The Martian

One of the most exciting books I read last year was THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir, and now, it’s going to be a movie released at the end of 2015, starring Matt Damon.

18007564THE MARTIAN is about a crew of astronauts who are living and working on Mars, trying to establish the means for others to eventually inhabit the planet. But when a powerful dust storm forces them to leave suddenly, one of the astronauts–Mark Watney—is believed to be dead, and is left on the planet alone.

NASA discovers he’s still alive only after it’s too late for his crew to return for a rescue mission. So now, the world watches as Mark Watney struggles to survive while NASA scrambles to put together a rescue mission that will be years in the future.

I loved this book, even while the opening was quite technical and a little tedious at times, Weir put together a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering if they can save Watney in time. I”m very excited about the star-studded cast for the movie-version out in November of this year. This is sci-fi without the creatures and hyper-speed, totally plausible if we could get people there safely in the first place.

Have you read this novel, and are you anticipating the movie release?

50 Most Anticipated Books of 2015

The Globe and Mail has just released their 50 Most Anticipated Books for 2015...with more to be added as the year progresses. The list is full of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, debut releases and the latest from familiar authors.

Top of the list is IF I FALL, IF I DIE by Canadian author Michael Christie. This is his debut novel about a boy with an agoraphobic mother, and his first taste of “outside”. Christie is a former pro-skateboarder who won raves with his short story collection The Beggar’s Garden.

21462154 It ends in June (2nd half to come, I suspect), with the first adult novel in 15 years by Judy Blume, called IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT.

blume_bookThere are some great books on this list. If you’re hoping to read some of the best, start at the beginning. The July – December list will be here before you know it.

What to Read Now?

If you didn’t make it to theatres to see the movie version of Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL, it’s about to be released on January 13th in your DVD store. If you’re one of the very few who held out and didn’t even read the thriller everyone was talking about, it’s not too late. Come in and grab a copy at the library. I’m sure it’s going to be popular again (still).

But what if you read it and are looking for that next great read along the same lines? THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins is starting to get the same buzz.

girlFrom the Amazon blurb:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.
Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan’s body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.
A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.

 

This sounds like a LOT of fun. Early reviews are saying that it might not be as complex or fast-paced as GONE GIRL, but who doesn’t like a good thriller to start off the year? Expect to be on hold for this one for a while.

Will you read this book? Have any other suggestions? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you!

Book Resolutions!

resolveIt’s the New Year, and that means resolutions. This year, instead of making plans to lose weight or get more sleep, how about making some reading resolutions? A year from now, you’ll be happy you did.

WHY SHOULD I TRY TO READ DIFFERENT BOOKS?

It’s great to have favourite authors or really get into a series, but there are so many other great books out there, are you limiting your reading? Think of it like only eating broccoli with every meal. What about carrots? Kale? Corn? There are so many other options, you might not realize what you’re missing until you try. Reading is all about getting lost, about expanding your horizons, about learning something new about yourself and those around you. Give peas a chance…….

WHAT SHOULD I READ?

Start with non-fiction. Yes, I said it….non-fiction. Not enough people read non-fiction, and it’s fabulous! Find a topic, or a person (celebrity or the latest criminal) and read about their lives. Or read a new type of cookbook. Anything non-fiction will give you a fresh outlook, and it might just refresh your reading schedule.

Once you explore the non-fiction world, you might feel like you need to go back to fiction again, and that’s okay. This time, try a new author. Stand in the aisle where you normally pick books (a favourite author or genre), and reach to a different shelf. Bend your legs, stand on your toes, lean to the side…whatever might make you choose a new book. Exciting, isn’t it?

DISCUSS A BOOK

No, you don’t have to join a book club, but talking to someone about a great book you just read can open you up to new ideas. Maybe that person will have a suggestion as to what you should read next. Or maybe you’ll both have a good laugh over the fact that neither of you figured out who the killer was in the latest murder mystery. Either way, talking about books to other people makes you look well-read (aka super intelligent!), and could lead to a new friendship. Talk to the person in the coffee shop who is sitting alone reading. Talk to someone with a book on the subway. Or just talk to the person in front of you in line at the library…you’ll never know what might happen. Everyone loves to talk about books!

 BUY A BOOK

Of course, we love it when people come to the library to get books. But once in a while, why not buy a book if it is within your means? Books as gifts, people! What could be better?

Make 2015 your year to try new things when it comes to books……new genres, new authors, new places to read, new book clubs…..whatever you can think of. You’ll be happy you did!

Very Good Lives

Earlier this week, Little, Brown Book Group announced they would be publishing an illustrated version of J. K. Rowling’s 2008 speech during a Harvard University commencement where she talked about the benefits of failure.

VGL_JKR-228x330

Sales from the book, called VERY GOOD LIVES, will benefit Rowling’s charity called Lumos which aims to transform the lives of disadvantaged children. Similarly, it will also go toward providing financial aid to students at Harvard.

You can watch the original speech here, claimed by many to be one of the most memorable speeches in Harvard history. The book is bound to be just as riveting!

Best Lines

lines

 

While we had a lot of fun during our Young Writers group meetings this past November, but we also wrote lots, too! And on our last day, some of the writers gave me copies of their work so that I could share a few tidbits with our patrons.  Much of the work was funny and inspired, but we also had a few sad moments, and lots of murder! (I know…these kids liked to plan exciting murders of some of our best-created characters!)

So, I’d like to share a few lines from some of these fascinating stories with you now. Totally out of context.

She was never really good at math, and 8th grade math was HARD–really hard. So Kelley’s mom tried to motivate Kelly by saying, “Kelly, if you fail your math test, I won’t let you go to the dance!” --Olivia

(Of course, Kelley really wanted to go to the dance, so she stole the answers to the math test. But she did wear a fabulous dress to the dance!)

 

Dec. 18th, 1989…about 10 minutes later.  So, basically Santa, after he heard that I rejected him, turned to THE DARK SIDE! So, no more Christmas! – Laura

(Turns out, there are some pretty nasty reindeer who don’t like Santa. And Santa can’t handle it!)

 

Hi, my name is G.G.R.O.B.A.R. This is how you say it—Grow-Bar. It stands for “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”. And you know what? I feel really bad! I didn’t mean to run her over, but I’m blind. I run into stuff. Yes, it’s a big problem.”–Teegan

(There were quite a few references in here to drinking egg nog, and how stressful life can be until egg nog. Hmmmm…sounds like good egg nog to me!)

 

Once upon a time, in the old North Pole, there lived a reindeer. She had something all the other reindeer didn’t have.  She had rainbow magic!–Darwin

(Which turned out to be a good thing, because this reindeer also had a serious case of incontinence! )

 

I have a problem with cars.–Willow

(This reindeer happened to be very afraid of cars. Poor thing.)

 

I dream about flying through the sky with Rudolph. Isn’t he the cutest?–Cadence

(Yes, this reindeer had a mad crush on the one with the red nose. #reindeerproblems)

 

Lots of fun with these kids. We hope to have them back in 2015 to do lots more writing. Maybe without so many furry animals involved.

 

Forest of Reading®

Forest of Reading® will begin in December, and we’re looking forward to it! For those who have never participated, it’s a great reading program for kids that allows them to choose a winning book. And the best part? All of the books are by Canadian authors or illustrators.

bluespruce2015 Blue Spruce 2015

How does it work? Starting in December, kids can come in and register in their specific reading category (by grade or reading level), and pick up their first book. Then, they have almost five months to read the selections. Each category includes 10 books, and except for Blue Spruce, we ask that kids read at least 8 of the 10 books in order to be able to vote. Because the Blue Spruce category is comprised of picture books, we don’t think it’s too difficult to get through all 10.

express2015Silver Birch Express 2015

I’ll be visiting schools starting in January to talk about the program, but it’s so much fun, we like to get started in December. Once your reader registers at the front desk, they can choose a book to take home to start reading. We’ll give them a brochure to keep track of everything….because it’s a long way until April and voting night.

nonfic2015Silver Birch Non-Fiction 2015

Then, we’ll get ready for voting night! Everyone who has read enough books in their category can vote. We ask them to mark their finished books in our binder so we can keep track of everyone eligible…..just like a real voting night! But the best part? There’s a party, too!

 fiction2015Silver Birch Fiction 2015

Everyone who registers and starts Forest of Reading® can come to the party. There will be plenty of cake, a fun contest, and we’ll announce the winners from our library vote. After that, we send off our list to Toronto to be tabulated with the rest of the province. It’s so exciting!

redmaple2015Red Maple 2015

Once all of the votes are in, the winners will be announced.  This is the only award given to a Canadian author or illustrator that only kids to get vote on, so it’s a big deal for everyone nominated. We’ll be sure to post the final winners in the library as well. Drop in to find out more about this great reading program for kids.