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There is just over a month left in the MLB season, and it’s been a tough one. Between COVID protocols and a “sticky stuff” scandal that prompted league-wide changes to prevent cheating, there’s been a lot to consider. That said, baseball is always a great summer pastime, and seeing the Blue Jays come home this season was heart-warming. Baseball is a game steeped in rules, stats and tradition, all of which extend beyond the game in fascinating ways. There is a bottomless supply of lore to discover. With the offseason approaching, there’s no better time to get exploring!

 

the big 50: toronto blue jays / the words of the title in blue, taking up the whole of the space, with a blue Blue Jays baseball cap with the bluejay head and Canadian maple leaf logoBlue Jays admirers of any stripe will find plenty to take away from The Big 50: Toronto Blue Jays, a compilation of fifty notable watershed moments spanning the franchise’s history. Enthusiasts can pore over the latest prospectus for the team, Toronto Blue Jays 2021: A Baseball Companion. More than just a collection of stats, Baseball Prospectus has their very own team of analysts that give unique insight into not just the Blue Jays, but how the statistic economy of baseball is driven.

 

Baseball history buffs have an essential new tome to read coming soon. Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, making history as the first Black player in the majors and launching one of the most successful MLB careers. After Jackie: Fifteen Pioneers Who Helped Change the Face of Baseball explores the stories of the first black players for the other fifteen teams in the league of that era, a decades-long campaign against inequality that can feel all-too-familiar today.

 

With the news of MLB dropping Topps for their cards beginning in 2026, you might also appreciate the annually published Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide, the newest edition #43 helps you to price your card collection.

 

Anyone with an up-and-coming little baseball fan at home may consider The Thing Lenny Loves Most About Baseball. It’s a heartfelt picture book about not just the value of practice, but also of casting your anxieties about perfection aside.

 

the bad news bears movie posters, with a caricature of Walter Matheu and Tatum O'Neil in baseball uniforms in the centreLastly, one of the most exciting baseball moments of this season was the Field of Dreams game held in Iowa. Have yourself a binge fest on some classic baseball movies like Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and The Bad News Bears collection.

 

Chances are slim our Blue Jays make it to the playoffs, but the distraction has been nice, and we always stand by ‘em. Hopefully some of these selections will get you through a dire time in any baseball fan’s life: the offseason.

 

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

 

Play on!

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The summer wanes and the world begins once again to smell of red leaves and pumpkin spiced drinks. We're taking Sept 6th to relax before leaning into the fall. Enjoy yourself.

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LSC wraps up its year tomorrow, and we decided to look back at a messy, unpredictable year that was and present the second annual LSC Awards for Performance. The following items were compiled using our internal sales data based on number of units purchased collectively by our client libraries between July 2020 and June 2021. All the material listed here is available for your convenience in Slist 45438, in case you missed any of these hits.

 

a time for mercy by john grisham / space and a sunrise at the end of a long country road with a large tree at the end.The first award is for Adult Fiction. John Grisham’s Time for Mercy topped our charts this year. This is a sequel to both his first novel, A Time to Kill, published 32 years ago, as well as 2013’s Sycamore Row. It appears that his return to southern courtrooms was well anticipated. Don’t worry though, he released another two novels this past year. He’s not going anywhere.

 

The top selling Adult Non-Fiction was the memoir of former US President Barack Obama, Promised Land. I can’t possibly think why in 2020 there would have been such an interest and nostalgia for Obama’s hopeful terms of office. Must have been a coincidence.

 

salma the syrian chef by ahmad danny ramadan and illustrated by Anna Bron / an illustration of a young girl holding a bowl and wearing a chef's hat, with nine people of various ethnicities behind herThe prize for Picture Book is the delightful Salma the Syrian Chef, by Ahmad Danny Ramadan, illustrated by Anna Bron. This delightful book follows a recent newcomer and refugee to Canada as she tries to cheer up her mother by making food from home. A wonderful message of community and hope, and a subject that is seemingly evergreen.

 

Marking our first repeat winner at the LSC Awards, following a similar performance in the category of Juvenile Fiction is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Deep End by Jeff Kinney. Yes, the adventures of Greg continue in the 15th(!) installment of the series. This one follows directly on from last year’s winner Wrecking Ball, and will continue in Big Shot, coming in October of 2021.

 

Best Young Adult Fiction goes to Cousins by Karen M. McManus. This mystery thriller following three cousins as they unravel the web of family secrets left behind by their mysterious grandmother was a hit, perhaps reminding people of the twists and dark turns of VC Andrews.

 

This Place: 150 years told / an illustrated half face of a young indigenous child standing before the world, with north america centredTop selling Adult Graphic Novel this year was the exquisite This Place: 150 Years Retold, an anthology of stories by 11 Indigenous authors and illustrators, telling diverse stories of Indigenous peoples across Canada, and what they have experienced in the time since Contact. An essential component of any library collection.

 

Our second repeat winner runs the table yet again in Juvenile Graphic Novel, as Dav Pilkey defends the title with Dog-man: Grime and Punishment. The ninth in the series, though far from the last as a tenth book has also been released and an eleventh is on the way. Will Pilkey retain this position for a third year? Only you can determine that.

 

With this past year being one of the stranger for the film industry, with no master blockbusters having been released, it is nice to see that the top selling DVD this year was the winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards, Nomadland. Directed by Chloe Zhao and starring Frances McDormand, this quiet film about the modern nomads of America stuck a cord in a year where there were fewer CGI explosions to drown it out.

 

super mario 3d world plus bowser's fury / a busy picture centred on the title, with mario, luigi, princess peach, mario in a cat suit, princess in a cat suit, and mario and bowser junior staring at a giant volcano BowserTop Selling Video Game was a wider field this year, as there were two generations of Playstation and two generations of Xbox on the market. And yet, winner of this category goes to Super Mario: 3D World and Bowser's Fury on the Nintendo Switch. Yes, everyone’s favourite plumber – who turned 35th this year – jumped over the turtles and mushrooms of the competition and landed on the flag pole at the top of the charts.

 

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

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When I was nine or ten, I sat down and rifled through my Mom’s collection of VHS tapes, almost entirely things she had recorded off TV. I quickly noticed that the majority of them were the final episodes of TV shows. MASH, Cheers, Family Ties. And among them was something call Star Trek TNG. The only Star Trek I knew at the time was the movie with the whales, which I liked, so I popped it in having no idea where it was about to take me.

 

poster for star trek next generation, featuring the faces of Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Maria Sertis, Michael Dorn, Brett Spiner, Gates McFadden, and LeVar Burton in costume, as well as the USS Enterprise D over a planet, and a Borg Cube in the backgroundAll Good Things..., the two-hour final episode of The Next Generation is largely considered one of the greatest final episodes of any TV show ever. It has influenced a generation of writers who, like me, were confronted with “the unknown possibilities of existence.” It also capped off seven years of a television show that did, for the time, the impossible. It not only revived the cult kitsch 60’s series Star Trek, but it reinvented what television science fiction could be. It ushered in a new paradigm, inspiring future shows to take us to strange new worlds, this time with better special effects and production budgets.

 

I had no idea who these characters were, what they were talking about, and really what was going on at all. The episode bounces through time, visiting the very first episode of the series (seven years earlier), and 25 years into the future, with the characters old and full of regret. And in all these times, throwing around worlds like tachyons, temporal paradoxes, and causality. It broke my brain, and I became obsessed.

 

a poster for the original Star Trek, featuring the faces of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelly, Walter Koenig, George Takai, and James Doohan in character, with the USS Enterprise above a planetLearning that there were 177 other episodes of this series was like falling into a mineshaft full of treasure. And not just TNG, but three seasons of the original Star Trek, seven movies - including the one with the whales - plus by that time there were three season of something called Deep Space Nine and a season of a show called Voyager? All things I could watch out of order, in syndication, taped off the local cable access channel at midnight? Even then, I could see my teen years evaporating into a cloud of technobabble, trivia books, and strong opinions about William Shatner.

 

Around 2004, both the larger culture and I seemed to get off the Star Trek transporter pad. We moved on. Trekkies certainly kept the flame lit, but the high-water mark seemed to truly be that final episode of Next Generation, with Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard pin balling through time, confronting his failures as a man and a captain.

 

And yet, Trek had become such a powerful cultural touchstone, either derisively or earnestly, it was impossible to escape. The rise of the digital era, with laptops and cell phones whose designers took direct inspiration from Trek, meant that we were increasingly living in a world that seemed like it was aligning with the show’s vision of the future. Kirk and Spock remained a seemingly universal reference. It was logical that it would rise again.

 

a shot from the 2009 Star Trek film, featuring Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, and John Cho in characterJ.J. Abrams tried, with a trilogy of reboots, which saw movie stars like Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, and Zoe Saldana play the classic characters, but they felt philosophically empty. Trek was always more about the metaphor than the explosion. In the era of Intellectual Property farming, and every company needing content for a streaming service, it was only a matter of time before Paramount went to warp with Trek again. Quentin Tarantino claims to have a script ready for a new film, as does Fargo series creator Noah Hawley. 

 

a poster for season two of Star Trek Discovery, featuring Sonequa Martin-Green, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Michelle Yoeh, Anson Mount, and Ethan Peck in character, with the Starfleet Delta bhind them, and the USS Discovery and USS Enterprise in the foreground.And so, 55 years after the original series first appeared on screens, we are now living in something of a Trek Renaissance. There are three new television series airing, with at least three more on the way. Discovery, which is filmed in Toronto, and is shortly to be spun off into the two additional series: Strange New Worlds (following a young Spock early in his career) and Section 31 (starring Michelle Yeoh). There is an adult animated series, Lower Decks, which follows the comedic adventures of the least capable members of Starfleet’s less-than-stellar ship. There is a children's animated series, Star Trek: Prodigy, coming in 2021. And, 25 years after the original airing of All Good Things..., Stewart reprised the role of Picard in the so-titled series where the characters are old and full of regret. How is that for temporal causality?

 

a poster for Star Trek Lower Decks featuring the animated characters of Mariner, Boimler, Tendi, and Rutherford with the USS Cerritos and various planets in the backgroundThis flood of new shows means that there is also a flood of new Trek materials available for libraries. Discovery’s fourth season will premier in late 2021, but all three previous seasons are available on DVD and Blu-ray. It has also resulted in a new series of novels from Pocket Books, a range of graphic novels from IDW, and the technical guides and deep dives that Trekkies have always loved. There is also a book all about the ship’s disgruntled cat, Grudge. Lower Decks season two started airing on August sixth, and season one of Lower Decks is available on DVD and Blu-ray

 

a poster for season one of Star Trek Picard, featuring Patrick Stewart and a dog standing in a vineyard, with a planet and a sunrise behind themPicard season two will premiere in early 2022, with season one available on DVD and Blu-ray. Picard has likewise inspired a new set of novels from Pocket Books, filling in the chronological gaps of the last twenty years. Also available on DVD and Blu-ray is a collection of shorts, called Short Treks, which serve as character pieces from all of the new series. Newly released is also the feature length documentary What We Left Behind, a look back at the making of the series Deep Space Nine

 

I don’t consider myself a Trekkie anymore. But, while I can’t rightly tell you what I had for dinner last night, I can tell you that the Enterprise-D had a cetacean operation station on deck 13, and that Klingons prefer to eat their gagh alive. The shows, their premise, and the philosophy of post-scarcity utopia they showcased is an enticing one. And one that I doubt the culture will be willing to give up on. I suspect that James Tiberius Kirk will take his place along side Sherlock Holmes and Bruce Wayne as a cultural figure that will last until the real world goes where no one has gone before.

 

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

 

Live Long and Prosper.

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Two years ago, Playaway launched the Wonderbook as a digital solution to the decreasing number of book-and-disc read-along books. Two years on, and Wonderbook continues to amaze, now with chapters books joining the collection.

 

Every Wonderbook is a library-bound print book with a ready-to-play audiobook mounted on the inside cover. No need for additional equipment, an internet connection, or anything. It circulates like a print book with no packaging or additional pieces to manage. And the device is mounted using the strongest adhesive, ensuring that it will remain a single unit regardless of wear and tear. Let kids pick their own storytime with hundreds of read-alongs from the world's best children's book publishers. All with the crisp, clean audio that Playaway is known for.

 

The device is easy to use for kids, and easy to maintain for library staff. The one-touch power and reset buttons are soft, self-sealing to prevent liquids from seeping into the device. The outside-facing speaker allows for the highest quality audio performance, with no muffling as the pages turn. For those long car rides or post-bed time stories, the device has a headphone jack for independent listening.

 

the bottom corner of the inside cover of a picture book, with a Wonderbook audio device, a black triangle, mounted inside. Like the Launchpad, the Wonderbook uses a universal micro-USB charging port, the standard for Android devices. The device charges in 1 hour and delivers up to 10 hours of play once fully charged. This is an average of 50 listens before recharge needed. At LSC, samples that have sat on the shelf the length of the pandemic are still charged 16 months later!

 

After reading along, kids can switch Wonderbook into Learning Mode to keep talking about the book they just read. This fun, narrator-led question and answer session offers open-ended, educator-vetted questions about the story they just read. Not only is this a powerful way to teach parents how to dialogue with their children about books, it also builds comprehension, as the child will stop and think about what they’ve just read. This active listening will set them on a path to success and good information literacy. In all, Read-along and Learning Mode provide two wonderful Wonderbook experiences.

 

a young black girl with pigtails reading a copy of Duck on a Bike, a picture book featuring a cartoon duck riding a bicycleAt launch, Wonderbooks were available as picture, leveled readers, and early chapter books. Now, Wonderbook is also available on select chapter books as well, for those kids who need a little extra help with comprehension. Research shows that hearing and seeing words at the same time can improve reading success rates, at any age. Wonderbook gives kids an edge with vocabulary development, phonics, and comprehension, plus encourages deeper engagement with every book.

 

If you are interested in starting, or growing, your Wonderbook collection, LSC is your one-stop source for everything you need. ARP and customized selection is available, as well as cataloguing and processing on all titles. All customer support, invoices, and shipping is done through LSC, with Canadian dollars and taxes. We can also provide merchandising materials for free from Playaway, to create patron awareness and boost circulation. For more information, check out the Playaway Wonderbook site, or if you are interested in ordering, email Karrie Vinters to explore the possibilities with Wonderbook.

 

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

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60 years ago, the recently deceased Norton Juster published the children’s fantasy novel The Phantom Tollbooth, probably never imagining that it would still be popular 60 years later, or that it would become a children’s classic. 

 

I first met Milo and company when I was 9-years-old and in 4th grade. My teacher was a big believer in reading novels aloud, and she started reading us Juster’s book. I’ve always loved reading, but of all the books I’ve ever read or had read to me, this one is not only my favourite children’s book, but my favourite book of all time, and one which I’ve revisited several times as an adult.

 

phantom tollbooth cover / a drawing of milo and a dog creature with a clock imbedded in its side, on a blue fieldIf you’re not familiar with the story, it begins with a bored little boy named Milo, who despite having a room full of toys and games, is bored. Sounds like a familiar scenario right? One day, a mysterious package arrives in his room. He has no idea where it came from or who sent it, but he decides to open it. Inside the package is a tollbooth and a map of the Lands Beyond, including the Kingdom of Wisdom. Lacking anything else to do, he decides to try it out.

 

After going through the tollbooth, Milo finds himself on a road that is decidedly not his apartment, and this is where his adventure begins. As he travels through Wisdom, Milo learns the history of the kingdom, and is set on an important quest. You see, once upon a time, the Kingdom was ruled by two brothers. One was a word wizard, the other a math magician. They also had two sisters named Rhyme and Reason who kept balance in the kingdom.

 

Let’s just say that the brothers had some issues sharing power, each thinking that they were the more important. In an attempt to settle their quarrel once and for all, they called upon their sisters to tell them whether numbers or letters were the more important. The sisters ruled that both were equally important, enraging the brothers who banished them to the Castle in the Air, and split the kingdom in two- Dictionopolis and Digitopolis.

 

Now if it were up to Milo, who seldom stayed interested in anything for long, he’d probably have just gone home and abandoned the Tollbooth to a corner with his other toys. Instead, however, King Azas the Unabridged (can you guess which kingdom he rules over?) tricks Milo into accepting a quest to rescue the princesses and restore rhyme and reason to the kingdom (literally and figuratively).

 

Throughout his journey, Milo travels to the land of Expectations which is literally whatever you expect it to be, gets stuck in the Doldrums which is about as dull and drab as you’d imagine, visits a word market where words and letters are sold, and attends a banquet where guests literally eat their words.

 

He also meets a number of colourful characters such as the Whether Man who tells him whether there will be whether instead of what the weather will be, the Which Witch known as Faintly Macabre, a spelling bee, and the "watch" dog named Tock (who actually goes tick) whose job it is to keep people from killing time, and a 12-sided creature called Dodecahedron to name a few.

 

Once his quest is complete, Milo is returned home. He immediately makes plans to return the next day after school, but discovers that the Tollbooth is a lot like Mary Poppins, and only goes where it’s needed. While he’s mildly disappointed by this, he also looks at his own world with fresh eyes and realizes that he has lots to do right there.

 

As a kid, I loved the adventure, the fantasy world, and the strange characters. By that point I was well into books by Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis, and I’d gone down the Rabbit hole and into Oz, but this was something entirely different. I’m not sure if I fully understood the deeper messages of the book when I was 9, but the subtlety, along with the word play, is what makes it brilliant.

 

We can all relate to Milo, and kids aren’t the only ones who have looked around at all of their stuff and still complained of having nothing to do. Milo also learns that memorization (which he associates with education) is not the same as learning, and that law isn’t the same as justice. He learns to think in the abstract, the danger of jumping to conclusions, not to accept conformity, and to appreciate the journey and not focus solely on getting to where he’s trying to go.

 

Perhaps the most important takeaway from the book comes when Milo learns that the quest was supposed to be impossible. He was able to succeed because he believed in what was possible and not what wasn’t, and that’s something we can all do well to remember. 

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel, and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the LSC Weekly Update, 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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We're taking Monday off for the Civic Holiday, same as all our friends in Alberta, BC, Saskachewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nunavut. Everyone else, we'll see you on Tuesday.

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I love cycling. I'm passionate about it. But not in a spandex-body-suit-and-bullet-shaped-helmet sort of way. I'm passionate about it as a regular old form of transportation. One that predates the car (and was only beaten by the train by 13 years). I love biking to work. I love biking in the rain. Even *gasp* in the snow. So, since June was Bike Month, here are some books about bikes.

 

a 19th century drawing of a man on a primitive bicycleBut first, here is my favourite fact about bicycles: they contributed to the Women's Rights Movement, and the Feminist Movement in general. The bike was invented in 1817 by German inventor Karl von Drais because two years prior a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world caused massive crop failures across the world, and his horses died (this is, by the way, my second favourite fact about bicycles). Horseless and with places to be, Karl invented a proto-bike that he could power himself to get from place to place. And his invention might have been forgotten, except that by the end of the century they were adopted by women as a method of escape and self-expression.

 

The Victorian era was not great for giving a lot of liberties to women, but with a bike they could peddle about town, through the park, to tea on their own *gasp*! This, you might expect, caused a stir in society. Not just because women were riding amok, but also because the act of peddling meant that their legs might be seen by random passers-by *gasp*. So, to cover their legs while biking, women began wearing that most corrupting and sinister of garments: pants.

 

an ancient greek vase depicting five Amazons wearing leather and battling with shields and spearsMy favourite fact about pants, by the way, is that they had been invented about 3000 earlier by women. The Scythians were a horse-driven nomadic people living on the steppes north of the Black Sea, and were known for being completely gender neutral in their politics. Women were equal to men, went to war, ruled their society. But riding a horse can get a bit... chaffy, so the fierce warrior women of Scythia invented pants as a solution. These pant-wearing Scythians were so morally offensive and secretly alluring to the Greeks that they entered their myths as the Amazons, and that is my favourite fact about the Scythians.

 

What was I talking about... right, bicycles! So, Victorian women are now wearing pants and riding about town and start to get a sense that they like this "being able to wear what they want, do what they want, and go where they want" thing, and it added more fire to the growing movement towards female equality. Pants went on to play a powerful role in the Feminist movement. Pockets, however, were not integral to either gender equality or riding bikes, and so the struggle continues. 

 

little pig, the bicycle and the moon by pierrette dube / a drawing of an enthusiastic pig riding a bike under a crescent moon while two chickens watch in amazement. If you would like to read more about the places where bicycles and feminists cross paths, I suggest Bikes Not Rockets: Intersectional Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories edited by Elly Blue. If you are interested in the adventures of a girl called Bicycle, I recommend Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss. Switching gears (see what I did there?), there is Na'ar ha-ofanayim / Bicycle boy by Eli Amir. And at an entirely different speed (eh eh) there is Little Pig, the Bicycle, and the Moon by Pierrette Dube.

 

Recommendations continue with the likes of Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle by Jude Isabella. Add to that Bicycle by Adonia Lugo, and Splendid Book of the Bicycle by Daniel Tatarsky, and Tour de Oz: The Extraordinary Story of the First Bicycle Race Around Australia by Brett Harris.
 
chain breaker bike book by shelly lynn jackson / a drawing of a bike in disrepair, in purpleIf you want to know how your bicycle works, give Chainbreaker bike book : a rough guide to bicycle maintenance by Shelly Lynn Jackson a gander. And if you'd rather just colour some bicycles, there is the Classic Bicycle Coloring Book by Taliah Lempert.

 

Bicycles are wonderful. During the pandemic, there has been a bike shortage because no one was at work and everyone remembered how wonderful it is to take a ride and feel the wind on your neck. And with electric bikes (which provide a slightly powered assist) and a vast array of cargo bikes, they are splendid replacements for the car in a time when fewer cars on the road is more and more climatically important. And bikes are considerably cheaper. And they run on hamburgers. Or carrots. Anything really. Cheese.

 

So, what are the lessons here? One, pants lead to revolution. Two, pants make you more attractive to repressed ancient Greeks. Three, bicycles are better than dead horses and living cars. But not living cars like in the movie Cars. Are there bikes in the Cars movies? Are they all cyclops? Or the skeletons of motorcycles? I've started to think too much about this; better end things before it gets weird. 

 

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

 

Fictionally Yours,

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I love speculative novels that pose interesting questions that apply to real life, and particularly ones that have no easy answers.  Is it worth sacrificing your identity if it also meant erasing your most painful memories? If you knew you had a day left to live, how would you spend it? These questions are the central ideas of the novels by the brilliant YA writer Adam Silvera.

 

More happy than not cover / the title in large blue block letters, imposed over a close up of a yellow smiley faceSeveral years ago I had the privilege of getting to know Adam when we both contributed to the same blog. Adam was on the cusp of publishing his first novel More Happy Than Not (which recently published a 5th anniversary edition). Since then, Adam has published several more books, and in all of them he tackles the heavy questions of love, loss, identity, and how we live. 

 

Comped to the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, More Happy Than Not follows 15-year-old Aaron Soto who is struggling with grief over his father’s suicide, and issues of identity, love, and self-acceptance. Adam is lucky in that he has a supportive mother and girlfriend, but his mom works two jobs and can’t be around all of the time, and while his girlfriend tries, he just can’t seem to make himself happy.

 

When his girlfriend goes away to art camp for a couple of weeks, he starts hanging out with new kid Thomas. When he’s with Thomas, he feels happy and safe, but Thomas’ constant presence is creating tension within his group of friends and his girlfriend, and the deeper his feelings grow, the more terrified he becomes.

 

Desperate to do something, he considers undergoing a controversial memory alteration procedure that claims to erase painful memories. If it works, maybe it can erase his grief, and help him get over being gay. But what if it also ends up erasing him?

 

It’s a wonderful work of speculative fiction, and it begs the question how far would you go to erase painful memories? Are our identities shaped by our memories, and in erasing those memories, we do effectively erase what makes us ourselves. Is that cost worth it to give us the happy ending we so desperately want, or is life, as Aaron concludes, “more happy than not?”

 

Ithey both die at the end cover / who figures in sahdown walking along a railing while behind them, a city scape is haloed by a full moonn his third novel They Both Die At the End , Silvera gives his readers another philosophical question to ponder: How would you spend your last day?

 

The novel focuses on two teenaged boys named Mateo and Rufus, who thanks to the company Death-Cast’s predictive technology, learn they have one day left to live. The tech isn’t so far advanced as to give them an exact time or cause of death, and there’s always the niggly question of whether death can be cheated.

 

Initially, the conservative Mateo planned to spend the day in his apartment, but on a whim decides to spend his last day actually living. He meets Rufus through the Last Friend App- an app designed to give Deckers (the dying) someone to hang out with on their last day. They decide to go full on Carpe Diem, and as the day progresses, their friendship turns into something deeper.

 

As I was reading, I found myself imagining what I would do in their shoes. Would I try to see all of my family and friends and say goodbye? Would I try some of the things I always wanted to do but was too afraid to, or would I play it safe and stay in bed reading or watching tv hoping to cheat fate?

 

What I found particularly interesting about the scenario is how knowing your death date can shape your choices. Throughout the day, Mateo and Rufus have numerous close calls where they think “this is the moment. This is how I die,” but being in that place at that time is 100% driven by the choices they made as a result of knowing that they will die before the day is up. If it was a day like any other, there are probably 100 choices that you might make that doesn’t put you in harm’s way, or maybe knowing doesn’t matter because fate is fixed and you were destined to die. The paperback edition is currently on the NYT besteller list, so now's a good time to add it to your collection if you don't already have it. 

 

The second book in Silvera's new Infinity Cycle fantasy series, called Infinity Reaper, released this past March, and both of those titles are definitely worth adding to your YA collection.

 

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

 

Happy Readings!

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The federal stat holiday designated Canada Day falls on a Thursday this year. Thus Thursday we'll be closed, but open again on Friday the 2nd. Spend the day doing what you want, but perhaps this year spend a little time reflecting on the day.

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