STPL’s Most Popular Reads of 2017!

It’s about that time when we look for that list of the absolute best reads of the year.  You can look at the Globe and Mail Best Sellers, the New York Times Best Sellers or even Amazon Best Sellers. Today we are providing you with a list of the Most Popular Books at the St. Thomas Public Library for 2017! We already know James Patterson and Nora Roberts and John Grisham are popular so we won’t be listing those here. These are titles and authors that may be new to you and we are excited to share!

Here are the Top Fiction Picks for 2017:

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist. Find it here!

Alice Network third draft

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

1947: In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915: A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into the enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches thme both on a mission to find the truth… no matter where it leads. Find it here!

91gAap1iABLThe Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival. Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything. Find it here!

clare_mackintosh_front_cover_1I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her. It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com. Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target, and now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move… Find it here!

my-not-so-perfect-lifeMy (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud. Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life. Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth. Find it here!

The Top Non-fiction picks for 2017:

trevor-noah-born-a-crimeBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. Find it here!

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Testimony by Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson’s singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” he and his partners in The Band fashioned music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians. In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild, early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of The Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history’s most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese’s great movie The Last Waltz. Find it here!

58f95fbc6c5e9.imageKillers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. Find it here! 

imageSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo Sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical — and sometimes devastating — breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Find it here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indigenous Book Club Month

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:

Featuring Fabulous February Finds

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!

The MarketplaceBlind Date with a Book Display 2015

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.

Adult Fiction

Read it and weep DisplayRead it and Weep Display SignNot 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!

Adult Non-fiction

When it comes to displaying non-fiction books, it can get a little tricky. They can ofteHave you Red this book yet 2015 displayn 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!)

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.

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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.

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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 #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

 

Adult Graphic Novels Are Here!

Reason #17 - Adult Graphic Novels

Graphic novels have, in the past, been regarded as just for children or only about superheroes. In reality their audience is as broad as can be imagined and their content as complex and emotive as any book or film in our library’s collection. In the past decades graphic novels have achieved mainstream success and acclaim for their intricate storylines and compelling, often beautiful, artwork. Below are a few titles worth reading, but the best use of your time would be to come and explore the section yourself and discover a novel or series which captivates you!

Some suggestions from our collection:

Y: The Last Man by Bryan K. Vaughan – This series imagines a world where a plague has destroyed every male human and animal save one man and his capuchin monkey. It follows Yorick and Ampersand’s travels and trials as they struggle to find their place in a world where some support them in their quest to save the human race and others wish to exterminate man once and for all. Illustrated by Canadian Pia Guerra, Y: The Last Man is an excellent and enjoyable series.

y the last man

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman – Many will be familiar with the protagonist Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors from the popular TV series. Enthusiasts of the show should take the opportunity to delve further into the world of ‘walkers’ and ‘biters’. The graphic novel is illustrated in black and white and provides a story of survival in a place where the most dangerous encounters are not with zombies but with other humans.

The Walking Dead covers_0

Essex County by Jeff Lemire – Award winning cartoonist Jeff Lemire explores his hometown of Essex in this hauntingly beautiful story. In addition to remarkably drawn and inked images, this meditation on family, friends, loss and redemption is one to which many can relate. This genre is perfect for people not interested in science fiction or fantasy, but just looking for a touching book to read.

essexcounty

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo – This manga is set in Neo-Tokyo in a dystopian future following a nuclear explosion which had destroyed the earlier version of the city and precipitated World War III. The artwork in this series is highly regarded and set a new standard for the manga which would follow it. The storyline is action packed and exciting while also exploring broader themes of social isolation, corruption and power.

Akira

Ode to Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka – This manga is new to our collection! It follows Dr. Kirihito Osani as he combats a disease which first deforms, then eventually kills, those who contract it. His efforts leave him infected with the disease and cause him embark on travels around the world. Ode to Kirihito a story which is both gripping and emotionally touching.

ode to kirihito

 

Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar – This graphic novel is new to our collection! Superman: Red Son is a reimagining of the classic story where, instead of landing in Kansas, Superman’s rocket ship touches down on a Ukranian collective farm at the height of the Cold War. Instead of being the quintessential American hero, Superman protects and promotes the USSR and socialism. This story provides an interesting twist to a familiar tale.

Supermanredson

What Kind of Animal Are You?

8766459-red-fox

Right now the St. Thomas Public Library is featuring fiction and non-fiction books about animals. Whether fact or fiction, these books reflect our special relationships with our four-legged friends and lead us to think about what they add to our lives.
Thinking about animals brought to mind a question that I was asked years ago in a job interview at the start of my working career. The question was “If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be and why?” Thoughts of rabbits and deer came to mind but fortunately my cerebral cortex recognized this was one of those trick questions meant to calculate personality. After a brief hesitation, I replied “I would be a fox because they are sly, intelligent, and beautiful.”
Now decades later, I find myself pondering the question “What kind of animal have I become and why?” I am neither a deer nor a rabbit nor a fox. I believe that I have evolved into a Border collie. The reasons for this belief is because I work hard to keep those around me safe. I try to keep friends, family, and co-workers out of harm’s way. I try to move them in the right direction. When I bark and nip at their heels it is for their own good. I am loyal, tenacious, prone to hyper-activity, reliable, and often scratch behind my ears when thinking. I take my jobs and adult responsibilities seriously. I do what I can to prevent bad things from happening. I am the protector and the guardian of my various flocks.
Although I would still like to be a fox, I feel that my Border collie traits are valuable. You may find it interesting to ask yourself the animal questions of what would you be and what are you. The analysis may be surprising and enlightening.

 

P.S. Come into to the library and discover our “Creature Feature” display. Oh by the way, I got the job. Perhaps there is a bit of fox there.

-DH

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