What to Read Next…Part 1

December is only a few days away, and while some of us are looking forward to the bustle of the next few weeks, there are those who would rather settle down under a warm blanket by the fire and read all day long. If you’re looking for some great book suggestions to get you through the next month, we’ve got you covered. This list should satisfy readers–and shoppers.

For the adults on your list, we have four suggestions. All of these books are new or will come out in the next week or so, and should be super popular with a variety of readers.

FIRE & BLOOD by George R.R. Martin

No, this is not the next book in the GAME OF THRONES series, and as George R.R. Martin says, “this is not a novel at all”. In fact, he’s calling FIRE & BLOOD an “imaginary history”, taking place 300 years before A GAME OF THRONES. It’s a way for fans to revisit the series until he is ready to release THE WINDS OF WINTER. The first of a two-volume work, FIRE & BLOOD tells the history of the Targaryens in Westeros and the civil war that followed. You can read more from the author about this new non-novel on his website right here.


If you’re a fan of Three Pines and Inspector Gamache, you’ll be thrilled to know that Canadian author Louise Penny is soon releasing the latest in the series called KINGDOM OF THE BLIND. If you read Penny’s website, you’ll know that she was planning on taking some time off between books due to a number of stressful years, but missed the characters and setting so much, she had to write the book. We were lucky enough to meet the author a few years ago at a library conference, and she’s as delightful and interesting in person as she comes across in her books. If you’re a fan, you should also take a good look at her website. It’s informative, funny, scholarly, and there are even details on Three Pines tours, if you can imagine! We bet that if you have a mystery fan in your life, they’ll be eager to get their hands on this one!

BECOMING by Michelle Obama

We followed her every move when they were in the White House, and many are still keeping up with this intelligent, fashionable, and caring woman as she navigates the post-Washington years. Michelle Obama’s book BECOMING is sure to be a must-read on many book lovers’ lists this season. She’s currently on a book tour in the US, and is taking social media by storm with an honest and revealing look at her roots, her roles as mother, wife, and First Lady, her various public health campaigns, and what she wants to do with her life in this confusing political world now. This will be a popular book at the library, and probably already has a waiting list a mile long. It’s sure to be a fascinating read, and you can follow her journey through its release and book tour as she keeps up with social media on Twitter.

ELEVATION by Stephen King

This is not your typical Stephen King novel, and rightly so, as he released a much longer book earlier this year. ELEVATION looks more like a novella at 146 pages, but readers are already lauding this book as his next “Shawshank Redemption” or “The Green Mile”, with a story that follows a young man facing a mysterious illness, and the town that rallies around him in unlikely circumstances. This will be a must-read for King fans, but might also appeal to those who are new to the author, and those looking for a winning gift for eclectic readers. You can read more on King’s website, including the fact that nine of King’s books were nominated this year for the Goodreads 2018 Reader’s Choice Awards. The people have spoken.

Tomorrow, we’ll reveal our list of the top Teen Reads! Don’t forget to check back!

Margaret Atwood and Stephen King

It’s not often that great authors come together at one event. Or at least, it’s not often the public gets to attend and listen to them talk. If you’re going to be in Toronto (or maybe just want to make plans for the fall),  Authors at Harbourfront Centre  October 24 – November 3, 2013 will be the place to be!


They’ve just announced more of the lineup for the event, which includes Stephen King and his son, author Owen King at the opening night event, along with Canadian author Louise Penny who will moderate the discussion.  This event is sold out now, but there are plenty more!

Canadian author Margaret Atwood is slated to appear as well to promote her new novel, MADDADDAM, as well as Charlotte Gray, Wayne Johnston and Douglas Coupland. Tickets to four of the special events went on sale yesterday.  You can stop by the site to see the full lineup and also to purchase tickets.  But hurry, they’ll go fast!

A Brush with Fame

One of the things we most anticipated at the Super Conference this past week was the chance to hear Canadian authors speak. I’ll admit, while Janet was eagerly anticipating the spotlight session with author Louise Penny, I was also looking forward to hearing nominated Forest of Reading authors talk about their experiences with the program. Both sessions took place at the same time, so we parted ways and found seats in our packed session rooms.

It’s funny how “regular” these people seem when you sit in a room with them. At my Forest session, the panel included picture book author/illustrator Rebecca Bender, charismatic author Jan Andrews, the funniest speaker of the morning–Kevin Sylvester, uber-famous juvenile fiction author Kenneth Oppel, Young Adult author extraordinaire Kelley Armstrong, French author Maxim Cyr and non-fiction author Cindy Watson.

forestThey each talked about how they got started in the program, their experiences with writing and lots of stuff in between. The session was pretty full and everyone had a chance to ask questions at the end. It was also fun later on at the Expo running into Kelley Armstrong who was busy editing her latest manuscript in between signing books and bookmarks. (She’s learned to edit anywhere, she said, due to her insanely busy deadlines.)

After my session, I raced  over to hear the last of Louise Penny’s talk. Janet had a great seat and enjoyed the talk VERY much.  But we were both looking forward to seeing her up close after the session during the book signing. Janet, thinking ahead as usual, purchased one of her books the night before to avoid the lineups and was only about ten or so people from the start of the line. Ms. Penny was gracious and pleasant, taking time to speak with each person who was having a book signed. And while she couldn’t divulge any secrets about her upcoming books (darn!), we managed to get a great shot of Janet alongside her favourite author. (Yes, she probably could have left the conference right then, completely happy.)

louiseBut the thing we laughed about the most was my paparazzi skills later on. It seems that I always get the most flustered with visiting picture book authors (I am a children’s librarian, after all!).  When we heard that one of my absolute favourite authors, Oliver Jeffers, was going to be there the next day to sign books, we made a special point of coming back to the Expo. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, they’d run out of books.  Yes, we got to see him signing books, but it was a little disappointing.  Never fear, however, Janet happened to notice him a while later looking at picture books at one of the displays. I grabbed my phone and snapped a quick shot. Yay!  (No, I wasn’t stalking. Honest.) It was a great moment, nonetheless.


We came home happy we’d attended the sessions we wanted, and got a few extra moments of excitement by brushing with fame!

Who is Louise Penny?

Canadian authors have always been popular with readers, but during the last year, many of our patrons have discovered Louise Penny. Her books look and read like many of the best-selling mystery authors such as P.D. James and Ruth Rendell, but with a decidedly Canadian flair, and people are loving this!  It’s kind of fun to be able to read a great story with all the thrills and well-developed characters that keep you wanting to read more, but also have a feel for the places that are basically just around the corner.

Penny’s website is fun to browse.  Not only can you learn all about her books, read reviews and catch up on where she might be signing or speaking in the near future, but she has a page devoted to pronunciations.  Apparently, a lot of readers aren’t comfortable (or familiar) with many of the French locations or words, so she has wonderful links with audio versions of the words to help readers pronounce them easier.  She also has a detailed page for wanna-be writers,with advice and a bit of history on how she started writing.  There are great links and tools and even a information about her book, The Hangman, which is written at a Grade 3 level….but for adult readers.  Her genuine interest in literacy extends beyond young people.  Take a few minutes and read her blog, too. She posts pictures and interesting things from her travels.

So, if you’re looking for a great mystery, try Louise Penny! She’s Canadian and she’s great!