What We’re Reading: Where I Belong

Alan Doyle is one of the frontmen of Great Big Sea; a band known for fabulous storytelling in their songs and in their live shows, so you had to know that his autobiography was going to have something good going on.  This book is going to fit the bill for someone on your shopping list and, if you have that nagging feeling that you might have forgotten someone, just grab an extra one of these and keep it wrapped up, just in case.  It’s so good that it’s almost a one size fits all book.  Should you find it left over at the end of the gift giving season you can just keep it for yourself.

 

When I received the shiny copy of Where I Belong I was so very excited as it had been heavily promoted on his web site, in the newspaper and on the CBC.  I had been quite keen to read the book because the song of the same name (found on the album Boy on Bridge through your local WPL branch) had captured my heart and I wondered how much of that same emotion would be in this book.  It’s all there.  I knew I had just 14 days to read it as the demand for this book was high but it only took two.  It reads like a well-written magazine article and feels like a long chat with a friend.  The stories are poignant or hilarious and it’s like you are right there in the kitchen with him while he tells you about his siblings, his friends or ruining his mother’s piano (oh my goodness).  I’d give a lot to be able to meet his grandmother or have him get a chance to meet mine.  It’s an odd way to feel after you read a book written by a singer from a musical group that can sell out multiple shows at Massey Hall.  You’d expect the book to be fairly egotistical or at least a little bit ‘hey look at me’ but it didn’t read like that at all.

 I’m touting this as a great gift (hope my brother Jeff doesn’t read this post before the holidays) because I think there is something to be gained from reading a book where the author reflects on their own good fortune.  I think that looking back on where you came from, who your parents and grandparents were, what you learned from your siblings is a bonus part of the holiday season.  Feeling lucky and reflecting on that is a little treat we can give to ourselves.  And, should you find yourself with that wrapped copy of Where I Belong following the busy holiday season then just unwrap it and enjoy.  If you did give that copy away you can drop by your WPL branch and we’ll help you track one down.  Maybe take home an accompanying soundtrack as well?  We have a few good ones we can suggest…you know, there is this really great band from Newfoundland you might have heard of…

 – – Penny M.

 

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2014 Holiday Kids Picks

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2014 Holiday Staff Picks

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Fall/Winter 2014 Featured Titles

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Favourite First Lines

Books have thousands upon thousands of sentences but none are as important as the first few lines to grab the reader’s attention.  As a reader these first lines should entice you, give you a taste for the author’s voice, style and even humour.

Here are some of the books that have made an impression on me within the first few lines:

 Two of my personal faves

 It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)

To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate.  Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor. — Deanna Raybourn, Silent in the Grave (2012)

 

 

Short ‘n Sweet 

You are going to die. -- Markus Zusak, The Book Thief (2006).

 In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit (1937)

 I’ve been locked up for 264 days. — Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me (2011)

 “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.” —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses (1988)

  

And you can’t forget the classics!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times … —Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

 Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. — Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850)

 “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”  — J.D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye  (1951)

 

Authors have a tall order when it comes to the lines they put on the first page of their books.  But if it’s done well these lines can stay with their readers long after they close the book.  What books have made their mark on you within their first few lines?

– – Laurie P.

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What We’re Reading: Cook Books

Even though we don’t want to admit it the cold weather is upon us.  As the leaves and temperature fall the stress levels concerning what to serve on those hectic weekday family suppers can climb.

 Two kitchen items that this busy mom can’t do without are my slow cooker and bread machine.  They are mighty powerful time saving tools in my culinary arsenal that are easy to use and have saved my sanity many a supper.  With a little prep in the morning you can walk into your house after work with supper ready to serve!  Score one for Mom!

 But first things first.  Finding the right cookbook is important.  Unfortunately cookbooks can be quite costly (especially if you find that a certain cookbook isn’t to your family’s tastes after you’ve purchased it).  This is why coming to WPL to ‘test drive’ various cookbooks is so worthwhile.

 Here are some great slow cooker, bread machine and make-ahead meals cookbooks to make your evenings a little less chaotic so you have more time to enjoy the cool Fall weather.

 

Slow Cooker Cookbooks

 

The New Slow Cooker : Fresh Recipes for the Modern Cook

 

The New Slow Cooker by Taste of Home – This cookbook is filled with beautiful colour pictures for the vast majority of recipes. With helpful tips and ‘tried and true’ recipes from either the ToH test kitchens or home cooks who sent in their favourite recipe this book has a lot to offer.

 Slow Cooker Revolution: One Test Kitchen, 30 Slow Cookers, 200 Amazing Recipes (America’s Test Kitchen) – Lots of recipes, many pictures and easy to find ingredients.  What more could you ask for in a slow cooker recipe?

 Emeril’s Cooking With Power: 100 Delicious Recipes Starring Your Slow Cooker, Multi Cooker, Pressure Cooker and Deep Fryer (Emeril Lagasse)

 The Big Book of Slow Cooker, Casseroles & More (Betty Crocker) 2011

 The Slow Cooker Collection (Elizabeth Baird & the Canadian Living Test Kitchen) 2009

 Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Entertaining (Beth Hensperger) 2007

 The Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 200 Delicious Recipes (Judith Finlayson) 2010

 Slow-Cooker Quick Fixes: Recipes for Everyday Cover ‘n’ Cook Convenience (editors of Southern Living) 2010

  

Bread Machine Cookbooks

 

 

 

 

 

Bread Machine Bible So many breads, so little time! This book has everything from the basics to dinner rolls, Greek Black Olive Bread to to Rosemary Ciabatta Rolls and Pesto Parmesan Pull-Apart bread and more.  Beautiful pictures are provided to inspire you.

 250 Best Canadian Bread Machine  (Donna Washburn and Heather Butt) 2004

 80 Bread Machine Best-Ever Recipes: Discover the Potential of Your Bread Machine With Step-by-Step Recipes From Around the World (Jennie Shapter) 2011

  

We also have recipe books to inspire you to get ahead of the game and stock your freezer with future meals.

 

Make Ahead Meals

 

 

Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook (Jessica Fisher) 2012

 The Casserole Queens Make-a-Meal Cookbook: Mix and Match 100 Casseroles, Salads, Sides and Desserts (Crystal Cook & Sandy Pollock) 2013

 

 

We invite you to come visit us at WPL and get ahead of the meal planning game by checking out our vast selection of cookbooks! 

 

– – Laurie P.

 

 

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What We’re Reading: World War 1

I have been following with great interest The Record’s series about local men who fought in the First World War (1914-1918).  It’s so sad to think of all those young men who were killed, leaving behind grieving families.  I found myself wanting to read more about the war, which began 100 years ago.  I came across two items at WPL that I would particularly recommend.

The Illustrated History of World War One by Ian Westwell is the kind of book I like. It’s fairly comprehensive and easy to read and has more than 350 maps and photographs. I admit I like photos, they really help me grasp a situation or event.  But while the book does give a good overview of the war, unfortunately Canada is barely mentioned.

This is where I found the July/August edition of Canadian Geographic to be really excellent. Almost the entire magazine is given over to 100 ways in which the war shaped Canada.

The magazine has short as well as longer articles on all sorts of subjects: from the “temporary” introduction of income tax, to the role of women in the war, to the conscription crisis (which bitterly divided English and French Canadians and merited a much longer article, I felt) to Winnie the Pooh. Yes, Winnie the Pooh. If you are unaware of the Canadian World War One soldier/Winnie the Pooh connection, check it out. It’s fascinating.

If you want to look further into this important—and timely—topic, WPL has these and many other items on the First World War.

 

– – Penny D.

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What We’re Reading: Chevy Stevens

Chevy Stevens is a Canadian author living in Vancouver who writes thrillers. She got her start in writing while working as a realtor. You won’t want to sleep with the lights off anymore after reading one of Chevy’s books.

Always Watching

 

Still Missing - Annie O’Sullivan, a 32 year-old realtor is abducted from an open house. Her story weaves together the year she spent in captivity and the horrifying things she had to do to survive with the story of the events following her escape as she tries to piece her life back together.

Never Knowing - All her life Sarah Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. When she finally does locate her birth mother she is met with rejection. When the truth is revealed she learns that her mother is the only victim to ever survive an attack from a serial killer who is still on the loose and hunting women. Even worse, he has now learned that he has a daughter . . .

Always Watching - Dr. Nadine Lavoie works in the lockdown ward at a psychiatric hospital where she helps people come to terms with their past and move forward in their lives. When a suicidal patient reveals her story about living on a remote commune in Vancouver Island Nadine senses many parallels with her own life and must delve deep to find the true story and attempt to put her past to rest.

That Night -

 

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Waterloo Reads

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Books Made into Movies or TV series

There is no doubt that many books are snatched up by Hollywood in the hopes that they will be the next smash hit.  You only have to think of the mega-blockbusters of the Harry Potter series or True Blood to realize how profitable translating a book onto the big or small screen can be.

But is the movie or TV show as good as the book?  Readers tend to be very protective of their favourite reads when Hollywood gets their hands on them.  Personally, I think that while many movies/TV shows based on books are quite good in their own right, overwhelmingly the books tend to be better.

Here are some books that you can find at WPL that have (or will soon have) on-screen counterparts.  Why not make the best of the rest of the summer and get a head start on reading the books before the movie/TV series comes out?!

 

TV Series:

 

Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

Based on the real life of a young midwife in the very tumultuous post-WWI London this series is touching, honest and humourous (thanks to dear Chummy!).  Downton Abbey fans should look into this series!

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong (1st season aired on the Space channel and the 2nd season will air in early 2015).  Bitten is the first book in the very popular supernatural series by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong.  The TV version is not only really good in its own right but filmed in Cambridge, Ontario!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (premieres on Showcase August 24, 2014!) – Men in kilts, fight scenes and the swoon worthy love between Claire and Jamie make this miniseries highly anticipated by Outlander fans the world over.  As long as they cast the main characters well I think this could be an amazing TV series.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Harriot

A Game of Thrones series by George R.R Martin

 

Movies:

 

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This movie did the Herculean feat of putting the epic scope of this large and amazing book into one movie.

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

When a woman goes missing on her 5th anniversary her husband fears there’s more to his wife’s disappearance than he first thought.  Look for this movie in theatres October 3, 2014!

 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Silver Linings Playbook  by Matthew Quick

Horns  by Joe Hill (release date in theatres October 31, 2014)

 

– – Laurie P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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