Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Print vs. Digital: YA Reader Edition

Whoever said today's youth can't unplug from technology is wrong... at least according to a survey that finds that 62% of young reader aged 16 to 24 prefer printed books over their digital equivalents. Given the limitless technology that surrounds youth today (and I'm speaking from experience with two teens of my own) these results are exciting!) This is great news for all of us library and book professionals though!

The debate between books and e-books comes down to a couple factors such as preference, convenience and price -- all things that were addressed in this study. Check out the full article on The Guardian, click here

Friday, December 27, 2013

What We're Reading This Holiday Season

I know how I'll be spending my holidays (that is, when I'm not partaking in all the delicious food and festivities). I'm giving my "To Be Read" pile some attention! I asked my fellow Deweys what's on their "To Be Read" piles and this is what they said:


Wake by Anna Hope
(Random House)


I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
(Little Brown & Company)


HYDE by Daniel Levine 
(Houghton Mifflin Harourt)


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
(Reagan Arthur Books)


The Paris Architect: A Novel
by Charles Belfoure


The Devil I Know by Claire Kilroy
(Grove Atlantic)


TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
(Random House)

Caught by Lisa Moore

How to Get Along With Women: Short Stories 
By Elisabeth de Mariaffi
(Invisible Printing)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 
(Little, Brown and Company)

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes 

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tangled Tinsel Christmas Activities from Owlkids

If you are looking for fun Christmas crafts to keep your little ones busy this holiday season, I have the perfect thing for you! Owlkids has created downloadable Christmas activities from the adorable book, My Beastly Book of Tangled Tinsel. A great way to spend a snowy afternoon!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Dewey Divas and Dudes Top 5: Pamela's Picks!

I hope after all these reading suggestions your To Be Read piles are rapidly growing by now! My next list comes from Pamela Frick, a former public librarian who has been working as an adult selections specialist with Whitehots for the last two years. For Pamela, compiling this list was very difficult as she is very close to reading 100 books this year! Here are Pamela's picks:

1. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (Penguin)

"An important, beautiful and sometimes horrendous novel of Canada’s First Nations history, as told by a masterful Canadian storyteller."

2. The Baroness: The Search for Nica, the Rebellious Rothschild by Hannah Rothschild (Knopf)

"Combining for me my love of reading and jazz is this biography of Kathleen Annie Pannonica de Koeigswarter (nee Rothschild), also known as Nica, the Jazz Baroness, told against the backdrop of her family history and the events of the twentieth century."

3. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Morrow)

"Gaiman confronts the disparate views of adults and children as the narrator revisits the scenes of his childhood."

4. Transatlantic by Column McCann (HarperCollins)

"Seldom does a book bring me to tears but there was a moment in the final chapter when I was very close." 

5. Mr. Seldon's Map of China by Timothy Brook (Anansi)

"Brook gives us a brief view of England and China (also other trading nations such as The Netherlands and Spain) but concentrates more on the possible provenance of the map."

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Dewey Divas and Dudes Top 5: Mike's Picks!

Representing East Side Canada, I asked Mike Hamm from Bookmark Inc. in Halifax. If you're visiting Halifax, you should definitely visit this beautiful little independent bookstore. Mike's descriptions alone make me want to read these books! Here are his picks:

1. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (Penguin)

"As an already devoted fan of Boyden, I was so very hungry for this book. Once finished, I had the feeling that this was another instant Canadian classic. Never have I been so immersed in the geography of setting. The writing is again incredibly assured and magnificent."

2. The Misfortunates by Dimitri Verhulst (Portobello Books Ltd) 

"A Belgian Dutch writer recounts the lives of a family of brothers who drink, watch TV, carouse, fight, sleep and then drink some more and the one son who sees the possibility of a world outside his uncles' influence. For those who love the gritty realistic humour of Roddy Doyle. And amazing insights into human nature."

3. The Dinner by Herman Koch (Hogarth)

"A small story in terms of locales and the characters' physical movement but huge in it's discussion of responsibility and parenting. The central mystery of the novel, largely revealed as two couples meet in a high end restaurant, has a very sad connection to an actual recent event in my province of Nova Scotia. For this reason among many others, The Dinner has resonated greatly with me this year."

4. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (Hogarth)

"War-time atrocities are uncovered in a ravaged Chechnya as an urban doctor and small town widower take on the care of a frightened young girl. The subject matter is dark and emotionally challenging but this is a writer of singular talent. There are paragraphs that stopped me in my tracks. I let them wash over me and then I reread them. At times like these, I marvelled at the terrible beauty of Marra's words."

5. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence (Redhook)

"For those of you who adore Mark Haddon and enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry, this is the book for you. A meteorite crashes through the roof of young Alex's house, he suffers a resultant coma but ends up gaining the friendship of a crotchety yet caring elderly man. Through Alex's encounters with bullying, euthanasia and a Kurt Vonnegut bookclub, this book's sheer magic shines through. And who can deny the literary greatness of this author's name!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Dewey Divas and Dudes Top 5: Chris' Picks!

If you love sci-fi and fantasy and you haven't visited Bakka Phoenix Books in Toronto, then you are missing out! Bakka Phoenix Books is the oldest sci-fi/fantasy bookstore in Canada and it is amazing! I called on the manager, Chris Szego, for her top picks of the year. I knew she was a trusted and well-read source but can you believe she reads on average 10 books a week?! While I am beyond impressed (and slightly jealous) she warned me that it was very difficult for her to only pick five. Here are her picks:

1. Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop (Roc Hardcover)
"A thoroughly enjoyable urban fantasy in which humans are not the dominant species on the planet. A fun read: I'm looking forward to the next book in the series."

2. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield (Random House) 
"I say this unironically, as an adult: Chris Hadfield is my hero.
His intelligence, humour, and above all his sheer delight in his work is a constant inspiration. Read this book."

3. A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (MacMillan)

"Hardinge's impressive originality is on full display in this story about the underground city of Caverna. The city's denizens can create wines to make you forget your dreams; perfumes to send you to sleep, and cheeses that can kill -- but they cannot make any facial expressions until they are taught how. Into this world falls young Neverfell, whose face reflects everything that she feels... and Caverna will never be the same."

4. Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn (Ace Hardcover) 
"Josetta may be a princess, but she will not allow her entire life to be eaten by court intrigue. Rafe is a gambler who is looking to make something more of his life. When they meet, the world will change in ways they can't even imagine. I already want more."

5. An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James (NAL Trade)
"In post WWI England, a young woman encounters a number of mysteries when she travels to a small town to settle the affairs of her recently deceased uncle. Beautifully written, with a definite feel for the historical period. (And Canadian!)"

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Dewey Divas and Dudes Top 5: Ron's Picks!

I keep hearing about how difficult it's been for each of my Top 5 contributors to narrow their favorites and I don't blame them. There have been so many amazing books in 2013! The next list of recommendations comes from Ron Stadnik, Print Manager at Library Bound in Waterloo. Here are his top picks:

1. The Deep Whatsis by Peter Mattei (HarperCollins)

"Mad Men meets Fight Club by way of American Psycho."

2. A Map of Tulsa by Benjamin Lytal (Penguin)

"Coming of age tale by a first time novelist; quite possibly the best reviewed book of adult fiction this year. A reminder of why I love the work I do."

3. With Charity for All by Ken Stern (Doubleday)

"An expose of the seldom scrutinized state of the charitable/non-profit sector in the U.S. An absolute must read, I just wish for a book that looked at the situation in Canada, although I sadly suspect it would be analogous."

4. Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga by Benjamin Lorr (St. Martin's Press)

"Part transformative memoir, part expose of yoga guru Bikram Choudhury, this is at its heart a look at obsession, which makes it for readers of The Orchid Thief as much as anyone that can't through the day without a downward facing dog."

5. The Circle by Dave Eggers (Knopf Canada)

"For readers of Walker Percy and fans of Christopher Hitchens, this would make a great book club pick. With apologies to Timothy Leary, I hope it’ll make inspire people to  “turn off, unplug, drop out” or at least examine the role of technology in their lives more closely."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Dewey Divas and Dudes Top 5 Books: Linda's Picks!

Let's continue with our Top Books of 2013! These recommendations have been very helpful to me so far, reminding me of those books that have fallen off my radar, and helping me out with those tough-to-buy-for people on my list. Next, I called on Linda Ludke, librarian and children's materials selector of the London Public Library. As a trusted book lover, I knew I could count on her for some fantastic titles and this time we are starting to see some repeats (they must be that good!). Here are Linda's picks:

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Press)

"This swoon-worthy book brought me back to a time when love often blossomed with the exchange of a mix tape. I would sit with these characters on a bus trip any day." 

2. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toren (Doubleday)

"I liked how Adam wasn’t just defined by his OCD- he was also a teen in love, a son dealing with divorce.  It was very realistic and at times laugh-out-loud funny."

3. Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (House of Anansi)

"There are so many beautifully created, quiet scenes in this graphic novel that pack an emotional wallop. Arsenault’s illustrations are as eloquent as ever."

4. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Penguin)

"Willow Chance’s story of grief and loss and love is so incredibly touching.  She is a character I kept thinking about long after I put the book down."

5. That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems (HarperCollins)

"This book is a silent movie that stars a dastardly fox villain, a wide-eyed ingĂ©nue goose and an audience of wing-flapping chicks. Mo Willems’ comedic timing is brilliant."

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Dewey Divas and Dudes Top 5 Books: Ken's Picks!

Here we go again! This time I called on Ken Setterington, Renaissance Man, for his top 5 books of the year. Ken was recently interviewed by Shelagh Rogers on CBC Radio's The Next Chapter where he discussed his new book, Branded by the Pink Triangle. He even took time out of his vacay on the beach to write this list! Here are his picks:

1. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten (Doubleday)

"Without question a most worthy recipient of this year's Governor General's Award. This was a book that really nails respect for teens and the challenges that they face, but it does so with humour and compassion."

2. The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden by Jill MacLean (Fitzhenry & Whiteside)

"It is surprising that a book with a cover that looks like it is about a young naturalist or ornithologist is actually about a girl who is trying to escape her past bullying ways. Thoughtful and demanding of the reader.  Love the book - hate the cover!"

"This is the sort of book that will appeal to all readers, male and female. The simple, straight forward text tells how forensics have been useful uncovering historical truths."

"Who hasn't wanted to make their own film?  This book tells the reader how to get started and how to make a film from beginning to end.  Love that the screening is included as part of the process!"

5. The Four Seasons of Patrick by Susan Hughes (Red Deer Press)

"In a short simple chapter book Susan Hughes lets a young reader share with Patrick the fears, annoyance and challenges of becoming part of a blended family. Hughes really understands the realities facing young children."

Monday, December 2, 2013

Introducing the Dewey Divas and Dudes Top Picks of the Year: Rachel's Pick!

It's hard to believe it's that time of year again... Soon the malls will be filled with carols and garland and the holiday craziness will be upon us! That's why we thought it would be perfect timing to introduce to you top picks of the year from some of our trustworthy book professionals to bring you their top books of the year, and maybe help you with your holiday gift giving this season. Our first recommendations come from Rachel Seigel, Sales and Selection Strategist at EDU Reference Publishers Direct. Rachel also has a blog: http://readingtimbits.blogspot.com and contributes regularly to www.publishingcrawl.com.
Here are her top 5 picks of 2013:

1. Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds (Chronicle Books)

"A clever and wickedly funny picture book told from the point of view of a timber wolf, a great white shark and a lion, who lament that they are misunderstood and wrongly judged." 

2. Grafitti Knight by Karen Bass (Pajama Press)

"This book is a fast-paced page-turner and compelling historical fiction for tweens and teens. It contains just the right mix of adventure and suspense to keep readers interested, and is one of my favourite novels this year."

3. Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

"Her characterizations are spot-on, and I love the combination of science, math and humour, and the sense of wonder she creates about learning.  A perfect middle-grade read."

4. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (Hachette)

"Think Notting Hill but with teens and in a book. It’s a book that just makes you smile when you read it." 

5. That's Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems (HarperCollins)

"Filled with humour and clever illustrations, this book is exactly what you’d expect from the creator of Pigeon and Elephant & Piggie."