Did you know that June is Indigenous Book Club Month? Perhaps you’re participating with your book club, but even if you’re not in a book club it’s a good time to check out some Indigenous authors! Here are some picks from our collection:
Stranger 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.
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.
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.
*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.
The Adult Department on the main level of St. Thoma Public Library now has THREE book displays: one in the fiction area, one in the Marketplace near the DVDs, and one in the non-fiction section. It keeps our staff (and our customers) busy, busy, busy! What’s featured this February? Nothing but fabulosity!
They’re back! Blind Date with a Book is in full swing and ready for you to pick our your fate-crossed-read. These books have been selected by library staff to represent the good, the bad, and the unusual. It might be the most amazing thing you’ve read, or it might be a bit of a dud. Ah, the beauty of a blind date with a book – you might read something that you wouldn’t have considered even picking up and fall absolutely in love with it, or you might think “What the heck am I reading?” The point is, you won’t know what book you get until you “Check it out,” and the mystery is half the fun. We just hope you can get past the cheesy book pick-up lines… (They’re books. Cut them some slack. They do the best they can, even with pick-up lines like “You’re good for my circulation.”) Date not working for you? No worries! You can simply return your date and they’ll never call you leaving awkward voicemail or creep you on Facebook.
Not everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day in February, and we support those folks! We’re doing something 100% opposite to the lovey-dovey chick-lit that usually appears in February. We have a new library display: Read It and Weep. This display is full of books that will move you to tears, be they happy, heartfelt, indignant, righteous, or horrified tears, we suggest you have a box of tissues with you. Don’t get us wrong – they’re not meant to be depressing. Some of the best books we’ve ever read have moved us to tears! And besides, sometimes you can use a good cry. Books like these open your eyes to certain issues and make empathic readers out of all of us. Give this display a good look. There are some GOOD ones here for sure!
When it comes to displaying non-fiction books, it can get a little tricky. They can often be too specific and we sometimes run out of books to display! Never good. So we’re relying on an old faithful – displays by colour. This month, we’re going with Have You RED This Book Yet? All of the books on this non-fiction display have nothing really in common, except the colour of the cover. There are books from nearly EVERY subject on this display; You’ll never know what treasure you’ll find on there. It’s interesting to see what kind of themes appear when we just select books based on the colour of their cover. Let us know if you can sense a pattern. (It isn’t intentional, but the book publishing folks would probably tell you it is!)
During the month of November, thousands of men grow mustaches to create awareness of men’s health, in particular the importance of prostate check-ups. Men (and women) also raise money to help support research and awareness of prostate health.
This year, St. Thomas Public Library is getting into the spirit of creating awareness and supporting the issues of men’s health in a more creative way. Check out our “Movember Bro-Lit” display, located on the main level of the library in the fiction section. These books feature male protagonists, are mostly action, mystery, and crime fiction, and are generally “Guy books.” They’re action-packed, plot-driven, fast-paced, and suspenseful. Ladies, no worries. You can read Bro-Lit, too. The book doesn’t mind who reads it.
To find out more about Movember, visit the official Canadian Movember website: http://ca.movember.com/
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
If you don’t have time to browse the picture book shelf with your choosy toddler, and also don’t have time to hand-pick the very best books to develop your tots’ literacy skills, don’t despair! We have done that work for you. Just pick up a pre-filled Ready Set Read Backpack! Inside you’ll find six specially selected books that each focus on a different literacy skill. Here are the six skills that the Ready Set Read Backpacks focus on:
I Like books! (Print Motivation Skills): Books to foster a love of reading.
I Hear Words! (Phonological Awareness Skills): Books to develop the ability to hear and play with the sounds of words.
I Know Words! (Vocabulary Skills): Books that introduce new words in a fun way.
I Can Tell a Story! (Narrative Skills): Books that focus on describing and storytelling skills.
I See Words! (Print Awareness Skills): Books to encourage children to notice print everywhere and help them learn to follow words on a page.
I Know Letters! (Letter Knowledge Skills): Books that show how letters are different from each other and each make a different sound.
These skills are also what teachers like to see when your child begins school, so if you have a little one starting in the fall you may want to check out some backpacks this summer. There are three levels of backpacks available: “Early Talkers” for newborn to 2 years old, “Talkers” for ages 2-3 and “Pre-Readers” for ages 4-5. Just check on the tag to see what age and books are in the backpack. We recently refreshed our Ready Set Read Backpacks with all new books, so if you haven’t checked out our selection in a while you may want to visit it again!
Today is National Day of Honour, a day to acknowledge the the sacrifices made by the men and women of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. More than 40,000 members of the Canadian Forces participated in the Afghan mission since it began in 2001, and today is an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the courage and sacrifices of the men and women who served there. We welcome home the members who served and remember the 158 Canadian soldiers and four Canadian civilians who lost their lives in Afghanistan. Canadian Service Members demonstrated extreme commitment, dedication, and courage at the highest of military standards.
If you’d like to learn more about Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, check out our display in the Adult Services Department.