Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sunday August 28th, 2016 See You At The Movies

With the end of August right around the corner, the fall season is perhaps every cinephiles favourite time of year.  Each September, movie lovers around the world turn their attention to one of the biggest film events of the year: The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Exciting new blockbusters and independent films make their grand premiere to adoring fans. Although the films are yet to be released, here is a look at some filmmakers making their debuts at this year’s festival.

Montreal native director Denis Villeneuve is returning to TIFF with of the season’s most anticipated films, Arrival. Based on the short story Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang, Arrival concerns humankind’s first contact with extraterrestrials that have mysteriously landed on earth. Villeneuve’s previous efforts are part of the reason Arrival is generating so much excitement. His sophomore film, Polytechnique, is an ambitious and challenging film about the true story of the 1989 Montreal school massacre. Villeneuve’s most recent film, Sicario, finds two FBI agents attempting to bring down a dangerous drug cartel. With the enormous pedigree Villeneuve’s name carries, Arrival is sure to be a hit.

Canadian influences continue to permeate with the latest from Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta, based on the three short stories adapted from Alice Munro’s 2004 Runaway. Almodovar is a world-class filmmaker, with a career spanning over twenty years, containing rich and complex films that defy categorization. Critics frequently cite Almodovar’s All About My Mother as one of his best: a daring film about a mother coming to terms with a tragic loss in her family, while using the contrivances of the plot as a means of exploring tragic issues in a human way. On the other end of the spectrum, Almodovar’s 2006 Volver is a lighthearted look at mother and daughter relationships that are put to the test by bizarre circumstances.

For suspense fans, J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls is sure to bring the right amount of thrills and action to the beloved Patrick Ness book, from which it was adapted. No one seems better suited than Bayona to bring this tale of a misunderstood boy who finds help from a tree monster to help him cope with his mother’s illness. Bayona’s previous films were both visually and emotionally striking about children similarly dealing with grown up situations. The 2007 thriller The Orphanage is a gripping tale of a woman who comes across a ghost story in the orphanage where she once lived. Director Oliver Stone also knows a thing or two when it comes to real life events. Stone’s newest film, Snowden is based on the true accounts of the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden who leaked classified intelligence to The Guardian. Stone’s film promises to be one of the talked about films of the year. Stone has similarly covered controversial figures in his previous films, everyone from ancient icons like Alexander the Great in Alexander, musical legend Jim Morrison in The Doors, to political figures such as Richard Nixon in Nixon and George W. Bush, in W.

Plenty more filmmakers will be showcasing their new work at TIFF this year. Check out the Thunder Bay Public Library’s catalogue and online collections for more from contemporary to up and coming filmmakers. Be sure to share your enthusiasm for these films with the Library as well as through our many social media platforms. In the meantime, we’ll see you at the movies.

Petar Vidjen

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Sunday August 21, 2016 Nurturing Natural @ Your Library

Have you ever been out in the wilderness and found a bug or a bird or some kind of living creature and wondered what it was? Or maybe you’ve stumbled across an interesting rock or shell and wanted to know more about it and where it came from. The Thunder Bay Public Library offers plenty of opportunities to help you identify all the beautiful living and/or created things that surround us in Northwestern Ontario.

Let’s begin with those tiny insects. Bugs of Ontario by John Acorn is a great place to start; it is a fun filled guide to the coolest 125 species of bugs that our province has to offer. Kids of any age who are fascinated with bugs may enjoy flipping the pages of Ultimate Bugopedia: The Most Complete Bug Reference Ever by Darlyne Murawski and Nancy Honovich. This edition within the National Geographic family is full of fun facts and colorful, sometimes creepy pictures of popular bugs.

Speaking of popular insects will always lead to a discussion about bees. The unfortunate and frightening decline in this vital population has inspired a surge in publishing. Learn more about the different bee species in our area and how we can support the bee populations in The Bees in your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees by Joseph Wilson. Developing a bee-friendly space with the help of The Bee-Friendly Garden by Kate Frey might not seem like much but if one person does it chances are another will follow suit, and another and another.

Butterfly enthusiasts will enjoy perusing The ROM Field Guide to Butterflies of Ontario. This book will help in identification of these beautiful creatures, including colored photos and information about caterpillar and butterfly varieties. Anyone who has spent time catching tadpoles and frogs with a net will be interested in the National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians by John Behler and Wayne King. Originally published in 1979, this updated edition provides answers to important questions such as why some frogs are able to freeze solid and still survive. For a look closer to home, try the Familiar Amphibians and Reptiles of Ontario by Bob Johnson.

Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! Well not exactly. You will find bears in Northern Ontario but the closest to a lion and tiger would be a cougar, lynx and bobcat. In Bear: Spirit of the Wild, Paul Nicklen showcases his photography of several species of bear including the familiar black bear. Another familiar sight around here is deer and moose. In 2012 Dr. Jerry Haigh wrote his third autobiographical book, called Of Moose and Men: A Wildlife Vet’s Pursuit of the World’s Largest Deer. This handbook contains a wealth of information about this unique animal from all corners of the world. An overview of moose biology is featured, along with the history of moose on earth and the marked fluctuations in populations that have occurred over time.

As always, there is even more information to be found amongst the online database collection with collections geared towards all ages and interest levels.

For discoveries of a more inanimate nature, check out the Northern Nature Trading program located at the Mary J. L. Black Branch Library. Northern Nature Trading is a special kind of swap shop!  You can bring in the natural things you've found and trade them for things in our collection. You can trade things made by nature -- like rocks, shells, fossils and pine cones.  Trading is based on points.  We award you points for what you know about your item, what makes it different from similar ones and the quality (clean, good condition). Additional details about this program are available online at

Lindsey Long

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sunday August 14th, 2016 Summer Reading

“Summer Reading” conjures up lazy afternoons  in a comfy chair, with a cold drink and a juicy book to read.  I found some books you might like, and they all have “August” in the title.  The book descriptions are from our online catalogue (  Click on the “More about this item” button to access summaries and more from Syndetic Solutions.

Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen
On a dreary spring day, Lottie Wilkes and Rose Arbuthnot spot an ad on their children's preschool bulletin board: Hopewell Cottage Little Lost Island, Maine. Old, pretty cottage to rent on a small island. Springwater, blueberries, sea glass. August. Neither can afford it, but they are smitten--Lottie could use a break from her overbearing husband and Rose from her relentless twins. On impulse, they decide to take the place and attract two others to share the steep rent: Caroline Dester, an indie movie star who's getting over a very public humiliation, and elderly Beverly Fisher, who's recovering from heartbreaking loss. When they arrive on the island, they are transformed by the salt air; the breathtaking views; the long, lazy days; and the happy routine of lobster, corn, and cocktails on the wraparound porch. By the time of the late-August blue moon, real life and its complications have finally fallen far, far away. For on this idyllic island they gradually begin to open up: to one another and to the possibilities of lives quite different from the ones they've been leading. Change can't be that hard, can it?

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons
Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.

August Heat by Andrea Camilleri
When a friend's child suddenly disappears into a narrow shaft hidden under a beach rental, Inspector Salvo Montalbano, in pursuit of the boy, uncovers something terribly sinister, in the latest work in the popular series.

An August Bride by Debra Clopton  (Available as an eBook on OverDrive and eAudiobook on hoopla)
As far as Kelsey Wilcox is concerned, her last cowboy was the last cowboy. After the last one broke her heart, Kelsey traded in her boots for flip-flops, and the open range for a bistro on the beach. Her life on Corpus Christi's gorgeous beach might be a little lonely, but at least it's heartbreak-free. At least until her cousin's beachside wedding bucks Kelsey right back into the rodeo. When unlucky-in-love Brent Corbin packed his groomsman's tux for his friend's wedding, he brought his boots and belt buckle with him. Brent isn't exactly looking for love, but when he sees what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he jumps right in to rescue her. So Kelsey finds herself plucked from the sea - and certain-drowning - by a gorgeous groomsman... in soaked cowboy boots. She's quick to say thanks, but no thanks. Brent dedicates the weekend to pursuing Kelsey - and Kelsey spends the weekend trying to deny an obvious match. She's as stubborn as a wild horse, but Brent's determination may tame her yet.

Joanna Aegard

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Sunday August 7th, 2016 Canning

The beginning of August means one very important thing – canning season is in full swing and the heat of the next month will under no circumstance deter the preserving plans. Most of the berries have already been taken care of earlier in the summer and sights are now set on the upcoming harvests. Tomatoes, carrots, beans, beets and more are slated for the weeks to come. With tried and true recipes in hand, the urge to try something new might well crop up; which naturally leads to browsing the shelves at the public library for inspiration from trusted sources such as Canadian Living and others.

Most books of this nature will have introductory sections covering the basics of equipment, the chemistry of preserving, terminology, and techniques. Often these pages offer insightful suggestions and are worth perusing; even if all you get is a refresher on the basics.

The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving (2016) includes over 350 recipes for canning, pickling, and preserving throughout the season. There are six chapters of recipes that cover everything from water bath canning to fermenting, pressure canning, freezing, dehydrating, curing and smoking. This book goes beyond the standards you’d expect and will even teach you how to make your own pancetta.

The Complete Canning Guide (2015) from Better Homes & Gardens is a sturdy resource designed for use in the kitchen. Recipes are divided among tabbed sections under headings such as Chutneys & Conserves, Preserves, and Relishes & Toppers. There is a large component of savoury and internationally inspired recipes in this collection and will surely succeed in introducing new flavours to your preserving repertoire.

Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (2014) certainly wins for the longest possible title. And at fewer than 300 pages it seems impossible for one book to cram in so many different methods and provide useful information. This book manages to do it though and strikes a great balance between technical detail and delicious recipes. Chapter thirteen is unique for this sort of book in that it focuses on troubleshooting and addressing common mistakes or issues that arise in preserving fresh foods.

Canadian Living’s Complete Preserving Book (2012) is an all time favourite of mine and has been put to good use for several years now. This is a reliable reference book for both basic recipes and suggestions/variations on how to transform simple ingredients into something new and unique (like strawberry balsamic black pepper jam). Colour coded chapters are divided among canning essentials, jams, marmalades, jellies, pickles & relishes, chutneys, salsas, sauces, syrups, vinegars, liqueurs and seasonings. There is something here for everyone.

 Even with the best and newest ideas at the ready, you may often feel pulled back to the traditional family recipes that a parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent used to make. It may be due to feelings of nostalgia, commitment, or preference. Whatever the reason, the maintenance of recipes that cannot be found in any cookbook is worthwhile. I have yet to find certain recipes anywhere but on a card written out by my grandmother decades ago. Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions (2015) provides an informative and entertaining guide full of tips and ideas to ensure you will never be left with just a memory of that great dish that used to come to the table and has been since lost.

Jesse Roberts