Stranger Library Things

library-thingsStranger Things! This show is everything. The eight episode Netflix series has made many of our lives complete this summer as we soaked it in, and then left a void in our hearts as black and empty as the Upside Down when we finished watching the last episode. This emotional roller coaster is a sign of true love, no? Now we have entered a sort of purgatory of boredom waiting for season 2, due in 2017 at some point. That’s next year! But it doesn’t have to be a meaningless existence until then, just come to the library to find some Stranger Library Things to tide you over! There are many lists like this one on the internet, but I have tailored this list to include items you can borrow from the library. Vetted by a true horror fan, these books and movies will contain the nostalgic feel and elements of strangeness that we love so much about the series. Here we go:


1. It by Stephen King (1986)

Stephen King’s It has a definite Stranger Things feel: A group of misfit kids up against a supernatural horror. If you are only an occasional horror consumer, this novel may be too terrifying for you. The enemy in It is far more manipulative than the sentient piranha-plant-head demi-gorgon of Stranger Things, and the kids have much less of a Spielbergien glow. The group faces real life monsters such as abuse, alcoholism, and severe bullying that are nearly as terrifying as the novel’s ancient shape shifter that most often appears as Pennywise the Clown. If you want Stranger Things but with deeper character studies and darker horror, It will leave you satisfied.

We all float down here…

2. Paper Girls volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (2016)

Paper Girls is Brian K. Vaughan’s newest graphic novel series, illustrated by Cliff Chiang in a vibrant neon colour palette straight out of the 1980s. The story takes place on the morning after Halloween in 1988 and follows a group of twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls as they band together to solve a supernatural small town mystery. The dialogue gives the characters perfect depth and also feels true, much like the dynamic between the kids in Stranger Things. Read volume 1 now, and you’ll only have to wait until December for volume 2!


3. The Shadow Year by Jeffery Ford (2008)

The Shadow Year is pure nostalgic gold. While the story takes place in the 1960s, anyone who grew up in the 60s-80s will have their memories of childhood stirred up by the imagery in the novel. The three kids in the story, two brothers and their younger sister, build a model of their town in their basement. When Mary, the strange, Eleven-like younger sister, makes changes to the model, a corresponding strange event happens in the town. The supernatural is understated but has such an eerie feel to it that you’ll wonder if the kids are living close by a portal to the Upside Down.

The Shadow Year

4. Locke and Key by Joe Hill (2009)

Locke and Key is a six volume series of comics by Joe Hill, son of horror icon Stephen King. Gabriel Rodriquez brilliantly illustrates the comics with complex, beautiful scenes you can get lost in. Like It, do not tackle Locke and Key expecting the levity of Stranger Things. It is a relentlessly dark story featuring three siblings who find keys that unlock supernatural powers, and they soon raise a demon from a well who wants to collect the keys in order to unleash a hellish dimension into our own. Like Stranger Things, the Locke children fight with the armor of childhood that seems to give them an advantage over the adults in the story. Check it out if you have a strong constitution for visual horror.



1. Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 takes place in a small Ohio steel town in 1979. A group of young teenage friends are filming a super 8 movie when they catch an epic train crash on video, and strange things begin to happen in their town. This movie shares a lot with Stranger Things: small town, young friendships taking on more mature dynamics, kids against an enemy they seem to understand better than the adults do, and the inevitable return of buried grief.


2. Stand By Me (1986)

Based on Stephen King’s short story The Body, available here, Stand By Me follows four boys on their quest to locate the body of a local kid who was struck and killed by a train. Again, it is the dynamic of the friendship as the boys mature that is reminiscent of our five young heroes in Stranger Things. There isn’t anything supernatural at play in the movie, but everything is rumbling beneath the surface of the sleepy everyday with a sort of phantom energy that is embodied by the Upside Down in Stranger Things. In Stand By Me, the disappearance of a boy also drives the action, and the innocence of the group of friends is lost when they confront the mortality of their young lives.


3. It Follows (2014)


It Follows makes the list because it seems to have kicked off the recently growing trend of 1980s nostalgia in movies. The film isn’t explicitly set in the 80s, but it has that feel to it. The story follows a group of teens as they try to help their friend, Jay, fend off an enemy that can take any form and is always walking towards her. The premise is strange and simple, yet makes for a terrifying, paranoid atmosphere. The soundtrack to It Follows will remind you of the opening of Stranger Things, as will the settings and dialogue among the friends. This entry comes with a warning, there is considerable gore and adult content in this one!

4. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The Disney movie of the classic Ray Bradbury novel is surprisingly terrifying, and conveys a definite nostalgic feel, perhaps because it was produced in 1983 before Disney began to really churn out its canon of sickly sweet animated fairy tales. It’s hard to pin down why this one comes so close to Stranger Things, but fans of the show will eat this movie up. It has a supernatural enemy in the form of Mr. Dark and his phantasmic Pandemonium Carnival, and two young boys with a complicated friendship that must expose the carnival for what it is before it overtakes their small town.


That wraps up the list of read and watch- alikes, but if you don’t already know, Stranger Things is full of references to classic horror and sci-fi movies. Here are some of referenced titles that are available at STPL:

Alien, The Thing, Pan’s Labyrinth, Needful Things, The Shining, Rambo, Firestarter, Altered States, Twin Peaks, Jaws.

Happy horror-ing!

*We will be discussing The Shining by Stephen King for our October STPL Book Club on Tuesday, October 4th at 10 am in the Carnegie Room! If you enjoyed this post, join us to discuss this deliciously terrifying horror novel! Open to all, extra copies available at the circulation desk.

-Strangely yours,



Reason #46: Go Further with NoveList Plus!

Reason #46: Go further with NoveList Plus!

  • Looking for a good book?
  • Do you enjoy Science Fiction, but don’t know what to read next?
  • Do you like Alexander McCall Smith’s books, and want to find similar reads by different authors?
  • Do you want to learn more about a certain series?


If so, then NoveList Plus is just what you need!


St. Thomas Public Library has a subscription to the online database NoveList Plus – an amazing reader’s advisory database where you can learn about titles, series, authors, and genres, find read-alikes, book reviews and recommendations, discover Award-winners and book lists, check out discussion guides, and much, much more!

You can search among hundreds of thousands of popular fiction and readable nonfiction titles – NoveList has a staff of book experts, including over 25 librarians, who write all the recommendations! You know that you can trust a review from NoveList, and since it’s so easy to use, you’ll be finding new favorite books in no time at all!

The main page is easy to navigate. There is a simple search box on the top, where you can do a search by Keyword, Title, Author, Series, or Narrator.

Along the left-hand side, there are categories you can browse in, including: Audiobooks, Best of 2013, Canadian Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mysteries, Romance, etc. Once you select a category, you can explore some of the titles and authors.

NoveList 1

As an example, I clicked the category “Mystery” and selected “Cozy Crime”.

Here we see a short description of what a “Cozy Mystery” is, as well as some books from that genre. One feature that could be helpful is that you can see the “popularity” of each book.

NoveList 2

To continue our example, I’ve selected the book “As the Pig Turns”. On this page, you get all kinds of information about the book, including: when it was published, if it’s in a series, a brief description, the pace, the genre, the tone, the writing style, as well as both NoveList reviews and Goodreads reviews. On top of all that, on the right-hand side of the page, we see recommended read- alikes.

NoveList 3

Now I want to learn more about the author, M.C. Beaton. So I will click on her name (it is hyperlinked).

We now see a page with all kinds of information about the author, the different books and series she has written, her writing style, etc. A really handy tool appears on the right-hand side of the page: a list of author read-alikes.

NoveList 4

As you can see, this is a very powerful database with tons of information! So the next time you have a reader’s advisory question, the first place to start your search should be NoveList Plus!

Give it a try, and let us know how you like it!

Reason #36: We Do Custom Orders!

Reason #36 - We place custom ordersIs there a book you need to get your hands on that we don’t have? A missing volume in a series, or an older book by a favourite author?  Perhaps you heard about an upcoming book by your favourite celebrity chef, or you’ve developed an urgent need to learn about the latest crafting trend. Or maybe you’re a hobbyist of some sort, say a quilter, and you know of some magnificent quilting books that we don’t carry. These are all good reasons to come to the information desk and place a request with us. We will do our best to order in the item you’re looking for. When you request an item and we order it, we’ll put it on hold for you so that when it arrives you get first dibs on it.

This process helps us improve our collection and stay on top of trends. It’s likely that if you’re asking for something, someone else would enjoy it as well. So don’t be shy, ask! There’s nothing like picking up a brand new book off the holds shelf and being the first to crack it open, and you can take pride knowing that it’s in our collection because you asked for it!

Reason #23: More Kobos!

Reason #23 - More KOBOS

Did you know the library lends Kobos? It’s a great way to take a whole bunch of books home with you in one package! We’ve just added two more Kobos to our collection: Best of 2014 and Book Club Picks! Also available are Kobos loaded with General Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Romance and Science Fiction.  Read this for a list of books on each Kobo and our lending guidelines. Check one out today!

Book Lists for our new Kobos

Best of 2014:

The Good Luck of Right Now- Matthew Quick

The Museum of Extraordinary Things- Alice Hoffman

A Burnable Book- Bruce Holsinger

Archetype- MD Waters

The Bear- Claire Cameron

The Deepest Secret- Carla Buckley

Wake- Anna Hope

Trapped Under the Sea- Neil Swidey

The Troop- Nick Cutter

Thirty Girls- Susan Minot

I Forgot to Remember- Su Meck

While Beauty Slept- Elizabeth Blackwell

Doing Harm- Kelly Parsons

The Race Underground- Doug Most

What Should We Be Worried About- John Brockman

The Invention of Wings- Sue Monk Kidd

Raw- Belle Aurora

Still Life With Bread Crumbs- Anna Quindlen

I Shall Be Near To You- Erin Lindsay McCabe

The Kept- James Scott

Careless People- Sarah Churchwell (check)

The Vanishing- Wendy Webb

A Star For Mrs. Blake- April Smith

My Age of Anxiety- Scott Stossel

The Headmaster’s Wife- Thomas Christopher Green

Book Club Picks

The Fall of Giants- Ken Follet

The Day the Falls Stood Still- Cathy Marie Buchanan

Elegy For April- Benjamin Black

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks- Rebbecca Skloot

The Fault in Our Stars- John Green

Wild: From Lost To Found- Cheryl Strayed

Defending Jacob- William Landay

Loving Frank- Nancy Horan

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand- Helen Simonson

Let the Great World Spin- Colum McCann

A Visit From the Good Squad- Jennifer Egan

A Reliable Wife- Robert Goolrick

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- Ranson Riggs

The Husband’s Secret- Liane Moriarty

Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- Devid Wroblewski

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry- Rachel Joyce

Same Kind of Different As Me- Ron Hall

Cutting for Stone- Abraham Verghese

The Dinner- Herman Koch

The Age of Miracles- Karen Thompson Walker

Wonder- R J Palacio

The Devil in the White City- Erik Larson

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- Jonathan Safran Foer

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore- Robin Sloane


Freedom to Read Week

We’re in the midst of Feedom to Read Week! This week is about celebrating our right to intellectual freedom. As a Canadian citizen, you have the right to read what you like. You shouldn’t have to worry about banned, censored, controversial, or out-of-the-ordinary books. To celebrate our freedom to read, we have displayed books that have been challenged by institutions in the past. Someone didn’t want to allow access to these books, so we encourage you to give them a try! We’re displaying both Adult titles and Children’s and Teens’ titles. Check one out today and exercise your right to read whatever you like!

Our Freedom to Read display on main floor.

Freedom to Read display in Children's and Teens' Services.Freedom to Read


Best Read of 2012 Staff Picks

Best Read of 2012

St. Thomas Public Library staff have put together another awesome display of “Best Read of 2012 Staff Picks.” The books in the display are ones that library staff have read in 2012 and think are so fantastic that you need to read them too! Most of the recommendations are from the Adult Fiction collection, but some are Teen and Youth fiction. All are well worth the read!

And now it’s YOUR turn! Tell us your favourite read of 2012; we’ll include it in our display and you’ll have a chance to win a library prize pack! Comment on this post or email Ruth at to participate.

You don’t have to come to the library to see what’s on the display. Here’s the complete list of recommendations:

  • The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Angelberger, Tom
  • Year of the Flood by Atwood, Margaret
  • Alice I Have Been by Benjamin, Melanie
  • San Miguel by Boyle, T.C.
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Ray
  • A Red Herring without Mustard by Bradley, Alan
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Brunt, Carol
  • Glamping with Mary Jane: Glamour and Camping by Butlers, Mary Jane
  • Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Cabot, Meg
  • Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Cain, Susan
  • A Dog’s Purpose by Cameron, Bruce
  • Enders Game by Card, Orson Scott
  • Graceling by Cashore, Kristin
  • The End of the Line by Cerrito, Angela
  • The Good Father by Chamberlain, Diane
  • Hunger Games by Collins, Suzanne
  • The Drop by Connelly, Michael
  • Book of Lost Things by Connolly, John
  • Little, Big by Crowley, John
  • The Maze Runner by Dashner, James
  • Our Daily Bread by Davis, Lauren B.
  • The House I Loved by De Rosnay, Tatiana
  • The Sisters Brothers by deWitt, Patrick
  • River of Destiny by Erskine, Barbara
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Evison, Jonathan
  • Gone Girl by Flynn, Gillian
  • Love Anthony by Genova, Lisa
  • Heading out to Wonderful by Goolrick, Robert
  • Secret Daughter by Gowda, Shilpa Somaya
  • On this Island by Graves, Tracey Garvis
  • Bloom by Hampton, Kelle
  • Locke & Key by Hill, Joe
  • Alzheimer’s: Finding the Words by Hodgson, Harriet
  • Snow Child by Ivey, Eowyn
  • Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Joyce, Rachel
  • Life of Pi by Martel, Yan
  • Spin by McKenzie, Catherine
  • Forgotten by McKenzie, Catherine
  • Talk Funny Girl by Merullo, Roland
  • Phantom by Nesbo, Jo
  • Birthmarked by O’Brien, Caragh
  • Wonder by Palaccio, R.J.
  • Book of Awesome by Pasricha, Neil
  • Bury Your Dead by Penny, Louise
  • Beautiful Mystery by Penny, Louise
  • Serena by Rash, Ron
  • The Imposter Bride by Richler, Nancy
  • The Shanghai Murders by Rotenberg, David
  • The Placebo Effect by Rotenberg, David
  • Divergent by Roth, Veronica
  • The Goat Woman of Largo Bay by Royes, Gillian
  • The Prisoner of Heaven by Ruiz, Carlos Zafon
  • Wonderstruck and the Invention of Hugo Calret by Selznick, Brian
  • Between Shades of Grey by Sepetys, Ruta
  • Story of Beautiful Girl by Simon, Rachel
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Sloan, Robin
  • The House at Tyneford by Solomons, Natasha
  • The Light Between Oceans by Stedman, M.L.
  • The Help by Stockett, Kathryn
  • The Age of Miracles by Thompson, Karen Walker
  • Cool Water by Warren, Dianne
  • The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Wingfield, Jenny
  • The Book Thief by Zusak, Markus

Book Review Added – December 12 2012

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Meagan has just added a new book review for:


by: Oliver Sacks

Check it out. Don’t forget – many library staff members review books. Find them all on the “Reader’s Advisory” page of this blog!