Posts about services that the library has to offer

Collecting for Annual Alliston Potato Festival Book Sale


It’s that time of the year again, when the library is collecting donations for our annual Alliston Potato Festival Book Sale. Potato Festival weekend is August 10, 11 & 12, 2018, and our book sale will fall on the Saturday.

We are happy to accept books in EXCELLENT (like new) condition for the book sale. Please note, no materials older than 2 year will be accepted unless in good condition.

Please bring your donations to the front desk. Library staff will look at them and take what we are able to accept.

We are unable to accept:

  • National Geographic Magazines
  • Encyclopedia
  • Reader’s Digest Books
  • Damaged or Mouldy Books
  • Textbooks

For items that we cannot accept, consider taking them to one of the many thrift stores and second-hand book stores in New Tecumseth.

**Please bring your donations to the Memorial Branch in Alliston 

17 Victoria St. E.**

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Book Review: The Crucible

CrucibleThe Crucible

By: Arthur Miller

This powerful book, written originally for the theatre, is haunting and still relatable today. Set in seventeenth century Massachusetts, at the height of the witch-hunting hysteria, is the story of good and evil in a town obsessed with upholding Puritan morality. The story follows John Proctor as he is slowly sucked into the crooked politics of the religious and power-hungry residents. The plot is a metaphor for the McCarthy era’s mania with communism and its followers. Intense and moving, this book highlights the power of peer pressure, and what it means to be a person of integrity and moral conviction.

– Alix G.

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County of Simcoe’s Textile Collection

Textile BagsThe County of Simcoe is having its first textile collection this month! For New Tecumseth, textile items should be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on Monday, June 11.

Extra pink textile collection bags are available at any of the three New Tecumseth Public Library branches – so if you need more, come pick some up!

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Digital Photography in a Flash or Pixel Perfect Pictures

Digital Photography

Not every picture tells us a thousand words. Sometimes all we get is a garbled sentence at best. I’m not saying that I’m a digital Ansel Adams or the next Annie Leibovitz; however, I am sure I will be able to help answer a few questions on digital cameras and photography. Over the next couple of tech posts I plan on discussing Digital Photography, as requested by you (well actually our patron’s surveys). We will start with some of the terminology and eventually work our way to discussing the difference between the camera on your phone and high end models.

Megapixels, 2K, UHD, SD Card, ISO, TV or S, RAW what does this all mean?? Is any of it important?? Before we jump headlong into the discussion of what type of camera suits your needs best, we should get to know some of the lingo first.

Aperture: The lens opening that allows more, or less light onto the sensor formed by a diaphragm inside the actual lens.
Aspect Ratio: The ratio of horizontal to vertical dimensions of an image. For example,  35mm slide film = 3:2, TV = 4:3, HDTV = 16:9, 4×5 Film = 5:4.
Bit Depth: Refers to the colour or greyscale of each individual pixel. For example a pixel with 8 bits per colour (red, green and blue), gives a 24 bit image. 24 bit resolution is 16.7 million colours.
Bitmap: The method of storing information that actually maps an image pixel bit by bit. Formats include; .bmp, .pcx, .pict, .tif, .tiff, .gif. Most picture files are bit-mapped.
Bridge camera: This camera type falls between simple point-and-shoots and DSLRs or mirrorless cameras in both size and capabilities. They generally incorporate some advanced features — such as larger sensors, more powerful processors or sophisticated controls — but their lenses are not removable. Some bridge cameras have very long zoom lenses; 30X or  greater is not uncommon.
Centre: Weighted. Term used to describe an automatic exposure system that uses just the centre portion of the image to adjust the overall value. So in effect, the exposure will be weighted to what you see towards the centre of your viewfinder.
Compact Flash (CF) memory card: A popular type of memory card. Used in digital photography to store images. The amount of memory per card varies. Currently the majority of memory capacities freely available range from 4GB to 32GB. The larger capacity cards are really of use to professionals only. CF cards are the largest of the popular format memory cards. These days they are used mostly in larger digital cameras, rarely compact consumer cameras.
DSLR: Stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. This is the digital equivalent of a SLR camera. The difference between this and a traditional SLR is that a DSLR doesn’t need film. The photograph is recorded on a digital image sensor and saved onto a memory card.

viewfinder (EVF):

Unlike traditional DSLRs that use a mirror to reflect the image up to your eye, an electronic viewfinder is a tiny, high-definition LCD or OLED screen that provides a preview directly from the image sensor. It is found in some mirrorless and bridge cameras.


Face recognition: Many cameras have the ability to recognize a person’s face (or multiple faces) when you’re shooting a portrait, group shot or other scene, and set those as the points for optimal focus and exposure.
HD video: Most new digital cameras are capable of recording high-definition video, at a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels (720p). Increasingly more cameras can capture video at 1920 x 1080 pixels, known as 1080p or full HD. And some can even capture video at 3840 x 2160 pixels, known as 4K or Ultra HD.
Image sensor: The heart and soul of every digital camera, it’s the silicon chip (generally using CMOS but sometimes CCD technology) that captures the picture or video you’re shooting.
JPEG: The Joint Photographic Experts Group file format is the most popular for storing digital images from a camera. To speed up operations, as well as save storage space, JPEG images are compressed; the degree of compression determines the quality of the image. JPEG image quality is not as good as when the image data is saved without compression (RAW). However, the RAW file format requires more storage space, takes longer to capture and process, and is not standard (each camera manufacturer has its own version).
Megapixel: A pixel, also called a picture element, is the smallest part of an image that can display full color. Even the smallest image sensors now create images with millions of pixels, known as megapixels. A higher number of megapixels is not necessarily better; it simply refers to the amount of detail that can be recorded, not the quality or accuracy of the image itself.
Memory card: A tiny, flat, solid-state electronic device that records digital data. Most digital cameras and video recorders save the images or clips onto the SD (secure data) card. The larger CF (compact flash) card is found in many “pro” DSLR models. Each card can typically hold between 1GB and 64GB of data, or anywhere from 25 to 1,500 images or 5 minutes to an hour of video.
Point-and-shoot: Also known as P&S, these are simple cameras in which the only tasks needed to take a photograph are to turn on the unit, point it at the subject and press the shutter button. Even most sophisticated, semi-pro and professional cameras have an Auto function that’s essentially a P&S mode. Point-and-shoot has come to denote relatively small cameras that don’t accept interchangeable lenses, even though some of them may offer advanced features and control options.
RAW: A file format, usually proprietary to each camera manufacturer, that stores all the captured image data without compression. RAW files are usually processed outside the camera in editing software such as Photoshop. Compared to the compressed JPEG, the RAW file contains significantly more data, such as greater bit depth, and can be useful for “rescuing” shots that may have color issues or incorrect exposure. Cameras that allow images to be saved in the RAW file format can also be set to simultaneously capture JPEGs, so the user has the option of which format to use for each picture.
SLR: Short for Single-Lens Reflex, an SLR is a film camera in which a mirror reflects incoming light from the lens into an optical viewfinder, allowing the photographer to preview and frame a shot. When the photographer presses the shutter button, the mirror instantly swings up, and the shutter opens, exposing the film to the light from the subject. Its electronic equivalent is the DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex camera.

Find these and many other digital photography terms over at Tom’s Guide thanks to Daniel Grotta. I hope that learning a few of these terms will help you to start navigating the landscape of digital photography and make it easier to picture what you want from a digital cameras. Next time I will look at the difference between DSLR and Point and Shoot cameras. All in preparation for our upcoming Tech Talk Seminar on digital photography.

Until Next Time,

– Scott M.


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Library Tips & Tricks: The NTPL Events Calendar

Did you know that the library keeps a calendar of events on our website? All our upcoming programs are posted in this calendar.

Library Home Page

Our home page has a short list version embedded into it as shown in the image above. You can access the full calendar by clicking any of the following links, as demonstrated in the graphic below:

  • Click on the word Calendar (in the yellow box)
  • Click on the calendar graphic
  • Click on the word View
  • Click on All Events

Library Home Page 1

The calendar opens in the list view, which lists all upcoming events in chronological order. If you prefer to look at one month at a time, you can click on the Month View option to change to a calendar view of the current month.

Calendar Default Page2

You can look ahead by selecting the month of your choice from the drop-down menu.

Calendar View2

The library catalogue is updated on a regular basis, so check back often to see what new events might have been added!



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Cyber Security Stories or Cyberspace Criminal Capers

Technology Thursday – Special Tuesday Edition


Who out there has $500 Billion they can lend us?? I know I sure don’t. Okay I guess that’s asking alot, but that is the conservatively estimated cost of cybercrime Microsoft is forecasting for 2018. With the increase in ransomware attacks, to the breach of Equifax this past year, this number doesn’t seem too far off the mark. Now larger corporations might have more money to lose than you or I, but that doesn’t mean what we might lose is any less valuable. Family photos, private files and personal information, maybe even the computer itself, can all disappear.

Many of you, the readers and library patrons, know that when I’m not behind the circulation desk at the library, I can be found wearing a red polo for one of the well known electronics retail chains; where I see more and more customers coming in to our tech desk seeking help with a computer that has been the victim of a cyber attack. From worms, to spyware, to Trojan horses and beyond, people are unfortunately seeing the underbelly of what is lurking in cyberspace. I wish I could say that for every customer that comes in we can don our capes and heroically save the day.

The truth of the matter is that once a machine has been hit with a virus, it is a game of chance trying to recover it. Think of it in terms of a brick wall and a tornado. Your computer is a brick wall doing its own thing without a care in the world. Then comes the malware (short for malicious software) like a tornado and hits your wall, knocking it down. We can rebuild the wall using the bricks that have been knocked down, some will be lost, others broken. Rebuilding the wall with these bricks will not be as strong as what we once had, but it will work. The only way to really have a strong wall again is to start with new bricks and mortar.

There are ways you can help to prevent the impact malware can have on your computers, and mobile devices. The use of anti-virus software, safe online practices, and attending New Tecumseth Public Library’s Tech Assist Seminar on Cybersecurity are great places to start. On April 4th from 6-8 pm the NTPL Tech Assist Team will be leading a discussion on the what to watch out for, anti-virus software, and the rise of ransomware, among other topics.  Call now to register: 705-435-5651 / 905-729-3726 / or 905-936-2291. 

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CELA – Accessibility in the Library

W englishfinalsNTPL is proud to be a partner library with CELA – the Centre for Equitable Library Access.  CELA provides Canadians with print disabilities, and the libraries that support them, access to materials in a broad range of reading materials in the accessible format of their choice.

If you have a print disability, you can borrow Daisy Books – MP3 Audiobooks on a single disc – to listen to at home. You can also register to become a CELA member, which gives you access to a growing collection of books, magazines, newspapers & described videos for every age and interest. Through CELA, you can select from various formats – audio, braille, described movies, accessible e-books, and download them to your computer, handheld device or Daisy player, or have CD and braille items delivered by mail.

Visit the CELA website or drop by your local branch to find out more about our partnership with CELA and how it can benefit you.


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Get Out of the Cold with New Tecumseth

NEW TECUMSETH, ON – If you need to get out of the cold, come to the Town of New Tecumseth’s facilities to warm up. Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has issued an extreme cold warning for New Tecumseth that is expected to continue into Saturday or possibly into Sunday morning. With the current extreme cold temperatures, if you need to get out of the cold, the Town welcomes you to warm up at one of our facilities.

These facilities will be open as places of comfort and warmth during normal hours of

  • New Tecumseth Recreation Centre, 7300 Industrial Parkway, Alliston open
    Thursday & Friday from 6 am to 10 pm and Saturday & Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm
  • Tottenham Community & Fitness Centre, 139 Queen St. N., Tottenham open
    Thursday & Friday from 6 am to 10 pm and Saturday & Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm
  • New Tecumseth Public Libraries: Memorial Branch, 17 Victoria St. E., Alliston,
    DA Jones Branch, 42 Main St. W., Beeton and the Pam Kirkpatrick Branch, 55 Queen
    St. S. (Tottenham Mall) Each of the three library branches are open: Thursday until 8 pm, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.

New Tecumseth Fire Rescue reminds residents:extreme-cold

  • Extreme cold puts everyone at risk.
  • Cover up. Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill.
  • Check on older family, friends and neighbours.
  • If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet to stay outside.

All are welcome!

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Food for Thought

F4F 2017 - Fall09

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Book Club Sets @ NTPL

Everything you need for your book club, all in one bag! Book club sets consist of 7-15 copies of the title and include a discussion guide.  They can be reserved by community book clubs – as well as by external libraries – at no charge.

One of the newer services of New Tecumseth Public Library, it has already proven to be a popular one! If you are interested in reserving a Book Club Set for your group, we ask that you register your book club with the library. To reserve or enquire about the availability of a specific set, please contact Leslie Carrol or Jo-Ann Dabrowa or call 705-435-5651 x1.

How It Works: 

Each book club set is checked out for a maximum of eight weeks to the person who reserved the set, unless otherwise agreed upon. The entire set must be returned in person to library staff. If any part of the set is lost or damaged, regular lost procedures and charges will apply.

Other Book Club Services:

Library staff are happy to meet with book clubs to discuss other options for acquiring multiple copies of book club selections. Should your club not wish to use an NTPL Book Club Set, the Ontario Interlibrary Loan system can be used to order books, contingent on the desired title being in publication for at least one year.  Please note that all members must have a New Tecumseth Public Library card.

Is your book club new and looking for tips on selecting your books and producing lively discussion? Library staff can help! Simply call Leslie or Kim to arrange a meeting.

Leslie Carrol  705-435-5651 x 1                                   Kim Burgess  705-435-5651 x 1

NTPL Currently Offers These Sets:


Cover of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window & DisappearedThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

Jonas Jonasson (2012)

Desperate to avoid is 100th birthday party, Allan Karlsson sneaks out of his nursing home, intending to travel as far as his pocket money will take him. A spur-of-the-moment decision to steal a suitcase from a fellow bus passenger sends him on a strange journey involving criminals, a pile of cash and an elephant named Sonya.

13 Copies

Cover of 419419

Will Ferguson (2012)

A literary thriller that spans continents, 419 is the story of a woman’s quest to track down the man she feels is responsible for her father’s death.

Winner of the 2012 Giller Prize

11 Copies

Cover of Above All ThingsAbove All Things

Tanis Rideout (2012)

A captivating blend of historical fact and imaginative fiction, this breathtaking debut novel of obsession and divided loyalties, brilliantly weaves together the harrowing story of George Mallory’s ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest, with that of a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return.

17 Copies

Cover of All My Puny SorrowsAll My Puny Sorrows

Miriam Toews (2014)

The story of two sisters: Yoli, a delightful mess with a passion for life, and Elf, a talented, famous pianist with a death wish. “She wanted to die and I wanted her to live and we were enemies who loved each other.” The question becomes, can Yoli convince Elf that life is worth living? All My Puny Sorrows is based on the author’s own experience of her sister’s suicide, in 2010, 12 years after their father killed himself, explaining the novel’s urgency and rawness.

15 Copies

Cover of All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr (2014)

When Marie Laure is six, she goes blind. When she is 12, the Germans occupy Paris, and she flees with her father to Saint-Malo. Meanwhile, in Germany, orphaned Werner’s talent at building radios wins him a place at a military academy. As he becomes aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and into Saint-Marlo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.

13 Copies

Cover for "The Art of Racing in the Rain" featuring a  white dog with red racing goggles and a red scarf on a green background.The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein (2009)

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television and listening carefully to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Now in his twilight years, Enzo finds himself thinking back on his life with the Swift family, reflecting on all he has learned about the human condition and how life, like racing, is about so much more than simply going fast.

21 Copies

Cover of the book "The Beauty of Humanity Movement" by Camilla Gibb, features a photograph of a Chinese person rowing a boat.

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Camilla Gibb (2010)

Set in contemporary Vietnam, this is the story of a country undergoing momentous change and the story of how family is defined – not always by bloodlines but by the heart.

6 Copies


Cover of the book The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

The Best Kind of People

Zoe Whittall (2016)

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?

With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

15 Copies

Cover of The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

Terry Fallis (2007)

A burnt-out political aide quits just before an election — but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock — an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers — to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose – or is he?

6 Copies

Cover of Better Living Through Plastic ExplosivesBetter Living Through Plastic Explosives

Zsuzsi Gartner (2011)

From an emerging master of short fiction and one of Canada’s most distinctive voices, a collection of stories as heartbreaking as those of Lorrie Moore and as hilariously off-kilter as something out of McSweeney’s. These stories ruthlessly expose our most secret desires, and allow us to snort with laughter at the grotesque world we’d live in if we all got what we wanted.

9 Copies

Cover of The Book of NegroesThe Book of Negroes

Lawrence Hill (2007)

A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroesintroduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.

15 Copies

Cover of The Boys in the TreesThe Boys in the Trees

Mary Swan (2008)

At the turn of the twentieth century, newly arrived to the countryside, William Heath, his wife, and two daughters appear the picture of a devoted family. But when accusations of embezzlement spur William to commit an unthinkable crime, those who witnessed this affectionate, attentive father go about his routine of work and family must reconcile action with character. A doctor who cared for the young Lillian searches for clues that might penetrate the mystery of the father’s motivation. Meanwhile Rachel’s teacher grapples with guilt over a moment when fate wove her into a succession of events that will haunt her dreams.

12 Copies

Cover of the book Cataract City by Craig DavidsonCataract City

Craid Davidson (2013)

Cataract City opens with Duncan Diggs serving the last day of an eight-year prison term for murder. He is picked up by his childhood friend, Owen Stuckey, and driven from the Kingston Penitentiary back to their hometown of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

15 Copies

Cover of The Cat's TableThe Cat’s Table

Michael Ondaatje (2011)

In the early 1950s, an 11-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England. At mealtimes, he is placed at the lowly “Cat’s Table” with an eccentric group of grown-ups and two other boys. At night, the boys spy on a shackled prisoner – his crime and fate a mystery that will haunt them forever.

12 Copies

Cover of the book Crow's Landing by Brad SmithCrow’s Landing

Brad Smith (2012)

Jack-of-all-trades Virgil Cain gets tangled up in an old crime surfacing from the waters of the Hudson River, in this second novel.

15 Copies

Cover of Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone

Abraham Verghese (2009)

Born of a liaison between East and West, twins Marion and Shiva Stone grow up in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution. Years later, as Marion works as a doctor in an overcrowded New York hospital, he discovers help form the family he had all but given up on years ago.

13 Copies

Cover of The DinnerThe Dinner

Herman Koch (2013)

An international bestseller, this is a darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives – all over the course of one meal.

12 Copies

Cover of The Elegance of the HedgehogThe Elegance of the Hedgehog

Muriel Barbery (2008)

The lives of a widowed caretaker of a Paris apartment building and an extremely bright but suicidal twelve-year-old are transformed by the arrival of a new tenant from Japan.

12 Copies

Cover of FaunaFauna

Alissa York (2010)

A contemporary human fable that taps into the great tenderness and drama at the heart of the animal world. Edal Jones is on stress leave from her job busting smugglers of exotic pets and banned animal parts, when she discovers a modern-day sanctuary for injured souls. Handsome proprietor Guy Howell offers refuge to animals and humans alike: a half-starved hawk and a brood of orphaned raccoons; a soldier whose heart failed him during his first tour of duty; a teenage runaway and her massive black dog. Guy’s a rare kind of man—well-versed in the delicate workings of damaged beings, he might just stand a chance at capturing Edal’s heart.

14 Copies

Cover of Fifteen DogsFifteen Dogs

Andre Alexis (2015)

Andre Alexis (2015)

The gods Hermes and Apollo wonder what would happen if animals had human intelligence – and make a wager on the outcome. This leads them to grant human consciousness and language to a group of dogs overnighting at a Toronto vet­erinary clinic. Suddenly capable of more complex thought, the pack is torn between those who resist the new ways of thinking, preferring the old ‘dog’ ways, and those who embrace the change. The gods watch from above as the dogs venture into their newly unfamiliar world.

15 Copies

Cover of The Free WorldThe Free World

David Bezmozgis (2011)

Follow the Krasnansky family, three generations of Russian Jews – through their journey of immigration, from Russian, through Rome, towards Canada.  A saga of great  historical scope and even greater human depth.

10 Copies

Cover image for the novel The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsGirl on the Train

Paula Hawkins (2015)

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman on the news, she has disappeared. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan’s body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.

13 Copies

Cover of the book A God in Ruins by Kate AtkinsonA God in Ruins

Kate Atkinson (2015)

Edward “Teddy” Todd lives this paradox every day on the pages of Kate Atkinson’s new novel, A God in Ruins. As an RAF wing commander flying a Halifax bomber during the war, Teddy is both the god who is ruined by war, and the one who rains destruction from the sky.

15 Copies

Cover of The GoldfinchThe Goldfinch

Donna Tartt (2013)

Donna Tartt (2013)

It begins with 13-year old Theo Decker, a New Yorker, who miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend, clinging to the memory of his mother, he discovers the underworld of Art. As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

16 Copies

Cover of Gone GirlGone Girl

Gillian Flynn (2012)

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

15 Copies

Cover of The Good Lord Bird

The Good Lord Bird

James McBride (2013

The memoirs of Henry Shackleford, a slave in Kansas during the Bleeding Kansas era, are discovered in a Delaware church. Henry, nicknamed “Little Onion” for eating a particularly rancid onion, accidentally encounters abolitionist John Brown in a tavern. Brown mistakes Henry for a girl because he wears a dress; Shackleford wears a dress for much of the novel. The two join together, and Henry narrates his encounters with Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and the events at John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. The book is narrated in the first person through Henry.

10 Copies

Cover of Half-Blood BluesHalf-blood Blues

Esi Edugyan (2011)

The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymous Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black. Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero’s bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there’s more to the journey than he thought.

11 Copies

Cover of the book "The Hanged Man's Noose" by Judy Penz Sheluk, featuring blueprints, peanuts on a napkin and a blueberry martiniThe Hanged Man’s Noose

Judy Penz Sheluk (2015)

Small-town secrets and subterfuge lead to murder in this fast-moving, deftly written tale of high-stakes real estate wrangling gone amok.

Journalist Emily Garland lands a plum assignment as the editor of a niche magazine based in Lount’s Landing, a small town named after a colorful 19th century Canadian traitor. As she interviews the local business owners for the magazine, Emily quickly learns that many people are unhappy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store.

Before long, a vocal dissenter at a town hall meeting about the proposed project dies. A few days later, another body is discovered, and although both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s journalistic suspicions are aroused.

Putting her reporting skills to the ultimate test, Emily teams up with Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of an antiques shop, to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme before the murderer strikes again.

9 Copies

Cover of Hellgoing


Lynn Coady (2013)

With astonishing range and depth, Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Lynn Coady gives us eight unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last.

11 Copies

Cover of A House in the SkyA House in the Sky

Amanda Lindhout (2013)

The dramatic and redemptive memoir of a woman whose curiosity led her to the world’s most beautiful and remote places, it’s most imperiled and perilous countries, and then into fifteen months of harrowing captivity—an exquisitely written story of courage, resilience, and grace. The searingly intimate story of an intrepid young woman and her search for compassion in the face of unimaginable adversity.

15 Copies

Cover of Imposter BrideThe Imposter Bride

Nancy Richler (2012)

When a young, enigmatic woman arrives in post-war Montreal, it is immediately clear that she is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Azerov shatters as she disappears, leaving a new husband and baby daughter, and a host of unanswered questions. Who is she really and what happened to the young woman whose identity she has stolen? Why has she left and where did she go? It is left to the daughter she abandoned to find the answers to these questions as she searches for the mother she may never find or really know.

14 Copies

cover of InsideInside

Alix Ohlin (2012)

In a trio of interlocked stories, Ohlin’s bleak second novel shadows three broken people in the hunt for fulfillment who sabotage any true chance of finding it.

11 Copies

Cover of the novel "The Interestings" by Meg WolitzerThe Interestings

Meg Wolitzer (2014)

“In Meg Wolitzer’s lovely, wise The Interestings, Julie Jacobson begins the summer of ’74 as an outsider at arts camp until she is accepted into a clique of teenagers with whom she forms a lifelong bond. Through well-tuned drama and compassionate humor, Wolitzer chronicles the living organism that is friendship, and arcs it over the cours of more than thirty years.”—O, the Oprah Magazine

7 copies

Cover of the book I See You by Clare MackintoshI See You

Clare Mackintosh (2017)

I See You is a thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, page-turning psychological thriller from one of the most exciting and successful British debut talents of 2015.

10 Copies

Cover of The Last LectureThe Last Lecture

Randy Pausch (2008)

According to Randy Pausch “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand” (Pausch & Zaslow, 2008). At 47 Pausch, a college professor at Carnegie Mellon University, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He then decided to write The Last Lecture.

In their last year professors are often asked to give a talk, their last lecture, in which they reflect on their experiences. While they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? What would we want as our legacy?

9 Copies

Cover of Late Nights on AirLate Nights on Air

Elizabeth Hay (2008)

Concocting a story from the entanglements and longings of a group of transplanted people working at a small radio station in the Canadian north (Yellowknife, to be exact) back in the 1970s is so old-fashioned as to appear nervy. The medium, the place and the time period come across as aspects of another world, almost forgotten and recently excavated. Over the course of the novel, a television station encroaches on radio country and a gas pipeline is in the offing, threatening the region and its native communities. But such “new” developments are rarities, and tension surrounding their arrival isn’t what keeps the reader going.

7 Copies

Cover of Life After Life by Kate AtkinsonLife After Life

Kate Atkinson (2013)

What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

Life After Life follows Ursula Todd as she lives through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. With wit and compassion, Kate Atkinson finds warmth even in life’s bleakest moments, and shows an extraordinary ability to evoke the past. Here she is at her most profound and inventive, in a novel that celebrates the best and worst of ourselves.

15 Copies

Cover image for the novel A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

A Long Way Gone

Ishmael Beah (2013)

At the age of twelve, Ishmael Beah fled attacking rebels in Sierra Leone and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. At sixteen, he was removed from fighting by UNICEF, and through the help of the staff at his rehabilitation center, he learned how to forgive himself, to regain his humanity, and, finally, to heal.

This is an extraordinary and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

6 Copies

Cover of The LuminariesThe Luminaries

Eleanor Catton (2013)

It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to the New Zealand goldfields to make his fortune. He soon stumbles across a small group of locals who are meeting to discuss a series of unsolved crimes: a wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is drawn into a network of fates that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

9 Copies

Cover of The Massey MurderThe Massey Murder

Charlotte Gray (2013)

A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot Charles “Bert” Massey in 1915. But who was the victim here? Bert, a scion of a famous family, or the frightened, perhaps mentally unstable Carrie, a penniless British immigrant? Set against a backdrop of the Great War in Europe and the changing face of a nation, this sensational crime is brought to vivid life for the first time.

8 Copies

Cover of Me Before YouMe Before You

Jojo Moyes (2012)

Louisa is living a very ordinary life… until she takes a job working for WIll Traynor, who is wheel-chair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life – big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel – and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Can love help him find the strength to carry on, or will it allow him to stop fighting?

14 Copies

Cover of the novel "Medicine Walk" by Richard WagameseMedicine Walk

Richard Wagamese (2014)

In this new novel, Wagamese presents his reader with the problem of reconciliation writ small. Franklin Starlight, 16 and raised by a guardian for most of his life, receives a summons from his biological father, who is an alcoholic dying of liver failure in a hardscrabble mill town. The request is hard to stomach, yet Franklin balks only briefly, taking up his filial duty like the honourable man he’s been raised to be, walking out on the land behind the horse that carries the broken shell of his father…

15 Copies

Cover of The Memory Keeper's DaughterThe Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Kim Edwards (2006)

What would you do if your child was born with Down’s syndrome? Dr. David Henry chooses to tell his wife their daughter died at birth, while their healthy son survived. The nurse he asks to take the baby to an institution instead keeps her and moves away. So begins this story that unfolds over a quarter of a century – in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night.

17 Copies

Cover of MidwivesMidwives

Christopher Bohjalian (1997)

The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if—as Sibyl’s assistant later charges—the patient wasn’t already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?

9 Copies

Cover of My Sister's KeeperMy Sister’s Keeper

Jodi Picoult (2005)

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues, My Sister’s Keeper  is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time. Two sisters, one a product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, born for the purpose of being a bone marrow  match for the other –  a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Always defined in terms of  her sister, Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

7 Copies

Cover of the novel "The Nest" by Cynthia D'Apprix SweeneyThe Nest

Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (2016)

Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab.  This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down.

13 copies

Cover of the novel "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah (2015)

“I loved Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale. She has captured a particular slice of French life during World War II with wonderful details and drama. But what I loved most about the novel was the relationship between the two sisters and Hannah’s exploration of what we do in moments of great challenge. Do we rise to the occasion or fail? Are we heroes or cowards? Are we loyal to the people we love most or do we betray them? Hannah explores these questions with probing finesse and great heart.” ―Lisa See, #1 New York Times bestseller author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

15 copies

Cover of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective AgencyThe No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Alexander McCall Smith (1998)

The No.1 ladies’ detective agency consists of one woman, the engaging and sassy Precious Ramotswe, who sets up shop in Gabarone, Botswana. This unlikely herione specialises in missing husbands, wayward daughters, con men and impostors.

8 Copies

Cover of No RelationNo Relation

Terry Fallis (2013)

After 15 years, a NYC copywriter is suddenly fired, and single. But his worst trouble? Meet Earnest Hemmingway, bedeviled by moniker of famous author Ernest Hemingway. Earnest’s father pressures him to come home and help run the family clothing business. As a complex familial battle plays out, Earnest’s inherited name leads him in unexpected directions.

15 Copies

Cover of Olive KitteridgeOlive Kitteridge

Elizabeth Strout (2008)

Olive Kitteridge is a retired schoolteacher who is unhappy to see things changing around her but fails to realize her role in that change. As thirteen stories of her students and family unfold, Olive comes to a deeper understanding of herself and the power she possesses.

14 Copies

Cover of The OrendaThe Orenda

Joseph Boyden (2013)

The Orenda, Joseph Boyden’s stunning historical epic, is set in mid-17th-century Huronia, during a period of brutal skirmishes between the Huron and the Iroqouis, just as the Catholics launch their campaign to convert aboriginal peoples. Boyden’s previous novel, the Giller Prize-winning Through Black Spruce, examined aboriginal life in contemporary times.

11 Copies

Cover of Orphan TrainOrphan Train

Christina Baker Kline (2013)

A captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask. Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

11 Copies

Cover of Painted GirlsThe Painted Girls

Cathy Marie Buchanan (2012)

A gripping novel set in Belle Époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and a notorious criminal trial of the era. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.”

12 Copies

Cover of The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife

Paula McLain (2011)

An elegantly written look inside Ernest Hemingway and Hadley Richardson’s marriage. After a brief courtship and small wedding, they take off for Paris, where Hadley transforms from an overprotected child to a brave young woman who endures impoverished living conditions and shattering loneliness to prop up her husband’s career.

11 Copies

Cover of the book The Promise of Canada by Charlotte GrayThe Promise of Canada

Charlotte Gray (2016)

Charlotte Gray’s The Promise of Canada examines the idea of Canada from the position of a biographer “who believes that the ideas and actions of individuals can shape larger social changes, and those changes, in turn, mould national identity.” Impressive in its purview of Canadian history, while providing portraits of a few living Canadians, such as Margaret Atwood and Preston Manning, Gray has chosen eight Canadians to probe the mythos of Canada, from George-Étienne Cartier’s role in Confederation (“One hundred and fifty years later, the federal system that Cartier envisaged is the basic building block of Canada’s uniqueness,” Gray writes) to Emily Carr’s magnificent artistic ability to Tommy Douglas’s struggle for universal health care in Saskatchewan, which later led to Canadawide coverage (“The fight to introduce medicare into Saskatchewan remains a turning point in Canadian history”).

9 Copies

Cover of The Rosie ProjectThe Rosie Project

Graeme Simsion (2013)

Don Tillman, a bright yet socially challenged genetics professor, has decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in his typical orderly, evidence-based manner, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner. After meeting Rosie, Don is forced to confront the fact that love is not always logical.

14 Copies

Cover of RuRu

Kim Thuy (2012)

The word “Ru” is Vietnamese for lullaby. In French it can signify a stream or flow. A fitting title for this book, given both Ru’s haunting and incantatory writing style and the migratory passage the Montreal-based novelist describes. Sensitively rendered in English by celebrated translator Sheila Fischman, Thúy’s novel originated with a French edition that won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2010.

10 Copies

Cover of Sarah's KeySarah’s Key

Tatiana de Rosnay (2008)

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.

Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

11 Copies

Cover of Secret DaughterSecret Daughter

Shilpi Somaya Gowda (2010)

When Kavita gives birth to a daughter her rural Indian family cannot afford, her only choice is to send baby Asha to an orphanage, from which she is adopted by an American doctor and her husband. Gowda intertwines the lives of these three women, as they struggle with issues of culture, identity and familial loyalty.

16 Copies

Cover image for the novel The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddThe Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd (2003)

The Secret Life of Bees was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years, a Good Morning America “Read This” Book Club pick and was made into an award-winning film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, and Alicia Keys. A coming of age tale set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees will appeal to fans of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help and Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.

9 Copies

Cover of The Sisters BrothersThe Sisters Brothers

Patrick deWitt (2011)

With The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt pays homage to the classic Western, transforming it into an unforgettable comic tour de force. Filled with a remarkable cast of characters–losers, cheaters, and ne’er-do-wells from all stripes of life–and told by a complex and compelling narrator, it is a violent, lustful odyssey through the underworld of the 1850s frontier that beautifully captures the humor, melancholy, and grit of the Old West and two brothers bound by blood, violence, and love.

14 Copies

Cover of State of WonderState of Wonder

Ann Patchett (2011)

A provocative novel of morality and miracles, science and sacrifice set in the Amazon rainforest–a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love. In a narrative replete with poison arrows, devouring snakes, scientific miracles, and spiritual transformations, State of Wonder presents a world of stunning surprise and danger, rich in emotional resonance and moral complexity.

12 Copies

Cover of Stone MattressStone Mattress

Margaret Atwood (2014)

Nine tales of acute psychological insight and turbulent relationships. In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

13 Copies

Cover of A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being

Ruth Ozeki (2013)

In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

13 Copies

Cover of The Thirteenth TaleThe Thirteenth Tale

Diane Setterfield (2006)

Biographer Margaret Lea returns one night to her apartment above her father’s antiquarian bookshop. On her steps she finds ahand-written request from one of Britain’s most prolific and well-loved novelists, Vida Winter, who wishes to have Margaret capture her history before it’s too late. While pondering whether to accept the task of recording Miss Winter’s personal story, Margaret begins to read her father’s rare copy of Miss Winter’s Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation. She is spellbound by the stories and confused when she realizes the book only contains twelve stories. Where is the thirteenth tale? Intrigued, Margaret agrees to meet Miss Winter and act as her biographer.

14 Copies

Cover of Through Black SpruceThrough Black Spruce

Joseph Boyden (2009)

Will Bird and his niece Suzanne are both in trouble – he is fighting for his life in a hospital in Ontario, while she has disappeared into the dangers of Manhattan as a model. Annie Brid, Suzanne’s sister, worries about them both, as their secrets unfold.

9 Copies

Cover image for A Visit form the Good Squad by Jennifer EganA Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan (2010)

Egan’s spellbinding interlocking narratives circle the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Although Bennie and Sasha never discover each other’s pasts, the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs, over many years, in locales as varied as New York, San Francisco, Naples, and Africa.

15 copies

Cover image for the novel Water for Elephants by Sara GruenWater for Elephants

Sara Gruen (2007)

The runaway international bestseller by “the must-read author of summer” (Ottawa Citizen). Orphaned and penniless at the height of the Depression, Jacob Jankowski escapes everything he knows by jumping on a passing train—and inadvertently runs away with the circus. So begins Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen’s darkly beautiful tale about the characters who inhabit the less-than-greatest show on earth

13 Copies

Cover of Where We Have to GoWhere We Have to Go

Lauren Kirshner (2009)

Where We Have to Go is a luminous and sassy first novel about the last days of childhood in a family coming apart at the seams. At once wryly humorous and deeply affecting, this sparkling novel follows the irresistible Lucy Bloom as she searches for her place in the world.

15 Copies

Cover of Whirl AwayWhirl Away

Russell Wangersky (2012)

Short story collection examines when coping skills slip – denial, pragmatism, or delusion. A caretaker of a prairie amusement park, the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road, an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage amid sensuous food gourmandizing – all spin out of control into new worlds.

9 Copies

Cover image for the novel White Tiger by Aravind AdigaWhite Tiger

Aravind Adiga (2008)

A stunning literary debut critics have likened to Richard Wright’s Native SonThe White Tigerfollows a darkly comic Bangalore driver through the poverty and corruption of modern India’s caste society. “This is the authentic voice of the Third World, like you’ve never heard it before” (John Burdett, Bangkok 8).

8 Copies

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