Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sunday December 30th, 2012 New Year's Resolutions

 When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, we all know how difficult it can be to get them started, much less keep them going throughout the year. While resolutions are fresh in people’s minds, the library is a resource they can use to kick off the New Year right.

A major resolution that seems to be a by-product of the holiday season is saving money. Buying books and movies gets expensive, and even renting can add up. Take a trip to your TBPL library branch where you'll find all of the latest books and movies available free of charge. Your TBPL card will also allow you to check out e-books, magazines, CDs, audio-books, use library computers and the Internet, access special electronic collections and more.

If you want to make more cost saving changes in other areas of your life from cooking and shopping to vacations, finance and decorating, TBPL offers materials to help you achieve and maintain your goals for happier living.  Here’s just a small sampling of what you’ll find in library or online:

The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less by John Robbins. How do you define the good life? For many, success is measured not by health and happiness but by financial wealth. But such a worldview overlooks the important things in life: personal contentment, family time, spirituality, and the health of the planet and those living on it. A preoccupation with money and possessions is not only unhealthy, it can also drain the true joy from life. Robbins, heir to the Baskin Robbins family, walked away from a fortune only to lose most of his own money in Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme uses his own personal experience, redefining our notions of a successful life and lending credibility to his own claims of enlightenment.

The Thrifty Cook: 200 Best Ever Meals on a Budget by Lucy Doncaster. This inspiring cookbook reveals how to create amazingly low-cost family meals that are still tasty, varied and nutritious. Using great-value ingredients and a little common sense, a delicious two-course meal can cost you less than a shop-bought sandwich, even including the accompaniments. Don’t think it’s doable? Think again, and borrow this book!

The Frugal Senior: Hundreds of Creative Ways to Stretch a Dollar! by Rich Gray. Covers everything from handling rising energy costs to recycling old clothing, simplifying garden maintenance, reducing the costs of gift-giving, and more. All the common expenses of daily living are dealt with here, with solutions to throwaway habits and rising costs focusing on re-use and refinement.

Savvy Chic: The Art of More for Less by Anna Johnson. Anna Johnson is not a tea-bag squeezer, a penny-pincher, or inherently thrifty in any way—but she knows how to enjoy the finer things in life . . . for much, much less! In Savvy Chic, she shares her secrets on how to dress, decorate, entertain, and travel in high style without breaking the piggy bank.

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas Stanley. Creating wealth is sort of like dieting, everybody wants the end result but the discipline to achieve that result is usually lacking.   "You aren't what you drive," Stanley mercilessly says and shows how wealth takes sacrifice, discipline, and hard work, qualities that are positively discouraged by our high-consumption society.

And on one final note, on behalf of all of us at the Thunder Bay Public Library, I wish you all happy holidays and a most prosperous New Year!

Arlene Danyleyko

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday December 23, 2012 The Northern Lights

While we sometimes bemoan the short days and long nights of winter within them there is a blessing.  For those of us who keep an eye to the night sky, we may be given the gift of the aurora borealis or Northern Lights.  Too see them feels utterly magical even if we know the science behind.  At your library you will find books that explain them scientifically and those that feature them in fiction.

My favourites are the fictional works on the Northern Lights.  During the holiday season it is wonderful to be able to share books together and a picture book is the ideal vehicle.  All of us can enjoy the illustrations while the storyteller shares a tale.  Here are a few of tales of the Northern Lights for sharing on a winter evening.

The Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock is a story of wonder.  It centres around eight year old Henry who is raised on wondrous legends of the great white owl, the loup-garou (part wolf, part man), and the fiddler of the Northern Lights.  Although the rest of the family doubts Grandpa Pepin’s tale of the fiddler whose music makes the lights dance, Henry believes.  The rest is pure magic which I won’t spoil for you.

In Northern Lights:  The Soccer Trails by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak Kataujaq loses her mother to illness.  One day when she’s feeling sad her grandmother tells her a story.  “People die...And, when they die their souls leave their bodies and go up into the heavens, and there they live.  The thousands of people who have passed before us all live up there in the sky.”  As you may have guessed those souls make up the Northern Lights.

Barbara Juster Esbensen combines both poetry and facts in her beautiful The Night Rainbow.  She starts off by sharing the purpose of her book.  It is to:  “conjure up these heart-stopping light displays” for those who have never seen them, to tell ancient legends as poetry, and to speak to those who have.  What follows are beautiful poems allowing us access to the legends associated with the Northern Lights.  The final pieces are information about the legends and notes about the auroras.  This book is a lovely balance of fact and fiction.

Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek starts with what feels like an emergency but turns in to an encounter with the Northern Lights.  The children in the story think their mothers have gone crazy pulling them out of their beds, but they soon discover it’s not madness.  The splendour of the lights unites all those viewing beautifully.

Finally let’s go Beyond the Northern Lights.  Lynn Blaikie’s heroine asks the raven to carry her on his wings.  The Northern Lights are but one stop for this child as she also seeks the icy deep and the fire by which the elders sit.  The images in the book are the author’s own striking batiks.

There are, of course, many more books to share over the holiday season.   I invite you to come in and explore for yourself.  Best wishes and happy reading to all.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sunday December 16, 2012 Christmas Novels

In last week’s column, we focused on eBook readers: helping you with a question we get a lot at the library – “what eBook reader should I buy”? With Christmas just around the corner, my guess is that eBook readers are or soon will be flying off the retail shelves.Once you have chosen your reader, or opened that gift containing one, your next stop should be the library. Not only can we provide you with assistance in navigating that new device, but we also have thousands of eBooks available for loan from our collection. eBooks are just another format.  They are compact and portable, and you can download them from the library website 24/7.  If you want a more tactile experience, chose paper but you will need to visit the library during our holiday hours.  Either way, go green and borrow your titles from the library. Here are some Christmas reads that you can load onto your device OR borrow from the library in the traditional paper format – you choose your preference:

An Amish Christmas by Cynthia Keller. “Meg Hobart has everything: a happy marriage to a handsome, successful husband, a beautiful home in Charlotte, North Carolina, and three wonderful children. But it all comes crashing down around her the day she learns that her husband, James, has been living a lie--and has brought the family to financial ruin. A frightening twist of fate forces the Hobarts to take refuge with a kind Amish family in Pennsylvania, where they find themselves in a home with no computers, no cell phones, nothing the children consider fashionable or fun. Celebrating life's simplest but most essential values, packed with laughter and tears, this is a story of forgiveness and the power of love.”

Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb. “It's 1964 and ten-year-old Felix is sure of a few things: the birds and the bees are puzzling, television is magical, and this is one Christmas he'll never forget. LBJ and Lady Bird are in the White House, Meet the Beatles is on everyone's turntable, and Felix Funicello (distant cousin of the iconic Annette!) is doing his best to navigate fifth grade. Back in his beloved fictional town of Three Rivers, Connecticut, with a new cast of endearing characters, Wally Lamb takes his readers straight into the halls of St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parochial. From the Funicello family's bus-station lunch counter to the elementary school playground (with an uproarious stop at the Pillsbury Bake-Off), Wishin' and Hopin' is a vivid slice of 1960s life, a wise and witty holiday tale that celebrates where we've been and how far we've come.”

Anne Perry Christmas: Two Holiday Novels. A Christmas Journey: “In the Berkshire countryside, family and guests have gathered for a delicious weekend fĂȘte surrounded by roaring fires and candlelight. It's scarcely the setting for misfortune, and no one-not even that clever budding sleuth Lady Vespasia Cumming-Gould-anticipates the tragedy that is to darken this holiday house party.  A Christmas Visitor: “At the Dreghorn family reunion, the tranquility of a snowbound English estate is shattered by what is an apparently accidental death. The victim's distraught wife summons her godfather, the distinguished mathematician and inventor Henry Rathbone, to the scene. And questions about the tragic event soon turn into whispers of murder.”

Other Christmas titles available in both formats: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber, Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs, and Winter House by Carol O’Connell.   Happy Reading!

Barbara Philp 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sunday December 9th, 2012 What kind of eBook reader should I buy?

This question comes up a lot at the Library, especially at this time of year. eBook readers make lovely gifts, and like with the best gifts, you need to know something about the recipient to find the best fit.

Over the past few years eBook readers have evolved from simple reading devices to complex tablet computers which in addition to reading, allow the user to surf the Web, check email and use a multitude of apps, games and other diversions. 

Some eBook readers also have the capacity to play eAudiobooks.  If you just want to listen to eAudiobooks, which are electronic recordings of someone reading a book, similar to CD Books or Cassette Books, then an MP3 player or iPod Touch would be more appropriate for you.

Not all eBook readers (or eAudiobook devices) are compatible with our Library eBooks.  This is due to a complex tangle of proprietary file formats, copyright issues and publishers’ policies.  Notably the Kindle from Amazon is not compatible with our Library eBooks at this time. 

Thunder Bay Public Library is part of a group of public libraries in Ontario which jointly subscribes to OverDrive, an eBook platform.  While most of the books on OverDrive are shared, we have been buying eBooks for our patrons only.  For this reason it’s important to log in before you start searching in OverDrive, to ensure you are seeing all items available to you.

OverDrive maintains a list of compatible and incompatible devices in its online “Device Resource Centre”.  You can find a link to this list from our Web site:  go to, click on “OverDrive” in the QUICK LINKSThis page on our Web site has a link to the OverDrive site, as well as tip sheets for the most common eBook readers we have seen at the Library. Reading over these tip sheets will give you an idea of the different ways eBook readers work.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about OverDrive is on our Web site.  You’ll see the link in the left-hand menu when you navigate to QUICK LINKS / OverDrive.

There are two basic ways to get eBooks from OverDrive onto an eBook reader, and the method depends on what type of eBook reader you have.  One involves installing some free software called on to your computer.  The software for eBooks is called Adobe Digital Editions (ADE), and for eAudiobooks it is called OverDrive Media Console (OMC).  eBooks get downloaded to ADE (and eAudiobooks to OMC) and then from there transferred to your eBook reader. The other involves using an App directly on your eBook reader. This method works with the more complex eBook readers which are more like tablets.  Using the App to download books requires a Wifi connection – which is another consideration if you are giving an eBook reader as a gift.

Some eBook readers come with a stylus with which you can take notes and highlight passages.    If a person is considering purchasing an iPad or other tablet computer in the near future, it can also be used as an eBook reader – but the iPad does have a shiny glass screen so if the user has any eye sight problems, this could be an issue when reading. 

As you can see, this is not an easy question to answer!  There are a lot of things to consider.  As mentioned, there is a lot of information available on our Web site to help you with eBooks, as well the OverDrive site itself has a very good “Help” section.  Our Virtual Services Department is happy to provide hands-on, email and phone support for people using Library eBooks.  Contact us at 684-6819 or

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunday December 2, 2012 The Human Library

Walk into any branch of the Thunder Bay Public Library any day of the week and you can be sure it will be filled with activity. The library excels at promoting and teaching new technologies to meet demands. This could explain why TBPL like other Canadian libraries is thriving in both patrons and lending stats. The library continues to do innovative things that meet changing needs. Some of these include genealogy classes, one-on-one Internet training sessions, Facebook coaching, iHelp with iPads, iPod Touches or any new gadget, and the Human Library.

A Human Library? What is that you might ask. It began in 1993, in Copenhagen, Denmark, when five young people created a movement called Stop the Violence. They came together when one of their friends was injured in a stabbing. The outcome of this incident was twofold. Most importantly their friend survived. Second, these friends decided to do something about racial violence. By communicating and raising awareness, the group soon had an organization comprising 30,000 members from all over Denmark.

In 2000 this organization was asked to arrange activities for the Roskilde Festival, a music festival held annually in Denmark. The vision was to encourage unbiased dialogue amongst the festival visitors through one-on-one conversations. From this emerged the Human Library. And then it grew.

The Human Library concept has now spread around the world. Events have been held in Norway, Hungary, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, England, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Netherlands, Scotland, United States, New Zealand, Romania, Lithuania and Canada. Human Books may now be checked out at public libraries.

A Human Library is simply a way for people to connect with individuals they may not typically talk to. Library visitors have the opportunity during a planned event to borrow Human Books and engage in conversation. These Human Libraries celebrate differences and promote tolerance. The Human Books themselves are volunteers, willing to share their stories with others in a safe environment.

The first Human Library in Thunder Bay was held at the Waverley Resource Library on Saturday October 27, 2012. The Library partnered with CBC Radio 88.3 to bring this event to life. Fifty-three people came to "read" ten Human Books. The choices for Human Books are wide and varied. This event included a police officer, a muslim woman, a tattoo apprentice, a litigation lawyer, a transgender person, a recovering drug addict, a young aboriginal from a Northern community, a person living with a mental illness, an Ojibway elder and a person living with a disability.

Guidelines are relatively simple. The Reader must be respectful. The Human Book can leave the conversation if he or she feels the Reader is treating him or her in an inappropriate manner. The loan period is 20 minutes. The Reader cannot record or take pictures of the Human Book. And the Reader is not allowed to ask the Human Book for personal contact information. Questions might sound like this. Could you tell me about yourself? What is a typical day like for you? What is a good thing happening in your life right now? What makes it good? How do you deal with adversity? Do you have any advice for someone going through a situation similar to yours?

What is that saying … you can never really know someone until you walk a mile in their shoes? How about taking your shoes off and having a 20 minute conversation. Chances are you’ll learn something. There will be another Human Library event on Saturday January 26th, at the Mary J.L. Black Library. Check the Library's Web site as well as CBC Radio's Web site for more details. And feel free to walk in.

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday Novmeber 25, 2012 The Long Count

It’s a month until a proposed end cycle for this world has supposedly been calculated to end. You may have heard it referred to as the End of the Mayan Long Count. This is a contested date for many reasons, ranging from ancient alien encounters to brain wave synchrony with god-like beings. But as Giorgio Tsoulakos claims, these weren’t actually gods, but “flesh and blood extraterrestrials.”

The claim that ancient aliens influenced ancient Sumerians, Indians, Central and South Americans and may have influenced European megalithic is apparently evidenced through rock art, monuments, language influences and legends. An excellent introduction to this field of research is the History Channel’s series, Ancient Aliens. Season Three has just finished production but the Thunder Bay Public Library has Season’s One and Two.

If you want to go deeper into the mystery, there are many options available. Some authors such as David Childress and Erich von Daniken are featured on the series, but they also have their own books available. Childress wrote Extra-terrestrial Archeology (1995) and Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries of South America (2003).

Erich von Daniken is a well-known name in the Ancient Alien field. His early book, Chariots of the Gods, originally published in 1968 and since then has been reprinted and sold millions of copies.

Of course, these authors need fuel for their fire, and because the nature of their theory is ancient civilization, it is easy to find a lot of the text sources that the authors use. The Mahabarata, for instance, contains information that some theorists claim refers to flying saucers called by ancient Indians, Vimana. Out of curiosity, an interested person could read translations of the Mahabarata. In fact, the whole Dewey section known as “the 200s” contains information from all sorts of ancient religious cultures.

But if legends are not enough to confirm credulity, a dedicated researcher could look into how an intergalactic civilization could get to earth. One possibility is via wormholes. This would be, say, two gravitational points in space-time that, via gravitational contact, create a conduit beyond space-time that could potentially act as a tunnel for travel across the universe. But how does a UFO do such a thing? According to the Ancient Alien theorists, the Mahabarata states that the Vimanas functioned by spinning a heavy metal, such as mercury, so that it would create its own gravito-electric field/time warp.

A positive thing about such theorizations, and this one in particular, is the date stamp on the event. This upcoming winter solstice, according to Ancient Alien theorists, is going to be a galactic alignment that only occurs every 25,000 or so years. Why the god-like aliens have to wait for this alignment is not clear, although it is related to the so-called House of Aquarius, the dawning new age. Even here is another point of contention – who are the gods and why are they returning?

According to mainstream and also Ancient Alien theorists, nine gods are returning, and we don’t know how friendly, if at all, they will be.

Chris Waite

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sunday November 18, 2012 Help for Procrastination

Exam season is coming up and everyone knows what that means: procrastination. Sure, you should be studying. But suddenly the dishes need doing. Your room needs cleaning. And why don’t you get ahead by studying for next week’s test, rather than the one that’s tomorrow?  If this sounds familiar, don’t panic!  The library is here to help.

An excellent place to start is Piers Steel’s The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Things Done. The title is a bit misleading; this is a book about why we procrastinate, rather than on how to stop procrastinating. Steel’s book explores many of the myths associated with procrastination; his prose can be a bit dense with citations, but the book is well researched and very interesting to read.

Of course, if you don’t have time for theory and want to get right into some practical tips on how to be more productive, the library has several excellent titles. Rita Emmett’s The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing it Now approaches procrastination as a habit, giving you many tips and tricks to help you break the pattern of putting things off. Emmett is a professional speaker who gives seminars on procrastination; reading this book is like sitting in on one of her talks, providing you with much-needed motivation to break free of procrastinating.

Another option is Eat that Frog!  21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy. Tracy has studied procrastination for many years, trying out many strategies to see what works best. This book is the result, his “twenty-one most powerful principles on personal effectiveness.”  Eat that Frog! is focussed on getting more done at work, but you can easily use these strategies in other areas of your life, too.

If you need an easy and fast read, give Put Your Rear into Gear: Understanding and Breaking Free from Procrastination by Jeanine Reiss a try. At first glance this book seems to be written for a younger audience, with goofy stick-figure pictures and a relatively simplistic design. But don’t be fooled; Put Your Rear into Gear is full of many great tips that will help you stop procrastinating.

If you’ve got a little more time and want some exercises to help you get to the bottom of your procrastination habit, Time Efficiency Makeover is the workbook for you. It will help you figure out in which areas you struggle; it has some helpful tips to assist you in overcoming those problem areas as well. Just be sure to answer the questions on separate paper so other people can enjoy the book, too!

But what if you are a parent who is concerned that your child is procrastinating too much on homework and studying?  We have a couple of books for you as well. An excellent place to start is Rita Emmett’s The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off. This time Emmett shares her expertise on procrastination with parents who want to teach their children healthy time management habits. Another great book is See You Later, Procrastinator! (Get it Done) by Pamela Espeland and Elizabeth Verdick. Like Put Your Rear into Gear, See You Later, Procrastinator! is full of great tips but written in a fun way that makes it really easy to read. This is the perfect book for tweens and older children, but it will even teach adults a thing or two about beating procrastination.

So if you’re having trouble sitting down to study, perhaps a trip to the library is in order.  Just be sure you save enough time to put the tips you learn into action!

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sunday November 11, 2012 Reading to Babies

“They don’t know what I’m saying,” “babies have short attention spans,” “he/she just wants to eat the book,” and “I feel silly reading to a baby,” are all arguments I have heard against reading books to babies.  Well, here are some arguments from the other side . . .

Babies do not need to understand what  you are saying at first, but they will greatly benefit from hearing your voice and intonation. Also, reading requires you to be close, relaxed and speaking directly to the little one and this can be a good and restful time for both parent and child. If babies never hear the words spoken aloud, how will they ever recognize them and eventually say them and read them? Babies who have been read to have huge advantages in developing skills to understand their world, build the necessary skills for learning words eventually,  for learning how to read .They are in a far better position to be able to learn everything else as well.

So work with the babies’ short attention span. You do not have to read a big book to them.  Choose something short and start out reading for just 10 to 15 minutes a day. As the child gets older, introduce stories of longer length and complexity.

Choose board books so that you won’t have anxiety about the baby ripping the pages or gumming the book. Board books are designed to be sturdy and enduring.

Don’t worry  about feeling silly reading aloud to your baby – your baby already loves you and will love the attention you are giving them as you speak melodically to them. And once they do start to understand you, they will relish the chance to have your attention as you take a “book break” together.  Bring them to the Library where we have storytimes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Meet other babies and enjoy songs, rhymes and stories as you discover what your baby likes best.

Begin reading books that you like. By age four or five months babies are usually getting interested in objects that they can recognize and will like books with pictures of pets,  babies, balls, cars, bottles, and the other things in their life.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  Babies will start to learn the names of things and to understand the cues for what is going to happen next based on the tone of your voice and how you tell the story. Repetition is the way that babies and children learn best and you’ll soon discover that they have an endless appetite for their favourite images, stories, colours and books.

By about age one, children will start to imitate the storyteller and want to turn pages, hold the book or point to the pictures they like.  Why not borrow books from the Library to “test out” with them.  The Library offers such a wide variety that you should have no trouble finding something which interests you both. 
Do this and you will be rewarded with a child whose vocabulary is rich; a toddler who can express him/herself and who is better equipped to understand this world and to interact with it and learn. By the time they start school, children who have been read to since they were babies have recognizable advantages over children who have not.

So read, read, read. Let them explore books with all of their senses. I promise you that reading to them is one of the best things you can for your child’s overall health, happiness and development.

The Children’s & Youth Services department at your Public Library wants to be your support as you introduce books into your baby’s life. We welcome parents and grandparents and offer books and programs to assist your child take those first steps into literacy.

Some Good Books for Baby Are:

Kisses Kisses Baby-O
Grumpy Bird
Goodnight Moon
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

Angela Meady

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sunday November 4, 2012 Young Adult Books Fit for Adults

In my last column I spoke about adult authors who were branching out into writing for a teen audience. At the same time, there is a growing audience of adults who are reading titles classified as young adult. Often it is the “big” titles like The Hunger Games that successfully cross over, but there are many other YA books that are worthy of a wider audience. Quite a few older books that have attained classic status would be classified as “young adult” if published today, so you might be missing some amazing reads just because they are in a different section! These selected authors and titles could appeal to readers of all ages, despite the Young Adult sticker on their spines.

If you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, you might enjoy Beverley Brenna’s books about 18-year-old Taylor Jane Simon, a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome. Taylor struggles and triumphs like any young adult, but also copes with feelings of isolation and having a different perspective than the rest of the world. The first book in the trilogy, Wild Orchid, is also a ‘book club in a bag’ title.

Libba Bray writes both historical fantasies and realistic fiction and incorporates satire, absurdist touches, and feminist characters into her works. She moves easily between very different styles, as her Going Bovine has been compared to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy while and The Diviners, her most recent work, is set in 1920’s New York and features flappers, a mystery, and the occult.

If thrillers and suspense are more your thing, try April Henry’s YA work. The Night She Disappeared is a tense mystery about a young woman kidnapped while making a pizza delivery. The narration moves between the kidnapped girl, her coworkers, and the kidnapper, ratcheting up the tension as the kidnapper reflects on his past crimes and what he plans to do to his current victim. Stolen is another tense thriller that is almost entirely composed of interactions between just two characters: the kidnapper and the kidnapped who slowly comes to wonder whether she is being held hostage by a psychopath or her soul mate.

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is a realistic and painful account of two terminal teenagers finding love together, and his other books are similarly emotionally compelling. First loves and the disillusionment that comes with it is a constant theme. Despite the heavy topics, his books are also witty and compelling.

If you enjoy noir mysteries, you might like You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin or Nickel Plated by Aric Davis. Both books feature hard-boiled teen detectives solving cases with red herrings, femme fatales, and the constraint of being mostly ignored by the adults in authority. Despite their external similarities, the content of the books is very different: while Payne has plenty of dark humour, Nickel Plated has an overall dark tone with painful, tough content despite its often funny dialogue and shout-outs to classic noir authors like Raymond Chandler.

Finally, A.S. King is an unusual writer in the YA arena in that she uses magic realism in her otherwise realistic stories (a sentient pagoda reflects on the book’s action in Please Ignore Vera Dietz). Her strong yet flawed female heroines are full of unrealized potential and yearning, and the intricate plots and dark humour make her books especially enjoyable reads.

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Sunday October 28, 2012 Slow Cooker Recipes

Do you want to save time and come home to a hot meal that cooked itself to perfection all day? Do you want to experiment with new recipes like winter squash stuffed with couscous, apricots and pistachios without spending hours in the kitchen? A slow cooker can help and the Thunder Bay Public Library has a large selection of recipe books for this handy kitchen appliance. Whether you are digging out your old Crock Pot from the back cupboard or thinking about purchasing a new one, check out these titles for your next slow cooked meal. 

When cooking for the first time, try Company’s Coming 5 Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes. With only five ingredients required for each dish, you may have these ingredients already in your house. And like the other recipe books listed, this cookbook provides tips on how to use your slow cooker properly. For recipes that only need five ingredients, there is quite a variety.

Better Homes and Gardens The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book has recipes covering everything from appetizers to desserts, tips for your slow cooker and lots of colourful pictures to show you what you are cooking. After reading several of the recipes, and looking at the cover, it will be hard to decide which recipe to try. They all look good.

You can tell someone tried several recipes when the bookmarks are still in the pages. Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook has recipes for small and large slow cookers, lots of colour pictures, tips and more. Another great feature, besides the great tasting recipes, is the spiral binding that allows the book to sit flat on the counter as you cook.

Many of the recipes in these cookbooks are perfect for feeding a large crowd or having left-overs to freeze. If you are only cooking for two, Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two has recipes that are perfect for smaller portions and require smaller slower cookers. This book has plenty of meal options and easy to follow directions, but could use pictures.

The Library has slow cooker recipe books for vegetarians such as Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker which has recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts. Try a recipe from 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes or The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker, available to download in eBook format.

For someone that is looking for a slow cooker recipe that is gluten free, you may enjoy the recipes in the cookbooks Gluten-free Slow Cooking and Everyday Gluten-free Slow Cooking.  Both books provide helpful hints for gluten free cooking, tips on using your slow cooker and a tasty variety of recipes.

Look for one of these slow cooker recipe books and others at one of your Thunder Bay Public Library branches and enjoy!

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Sunday October 21, 2012 It's Only Rock and Roll

The new crop of rock biographies published recently has me thinking about the role that popular musicians play in our lives. As teenagers, we follow their every move, they serve as subjects of gossip and recipients of ridicule. Eventually, we see these performers as old friends, reminding us of fond memories and unfortunate haircuts. These books illustrate the individuals behind the music, human beings, both fabulous and flawed.  The shelves of the library are full of great biographies about anyone who’s ever been anyone, but you’ll probably find me in the 700’s, flipping pages and humming “Stairway to Heaven”.

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young
For the first time, Neil Young looks at his own life and his musical legacy. The book is written in 68 short chapters covering everything from his childhood in Ontario and his early struggles to the fast lane drug inspired days with Buffalo Springfield and CSNY . He details his fears as a solo artist and his successes and failures in and out of the music business. His love for Pegi, his wife, and his three children flow off the pages, as does his commitment to a variety of charitable causes. 

Who I Am by Pete Townshend
Believing a life unexamined is not a life truly lived, Townshend has chosen to open up about the details of his life, both personally and professionally.  He talks about the success of the Who and details  the little-known stories of the band. Digging into his own troubled childhood and his failed relationships during the heights of stardom, Townshend poured most of his emotions into his music. Much of the narrative comes from diary entries so the book has a confessional approach, showing  a talented and troubled man.

Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Leslie Ann Jones
Years after his death, many family members, close friends and associates are opening up about the man they knew. The story details how a shy lonely Parsi boy from Zanzibar became an outrageous and flamboyant performer, and a legend of the English rock and roll scene. Mercury’s life, as the band Queen climbed the charts, became one of every-increasing hedonism as he became more and more emotionally isolated. This story of a man and his music is both bittersweet and fascinating.

Shut up and give me the Mic by Dee Snider
Dee Snider, the songwriter and lead singer for the band, Twisted Sister, seemed on the surface to represent every clichĂ© about the “hair” bands of the 1980’s but underneath lay a classically trained choir boy who struggled to find his path in music. It was meeting with Suzette, his wife, that helped Snider develop his own style and find fame. Ever the achiever, Snider has done television, movies, starred on Broadway and appeared before Congress. In the book, crazy anecdotes are mixed in with heartfelt family stories, showing that Snider has remained true to himself.

Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper
Rock and roll has always been primarily a man’s world, so it’s the rare female performer who achieves lasting fame.  Cyndi Lauper has lasted due to the combination of talent, perseverance and a “don’t really care if you like me, I’m just going to keep singing” attitude. Tackling her life with humour, Cyndi talks about the failures that lead to her success, challenging herself as both a mother and an activist and her goals for the future. She is a strong woman and an excellent role model to anyone who wants to pursue their dreams.

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Sunday October 14, 2012 Pumpkin Carving

It seems likely that I’m not alone in finding that as the days get shorter I find myself craving light through the winter months.  This led to a search of the catalogue for books on how to make paper lanterns.  I found Paper Illuminated by Helen Hiebert, which contains projects for paper lanterns, lampshades, luminaria, and more.  Even more interesting I found a selection of books on pumpkin carving.  So, today I will focus on books that prepare us for Halloween.  In our house we’re already working on costumes and the jack-o-lanterns are next up on the “to-do” list.

For most of us pumpkin carving is not a work of art.  We draw a simple face and do our best to cut on the lines.  Growing up there was always some choice language and we kids usually got bored halfway through pulling out the insides.  Then we’d return to see Dad tackle the carving with a freshly sharpened knife.  For others though pumpkin carving is an art form and there are an ever increasing number of books and websites on how to carve the perfect pumpkin.  The books you can find at your library range from the most simple to the extremely complex.  I’ve collected a taster pack of different pumpkin carving and decorating books for your pleasure.

To get started in pumpkin carving check out How to Carve Pumpkins for Great Results by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell and Pumpkin Carving by Ed Palmer.  These two books cover the basics of pumpkin carving with step by step instructions.  Even if you don’t want to carve the designs provided they should give you some ideas to make your own masterpiece.

Do you want to make three dimensional faces for your pumpkins and create awe inspiring scenes?  Check out Extreme Pumpkin Carving by Vic Hood and Extreme Pumpkins by Tom Nardone, both books contain directions to make truly terrifying pumpkin designs.  Not for the faint of heart they will put the fright back in Halloween.

I’ve included Decorating Pumpkins and Gourds by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell because it includes ideas for all of Fall and Winter, not just Halloween.  In this book you’ll find ideas for next Thanksgiving’s decorations as well as this Halloween and Christmas.  We tend to associate pumpkins (and to a lesser extent other gourds) with Halloween but they can provide striking seasonal decorations for several months.

Of course there are many more pumpkin carving and Halloween decorating books available at your library, but sadly space does not permit.  I encourage you to come in and check out all we have to make this Fall special.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday October 7, 2012 Everybody Wins at TBPL!

Running is a sport that anyone can enjoy. Whether you are a casual or competitive runner, cross country or track athlete, or looking to get back into shape, running is an excellent activity to burn those calories, reduce stress, meet new people and improve your esteem. There is no need for extravagant equipment, flashy workout clothes or even a gym membership for that matter. All you need is a bit of determination and pluck, equal part peer and family support, a pair of running shoes, maybe a Led Zeppelin tune and you’re set to go. Or should I say run!

However, if you are just beginning or are looking into getting back into the ol’routine, feelings of trepidation are perfectly normal. How about taking that next step and training for a half or full marathon? Why not take a little jaunt over to The Thunder Bay Public Library, where great resources are available to help motivate, instruct and inspire you to gain your personal best. Here at TBPL, we will be with you every step of the way to help you get off on the right foot. 

If you are new or a novice to the great sport, perhaps you should look into Ian MacNeill’s The beginning runner’s guide handbook: The proven 13-week RunWalk program, a guide developed by a sports-medicine professional that explains how to effectively begin your running experience. In addition, MacNeill focuses on proper body mechanics and techniques as well as the importance of including a balanced diet.

What if you are planning to run your first race? Author Jeff Galloway can show you how to master the 5 and 10 kilometer run. In his book, Galloway’s 5K and 10K Running, he provides motivation to new runner’s entering their first race, or experienced runners who wish to improve their time on the track.

Within TBPL’s collection are some great titles for female runners. Run For Your Life: A Book for Beginning Women Runners is a great start for any woman looking to start exercising. Author Deborah Reber provides great insight on how to get started, and most importantly, how to maintain your newfound lifestyle. Karen Bridson’s Run for It: A Woman's Guide to Running for Emotional and Physical Health combines material on how running can improve your lifestyle with discussion on women’s physical and mental health.

Equally exciting is Richard Benyo’s Running Past 50, a superb guide that motivates older adults to continue with their running programs, as well as how to add a bit of excitement to an unvaried routine. With some humorous anecdotes, Benyo shares his enthusiasm for running and how it can become a lifelong habit.

Perhaps a key indicator that demonstrates your commitment to running could be your desire to take on the ultimate runner’s challenge: the marathon. Jennifer Van Allen’s The Runner's World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training: Winning Strategies, Inspiring Stories, and the Ultimate Training Tools, is the all inclusive training guide for a half or full marathon. It provides essential materials needed to train for the marathon, along with great tips and inspiring stories of runners just like you.

Speaking of inspiration, everyone enjoys reading and hearing about individuals overcoming the odds and succeeding in the end. As citizens of Thunder Bay, we are fortunate to have the ultimate model of an inspired runner: Terry Fox. Browse the numerous items dedicated to his memory that show his undying passion and unparalleled strength during his run in the Marathon of Hope.    

So if you are feeling interested in any of these items, come and visit TBPL, where you are sure to find the suitable guide for you.

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sunday September 30, 2012 Fairy Tales for Adults

Fairy Tales have been extremely popular lately. From the television series like Once Upon a Time and Grimm, movies like Snow White and the Huntsman, and the many teen books like Wildwood Dancing by Julie Marillier and Fairest by Gail Carson Levine, fairy tales are being reimagined time and time again. But what if you are an adult reader who wants to join in? While many of the novels written for teens are quite entertaining, the library has some titles that are written with an adult audience in mind.

 A great place to start is the Tor Fairy Tale series. These books are all edited by the same woman, Terri Windling. The Fairy Tale Series was conceived of by Windling and artist Thomas Cantry; they wanted their favourite writers to create new stories based off of the old tales. Modern audiences know the Victorian versions of the tales, which have been simplified and deemed suitable for children. Windling wanted to give fairy tales back to adults, and that’s what she did with this series. Each book is written by a different author so you are sure to find something you’ll like. The library has The Sun, the Moon and the Stars by Steven Brust, Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, and White as Snow by Tanith Lee. We also have Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede available through Overdrive.

If you don’t have time to read a whole novel, another option is the Snow White, Blood Red anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. These anthologies are similar to the Tor Fairy Tale Series in that they rework familiar fairy tales into darker (and sexier!) stories suitable for an adult audience.

If you’re looking for a lighter story, a good option is Mercedes Lackey’s Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms. In this series she retells fairy tales in exciting ways, often recombining several stories into one new tale. Lackey’s heroines are not the passive, helpless females that modern audiences know. Gone are the princesses waiting to be rescued; here are damsels who help save themselves. These books take place in the same world (the Five Hundred Kingdoms) but are only loosely tied together; characters from one book may make an appearance in later books but you don’t need to know what happened previously to enjoy whichever story in the series appeals to you. From Cinderella, the Snow Queen, Sleeping Beauty and even the Volsunga Saga, the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms are a fun romp through traditional tales from a variety of cultures.

For something completely different, you might want to try giving Neil Gaiman’s Stardust a read. Instead of being an old tale reimagined for a modern audience, Stardust is a new tale written in the delightful style of one from the 1800’s. This is the enchanting story of Tristan Thorn who goes into the world of fairy looking for a falling star after vowing to retrieve it to impress his love, Victoria. Stardust was originally released as a four-issue comic book series; if you’d like to read that, the library has the graphic novel. Stardust was also adapted as a movie a few years ago, so if you would prefer to watch it rather than read it you have that option as well. But I must warn you, while the movie is still enjoyable, its story is somewhat different from the prose.

So if you’re wanting to escape into a fairy tale but want something different from the children’s versions we are used to, come and check out some of the adult fairy tales here at the library.

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday September 23, 2012 Hockey Books

My name is Joanna and I’m a hockey mom.  Six years ago I did not know what “off side” meant, thought “icing” was only for cakes, and that “PeeWee” was something you did in the bathroom.  Now thanks to a great deal of learning on the job and a few good books, I know the ropes.

If you don’t know any kids involved in hockey you might think this time of year is all about back to school.  Well it’s also a very exciting time for hockey players!  Kids are finding out what team they’ll be on for the next seven months, and parents are finding out who they’ll be sitting with in the stands.  If you’re a novice or professional hockey mom, grandma, aunt or supporter of any kind, your Library can help you learn more about the game our kids love.  We have all sorts of books about hockey:  handbooks for coaches, hockey history, biographies of great players as well as fiction books for all ages.  Here are a few of my favourites.

The hockey sweater by Roch Carrier
This Canadian classic tells the tragic story of a young boy in Quebec who suffers the humiliation of having to wear a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater. This quote from the story is on the back of our five dollar bills:  “The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church and the skating rink - but our real life was on the skating rink.” Enchanting for both children and adults.

My day with the cup by Sidney Crosby
Hockey moms will appreciate the photos of Mrs. Crosby’s puck-marked dryer in this book! It’s filled with great pictures of Sid and the Cup on his sea doo (both wearing life jackets), at his elementary school and Sid washing the Cup with his parents’ garden hose.

The hockey dad chronicles:  An indentured parent’s season on the rink by Ed Wenck
Ed Wenck is a real life hockey dad who took notes throughout one season of his ten-year old son’s hockey career.  Cleverly written, Wenck sheds insight onto why we sign our kids up for a sport that involves “strapping knives on a kid’s feet, hurling a hard rubber disc at him, and telling him to smack it with a club.” One of my hockey mom friends has been known to take notes at games – I wonder if she is working on a book like this?

Kids’ hockey:  The parents’ guide by Gary Abraham
This is a great book for new hockey parents.  It clearly explains the rules of the game, provides a glimpse inside hockey organizations, tips on equipment, hockey health and safety and good hockey parenting. It also has illustrated explanations of common penalties – so you can tell the other parents what the ref means when he’s waving his arms around!

King Leary by Paul Quarrington
I have recommended this wonderful fiction book to many of my hockey friends. You may remember it as the 2008 Canada Reads winner. MacLean’s magazine noted it is “a dazzling display of fictional footwork....the author has not written just another hockey novel; he has turned hockey into a metaphor for magic.” I think that says it all. Quarrington artfully weaves the story of kid who grows from a delinquent sent to reform school into a hockey super star. You may find yourself trying to prefect the "St. Louis Whirlygig" on this ice this winter after reading this book.

Don’t forget your noisy mitts, warm blanket and special coffee to make this hockey season the best yet by enriching your experience with one of these books. See you around the rinks!

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday September 16th, 2012 Adult Authors Write for Teens

Interest in young adult (YA) books is booming, and adult authors (and publishers!) have taken note. More adult writers are publishing titles for teen readers all the time, but their motives are often a little suspect. How much is the new series simply a money-maker cynically produced for a growing market versus a passion project written by someone who respects the particular interests and needs of the young adult reading audience? Some best-selling YA authors will readily admit that they are writing in this field simply because their editors “asked them to.” Money and fame are also often motivators as there isn’t a lot of prestige in the YA field. Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is a best-seller and hugely influential on current publishing trends. But for many reviewers, critics, and readers, it is nonetheless not ‘real’ literature. Furthermore, some authors currently writing in the field have spoken disparagingly about what teen readers are looking for in a book, saying that they are more interested in story than well-crafted writing. This may sometimes be true, but I imagine it’s also true for many adult readers!

Perhaps optimistically, I like to imagine that these authors are using the crop of potential new readers as a chance to try something completely different in their writing that might disappoint or surprise usual fans, or as a way to hook new readers who may then move onto their other work. I’d love to hear comments from any fans of these authors. Will you be checking out any of these YA offerings?

Jasper Fforde’s foray is set in a typically off-kilter universe. Jennifer Strange lives in a world where magic has become increasingly scarce. It’s cheaper to use drain cleaner than a spell, and her employment agency for magicians is running out of business. However, something is coming: Big Magic. If you miss Thursday Next, Jennifer Strange in The Last Dragonslayer might be a good substitute.
If you’re more into action than fantasy, try Harlan Coben’s Shelter. Coben introduced teen nephew Mickey into his last adult novel about his hero Myron Bolitar. If you are a fan of Myron, you’ll likely be a fan of Mickey as Coben is writing him as a teen version with the same intelligence and quick wit. Conspiracies, mysteries, and disappearances dominate this fast-paced novel. 

Philippa Gregory, well-known for her historical and psychological fiction, moves into the teen market with the series Order of Darkness. Like her other books, Changeling (book one in the series) is a drama and grounded with some historical fact, but it also includes mystical elements like werewolves, witches, and alchemists. A map of medieval Europe and QR code for links to author notes about the setting and history are also included.

Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan has her own TV show; so why shouldn’t Tempe’s niece Tory Brennan have her own series? Keeping her usual smart action but adding science fiction to the mix, Reichs’ Virals series feature a group of scientifically curious teens who contract a “canine parvovirus” that gives them heightened senses and reflexes that they use to solve a cold-case murder.

Jodi Picoult’s adult books tackling controversial topics have always had crossover appeal with teens, but this year she wrote her first young adult novel with her daughter Samantha van Leer. Between the Lines is a romantic fantasy about a bookworm who discovers that her favourite storybook character is actually a real person who wants out of his book. The narrative perspective moves between fifteen-year-old Delilah and sixteen-year-old Prince Oliver as they try to find a world where they can be together.

Laura Prinselaar

Works Cited:

Crouch, Katie and Grady Hendrix. Writing young Adult Fiction: It’s more fun than going to the prom.
Melson, Brittany. When Adult Authors Take a Walk on the YA Side.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sunday September 9th, 2012 Little Free Libraries

Like finding a needle in a haystack; this was my reaction in discovering Manitoba’s smallest public library at 6 cubic feet, a cold hit when searching for a parking spot on a residential side street off Winnipeg’s busy Portage Avenue earlier this summer. Oddly it first appeared like a large decorative birdhouse was mounted on a post beside the sidewalk on someone’s lawn, but on closer inspection this structure was actually that of a model schoolhouse complete with functioning bell on top and posting a sign, ‘Little Free Library – Take a book, Return a book…Branch #1849’. Surprised to find this display and its glass front door revealing fully stocked books inside, my curiosity led me to homeowner Charlene Roziere who happily explains it as a free drop off and pick up point for books.  She referred me to the website where this network of Little Free Libraries (LFL’s) is based and run by private citizens. 

Although Roziere’s branch is unique in Manitoba, Little Free Libraries are actually part of a rapidly spreading grass roots movement of over 2500 libraries and counting that started in Wisconsin in 2009 and is now making inroads on Canada’s landscape. The LFL concept operates similar to that of public libraries but different in operating on an honour system. LFL’s appear in the form of schoolhouses, outhouses, phone booths, and newspaper stands, and are just as varied in locale from farm fields to high rise apartment buildings; there is even a branch at a dock for cottagers located on Kennisis Lake, north of Haliburton, ON.  Roziere’s own Winnipeg library in the few weeks it had been open has seen substantial turnover of material already proving its success.  Her library offers 24/7 service (no door lock), features a night light for insomniac page turners, and contains a charming guest book for those just wanting to say hi. 

The success of LFL’s is due in part to reductions or a lack of organized library service in many areas. Though LFL’s also appear in communities where there is a healthy library system and functions well as a tool to introduce literacy and form bonds between neighbours that may have lived as strangers otherwise.   

My quick scan of the LFL’s contents of about 70 titles shows a collection of fiction, non-fiction and children’s materials, proportionally not unlike the Thunder Bay Public Library’s own collection. If you happen in future to come across a LFL and enjoy any titles in the collection, keep in mind that you can continue reading in your chosen genre or author with a visit to TBPL. Because Little Free Libraries are in fact, well, small and limited in the variety they can offer. If you liked reading a John Grisham novel you found, you can follow up at TBPL with one of his other 144 titles. If you liked Janet Evanovich or Stephen King, we have 176 and 216 titles respectively.  In the non-fiction area, if you want to follow up on gardening, we have over 200 titles, a cookbook, more than 500, and if you want something suitable for children and youth, we have over 30,000 for you to choose from!
If this article piques your interest in setting up your own Little Free Library, a visit to the Friends of the Thunder Bay Public Library Bookstore is a great place to start your collection with affordable books to fill your shelves.  You can also take advantage of their popular buck-a-bag sales to fill your library faster.  If you need help building your own little library, browse our large selection of building guides. Find inspiration in books such as Shelves and Cabinets, The Complete Guide to Sheds, and Designer Birdhouses.

Arlene Danyleyko

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Sunday September 2, 2012 Preserving Nature's Bounty

In the past few weeks the weather has turned slightly cooler and I especially notice it in the morning. This (early) autumnal weather makes me all the more determined to enjoy the rest of summer, in particular the abundance of fresh produce available at this time of year. However, one can only eat so many fruits and veggies on a daily basis and that’s where canning comes in to play. My grandmother spends much of her summer making raspberry jam, black and red currant jellies, pickled beets, and peach conserve among others. As a child I was lucky enough to assist and learn, but even without Grandma’s advice you too can preserve summer’s bounty.

There has been a renaissance in many of the so-called domestic arts, including canning and food preservation. There are many theories as to why this has happened, but I prefer to focus on the joy of having so many new and updated resources available to me. You will find blogs and websites devoted to these topics, YouTube videos to help with techniques, and much more online. At Your Library you will find an extensive collection of books to guide you in the art of preserves and canning. The following are only a small selection of all that we have available to assist you in your adventures in canning.

Put ‘em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton
With simple step-by-step instructions and 175 delicious recipes, Put 'em Up will have even the most timid beginners filling their pantries and freezers in no time! You'll find complete how-to information for every kind of preserving: refrigerating, freezing, air- and oven-drying, cold- and hot-pack canning, and pickling.

The complete preserving book by the Canadian Living Test Kitchen
Preserving is in vogue again, thanks to the recent gardening renaissance and a worldwide fascination with local, organic and heritage foods. To celebrate this renewal, Canadian Living has combed through more than 35 years of its classic canning recipes to find the best jams, pickles and preserves to share in The Complete Canadian Living Preserving Book. Whether you're a novice or an expert at the art of preserving, this book has something to offer you.

Can it! Edited by Jan Miller

A complete, step-by-step guide to fresh flavors for home canning and preserving. Home canning and preserving is growing in popularity every day. It′s easy and a great way to get the most from your backyard garden or farmer′s market finds so that you can enjoy seasonal bounty all year long. This follow-up to Better Homes and Gardens You Can Can , gives you fresh, new flavor ideas and combinations to spice up your canning and preserving.

The preservation kitchen: the craft of making and cooking with pickles, preserves and aigre-doux Paul Virant with Kate Leahy

The first canning manual and cookbook authored by a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner, this collection showcases Virant's canning techniques, preserving recipes, and seasonal menus inspired by the award-winning fare at his restaurant, Vie.

Can it, bottle it, smoke it: and other kitchen projects by Karen Solomon

Bottle your own soda? Press your own tofu? Smoke your own cheese? Boil your own bagels? Ferment your own miso? Can your own tomatoes? Roast your own coffee? Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It walks you through a slew of satisfying culinary projects to stock your larder and shower your friends with artisan foods and drinks, kitchen staples, and utterly addictive snacks.

I hope you find the recipes in these books just as inspiring as I have. These books (and others) contain an amazing range of tantalizing preserves for the enthusiast to the expert. Happy canning!

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday August 26th, 2012 Happy 50th Boys!

It’s hard to believe that The Rolling Stones, one of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands, have celebrated 50 great years together. Can you think of another band that has had such success, as well as longevity? I know I can’t. For many music lovers The Stones are the forefathers of rock ‘n’ roll; for aspiring musicians, The Stones are countlessly named as influences in their own music.

So what makes The Stones so endlessly appealing? Is it their lyrics? Could it be their style and appearance? What about their onstage showmanship? Perhaps all of the above? If you have ever been fortunate to see The Stones live or have seen one of their concert films, anyone will tell you that they exude an infectious persona. To Mick Jagger’s distinctive vocal on ‘Brown Sugar’, Keith Richard’s guitar solo on ‘Gimme Shelter’, Ronnie Wood’s bass work and Charlie Watts’ unparalleled drumming skills, it’s no wonder that they are attained such legendary status.

But what if you are new to the band and not sure where to begin? Even if you are a seasoned Stones fan, The Thunder Bay Public Library has more than enough Stones’ memorabilia for you to enjoy. Just how Mick Jagger “can be your savior steadfast and true”, here at TBPL “we’ll come to your emotional rescue” (quoted from the song Emotional Rescue).

As a new listener of the Rolling Stones, I would suggest starting with what is often considered to be their greatest album, Exile on Main Street. The electrifying 1972 album was first met with mixed reviews, but over time has grown to be revered and respected as the definitive rock ‘n’ roll album ever produced. Containing such classic songs as ‘Tumbling Dice’, ‘Happy’ and ‘Shine a Light’, I challenge any new listener to not be swept away. 

Since the Stones are known for their live performances, check out their 1970 live Baltimore performance on the album, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out: The Rolling Stones In Concert. This was the first of many live records to be produced by the Stones, and often considered the quintessential live record of their careers. This album showcases their talent and knack for putting on a great show. Be sure to listen to the live version of ‘Midnight Rambler’, a truly arresting experience.

But if you are a long time fan and just want to revisit the classics, I recommend the 2002 album (and personal favorite) Forty Licks. This forty-song anthology includes their best work, playing one irresistible Stone song after another. The recording starts off with the fist pumping ‘Street Fighting Man’ and concludes with the quiet ‘Losing My Touch’.

If you haven’t seen any of the live performance films I suggest the 2008 Martin Scorsese directed ‘Shine A Light’. This concert film gives no background information on the Stones, and just gives one great concert. It also goes to show that despite their increasing age, nobody knows how to rock out quite like them.
If you are interested in learning more about their history, check out The Rolling Stones Album: Thirty Years of Music and Memorabilia, which provides a rich visual and written history on the band and the music they produced. Or if you are interested in the more lurid gossip and romances of the band, read The Rolling Stones Chronicle: The First Thirty Years. If you just want to experience the lyrics, as they are, check out The Rolling Stones: It's Only Rock 'n' Roll: Song by Song.

So why not swing by TBPL and check one or more of these great Stones’ items. No one has more Stones
material to keep you happy other than us.

Petar Vidjen