Tag Archives: library

A day off work, and … books!

We took Dylan to the Art Gallery of Ontario yesterday to see the Basquiat exhibit. We decided to get one of the phones they use for the audio tour and let him use it, then we had him tell us things about the various exhibits based on what he heard from the tour.

It was fun seeing what things he thought were important! Often it wasn’t something I would have picked up on, personally, so even though this was my second time at this exhibit, I felt like I’d broadened my perspective somehow.

After the exhibit, the book-reading demon had to leave for a meeting, so it was just me and Dylan. We decided to download the AGO’s Time Tremors game, and was it ever fun! And really ingenious, too, as it had us looking at a lot of different paintings and exhibits, trying to find the ones that matched the clues.

We stopped by the library on the way home to pick up some holds. Guess what I came home with?


strong female protagonist And this:

Dead WakeI’m really excited to read Strong Female Protagonist – I’ve heard all sorts of good things about it.

I’m not as sure about Dead Wake. I mean, I’m still excited about it, but I’ve also seen a lot of people saying it wasn’t quite as good as they had been hoping it would be.

Have you read Strong Female Protagonist and Dead Wake? Are they on your to-read list?

Library Magic

One of the reasons I love reading book blogs:

Photo 2014-12-10, 7 46 24 PM

This is my latest library stash.

I have a very beautiful system set-up which keeps me well-fed with interesting reads, you see. As I browse book blogs, I check my library’s online catalogue to see if it carries the title – since moving to Toronto I’ve discovered the chances are often good that the library will carry the title I’m after (with the exception of middle grade fiction and non-fiction, which tends to be more hit and miss, unfortunately).

If the library does carry the title, I’ll put a hold on it. A few hours of book blog browsing will usually net me a nice collection of titles to add to my TBR.

And here’s where the magic happens.

Even if I happen to be first in line for a title, it will still take a week or so for the book to make its way through the system to my library branch. In cases where a book is popular, it can be weeks or even months before I get the email notification that the title has arrived.

So every time I go to the library to pick up my holds, I really have no clue what awaits me. And there’s nothing quite as magical as coming back with a stack of books, reading their blurbs and feeling my heart quickening with absolute delight.

I’m surprised all over again, you see. Surprised, delighted, excited, all in quite a magical way.

Like Jackaby, by William Ritter. I couldn’t remember why, exactly, I’d put it on hold – until I read the blurb, that is.


Jackaby sighed and drew to a stop as we reached the corner of another cobbled street. “Let’s see,” he said at last. I observed you were recently from the Ukraine. A young domovyk has nestled in the brim of your hat. More recently, you have picked up a Klabautermann, a kind of German kobold attracted to minerals. Most fairy creatures can’t touch the stuff. That’s probably why your poor domovyk nestled in so deep.”

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

How could I resist?

The other titles in the picture of my library stash at the beginning of this post:

Now I just have to find the time to read these before they’re due back …

The Reading Stack #1

Does this ever happen to you? A whole stack of holds at the library all coming in at the same time? It happens to me all the time. And every single time, I feel so excited. It’s like being handed a huge treasure trove.

Until, of course, I remember the adage, "So many books, so little time." My excitement dims a little then, I admit.

It’s a good thing one of my 2014 resolutions is to make reading a priority.

This is the first stack. I’ll leave the second stack for another post. And actually, I’m thinking I might just make these reading stacks a regular thing here. (I don’t dare say "a new feature" because that will jinx things for sure and this post would likely be the last time anyone reads a post here titled "The Reading Stack".)

reading stack no 1

1. From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen Butler

2. Parasite, by Mira Grant

3. The Invisible Code, by Christopher Fowler

4. 365 Days, by Julie Doucet

6. Advice to Writers, by Jon Winokur

7. Finding Merlin, by Adam Ardrey

8. An Autobiography, by Agatha Christie

9. Encyclopedia Paranoiaca, by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf

Do you feel excited when you walk into the library and see a whole bunch of books on hold for you? Have you read any of these books? Are any of them in your to-read list?

[TSS] A Little Bit Holds Happy

These past six months or so, I’ve really been getting a lot of use out of my library card. Ever since I signed up for Library Elf, that wonderful service that sends out reminder emails about books coming due or overdue, I’ve even managed to keep my library fines down to a minimum (you don’t want to know about the arm and the leg I paid to my library before I discovered Library Elf – and I have no excuse, not really, because there’s a branch of the library within a few blocks of my house).

(If you’re not using Library Elf, I definitely recommend you check it out and see if your library is listed with them.)

I discovered a few months ago that my library offers monthly newsletters that feature their latest acquisitions in a variety of genres. I’ve signed up for several of these newsletters, and always look forward to getting these emails – I’m always sure to add a few more holds to my library account.

Yesterday came with a flurry of these emails. The books listed in them aren’t necessarily new releases – often they are just “new to us” acquisitions. And of course, I placed several holds!

The Crossroads

The Crossroads, by Chris Grabenstein. I’m not sure why this showed up in the new books for teens newsletter, actually, as I’d already borrowed it once previously (but then got stuck under an avalanche of deadlines and had to return it unread). It’s by Chris Grabenstein, who writes the John Ceepak mystery series for adults, which I really enjoy.

Zack, his dad, and new stepmother have just moved back to his father’s hometown, not knowing that their new house has a dark history. Fifty years ago, a crazed killer caused an accident at the nearby crossroads that took 40 innocent lives….

The Brightest Star in the Sky

The Brightest Star in the Sky, by Marian Keyes. I think I’ve read one Keyes novel in the past – I seem to remember I enjoyed it. The storyline in The Brightest Star in the Sky sounded very intriguing. Since Keyes is such a popular author, it will be a while before I get my hands on this one.

The Brightest Star in the Sky follows seven neighbors whose lives become entangled when a sassy and prescient spirit pays a visit to their Dublin townhouse with the intent of changing at least one of their lives.

But what will this metamorphosis be and who will the sprite choose? There’s Matt and Maeve, the newlyweds struggling to overcome the first obstacle in their storybook romance; Lydia, the brassy but vulnerable cabbie; Katie, the just-turned-forty PR executive searching for a more gratifying life; and the eldest resident, Jemima, currently playing hostess to her son Fionn, who is in town to star as the hunky gardener in a hot new television show.

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow, by Cecelia Ahern. I haven’t read Ahern’s P.S. I Love You, but I did enjoy the movie (much more so the second time around, when I knew what had happened – I think I went through a whole box of tissue paper that time). The Book of Tomorrow sounds quite interesting:

Tamara Goodwin has always got everything she’s ever wanted. Born into a family of wealth, she grew up in a mansion with its own private beach, a wardrobe full of designer clothes, a large four poster bed complete with a luxurious bathroom en-suite. She’s always lived in the here and now, never giving a second thought to tomorrow. But then suddenly her dad is gone and life for Tamara and her mother changes forever. Left with a mountain of debt, they have no choice but to sell everything they own and move to the country to live with Tamara’s Uncle and Aunt. Nestled next to Kilsaney Castle, their gatehouse is a world away from Tamara’s childhood. With her mother shut away with grief, and her aunt busy tending to her, Tamara is lonely and bored and longs to return to Dublin. When a travelling library passes through Kilsaney Demesne, Tamara is intrigued. She needs a distraction. Her eyes rest on a mysterious large leather bound tome locked with a gold clasp and padlock. With some help, Tamara finally manages to open the book. What she discovers within the pages takes her breath away and shakes her world to its core.

Murder at Longbourn

Murder at Longbourn, by Tracy Kiely. I couldn’t resist this cozy-sounding murder mystery, although on reading the summary, I’m not sure where Jane Austen comes into play …

A die-hard fan of Jane Austen novels and the traditional English mystery, Tracy Kiely has combined elements of both for this truly delightful and witty debut. Planning New Year’s resolutions to rid her life of all things unhealthy, Elizabeth Parker has dumped fatty foods, processed sugar, and her two-timing boyfriend. Indeed, the invitation to join her Aunt Winnie for a How to Host a Murder Party on New Year’s Eve at Winnie’s new Cape Cod B and B comes just in time. But when the local wealthy miser ends up the unscripted victim, Elizabeth must unearth old secrets and new motives in order to clear her beloved aunt of suspicion.

The Taken

The Taken, by Inger Ash Wolfe. This is the sequel to The Calling, which I haven’t read yet either – a copy of The Calling is available on the shelves, so I’m going to get a hold of it and get it read before this hold on The Taken comes my way. It was actually the summary of The Calling that made me decide to give this series a try.

From The Calling:

Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef has lived all her days in the small town of Port Dundas, Ontario and is now making her way toward retirement with something less than grace. Hobbled by a bad back and a dependence on painkillers, and feeling blindsided by divorce after nearly four decades of marriage, sixty-one-year-old Hazel has only the constructive criticism of her mother (the former mayor) and her own sharp tongue to buoy her. But when a terminally ill woman is gruesomely murdered in her own home, Hazel and her understaffed department must spring to life. And as one terminally ill victim after another is found, Hazel finds herself tracking a truly terrifying serial killer while everything around her spins out of control.

Through the cacophony of her bickering staff, her unsupportive superiors, a clamoring press, the town’s rumor mill, and her own nagging doubts, Hazel can sense the dead trying to call out. Will she hear them before it’s too late?

From The Taken:

Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef is having a bad year. After major back surgery, she has no real option but to move into her ex-husband’s basement and suffer the humiliation of his new wife bringing her meals down on a tray. As if that weren’t enough, Hazel’s octogenarian mother secretly flushes Hazel’s stash of painkillers down the toilet.

It’s almost a relief when Hazel gets a call about a body fished up by tourists in one of the lakes near Port Dundas. But what raises the hair on the back of Micallef ’s neck is that the local paper has just published the first installment of a serialized story featuring such a scenario. Even before they head out to the lake with divers to recover the body, she and DC James Wingate, leading the police detachment in Micallef ’s absence, know they are being played. But it’s not clear who is pulling their strings and why, nor is what they find at the lake at all what they expected. It’s Micallef herself who is snared, caught up in a cryptic game devised by someone who knows how to taunt her into opening a cold case, someone who knows that nothing will stop her investigation.

Don’t you love placing holds on books at your library? I like adding to my holds list – it’s like having a guarantee that I’ll always have something good to read. If I’m lucky, the books trickle in at a nice, steady pace … (if I’m not so lucky, I come home with 20+ books and no time to read them all!)

Living at the Library

I just got back from a morning at the library, and enjoyed myself so thoroughly, I’m wondering why I don’t do this more often.

Actually, this time was a first for me. I’m a very efficient user of my library’s hold system, so normally I just dash in to grab a new book on hold, and then out again.

Today, though, I had so many books in my TBR pile at home that I didn’t have any urge to browse through the fiction aisles. I also had a stack of craft books that I wanted to check out (we’re homeschooling our youngest and I’m in charge of Art and Creativity); I’d researched them the night before so it was a matter of finding the exact titles on the shelf.

My intention had been to browse leisurely through the library and then walk home. But I was loaded down with all those kids’ craft books, and feeling rather lazy. My husband was going to be heading out to pick up my daughter from a workshop she attended this morning; I reasoned that I could just hang around the library and on his way back he could pick me up.

So, for the first time ever, I headed to the nonfiction section, and started grabbing various interesting-looking books on art, gardening and home decorating; titles that I never have time to read, and which are always so heavy I never like the idea of lugging them home.

I sat at a table next to big plate glass windows overlooking a ravine, and browsed through all sorts of eye candy – and I had a great time! I feel refreshed (and raring to re-decorate my house) and relaxed. And yes, I need to do this again – I’m thinking once a week would be nice. In fact, sitting there in that lovely corner by the window, I felt like I could live at the library.

What about you? Do you find yourself spending leisurely time at the library? Or are you usually like me, dashing in and out to grab the latest hold?