Blog - Library Services Centre

On April 8th, the government of Ontario declared a third provincial emergency, and  issued new stay-at-home restrictions for the province except in cases of essential services. Having reviewed the new guidelines, LSC continues to comply with the requirements, and will not be closing.

 

Since reopening in June 2020, we have positioned ourselves to comply with the most vigorous health and safety requirements of the Region of Waterloo public health and the Ontario Ministry of Health, in order to remain open except in the case of a mandatory lockdown, as in the spring of 2020.

 

This has included:

  • Only essential personnel on-site,
  • Screening every employee when they enter the building,
  • Physical distancing of employees inside the building, and capacity limits for all areas of the building,
  • Face covering, cleaning, and disinfection.

As with every announcement of new restrictions, we understand that this will impact the library operations of our clients differently. Please contact Michael Clark if you require a pause to shipping, changes to receiving instructions, or anything other needs you may have during this period.

 

We are here to help in whatever way we can.

 

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

It’s been a long winter and an even longer year, spent mostly cooped up inside due to various lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.  But though we’re still battling the coronavirus, getting outside into the sunshine and fresh air is important, even if we have to do it spaced apart.  Unfortunately trips to take the garbage out don’t count, according to my mom, but I have a good excuse to get outside in an isolated area: my horse and his propensity to find every single burr in the field, get it in his mane and tail, and turn into a unicorn.

 

Getting kids outside is especially important for their health, both physical and mental.  Even a quick walk around the block can lower blood pressure, boost energy, and improve your state of mind.  With winter retreating, the sun is getting stronger and there’s nothing as invigorating as turning your face up to the spring sunshine (just make sure you wear sunscreen and don’t look directly at the ball of burning light).  Although kids have had to adjust how they play and who they can play with, getting them outside – with family, if possible – will benefit everyone.

 

outside you notice by erin alladin / a watercolour painting of a young girl with braids sitting in the branches of a treeTowards the end of April, Pyjama Press is publishing Outside, You Notice by Erin Alladin and illustrated by Andrea Blinick.  A combination of lyrical observations of nature and quick nonfiction facts, the book encourages kids to get outside and explore, from their own backyards to woods, fields, and public trails. Erin Alladin graciously did a presentation for LSC during our Children’s Display Day on the 18th.

 

Wild Outside by Les Stroud / an animated version of Les Stroud flanked by various wild animals from around the worldLes Stroud, Survivorman on OLN and Discovery, recently published Wild Outside a book for kids detailing some of his adventures in the wild, along with nature facts and tips for safely observing local wildlife.  These adventures include being stalked by a jaguar, traversing the desert in search of weaverbird eggs to eat, and even being chased by a moose!  While most kids won’t encounter anything that extreme, they can still respectfully check out their local birds, small animals, and plant life.

 

On the other hand, some kids aren’t very outdoorsy, and that’s okay.  As a kid and teen, I often took a beloved book and relaxed out on the back deck while I read, but I was never big on activities like camping, or sports that didn’t involve animals.  There’s nothing wrong with bringing traditionally indoor activities like painting, writing, or board games outside, to backyards or local parks.  And while most parents would like their kids to have less screen time, the portability of modern electronics means video games and TV can go just about anywhere.

 

Nature heals by Blue Owl / a young person sits on the edge of a rock in a mountain range with a wild sky stretching out before them After a year of disrupted schooling and isolation, parents are rightly worried about the mental health of their kids.  Many libraries have books on mindfulness, anxiety, and relaxation for kids.  Combining those topics with nature and the outdoors, Blue Owl Books published the Nature Heals series in January, featuring activities like camping, gardening, and simply listening and watching. 

 

 

slow down by rachel williams / an illustration of the various stages of a butterfly life cycleWe live in a fast-paced world and sometimes everyone – kids and adults – needs a reminder to slow down and take in the beauty of the natural world.  The book Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature by Rachel Williams helps kids do just that.  Each spread illustrates a unique moment in time that we can appreciate by slowing down, whether that’s the appearance of a rainbow after the rain, or a shooting star flying across the night sky.

 

So if you’re feeling sluggish and everyone’s sick of looking at a screen, head outside on a nice sunny day.  Take a walk, get down in the dirt, or stretch out in the backyard with a good book and your favourite drink.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be at the farm, pulling endless burrs off my horse.

 

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.

 

Enjoy!

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

LSC is taking an extra long weekend to look for Easter eggs. We're closed on Friday the 2nd and Monday the 5th. We'll reopen on Tuesday the 6th. 

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Well, the show must go on. Without an in-person audience aside from the artists themselves, the 63rd annual Grammy Awards took place on Sunday, March 14th. The awards show was originally scheduled for January 31st, but due to you-know-what, it was postponed. Unlike movies, the pandemic didn’t affect the release of music nearly as much, so this year’s awards had a wide range of contenders.

 

fine lines by harry styles / harry stlyes standing in a hall, photographed through the fishbowl lens of a peepholeAside from the obvious lack of audience, and the glamourous outfits now co-ordinating with facemasks, this year’s show went off pretty seamlessly, and has been lauded online as an example of how to hold a large glamourous event during a time when such things are questionable at best. Harry Styles opened the show with an alluring version of his summer 2020 anthem ‘Watermelon Sugar’, from Fine Line for which he also accepted the award of Best Pop Solo Performance.

 

the lion king: the gift cover / two golden lions circling each other from aboveHistory was made at the Grammys this year, when Beyoncé won 4 Grammys including Best R&B Performance for the song “Black Parade,” Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Savage” featuring Megan Thee Stallion, and Best Music Video for her song “Brown Skin Girl.” This video features her daughter Blue Ivy, who also won a Grammy for her performance, making her the second youngest person to ever win a Grammy. Jay-Z also received a win for his role in “Savage,” making the song a truly family affair. The wins for Beyoncé make her the most awarded woman in the show’s history with 28 statutes, from 79 nominations.

 

folklore cover / a black and white picture of a woods, with taylor swift small at the bottom of the frameBeyoncé wasn’t the only talented woman to make history at this year’s Grammy’s. Taylor Swift has become the first female artist ever to win Album of the Year three times. This year, her win was for Folklore, her most recent album released August 2020. Previous wins were for her 2010 album Fearless and her 1989 album in 2016. Megan Thee Stallion also made history, when she - alongside Beyoncé - became the first women ever to win for Best Rap Song.

 

bridges cover / mickey guyton with her hands above her headKeeping up with the theme of strong women, Mickey Guyton became the first black woman to ever be nominated for Best Country Solo Performance. While Vince Gill was the winner of this award, Guyton performed the song “Black Like Me” with beauty and grace. The song and its powerful message were written by Guyton, taking the title from the 1961 book of the same name by John Howard Griffin.

 

no time to die / billie eilish in black and white in 3/4 profile19-year-old Billie Eilish was awarded Record of the Year for the second year in a row for her song “Everything I Wanted,” which she performed with her brother Finneas on piano. She also won Best Song Written for Visual Media, for “No Time to Die,” the title song for the latest James Bond movie, whose release has been repeated delayed due to the pandemic.

 

 

chromatica cover / lady gaga is suspended in a red doorway by thorny ivyLady Gaga and Ariana Grande are also among female firsts, becoming the first female pop duo to win for Best Pop/Duo Performance for the song “Rain on Me.” This song comes from Lady Gaga’s album Chromatica, which was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album. Chromatica is also the name of a limited release Lady Gaga themed type of Oreo cookie.

 

 

bubba cover / DJ Kaytranada in close up, with two irises in his unnaturally blue eyesSome fellow Canadians also won big at the Grammy’s this year. Stratford native Justin Bieber won alongside co-performers Dan + Shay for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the song “10,000 Hours.” This is the first Country win for Bieber, and Dan + Shay’s third year in a row winning this award. Montreal DJ Kaytranada also won on Sunday, taking home Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Dance Recording for the album “Bubba.” Also representing Canada, the musical adaptation of Alanis Morissette’s album “Jagged Little Pill,” won for Best Musical Theater Album.

 

Many musicians were honored in remembrance, including a performance by Bruno Mars honoring the late great Little Richard, who passed last May. Mars performed a medley of Little Richard’s greatest hits, in the high energy style of both Mars and Little Richard. Lionel Richie performed the song “Lady” to honor his late friend and co-performer, Kenny Rogers, who the world lost in March 2020. Honoring the late John Prine, who passed away in April 2020 due to Covid related complications, was Brandi Carlile performing her rendition of “I Remember Everything.” John Prine posthumously won this year’s awards for Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance.

 

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 listening!

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Have you ever had a book or a series that you absolutely loved when you were a child, only to realize that it doesn’t hold up under a 21st century lens? If it has, you’re not alone. As the world changes, so does how we look at beloved movies, television shows, and books. And sometimes, especially when it comes to our favourite children’s books, what we find when we revisit them as adults can be disappointing and disturbing. Feeling nostalgia for a particular story doesn’t mean the problems aren’t there or that we shouldn’t acknowledge them and address them.  

 

if i ran the zoo cover / a dr seuss creature against a bright red coverClassic children’s literature is going through something of a reckoning as librarians, publishers, and the public come to terms with some of the more troubling aspects of our childhood favourites. Recently, Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced a decision to stop publishing and licensing six of the titles from their catalogue including: If I Ran the Zoo, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and McElligot’s Pool. The decision came last year after a review by a panel of experts (including librarians and educators) determined that the titles contained racist and offensive portrayals of Asian and Black People.

 

green eggs and ham cover / a dr seuss creature starring at a plate of green eggs against an orange fieldIt is also important to note that Seuss’s most beloved titles such as Cat in the Hat, Horton, and Green Eggs and Ham aren’t going anywhere, and the Enterprise’s decision to pull a handful of titles is in no way a suggestion that Seuss should be fully removed from the canon. For the most part the decision has been celebrated. Mullberry Street was originally published in 1937, and nearly 75 years later, it’s not surprising that some of the illustrations haven’t aged well. And the Enterprise was quick to note, the six removed titles were also among their lowest selling titles.

 

curious george cover / two police walk with a a small monkey between them, against a yellow field.Interestingly, Seuss isn’t the only popular children’s author who has come under closer scrutiny in the last decade or so. Recently, I had a conversation with a fantastic teacher librarian who mentioned that she’d pulled Curious George and Babar from her shelves. Curious George in particular has remained popular through licensing deals, including an animated PBS series that ran for 13 years and animated film. I had fond memories of the mischievous little monkey, and it’s been quite some time since I read the original stories, so I couldn’t imagine why he was problematic until I started researching it further.

 

The problem, according to critics, is the racist overtones of the books, including the generalization of George being from “Africa,” and taken by force from his home in the jungle. Likewise, there are overt colonialism themes in Babar where the text literally describes the black characters in the book “savages and cannibals.” When examined from with our 21st century views, of course we identify these problems, but the first Babar book was published in France in 1931, and the first Curious George book was published in 1941. What these authors and the general public considered appropriate was different than what we understand now. It doesn’t make it right, but understanding the world that these books came from provides context.

 

little house on the prairie cover / two young girls stare out the back of a covered wagon which rolls across the prairie Another popular series that has recently been reexamined are the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder which chronicle her pioneer/settler childhood.  I read most of the series when I was about 8-9 years old and loved it, and I have known several teachers who have selected the book as a novel study to support the pioneer/early settlers component of the Ontario Curriculum. In 2018, the American Library Association decided to drop her name from the annual award given in her name because of her racist portrayals of Native American people in her books. While some disputed the decision, pointing out that the first books in the series were published in 1931 and took place in Wisconsin in 1871, the ALA defended the decision, reminding people that they are not encouraging a ban on Wilder’s books, but simply bringing the award in-line with its values.

 

dr dolittle cover / a man with glasses in a tux and top hat stands in a clearing surrounded by jungle animalsThese are just a few examples, but it turns out that quite a few beloved children’s books (including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tin Tin, Peter Pan, Pippi Longstocking, Dr. Doolittle, and Indian in the Cupboard) contain racist or offensive stereotypes. It would be easy to chalk it up to another time, another place, but as experts have pointed out, because we continue to read these books today, we have to look at them critically and acknowledge their mistakes. Whether they have lasting merit, or should be pulled from public library or store shelves is a decision that each org has to make for themselves. What is very true is that there are a plwalethora of alternatives that encompass diversity and inclusion and other modern values.

 

In 2014, the Walter Dean Myers Award was created to recognize published, diverse authors who champion marginalized voices. Incidentally, the ceremony for the sixth Walter Awards will be held on March 12th, with Laurie Halse Anderson as the emcee. The social media hashtags #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #OwnVoices both champion diverse books by marginalized voices, and are a great place to start if you’re trying to diversify your collection and find alternatives to some of these classic titles.

 

And of course, LSC is happy to champion diverse collections. While we compile standard lists, like our Indigenous lists each season, we’ve also recently built lists to spotlight BIPOC authors, to celebrate Black History Month, and to highlight Neurodiversity. We’re also happy to build custom lists for libraries by their request. If there is an area, theme, or voice that you want to focus on, let us know and we’ll build selection lists to make ordering easier.

 

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!

 

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

2020 was a lot of things, but in the entertainment industry, perhaps the biggest impact the pandemic has had has been on the release of movies. Film studios have pushed back releases all year long, and only a hand full of would-be blockbusters actually saw release. Meanwhile, streaming services have been flooded with movies, both major and independent. All the while, fans and professionals have been asking, is 2020 the beginning of the end for movies?

 

charade movie poster / audrey hepburn and cary grant running against a yellow background with the tagline I love movies. If there is anything in my life that I would call a passion, it is the art and majesty of the moving picture. I’ve loved them since I was a kid, when I would sit in rapt attention every Saturday night for Elwy Yost’s double feature on TVO’s Saturday Night at the Movies. I was definitely the only kid in my fourth grade class who had seen The French Connection, and the only person I knew until university who had ever heard of Charade. My love of movies has brought me to the point where I am currently the Chair of Programming for the Grand River Film Festival, where to my delight I spend most of the year reviewing unreleased independent film from around the world. So, unlike most, my 2020 did not lack for new movies.

 

But something we all missed out on was the reason movies are great: the shared experience. There are few experiences that we can have in the modern day that match sitting in a packed house, the lights down, and a bright screen shunting us into an entirely new world for a few hours. To hear a room of strangers all laughing simultaneously, or gasping in shock, or crying. So many experiences, especially with art, are private ones. Theatrical movies are a way to connect with humanity that, sadly, are also one of the least safe and healthy venues during a pandemic. So, as much as I hate it, theatres being closed is a good thing for now.

 

But there was two months at the start of 2020 where theatres were open and prospering. Aside from a few random films that were pushed into theatres during that brief period in late summer before the second wave, almost the entire Box Office of 2020 comes from Jan and Feb, notoriously a time when studios dump their movies which are expected to underperform. And it makes for one of the most interesting box office reports to look at.

 

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE POSTER / MARTIN LAWREN AND WILL SMITH WALKING TOWARDS you with guns at their side

The top grossing film, a title usually reserved for a film grossing billions, like an Avengers, went to Bad Boys for Life with $204 million. This was the third in a series of police action films, coming 17 years after the second entry, and reunited stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Will Smith used to be the most bankable actor in Hollywood, during a run in the nineties which saw Smith release high grossing films on the July 4th weekend that included Independence Day, Men in Black, and Wild Wild West.

 

 

sonic the hedgehog poster / the blue video game running at high speed toward you while a scary looking jim carrey's head surrounded by a golden ring hoers in the skyIn the number two spot for 2020 was the video game adaptation Sonic the Hedgehog, a movie which had been pushed back from 2019 due to a negative reaction from fans of the titular character’s CGI design. The character was retooled to look closer to his video game appearance, which he has sported since 1991 when he became for the Sega system what Mario was for Nintendo. The movie featured human actors as well, including Jim Carrey in the villainous role, another actor who during the nineties was considered Box Office Gold for his run of Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask.

 

 

birds of prey poster / heavily tattooed margot robbie is swinging a baseball bat at you, while four diverse women strike violent poses behind herSpot three went to Birds of Prey, a DC Comics movie starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. The character had previously featured in Suicide Squad, but this female directed-and-centric film sees a mismatched group of down-and-out women living in Batman’s Gotham City band together to combat toxic masculinity, and try to enjoy a good breakfast sandwich. For my money, this is one of the best superhero movies of recent years, with John Wick-esque action sequences and a focus on the actual emotion motivation of characters instead of giant CGI explosions.

 

 

dolittle poster / robert downey jr leans to his side while surrounded by a CGI polar bear, giraffe, fox, gorilla, duck, parrot, ostrich, and dog wearing glasses. A tagline reads The fourth spot of the year went to Robert Downey Jr’s misguided career follow-up to his Iron Man run, with Dolittle, the third live action adaptation of the 1920’s book. Undeniably the only bomb on this list (which still landed it at third best performing of 2020), and the worst received by critics, this movie wouldn’t have lasted much longer in theatres if the pandemic hadn’t closed the doors early. Interestingly, Robert Downey Jr, due to his struggles with addiction in the nineties, was uninsurable and could not work until the combination of his sobriety and Marvel’s backing made him a star again.

 

 

invisible man poster / a distressed looking Elizabeth moss is half in frame, while a handprint in moisture hangs in the air behind her The fifth spot on 2020’s list was my favourite movie of 2020, The Invisible Man starring Elizabeth Moss. This feminist interpretation of the classic HG Wells novel follows a woman who cannot escape the ghost of an abusive relationship. The unseen terror of the man who won’t let her go the perfect metaphor for the lingering trauma experienced by victims of abuse. Blumhouse, producing the studio, has quickly established themselves as the makers of the most interesting “mid budget” films right now, especially bringing prestige and acceptance to the horror genre with films like Get Out, The Purge, and Ma. They’ve also begun making dramas, with Whiplash and BlacKkKlansman making waves. This is an example of a smaller studio who are willing to make movies that the big studios wouldn’t consider, and finding great success.

 

 

tenet poster / two versions of John David Washington stand back to back, separated by the word TENET. Behind them, skyscrapers rise into the airThe rest of the top ten is a grab bag of content. The Call of the Wild saw Harrison Ford and a poorly CGI’d dog live in the wood. Onward, a Pixar fantasy film had a whole two weeks in theatres before lockdown saw it get bumped directly onto Disney+. Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s time travel action mystery movie was forcibly released into theatres in September because of the filmmaker’s insistence that it should be experienced on the big screen despite it not being safe to go to a theatre to see it. Guy Richie released his latest ensemble crime comedy The Gentlemen, which I think everyone promptly forgot existed. And finally for the top ten of 2020 was Fantasy Island, another Blumhouse picture which reimagined the 1970s TV show as a horror film, released on Valentine’s Day and dismissed by critics.

 

 

007: no time to die poster / a cast of character's heads floating within the silhouette of Daniel Craig, with a burning car in the foreground and the numbers 007 in the background

Of all these films, had 2020 gone as planned, only Tenet I would have expected to remain in the top ten earners, as Nolan’s films such as Interstellar, Inception, and the Dark Knight trilogy are consistently billion or near-billion dollar movies. This year, Nolan ended up with $46 million. Other major studio films, like Marvel’s Black Widow or the 25th James Bond movie, No Time To Die, have opted to wait the pandemic out and be released when it is safe (though Bond has now been delayed so long that the product placement in the film is out of date and needs to be reshot).

 
 

Wonder Woman 1984 poster / gal gadot as wonder woman stands facing you with neon coloured audio waves and television static behind her, some of the waves forming the numbers 84

Some films like Mulan or Soul were released directly on Disney+. Or Scoob, which was meant to both reboot Scooby-Doo and launch a Hanna-Barbara film universe, was quietly and unceremoniously put on Amazon Prime in the summer. Warner Bros announced that starting with Wonder Woman '84 at Christmas, all of their films would be released directly on HBOMax (unavailable in Canada), which drew major complaint from the filmmakers themselves, who hadn’t been told, and might see long standing relationships with directors like Christopher Nolan or Patty Jenkins end.

 

 

nomadland poster / /francis mcdormand sits in a lawn chair outside a trailer, with a clothes line stretched over her, and the American desert behind her.Meanwhile, independent films have had a dramatically reduced festival circuit to travel this year, and so many are ending up on streaming platforms far sooner than usual. I Care A Lot, featuring Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage premiered at TIFF in September and is already on Netflix. Nomadland, which premiered at the Venice festival in September was released last month on Hulu and is the favourite to win the Academy Award this year. I can say that despite there not being movie theatres open this past year, there were many amazing films released, and considerably more independent films given attention because of the lack of big blockbusters. And DVDs continue to be produced, revitalizing the physical media that many have been writing the obituary for, for many years.

 

Movies will survive the pandemic. Delivery of movies will absolutely change post-pandemic, but I see it as a good thing. Big, flashy movies like the Avengers will play in megaplexes for a few weeks then go to streaming. Art houses will still have a bounty crop of independent films to showcase. And just like in the 70s and the 90s, there will be a rise of mid level studios who produce innovative films from independent filmmakers who are ready for the next stage. In the past, this has given us directors like Steven Soderbergh and the Coen Bros. With independent film bubbling over with female and minority voices, I am excited for a new era of film to begin.

 

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.

 

Yours Fictionally,

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

This summer I’ll have been working in the book industry for 22 years, first as a bookseller and then for library wholesalers. Over that time I’ve seen many short-shelf life titles. These are the books that either get returned to the publisher at first opportunity, or titles that are popular for a brief burst and then fade into oblivion. With the recent deaths of Clive Cussler, Mary Higgins Clark, Joanna Lindsey and M.C. Beaton (all of whom were still publishing before their deaths), I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what gives these or any authors staying power.

 

I first discovered Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries through my mom, and continued to enjoy her books for many years. Believe it or not, she published her first novel Where Are The Children in 1975, and since then, most or all of her 38 solo suspense novels (not counting those she co-authored with son Alafair Burke and daughter Carol Higgins Clark) have become bestsellers and have perpetually stayed in print.

 

In an age where up to 1 million books are being published annually in the United States alone, shrinking attention spans, and limited shelf space, the fact that an author can still get new titles on the bestseller list is quite a feat. Digging deeper, when I examined a top 100 list of most popular fiction authors, I discovered some pretty interesting facts about authors that I either used to read or currently read who have been around for decades.

 

wedding dress by danielle steel / a bride in a tapered dress against an purple fieldPopular romance author Danielle Steel is the fourth bestselling fiction author of all time, and has sold over 800 million copies of her books since her first the publication of her first novel in 1973. She even set a Guinness World Record in 1989 for spending the most consecutive weeks on a bestseller list- 390 weeks or 7.5 years in total, which rarely happens. To put it in perspective, only about 37% of fiction titles stay on the list more than 4 weeks, and the longest number of weeks of any title currently on the New York Times Bestseller list is 74. These days, she can be counted on to release around 6 books a year, and while they may not be reaching Guinness levels, they are consistently in demand.

 

hideaway by nora roberts / a flower garden on a cliff over looking the ocean

Nora Roberts, who does double duty writing as herself and under the pen name J.D. Robb published her first novel in 1981, and has more than 400 million copies of her books in print. 59 of her books have debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and she’s been dubbed America’s favourite novelist by The New Yorker. She’s been a favourite of mine for several years, and the million copy print runs of her recent releases suggests that the title is accurate.

 

devoted by dean koontz / a tree in silhouetted against a sky on fireSuspense novelist Dean Koontz, whom I also discovered through my mom, has been around since 1968 when he published the sci-fi novel Star Quest, but he really gained notoriety when he started writing suspense/horror fiction. At least 14 of his books have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. These are just a few examples, but authors such as Sandra Brown, Stephen King, Fern Michaels, and Stuart Woods have also been publishing since the 70s or 80s, and are still consistently popular with readers.

 

So what does give all of these authors their amazing staying power? Mass appeal is one reason. All of these authors managed to find a mass audience for their books, and they retain their audience because they tell good stories and the books are extremely readable. Calling a book addictive is high praise because it means you can’t put it down. If an author is successful in giving you that experience, naturally you’d want to read another of their titles. There’s also comfort in familiarity, and it’s a lot easier to stick with what you know than to break away and try something new.

 

Compelling characters would be another reason. There is something about their characters that draws us in, makes us care about them to the point that we become invested in their lives. We laugh with them, cry for them, wish we could be them, and want to continually read more about them. Pride and Prejudice was published over 200 years ago, and yet Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy still resonate with modern audiences. To Kill a Mockingbird is over 60-years-old, and Atticus Finch is one of the most beloved characters in literature.

 

the return by nicholas sparks / a garden gate door covered in vinesThe third commonality is that they have universal themes that readers relate to. Whether it’s the struggle to reach a personal goal, a struggle with humanity, life and death, good and evil, and the ever-popular love, the most famous novels address some or all of these themes. Nicholas Sparks who is best known for his tragic love story The Notebook has a huge following, and he’s widely considered the standard for modern romance. He writes about ordinary people who find love and often lose love through tragedy. While some people may criticize the author for his saccharinity and sappiness, there is something about these stories that draws readers and keeps them coming back for each new book.

 

Obviously these aren’t the only reasons that keep us sticking with our favourite authors, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the popular authors of today who are still hitting bestseller lists in 10, 20 or 30 years, all of their books will have these things in common.

 

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!

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

There’s a common misconception (among those who don’t use them) that libraries are a product of a bygone era, good only for books and fairly useless in today’s high-tech age.  This isn’t true, as anyone who’s stepped foot in a library in the past decade can tell you.  Beyond print books, libraries offer audiobooks, AV like DVDs and video games, and even toys and games. 

 

They are community hubs where you can learn how to write a resume, how to use a computer, and how to create art ranging from knitting to 3D printing.  Libraries provide a space for anyone to use, no matter their income; offering study groups, tutoring lessons, children’s activities, or just a warm place out of a cold Canadian winter.

 

One way that libraries are changing to meet current technical needs is by offering kits that can be borrowed just like a book.  These kits can contain a multitude of things, including educational toys, STEAM activity books, and technological gadgetry like the Raspberry Pi and solar robots.  Kits can also be more party-based, like with green screen props; focused on music like the ukulele; or even a collection of family games like a kid-friendly magnetic darts board.

 

Discovery kits are a good way for libraries to help support the school curriculum in their community.  Kits can cover a wide range of subjects, from chemistry to astronomy to minerals, crystals, and rocks.  You can even go on a dinosaur dig in the comfort of your own home!  The hands-on aspects of these kits help kids learn by doing, but for those that are more reader-inclined, discovery kits also include print books.

 

Steve Spangler's Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids / pictures of simple science experiments engulfed in lightningFortunately, science and art are perennial topics, with books published each season for both kids and adults.  In Steve Spangler’s Super Cool Science Experiments for Kids, children 8-12 can find dozens of experiments ranging from the world’s simplest motor to an artificial lung to eggshell geodes.  Instructions are simple to follow, cleanup is easy, and each project includes an explanation of how it works and a fun Did You Know? factoid.

 

For those with mathematical minds, DK is publishing Math Maker Lab in July. Suitable for ages 10 and up, the book offers 25 creative projects and experiments designed to make learning about math fun. Projects include a times-table dreamcatcher, a multiplication machine, and the ability to draw impossible objects.

 

Crayola Create it Yourself / two children displaying home made craftsArtier kids may be interested in Crayola’s Create It Yourself, with a colourful project for every week of the year organized by the seasons.  Projects include a DIY fish tank using moldable air-drying clay for the fish, a puffy paint rainbow, and melted crayon ornaments.

Adults can get in on the fun by working on projects with their kids (or by themselves; no judgement, says the woman with a 2-foot cardboard T. rex on her side table) or by looking for kits geared towards adults at their local library.  These kits can include textile art like quilting or cross-stitch; gardening complete with seed packets; or even tool kits for DIY home repairs.

 

Libraries are a vital part of the community.  They provide safe spaces, community outreach, and, yes, books.  Libraries are ever-evolving and working to support their communities, so if you haven’t been to one in a while, take a trip there and see what they have to offer. 

 

For clients looking to supplement their kits, LSC offers SLIST 44667: 82 titles on science, math, textile art, and more!  Kits themselves can be created by special request; please contact our new ARP Coordinator Julie Kummu, or Selection and Customer Service Manager Jamie Quinn.

 

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.

 

Enjoy!

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Today is Family Day in Ontario, and due to that our office will be closed, giving everyone here a well deserved long weekend. We recommend sleeping in, toasty beverages, and fluffy blankets. We hope everyone in every province is staying safe and healthy. 

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

There is something comforting about reading a series. They afford us the opportunity to constantly revisit familiar characters and locations. Through our favourite characters we solve mysteries, travel through time, discover lost relics, etc... without ever leaving our homes, and there are seemingly endless stories to enjoy.

 

The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child / two highways crossing in an x.

Characters such as Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, Stephanie Plum or Stone Barrington continue to be popular with readers, and the authors dutifully come up with new stories to tell about them. So what actually constitutes a series? In broad strokes, it’s any sequence of books with characteristics in common that link them together. Where series become complicated is the different ways that they are organized.

 

A novel sequence set is a series that has themes, characters, or settings in common, but each book has its own title and can stand alone or as part of a series. All of the characters I referred to above are an example of this. Books may make reference to something that happened in a past book, but for the most part, the character changes very little. These can be numbered, or just grouped together like the Harlequin Romances. These make a great casual read because you can pick it up from anywhere and not have missed much. I like to start with the first book because it introduces the character, but it's not necessary.

 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon / a golden crown on a red field.The other type of series is a chronological series such as Song of Ice and Fire or Outlander where the characters go through changes and the books build on past events. A series like this needs to be read in order, and if you miss one, it can be very difficult to catch up.

 

Aside from these traditional series, there are trilogies (three books), books that are one novel split into multiple volumes such as Lord of the Rings, prequels and sequels.

 

The release of the next book in a beloved series is a big deal, especially in the JUV/YA market where the recent Hunger Games prequel and the forthcoming Twilight novel are big news. And should George R.R. Martin ever get around to finishing the next novel in the Game of Thrones series¸ you can only imagine the celebrations that will happen virtually or in person should that be a possibility by the time the book releases.

 

I have a love hate relationship with series. I love them for a few reasons. When an author creates a character or characters I really like, I love having a chance to revisit them in additional books. While there aren’t a lot of novel sequences that I currently follow in print, I do enjoy dipping back into the world of David Baldacci’s Amos Decker or Jude Deveraux’s Montgomery family when I get a chance. In the case of Deveraux, the stories span multiple time periods and generations, and I love reading about the Montgomery family past and present.

 

Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory / a black woman and a white man hiding behind a menu sitting at a table while fireworks occur behind them I've also really enjoyed the romance novels of Jasmine Guillory who has written several loosley linked books featuring the same characters. Each book tells a different character's story, and only lightly reference events from the other books so they don't have to be read in order. 

 

My love for chronological series is less about the characters and more about the ongoing story. Sometimes there’s just too much story to tell in just one book, and the series format allows the author to tell a more detailed story from beginning to end. On the other hand, novel sequences can continue for as long as the author feels like writing about them which could be 10 books, 50, or 100. One such author has openly admitted his wish to kill off his character and end the series, but don’t worry—he’s not actually going to do it.

 

Chronological series are not without their frustrations, and this is where the hate part comes in. There can be long waits in between books (again, George R.R. Martin we’re looking at you), and unless you have the memory of an elephant, if too much time passes, you run the risk of forgetting what was going on unless you reread the previous books. Finding time to read the entire series can also be difficult, and in the case of both types of series, keeping track of all of the titles in a long-running series requires time and organization. 

 

When I was a kid, my grandmother lived around the corner from a Coles and she would keep a list in her purse of the next title in whatever series I was reading so she could pick it up when it came out. This was a great pre-tech way to keep up, but if she lost the paper, she’d have to wait until we were both at home so I could check my shelves and help her start the list over again.

 

Thanks to book tracking apps such as Goodreads and My Book Pledge, it’s a lot easier to keep track of which series titles I have or haven’t read, but it’s still something I have to check.

 

When it comes to chronological series, my preference is to binge read the whole series once all of the books are released. This is definitely easier to do when there aren’t ten 500 page books, but if I’m enjoying it and want to read the next book, I love being able to pick up the next one and continue without interruption. It’s torturous enough waiting a few months for the next season of an ongoing TV drama after a cliff-hanger ending, let alone waiting a year or two for the next book.

 

If a new series is generating a lot of buzz I might be compelled to pick it up and start it, but I’ve left a lot of series unfinished because I never get back to it after the second or third book. I always intend to, but there are just so many other books to read!

 

Whether you read them slowly and one at a time, or quickly and all at once, series get us excited and keep us engaged with reading, and what more can you ask for from a book?

 

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!

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Contributors

LSC Library Services Centre
34
April 8, 2021
show LSC's posts
Stef Waring
14
April 5, 2021
show Stef's posts
Karrie Vinters
7
March 22, 2021
show Karrie's posts
Rachel Seigel
22
March 15, 2021
show Rachel's posts
Michael Clark
19
March 8, 2021
show Michael's posts
Nicole Defreitas
1
January 11, 2021
show Nicole's posts
Sara Pooley
5
October 19, 2020
show Sara's posts
Selection Services
2
September 14, 2020
show Selection's posts
Jamie Quinn
2
July 27, 2020
show Jamie's posts

Latest Posts

Show All Recent Posts

Archive

Tags

Everything Adult Fiction Adult Non Fiction Children’s Fiction Children’s Non Fiction Graphic Novels AV Multilingual Services Announcements Holidays Social Media Events