Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday January 26th, 2014: 2013 Staff Favourites

Many publications and websites release "best of the year" lists, and TBPL staff are doing the same! Unless otherwise stated, the works were published in 2013.

Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was Shauna Kosoris' favourite. She describes it as a "fantastic read." You can find her full review on the TBPL Off the Shelf blog.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, another fantasy reader, enjoyed the latest instalment in an ongoing series: Hunted by Kevin Hearne, the sixth title in Iron Druid Chronicles. Packed with druids, Greek gods and goddesses, and the Tuatha De Danann, this engrossing series promises a fun and exciting read.

The Bookman's Tale: a novel of obsession by Charlie Lovett is, according to the write-up, "guaranteed to capture the heart of everyone who truly loves books." Helen Cimone was drawn in by this description: "a mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller's search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love." Sold! It's been added to my to-reads list!

Jesse Robert's favourite of the year was The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty. This quick-moving, plotty novel is full of dark secrets, complicated relationships, and painful emotional collisions between characters.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton won Canada's Governor General's Literary Award, the UK's Man Booker Prize, and was TBPL's Chief Librarian's favourite read of 2013 - pretty impressive accolades! John Pateman promises that "it is a compelling murder mystery and gripping page turner that keeps you guessing right up to the final page." Bonus: the author was born in Ontario!

Barb Philp's top pick was Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, a novel that asks "What if you had the chance to live your life again and again until you finally got it right?" She warns that the inventively structured novel requires concentration to keep the threads straight but pays off in a great read.

Stephen Hurrell spent his 2013 reading "awesome" Swedish crime mysteries. Stieg Larssen, author of the Dragon Tattoo series, is the most well-known author of this style, but there are many others to explore. Despite being published prior to 2013, Cell 8 makes Steve's top of the year list. Written by journalist Anders Roslund and convicted criminal Borge Hellstrom, this modern crime thriller full of twists and turns is part of the ongoing Grens & Sundkvist series.

Like Stephen, Raegan Rocco's favourites were all published prior to 2013. She also had more than one favourite read last year, including Matched, a youngadult dystopian series by Ally Condie, and Annexed by Sharon Dogar: "so moving and brilliant. I still think about it." Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, a novel about a young child forced into slave labour in a munitions factory in Nazi Germany, also made her list.

The first of my 2013 favourites was Hannah Moskowitz's Teeth, a very mature young adult novel. This book is such an odd little thing, full of magic realism and filtered through darkness and dread. This book is not a general crowd-pleaser and I can understand why, but for me it is something very special. My favourite middle-grade novel of 2013 diverges completely into farce and light-hearted fun. The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, book two in the League of Princes series by Christopher Healey is a hilarious fantasy series featuring a familiar cast of fairy-tale characters. This series would make an excellent read aloud for families or classrooms!

What was your favourite read of 2013? Drop by the blog to join the conversation!

Laura Prinselaar

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Sunday January 19th, 2014 Check out an Interesting Person at the Human Library!

There are a wide variety of reasons why people visit pblic libraries. Some come to borrow books to read for fun, or to learn something. Some come to borrow movies, music and magazines. People come to use computers to write a resume, access the internet and Library databases, use free Wifi and for a space to work, study or rest. Some come in groups, to work or socialize together, some come alone or with family. People come to attend story times, puppet shows, book clubs and other programs. On Saturday, you can come to the Library and check out an interesting person. 

The Human Library is being held at the Brodie Resource Library on Saturday January 25th between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.  Drop in and look for the Human Library Circulation Desk on the main floor in the Fireside Reading Room.  Limited times are available for pre-booking.  Contact Jesse at 624-4203 or to pre-book.  The Human Library is suitable for all ages
The Human Library is a unique opportunity for you to have a conversation with someone you might not otherwise get to meet.  In a Human Library people become the books.  We first held a Human Library in October 2012 and then again in January 2013.  Some of the "books" people checked out at the first two events included:  a police officer, a Muslim woman, a tattoo apprentice, a litigation lawyer, a transgendered person, a recovering drug addict, a young aboriginal from a northern community, a person living with mental illness, an Ojibway elder and a person living with a disability.

The Human Library movement started in Denmark in 1993 and has since spread all over the world.  The Web site explains that the idea was born from a tragic incident where a young person was assaulted.  That person's friends wanted to do something positive to address violence. They decided that giving people the opportunity to sit down and talk with "those people" -- those they had misconceptions about -- would go a long way to mutual understanding. explains that the Human Library is a “keep it simple”, “no-nonsense” contribution to social cohesion in multicultural societies.

We are pleased to once again be working in partnership with CBC Radio Thunder Bay to bring you the Human Library.  Listen to 88.3 FM this week to hear interviews with the Human Books, and visit our Web site, / Get Involved /Human Library for more information.
Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday January 12, 2014 Gluten Free Cookbooks

The gluten-free lifestyle has recently exploded in popularity thanks to celebrities endorsing the diet for people who are not intolerant to gluten. Because the lifestyle involves cooking a lot of meals from scratch, people often find they’re eating healthier foods on this diet. Prior to this, a gluten-free diet was reserved for those who are intolerant to gluten and must remove it from their diets lest they get sick. If you’re interested in the gluten-free lifestyle, whatever your reasons, why not come to the library to check out some of our excellent gluten-free cookbooks?

If this is your first time trying gluten-free recipes, you might want to give the Complete Gluten-Free Diet and Nutrition Guide by Alexandra Anca a try. Along with all the recipes, Anca’s book has a thirty day meal plan to get you started. Just be prepared to experiment with many different ingredients, some of which may be hard to find (although you may find it helpful to shop online for many of them). Another option is Donna Washburn and Heather Butt’s Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking. Washburn and Butt are experts at gluten-free baking who strive to make their recipes both nutritious and delicious. You can also try Weeknight Gluten Free by Kristine Kidd, which is full of easy and healthy recipes that are perfect for those busy work nights.

One thing that many people eating gluten free miss is bread. Luckily we have 125 Best Gluten-Free Bread Machine Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt. The recipes in this book make great-tasting breads, including sourdough, Italian, banana and focaccia. If you are a bread lover, this is definitely a book you’ll want to read.

Another great gluten-free option is paleo books as, by definition, they use pre-agricultural (and therefore gluten free) foods. Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well and Feel Great has some excellent recipes, including a good sandwich bread and her Slow Cooker Sesame Orange Chicken, which is excellent when served over the Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice. Along with Walker’s book, we have others such as Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes by Elana Amsterdam, which is an excellent introduction to Paleo cooking, and Paleo Desserts: 125 Delicious Everyday Favorites, Gluten- and Grain-Free by Jane Barthelemy.

Speaking of desserts, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy all of your favourites, with a bit of modification. If you like cookies, why not check out Gluten-Free Cookies: From Shortbreads to Snickerdoodles, Brownies to Biscotti: 50 Recipes for Cookies You Can Crave by Luane Kohnke. If cupcakes are more your thing, give Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made With Almond and Coconut Flour by Elana Amsterdam a try. For desserts with more of a French flair, you should try Gluten-Free Gourmet Desserts and Baked Goods by Valerie Cupillard. While easy, Cupillard’s recipes are not practical for everyday use, making them great for special occasions.
Asian food is usually off-limits when you need a gluten-free diet, but it doesn’t have to be. Laura Byrne Russell’s The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More shows you how to make your favourite foods from many different Asian cultures gluten-free. Her recipes include spring rolls, pot stickers, and all kinds of Asian pancakes (like Chinese Green Onion Pancakes, Korean Seafood Pancakes and Mung bean pancakes).

While these are all excellent cookbooks, this is by no means an extensive list of what’s available at the library. From slow-cooker books to vegetarian, physical books to ebooks, the library is sure to have a cookbook to meet your gluten-free needs!
Shauna Kosoris

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Sunday January 5, 2014 Get Active in 2014

New Year resolutions; we all make them and break them. But maybe we just go at them the wrong way. Getting fit and being more active seems to be at the top of everyone’s list when the New Year begins. Have you ever considered a visit to your public Library as the first step to achieving this goal? Before you try to run a marathon or swim across Lake Superior, start by doing a little research. You may discover a new way to get active or improve your current lifestyle.

Don`t let winter stop you from getting up and moving. One of my favourite activities is cross country skiing. If you are a beginner, take a look at J. Scott McGee's book Basic Illustrated Cross-Country Skiing. McGee will take you through the basics of cross country skiing from the type of equipment you need to staying safe.  If you prefer to careen down the side of a hill, then pick up a copy of Alpine Skiing by Ronald Kipp and read up before you strap those skis to your feet and hit the slopes. You will also find instructional books on other winter activities such as snowshoeing, skating, and snowboarding.

Even with snow on the ground, some people are still riding their bikes. But if you plan to wait for the snow to melt before getting on your bike, consider some DIY maintenance with Bike Repair Manual by Chris Sidwells and make sure your bike is ready for the road.

If you would rather stay indoors, you could try activities like weight training, stretching, or yoga. For example, the Library has information for all levels of yoga. Try Essential Yoga by Sarah Herrington or take an hour out of your day to watch Rodney Yee's Yoga Core Cross Train on DVD. If you enjoyed watching Rodney Yee, TBPL has DVDs for all your fitness needs such as Pilates Express, Chi Cardio, and Cross Training for Fitness.

If you find yourself saying “this sounds great, I would love to but I don’t have the time to get to the library to find a book”, then go online and take advantage of our virtual collection and online service. With your library card, you can download an eBook to your smart device, such as Running a Marathon for Dummies by Jason Karp, Fifty Plus Fitness by Ian Oliver, or Fit for Golf by Boris Kuzmic. Also use your library card to log-in to your Library account from our website, browse through our library catalogue and put library items on hold. Staff will pull the items from the shelves and contact you when they are ready to pick up.

Don’t forget to teach your kids about the importance of having an active lifestyle and the different sports they can play. Browse the children’s section of the Library for books such as How to Soccer: a step by step guide to mastering the skills, Softball: a step-by-step guide and How to Improve at Swimming.

Start the New Year with a visit to your Thunder Bay Public Library and continue your journey to a healthier, active life.

Lindsey Long

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Sunday December 29th, 2013 Wear Beige and Smile

With only a few days left before my maternity leave comes to an end it's finally setting in, it's happening, I'm going back to work. I've read all the "tips" for what to do and how to prepare for leaving my baby in order to return to work. Leaving my baby is not the problem. Due to extensive coordinating of schedules between my very patient, fantastic, handsome husband (note: he edited this article) and our amazing parents I know our baby will be in great hands. Although I will miss being at home 24/7, more than I can ever articulate, I am, for the first time in over a year, focused solely on me.

What do you mean I have to be at work for 9 am...everyday? I understand that yoga pants are not acceptable attire, but what if they're black? How am I going to go an entire day without napping? And I guess constant snacking at my desk is definitely out of the question. Seriously, how in the heck am I supposed to go back to a practically new career after being off for almost a year?

Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop is a dictionary of words and phrases from everyday life defined for just us moms (and sometimes dads). Some of my favourites are:  "brain spins", "existential lethargy" and "mid conversation screen saver" which made me realize that I'm not completely crazy, or at least I'm not the only one.

Curious as to how I measure up, I read through all 101 mistakes included in Nice Girls Don't Get The Corner Office: 101 unconscious mistakes women make that sabotage their career by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. Each mistake is explained with a realistic situation followed by tips on how it can be avoided. The information is wide spread, everything from where and how to sit in a meeting to why you should never ever have food on your desk or apply lipstick in public.

Aside from being hilarious, The Joy of Work, Dilbert's guide to finding happiness at the expense of your co-workers by Scott Adams wasn't much help. I'm pretty sure the tips would land me in my boss' office for a stern talking to in record time.

Who knew you could work up an appetite researching work? Off to the cookbooks! The Brown Bag Lunch Cookbook by Miriam Jacobs is full of delicious sounding recipes that will not only make lunch time one of the highlights of my day, but also keep me full and energized all afternoon. Jacobs includes information on a variety of ingredients as well as packing and transporting tips for those easily harmed foods (here's looking at you, banana.)

So the time has come, my first day is here. Armed with new knowledge, a new day planner and travel mug (both adorned with pictures of my husband, baby and dog on the off chance I forget what they look like) and a snazzy new insulated lunch bag, I pin my name tag to my new beige sweater, kiss my family good bye, take a deep breath and...

Chelsea Cernjul-Marsonet