing what Canadian writers do best: tell our stories.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Rachel Joyce 12.16.2013

In The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, a retired man, battered by life, sets out to mail a letter to a dying friend and keeps on walking, right across Britain. He becomes a minor celebrity and a witness to the lives of others, causing him to confront his own regrets. Harold is a wonderful character and travel companion and Rae Ann thoroughly enjoyed his company.

Silent Night: A Spenser Holiday Novel Robert B. Parker and Helen Brann 12.09.2013

It's the holiday season in Boston and in Robert B. Parker's novel, Silent Night, Spenser is out to solve the mystery of who is putting the muscle on a homeless boys' shelter. If you miss Spense, Hawk and Susan as much as Rachel does, then check out this book that was started by Parker and finished by his longtime literary agent.

A Marker to Measure Drift Alexander Maksik 12.02.2013

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik is a testament to the human spirit, the will to survive, the kindness of strangers and the blissful ignorance of the privileged class. It's a skillfully woven tale that slowly reveals the background story that led to novel's brutal beginning. Penelope found the book politcally current and very readable.

Fire on the Hill Frank Rockland 11.25.2013

Fire on the Hill by Frank Rockland is a fascinating look at the political and social side of life in Ottawa during the early years of WWI. In it, we meet Wilfrid Laurier and Robert Borden, uncover the intrigue of a possible German spy operation in Ontario, and even discover how a fire started in the reading room of the Centre Block. Library user Beth found it a great read.

May We Be Forgiven A.M. Homes 11.18.2013

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes is a brilliantly funny tale of a fractured family. Homes is unapologetic in her examination of the flawed human condition. Julie predicts readers will laugh out loud at the dark humour, which makes the book's 496 pages an easy read. The novel won the 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction.

Stranglehold Robert Rotenberg 11.11.2013

In his latest book, Strangehold, Robert Rotenberg's lead detective Ari Green becomes the suspect in a murder and fights to find the truth and clear his name. Muriel recommends that if you love mysteries, you place this one at the top of your list.

The Orenda Joseph Boyden 11.04.2013

Joseph Boyden's latest book, the important and controversial The Orenda, tells a story you won't have heard before about life at the edge of contact between Jesuit missionaries and the First Nations of what is now Ontario. Elizabeth says this one will stay with you long after you finish reading.

A Bird's Eye Cary Fagan 10.28.2013

Family secrets, first love and discovery of the world of magic make up this beautiful little book by Cary Fagan. Based in Toronto, A Bird's Eye follows 14-year-old Benjamin Kleeman as he learns about life and so much more during the 1930s. Jill was charmed by Miss Pensler, the local librarian who lets Benjamin into the library after hours to read Hoffman's Modern Magic.

The Dogs Are Eating Them Now Graeme Smith 10.21.2013

War correspondent Graeme Smith recounts his stint as a reporter in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2009 in his book The Dogs Are Eating Them Now. It's a war, he says, that "broke my heart." Library user Peter found the book a very occupying read.

Vaclav & Lena Haley Tanner 10.14.2013

Haley Tanner's debut novel Vaclav & Lena tells the story of two Russian immigrant children in Brooklyn in the 1990s. Vaclav dreams of being a great magician with Lena as his assistant but suddenly Lena disappears. Rae Ann felt the richly imagined world of the immigrant childhood experience made this a wonderful read.

The Testament of Mary Colm Toibin 10.07.2013

Colm Toibin's novel, The Testament of Mary, looks at the life of Jesus through his mother's eyes and delivers a very human story. Library user Tina couldn't put the book down.

True Grit Charles Portis 09.30.2013

Even if you've seen any one of the three movies based on the book, True Grit by Charles Portis is still worth checking out. In it, a tough U.S. Marshal helps a young woman track down her father's murderer. Rachel found the story gritty (as promised) and succinct.

The Smartest Kids in the World Amanda Ripley 09.23.2013

The Smartest Kids in the World follows three American children for one year to find out how they got that smart. Library user Lana found it a thought provoking look at education and a worthwhile read for educators and parents alike.

Once (DVD) 09.16.2013

Take a busker, an immigrant and a week together in Dublin. Add original music and excellent vocals, and you have the film Once, a bittersweet love story that library user Arthur says is suitable for music lovers and movie lovers alike.

Norwegian by Night Derek Miller 09.09.2013

Penelope could not say enough good things about Derek Miller's engaging and memorable book, Norwegian by Night. The novel weaves together families, aging, wars, drugs, refugees, political correctness, bravery and humour in a subtle police procedural. Julie and Elizabeth also recommend it highly.

Nocturne Helen Humphreys 09.02.2013

In Nocturne, Helen Humphreys pays tribute to her brother Martin who died within four months of his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer. She talks directly to him about their childhood, their shared moments and, most importantly, their love and respect for each other with great intimacy and tender poignancy. Jill loved this book.

Indian Horse Richard Wagamese 08.26.2013

Indian Horse is the story of Saul Indian Horse, wrenched from his family at a tender age to be put in a residential school. The joy of playing hockey was a lifeline for him. Now he has hit rock bottom and the only way out is to tell his story. Richard Wagamese tells it beautifully with spare, elegant prose, says Marina.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler 08.19.2013

Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves asks a multitude of questions: What is family? Is it the same for everyone or is everyone's experience unique? Why do we remember what we remember and are our memories real? Library user Joan thought it was a terrific book with great characters. In short, a perfect summer read.

An Illustrated History of Quebec Peter Gossage 08.12.2013

An Illustrated History of Quebec by Peter Gossage describes the social, political and religious life in the province with its isolation from other provinces and different nature thoroughly explained. Library user Peter enjoyed learning some astonishing facts about things like voters' preferences and the role of the Catholic Church.

Bite Me Julie Albert and LIsa Gnat 08.05.2013

The blurb on the cover of Bite Me by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat says it all: "A stomach satisfying, visually gratifying, fresh-mouthed cookbook." The recipes are Canadian, easy and excellent. And even if you don't feel like cooking, the Bite-Me Bits are very entertaining. Penelope recommends this uptown version of LooneySpoons.

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes Mary M. Talbot 07.29.2013

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes, a memoir in graphic novel form by Mary M. Talbot, contrasts two coming-of-age stories: that of Irish author James Joyce's daughter Lucia and that of the author, daughter of Joycean scholar James S. Atherton. Rae Ann found the contrasting historical backgrounds wonderful evoked by award-winning visual artist Bryan Talbot.

Your Voice in My Head Emma Forrest 07.22.2013

In Your Voice in My Head, Emma Forrest admits to having a couple of voices in her head: that of her psychiatrist who died suddenly and that of her "gypsy husband" who walked out unexpectedly. In this memoir, with incredible gut-wrenching candor, Forrest lays bare her soul for one and all to see. The book was so good, Jill simply couldn't look away.

Once upon a Flock Lauren Scheuer 07.15.2013

In Once Upon a Flock, Lauren Scheuer shares her adventures in backyard chicken raising. New to the experience herself, she observes and documents all their funny quirky ways with charming photos and line drawings. Marina thought it was a delightful read.

TransAtlantic Colum McCann 07.08.2013

If you loved Let The Great World Spin, you'll be over the moon for Colum McCann's latest novel, Transatlantic. Based on three real events, these powerful stories come alive in a way that you can both see and hear them, says library user Joan. It's a book that will resonate long after you finish it.

Ghana Must Go Taiye Selasi 07.01.2013

Taiye Selasi's debut novel, Ghana Must Go, tells a story of immigration and exile--sometimes by choice and sometimes not. On the surface, the Sai family are model newcomers, excelling in school, sports and art, but underneath the disruption of their migrations leaves them all with a clear sense of home. Elizabeth found the novel rich in both character and plot.

The Guilty Plea Robert Rotenberg 06.24.2013

Former lawyer and bestselling author Robert Rotenberg knows criminal territory well. And so does his detective, Ari Green, who's good at uncovering secrets to boot. The Guilty Plea is not only fast-paced, says library user Doug, it also shines a spotlight on the City of Toronto.

Without Honour Rob Tripp 06.17.2013

On June 30, 2009, four members of the Shafia family were found dead in their car in a Kingston, Ontario canal. Were the deaths an honour killing? In Without Honour, award-winning journalist Rob Tripp delves into what happened before and after the four women died. Library user Peter found the book intriguing.

The School of Essential Ingredients Erica Bauermeister 06.10.2013

Eight students of varied ages and histories meet weekly at a restaurant for a cooking class where they are transformed by the aromas and flavours of the chef's creations. In The School of Essential Ingredients, Erica Bauermeister serves up a delightful, delicious read and a testament to the power of good food and companionship. Penelope and her book club ate it up.

Okay for Now Gary Schmidt 06.03.2013

In Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt, a Grade 8 boy with a dysfunctional family arrives in a small town where he unexpectedly finds respite, friendship and inspiration within the walls of the local library. Although classified as children's fiction, Rachel found it a great story for any age.

The Whisper of Legends Barbara Fradkin 05.27.2013

The Whisper of Legends is the latest in the Inspector Green mystery series by award-winning Canadian author Barbara Fradkin. This one takes place on the Nahanni River as the Inspector frantically searches for his daughter who goes missing on a wilderness camping trip. He quickly learns that investigating in the wild is not the same as downtown Ottawa. Susan found the book riveting.

Canada Richard Ford 05.20.2013

"First, I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later." With this opening to Canada, author Richard Ford grabs you and doesn't let you go. Little wonder this book has been singled out for praise, says Jill.

The Keeper of Lost Causes Jussi Adler-Olsen 05.13.2013

Fans of Henning Mankell, Stief Larsson and Jo Nesbo will be pleased to discover Jussi Adler-Olsen, Denmark's #1 crime writer, author of the Department Q series. Adler-Olsen has created Carl Morck, a wonderfully flawed detective who is so damaged mentally that the Copenhagen police department has buried him in a one-man investigative unit. Julie thought The Keeper of Lost Causes was excellent and is anxious to read the next in the series.

Leonardo and the Last Supper Ross King 05.06.2013

In Leonardo and the Last Supper, Ross King digs deep into da Vinci's mysterious, eccentric life and describes the complete story behind the creation of the painting. Library user Doug also found the section on the bestseller The da Vinci Code intriguing, as well.

Toby's Room Pat Barker 04.29.2013

In Toby's Room, author Pat Barker introduces us to a diverse cast of characters and smart, beautiful young people whose lives are cut short by WWI and who are left to build, or attempt to build, new lives on their return. The language is rich and graphic and the story is guaranteed to hold your attention, says library user Joan, thanks to a gifted storyteller.

Oleander Girl Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni 04.22.2013

Korobi Roy, an orphan brought up by her grandparents in a crumbling mansion in Kolkata, India, goes on a life-altering trip to America in the hopes of finding her birth father in Oleander GIrl. Author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is such a good storyteller, Marina found, and she was immediately drawn in and enchanted right to the end.

Escape from Camp 14 Blaine Harden 04.15.2013

Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden details the hardships of a boy born in a North Korean prison and raises questions such as 'does early deprivation influence one's future conduct?' Library user Peter, for one thing, found that ethics and humane principles do not arise naturally.

The Juliet Stories Carrie Snyder 04.08.2013

Shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and selected as a Globe and Mail Top 100, The Juliet Stories by Carrie Snyder follows the Friesens' life as peace activists in post-revolutionary war Nicaragua and their readjustment to life in Canada and the US after personal tragedy. Rae Ann found the lovely, clean prose and evocative descriptions of place made this novel well worth reading.

Ancient Light John Banville 04.01.2013

Ancient Light asks the question: what do we remember and what do we invent? Weaving back and forth, author John Banville paints the picture of a man looking for answers to questions that, in asking, produce more questions. Library user Joan found Banville's book intriguing with interesting, sympathetic characters and a storyline that holds your attention, entertains and makes you, the reader, question, as well.

The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion 03.25.2013

Joan Didion's memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, recounts the year following the sudden death of her husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, and the near death of her daughter Quintana. Didion manages to talk about her experience with amazing clarity and intense intimacy. Jill was blown away with admiration for her.

One Last Thing before I Go Jonathan Tropper 03.18.2013

Jonathan Tropper, bestselling author of This Is Where I Leave You, is back with a hilarious and heart-rending tale about a family's struggle to reconnect in One Last Thing before I Go. Julie admired Tropper's skill in creating characters that you don't necessarily admire but can't help but like and root for. No surprise the book's been optioned by Paramount Pictures.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Rachel Joyce 03.11.2013

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce follows the title character in his fascinating 600-mile walk across the English countryside to deliver a message to Queenie, a long lost friend. Library user Mary found it restored her faith in mankind. She simply couldn't put it down.

Infection: The Uninvited Universe Gerald Callahan 03.04.2013

Infection by Gerald Callahan describes the world of germs, bacteria, diseases in cures in a lively prose. Library user Doug thought Callahan did a wonderful job of translating the dry academic world of the laboratory into a fascinating who-done-it.

Indian Horse Richard Wagamese 02.25.2013

Richard Wagameses's Indian Horse will make your cry, cheer, and cry some more as you follow Saul Indian Horse from residential school to hockey arena. Although it didn't win, Elizabeth thought this tale of hope, consequences, and forgiving yourself was a worthy contender for Canada Reads 2013.

Albert of Adelaide Howard Anderson 02.18.2013

Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson follows Albert, a platypus, after he escapes from the Adelaide Zoo and sets off on a quest to find Old Australia. Along the way he encounters a colourful assortment of characters who help him in and out of various scrapes and escapades and discovers his talent for survival. Rae Ann found this old-fashioned buddy shoot 'em up novel, a rollicking good read.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand Helen Simonson 02.11.2013

Meet the very British Major Pettigrew--charming, courtly and opinionated--and dear Mrs. Ali, Pakistani owner of the local village shop. Each has suffered the loss of a loved one. Through a shared love of literature, they find themselves developing an unlikely friendship. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson is sweet and irresistible, says Marina.

Two Pints Roddy Doyle 02.04.2013

Roddy Doyle has written a snappy little book called Two Pints. More screenplay than novel, it is basically an ongoing dialogue between two buddies who meet every few days for a pint or two at the local. Library user Joan says you can't help but feel affection for these two fellows.

Paris: A Love Story Kati Marton 01.28.2013

Kati Marton's memoir, Paris: a love story, about her life and her marriages to newsman Peter Jennings and American diplomat Richard Holbrooke takes you behind the scenes and intrigue of political life in the US and on numerous trips to Paris. A fast read, library user Susan simply couldn't put the book down.

Vagina: A New Biography Naomi Wolf 01.21.2013

Naomi Wolf reveals in Vagina: a new biography how this part of the female anatomy has been both revered and discredited over the centuries. For the author it was a highly personal journey. For library user Peter it was both edifying and captivating - especially for a male reader.

Emotional Arithmetic Matt Cohen 01.14.2013

Emotional Arithmetic is a film about the consequences of war, based on a book by Canadian author Matt Cohen. Library user Gregory thought the actors were excellent, the location in the Eastern Townships was marvellous, and the treatment of issues around post traumatic stress was original.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend Matthew Dicks 01.07.2013

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks reveals the special relationship between 8-year-old Max and his imaginary friend Budo. Susan M. was captivated by this book about courage and loyalty. The ending is both sad and triumphant. A great read.




A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counselor, a multitude of counselors.
~ Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

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