Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunday December 22, 2013 Quilt the days away

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but cuddling under a quilt is so delightful.  After the true winter weather we’ve been experiencing, my thoughts have turned to keeping warm.  The only question was, should I delve into knitting or quilting?  As you may have guessed I chose quilting this time around.  There’s something so comforting about a beautifully crafted quilt, two layers of fabric sandwiching batting in between.  This week I have four fantastic quilting books from our collection for your reading pleasure.
First up we have QuiltEssential:  A Visual Directory of Contemporary Patterns,Fabrics and Color by Erin Burke Harris. The book is divided in to four sections:  Fabrics, Colors, Designs, and Assembling.  In each of these sections there is ample information for both the experienced quilter and the novice quilter alike. Everything from calculating quilt sizes, to embellishment options are covered in this gem of a book.  I especially like that Burke Harris features both contemporary and traditional quilting in QuiltEssential.
In preparing to write this column, I selected two books with a more contemporary spin:  Tula Pink’s City Sampler:  100 Modern Quilt Blocks and Quilting Line + Color:  Techniques and Designs for Abstract Quilts by Yoshiko Jinzenji. 
Pink’s book is reminiscent of other sampler style quilt books with a number of blocks for the quilter to choose from and some ideas of how to arrange them.  Where her book differs, is that none of the blocks have names.  The idea being that the quilter can name them as they speak to the individual.  Seasoned quilters often know the story behind favourite blocks, but Pink opens us up to creating our own narratives. 
Quilting Line + Color is entirely different.  Jinzenji provides a variety of projects with a fresh modern aesthetic.  All use an abundance of white fabric to highlight all the gorgeous bright colours one might find in one’s fabric stash.  The quilting truly adds to the effect of each piece whether it’s a simple tote bag or a full size quilt.  We are introduced to using sheer fabrics for effect and there are detailed directions on reverse appliqué.  While the quilts may not be to all tastes, this book is a treasure trove of information.  Personally, it serves as an inspiration as opposed to being simply a pattern book.  In fact Jinjenzi says in the Introduction that “If you begin a quilt with your own vision and your own design in mind, you will soon see your own unique style taking shape.”

The final book in our quilt journey is Material Obsession:  ModernQuilts with Traditional Roots by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke.  This book really uses fabric to great effect.  I was instantly drawn to the Retro Starburst pattern simply due to the funky fabric used in the blocks.  While I may not be able to find that precise material what struck me was the manner in which they featured the fabric.  So many large scale prints are beautiful, but difficult to integrate into a quilt without losing more of the design than I would like.

These books can either inspire one to quilt, or merely to snuggle under a quilt and read.  From my perspective, either one is a good use of time.  Quilts can warm us whether completed or in progress.  My mother likes to piece her quilts in the summer and sit under them hand quilting in the winter.  I wish you all warmth this winter.
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday December 15, 2013 Interesting Titles

What is it that makes a book title memorable? Working at the Thunder Bay Public Library I come across interesting, amusing and downright bizarre titles every day. My own two favourites are Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Like other good titles they tease you to pick them up and read them, with the provocative suggestion that the writing inside will be clever and unique. (It is). I’d like to share with you my shortlist of book titles which have that “hook” and which, silly or serious, somehow convey something about the inner nature or soul of the writing.  And in case you get hooked by one or two, they are all available at Your Library.
Fantastic Fiction TitlesDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing by Tomson Highway
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Red Ruby Heart in a Cold Blue Sea by Morgan Callan Rogers
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
Notable Non-Fiction Titles
Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron
In the Land of Long Fingernails: A Gravedigger’s Memoir by Charles Wilkins
Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
Slow Death by Rubber Duck by Rick Smith
Why You Should Store Your Farts in a Jar and Other Oddball or Gross Maladies,   Afflictions, Remedies or “Cures” by David Haviland
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
Clever Kid Lit Titles
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
The Barefooted, Bad-tempered Baby Brigade by Deborah Diesen
The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman
Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom by Susan Nielsen-Fernlund
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Grown Ups Get to Do All the Driving by William Steig
Monkey With a Tool Belt by Chris Monroe
Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Angela Meady

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sunday December 8th, 2013 Holiday Magic at TBPL

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With December upon us and holidays approaching, it is a perfect time to check out a good read.  How about these titles from the Globe and Mail’s best seller non-fiction list?   They are compiled using sales figures from bookstores Canada-wide.  And the Thunder Bay Public Library has them for you.

An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield who gives us first-hand experience on how to think like an astronaut complete with advice contrary to conventional wisdom.  Includes suggestions such as prepare for the worst, definitely sweat the small stuff and pay close mind to what others think. 

A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs and the Rise of Professional Hockey by Stephen J. Harper is on order at TBPL and presents a captivating portrait of hockey’s early years.  This book looks at when the Toronto Professionals (1908) and the Toronto Blue Shirts (1914) took turns vying for Toronto's first Stanley Cup. Those "forgotten Leafs" built the foundation of an extraordinarily profitable hockey franchise today. 

Orr: My Story by Bobby Orr.  One of the greatest sports figures of all time with records and trophies to boast talks of the people and things that have inspired him the most and some of the valuable lessons he has gleaned.  Now both a parent and a grandparent, he feels strongly that the things he learned bear repeating.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb (available in the non-fiction section, on CD book and as digital media through Overdrive), is the sobering story of a family uprooted by global terrorism that loved and encouraged their daughter to obtain an education no matter how dear the cost. 

Still not sure what to read?  That’s easy.  Just check out the Reader’s Advisory section on the TBPL website ( where you will find a link to Novelist, a database that helps you find author read-a-likes, provides reading recommendations and much more (you will need your Thunder Bay Public Library Card & PIN to log in).  You will also find links to New and Upcoming (a monthly list of new titles at the Thunder Bay Public Library), Overbooked (a great resource for voracious readers), Book Browse (a guide to exceptional books), and best sellers lists from both the New York Times and Maclean’s. 

Pick up a new book from TBPL and enjoy the holidays.  As Voltaire (the French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher) once said, “Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday December 1, 2013 50 Years of Dr. Who

Last weekend saw the anniversary of the beginning of the television series, Doctor Who.  The series was created by Canadian Sydney Newman, who was then the BBC’s head of drama. It was first shown during the weekend of the Kennedy assassination.  Despite critical dismissal, the series gained a strong following and ran on the BBC, in its first incarnation, till December of 1989. The Doctor’s ability to regenerate made it possible to use a number of actors in the role and anyone who knows the series can name his or her favourite incarnation.  For me, it’s a tie between Tom Baker (the fourth Doctor) and David Tennant (the tenth).  Despite cancellation, interest in the series never died as it was kept alive with novels, fan clubs, a magazine and conventions.

The series was revived in 2005 and has gone on to outstrip its previous popularity in terms of numbers of fans, and garnering accolades and awards throughout the world.  The premise of the show is simple, an unidentified human-like alien travels though time and space in his TARDIS, which resembles a British police call box, righting wrongs and preventing catastrophes.  The character, who has come to be known as the Doctor, is accompanied on his adventures by a human companion or companions.  The popularity of the series has grown to the point that the recent anniversary special, “Day of the Doctor”, was the largest simulcast ever.  The future of Doctor Who looks bright as the series prepares to refresh itself with a new actor, Peter Capaldi, becoming the next Doctor.  As the years have gone by, the library has collected a wide variety of “Who” materials in many formats, so grab your sonic screwdriver and head down to the library.
In DVDs, we carry the most recent incarnations of the Doctor Who, beginning with the 2005 re-introduction of the Doctor starring actor Christopher Eccleston.  We also have some classic episodes on DVD, such as Doctor Who, the Peter Davison Years, 1982-1984.
For listening, we carry tales of the Doctor in cd book, playaway and downloadable formats.  Some of the stories are classified as adult, while others are designed for a young adult audience, which would be a great choice to share on a family car trip.  Standouts in this category would be Doctor Who: The Taking of Chelsea 426 by David Llewellyn, or Doctor Who: Peacemaker by James Swallow.
If reading is your preference, than Doctor Who is available in novel and graphic novel formats.  Two of the most recent additions  include a story by the late novelist Douglas Adams, who worked as a script writer of the original series, and one of his unproduced ideas has become Doctor Who: Shada : The Lost Adventure.  Completed by author Gareth Roberts, the story follows the Doctor, his companion Romana and his mechanical dog, K-9, as they try to prevent an ambitious alien from controlling the universe by making himself into a Godlike creature.  The story showcases the wit, whimsy and inventiveness of Douglas Adams.
While a novel like Shada showcases the lighter side of the Who universe, Stephen Baxter’s Wheel of Ice, takes a much darker tone and places the Doctor and his companion on a mining colony on the ring of Saturn where danger to the Doctor and company, as well as the neighbouring earth colony, continues to mount as the pages turn.

For the true Whovian, we carry a number of trivia and behind-the-scenes type of books, including Doctor Who: A Celebration, Two decades through Time and Space by Peter Haining.  Doctor Who: Companions looks at the actors and characters that have accompanied the Doctor throughout the years.  The newest is The Brilliant Book 2012 which is published annually by the BBC and details everything about the making of the series.
Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday November 24th, 2013 Classics as Graphics

Most readers have them: classic titles that keep getting pushed to the end of the "to-read" list. Some may be epic poems from ancient Greece; others are essential foundations of the Western literary canon. Most have endured for multiple generations and are recognized as important reads for the well-read. So why are they withering on the reading list vine? Mark Twain’s famous quote “a classic is something that everybody wants to have read but nobody wants to read” is very apt - maybe it’s the intimidating length, the archaic language, or the dense layers of symbolism that make the work less than inviting. Or perhaps it’s as simple as there always being something else that seems more enjoyable to read.

Well, prepare to exorcise those to-read list demons: allow me to suggest graphic novel adaptations! Please don't dismiss these as mere hollow echoes of the original works. These adaptations are as varied as the books they are based on: sometimes the text is largely preserved, while others may be rearranged, modernized, and cut to work in the new format. The artwork may be realistic, manga-style, or cartoonish, but will always illuminate the story in new cinematic ways by adding context clues to the language and additional shading to the stories. You are still experiencing and reading the literature, even if it is in a different format.

If you are looking for authors from the canon, graphic novels from Graphic Classics are a great place to start. They specialize in adaptations of works from the classic literature canon and have the (slightly cheeky) tag line of “Classics you’ll want to read!” They have published graphic novel versions of texts by many of the great authors, including Jack London and Robert Louis Stephenson. One of their strongest titles is a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s work. While the stories are somewhat abridged, the poetry is left untouched and gorgeously illustrated. Works by other horror or gothic writers are also available, including a collection of Bram Stoker’s work described by BookList as a “marvelous adaption.”

If you always meant to pick up The Odyssey, Gareth Hind’s graphic novel is a great option. He has adapted several well-known canonical works into stunning graphic novels and his Odyssey received four starred reviews upon its release. Kirkus called it "another magnificent addition to his ouevre," while the Wall Street Journal stated that it "does genuine justice to Homer's epic poem." His other works are similarly well-reviewed. Hind is recognized as a master of combining "historical adventure with human understanding" (BookList), so after The Odyssey consider reading his Beowulf or King Lear adaptations.

Inarguably important and influential, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species has long resided on my to-read list. Luckily, there is a graphic novel version – and Michael Keller’s Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species is not merely the book adapted to a new format. Instead, it also follows Darwin’s personal evolution of ideas and includes a timeline amongst other resources. Carefully illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller with scientifically accurate images of the various creatures, Science News describes the book as “a highly readable and copiously illustrated page-turner.”

Finally, Kafka’s Metamorphosis is a modern classic. The story of a man who wakes one morning to find himself turned into a beetle is an essential read for the philosophically inclined. Library Journal describes the graphic novel version by Peter Kuper as “faithful and compelling,” and both the horror and black humour of the original are fully present.

Consider clearing out your to-read list this fall with the help from some graphic novels available at the library. Maybe they will inspire you to read the original works of literature – or perhaps some original graphic novels instead.

Laura Prinselaa

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday November 17, 2013 Lakehead U "In Conversation" at Your Library

Lakehead University is holding lectures on a variety of topics here at the Thunder Bay Public Library. The second one, “The History of the Residential School Program,” will be held in the Mary J.L. Black Community Program Room on November 23 at 2pm. This lecture is presented by Dr. Robert Robson, an associate professor of Indigenous Learning and an adjunct professor of history at Lakehead University. Dr. Robson’s lecture will look at the residential school program from its beginnings to the closure of the schools and the issues that now exist in its wake. There will also be a poster presentation looking at research conducted by third-year university students. If you’re eager to learn about these schools prior to his lecture, why not stop by the library? We have many resources that shed light on this dark period of Canadian history.

Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell is a great place to start. This picture book depicts the last four days at home for Shi-shi-etko before she leaves her family for a residential school. We also have the sequel, Shin-chi’s Canoe, which depicts Shi-shi-etko’s brother’s experience at the same school a year later. Both books were finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards for Children’s Literature.

For stories that are a little more in-depth, the library has Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home, both by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. In Fatty Legs, Margaret convinced her father to let her attend a residential school because she wanted to learn how to read. Unfortunately one of the nuns took a disliking to Margaret and humiliates her. A Stranger at Home is the sequel, telling of Margaret’s difficult homecoming two years later.

Theodore Fontaine tells his story in Broken Circle: the Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools; a Memoir. When he was seven, his parents were forced to leave him at a residential school. He emerged from the school angry and confused some twelve years later. His book examines the impact these schools had on his life, and what he needed to do to heal.

If you’re not interested in just one person’s story, we have several options. Both Residential Schools: the Stolen Years and Behind Closed Doors: Stories from the Kamloops Indian Residential School are filled with stories about abuses, anger, and attempts at healing. We’ve also got DVDs such as Long Journey Home: Residential School Revisited, Muffins for Granny, and Sleeping Children Awake. All three of these films interview former students to illuminate their experiences in the residential school program.

The library also has several books that look at the residential schools from a historical perspective, such as Indian Residential Schools in Ontario by Donald J. Auger, Victims of Benevolence: the Dark Legacy of the Williams Lake Residential School by Elizabeth Furniss, “A National Crime”: the Canadian Government and the Residential School System, 1879 to 1986 by John Sheridan Milloy, and The Circle Game: Shadows and Substance in the Indian Residential School Experience in Canada by Roland David Chrisjohn and Sherri L. Young. Chrisjohn and Young’s book is particularly interesting because they set out to prove that the residential school program was similar to the Holocaust, if the Holocaust had become accepted by the larger public. They want The Circle Game to be the first word in a new, broader discussion that will help all Canadians free themselves from their past.

To learn more about this dark chapter of our history, why not take out a book or stop by Mary J.L.Black on November 23 for Dr. Robson’s “The History of the Residential School Program” lecture and poster presentation. It starts at 2pm in the Community Program Room.

Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Sunday November 10th, 2013 Your Library Online

Did you know you can do that online?

Your Library's Web site, is the gateway to many services and collections which are available to you 24/7.  All you need is your Library card and an internet connection.  This column highlights some of the many amazing and convenient things you can do online.

Renew your Books

Log in to "My Library Card" to renew your books, place holds, rate titles, pay your fines, make lists and more!  Learn about the many things you can do online with your Library card by watching the videos on our Web site under "Browse" / "My Library Card".

Borrow an eBook

We have a growing collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks which can be accessed on mobile devices using an App called OverDrive Media Console, or on a computer by going to our Web site and clicking on "OverDrive" in the "Quick Links".  The OverDrive page on our Web site includes Tip Sheets which walk you through how to use OverDrive with a variety of eBook readers and mobile devices, like smart phones, iPads and tablets.

Learn a new language

PowerSpeak Languages is an online language-learning program which you access through our Web site.  Click on "Research" then log in to "My Giant Search" with your Library card number and PIN.  Choose "PowerSpeak Languages" from the list of databases. You can learn Spanish, French, German or Mandarin as well as English for Spanish speakers. PowerSpeak is fun and easy to use.

Listen to Music

Naxos Music Library may also be found in "My Giant Search", and is a collection of classical, jazz, world and popular music.  There is a Naxos Music Library app as well, so you can listen on the go on an Android or Apple device.  For more information about the App visit our Web site and click "Research", then "Apps and Mobility".

Fix your Car

Do you like to tinker with your engine?  There are two databases in "My Giant Search" which can help. Auto Repair Reference Centre includes information like wiring diagrams, technical bulletins and recall notices for specific vehicles.  It also has care and repair tips, troubleshooting advice and general information.    Chilton is a well known name in auto repair.  Chilton's online database includes repair, maintenance and recall information.

Register for a  program

To find out what's going on at Your Library, and even register for a program, check out our online calendar.  Click "Get Involved" on our Web site, then follow the link to the calendar. Click on the name of any program for more information, including online registration for some events.  You can ask the online calendar to email you when programs are coming up, using the "Notify me" link, or to remind you about a specific event using the "Remind me" link. 

Join us Online

Are you a fan of Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest?  So are we!  Your Library has a Facebook page, we are @TBayPL on Twitter and we love Pinterest as much as you do!  We also have a few blogs, use for sharing recommended Web sites, and HistoryPIN for historic photos.  To find links to Your Library on the Social Web click "Get Involved", then "Join us Online" on our Web site.

We want our online services and collections to be easy for you to use. Please help us reach this goal by taking two minutes to do an online survey. Follow the link on our Web site under "Get Involved" / "Online Survey". We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sunday November 3rd, 2013 Building Your Business at Your Library

Thunder Bay recently wrapped up the 2013 BDC Small Business Week and it was a great success with events hosted by various organizations, including the public library. For every event that we attended or participated in there was an interesting variety of people who naturally saw the fit between the public library and business/economic development and those who expressed surprise at our presence. At the Chamber of Commerce After Business event, I had numerous conversations with people who expressed their love of the library. For every person who indicated having used our business resources/services, I had another chat with someone who had brought  their children in for story times and puppet shows in years past but hadn’t paid us a visit in some time due to their hectic schedules. In each of these conversations, we got to talking about how different public libraries are now (in comparison to ten or even two years ago) and each person went away with a new idea of what the Thunder Bay Public Library could offer them.

As always, we have books and lots of them. Everything from guides on business planning, accessing grant and other funding sources, record keeping, human resource management, leadership and more. Many of these books are available as ebooks too. Other key resources available at the TBPL include media and trade publications accessible through our online databases. Of particular interest to businesses will be CBCA Complete, CPI.Q, Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History, PCensus and InfoCanada.

PCensus provides demographic information and consumer spending for determining market potential, target marketing, site location and more. Targeted to local and regional businesses as well as students or census enthusiasts, this product is available for in-house use at the Brodie and Waverley Resource Libraries. InfoCanada allows you to search businesses across the country by city, postal code, keyword, business size, SIC or NAICS code, and more. Use this powerful tool in your business plan, grant or loan applications, and future business development. InfoCanada is currently available for in-house use at any TBPL branch (remote access will be available in the near future). To access InfoCanada, CBCA Complete, CPI.Q, or the Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History, log in to My Giant Search and click on your selection from the list of databases.

For more information about the variety of business resources, services, information and programs provided by TBPL, check out the Business and Market Research pages of our website (

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sunday October 27th, 2013 International Festival of Authors

Thunder Bay Public Library, Lakehead University and Northern Woman's Bookstore are once again proud to be local sponsors/supporters of the International Festival of Authors, 3rd Annual Lit on Tour reading happening November 5 at the Airlane Hotel.  This is a fabulous opportunity for local and regional residents to be "up close and personal" with world renown authors.  When the authors visit as part of the festival, not only do they enrich the community through their public readings but they also present a "master class" at Lakehead University  providing insight and knowledge transfer to English students and local writers alike! For 2013, we have the additional infusion of a visit by the Humber School of Writers which will be conducting a weekend mini-writing workshop event through author Joe Kertes (a Dean with the Humber School).  Add to these events, the long-standing efforts of the Northern Ontario Writer's Workshop and Sleeping Giant Writers Festival and Thunder Bay has achieved the status of a literary destination!

This year we will have the pleasure of readings by Vincent Lam, Ania Szado and Robert J. Sawyer with the evening emceed by the ever gracious Lisa Laco of CBC Radio One 88.3FM.  It is sure to be a great night - tickets are just $10 and available at the Waverley and Brodie libraries and the Northern Woman's Bookstore.

Here's more about the authors visiting this year and we hope to see you there:

Dr. Vincent Lam is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam. He is an emergency physician and a lecturer with the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto, and has also worked in international air evacuation and expedition medicine on Arctic and Antarctic ships. Lam’s first book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize and has recently been adapted for television and broadcast on HBO Canada. Lam presents his most recent novel, The Headmaster's Wager, the story of Percival Chen, a gambling, womanizing headmaster at a prestigious English school in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Robert J. Sawyer is the only Canadian to have won all three of the top international science fiction awards: the Nebula Award, Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Award. He has published over 20 novels, including Triggers and the novels of the WWW trilogy. His novel Flashforward was adapted for an ABC TV series of the same name. Sawyer presents his most recent novel, Red Planet Blues. Protagonist Alex Lomax is a lone private eye in a Martian frontier town who stumbles upon clues to a decades-old unsolved murder – and a journal that might lead him to a legendary Martian fossil mother lode.

Ania Szado is the author of Beginning of Was, which was shortlisted for a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and nominated for the international Kiriyama Prize. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Journey Prize and the National Magazine Awards. Szado presents Studio Saint-Ex, which finds The Little Prince author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, within a tempestuous love triangle in WWII Manhattan’s glittering French expat community and emerging fashion scene.

Barbara Philp 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sunday October 20, 2013 Runaway with Alice Munro

On October 10, Canadian short story writer Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, deeming her the “master of the contemporary short story”. It is fitting that at the age of 82, Munro should receive the recognition, acknowledging her for the diverse body of work she has created. The Nobel award places Munro amongst the company of great writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, and Toni Morrison. This prize also makes Munro the thirteenth woman and the first Canadian to have been given the award. Quite the honor!

Known as a contemporary Anton Chekov, Munro writes about the lives of woman from all ages, set in the heart of the “Southern Ontario Gothic”. Munro creates living, breathing characters that experience varying circumstances, from the daily mundane to the extraordinary. Through her tales, Munro writes about how certain life events can shape, illuminate and change the human experience.  

The first collection of short stories that Munro wrote was Dance of the Happy Shades, published in 1968. This was the literary world’s first exposure to Munro, and it made quite the impression. This series began Munro’s fascination with exploring the lives of women and men in quiet, rural Southern communities leading modest, ordinary lives and dealing with situations uniquely powerful. Munro is notable for giving great depth and dimension to her characters, without relying on theatrics. For her first published work, Munro won a Governor General’s Award, her first among many to come.

Munro followed up her debut with Lives of Girls and Women. Here Munro expanded her interest in writing about women by breathing life into Del Jordan, the protagonist who appears in this volume of cyclical short stories.  As a whole, Munro explores the themes coming of age, and again life in a small town. Munro brings much life and honesty to Jordan’s experiences; from her early teen foils, to her ever-growing disdain of small town life.

In The Moons of Jupiter, Munro expands her style by writing about an older age group, while exploring the themes of memory and love. The most beguiling of entries comes in the form of “The Turkey Season”, where an adult woman reminisces about a past adolescent experience as a turkey gutter at a processing plant. Here Munro uses her signature observational prose to great effect: a young woman as an outsider trying to make sense of her new surroundings.

In Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage, Munro moves away from infatuation and examines long lasting love and the how the past can influence the future. In “Family Furnishings”, a writer begins to lose respect for a once close family member due to an unresolved family secret. In “The Bear Came Over The Mountain”, an elderly philanderer must come to terms with his wife’s recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease.

Of Munro’s most recent efforts include Runaway and Dear Life. In both volumes, Munro continues her streak in telling stories of how circumstance or twist of fate can put a person’s life course in a different direction. More than ever, Munro ponders how strange, sensual, and dangerous ordinary life can be.    

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday October 13, 2013 Remembering Tom Clancy

The passing of a renowned author is a hard hit for their readers and the libraries that carried their work. Tom Clancy (1947-2013) started out in the insurance industry but dreamed of mixing writing with his love of all things military. Over the years, Clancy’s books (over two dozen in total) inspired several television and film adaptations with famous celebrities taking on the role of his best known character, Jack Ryan.

For those unfamiliar with Clancy’s writing, his usual territory could be found in spy and military thrillers set during or after the Cold War. His books are known for the level of detail and realism throughout their pages. In addition to fiction, Clancy wrote non-fiction including military history and biographical works. More recent endeavours took him into the writing and development of video games and the gaming industry. A recent article in the Globe and Mail lauded Clancy’s skills in storytelling, characterization and plot.

His first book, The Hunt for Red October, was released in 1984 and only gained momentum as the years went by. Clancy earned a devoted following of readers and fans with this title and the resulting blockbuster film in 1990. This masterpiece of military fiction follows the theme of a great espionage coup and the chase for a top secret Russian submarine. 

Popular releases soon followed in 1987 (Patriot Games) and 1989 (Clear and Present Danger). Clancy’s final book is scheduled for publication in December 2013 and will be titled Command Authority. “There’s a new strong man in Russia but his rise to power is based on a dark secret hidden decades in the past. The solution to that mystery lies with a most unexpected source, President Jack Ryan.”

Fans of Tom Clancy’s work might also want to try out similar authors such as Dale Brown, Vince Flynn, and Frederick Forsyth. And as an added insight into the larger than life personality of Tom Clancy, did you know he was a part owner of the major league baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles; or that he owned a tank, yeah that’s right...a tank.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday October 6th, 2013 Discovering Tartan Noir

The description of a gruesome murder taking place in cold, dark stone streets or in an isolated country-side would have many people guessing that they were reading something Nordic but it could mean a mystery with a more familiar brogue.  American author, Elmore Leonard coined the term “Tartan Noir” to describe the dark mysteries that began emerging from Scotland in the late 1980’s.  These novels feature flawed heroes struggling with inner conflicts as well as fighting crime.
The most familiar author of the genre is Ian Rankin. Beginning with “Knots and Crosses”, Rankin introduced the curmudgeonly and emotionally damaged police detective, John Rebus. Rebus is one of those characters you truly grow to love; challenging the system to seek justice, while suffering a toll on his own soul.  After 17 Rebus novels, Rankin chose to retire the character and write other novels, but the popularity of Rebus forced Rankin to reintroduce Rebus to satisfy fan demand. The most recent book in the series, “Standing in Another Man’s Grave”, features Rebus together with Rankin’s other main protagonist Matthew Fox.
While John Rebus patrols the streets of Edinburgh, author Denise Mina has chosen the industrial city of Glasgow in which to set her mysteries featuring journalist Patricia “Paddy” Meehan or police detective Alex Morrow. The story lines in a Mina novel are usually psychologically complex and as a native Glaswegian her intimate knowledge of the city and its peculiarities give the readers a unique insight into the story.  Her last Alex Morrow novel, “Gods and Beasts” begins with a robbery at a busy Glasgow post office that leaves an elderly man dead and sends Alex into the world of graft and political corruption.
Heading north to the “granite city” of Aberdeen, author Stuart MacBride delves into the dark side of crime, with his protagonist Detective Sergeant Logan McRae. MacBride lets his characters indulge in the gallows humour that helps maintain a little sanity in a dark situation.   Having barely survived a murderous attack, McRae carries both emotional and physical scars that can sometimes hamper his work for the Grampian police. “Close to the Bone” is the latest McRae novel and focuses on the occult style murders that may really be the beginning of something even worse.
If mystery in the Highlands calls, then the 1950’s Inverness set novels by A.D. Scott may appeal. Joanne Ross is a working woman and a single mother at a time when both were viewed with disdain, especially in the tiny, interwoven communities that populate the Highlands.  As a journalist Ross becomes involved in seeking the truth for the dead. Beginning with the novel “Small Death in the Great Glen”, Scott lets Ross and the team at the Highland Gazette seek the truth in a sea of lies.
Quintin Jardine returns to Edinburgh with his detective Bob Skinner, who first appeared in print in 1993 with the book, “Skinner’s Rules”.  When we first met Skinner, he was a senior member of the Edinburgh CID, a man jaded by time and his job. With each successive novel, Skinner develops as a character, bringing new dimensions to the tragedies that surround him.  “Pray for the Dying” finds Skinner struggling to find the culprit behind a public assassination that finds the victim and the killers dead at the scene, while at the same time trying to make sense of his marriage falling apart.
Other standouts include Val McDermid who used Fife for her book, “A Darker Domain”. Peter May in the Lewis trilogy. Set in the Outer Hebrides, Detective Fin MacLeod finds himself returning home to a world of dark secrets, traditional loyalties and murder. Finally, Ann Cleeves’ “Shetland Island Quartet”, which are true thrillers. So grab your library card and explore the darker side of Scotland.
Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sunday September 29th, 2013 Books to Television

Frequently we talk about books being turned into movies, which often leads to vigorous debate over which is better.  At times like this a friend’s favourite J.W. Eagan quotation “never judge a book by its movie”, springs to mind.  Today I’d like to turn our attention to books which have made the leap to the smaller screen.  Many popular television series and miniseries started their lives as books.  Some may be based on a short story while others are based on a series.  We also have series that have inspired books, however let’s focus on the former.

With season premieres starting up, my household is eagerly awaiting the return of several programs that started out as books.  We’ve already enjoyed our return to Bones and are anticipating the return of The Walking Dead.  So which books to television can you find at your library?  Check out the following both in print and on DVD:

Bones is loosely based on Kathy Reichs’ series featuring the forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan.  You can find the books starting with Deja Dead published in 1997 right up to 2013’s Bones of the Lost.  We also have the show starting with season one up to season seven

The Walking Dead debuts its fourth season on October 13th, if you’re not familiar with the series prepare yourself for a world of zombies.  Vampires were cool but zombies are giving them a run for their money.  To prepare you can borrow seasons one and two or take out the graphic novels.  If the eighteen volumes of graphic novels aren’t enough to keep you going there are also young adult novels to meet your reading needs.

Speaking of vampires I know a lot of people who were sad to hear that season seven will be the last for True Blood.  While you’re waiting for the last season why don’t you start at the beginning?  We have seasons one through five on DVD plus all of Charlaine Harris’ books.    After Dead will be coming out soon and we’re already taking holds, so act fast!

For those seeking epic fantasy look no further than Game of Thrones.  This series has been extremely popular both on DVD and in the books that spawned it.  We have copies of seasons one and two for your viewing pleasure.  The books are available both in hard copy and as eBooks through Overdrive.

Space is running short so I’ll only briefly mention a few more books and series to check out.  We’re going to head back to my childhood for one of my favourites.  You may think you can guess it, but it’s probably not what you think.  The Flame Trees of Thika starring Hayley Mills was what I begged to watch.   I also recommend checking out Pride and Prejudice, the BBC miniseries for a six hour escape from modern concerns.  I would be remiss if I missed mentioning Dexter, especially as the series finale played just last Sunday.  If you’re an Elmore Leonard fan I hope you’ve caught Justified based on some of his novels.   Season five doesn’t start until January so there’s some time to catch up. 

If you think of some great ones I’ve missed please share them here on our Library Detective blog, we love to hear from you!
Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sunday September 22 A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

I've been reflecting recently on the profound truth of this simple saying. We are all experts of everything these days – a quick Internet search makes it easy to feel well-informed. However, a superficial understanding that leads to false conclusions is oftentimes worse than no understanding at all. Where can one find the information to remedy this perilous state of mind? At the public library! TBPL has an incredible wealth of resources on a multitude of topics and the expert staff to help you on the journey to a more informed perspective. Following is a list of some materials available at TBPL on one specific topic. As the youth librarian, I've focused on resources aimed at a youth audience, but each of these items is also a great choice for adults embarking on a quest for knowledge.

Feeling Wrong in Your Own Body: understanding what it means to be transgendered is an essential resource from the Gallup's Guide to Modern Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Life series. Each of the titles from this extremely well-reviewed series provide answers to the questions LGBTQ teens are asking themselves while also acting as a window into the challenges faced by this community. Smashing the Stereotypes: what does it mean to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered; Being Gay, Staying Healthy; and Gay Believers: Homosexuality and Religion are also available.

GLBTQ: the survival guide for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning teens by Kelly Huegel and Queer: the ultimate guide for teens by Kathy Belge and Marke Bieschke include loads of information, practical advice, and suggestions of further resources.

Author and advice columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller created the It Gets Better Project in response to a number of queer youth taking their own lives after being bullied in school. The project has a twofold goal: communicating to LGTB teens around the world that it gets better and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them. The companion non-fiction book of the same name includes essays and testimonials intended to show LGBT youth the kind of happiness, potential, and satisfaction their lives can hold.

The Letter Q: queer writers’ notes to their younger selves is an anthology edited by Sarah Moon. Over sixty queer authors tell their younger selves what they would have liked to know then about their lives as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered people in a text that BookList describes in a starred review as "lovely, often funny, and always heartfelt."

In addition to these and other nonfiction resources, the library has an ever-expanding collection of LGBTQ fiction. Find classics like Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan as well as new and exciting titles like Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills about an aspiring disc jockey boy named Gabe who was born in a girl's body and Benjamin Alire Saenz's recent book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, winner of the Printz Honor Award, Stonewall Book Award, Lambda Literary Award and a YALSA best fiction for Young Adults pick. There are also some great graphic novels worth checking out, like Drama by Raina Telgemeier and a + e 4ever by I. Merey. Visit Read This Next for more queer fiction reading suggestions.

TBPL is ready to help you start on your journey from the treacherous state of possessing just “a little knowledge.” Visit us to learn more!

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Sunday September 15th, 2013 Dealing with Depression

Starting this fall, Lakehead University is holding lectures on a variety of topics here at the Thunder Bay Public Library. The first one, “Dealing with Depression: A Family Perspective,” will be held in the Waverley Auditorium on October 5. This lecture is presented by Dr. Josephine Tan, a clinical psychologist at Lakehead University who studies depression, women’s health and multicultural psychology. Dr. Tan’s lecture will focus on recognizing and helping your loved ones cope with depression.  But if you are eager to delve into the subject right now, why not stop by the library? Particularly helpful are the books written by people sharing their own stories of depression. These books show that you are not alone when dealing with either your own or a loved one’s depression.

For most of us looking in, the world of celebrities can appear glamorous. But many celebrities hide their bleak inner world behind their smiles, much like Amanda Beard confesses in her book, In the Water They Can’t See You Cry: a Memoir. Beard is an Olympic gold medalist and model who suffered clinical depression; her memoir is a very frank, personal look at her fame. Another athlete who conquered addiction and depression is Margo Talbot, who talks about her journey through depression in All That Glitters: a Climber’s Journey through Addiction and Depression. Joe Pantoliano recounts his own struggles in Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother’s Son. His book is rather different than the other two because he tackles the subject with humour.

There are many options if you would rather read about non-celebrities instead. Will’s Choice: a Suicidal Teen, a Desperate Mother, and a Chronicle of Recovery by Gail Griffith is all about Griffith’s struggle after her son, Will, attempted suicide. An excellent read is Jan Wong’s Out of the Blue: a Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness. Wong was a journalist who became depressed after a backlash to one of her stories. Her book takes a look at workplace stress, something that many of us can relate to.

If you don’t want to read a book focussed on just one person, the library has several options. On the Edge of Darkness: Conversations About Conquering Depression by Kathy Cronkite is a book filled with storied from celebrities who have suffered through depression. You Are Not Alone: Words of Experience and Hope for the Journey Through Depression by Julia Thorne is similar, but made up of the advice and experiences of a variety of people who have experienced depression, not just celebrities. My Kind of Sad: What It’s Like to Be Young and Depressed by Kate Scowen is the same type of book, but written for teens. It has a lot of information on depression, but is interspersed with teens sharing their stories. These books are great for helping you understand what your depressed loved one is going through. As an added bonus, these books can also help people currently experiencing depression find the words to express themselves to their families, opening communication for all.

The library has many other books on depression, including books that give a general overview of depression and ones that cover postpartum depression. But please keep in mind that these books should never be used in place of a health care professional’s advice. Please refer to the list below for a listing of therapy and counselling services in Thunder Bay should you or a loved one require some help.

If you’re free on October 5, be sure to stop by the Waverley library to listen to Dr. Tan’s “Dealing with Depression: A Family Perspective” lecture. It starts at 2pm in the auditorium.

Shauna Kosoris 

Here is a listing of therapy and counselling services available in Thunder Bay:

·         Mental Health Assessment Team – emergency services available from the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
·         A family physician or walk-in clinic physician can be consulted for a referral to a mental health resource in the hospitals
·         Doctor referral to Mental Health Outpatient Programs, St. Joseph Care Group
·         Student Health and Counseling Centre – free counseling for all LU students: located at UC 1007, (807) 343-8361
·         Thunder Bay Counseling Centre: counseling for individuals, couples, and families: (807) 684-1880 – fee for service
·         Thunder Bay Crisis Response Service: (807) 346-8282
·         Self-referral to any mental health professional in private practice (look up the Yellow Pages under Psychologists and Psychological Associates; Psychotherapy; or Marriage, Family & individual Counselors) – fee for service
·         More information is available at Thunder Bay Canadian Mental Health Association: (807) 345-5564

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sunday September 8, 2013 Time Well Spent at the Library

William Shakespeare said, “Make use of time, let not advantage slip.”  How true. So often we hear, there just aren’t enough hours in a day.  As it turns out there just may be, it’s a matter of how you spend them. Time is a very valuable thing. Perishable and irreplaceable, we cannot save it but we can build on it. We can reallocate time from activities of lower value to activities of higher value. In fact, the very act of taking a moment to think about our time before we spend it improves our management of it. Calculators and cell phones are great tools, but time management is actually more of a skill. It all begins with establishing what is most important to us and then making time for it. “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.” Most of us would agree that managing our time effectively is a great way to make the most of each day. TBPL has many resources on this very topic.    

Personal Productivity Secrets: Do What You Never Thought Possible with your Time and Attention and Gain Control of Your Life. Maura Nevel Thomas covers topics all the way from how to use an online calendar, address book or e-mail, online storage, capture tools and to-do lists. All of this will assist in regaining control and bringing peace of mind and success at the same time.

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson shares how-to advice and easy tips for sustainable living such as packing kids’ lunches without plastic, making your own condiments and canceling your junk mail. What has that got to do with time management you may say.  All of these are ideas that could ultimately save you time as well as inspire a healthier lifestyle. 

Short of time and unable to make it to the library? With a smart phone or tablet, you can get several Apps, including AccessMyLibrary, Historypin, NAXOS Music Library and OverDrive Media Console and access your Library on the go. Go to the Apps and Mobility page at to find out more.

Once you have the software downloaded from Overdrive you can easily access audiobooks and ebooks such as Creating a Time Management System that Works for you: Paper, Electronic or Hybrid? Laura Stack, a pro in productivity, guides you in creating a system that will help you stay organized wherever you are.

Take advantage of some of these great resources that the library has to offer and you may be pleasantly surprised. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” 

Caron E. Naysmith

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sunday August 25, 2013 Fresh Horizons

My husband and I are thinking of selling our family home and relocating to a different province. We have been considering this move for a few years now. And yes, we’ve heard all the arguments both for and against. There are those who think we are too old/crazy/irresponsible/brave/all of the aforementioned, to exchange our established, comfortable existence for new and uncharted territory. But, that’s what makes it so exciting!  We have arrived at a point in our lives when it is time for another adventure. Wait now, hold the applause. There is family waiting for us at our final destination. Kind of takes the “wow” out of it, huh? Not quite as radical as it first sounds, is it? Don’t care. Can’t wait! However, first things first – we must sell our house. Now, fortunately I work at the Library and there are a number of books and electronic resources that can be consulted on everything from staging your home to selecting the right realtor. These have helped significantly to reduce the “scary” in the whole process and I encourage anyone who is anticipating a move in their future to preview what the Library has to offer. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!                

I found Welcome Home by Sarah Daniels to be a good beginning even though it has a copyright date of 2010. Usually, I prefer sources that are a bit more current. But it IS a Canadian publication and it does offer some relevant tips on finding the right realtor, negotiating a fair deal and locating the ideal property. So it gets a “two thumbs up” from me.            

Next, I instinctively gravitated towards Buying and Selling a Home for Canadians for Dummies c2011. I find comfort in the “dummies” series because they contain a refreshing lack of jargon that makes their contents more easily understood and they usually include everything you need to know. (Plus, their focus group is “dummies” for goodness sakes! I feel right at home.) I was not disappointed. It is a fairly up-to-date resource and discusses everything from arranging finances and hiring an agent, to making and fielding offers, assessing house values and inspecting prospective homes. An added bonus is that the Library offers it in both book and electronic format so you can choose what best suits your needs.                    

From Renos to Riches : The Canadian Real Estate Investor’s Guide to Practical and Profitable Renovations c2012 and Fix & Flip c2013 are two more great sources. Even though my husband and I can hardly be described as “home flippers” these books offer all kinds of information and innovative ideas on ways to fix up your home preparatory to selling it.        

Of course, these days every real estate show on T.V. emphasizes the importance of “staging” your home. Silly me! I thought it just had to be clean and organized. Maybe, at one time that was enough but now, in order to facilitate a quick and profitable sale one must PRESENT one’s home. So, enter Hot Property c2007 by Alex Newman and Home Staging c2006 by Barb Schwarz. Actually, they offer a lot of practical ideas on how to create curb appeal, what and what not to do with your kitchen and bathrooms, how to emphasize the best features of your house and the art of de-cluttering. But, perhaps the most important thing they do is teach you to consider your home through a buyer`s eyes. For me, that has been an invaluable lesson.

And now that the research is done and the honey-do list compiled, it should be clear and easy sailing right? I only wish. I suspect that the real work is just beginning but somehow, the incurable optimist part of me believes that in the end, it all will have been worth it.  Fingers crossed!

Jill Otto

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Sunday August 18, 2013 Food Trucks

Just like food on a stick, restaurants on wheels are something special.  And often food on a stick comes from a restaurant on wheels!   Food trucks are beginning to be seen around Thunder Bay.  You may have seen Pinetree Catering’s black Local Motion truck or Cindy Loohoo’s bright green Gourmet Eats on the Street truck, among others. Food trucks have an interesting history, and your Library has a few books which explore this unique dining experience.

When did the first food truck hit the streets?
In 1691 New Amsterdam (now known as New York City) began regulating street vendors selling food from push carts.  In 1894 sausage vendors sold their wares outside the student dorms at major eastern universities, and their carts became known as dog wagons. Ice cream trucks began selling frozen treats in the 1950s. In 1974 Raul Martinez converted an old ice cream truck into the first taco truck and parked it outside a West Los Angeles bar. (source: Running a Food Truck for Dummies)  Today the food truck market is one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant industry. (USA Today, August 5, 2013, p 5B, from / Research / My Giant Search)

Why have food trucks become popular recently?
In a 2010 Maclean’s article, Julia Belluz explains:  In America, the craze was fueled by a combination of post-recessionary factors:  construction was drying up, which meant there was a surplus of food trucks, and chefs were being laid off from high-end restaurants.  The rules around street food are less stringent south of the border. ... By comparison, Canada’s gourmet street-food scene has been in the slow cooker.  Still, there are signs that’s changing. (“Construction guys never ate like this” Maclean’s, 10/4/2010, 123(38), p89.  From ebscoHOST database in My Giant Search.) 

How can I find a food truck?
The Web site of Eat Street, a TV program about food trucks on the Food Network ( has an interactive food truck finder. There is also an Eat St. App, which helps you find food trucks all over North America. Follow food trucks on Twitter and like them on Facebook and you’ll know where to find them.  David Weber notes that one of the major drivers of interest in food trucks has been improved technology that lets customers track trucks geographically over time. (Source: The food truck handbook)

How can I start my own food truck?
There really is a For Dummies book for everything, including Running a food truck! David Weber’s The food truck handbook: Start, grow and succeed in the mobile food business is another excellent resource.  Weber is the founder and president of the NYC Food Truck Association and really knows his stuff.  Start your own food truck business by Rich Mintzer focuses on start up and planning.

What’s the most popular food truck menu item?
The top five savory items are: burgers, sandwiches, barbecue, hot dogs and tacos.  The top five sweet items are: ice pops / frozen treats, cupcakes, ice cream, general desserts and bakery.  (Source:  The food truck handbook) Heather Shouse’s book Food trucks dispatches and recipes from the best kitchens on wheels can help you create some of this tasty food at home.

What do food truck operators like about their jobs?
Food truck entrepreneurs share their answers in The food truck handbook:
The high point is that we generally have a lot of fun. You get to be “outside” every day, meeting great people and giving them instant satisfaction, with your great product. Best part of street vending is taking your idea, this ephemeral thing, and after going through the arduous process of actually getting it off the ground, to see people line up to eat the food, your food, is pretty cool. 

I just got back from lunch, and can personally recommend the deep fried perogies on a stick from Cindy Loohoo’s.

Joanna Aegard