Blog - Library Services Centre

OLA is next week, and we will be there. Stop by our booth for new services announcments and terrific prizes! Our annual Wine and Cheese is once again happening on Thursday night at 5pm. We look forward to seeing you all!

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Whether we realize it or not, books are not just a solitary activity. Book lovers love to share their thoughts about the books they are reading, and to recommend books to friends, family and colleagues. Seldom do we just shelve a book immediately after reading, never to think about it again. Instead, we share our reading choices on Social Media, mention it in conversation, or give it to a fellow book lover to read.

 

Book clubs have existed in some form since at least the 1630s when Puritan groups got together to discuss the bible, and have taken many forms since then.  In 1727, Benjamin Franklin organized the Junto Literary Society to discuss philosophy, morality, and science. In 1840, the first bookstore sponsored book club in the United States began in Boston, and they have continued to grow and evolve.

 

According to Booknet Canada, as of September 2018, 7% of Canadian adult book buyers belong to a book club, 28% of readers belong to a book club or reading group (whether they buy books or not), and 8% of those surveyed said they found their last read through a book club.

 

Traditionally, book club picks were selected by members of the group, the library, or the book store, and members would meet in person to discuss the book.  This changed in 1996 when Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime television used her power and influence to “get the whole country reading again”, and launched a televised book club.

 

Beginning with Jaqueline Mitchard’s The Deep End of the Ocean, she invited viewers to read the book, and then hosted the author on her show a few weeks later. In the 15 years of her original club, she recommended 70 books, many of which have become bestsellers.

 

In 2012, Oprah launched the 2.0 version of her book club in conjunction with her magazine, and television network, this time incorporating social media platforms. Later this year, she’ll be officially reviving her book club again, this time on the new streaming platform Apple TV+.

 

In many ways, celebrity book clubs are one of the best things to happen to publishers and authors since the founding of the book-of-the-month club in 1926. Prior to the onset of bookstore chains, a book-of-the-month club selection was one of the best ways to get wide distribution for your book.

 

Today, having a celebrity such as Oprah recommend your book can increase sales by the millions. Oprah has 15 million followers on Instagram and 4.4 million followers on twitter, and her endorsement is publishing gold. Recently, she announced The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates as her latest pick, and the book will almost certainly land on bestseller lists.  

     

Two other celebrities influencing readers are actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon. Parker is a voracious reader, and recently completed a two-year term as honorary chair of Book Club Central for the American Library Association. She is also the editorial director for her own imprint SJP for Hogarth, where she acquires books that appeal to her own taste as a reader.

 

Witherspoon launched her book club in 2017, and it was born out of her love of reading. Witherspoon is an avid reader, and she casually started posting pictures of the books she was reading on her Instagram. The club grew into something more formal from there, and now has 1.1 million members.

 

Since 2017, Witherspoon has selected  28 titles, many of which have landed on the New York Times Bestseller list, Her 2017 selection of debut author Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing is currently #9 on the Globe and Mail Bestseller list, has spent 54 weeks on the NYT bestseller list, and was the top selling print book in the U.S. for the first half of 2019.

Would the book have been a bestseller regardless? Possibly, but it’s more likely that the 1.1 million U.S. sales can be attributed to the power of Witherspoon’s endorsement.

 

Witherspoon’s September 2019 pick The Secrets We Kept by Laura Prescott was inspired by the true story of the CIA’s mission to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the U.S.S.R. where nobody would publish it, juxtaposed with the love story between author Boris Pasternak and his mistress Olga.

 

Naturally the book has rocketed to bestseller status, and film rights have been acquired. The publisher reportedly paid $2 million for rights, signaling that they expected big things from it, but being a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick has almost certainly helped.

 

Normally, celebrities don’t influence me to read a book, but this one intrigued me, and I ended up really enjoying it. I learned something about a period in history I knew nothing about, and I was invested in the characters and the story.  I confess I’ve never read Zhivago, but after reading this, I want to. It has also made me take notice of Witherspoon’s other picks, a number of which I’m interested in reading.

 

While enjoying this one title doesn’t mean that I’ll actively seek out future celebrity book club recommendations, as a book lover I appreciate what they do for discovery and exposure, and anything that gets millions of people reading and talking about books is good with me!

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy Reading!

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As a mom of a toddler on the spectrum, recent life has been a crash course about neurodiversity. It’s painful to acknowledge that until recently, the main representation of autism in popular culture was the movie Rain Man, where Dustin Hoffman plays an autistic savant. Things have come a long way since then, but there is so much room for improvement. Still, only characters with “cute” special needs are reflected in popular media. Think Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. What is never addressed is that our world is built for those who are “normal.”

 

Some treatments that were considered effective for autism therapy are being described by the now autistic adults who undertook the therapy as detrimental to their core being. Instead of focusing on inclusion and support, the focus was on compliance, but a tide is turning. Consider for example being nonverbal. Books like Ido in Autismland by Ido Kedar and The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, both nonverbal young adults on the spectrum, have opened eyes globally. Both of them learned to express themselves (from basic needs to complex imaginative thoughts) through a simple alphabet chart. Previous to these books, there was a basic understanding among professionals that nonverbal meant non-understanding; meant non-intelligent.

 

Luckily, we have great author advocates like Meg Raby who released picture book My Brother Otto: An Autism Awareness Book this year. Otto is a young nonverbal crow on the spectrum. The book is told by his sister who describes his traits, likes and dislikes, and how much she loves him. He is pictured ordering bugs and cheese for lunch using an alternative communication device like an iPad. This picture book is ground breaking, in my opinion – the underlying message doesn’t leave you pitying Otto, it’s about two kids’ everyday experiences with an emphasis on kindness and understanding, one of them just happens to be autistic. It is also extremely refreshing to see an alternate mode of communication in popular media.

 

In a similar vein, I shared a copy of I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism by Pat Thomas with my son’s daycare teachers for reading with his class. The gentle, informational approach describes the sensory challenges people on the spectrum deal with daily, how they might feel like an alien on their own planet sometimes, and how everyone needs a friend for love and support.

 

A less serious picture book we have enjoyed very much is Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is OK by Clay Morton. This book reverses the common depictions of neurodiversity by showing how a neurotypical (NT) kid is seen by his best friend on the spectrum. The narrator’s funny confusion at his NT friend’s habits (for example, his tardiness for showing up at 4:59pm or 5:01pm instead of 5pm on the dot) show that “normal” depends on who you ask. Similarly, we can all take a page from recent picture book My Shape is Sam by Amanda Jackson, about a square who wants to roll like a circle – but scratch that, Sam ISN’T a square or a circle, he’s just Sam! He doesn’t have to be what others want or expect him to be.

 

The point is, “normal” doesn’t exist anymore. Put your love and patience into high gear and show those who are flappy, nonverbal, hyper, and differently abled from you that you love them, want them around, and that the world is becoming a more inclusive place day by day. 

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Until next time!

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With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we asked staff here at LSC to choose their favourite books, movies, games, and/or music of 2019.  And boy did they have some.

 

Nan M., our Plant Manager, chose Kate Mulgrew’s second memoir How to Forget (3544210), following 2015’s Born With Teeth.  In How to Forget, actress Kate Mulgrew returns home to Iowa to care for her ailing parents, and discovers long-hidden family secrets after their deaths.  Nan says the book hooked her immediately and Mulgrew, most famous for Star Trek: Voyager and Orange is the New Black, is a great writer.

 

Paul A. in Shipping chose Jojo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi as his top movie of the year.  Based on the book Caging Skies, the film follows a young boy in Nazi Germany who discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the attic, and who must face blind nationalism with the help of his imaginary friend – Adolf Hitler.  Paul says, ‘Great acting, great story, above average production values and above all else, a human story with wicked social, moral and intellectual value. It will make you chuckle, think, and maybe tear up a bit too.’  His runner-up movies are Judy and Rocketman.  

 

Cataloguer Ray G. chose two movies as his top of 2019.  The Farewell is based on Lulu Wang’s What You Don’t Know radio essay and features a Chinese family returning to China to say goodbye to their matriarch – who doesn’t actually know she only has a few more weeks to live.  Avengers: Endgame is, of course, the conclusion to the Avengers storyline (for now), where the Avengers have to restore balance to the world after Thanos snapped half of it into nothing.  Ray also chose More Giraffes, Ali Gatie, and Guardin for best music of 2019, but loved too many games to choose just one.

 

From HR, Carrie P. chose Crawl – also Quentin Tarantino’s favourite movie of 2019 – and Downton Abbey as her top movies of 2019.  While Downton Abbey continues the story of the wealthy Crawley family in the early twentieth century, Crawl is a creature feature horror movie about a girl and her father trapped by a hurricane in a house filled with alligators.  Carrie’s favourite book of the year is Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, an adult fiction novel about a legendary rock band of the 70s – and the reasons why they broke up just when they were most popular.

 

In Selection Services, Children’s Product Manager Sara P. picked a board game as her favourite of the year: Ms. Monopoly, where female players collect $240 when they pass Go.  Her favourite book is Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing, the third in the Folk of the Air series.  Sara says Holly Black is the queen of writing about the Fae.

 

Michael C. in Marketing had three great book selections for 2019.  If, Then by Kate Hope Day, in which three neighbours start seeing visions, almost ghosts, of their lives on very different paths. Are they hallucinations? Are they another world, another time? The book is emotionally focused on these characters and the existential ramifications these visions have on their lives, each reacting in a wildly different but completely believable way. 

 

Recursion, by Blake Crouch was also one of Michael's favourites. As with his previous novel Dark Matter, Crouch explores the nature of self and reality through the tragedy and perseverance of his characters, while driving us through the chapters with action and intrigue. In this novel, a grief and guilt stricken police officer has to contend with the outbreak of a disease which implants an entire life's worth of new memories into people, memories they cannot stand to live with.

 

Finally Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch. McCulloch explores how the internet and mobile technology has created an entirely new facet to language. From the evolution of slang and text abbreviations, to memes and how digital communication has changed over the last 20 years, this book is a fun read for anyone who wants the TL;DR on 21st century language.

 

Back to Shipping, Patrick B. has a favourite book, movie, and music release.  His book choice is Booker Prize shortlist nominee Quichotte by Salman Rushdie, a comic but tender love story about a TV-obsessed travelling salesman, his imaginary son, and their road trip to find love, as told by spy novelist Sam DuChamp.  In movies, Patrick enjoyed Us, directed by Jordan Peele, where a family’s vacation at the beach turns to horror when they’re attacked by doppelgangers.  For music, Patrick’s choice is the second studio album, South of Reality, by The Claypool Lennon Delirium, a psychedelic rock band comprised of Sean Lennon and Primus’ Les Claypool.

 

Accounts Payable Clerk Lee-ann B. already knows she’s going to love the new Star Wars movie, but her movie pick for 2019 right now is Motherless Brooklyn.  Based on the Jonathan Lethem novel, and written, produced, directed, and starring Edward Norton as a private investigator with Tourette’s, Motherless Brooklyn is a neo-noir focused on Norton’s character’s quest to solve the murder of his mentor.  Her best book choice is a tie between domestic suspense novel The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald and The Long Flight Home by Alan Hlad, which Lee-ann says taught her a lot about the service of homing pigeons during World War II.

 

Kirk O., our CFO, said, "while looking for something to read I find that I can never go wrong with titles that have been nominated for consideration for the Man Booker Prize.  I did wander down to my local library, Idea Exchange, to grab two titles that are nominated and were available.  Both are new authors for me.  The first was My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.  I didn’t read this book so much as inhale the 238 pages in a few days.  Engaging story with great characters taking place in modern day Nigeria.  I highly recommend this book.  I will also be looking for other titles that she has written.  If I would compare her to anyone in style I would say it is Patrick DeWitt, another author I enjoy.

 

"The second title that I tackled from this list is The Wall by John Lanchester.  Once again a well written book that I enjoyed immensely.  Whereas the book above was as light hearted as a serial killer book could be, The Wall, set in the near future, takes on a much more serious tone.   You can read this story with a thought to both migrants looking for a better life as well as the effect of climate change on future generations.”

 

Customer Experience Manager Jamie Q. has two favourite books for 2019 in Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis and Guestbook: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton.  She said, “Carson Ellis beautifully illustrates a poem about winter solstice by Susan Cooper. The moody illustrations remind us of the origins of Christmas, and what a celebration light is after a dark winter.  Shapton creates tales by combining writing, photographs, artifacts and other ephemera to express the cryptic imperfection of human life. It has the feeling of marveling over someone’s private cabinet of curiosities, or being in a dream.”

 

Last but not least, Elizabeth K. in Cataloguing chose a contemporary fantasy called The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H. G. Parry.  In the book, Charley Sutherland is hiding an unpredictable ability: he can call literary characters out into the real world.  He discovers he’s not the only one who can do this when the escape of various literary characters threatens the world itself, forcing Charley and his older brother, Rob, to save it.

 

Those were but a handful of the media we enjoyed this year. And now, with 2019 behind us, we can look forward to starting all new lists in 2020. As, we expect, will you.

 

Happy new year!

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On average there are 240 mass market titles published every month.  It can be a challenge and a huge time constraint to source these without going through multiple websites, publisher packages and catalogues. LSC has long offered comprehensive and customizable Mass Market Paperback and Graphic Novel services, with materials available for Adult, Teen, and Juvenile collections.

 

LSC is able to provide weekly shipments for these materials with no additional charges. This would enable the library to have titles on the shelf at an earlier date. These titles are available via Automatic Release Plan (ARP) or direct selection, and available with full cataloguing and processing if so desired. With some exceptions, the majority of both mass market and graphic novel items would qualify for full trade discount.

 

LSC has made the process a simple one for our customers by gathering all of the information together in one spot.  LSC has dedicated selection specialists who compile all mass market titles in the Adult, Teen, and Juvenile collections and turns them into a monthly catalogue. This catalogue lists titles two months in advance of their publication date. A Graphic Novel catalogue is produced to the same specifications.

 

Via the LSC service, title specific and series ordering is possible. We manage existing series by working with the library catalogue and LSCs database for previous titles ordered.  Based on the profile of each specific library, we are able to order at the branch level to continue series that have previously been purchased. New series will be ordered and continued, unless there is communication from the library that we should not continue with it (eg. The series is not circulating well at the library).

 

Within the catalogue the Adult section is sorted by genre.  The first section of the catalogue highlights top selling Quick Pick titles for the month.  Within the rest of the catalogue you will find sections for Fantasy, General Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction & Western.  We also include a Backlist section for those libraries who would like to refresh the titles by longstanding authors such as Louis L’Amour, Debbie Macomber and the 2-in-1 special issues from your favourite Harlequin authors.

 

To make the catalogue more user friendly and of use to the selector we have listed previous ISBNs for all titles within a series.  This is a quick way to find out if you carry the existing series, and where the series titles sits if you operate a branch-specific collection. For the Juvenile and Teen titles, we have also listed the age ranges for each title. Also noted, using an “FP code”, are titles which are first printings in the mass market binding.  This allows for a quick selection process when there is no overlap wanted between hardcover and trade paperback bindings.

 

LSC has specific vendors and publisher catalogues who focus on Canadian and Indigenous authors, which are typically listed in the LSC produced monthly catalogues. All Canadian titles are marked with a Canadian flag which make them easy to distinguish throughout the catalogue. Selectors also do independent audit of materials available to ensure we have the full breadth of titles available to libraries.  These titles are ordered based on the library profiles. While many of these titles come from well established publishers, a significant number of them will come from small publishers who do not have a regular output of these material types.

 

LSC deals with all of these small publishers because of our overall scope and because of our long standing specialist program focused on Canadian small presses.  This heightens our awareness of such titles and allows us to include them where other vendors might not see them. LSC does not impose discount terms on publishers before allowing them to participate in LSC automatic release plans.  Imposing discount terms on publishers has the direct impact of reducing the availability of titles from smaller Canadian publishers who do not match the discounts offered by large multinational publishers.  

 

In the new year, LSC will be implementing optional de-colonized Indigenous subject headings to our catalogue.  This will be the first step towards fully de-colonizing our cataloguing service. This vital process is not and should not be a simple process or serve as lip service towards actual reconcilable action. There are currently over 700 identified existing headings from the LC or Canadian subject headings that have more culturally reflective replacements, and over a thousand more awaiting updating. LSC will begin the process of using the corrected headings in new materials acquired and catalogued, and will expand to removing the headings from older records both internally and with client libraries in the future.

 

LSC can provide reporting on this collection as libraries require. If the library is doing their own selection, reports already available in the catalogue can be generated at a moment’s notice, and the Budget Maintenance feature will update your purchases against your set budget in real time. If you have an ARP, we can provide monthly updated ARP reports so that you can see the progress in spending for each ARP. These would all be broken out by collection and then by branch level.

 

ARPs are offered as a free service for this collection and has proven to be a popular one amongst existing customers.  The library and selection specialist will work together to set up a profile specific to your library needs.  Some options include ordering a range of titles based on the likes of your library and patrons; ordering a certain number of titles within a specific genre each month; Or giving a list of series that you would like to continue adding to your collection.

 

We have selection specialist dedicated to each of these materials. Mass Market Paperback items are not treated as a separate selection collection, but are an integrated component of the regular selection of fiction materials by those selectors. Graphic Novels are selected separately. Review of acceptable content for graphic novels according to each library’s intended audience is part of our process for all libraries receiving this collection type. The staff responsible for these collections are as follows:

 

Juvenile Mass Market

Sara Pooley, B.A. (Hons) M.L.I.S.,  Children’s Product Manager
Sara Pooley is responsible for the design and implementation of all LSC’s selection services that focus on Juvenile and Young Adult material. She produces Award Lists, Curriculum Lists and special replacement lists, including, the Children’s Bestsellers. After a two-year sabbatical during which she was the Health, Science and Education Librarian at London Public Library, Sara returned to LSC in May 2013 to retake her position in Selection Services as the Children’s Product Manager. Her work experience prior to LSC includes working as a children’s librarian and reference librarian in school and public libraries, in both England and Canada.

 

Adult Mass Market

Rachel Seigel, B.A. (Hons), Selection Specialist
Rachel Seigel is an avid reader and book enthusiast. She has over 15 years of experience doing children’s and adult fiction/non-fiction selections for elementary school, high school and public libraries spread across three Canadian wholesalers. She has chaired and served on a number of review and award juries, including most recently the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award and Best Books for Kids and Teens through the Children’s Book Center. In addition, she has written four educational non-fiction books for children, is a frequent contributor to Canadian Children’s Book News and co-hosts a weekly Middle-Grade Literature Chat on Twitter (under the handle @rachelnseigel). She also regularly contributes to Publishing Crawl Blog (www.publishingcrawl.com) along with several other authors and industry professionals. Her degree is in English Literature from York University.  She also has a Montessori Certificate from the Canadian Montessori Teacher Education Institute.

 

Graphic Novels

Angela Stuebing, Mass Market and Graphic Novels Product Manager
Angela Stuebing joined LSC in 2000. She has a background in Business and Marketing and over 15 years’ experience in the customer service field.  Angela spent several years in the Customer Service Department, most recently as the Customer Service Manager, which has given her extensive knowledge of LSC’s Flexpak Operating System.  In 2009, she moved to the position of the Mass Market and Graphic Novels Product Manager.  She is responsible for creating and promoting LSC’s Mass Market Program and the Automatic Release Plans.  Angela is a member of LSC’s Children’s Best Sellers Committee.  Angela has a library technician diploma from Conestoga College.

 

Any of these options, or a combination of all of these, can be discussed with an LSC selector and set up immediately.  While January is a great time to get the ordering started, we are flexible to work with you at any point throughout the year.  We can happily provide references to libraries currently and historically receiving these collections from LSC.


Please contact Angela Stuebing (519-746-4420 ext.631) for additional information related to setting up an Automatic Release Plan.

 

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When I was 16, a friend of mine asked me if I’d heard of NaNoWriMo.  It turned out that there was this event going into its second year called National Novel Writing Month, where the goal was to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.  Both of us were writers and at 16, my only real time concern was being in my last year of high school, so we decided we would both sign up and attempt this challenge.

 

NaNo (as it’s known to us Wrimos) was small back then, at least compared to today; its inaugural year in July 1999 featured a whole 21 participants.  By the time I heard of it, I was one of 5000, and the event was being reported in the L.A. Times and the Washington Post.  I won that year with a terrible novel about vampires, a talking cabbage, and a hellhound named Fluffy, because when you need to write 50,000 words in a month, reality is the least of your concerns.  I’ve participated every year since, in both the original NaNo and in the spinoff Camp NaNoWriMo, which began in 2011 and allows me to choose my own wordcount goal rather than sticking to the 50K.  I’ve also won every year, sometimes legitimately, sometimes by cheating... I mean, rebelling.

 

In 2003, NaNo’s founder, Chris Baty, wrote No Plot? No Problem (updated and revised in 2016), a guide to writing a novel, whether in 30 days or not.  My copy hangs out on my overburdened bookcase along with Stephen King’s On Writing, Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, and Dreyer’s English. NaNo taught me a lot about writing a first draft quickly, including the fact that it will suck and that’s okay.  As King says, you write your first draft with the door closed.  And preferably locked, when you live with your parents or roommates who inevitably want to know what you’re doing (writing), why (because I want to), and if they can be characters in your story (no).

 

In past years, there’s usually been one or two news articles or blog posts questioning NaNo and whether it’s ruining the sanctity of the written word.  They usually point out that a novel written in 30 days probably isn’t very good, and also such a singleminded focus on length won’t improve that.  This is true.  A novel written in 30 days will be awkward and ungainly, full of run-on sentences, illogical actions, and plotholes you can drive a truck through.  Characters change names, appearances, and occasionally gender.  Authors forget how to English (or whatever their language is), as proved by the hilarious NaNoisms thread that pops up every year for participants to chronicle their worst typos and brainfarts.  At the end of the month, you have a novel that is certainly not in any state to be published, or even shopped around to agents.

 

That’s not the point.  The point of NaNo is to get yourself writing.  It’s to train yourself to sit down in your chair, put your hands on the keyboard, and write some words.  Sometimes that’s only a sentence.  Sometimes you drag out the first few (hundred) words and your muse finally engages and you’re off flying, words spilling out so fast your fingers can’t even keep up.  Either way, you’re doing something many people say they’ll do but never carve out the time to actually do it.

 

Of course, there are plenty of novels out there that started as NaNovels and were beaten into submission, polished, and published by real live publishers.  They include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Wool by Hugh Howey, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and many more.  And this year, though I haven’t actively been searching for any, I haven’t seen any handwringing about how NaNo is destroying writing as an art.  I have seen news articles, pep talks from famous authors, and library programs in areas like Burnaby, Montreal, and Cambridge’s Idea Exchange.  I’ve seen another official NaNoWriMo handbook in Brave the Page, a juvenile nonfiction guide and inspiration for middle graders.

 

In the 18 years I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ve written almost 1 million words.  I’ve written halves of novels, full novels, short stories, novellas, 104K in a month, 50K in 6 days (Surgeon General’s Warning: not recommended unless you like uncontrollable tremors).  Whether I finish a full novel or rebel by rewriting older stories (or by writing blog posts), NaNo has taught me to just put my head down, stop complaining, and get it done.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Enjoy!

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When it comes to categorizing fiction, mystery, thriller, and suspense are words commonly used to define genre, but if you’re anything like me, you might have trouble defining exactly what the difference is between them.

 

While the three do overlap a great deal, they are actually separate genres. To make matters more complicated, the terms tend to be used so interchangeably, that identifying where in your library they belong, or even making a recommendation to a patron eager for one or the other becomes a challenging task.

 

In recent years, the mystery, thriller and suspense genres have been grouped under the crime fiction umbrella. In these genres, authors write about a crime that has happened or is about to happen, there’s an investigation of some kind, and a resolution where at least some of the reader’s questions are answered. So with all of these commonalities, how do you know which is which?

 

Let’s start with mystery. A mystery story is one where a crime is committed at the beginning, and the rest of the novel is devoted to figuring out the truth about the crime. Regardless of what kind of mystery it is, there is someone investigating the crime. That person can be a traditional detective, a police officer, or an amateur sleuth with a day job.

 

The novel is also basically one big puzzle, with all of the “pieces” needed to put it together being contained within the novel. Readers of mystery novels typically enjoy trying to solve the crime alongside the investigator, and personally, I get a certain amount of satisfaction from figuring it out before the investigator does. 

 

Shari Lapena’s novel An Unwanted Guest is an example of the locked room type of mystery that was perfected by the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie. In a locked room mystery, the murder is committed under circumstances where it would be seemingly impossible to get in or out of the crime scene, includes a number of suspects with no way to leave or be rescued, and the plot is resolved at the end.at the end. Christie's famous novel And Then There Were None is one of the bestselling crime novels of all time, and Lapena’s book has a similar feel.

 

The guests arrive Friday night for a weekend stay at an Inn in the Catskills and are immediately snowed in with no way to leave, no phone service or internet access, and no power. One of the guests is murdered, and naturally, the murderer has to be one of them. As the weekend progresses, the bodies start piling up, and it’s a race against time to figure out who the killer is before it’s too late.

 

Thrillers are a bit more difficult to define- especially since many thrillers can also be something else. The protagonist is in danger right from the outset, and the plots are extremely action driven. Thrillers are high stakes, non-stop action, contain plot twists, and move at a rapid pace. In these stories, solving the crime is less important than the obstacles placed in the hero’s way, and how they overcome them.

 

Thrillers can be psychological, crime, mystery, action, military, legal, or spy, and illicit an intense reaction from the reader.  Series like Jack Reacher, and Alex Cross or Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects are examples of popular thrillers, the latter being a good example of the psychological subset.

 

Suspense novels are also tricky to define as they tend to be more subtle. Suspense novels are about the build-up and the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know something is about to happen. Reading a suspense novel is like cranking the handle on a jack-in-the-box and waiting for the figure to pop out when the melody is done. You know before you start turning the handle that the joker is going to pop out, but you still jump when it does.

 

Adrian McKinty’s The Chain is a great example of a suspense novel.  On a day that starts out like any other, Rachel receives a phone call informing her that her daughter was kidnapped while waiting for the school bus. The caller is the parent of an already kidnapped child, and informs her that she is now part of something called the chain.

 

Rachel has 24 hours to follow specific instructions that will get her daughter back which includes kidnapping another child to keep the chain going. If she fails to do what she's told or tries to involve the police or anyone else, they will kill her and her daughter and find a new target. Who is behind the chain is secondary to what Rachel must and will do to get her daughter back. It’s intense and terrifying, and the kind of novel you read in one sitting.

 

Regardless of which genre you prefer, there is one key component that is present in all successful mystery/suspense/thrillers and that’s suspense. The author makes the reader feel excited and/or anxious about what’s going to happen next. Suspense is what drives me to stay up all night reading because I can’t put it down, or has me so engrossed that I miss my bus stop (which I have numerous times) and don’t hear the phone or the doorbell when it rings. That feeling is what draws me to these genres over and over again, and why the world will always embrace them both on the page and on screen.6 

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy Reading!  

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Ah, fall. Crisp air, falling leaves…and snow. While the weather may not always be predictable, we can always count on the post-American Thanksgiving period to be the biggest season for video game releases. And this year, along with new games, there is an exciting 'new' platform release (and its not the PS5)!

 

One of the most popular series, and a family and library favourite, is Just Dance. Kids love it because it’s fun and it has all the hit songs. Parents love it because while their kids may be playing video games, they are also staying active. Parents also have the chance to learn what songs are currently "cool" and can attempt to be hip, while almost certainly failing. Certainly, it gives dads a chance to bemoan the lack Bon Jovi in the game, and how that was "real music", to the eye roll of confused and embarassed children everywhere. This year’s Just Dance includes songs from artists such as Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, Panic! At the Disco, Cardi B, Billie Eilish and many more songs that make you want to…Just Dance! 

 

The 2020 edition is available for Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and yes, the Wii. This is the only physical game release remaining for the Nintendo Wii, and UbiSoft just announced that it will be the last title released for this platform. This move solidifies the fact that Nintendo is moving full-steam ahead with the Switch Platform, with no plans on going back to the disc format that was the Wii. 

 

Add to this the release of Nintendo's exciting ‘new’ platform, the Nintendo Switch Lite. This more affordable version of the original Nintendo Switch basically combines the Nintendo DS with the Nintendo Switch, giving more people access to the great family games that the Nintendo brand is known for. As the Nintendo Wii and Wii-U are being phased out, more libraries are starting to collect this new platform.

 

Headlining the Switch releases this year is Luigi’s Mansion 3. This series began back in the olden days in 2001, when the Nintendo Game Cube was all the rage. Its somewhat surprise success lead to Luigi’s Mansion 2, available only on Nintendo DS. Now, with updated graphics, Luigi continues battling his demons – literally – in Luigi’s Mansion 3. He and his brother Mario, along with Princess Peach, a bunch of Toads, and Luigi’s pet dog Polterpup, receive an invitation to stay at the fancy hotel ‘The Last Resort’. Luigi soon finds out that the hotel is haunted, and must battle his way through to save himself and his friends. This third person player game contains a single player story mode as well as a multiplayer co-op mode. 

 

This year's AA PlayStation 4 exclusive is the star studded Death Stranding. The new game from industry titan Hideo Kojima is one of the most talked about games right now. An open world action-adventure game taking place in an apocalyptic United States, Death Stranding can be played as a single or multi-player game. Aside from the beautiful graphics and gameplay, this game also features motion capture, 3D scanning and vocal performances from actors including Norman Reedus (the game’s main character and star of the hit series ‘The Walking Dead’), Mads Mikkelson, Margaret Qualley and more. Film directors Guillermo Del Toro and Nicholas Winding Refn are also featured. Not only does this game have an incredible cast, it is also getting rave reviews from critics. This is definitely a ‘must-have’ for libraries. 

 

It wouldn't be a release seaso without a gritty first person shooter, and this year serves up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for both the Xbox One and PS4. This is the sixteenth installment of the incredibly popular series, as well as a reboot of the Modern Warfare subseries (video games can be as confusing as comic books sometimes). Set in the "real world", the game allows players to assume the roles of American CIA operatives or British SAS forces, combating Russian troops in a fictional, vaguely Middle Eastern country. 

 

Also for the Xbox One and PS4 is Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. For those who can't wait until December for their latest Force-fix comes this new adventure from a long time ago, and far far away. Set between Episode III and the original Star Wars film, the game lets players assume the role of a Jedi-in-training on the run from the Empire and Darth Vader, who are combing the galaxy and destroying all the Jedi they can find. This game is "in continuity" with the films (Star Wars is definitely as confusing as comic books), and features Forest Whitaker reprising his role from the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which also takes place in this timeframe.

 

Rounding out the family friendly titles, Jumanji: the Video Game, avaialble on Nintendo SwitchXbox One and PS4 lets players become one with the video game setting of the most recent and forthcoming Jumaji movies. In this game, players can choose to play as Fortnight-styled version of The Rock, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart, and battle their way through the jungle. 

 

 

Other notable mentions this season include:

Doom: Eternal – Xbox One; PS4

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020 – Nintendo Switch 

Garfield Kart: Furious Racing – Nintendo Switch; Xbox One; PS4 

Harvest Moon: Mad Dash – Nintendo Switch; PS4

Need for Speed: Heat – Xbox One; PS4 

New Super Lucky’s Tale – Nintendo Switch 

Plants Vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville – Xbox One; PS4 

Pokémon Shield – Nintendo Switch 

Pokémon Sword – Nintendo Switch

Zumba: Burn it Up – Nintendo Switch 

 

For a complete list of November/December releases, please see the Video Game New Releases – November/December 2019 catalogue Slist #42441

 

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Happy gaming!

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LSC is excited to announce the launch of its newest search engine update: BISAC subject searching.

 

A lot has changed in the world of searching since we went live with our first online catalogue. Google and Amazon have changed expectations for how people search, and what kinds of results they get when they search. While much can be said about how both of those corporate giants push results to users, and searching on their platforms isn’t as effective as people think it is, the fact remains: you type a thing, and get results regardless. While LSC has long offered the most powerful ordering tool available to public libraries, built in-house by our programmers, the search feature has remained surgical rather than general. That changes today.

 

Using BISAC subject headings, our catalogue is now far more open to generalized searching, and far more forgiving to the kind of searching that people are used to in the modern day. Using nondescript terms like “cars” or “travel Canada” will now return a broad range of items, allowing users to browse available materials on subjects rather than locate specific items. You don’t need to know the exact BISAC heading - TRUE CRIME / Abductions, Kidnappings & Missing Persons, for example. “Abductions” or “True Crime” will return results.

 

 

 

It will, in fact, return too many results. You will get the “maximum number of results found” error. Which is why we strongly advocate making use of the many Limiters, including Format, Material Type, and Publication Date make this search all the more effective. With the BISAC search you can narrow your search to just paperbacks published in the next two months about “Cooking”, which will return a bountiful, relevant, current list that you are able to browse and order from at your convenience.

 

 

 

To increase the effectiveness of this search even further, users can now combine in any order words from the Title, Author, Series, Dewy and BISAC in the Keyword search for more structured results. “Oliver cooking” in hardcover from the past thirty days returns, for example, a single result – Ultimate Veg, by Jamie Oliver. A Keyword search of “Canada Train travel” – the sort of search you might run if a patron is looking for books on train travel in Canada and you just want to see what we have – with no limiters returns 5 results, pulling from both the title and BISAC.

 

 

 

 

This BISAC search ability greatly increases the power of catalogue, allowing users like you more flexibility in locating items for your library. And for the majority of items in our catalogue, this search is incredibly effective. However, nothing is perfect, and we admit that. Programming allows us to make use of only what is available. BISAC subject headings are provided to LSC as part of the OYNX feeds from publishers that we use to populate our catalogue, meaning these items are now BISAC searchable from the moment they are in our catalogue; no additional input from us is required. This is not the case for AV and Small Press materials, for which we do not receive ONYX information and are manually entered by staff in-house. Should publishers of these materials ever provide us with information we can import into our system, it would immediately be searchable. However, given these industries, this is unlikely to occur. As such, DVDs cannot be found using the BISAC search. Keyword, Title, and the Slists remain the effective way to located AV materials.

 

The desire to have a more generalized search in our catalogue was something we heard from library staff across the country. And when we hear a request like that, we listen. We take every bit of feedback we receive, and we turn it into action. Some actions take longer than others. Implementing this function was not a fast process, and refinements will continue to be made, as refinements are constantly being made to everything we offer. We appreciate and encourage libraries to let us know how they use all of our services, so we can continue to make improvements which benefit everyone.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Clark.

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