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

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday August 19, 2012 Fifty Shades of Self Publishing

In the last few months, the world of books has changed dramatically. EBooks are outselling printed titles in both the United States and in Great Britain and the rest of the world seems destined to follow.  Add to that an originally self published novel based on a piece of Twilight fan fiction has become one of the fastest selling novels of all time. Whether you love, hate or are completely indifferent to the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by E. L. James, it may just change what gets published and how it gets published for the foreseeable future.

The New York Times has begun featuring an eBook bestseller list and more than once the titles there are outselling the titles on the print list, but of equal importance is that a number of bestselling eBook authors featured are unknown writers who have self published their own books, avoiding the traditional model of agents, editors and print.  Currently, there are four independent authors in the top 25 list.  Colleen Hoover is in eight place with her eBook, “Slammed”, which is a love story about a girl and a slam poet.   Hoover’s book is outselling established authors such as James Patterson and Karin Slaughter, so it’s not surprising that her success has earned a traditional book deal with Simon & Schuster. 

Self publishing isn’t new and a number of bestselling books in both fiction and non-fiction categories were originally self-published before they were embraced by both the conventional world of publishing and by the public at large.  Kindle has its own self publishing arm called Kindle Direct, Kobo has just announced a publishing division called “The Writer’s Life” and other eBook producers are expected to follow. Not to be outdone, many major publishing houses from Penguin Books to Harlequin Enterprises are pursuing new and independent authors wanting to self-publish. The real success story of the new eBook self publishing boom has been Smashwords, whose free publishing and distribution site has dominated the wave of new electronic book bestsellers.  So should your inner muse be calling, here are of the few self-published bestselling books to inspire you.

The Celestine Prophecy”, by James Redfield; “The Christmas Box” by Richard Paul Evans and “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini all began life self published.  Redfield sold over 100,000 copies of his book from the back of his car before it was sold to Warner Books, and it spent 165 weeks on the bestseller lists.  “The Christmas Box” took Evans only six weeks to write, so he decided to publish and promote it himself.  It sold so well that Simon and Schuster purchased it for 4.2 million dollars. “Eragon” the first in the Inheritance series was written by Paolini as a teenager and published by his parents, who owned a small independent press.  The book sold 425,000 copies before being bought by Random House. The series has currently sold in excess of 33 million copies.

If fiction isn’t your forte, then perhaps you could write the next non-fiction bestseller.  There have been self published hits on every topic under the sun, from diet books like “Sugar Busters” which was written by four Louisiana doctors and has sold over 2 million copies, to inspirational books like Betty J. Eadie’s “Embraced by the Light” which spent over 209 weeks on New York Times bestseller lists.  John Cassidy sold over 2 million copies of his book, “Juggling for the Complete Klutz”. He used the money to found Klutz Press which has published 50 bestsellers so far.

So, if you feel it’s time to see your name in print, the shelves at the library are full of books for writers. We have everything you need, from inspiration, exercises and practical tips, to help with grammar. 

Lori Kauzlarick

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Sunday August 12, 2012 Get Growing at the Library

Henry James once said that summer and afternoon were the two most beautiful words in the English language. He could be right.  August is young yet. Still a few items on your bucket list? Don’t panic. Library’s got your back.

Want to garden, cook and eat fresh? Perfect. Get Fresh, Eat Local returns to Waverley and Mary J.L. Black Libraries this August with free workshops on the fine art of gardening and healthy eating. Think it was Cicero who once said, if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. These are held on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm, and are hugely popular so call to register at 625-8343.

Drying Food 101 was held at the Waverley Library last Tuesday, August 7. In case you missed it, the library has several books on this topic. CANNING AND PRESERVING ALL-IN-ONE FOR DUMMIES by Eve Adamson et al is available as an eBook on OverDrive. With the increasing focus on locally sourced whole foods, the concept of preserving has gained in popularity. Included are recipes, ingredients and techniques that will help you save money and live healthier.

Seed saving, sometimes known as brown bagging, is the practice of saving seeds from flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit for use from year to year. A workshop on seed saving will be held on August 28 at the Mary J.L. Black Library. You could become part of Seeds of Diversity, a Canadian volunteer organization that conserves the biodiversity of food crops and garden plants, while learning the importance of saving seeds from your garden. Food for thought indeed.

Also available on OverDrive as an eBook is HOW TO GROW MORE VEGETABLES (AND FRUITS, NUTS, BERRIES, GRAINS, AND OTHER CROPS) THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE ON LESS LAND THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE by John Jeavons. Way before eco-friendly and sustainable growing became part of the vernacular, this book proved how organic gardening methods could keep producing over many growing cycles using few resources. Now in its eighth edition, this revised copy is a perfect go to guide.

SEED SAVING AND STARTING by Sheri Ann Richerson helps transform your dream garden into reality with seeds you save and start again. These seeds become vibrant hybrids, herbs, and flourishing flowers when you incorporate Richerson’s simple ideas for harvesting, storing, sowing, and nurturing. 

Maybe you’d prefer to enjoy the fruits of your labour, and while still in view of the garden, relax on your deck with an ebook. Sporting a brand new iPad, iPod Touch, smart phone, tablet or eBook reader but need a little fine tuning? Drop by and see our Personal Technology Assistant, Jeff. He can be found at one of the branches every weekday, so check the library website for specifics, or drop him an email at 

Still plenty of summer to enjoy, Award winning author Natalie Babbitt of the children’s book TUCK EVERLASTING says the first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.

By Caron E Naysmith

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunday August 5th, 2012 Paranormal Classics

It’s in vogue now for werewolves, vampires and witches to occupy the seat of protagonist in a lot of modern fiction.  A recent movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the screen adaptation of the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, and even the classics are not immune. Have you heard of the books Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, also by Grahame-Smith, or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, a joint effort by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters? How about Henry VIII: Wolfman by A.E. Moorat? For a twisted view of history, look no further.
In Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln book, the action takes place before he is president. As a young man he learns of vampires and is avowed to kill as many as he can. He learns, too, about slavery and pledges himself to abolitionism, not to end slave labour, per se, but to end the easily accessible food source for slave-owning vampires.

As far as classics go, I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice, but I’m certain that zombies are a modern adaptation. Grahame-Smith added the zombie elements at the behest of his publisher. The result was a best-seller now translated into over 20 languages.

At first, I thought Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters was by the same writer as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but it turned out that another author, Ben H. Winters, was urged by the same publisher to attempt a similar mash up.  If you like classics, and man-eating jellyfish, then this is a good choice.

It’s well-known that Henry VIII was a beast of a man, but just how beastly? A.E. Moorat shows that King Henry was truly a wolf in human’s clothing.

These books have their critics, especially over historical details or whether or not the authors are merely hacking their way through classics and inserting ridiculous elements can be considered artistic writing or (dare I say it?) fun stories meant to entertain.  You’ll have to read to decide!

Chris Waite