Sunday, 27 December 2015

Sunday December 27, 2015 Favourite Reads of 2015

The winter thus far has certainly been a little different.  Whether you love or hate winter weather the past few weeks have thrown us all a little off balance.  Snow, sleet, and rain over the course of the day and then freezing overnight is vile no matter how you look at it.  With that in mind, and considering that you may not be able to enjoy your favourite outdoor seasonal activities, some of the staff and I have pulled together favourite reads from 2015.  Those of you who already have reading on your winter activity list, I hope you find some new reading inspiration here.

Picture Books:

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
This sweet picture book shares the sibling relationship between a bunny and her adopted younger brother.  Will Dot ever accept Wolfie or not?

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Princess Pinecone’s pony may not be the horse she wished for, but sometimes we’re surprised by getting exactly what we need.

Juvenile Graphic Novels:

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Fans of Raina Telgemeier’s “Smile” will enjoy this tale of friendship, growing up, and finding your own interests.

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
Don’t be surprised when you see Stevenson’s name come up again under Young Adult Graphic Novels, her stories are truly enthralling.  I hope you enjoy these feisty girls as much as we did.

Young Adult Fiction:

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
This is an intensely emotional read about grief, guilt, and how different kinds of relationships can help us heal.

The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoy
Come along on this extremely funny extraterrestrial road trip with humans caught up in wacky alien adventures in the tradition of offbeat sci-fi like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan
If you’re looking for an engaging fantasy series with interplay between the human and faerie worlds I invite you to join Henry and Mr. Fogarty on their adventures.

Young Adult Graphic Novels:

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Is a funny, clever, and bittersweet fantasy graphic novel that you'll wish was part of a series.

Adult Graphic Novels:

Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt
This graphic novel series has been described as being somewhat similar to the television series “Lost”.  We have a flight where something goes wrong, but the flight reaches its destination with one problem.  None of the passengers have retained their memory.

Displacement:  A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Knisley’s second travelogue tells the story of a cruise with her grandparents, with all the highs and lows that accompany such a vacation.

Adult Fiction*:

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson
The Three by Sarah Lotz
The Fold by Peter Clines
Eighth Grave after Dark by Darynda Jones
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
Outline by Rachel Cusk

Adult Non-fiction*:

Future Crimes:  Everything is Connected, Everyone is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

Super Fresh:  Super Natural, Super Vibrant Vegan Recipes by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal

The staff who contributed to this list were given very short notice that I wanted their thoughts on favourite books they read this year (most of which were also published this year) and I marvelled at how quickly they were able to provide titles and some thoughts on the books.  Needless to say my own to read list grew exponentially while preparing this column, as did the lists of several staff members.  Wishing you the very best of winter reading.

*Adult fiction and non-fiction lack descriptions due to my running out of words!  Needless to say all of these titles have been greatly enjoyed by staff and are ones that they heartily recommend.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sunday December 20th, 2015 Free Financial Planning Seminars

In the New Year, the Thunder Bay Public Library will once again offer free financial seminars with Financial Advisor Kara Polson. From January to April, each month will focus on a different topic; starting a financial plan, mortgages, registered accounts, and insurance. There will also be time to answer questions about your own financial situation. These seminars are open to all ages. For more information go to or pick up a copy of TBPL’s winter edition of Connect.

Getting on the right financial path can have its challenges, but at the Thunder Bay Public Library you will find resources that can assist you with budgeting, investing, managing and saving your money. One title that continues to show up on lists of the top financial books to read is The Wealthy Barber: The common sense guide to successful financial planning by David Chilton. Chilton, a Canadian financial advisor, was part of the popular TV show Dragons’ Den. Written in the form of a novel, the financial advice is provided by barber Ray Miller, who shares his money managing strategies with others. If you find this book to be helpful, you may want to read Chilton’s second book, The Wealthy Barber Returns.

Also from the TV show Dragons’ Den, Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary has shared his financial knowledge in The Cold Hard Truth series. O’Leary wrote these books to provide readers with lessons on how to avoid money mistakes and manage money wisely.

Another popular Canadian financial advisor, who is also seen on TV, is Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Vaz-Oxlade has published a number of books including Never Too Late: Take control of your retirement and your future.  Her books provide financial advice for every stage of life, from learning to save money at a young age to preparing for your retirement.

To browse other resources on financial planning, you can search the library catalogue, which is an online list of everything that is available in the library. You can search the catalogue when you are visiting the library or from anywhere outside the library with an internet connection. Just go to catalogue automatically defaults to search by title, but this can be changed by clicking on the arrow and selecting another option from the dropped down menu. Try selecting the keyword option. Using this option is similar to doing a Google search; any words you type, a keyword search will search the entire catalogue and retrieve any items that contain those words. Try typing in words such as financial planning, money, investing, or budgeting. If you have any troubles finding information, just ask the friendly staff at your Thunder Bay Public Library and let us help you start a plan to reach your financial goals in 2016.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Sunday December 13, 2015 World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project

The World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project continues to go from strength to strength with new content being added all the time. This project has engaged a wide range of cultural partners and the community, who continue to send in artifacts and interesting stories about their family members. The Timeline & Local Obituaries section is of particular interest, and you can now follow the progress of local participants via their service records, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and obituaries which appeared in local newspapers. Here are some examples of how the lives of the men of Port Arthur and Fort William who went to war can be traced using the World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project.

William Steers was born in Watford, England in 1876 and lived on Francis Street in Fort William. He was married, worked as a cook, and had some previous military experience. When he enlisted on April 1, 1915, William was 34 years old, 5 ft 6 in tall, with a 35 inch chest, dark complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair. He became Private 438555 in the 3rd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry and died on November 17, 1915. It was reported in the Fort William Daily Times Journal on November 24 that he was ‘missing, believed drowned, ex-hospital ship Anglia.’   He is remembered at the Hollybrook Memorial in Southampton, England.

Theodore Studdert was from Kilkee, County Clare, Ireland. He became a Lance Corporal in Thunder Bay’s very own 52nd New Ontario battalion and died on November 2, 1915, age 29. The following notice appeared in the Fort William Daily Times Journal on November 27: ‘Theodore Studdert, the member of the machine gun section of the 52nd battalion who died November 2 from pneumonia, used to board somewhere in this city prior to enlistment. A. Morris, undertaker, of Port Arthur, is anxious to communicate with his former boarding house people, but does not know where to locate them. If this notice meets their eye, they are asked to get in touch with Mr Morris by phone.’   Theodore is remembered at the Thunder Bay (St Andrew’s) Roman Catholic Cemetery.

On occasions, when local men were involved in large scale actions in France or Flanders, the local newspapers would report the loss of several men at once. On October 23, 1915, for example, the Port Arthur News Chronicle reported ‘Thirteen Killed and Nine Missing in Twenty Eighth’. The A Company of the 28th Regiment was in some heavy fighting around October 8 and the casualties included three men from Fort William who were all single, born in England, and enlisted on October 23, 1914.

Private Hubert Smith was born in Croydon, Surrey in 1892 and worked as a brakeman on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Lance Corporal Walter Saxelby was born in Manthorpe, Lincolnshire in 1887 and worked as a clerk. Albert Chapman Johnson was born in Wigginton, Yorkshire in 1885 and worked as a labourer. They were all killed in action on October 8. Johnson and Saxelby are remembered at the Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, and Swift’s name appears on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Their names are also listed on the Honour Roll of Personnel from Fort William, Ontario, who died in World War One. 

At least 43 men from Port Arthur and Fort William were killed in the war during 1915. The World War One Thunder Bay Centennial Project will continue to track the impact of the war on Thunder Bay, both at home and abroad, up to November 1918 and beyond. If you have any family stories, war diaries, letters, records or other memorabilia which you would like to share, please contact us at

John Pateman

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Sunday December 6th, 20015 Share the Gift of Laughter This Christmas

For many, the days of December are stressful - wrapping up projects at work, shopping for and wrapping up gifts at home, baking or cooking, planning and visiting – it is hard to keep one’s balance through all the hustle and bustle. For others, it can be a lonely or difficult time of year. That is when the opportunity to make someone smile, or even better, to make someone laugh – the kind of laughter which racks your body and causes you to wheeze or chortle or guffaw - is most appreciated. For that reason, I am sharing with you some ideas for books which are sure to squeeze a smile or two from the most Scrooge-like customer. You can find them at your Library to enjoy, or you might consider buying one for a friend who shares your sense of humour or could use a good laugh.

Holidays on Ice: with Six New Stories by Dave Sedaris; a seasonal offering from the sharp-humoured Sedaris who is widely acknowledged as one of the funniest writers around today.

The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by the perennially popular Dave Barry is both funny and a little bit warm and fuzzy in this semi-autobiographical Christmas story.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson is the brand new book by this hilarious writer who leaves you laughing even as you cringe a little reading her honest and irreverent memoir about growing up with mental illness and a taxidermist Dad. It actually rivals some of my own family memories which is why I bought it for my sister for Christmas.  I also recommend her earlier book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis. Winner of the Stephen Leacock award for humour, this political satire about an old curmudgeon who agrees to stand for city election as a favour to a desperate campaigner and who wins despite mounting no campaign whatsoever. Funny, fresh and witty.

Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz is another very funny memoir full of insight and self-deprecating humour by the woman who brought us the TV show, Little Mosque on the Prairie. It would have special appeal for any independent-minded adult child of conservative immigrants.

Fifty Shades of Black by Arthur Black. He’s back! Many will remember him from his days in Thunder Bay and the local CBQ radio and will especially enjoy Black’s anecdotal style and humourous rants about technology, aging and a slew of things we forget are actually quite funny.

As a children’s librarian I cannot end this article without some suggestions of laugh-out-loud children’s books. If your pre-teen child does not already own Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, then you can be the one to introduce this to a beloved young person. The poems and drawings are daringly, manically funny yet there is an underlying tone of compassion and morality which is undeniable. This one is a classic for a reason. And for younger children, parents won’t even mind repeated readings of the Chester or Scaredy Squirrel series of picture books by Melanie Watts. Chester is a mischievous cat who talks directly to the reader as he argues with the author trying to tell his story, and Scaredy Squirrel is the master of paranoid over-preparation. You can’t go wrong with either.

Thanks Mom for giving me a sense of humour and teaching me how to see the amusing element in anything. And have a very happy holiday readers.

Angela Meady

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Sunday November 29th, 2015 Indoor Projects

With the snow beginning to fall and the temperature getting lower, you might have started thinking about all those indoor projects that still need to be crossed off your to-do list. But before you start any project, visit your Thunder Bay Public Library and browse the shelves. You will find a large selection of books full of ideas, advice and how-to for all your different indoor project needs. Cleaning and organizing your home can be overwhelming, but books such as Living Simple, Free & Happy by Cristin Frank provides readers with a number of tips and techniques for decluttering and organizing, as well as creative upcycling projects. You will find more creative ways to organize your belongings using repurposed items from around your home in Linda Peterson’s book Creative Ideas to Organize your Home.

Perhaps as you were sorting through old items, you came across the scratched antique table you wanted to restore and the vintage curtains you weren’t sure what to do with. Find the inspiration to reuse these items in Salvage Secrets Design & Decor: Transform your home with reclaimed materials by Joanne Palmisano. This book is full of pictures, design tips and project samples that could be used in any style of home. For more project ideas, you can also check out Reclaiming Style: Using Salvaged Materials to Create an Elegant Home by Maria Speake and Adam Hills.

For a more dramatic change, consider a fresh coat of paint in a room or other space. With so many paint colours to choose from, it can be difficult to find the right one for you; and looking at pictures on Pinterest can get overwhelming very quickly. But books such as Paint and Color by Jeanne Huber and Paint Ideas and Projects from the editors of This Old House provide readers with colour palettes and colour combination ideas, along with professional advice to get the look you want. If you are looking for ways to bring a punch of colour to a room but want to avoid the process of painting walls, check out the colourful ideas in Bright Bazaar: Embracing Color for Make-You-Smile Style.

Completely remodeling a room can be exciting but also has its challenges. The Library has plenty of books that will help you create your room wish list. For example, you will find stylish kitchen and bathroom ideas in Kitchen and Bath Renovation Guide by Better Homes and Gardens. However, this specific book lacks the detailed instructions on how to achieve these looks. Therefore you will want to check out the Library’s selection of how-to books such as Plumbing: Install & repair your own toilets, faucets, sinks, tubs, showers, drains and The Complete Guide to Cabinets & Countertops: How to customize your home with cabinetry. Finally, before you pick up any tools, check out the book Measure Twice: Tips and tricks from the pros to help you avoid the most common DIY disasters by Bryan Baeumler, host of the TV shows Leave it to Bryan and Disaster DIY. Baeumler shares his knowledge and expertise in home renovations, such as installing a door, fixing trim and framing a wall. And if all else fails, call a professional.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sunday November 22nd, 2015 Managing Diabetes, Managing Awareness

Diabetes is a complex and multifactorial ailment that affects millions of people in Canada and in North America. Diabetes can affect people all across their lifespan – from infancy to old age. But what exactly does it mean to be diabetic? Perhaps you may have heard of the terms type 1 and type 2 in regards to diabetes. Fortunately, the month of November is the designated month of diabetes awareness. If you know someone who has diabetes, or want to learn more about managing your own condition, the Thunder Bay Public Library can be a great place to start.

Diabetes is a condition of the pancreas when it can either produce no insulin or inadequate insulin to manage the body’s high blood sugar. To answer this question further, look no further than Kim Chaloner’s, Diabetes and Me: An essential guide for kids and parents. Written for parents and children alike, the writer clearly explains what it means to be a diabetic, along with discussion on the differences between type 1 and type 2, how to manage blood sugar, and insulin administration. Along with helpful illustrations of where diabetes stems from and how it affects other organs, Chaloner has created an easy and insightful book on managing one’s diagnosis.

For children and adolescents, diabetes can be tricky to manage and difficult to understand. For young people, this often includes making sacrifices that may be difficult to make. For young children, titles such as Children Have Diabetes Too: Learning together as a family and Sugar was my Best Food: Diabetes and Me are wonderful titles for parents to share with their child. Children will find similarities in these books to their own that can help ease the transition into living and managing diabetes.

Similar to the aforementioned books is the Mayo Clinic: The Essential Diabetes Book, a comprehensive tool for people who would like to gain a more thorough understanding of diabetes. Known for its practicality, the Mayo Clinic gives the reader plentiful insight into diabetes, as well as strategies supported by up to date research for managing diabetes, as well as leading a healthy lifestyle that is not thwarted by diabetes. This includes maintaining a healthy diet, an important part of a person’s lifestyle living with diabetes.

One quick search on the TBPL online catalogue will yield plenty of resources on the topic of diabetes and nutrition. An excellent title to check out is Eat what you Love, Love what you Eat, with Diabetes: A mindful eating program for thriving with prediabetes or diabetes. With a gentle and supportive tone, the writers stress the importance of keeping a balanced, nutritional diet while recognizing the difficulties associated with intake that comes with being diabetic. With the help of the Diabetes Cookbook: 70 delicious and healthy recipes for every meal, one can explore the plentiful recipes offered for each meal of the day. Guided by lush illustrations of tasty treats, this is a recipe book worth revisiting.

If you would like to learn more about diabetes, check out the TBPL online catalogue at for great materials and resources about diabetes. If you visit your local branch, the knowledgeable staff will help you find the answers you are looking for. Through TBPL, you can also learn about great programs offered in the community for people living with diabetes. Or perhaps you would like to start a support group for your fellow citizen. Whatever your interests may be, TBPL can help you to learn and spread the information about diabetes.

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Sunday November 15th, 2015 Your Library Online

As the weather grows colder you might be less inclined to leave your warm house. This does not mean you can not visit your Library! There are a wide range of collections and services you can use from the comfort of your home through our website:

Go to to learn about OverDrive, hoopla and Tumblebooks. OverDrive is our main collection of eBooks and eAudioboks. You can install the OverDrive app on your smart phone, tablet or tablet-like eReader, or use it to read on your computer or download books to basic eReaders and portable audio players. There’s also an app for hoopla, which gives you easy access to eBooks, eAudiobooks, TV shows and movies. Tumblebooks is a fun, interactive collection of eBooks for kids. Tumblebooks can read to your child, or have them read themselves.

There is a whole lot more than eBooks available online from your Library. Go to to discover what else we have for you! Naxos Music Library is a well-used service which allows you to stream classical, jazz, world and popular music from an app or website. Liner notes, music history, composer information and more additional resources may be found on the Naxos website.

Logging in to My Giant Search gets you access to reliable information you can use for research, projects, homework, hobbies and more. Databases of newspaper, magazine and journal articles, online reference books and how-to manuals will be at your finger-tips. Most databases include tools that help you cite information, expand your research and save your work. Online auto-repair manuals include wiring diagrams, recall information and useful tips. Powerspeak Languages is an online language-learning program that will teach you to speak French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and English as a second language for Spanish speakers. NoveList is a treasure-trove for avid readers, and NoveList K-8 can help you develop a love of reading in children.

The World War One -- Thunder Bay Centennial Project ( is a growing collection of personal stories, photographs, newspaper articles and more chroniclling the War years in our City. Exploring this section of our website in engrossing, fascinating and revealing.

If you like history, click over to the Gateway to Northwestern Ontario History, a searchable collection of images and articles. You can find photos of the original Chippewa Park dance pavilion, people enjoying Boulevard Lake in the 1940s and the Pagoda in 1939. We have posted some of the images on HistoryPIN, a social historical photo sharing website and app.

Are you on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? So are we! Go to for links to our social media sites. Following your Library on social media will keep you in the loop about events, new books and services. It also gives you the opportunity to share your stories, ideas and photos.

Speaking of sharing, use the Contact Us link to send us feedback. We also have a purchase suggestion form online which you can use to let us know if there’s a book, movie or CD you would like us to add to the collection. It’s at

You can log in to your Library card account through our website -- click on the “My Card” link.  Once logged in you can check due dates, renew, place holds, pay your fines, and make lists of books. Have a look at the videos at to discover all the things you can do online with your card.

If you need some fresh air and feel like venturing out you can find the hours and locations of Library branches at, and check our online calendar to discover all the interesting events we have planned:  Hope to see you online or in person at your Library soon!

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sunday November 8th, 2015 Speak the Language at TBPL

Flora Lewis an American journalist writing for the New York Times once wrote, “Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” At the Thunder Bay Public Library, you can learn a new language as well as learn new ways to think about things.

On Tuesday evenings the Mary J L Black Library is offering an introductory yet ever popular class in basic Ojibwe Language and traditional teachings. You can learn to read and speak in Ojibwe using the double vowel system. Registration is required, and is currently at capacity. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Instructor, Esther Diabo.

The Library has a large collection of French books and eBooks, music, movies and magazines for children. The online interactive Tumblebooks site has read alouds in French at various levels and you can check out the newest children’s French books at

Contes en famille (French Family Story Time) is a drop-in program at the Waverley Library on Saturdays at 10:30 am for children of all ages and their parent or caregiver. The upcoming dates are November 14 and December 12, so make a note. You will play, talk, sing, and share books and stories all in French.

On Tuesday evenings this Fall the Waverley Library has been hosting a weekly Spanish conversation group. Fluency in Spanish is not a pre-requisite. Anyone is welcome no matter how great your Spanish is. It’s simply an opportunity to get together with other people and practice your Spanish in a relaxed atmosphere. This fun series is taking a break until the New Year when it will reconvene at the Waverley Library. For more information call Viviana Spicer at 356-1034.

Instantly available on Hoopla is Rapid French By Earworms Learning, which contains a lexically rich and useful set of words and phrases which are settled into your memory bank by gentle repetition to music. Also available in the same format are Rapid Italian and Rapid Turkish.

As always you can access the online databases at with your Library card number and pin. Scroll down to Powerspeak Languages where you can learn a new language interactively: French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and English as a Second Language. In January 2016, TBPL will be offering a new online language learning resource with more languages, also accessible on your phone or device.

While browsing the databases, scroll down to Universalis, one of the largest certified francophone encyclopedias. Or French eBooks, where you can log in, browse and borrow from a large selection of eBooks in French.  EBSCOhost provides a variety of fiction and non-fiction eBooks available either for reading online or downloading to eBook readers and devices in English as well as other languages.

Or how about practicing the universal language of meditation? Monday evenings at 7:00 a group gathers to practice Zen meditation in the Brodie Study Room.  Call the Brodie Library for more information.

As you can tell, TBPL has much available in the area of languages: Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese, to name a few. A new language may open another window. “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” (Frank Smith, contemporary psycholinguist and author).

Caron Naysmith

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sunday November 1, 2015 NaNoWriMo at Your Library

Almost everyone dreams of being an author. Whether it’s because you think it will lead to fame and fortune, from a desire to share your inner thoughts with the world or even to make your mark on posterity, we all have a reason.  Unfortunately, many budding writers are scared away for a variety of reasons.  Questions about how to begin, the need for encouragement and feedback or the motivation to make time to write, as well as, the grind of daily life seem to get in the way.

Faced with the same problems, a group of young writers in San Francisco in 1996 challenged themselves to each write a novel within a month, thus was born National Novel Writing Month which has become a movement involving hundreds of thousands of writers across the globe.  The rules are simple, just register on the NaNoWriMo site,  and track your words written.  Along the way , the site awards badges and provides encouragement and resources to keep you writing.  Each year famous writers from around the globe provide pep talks to the participants, giving examples of tips and tricks they have used to improve their own writing.

The goal is to write a novel of any style or genre of 50,000 words or more.  You can write alone or with someone else.  In order to provide further support, there are NaNoWriMo groups across the world.  The local Thunder Bay chapter will be meeting Thursday evenings in the Baggage Building Arts Centre at the Marina.

Being a skeptic, I wondered if the method was successful and was surprised to find that many bestselling authors and novels began during the binge novel period that is NaNoWriMo.  Jason M Hough, recently scored a New York Times Bestseller with his book, “The Darwin Elevator”, Lydia Netzer’s book “Shine, Shine, Shine”, which was an Amazon Book of the Month, and Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder” which is the first in the bestselling young adult series, the Lunar Chronicles trilogy are some of the novels brought to life during National Novel Writing Month.  Sara Gruen is one of the most famous participants and has used the time to draft three novels, including her most famous, “Water for Elephants”.

This year the Thunder Bay Public Library is becoming involved by hosting a Halfway Party on November 14 at the Brodie Resource Library.  Besides refreshments, we will be answering questions, hosting opportunities for sharing and illustrating the resources that the library has for writers of all kinds.  Whether, you are interested in writing exercises, style and grammar manuals, research resources to bring your creations believability and accuracy or even publishing guides to sell your masterpiece; the library is a great resource.  In order to fully share in the pleasures and pains of NaNoWriMo, I along with our Youth Services Librarian Laura Prinselaar will be participating in writing our own works of fiction.

Through our social media, we will be providing tips, quotes, websites and resources to keep your writing on track and to provide a forum to share comments, thoughts, triumphs and missteps that you encounter during your writing journey.

It’s never too late to start writing, whether you are 15, 51 or 105. So put pen to paper, dust off your typewriter or power up the laptop and hopefully someday, I will help a patron check out one of your books at the library. Until then, happy writing.

Lori Kauzlarick

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sunday October 25th, 2015 Last Minute Halloween

There are only six days left to get ready for Halloween!  Are you worried that you won’t have enough time to carve your pumpkin, make the perfect costume, or plan your party?  Then head over to the Thunder Bay Public Library. Our resources have lots of ideas to help get you ready for next Saturday.

What Halloween is complete without carving a pumpkin?  If you’d like to carve one but don’t know where to start, check out Edward Palmer’s Pumpkin Carving. It has basic carving instructions and includes some face and design templates you can use for your pumpkin. How to Carve Pumpkins for Great Results by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell is another basic book full of great tips for carving, storing, and reinvigorating dried out pumpkins. If you want to get a bit more advanced, then check out Extreme Pumpkin Carving: 20 Amazing Designs from Frightful to Fabulous by Vic Hood and Jack A. Williams, which shows you how to relief-carve a pumpkin with both basic and woodcarving tools. Relief carving allows you to create actual depth on your pumpkin’s face, making it look more realistic than when you just cut out solid shapes.

Another really fun part of Halloween is dressing up. If you’re looking for costume ideas, you can flip through 1000 Incredible Costume & Cosplay Ideas: A Showcase of Creative Characters From Anime, Manga, Video Games, Movies, Comics and More! As the name suggests, this book is a photo gallery with 1000 pictures that are sure to inspire your next costume. If you’re a sewing whiz, you can try The Fantastic Costume Book: 40 Complete Patterns to Amaze and Amuse by Michelle Lipson and Friends. Along with sewing patterns, Lipson’s book has some costumes that can be made quickly with little to no sewing necessary, so it’s definitely worth a look if you’re pressed for time. We’ve also got Kathryn Harrison and Valerie Kohn’s Easy-to-Make Costumes, which is full of fantastic ideas, many of which only need cardboard, scissors, paint, and glue.

If you want some Halloween crafts to make with your kids, recipes to make for a party, or decorations for your house and yard, then look no further than Ghastly-Good Halloween: 201 Spooktacular Recipes, Crafts & Decorating Ideas by Gooseberry Patch. While full of tons of decorating and craft ideas, where this book really shines is in the recipes. From the Brew-Ha-Ha Punch to the Witch’s Cauldron Chili, you’re sure to find the perfect Halloween treat. Some similar all-in-one books include Happy Halloween! Bewitching Parties and Recipes, Enchanting Pumpkins and Decorations, Plus Lots of Other Spine-Tingling Ideas by Country Living, which has some fantastic recipes and a section on carving pumpkins (and pineapples!) with other fruits and vegetables as props. Extreme Halloween: The Ultimate Guide to Making Halloween Scary Again by Tom Nardone is a book devoted to yard and party “tricks,” including making pumpkin monsters and ghastly party drinks (Bloody Brain Shots or Brain Goo, anyone?)  And Halloween Recipes and Crafts by Christine Lyseng Savage, Rosa Poulin, and Tamara Eder has some last minute costume ideas and includes recipes to make your own makeup. It’s also got a list of older Halloween movies and some game ideas to make any party extra fun.

Thinking of Halloween makeup, stop by our Makerspace tomorrow afternoon; makeup artist Rhiannon will be sharing her amazing makeup and costume techniques between 3 and 5pm.

While there are only six days left until Halloween, there's no reason to panic. If you need a bit of help carving a pumpkin, making the perfect costume, or planning a party, be sure to stop by your local library. With our help, you’ll be ready in plenty of time for next weekend!

Shauna Kosoris 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunday October 18th, 2015 International Festival of Authors

The International Festival of Authors is returning to Thunder Bay for the fifth year running.  Each year, we are delighted by authors both familiar and new to us as a reading audience.  Often one name will catch my attention which leads to the discovery of new authors to enjoy.  This year we are so very lucky as to have four authors coming to read.  They are:  Alexander MacLeod, Dionne Brand, Elizabeth Hay, and Miranda Hill.  I see some people borrowing the latest works by the authors coming, while others (myself included) may have good intentions to read their writing but don’t quite get around to it. Partly it’s a lack of planning, but more importantly there’s something magical about being introduced to a book by the author.

So I confess, I have not read recent works by any of these authors and the last book I read by Dionne Brand was “Earth Magic:  Poems” which means I’m in for more of a treat.  I expect to be surprised and delighted by these authors on November 4th.  This strategy has worked well for the past several years, thus ensuring a good stock of new reading for winter.  The timing of this event seems ideal for those of us preparing for the coldest months of the year, you can be introduced to new authors and build your reading list.

However, you may choose to spend the next few weeks getting to know these authors in advance.  In that case, we have a lot to offer regardless of whether you want to dip lightly into each or delve deeper into the works of one in particular.

 As recommendations, if you wish to read Dionne Brand you could pick up “At the Full and Change of the Moon” or “Love Enough” or even delve into “Earth Magic” which is housed in the Children’s collection.  Be not afraid of where the books are found as you never know what will be right for today. Perhaps short stories are what will fill your reading tank today, Alexander MacLeod can help with “Light Lifting” as can Miranda Hill with “Sleeping Funny”.  We are quite simply spoiled for choice with this year’s authors, before even looking at the works of Elizabeth Hay.  Whether you choose to read “Late Nights on Air”, “Alone in the Classroom”, “His Whole Life”, or one of her other works you shan’t be disappointed.

So what will you do?  Read ahead and prepare or await the magic November 4th?

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Sunday October 11, 2015 Family History Forum

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about your family tree, then the Family History Forum is your chance to get some help from the experts. The Thunder Bay Public Library is holding its second annual Family History Forum at the Mary J.L. Black Branch Library on Saturday, October 24th from 1-4pm.  This event was launched in 2014 and nobody was entirely sure what to expect in terms of public attendance; which turned out to be an unnecessary worry as the family history enthusiasts came out in droves. Based on that success and the feedback received from participants, this year’s forum is going to be even better.

Local genealogist Dave Nicholson will be the host for the afternoon’s activities. “There isn’t a specific theme for the Forum; we want to have a variety of discussions based on three concepts – technology sources for genealogy, a family historian sharing their personal research experience, and traditional records not found on the Internet.”

While commercials for ancestry websites can make it seem as simple as a couple of clicks to find your entire family tree, not all the answers can be found online. Basic family history research techniques include talking to relatives about the stories of their ancestors and working back from the present to the past, one generation a time.

The afternoon sessions include Sharing Your Family Archives Online with Sara Janes (City of Thunder Bay Archives), Using DNA Tests To Find Your Family with Clare Cook (Thunder Bay Branch – OGS), and Genealogy and the Funeral Home: What Can I Find and Where with Sheleigh Dika (Everest Funeral Home). There will be a Q&A session to wrap up the afternoon as well as a variety of door prizes for those in attendance. Light refreshments will be available.
The Library is also offering an Ancestry Library Edition database class on the same day from 11am-12pm, pre-registration for this class is required and space is limited. Call 684-6815 to register.

The Family History Forum is free of charge and takes place from 1-4pm on Saturday, October 24 at the Mary J.L. Black Branch Library. No registration is required. Connect with this event on Facebook to get updates leading up to the day. Contact Jesse Roberts at for more information or with questions.

Jesse Roberts

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sunday October 4, 2015 Lakehead U In Conversation

This fall, Lakehead University is once again bringing lectures on a variety of topics to the Thunder Bay Public Library. On Saturday, October 17th, Dr. Carney Matheson, Chair of the Department of Anthropology, will be presenting “Ötzi: Forensic Investigation into the Last Days of the Iceman” in the Waverley Auditorium at 2pm. Ötzi’s body was discovered in the Alps in 1991. Dr. Matheson will be looking at what forensics can tell us about Ötzi’s last days and hours 5,300 years ago. But if you don’t want to wait until the 17th to look into Ötzi and forensic anthropology, why not stop by the library before that?

Konrad Spindler’s The Man in the Ice is one of the first books written about Ötzi. As such, the information is dated, but Spindler gives a good historical account of what we first believed when we found the Iceman. Ötzi is one of the oldest mummies we’ve ever found, which makes his body a very valuable scientific treasure. That’s why there was a lot of fighting for control of his body when it was discovered. Brenda Fowler provides an excellent account of the political drama concerning Ötzi’s discovery in Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier. Spindler’s book also gives a rundown of this political drama, but Fowler’s book is much more in depth.

If it’s ancient mummies you’re interested in, be sure to check out Heather Pringle’s The Mummy Congress: Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead. Pringle is a science journalist who was sent to cover a conference on mummy research, which experts from across the globe attend to share their findings. Pringle’s book is perfect for anyone who is new to this field of study and wants to learn more about mummies and the scientists who research them.

Along with books on mummies, the library has books on prehistoric cultures. A really interesting one is Rodney Castleden’s The Stonehenge People: An Exploration of Life in Neolithic Britain 4700-2000 BC, which presents Castleden’s interpretation of Stonehenge. He tries to build the Stonehenge society up from the basics, showing what life would have been like for the people living in that time and place.

If you’re after books on forensics, look no further than Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death by Jessica Snyder Sachs. Sachs provides a great historical overview of humanity’s quest to find out exactly when someone has died. But if you want to look at more specific cases, you should check out both Death’s Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales and Beyond the Body Farm: a Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science, which were both written by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass is a forensic anthropologist who created the Body Farm, a scientific laboratory dedicated to studying human decomposition. In these two memoirs, Dr. Bass details some of the unusual and exciting cases he has helped solve over his career. Or try Coroner’s Journal: Stalking Death in Louisiana by Louis Cataldie, MD. Cataldie was the deputy coroner and later chief coroner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In Coroner’s Journal, Cataldie shares the bizarre, heartbreaking, and disturbing cases he has dealt with over the course of his career.

If you’re interested in learning about these ancient cultures and modern murder cases, be sure to stop by your nearest library. Along with these books, we have some dvds and ebooks on all of these subjects and more. And be sure to stop by the Waverley Library to hear Dr. Matheson’s lecture on the Iceman at 2pm on October 17th.

Shauna Kosoris 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday September 27th, 2015 Exciting Fall Activities

The Thunder Bay Public Library is the place to be this fall if you are an outdoor enthusiast or just interested in the natural world.  We've always had a good collection of hiking, canoeing, camping books and DVDs because we know that anyone living in Thunder Bay is more than likely to be taking in some of those activities.  Titles such as Bill Mason's Path of the Paddle, or the Thunder Bay Hiking Association Trail Guide are standards you will find.  But we also support these interests by providing programming in this area as well.  This fall we have a couple of sessions that are Must Sees for anyone claiming or wishing to be the quintessential outdoorsman/woman!

October 5 at 7 pm; the Waverley Library welcomes Nancy Scott, a park planner for the MNR hailing from Sault Ste Marie.  Nancy will offer a visual presentation of her book Lake Nipigon: Where the Great Lakes Begin in which she provides a fascinating overview of the lake's natural history, species at risk, as well as the story of human incursion into the area from fur trading, recreational fishing to eventual settlement.  Situated in the heart of Northwestern Ontario, almost every map of North America shows Lake Nipigon as a significant geographic feature, yet few people know its story.

October 6 at 7 pm; join us at the Waverley Library for a presentation of the Path of the Paddle. Carrie and Jon Nolan will share stories, videos, and photos of their 2015 1183km, 10 week paddling adventure from Thunder Bay to Manitoba along the Path of the Paddle.  The Mission of the Path of the Paddle Association is to support the development, stewardship and sustainability of Path of the Paddle water trail network in Northwestern Ontario in partnership with regional stakeholders.  For more information contact

November 17 at 2pm; the Mary J.L. Black Branch will be hosting the second program in the popular LU In Conversation series, Thunder Bay 1.1 Billion Years ago - Making the Nor'Westers.   For the past 14 years, Dr. Peter Hollings, Chair of the Department of Geology, has been studying the formation of the rocks and mineral deposits of Northwestern Ontario. He will discuss the formation of Thunder Bay's Nor'Westers and the 1.1 billion year old Midcontinent Rift of which they are part. We will investigate the geology in and around town and relate it to the evolution of the region.

Mark these dates on your calendar and be sure to join us for these exciting presentations. 

 Barbara Philp 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sunday September 20th First World War

Many books have been written about the First World War and it is sometimes difficult to know where to start researching this vast subject, which is the focus of a major partnership project led by Thunder Bay Public Library, involving a wide range of institutions and organisations in the city. One way to approach this topic is to consider the war from a national, provincial and local perspective.

Tim Cook has written an excellent and accessible two volume history of Canadians fighting in the Great War. At The Sharp End 1914 – 1916 includes the formation and training of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) before it sailed to France, in the biggest Armada that the British Empire had ever assembled. The role of the CEF in the Second Battle of Ypres (when German forces used poison gas for the first time) and the Battle of the Somme (when the Newfoundland Regiment was all but wiped out) is also explored.

The second volume, Shock Troops 1917 – 1918 captures the titanic battles of Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, and the Hundred Days Campaign through the eyes of Canadian soldiers who never lost a battle in the last two years of the war. Cook combines eyewitness accounts with a wide range of secondary sources to create a narrative that is at the same time personal and epic in scale. The sheer horror of living in the trenches with rats, lice, trench foot, gas and the ever present threat of death is convincingly portrayed.

At the provincial level, Ontario and the First World War 1914 – 1918, is a collection of documents edited with an introduction by Barbara Wilson. The documents cover a variety of themes from the Civic Holiday 1914 to the Armistice, including the home front, loyalty in question, schools, universities, Ontario’s Black and Aboriginal Volunteers, and war artists. These documents draw the reader into events exactly as they happened, and the story is woven together in a comprehensive and swift paced introduction.

The Thunder Bay story can be found In the Face of Danger by George Stanley which recounts the history of the Lake Superior Regiment from its birth in 1885 to the end of the Second World War. There are chapters on the 52nd Battalion, CEF, 1915 – 1916, and From Vimy Ridge to Mons, 1917 -1919. More in depth articles can be found in Papers & Records Volume XLII (2014) published by Thunder Bay Historical Society. This includes pieces on Captain O’Kelly’s Victoria Cross, food control, sport, the home front, Labour at the Lakehead, and the military contribution of Northwestern Ontario to Canada’s war effort.

More local information can also be found on the World War One project website at, including extracts from the minutes of the meetings of the Fort William and Port Arthur City Councils, and newspaper articles and obituaries from the Fort William Daily Times Journal and the Port Arthur News Chronicle, which were the forerunners of today’s Chronicle Journal.

If you have any information  which you would like to contribute to this project – including letters, diaries, medals and other artifacts – please contact any branch of Thunder Bay Public Library. This is a people’s project and we want it to be driven by as much community content as possible. The project will run through to the 100th anniversary of the end of the war in November 2018. Please visit the website for regular updates.

John Pateman

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Sunday September 13th, 2015 It's a Fine Time to Forgive

The Thunder Bay Public Library has launched a new campaign called “It’s a Fine Time to Forgive”. The goal of the campaign is to re-engage library members who may not be using the Library due to fines or charges on their card. If you think your card may have outstanding fines, all you need to do is visit any library location and renew your library card, whether it has expired or not. When you do this, staff will waive all fines. If you also return long-overdue items, we will remove these charges from your record too! The forgiveness period will run from September 12 to October 24. Replacement library cards will also be issued at no cost.

In addition, when you renew your library card, sign up for a new card or use your current library card to check out items, you will receive a ballot for a chance to win an iPad mini. Ballots will be available September 12 to December 11 with the draw taking place Monday, December 14. You can also visit us at Intercity Shopping Centre from September 22 to 26 to sign up for or renew your library card and talk with friendly staff. We are having a special draw for anyone who signs up at the mall and then uses their library card by October 24.

With library card in hand, you are ready to explore the many great things the Thunder Bay Public Library has to offer. Our fiction collections (individual collections for children, teens and adults) have books in both hard cover and paperback. We also have fiction titles available in large print and other languages. Don’t forget to browse the graphic novel section too. You can also enjoy your favourite book by listening to it on an audiobook (which is a book on CD) or on a Playaway (which is a small device you plug headphones into). If you can’t visit your library, go online to and download an electronic book or an electronic audiobook from our online services Overdrive and Hoopla.

If you are looking for something to watch, then check out our DVD collections in both the adult and children’s areas. You will find recent releases to your favourite classics, as well as non-fiction and foreign films too. Or go online to and borrow a movie or television show, which you can download or live stream on your computer and smart device.

Additionally, we also have music CDs, walking poles, electronic energy meters, pedometers, fishing poles, magazines, newspapers, automotive manuals, a literacy collection, a local history and genealogy collection and a non-fiction collection with books on hundreds of different topics. More resources are available online through our virtual collection, Your library card also gives you access to online databases that cover everything from fixing your car to learning a new language.

The Library also offers a variety of programs and special events. More details can be found in the Library newsletter and online calendar at There is something for everyone. Book clubs, lectures, a makerspace with 3D printers (at Waverley), writing workshops, storytimes, genealogy classes, crafts, computer help, puppet shows and more. Plus, we also offer free WiFi, computers with Internet access, photocopying and faxing services, battery recycling bins, meeting rooms, a home delivery service where volunteers bring books to people who are home bound and/or visually impaired, and an interlibrary loan service where we will bring in books and articles from other lending institutions in Canada.

Last but not least, the knowledgeable staff at the Thunder Bay Public Library are here to help you find a way to start using your Library again.  After all, using the Library is a great way to help yourself, your community and the planet.

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sunday September 6th, 2015 A is for Astounding, Amazing, Arresting…

Fall is an exciting time of the year. With the start of another school year just around the corner, it’s time to hit the books again. But don’t worry; reading doesn’t have to be a chore. Spending time with a good book can be a time to relax, to think and lose oneself to the wonderful worlds and characters created by some of the greatest writers of all time.

Attention all high school students:

Take Jane Austen, for example. Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice is a novel widely read by students all around the world. The story centers on the prickly romance that develops between (somewhat) judgmental Elizabeth Bennet, the second daughter of a plain country gentleman, and the mysterious, wealthy but prideful Mr. Darcy. Aside from creating two of the most memorable characters, the reader easily gets caught up in Austen’s depiction of 19th century society.

The subject of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird may bear some familiarity thematically to Austen’s Prejudice. Hailed as one of the most important novels ever written, Lee examines how human acts of kindness and hatred can change the lives of a single person and a whole community. As told from the young Jean Louise “Scout” Finch’s perspective, we see how her father, Atticus, defies the attitudes towards race during the time of the Great Depression.

However, Atticus’ moral character comes into question in Lee’s follow up, Go Set a Watchman. Current English students will be hard pressed not to ignore the presence of this follow up to Mockingbird. Released this past July, devoted readers of To Kill a Mockingbird were challenged when this novel altered the perception of the beloved Atticus Finch. Set many years after the events in Mockingbird, Scout is now a grown woman who visits her elderly father Atticus, and discovers a shocking truth about her father’s character. Go Set a Watchman is a challenging follow up to a classic novel, one that will surely provide much discussion and debate in English classes this fall.

A novel that can surely provide thoughtful discussion is Margaret Atwood’s radical A Handmaid’s Tale. Set in a society ruled by a military dictatorship, we observe the hardships imposed by this society through the eyes of  “Offred”, a women imprisoned to a way of life by the ruling class. The novel is a sharp examination of the subjugation of a weaker class by a powerful state, the misuse of power, identity, and freedom.

Freedom and ownership are very important to Duddy Kravitz, the anti-hero of Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. As an unconventional rags to riches novel, Duddy Kravitz is a young man growing up in the slums of Montreal who dreams big of coming into possession of great wealth and land by questionable means. Apprenticeship will no doubt divide its readers, but the journey to its conclusion is an unforgettable one.

So do any of these titles sound appealing? As students, you will be exposed to some of the best works in fiction. Classic works by aforementioned Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, and Mordecai Richler are sure to be taught and discussed in the classroom. At Thunder Bay Pubic Library, you can be sure to find these great titles along with many more, as well as published critiques and evaluations. Ask our passionate staff what they think about these writers. Perhaps you will find the topic of your next essay at TBPL!

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sunday August 30th, 2015 Summer Reading

Did you know that reading, even if it is only for twenty minutes a day, can significantly improve your well-being ? Besides the obvious benefits of learning something new, improving your linguistic skills, increasing your vocabulary and generally keeping your mind active and expanding in ways that will serve you well in all areas of life,  the most recent studies done on reading cite its huge benefits for improving empathy towards others and reducing stress.

We library staff who work with children and youth have the daily pleasure of interacting with young readers and helping them and their parents and educators to find the right title or titles for them to read. It is the most rewarding part of our job to see a child light up with enthusiasm when they discover that the Library has a book which can give them new facts on paleo-sharks, or how to care for a new puppy or a novel which will transport them into a world of fantasy or espionage or adventure.

Each summer we offer a summer reading program which encourages reading during July and August and helps children to maintain and improve their skills between school grades. It is part of the national program known as the TD Summer Reading Club and children receive small incentives for weekly reading, share their stories with us and have a grand wrap-up party at summer’s end.  In response to those who wonder if reading is a dying art or if books have all been replaced by technology, I wish you could have heard their amazing accounts of what they were reading and how they felt about it. But at least I can share with you that the registered children reported reading over 4,000 books this summer at your Library. When you realize that almost 300,000 children are registered across the province, you know that public libraries are helping children discover new books, improve their reading and improve their well-being on a grand scale.

Thanks to all the amazing Thunder Bay children who participated this year. To them, it may not have felt like they were doing all of these good things for themselves, because to them, it just felt like fun! And it was.

Angela Meady

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sunday August 23rd, 2015 Vampires

Vampires. These blood-sucking monsters have captured our imaginations for years. But in modern times, many of the vampires we read about tend to be friendly. Stephenie Meyer gave us sparkling vampires. In urban fantasy, there are lots of brooding anti-heroes. And in romance, it’s vampire-lovers. While vampire mythology tends to suggest some of these things (maybe not the sparkling), modern stories sometimes overlook the fact that vampires are dangerous predators. So here’s a look at books that remind us of this fact.

The best place to start is of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stoker is credited with giving us the modern form of the vampire with his gentlemanly mannerisms. And while Count Dracula is incredibly charming, make no mistake: he is a monster who wants to spread the curse of undeath. And spread the curse he did: Dracula greatly influenced the horror genre, paving the way for more contemporary authors like Stephen King to write Salem’s Lot. And in typical King style, the vampire isn’t the only monster in his small town setting; Salem’s Lot shows us the darkness that is hidden inside us all.

Thinking of monsters, David Wellington’s 13 Bullets has state trooper Laura Caxton and FBI agent Jameson Arkeley take on the undead. In the 80’s, Arkeley stopped a vampire rampage, killing all but one of them, who has been left in an asylum to rot. But 20 years later there is another attack, and Arkeley realizes the last vampire has found a way to spread her curse. And for some reason, the vampire wants Caxton. Be aware, while 13 Bullets is a great thriller, it is not for the faint of heart; the vampires often leave only gruesome remains of their victims.

Speaking of gruesome remains, in graphic novels we have Steve Niles’ 30 Days of Night series. This is the story of Barrow, Alaska being overrun by Vampires. During Barrow’s winter, there is no sunlight for one month. It’s also an isolated community, making it an ideal place for vampires to have a feeding frenzy.

Robin McKinley’s Sunshine also makes a point of reminding us time and time again of how dangerous vampires are. In this book, humans know on an instinctive level that vampires are dangerous; when they smell them, their bodies immediately go into fight-or-flight mode. Of course, by then it’s often too late to escape. All of that goes through Sunshine’s mind when she gets attacked by vampires at the lake, a spot which should have been safe. Sure, she manages to find a vampire who is different from the others. But even he repeatedly warns her to stay away.

Moving away from Stoker’s version of vampiricism, there’s also a version where vampiricism is a disease or virus, which is what Richard Matheson used in I Am Legend. Matheson’s story is about the last surviving human in a world overrun by vampires; Robert Neville is immune to the virus, which makes him a very attractive target for a world of blood-sucking monsters. Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain also uses this virus idea. In del Toro’s story, a Boeing 777 mysteriously goes dead on the tarmac. The investigators find that everyone on board is dead. Or at least they should be; three people originally declared dead have somehow survived. When one of the survivors threatens legal action, the three are released, allowing them to spread the infection. The vampires in The Strain have been compared to the Reapers in Blade 2, so be prepared for nearly unstoppable monsters!

Both new and old, these seven books do an excellent job of reminding us of how terrifying vampires really are. To find these and more, stop by your nearest Thunder Bay Public Library branch!

Shauna Kosoris 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sunday August 16th Reader's Advisory

If you are a reader or someone who wants to return to reading after an absence, then the search for a “good” book can be a challenge. Every week thousands of books are released, both in physical and electronic format, so finding the right one is as daunting as finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.  I love to wander bookstores, seeing which covers catch my eye or noting the new release by a favourite writer, but frequently even I feel overwhelmed by the choices available.

One of my jobs at the library is to provide Reader’s Advisory. Reader’s Advisory is a quick and easy way to ask someone a few questions about what they liked or disliked in a book that they have read and use their answers as a guide in choosing similar books.  While no two authors write alike, many authors share some similarities so choosing something that supplies the reader’s desire for fast paced action, or witty repartee, or fantastical world building, is possible with little more than a good general knowledge of the library collection.

Sometimes though, asking a staff member isn’t possible so the library has provided a plethora of sites to help guide you to finding a great book similar to what you would normally read or assist you in discovering something entirely new.   Library staff write a review blog about our favourite reads at   Entries include book reviews, book news and interviews with numerous authors, both local and international.   Attached to TBPL Off the Shelf are a number of blogs and links that we recommend for finding your next read.

The gold standard of reading recommendation is Goodreads, (  Goodreads is a large, international community of readers who read, review and rate titles.  Anyone can rate a book and frequently opinions vary but it usually gives a strong overview of what any books strengths and weaknesses are.  A bonus feature to using the site is its ability to track a reader’s history of books and keep a list of titles the reader has selected as “to read” titles.

Other parallel sites you might wish to explore are The Millions (, which includes reviews, news and critical analysis. The site also offers advice to budding writers, quizzes, master reading lists and a cornucopia of quotes about readers, writers and reading.  Early Word, ( ), covers both book suggestions and looks at the business of words. If you want to know if your favourite book has been sold to Hollywood, this is a great site to check. Other great sites to try are Indiebound (, which concentrates on independent and self published releases or Readerly (, which is like reading an online magazine about books.

Beyond Goodreads, there are a large number of sites devoted to particular genres of fiction.  No matter what type of book you read, whether it’s romance, mystery, horror, or western or anything else, there is a website that addresses your passion.  Occasionally, if you have no idea where to start or you are in an unusual mood, try Which Book (, which selects books based on your series of emotional scales, or try a selection site called What Should I Read Next? ( Type in a book you loved and by process of elimination it will select the right book for you.  So whatever way you find your books, happy reading.  

Lori Kauzlarick