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    Book Club in a Bag

    Picture Books… for Adults

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Last week I shared five Graphic Novels about unexpected subjects with you in Great Graphix: NOT Your Run of the Mill Comics. Here now are five complex, mature, and unexpected… picture books. There's something for everyone.

    Ever heard of book spine poetry? Well, pile up some books, look at the titles on the spine and make a poem.

    Sorted books by Nina Katchadourian has some great book spine poems including highlights such as: "A Short Guide to Writing about Art / Criticizing Photographs / This is Not a Photograph" and "Primitive Art / Just Imagine / Picasso / Raised by Wolves."

     

     

    The Da Vinci Cod : and Other Illustrations for Unwritten Books by Christopher Riddell (a Sunday times cartoon columnist and children’s book illustrator) is wittier than an earful of mice. Each one-pane comic reframes titles from famous literary classics such as “Jane Ear” with hilarious, detailed, one-frame illustrations. Some examples are: "Anglicanism and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (featuring a priest riding a motorcycle), "Apes of Wrath" (featuring Apes…), "The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe Assistant" (featuring a Queer fashion designer). For further fun check out his website which has three additional sets of illustrations to unwritten books.

     

    The Adventuress by Audrey Niffenegger (enjoy The Time Traveler’s Wife??) is her first (self) published book. Before becoming an author Niffenegger went to art school (the Art Institute of Chicago), and made her first book out of a series of dry-prints (etchings); before deciding to turn them into a story. The resulting book brings together a series of prints she did for her graduating thesis. It’s a Frankenstenian love story involving a captured woman morphing into a moth, having Napoleon as a lover, complete with a creepy yet comforting conclusion to love lost, amongst other things. This is classic Niffenegger and echoes themes explored in The Time Traveller’s Wife. You might also want to check out The Three Incestuous Sisters.

     

    About Love – 3 Stories by Anton Chekhov. Three classic short stories by the Russian author translated by David Helwig. A former poet laureate of Prince Edward Island and an Officer of the Order of Canada, he has written twenty volumes of fiction and fourteen volumes of poetry. Comfily illustrated by Seth the book invites curling up with a loved one and reading it together over a cup of cocoa.

     

    The Dot and the Line - a Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster is a great illustrated story that is allegorical and philosophical while remaining quite simple and downright funny.

    There are many other gems embedded in our Art, Graphix and Children’s book collections. Stay tuned for future recommendations!

     

      

    Great Graphix: NOT Your Run of the Mill Comics

    by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

    Think that comic books are only for teenagers and picture books are only for kids? It might surprise you to see what actually ends up being published as Graphic Novels these days and the complex and mature content that ends up being published as… basically, picture books. Everything from the biology of our DNA to the Bible; from Math Romances to Book Spine Poetry can make it between these pages.

    Here are five subjects you might have never thought would be published as a comic book:

    The Stuff of Life : a Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA by Schultz, Mark

    Think you’ll never grasp the science behind DNA? Even the basics of genetics can sound utterly alien. So who better than an alien to explain it all? Enter Bloort 183, a scientist from an asexual alien race threatened by disease, who's been charged with researching the fundamentals of human DNA and evolution and laying it all out in clear, simple language so that even his slow-to-grasp-the-point leader can get it.

    Manga Shakespeare by Paul Duffield

    I have found these the fastest way to understand Shakespeare’s plays in a 20-40 minute sitting. Get the context complete with actual quotes from the plays – THEN read the texts and you're sailing. Plus they are illustrated in Manga--did I mention that? Start with Romeo and Juliet and then try The Tempest on for size. (It’s set in a sci-fi future!)

    Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto

    Another great graphic novel form that has evolved is the Graphic Memoir, and this is a prime example. Heartbreaking and funny, it details how Marchetto set out and succeeded in “kicking cancer in the butt – in 4 inch killer heels, no less,” managing to keep her optimism, her high end restauranteur fiancé, fashion, humour, support from family and friends, wits AND get married on time in high style to boot.

    Book of Hours : a Wordless Novel Told in 99 Wood Engravings by George A. Walker

    Some events are best described wordlessly. George A. Walker certainly felt this when he chose to chronicle a day in the life of the events of 9/11 in Book of Hours. It’s hard to describe what these black and white illustrations impart but should take you approximately 9-11 minutes to flip through the book and get it.

    The Bible: a Japanese Manga Rendition, Translated by Glenn Anderson, edited by Marie Iida

    Whoever thought you could enjoy the bible Manga style? Well, you can.

     

    There are many other gems embedded in the Library's Art, Graphix and Children’s book collections.

    Stay tuned next week for five unexpected… picture books!

    This Just In

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    The Man Booker Prize for fiction has released their shortlist of six for the 2014 award. Click on any title to place your hold! The first three of these are already available at the library; the final three are on order.

    You can find book summaries for these last three on the Booker Prize website. They all sound very interesting! Have you read any of these titles? Let us know your pick in the comments.

     

    Your Fall Reading List

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    First, a couple of suggestions:

    Once the dust settles from your fall return to routines, you might find yourself looking for something to read. I'll start you off with a few recommendations that are on MY list:

    Louise Penny: The Long Way Home

    This 10th installment in Penny's fabulous Inspector Gamache mystery series is one I'm eagerly awaiting! The scheduled publication date was August 26, so get your name on the hold list if you're already a fan. If you haven't read this series, start at the beginning with Still Life. Penny's novels are perfect for curling up with on a crisp fall day. You'll get to know the tiny Quebec town of Three Pines and its eccentric and realistically drawn inhabitants. Throughout the series, these characters will feel like old friends, and I was thrilled to discover that there would be a tenth title! Although it is a mystery series, you don't have to be a dedicated mystery reader to enjoy these novels, which will also appeal to fans of Canadian fiction who enjoy strong characters and a vivid sense of place.

     

    Jessie Burton: The Miniaturist

    I've always loved discovering new authors through debut novels. Just think of how difficult it is to get published with a first novel these days--having positive reviews for a debut novel is a sure sign of quality! This title caught my eye based on its summary in the catalogue:

    Enchanting, beautifully written, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

     

    Did you know?

    You can sign up to receive a monthly (or bimonthly) list of new and recommended titles in your preferred reading genre with our Next Reads newsletters. If you like booklists but don't want to clutter up your inbox, you can still read the back issues! It's just one more of the great features you'll find on our website.

    Speaking of great features, you can find NoveList Plus content, including read-alike recommendations and reviews, in the catalogue. Don't miss out on the full NoveList Plus database in your E-Library under Reading & eBooks.

    And that's not all...

    Here are some more fall reading lists from around the web:

    So Long Summer

    by Sonya - 0 Comment(s)

    If you want the summer to last a little longer, pick up a cool drink and something to read and head out for some last-minute summer R'n'R. Whether you'd rather read a beach novel or load up your tablet with the latest popular magazines, we've got you covered!

     

    Click on a book cover to find a copy (or digital copy) of these titles:

     

    See these summer reading lists for more suggestions:


    Check out these library products for amazing digital content:

    • Zinio offers extensive access to popular magazines (including Canadian Living, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, Rolling Stone) on your tablet or smartphone!
    • Hoopla allows you 12 downloads every month; find movies, TV, music and audiobooks!

     

    Don't forget you can contact us during library open hours for tips and help getting started.

    Summer Read Wrap Up

    by Robyn L - 0 Comment(s)

    We have reached the final week of Summer. Read. 2014. BUT… this is no time to lament the departure of what is, for Albertans, an all-too unfamiliar friend, or to unpack your seasonal fall yoga pants. This simply means you have got one more week to read like mad and get some more ballots in for the Summer. Read. 2014 grand prize draw!

    Calgary Public Library has three iPad Minis to give away, so if you can’t wait to toss aside that ballot-stuffing paperback and boot up the Angry Birds app for 12 consecutive hours, get those ballots in. Remember that ballots can be submitted at any Calgary Public Library location or online.

    I remind you that reading (print books, eBooks, magazines etc.), viewing (DVDs, Blu-Rays etc.), or listening (audiobooks, eAudiobooks, MP3 books), can all count towards Summer. Read. If you haven’t started participating yet, it isn’t too late to get on board; or, if you already have a War & Peace sized stack of ballots in, this is your opportunity to make that final push.

    Not sure what to read now that the pressure’s on? Here are four great titles with which you could do much worse:

    Enjoyed participating in Summer. Read. this year? Have some great ideas for making it even better? Share your feedback by filling out an evaluation at any Calgary Public Library location or completing our online evaluation at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SummerRead_2014_PatronEvaluation. Your suggestions are vital for helping us to improve this program, so please take a minute to share your thoughts.

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    Better in Pairs!

    by Laura C - 3 Comment(s)

    I always find it fun to read stories that are somehow related. Making connections between what I've read can give a new perspective on an old story, or an old perspective on a new story.

    So, let me help you make your some old-new connections with two genres that don't often get read together! I've taken 5 works of "classic" fiction and paired them with 5 graphic novels and comic books that share similar themes and characters.

    Read one or the other, or better yet read them both and see if I got it right!

    Click on the covers to find them in the library catalogue.


    5 Comic Books and Classic Novels to Read in Pairs:

    1. The mystery-solving duo of an eccentric millionaire and his observant sidekick:

    Cover Image: Batman Sundayics Cover Image: Sherlock Holmes selected stories

    2. The war against government-sanctioned media censorship in a distopian world:

    Cover Image: Library Wars v. 1 Cover Image: Fahrenheit 451

    3. The exploits of a mild-mannered doctor with anger-management issues:

    Cover Image: Marvel Knight Hulk Cover Image: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    4. The slice-of-life tales of a trouble-causing small town boy:

    Cover Image: Best of Archie Comics Cover Image: Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    5. The unusually-clad galactic traveler who can't go home:

    Cover Image: Silver Surfer Rebirth of Thanos Cover Image: Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    Read to Win

    by Robyn L - 0 Comment(s)

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

    It’s hard to believe that anyone in the modern, consumer world would even consider for a second not being him or herself, especially considering the constant barrage of marketing and media that carries the message: “Be yourself!!”

    Unfortunately, this individualist message is usually qualified with: “Be yourself … by buying this!! It will let you really be you!!’” – Who would have guessed that being yourself – the one thing that should really be assured from the moment of birth – could be so expensive and require such ostentation?

    Despite growing up in a world that begets cynicism more easily than it begets strength of character, there is still a place for the more optimistic tenets of existentialism, and it is still important that we remember that the quick road to comfort may be conformity, but the long journey to happiness is paved with curiosity, perseverance, and self-actualization.

    That being said, if you are really way too far off the beaten path, you may want to reign in your impulses for the best of yourself and those around you – I’ll let you make the call!

    Anyway, here are some terrific reads that may inspire you toward realizing your potential and breaking those tired, familiar molds:

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

    Great Science Fiction Reads

    by Dieu - 3 Comment(s)

    I must confess that for a very long time I had a prejudice against science fiction. I thought of science fiction books as all the same with their usual spaceships and aliens. Science fiction just didn’t seem like real literature to me until I discovered books that, yes, involved aliens and space travel and other common elements of the genre, but were as moving, fascinating, thought provoking and compelling as anything I’ve ever read.

    Expand your summer reading list and your mind by including some great science fiction reads. If you have never read science fiction, I recommend trying out these outstanding books to give you a sense of what you’ve been missing, and hopefully have you wanting more.

    The Sparrow book cover

    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

    Set in 2019, the novel is about humanity’s first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization and the ethical, moral, religious and philosophical complications that can arise with such an encounter.

    When an observatory picks up radio broadcasts of music coming from Alpha Centauri, the nearest star in our solar system, a Jesuit missionary order decides to organize an expedition to the alien planet. A crew made up of agnostics, believers, and scientists is formed. Led by Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit priest and linguist, they embark on their journey with idealistic hopes of meeting intelligent life beyond their own world. Upon their arrival on the planet, which will come to be known as Rakhat, the travelers discover that the planet is occupied by two different alien races that are hostile to each other, the Runa and the Jana’ata. The humans settle among the Runa, learn their language, study their customs, and over time become friends with them. However, through seemingly harmless and well intentioned actions, such as introducing to the aliens the growing of coffee beans, the humans set off a series of disastrous events which will cause them to question their own morality and humanity.

    Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the British Science Fiction Association Award, The Sparrow is a powerful, suspenseful and provocative read.

    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

    Depressingly beautiful, devastating, and emotional, Never Let Me Go is one of my all time favourite novels. The novel starts off as a female coming-of-age story, but turns out to be something so much more profound and unsettling. Set in 1990s England, the story is told from the point of view of Kathy H., who is now 31 and recalling her times at Hailsham, the boarding school where she, along with her fellow classmates, grew up and were "told and not told" about their secret conditions.

    I hesitate to say more about the plot of the novel, so as to not spoil the secret hidden at the center of the story. Without saying more about what happens, I can say that Ishiguro's descriptions of Kathy H.'s memories of her childhood and coming of age into adulthood are restrained, taut, and dream-like. Never Let Me Go is a novel that raises controversial questions about what makes us human, what are the limits of scientific progress, and the value of human life.

    Never Let Me Go book cover

    Einstein

    I consider Alan Lightman’s slim novel, Einstein's Dreams, as made up of a little bit of magic realism and science fiction all dashed together. The story begins with the young Einstein as a patent clerk who is secretly working on his theory of relativity. When Einstein heads to bed, we take part in his dreams. These dreams make up a collection of stories of different worlds where the nature of time changes. For example in one story, time is circular and people are destined to repeat the same events and actions over and over again. The stories are imaginative, poetic, philosophical and whimsical. After reading Einstein’s Dreams I found myself going back to certain phrases and ideas that were like little poems:

    “Some say it is best not to go near the center of time. Life is a vessel of sadness, but is noble to live life and without time there is no life. Others disagree. They would rather have an eternity of contentment, even if that eternity were fixed and frozen, like a butterfly mounted in a case.”

    Grow Your Brain...

    by Robyn L - 1 Comment(s)

    “I don’t think I’d have been in such a hurry to grow up if I’d known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed.”

    ~Bill Watterson

    As stated above by that prolific sage, Bill Watterson (of Calvin & Hobbes fame, if you didn’t know), being an adult can be a dicey proposition. But just because our bodies have reached their apex – or the bloom is already off the rose – that certainly doesn’t mean that we can’t grow in myriad other ways, and I don’t just mean improving your golf game, either.

    Let your library card be the light-saber that allows you to vanquish that evil empire of stagnation; let elegant prose be the over-caffeinated energy drink that topples the drowsy inertia of sedentary and resigned pseudo-satisfaction; and let the self-indulgent verbal posturing of narcissistic authors elevate you to heights you once thought distant and unattainable — or to put it more simply: read some books, yo!

    If you are having trouble getting started, check out any of the titles below and get ready to outgrow those old mind-pants!

    iPad MiniSummer. Read.

    Catch up on your reading this summer and enter to win a 16GB iPad Mini in our summer reading contest for adults! Just tell us about the books, DVDs or CDs that you’ve been enjoying (by filling in a ballot) and enter to win fantastic prizes. Visit us here in our Readers’ Nook blog or head to our Facebook page every Wednesday for the new theme. Come join the summer fun!

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