Librarians, submit!

Hey, Librarians! Start submitting your favourite reads of 2016, for the next 9 days on Twitter! (Okay, we missed the start yesterday….sorry!)  But you still have time to voice your opinion, one title per day, using the hashtag #libfaves16, and putting the TITLE in all caps. What will win???

Old Tweets


If you follow our sister blog, Carleton Place Local History, you’ll know that old newspaper articles can be quite funny. It’s not that they were trying to make the reader laugh, it’s just that some things we’d never say in this present day. Often, we’ll have a good chuckle over something Shirley has found in the Carleton Place Canadian way back when, and think we’re lucky things aren’t the same anymore.

So this made me laugh when I saw it.  It’s a great Twitter feed known as “Tweets of Old” that posts funny, short snippets from old newspapers. Each tweet is also labelled with the name of the person who said it, and the year they were written. These are absolutely hilarious, and I quickly added them to my Twitter feed. Things like:

Santa: My little brother Clyde fell down the other day and broke his face. Please bring him a new one. A false face will do. Walter NM1909


Mr. England walked to town, a distance of five miles, in an hour and a quarter. Four miles an hour is not bad for an octogenarian. NE1881


WANTED—Good goat. Telephone 363 AL1919


If you have a few minutes, take a look through the posts. They’re all quite funny. Makes me think we should be doing this with our old newspapers!

Witty Tweets = Book Deal?

If you use Twitter, eventually, you’ll want to follow people who write exciting/interesting/funny tweets. Otherwise, the stream of tweets becomes monotonous, or at best, forgettable. If you don’t follow someone who posts regularly and with some thought behind it, you’ll probably give up on it altogether. (I got so tired of everyone posting “Buy this book!” tweets that I left my feed alone for about a year.) Of course, this applies to all forms of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr, to name a few.

So, then why do we hear about people who are getting book deals from their Twitter/Facebook posts? Could someone out there actually be posting useful or entertaining information? The answer is YES!  There are plenty of great people to follow, and many who have reached a book deal because of their great tweets. Like who, you might ask?  How about some of these:

Charlie McDowell is a Twitter user who started posting the overheard and slightly-insane conversations of the two young women who lived in the apartment above him. His funny look at a situation that could have become very annoying brought about the book DEAR GIRLS ABOVE ME : INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY.


We’ve all seen the “Hey, Girl” memes splashed over the internet with Ryan Gosling as the star saying sensitive, swoon-worthy, I-wish-they-were-true things about all kinds of women. Danielle Henderson took them one step further with her book called FEMINIST RYAN GOSLING : FEMINIST THEORY AS IMAGINED FROM YOUR FAVORITE SENSITIVE MOVIE DUDE.


And Canadian Taylor Jones thought of the ingenious idea whereby people hold up an old photograph taken in a location they can visit again, and then take a photo of the photo with the present in the background. It sounds more complicated than it is. People began sending him photos right away, and it became the wonderful book called DEAR PHOTOGRAPH.


You can see an entire list of great social media sites that garnered people book deals right here. Have you read any of these books?  Do you follow any of these authors?

Need a Little Space?

With the blockbuster GRAVITY still in theatres, and a year filled with fascinating videos and tweets from the International Space Station, the world can’t seem to get enough of space and astronauts. So, it seems fitting that we’re heading into a new year with plenty more sci-fi action. And I couldn’t be happier.

I wasn’t lucky enough to make it out to one of the many book signings he did in Ottawa in December, but I managed to pick up Chris Hadfield‘s book AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH here at the library when it came in. I followed @Cmdr_Hadfield on Twitter the entire time he was leading Expedition 35 on the ISS earlier this year, and couldn’t get enough of his witty, interesting and educational tweets. So you can imagine, I was really looking forward to reading this book.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life in Space

I have to admit, I’m not exactly sure if this was meant to be an autobiography or a self-help/inspirational book. At the outset, Hadfield describes his life as a young boy and the choices he consciously makes to one day become an astronaut–even though it seems impossible (there is no Canadian space program, and NASA only considered American’s for their program at the time). I loved hearing about his wise choices as a young person, always asking himself “what would an astronaut do?”, even when the debate was something as simple as staying up late or not.

Similarly, the details of life in space, no matter what mission he was on, were always fascinating. From quarantine regimens to water filtration to suit discomfort, everything is covered. His accounts are well written and full of his trademark humour. If you’re looking for a great read about life in space, this book will not disappoint.

My only negative thought about AN ASTRONAUT’S GUIDE is that it feels at times like he’s trying to prove that he’s a great astronaut, and a great person on top of it all. He’s an extremely confident person, and so he should be. It’s amazing what he’s accomplished in his life, but he seems to want to make sure the reader knows this. For example, he tells a short story about spending time during one mission untangling cords in order for a video feed to broadcast back to Earth. Great. He got it working, and it’s a super example of how the astronauts must work together, sometimes doing menial tasks, to accomplish their goals on each Expedition. But then he mentions offhand that he never told anyone he did this, just went about the job until it was done, because not everything needs to be recognized as an accomplishment. Except that he wrote about it in the book. So, if he didn’t want recognition for doing it, wouldn’t he have left it out of the book altogether?

Unfortunately, after a while, I got a little tired of reading about all the great and simple ways he manages to excel in his life and his job through constant introspection and the humble support he gives his fellow astronauts and team. It not only made me feel like he was constantly bragging about how great his life is, but also made me feel pretty inferior in my day to day life.

His motivational ideas could be quite inspirational for the right person, and anyone gleaning just one great idea from this book will probably see a big difference in their life because of it. I only wish he’d stuck to the mechanics and observations of space travel and life as an astronaut, and left his personal ideals somewhat in the background. I would have sailed through the book if that had been the case.

Keeping with the space theme, I couldn’t pass this book on the shelf without picking it up: Lily Koppel’s THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB.  Koppel details the lives of the other important people involved in space travel…..the women left behind. I can’t wait to crack this open and start reading!


Maybe it’ll keep me going until we receive our copy of Andy Weir’s THE MARTIAN in 2014, or even Rachel Searle’s middle grade adventure, THE LOST PLANET.

spacespaceThere will always be an interest in space, and I hope, many more books on the topic to come!

What’s That Symbol?



Yes, the little symbol above has a few meanings. Whether you know it as a number sign or a hashtag, it was once just a symbol that became a word in our society. Even a famous musician once decided he’d rename himself and use a symbol instead of letters.  It worked for a while, but we’ve gone back to calling him by his royal name, for the most part.

While symbols often change their purpose in our communication, there will always be a use for them, especially in this world on texting and 140 character tweets. You can find a bigger list of symbols that we turned into words right here.


I’m not a big fan of Twitter. There is too much pressure to post interesting, quote-worthy zingers that someone will not only like, but re-tweet.  It’s not enough to be famous and post about what you ate for dinner. If you have a million followers, your tweets better be entertaining, have insight and be share-worthy to the highest degree. It seems almost impossible for the average person, then, to be able to keep up with those standards.  Which is probably why many of us are “followers” and “re-tweeters” more than actual “tweeters”.


In cases like the Boston bombings, Twitter played a MAJOR part in getting information out to the public, and also allowing friends and family to know that a loved one was okay.  This type of usage is paramount. Amazing that we can learn about a world event in seconds, right from the source, and pass it on to others. This aspect of Twitter is incredible.

But more and more, we are seeing and even encouraged to Tweet during live events.  From an entertainment standpoint, tweeting during the finale of American Idol about your thoughts on each performer probably isn’t such a big deal. I find it appalling, however, that at a recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner, people were tweeting witty remarks during the event. There was even an article from Time Magazine posted the following day with the Best Tweets from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

All right, I understand the irony here….that I’m complaining about communication during a correspondents’ event, but this is just the latest example. Why are so many people attending events that should mean something to them, and texting on their phones? Can’t they put their phones away for a couple of hours to actually BE in the moment? Are these events so unimportant to them that they sit there composing the best one-liners they can think of, all the while ignoring what is happening right in front of them? If that’s the case, they’re the wrong people to be involved.

We are becoming too disconnected in our lives. We sit at our computers, with our phones in hand, texting, emailing, checking Facebook status, surfing……and we’re completely ignoring our actual flesh-and-blood lives. Will this stop?  I doubt it.  I’m sure it’s only going to get worse as social media becomes less about being social and more about media. Maybe people should be posting more thoughts about this on Twitter, to reach the people that really need it.

Do you tweet during important events in your life?