Aging & Disease

oldageWith the success of WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR, a memoir by the late Dr. Paul Kalanithi, the physician who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died before his memoir was published, comes OLD AGE: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE by Michael Kinsley. Kinsley is a journalist who learned at age 43 that he had Parkinson’s disease, and decided to write about it to explore how the Baby Boomer generation might approach aging. It is starting to get recognition on the best-sellers lists for its wit and candor, all with Kinsley’s trademark writing style.

While non-fiction titles tend to be a tougher sell to both readers, and reviewers, it seems the world is taking a bit of a turn, wanting to know more about these tough topics done in unconventional ways. If you love non-fiction, you might want to consult the New York Times best sellers lists for their great non-fiction suggestions, as more and more of these are making their debuts on the market, and on the lists.

Non-fiction is the new fiction!

Library Loan Stars!

loanstarsIf you’ve ever wandered into a library and asked for a book suggestion, you’ll know that the librarians often have a great selection of options.  We might ask you a few questions, such as the last book you read that you loved, your favourite type of book, or even what kinds of books you don’t enjoy. Then, based on those few criteria, you might be given a myriad of choices from new books to proven winners. It’s a great way of finding something new to read from people whose opinions you value. After all, librarians see a lot of books in a day, and we read a lot of books.

Recently, a fabulous collaboration has been started between the Ontario Library Association, the British Columbia Library Association, and a few other networks, to come up with a fantastic Readers’ Advisory service. It’s called LOANSTARS. We’ll vote on new and favourite titles, and the collective vote will allow marketing of the favourite books to library staff and readers alike. It’s a great way for titles that might not be on the best-seller lists to make it to our attention, recommended by fellow librarians! What a great new way to select books!

If you’ve ever wondered how books get on your library shelves, this is just one of the fantastic ways librarians share favourites and get books out there to our readers. Isn’t this fun?

Are You Paying Attention, Part 2?

15803166On the heels of yesterday’s post about paying attention, ON LOOKING : ELEVEN WALKS WITH EXPERT EYES by Alexandra Horowitz, was one of the recommended reads. Horowitz takes the reader through a variety of walks, pointing out nature, history, and other unlikely-to-be-seen things the average walker might miss.

As Horowitz points out, you are missing things right now, while you’re reading this post:

You are missing most of what is happening around you right now. You are missing what is happening in the distance and right in front of you. In reading these words, you are ignoring an unthinkably large amount of information that continues to bombard all of your senses. The hum of the fluorescent lights; the ambient noise in the room; the feeling of the chair against your legs or back; your tongue touching the roof of your mouth; the tension you are holding in your shoulders or jaw; the constant hum of traffic or a distant lawnmower; the blurred view of your own shoulders and torso in your peripheral vision; a chirp of a bug or whine of a kitchen appliance.

Until I read that paragraph, I hadn’t even been thinking about what was going on around me. Sometimes, it is a blessing to be able to block out all of the ambient noise and interruptions, but how long does it take to train ourselves to do that automatically, all the time? I bet we’re missing out on many delightful things.

We don’t own a copy of ON LOOKING at our library, but we’d love to bring it in for you. Let us know if you’d like an interlibrary loan. Start seeing what you’re missing…

From THE MARTIAN to the Moon

Fans of Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN were excited to hear from the author that he was planning an epic sci-fi book entitled, ZHEK, to be released sometime in 2016 or 2017. But he’s turned the tables on us, and is instead working on something different…with a female lead!

martianWeir has pushed ZHEK to the backburner for now to focus on a story that will take place on the Moon. It will still be very science-oriented, something which a lot of people loved in his first book, THE MARTIAN. But this time, his lead character will be a woman living on the moon in a city and world that, among other things, has practically no sexism. Instead of working on a book that dealt with time travel, aliens, and supposed scientific breakthroughs, Weir has chosen to keep this new book scientifically accurate, with real-world plausibilities.

We can expect to see this one a little later in 2017 or possibly 2018, as Weir has been busy with all of THE MARTIAN’s publicity. And hopefully, it will be worth the wait. It almost feels like things are happening in real time along with his character Mark Watney’s stay on Mars. But that’s the publishing world, folks.

Beyonce’s Reach

The New York Times sent many libraries off on a hunt recently after the debut of Beyonce’s HBO special and announcement that she would release a new album called “Lemonade Stand”. During her special, she read poetry by Somali-British writer and activist Warsan Shire, and now her poetry anthology entitled Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is being sought out by Beyonce fans.

While it’s not available on Amazon, many libraries are receiving requests for the book (no, we don’t have it at our library, I’m afraid), so be patient if you’ve put a hold on the book. You can heard the author reading some of the poetry right here:

The world is a small place, and book boosts can come from anywhere, can’t they?

Eight Interesting Questions with Jonathan Auxier

18405537This year, during class visits from St. Mary’s Catholic School, we’ve been reading THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier. It’s a dark, wonderful tale, and the kids have been enjoying it so much, I’ve even had children stop me in the grocery store begging me to tell them  a few secrets from upcoming chapters. (I don’t.)

So when I came across an interview with Auxier that uses questions from eight other children’s book authors, I was super interested to hear what he had to say.  You can read the full interview by clicking here.

If my group of writers doing Camp NaNoWriMo could take away one great piece of advice from this interview, I think it would be regarding distractions. Auxier doesn’t even have INTERNET ACCESS on his phone or computer! Wow. That’s dedication to writing.

The Green Serial

king.jpgIt was 20 years ago that Stephen King released his now famous book THE GREEN MILE in a monthly serial format. Readers had to wait for the next tiny chapter to be published…or until the entire book was put together into one novel…but they didn’t seem to mind. It was an old way of releasing a book, but new to most of King’s fans. And boy, did we read!

Now, to mark the 20th anniversary of the wildly successful book, S & S/Scribner is taking it all back and re-releasing the book in serial format to a new set of readers, and this time they’re going digital!  THE GREEN MILE is one of the many books that appeals to readers who might not otherwise be fans of Stephen King (doesn’t everyone think all he writes is horror?), and these small chapters in eBook format will appeal to readers who want something short to read, but feel like they’re taking part in something bigger.

Right now, you can read a sample of the first chapter THE TWO DEAD GIRLS, on OverDrive.

What do YOU think of serials?