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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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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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June is National Indigenous Peoples History month and today, June 21st, is National Indigenous Peoples History Day. As Settlers, we are educating ourselves on the history and heritage of Indigenous Peoples, and reflecting on how we can contribute to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Today, we present without commentary several resources that can be used to aid others in their journeys of education and reflection.

 

LSC operates on the traditional territory of ‎the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Attawandaron, on the Haldimand Tract. On October 25, 1784, Sir Frederick Haldimand, the governor of Québec, “granted” this tract of 950,000 acres, - of which only 5% remains - to the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations, for their service during the American Revolution. The Haldimand Tract extends 10 kilometers on both sides of the Grand River, from Dundalk Township to Lake Erie.

 

To find out whose land you are located on, the interactive map Native-Land.ca allows you to search by address and see who called this home first. It also allows you to toggle between territories, languages, and treaties. The map’s creators are quick to point out that this map is not meant to be definitive, but an educational tool that is meant to start how we think about where we live. They also provide a quick form to be alerted of errors or required updates.

 

The Residential School System in Canada is a long-standing tragedy that many Canadians are only just discovering. The CBC has developed a map that allows you to enter an address and identify the nearest residential school to that location. It also provides the years the school was operational , and can be a good starting point in your research and learning. Additionally, the Government of Canada has set up a 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, for those experiencing trauma from the Residential School system. Callers can access emotional and crisis referral services at 1-866-925-4419. 

 

Critical resources in our reconciliation journey are the reports and materials generated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. These reports include the 94 Calls to Action that were delivered in 2015, but include a wide array of valuable, educational, historical materials that uncover the full scope and impact of colonization on the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

 

For some library focused material, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations has its own report, delivered in February 2017 and endorsed by 33 library associations and organizations across Canada. This report contains 10 calls to actions for libraries to aid in decolonization and indigenization efforts.

 

Looking to add some educational credentials to your experience? The University of Alberta offers both a credited and an audited primer course in Indigenous Canada through their Faculty of Native Studies. This 12-week beginner course is a primer for any stage of your journey. 

 

If you are looking for book and film recommendations for either your own learning, or to aid in your educating of children, teens, and other adults, educator Megan Tipler has compiled a massive list of materials across all ages and collection types, all of which are by Indigenous authors. She also has a small list of works by non-Indigenous authors that are of particular note and value. She makes notes where some works may be problematic and includes a short list of authors to actively avoid. You can follow her on Instagram @tiplerteaches where she has links to her resources, including book displays and posters.

 

IMBD has a list of films on the subject of Residential Schools for your reference, and NFB has curated a collection of shorts by Indigenous filmmakers and allies on the impact of the Residential School System. CBC Gem also has a selection of documentaries, including Inendi and We Were Children, to watch.

 

This is far from an exhaustive list of resources. It does, however, provide a starting point for those seeking to learn more, re-educate themselves, and be a better - and better informed - ally moving forward.

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Let’s talk about memes.  A meme (pronounced ‘meem’) is defined as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” and “an amusing or interesting item… or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”  The word was coined in Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book The Selfish Gene but it wasn’t too well-known until the explosion of the internet.  In 1993, in the June issue of Wired, Mike Godwin proposed the concept of the Internet meme and a cultural phenomenon was born.

 

what do you meme board game / big block letters of text in shades of blue and purple on a pure white box.Memes are everywhere; you have to essentially live in the middle of nowhere, with no access to modern electronics or other people, to not have come across a meme recently.  They range from the original LOLcats (yes, you can has cheeseburger), to Britain’s 1939 Keep Calm and Carry On campaign brought back in the early 2000s, to completely surreal art like the Youtube Poop videos.  They pop up on every social media site, they’re used in commercials (usually long after the meme ceased to be relevant), and they can cause global crazes like planking and the ice bucket challenge. Heck, memes are so popular, recognizable, and adapatable, they are have been turned into a party game.

 

bart simpson standing in a classroom before a blackboard with a piece of chalk in his hand. the black board has the phrase "all your base are belong to us" repeated ten times Personally I’ve been online a long time, back to the days of All Your Base Are Belong to Us (20 years old this year!), Domo, Oogachaka Baby, and—sigh—The Hamster Dance.  I’ve been Rickrolled so many times I recognize the ‘XcQ’ in the Youtube URL, but I usually click it anyway because I actually like the song.  The songs ‘levan polkka’ and “Dragostea Din Tei” are better known to me as, respectively, Leekspin and Numa Numa.  However, memes outside the Internet have existed for even longer, though they might not have had as global a reach.  Folklore, clapping games, obscene graffiti, “Kilroy was here”, and that weird angular S that everyone draws in elementary school even though no one knows where it originally came from?  All memes.

 

20-minute or less meme hacks by Sheela Preuitt / a yellow tone stick figure and a photograph of five multi ethnic children frame with 8-bit frames against a purple backgroundSo what makes a meme, especially in the age of the internet?  Well… anything, really.  Take an image, slap some text on it of varying degrees of absurdity, and see if the internet likes it.  It can also be a saying, a reference to a movie, or a meme within a meme within a meme.  I’m sure plenty of people with specialized degrees have tried to explain memes, but I feel it’s somewhat hard to explain why I laughed until I wheezed at a self-portrait of 18th-century artist Joseph Ducreux with the text ‘Oh hot reservoir/This is my jelly’ over it.  Maybe it’s because I grew up with Monty Python and enjoy surreal humour; maybe it’s just because the first principle of comedy is surprise.  Either way, kids can try their hand at creating their own memes with a little help from 20-Minute (or Less) Meme Hacks by Sheela Preuitt.

 

two images stacked on top of one another. the top photo is of actor sean bean as boromir from the film The Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the Ring, captioned with "one does not simply walk into morder". the lower picture is of actor Hayden Christensen playing Anakin Skywalker in the film Star Wars The Revenge of the Sith, standing in front of a flowing lava field, with the caption "you underestimate my power." Memes concerning celebrities and pop culture are, naturally, quite popular.  Sean Bean - as Boromir from Lord of the Rings – telling the viewer that one does not simply walk into Mordor became so popular that Google put it into their map system as an Easter egg when trying to get walking directions to Mordor (sadly it doesn’t seem to work anymore).  Other examples include Woman Yelling at Cat (a combo meme featuring Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members juxtaposed with a puzzled-looking white cat called Smudge), Sad Keanu, Strutting Leo, and recently, Bernie Sanders and his inauguration mittens.  And fortunately, sometimes memes can be used for good: merchandise referencing the Sanders meme has helped to raise money for organizations for seniors, dogs, and LGBTQ+ youth.

 

Because he's jeff goldblum by Travis M. Andrews cover / a drawn caricature of actor jeff goldblum wearing an orange suit, in front of a blue fieldOne celebrity who often makes an appearance in memes is Jeff Goldblum, star of Jurassic Park and some other less important stuff. Jurassic Park spawned at least three memes featuring Jeff Goldblum: You Did It; Life, Uh, Finds a Way; and, of course, Shirtless Ian Malcolm.  There’s even a melodica version of the Jurassic Park theme song, played over the scene where they first see the dinosaurs, that was briefly viral and still makes me laugh helplessly before I even hit play… but back to Jeff Goldblum. In May, the book Because He’s Jeff Goldblum by Travis M. Andrews will be released, detailing Goldblum’s life and just why he’s so memeable.

 

There’s so many memes out there that a single blog can’t possibly do more than scratch the surface.  I could, in fact, write an entire blog just about loss.jpg and how the sequence of characters | || || |_  actually means something to me.  There are entire Tumblr essays about how memes can be combined and build on each other into a memeception that would make absolutely no sense to anyone not into that particular culture at that particular time.  Perhaps that’s what makes memes so enduring as a whole, even if the majority of individual memes explode and die in weeks or even days: the versatility of putting text on an image and seeing if it makes other people laugh.

 

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!

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Growing up, I was obsessed with Greek mythology. From the first time I encountered the trials of Hercules in a picture book in my school library, these ancient tales of gods and monsters had me hooked. As I grew up, my appreciation for these stories also grew beyond just the cool magical powers of angry creatures. The metaphor laced within the stories emerged and beguiled me anew (though, for the record, monsters are still awesome). However, more than 3000 years later, do these myths have a place in the modern world?

 

antigone rising by helen morales / a greek bust wearing burnt orange sun glasses against a hot pink fieldAntigone Rising: The Subversive Power of the Ancient Myths, by Helen Morales is a witty and passionate look at the legacy of antiquity, especially the legacy of reinterpretation of ancient stories. These myths were constructed thousands of years ago, usually by men, to fulfil a social aim. They were to perpetuate a belief, or a moral, or a cause. Over time though these stories have been adopted, and adapted, and purposefully misinterpreted so that they fit a modern context or need. Even within the first thousand years of their existence, tales were retold to fit a Roman perspective rather than a Hellenic one. 21st century interpretations of Tiresias as a trans idol, or the titular Antigone as a feminist icon are the result of careful selective reading of what are largely misogynist texts.

 

women and other monsters by jess zimmerman / an artist's rendering of a half woman, half squid creature against a green field and behind a green fog Morales considers this the intrinsic power of these stories. They are not set in stone, demanded to be read as scripture. These are stories from the oral tradition, and were meant to be fluid based on audience and the creativity of the teller. Rather than be restricted to telling stories that are internally inconsistent and demeaning to every character other than the hero, authors throughout history have breathed life into the minor or the mistreated and discovered new facets to explore in them. Jess Zimmerman’s Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology is a feminist analysis of the prominent female monsters that are prolific throughout Greek Mythology. Where as the “traditional” view of Medusa is of a horror turning men to stone with her gaze, a deeper analysis of her story reveals a victim of abuse and a woman who is tormented by constant unwanted advances from men.

 

Circe by Madeline miller / an drawn golden face wreathed in leavesThis trend is nothing new in modern fiction. More than a decade ago, Margaret Atwood gave us The Penelopiad, a contemporary and feminist look at the Odyssey, from the perspective of Odysseus’ long waiting and long suffering wife, Penelope. The Odyssey is rife with opportunities for re-examination, as Madeline Miller did with her novel Circe, a likewise feminist reinterpretation, this time from the perspective of the witch Circe with whom Odysseus spends several years during his journey. This was Miller’s follow-up to her debut The Song of Achilles, which was a Queer reinterpretation of the Iliad, and both of them are fantastic piece of literature. I wait with baited breath for whatever Miller releases next.

 

ariadne by jennifer saint / a drawn woman's face with greek columns and a sun blast behind her headPerhaps as a response to Miller’s success, there are plenty of authors preparing feminist re-examinations of the countless other mistreated women in myth. Jennifer Saint has her debut with Ariadne, which takes one of the most mistreated women from Greek lore and gives her centre stage in a tale of family tragedy, placing her between her brother, the Minotaur, and her younger sister, Phaedra. It also grants her agency when Theseus comes to call. In myth, Ariadne is responsible for helping Theseus defeat the Minotaur (himself the product of misogyny visited upon Queen Pasiphae), but is abandoned by the “heroic” prince on the first island they encounter heading back to Athens. She is then claimed by the god of wine Dionysus, and promptly disappears from legend. Saint returns Ariadne to the prominence deserving of a princess of Crete.

 

daughters of sparta by claire heywood / two drawn faces of women, one red haired, one brown, haloed in golden weedsAlso this summer, from Claire Heywood, is Daughters of Sparta, which tells the tale of the Trojan war from the perspective of two sisters: Helen and Klytemnestra. Helen’s involvement with the Trojan war is already fraught in the “canon” of mythology, with some saying she willing left with Paris, others saying she was kidnapped, while others still leave her abandoned in Egypt while the war rages on the Turkish coast. Klytemnestra is likewise treated an adulteress and opportunist by the chauvinists writing myth. In Heywood’s version, the women are all too familiar with the expectations of society, and all too willing to push against them for their own happiness.

 

troy by stephen fry / a minimalist drawing of a castle on fire, against a golden fieldPersonally, I hope that someone gives a modern spin to the story of Medea, one of the most misunderstood characters in myth, and all too happy to be painted a villain and a witch by years of male scholars. Definitely deserving of some re-evaluation.

 

These books all do deep dives and reform the image of specific characters. If you are looking for a modern sensibility with more of a general overview of the world of Greek myth, you could do worse than Stephen Fry’s trilogy of Mythos, Heroes, and Troy. Based on his one-man show from the Stratford festival, these are the classic versions of myths punctuated by Fry’s dry wit and cutting tongue, lacing the tales with awareness and satire. 

 

love in color by bolu babalola / a drawn black man and woman leaning in to kiss, surrounded by vibrant coloursI would be remise not to mention that for all the wonder and splendor that the Greeks contain, they are tales well worn and familiar to any Europe-centric upbringing. If you are looking for a different cultural exploration, you should check out Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold by Bolu Babalola. Babalola does bring forward, and from a Black perspective, romantic tales of the Greeks. However, her purpose is to focus on tales of love from Africa, and bring them both to a wider audience and to the modern world.

 

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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Over the last decade, one of the most ascendant forms of media has been the podcast. Named for being a broadcast for an ipod, the medium has grown into an industry that literally anyone with a computer can become a part of. But the upper echelons bring with them larger successes, and for many of the most recognizable names, that has also lead to book deals. Today we look at some podcasts that have made the jump to paperback.

 

Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After ‘Serial’, by Rabia Chaudry / a portrait of a young Arab manIf you asked someone who doesn’t listen to podcasts to name a podcast, they’d probably say Serial. The first season of the true crime podcast (itself a spinoff series from This American Life) remains the most downloaded podcast in history, and won a Peabody award in 2015. The story of Hae Min Lee’s murder and the conviction of her boyfriend Adnan Syed took the culture by storm, and the podcast’s serial nature reinvigorated watercooler office chats as people listened and waited to find out what happened.

 

Adnan’s conviction was overturned, in part due to the evidence laid out in the podcast, but was eventually reinstated. His story was retold in Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After ‘Serial’, by Rabia Chaudry, for anyone looking for closure from the series. 

 

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark / white letters on a black backgroundIf True Crime is of interest, My Favorite Murder is a different kind of podcast. Hosted by comedians and writers Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, the format is simple: each episode, they take turns telling the other about a murder, while the other reacts. The all too true and tragic and horrible details of the stories are punctuated by the hosts riffing and joking about the insane details of the stories.

 

They present these tales, often featuring female victims, from a feminist perspective. Their goal, other than to entertain, is to educate their largely female audience on how these killers operate and how to avoid becoming a victim yourself. Their motto, Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, is also the name of their book, published in 2019. The book shifts away from their podcast and is equal parts memoir and self help book, again looking to educate their audience on how to both “stay sexy” and “don’t get murdered.” 

 

Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant  / white and black letters on a red backgroundStuff You Should Know was born from How Stuff Works, a website which explained… well, how stuff works. Editors Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant started their podcast in 2008, in the still early days of the medium, re-purposing content that had originally been intended for the website. Featuring heavily researched episodes on scientific and cultural topics, the success of SYSK lead to the creation and expansion of Stuff Media podcasts, including The Daily Zeitgeist, a daily current affairs show; and Movie Crush, also hosted by Bryant, an in-depth look into films and filmmakers.

 

Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things was published in Nov 2020, and with snappy illustrations and their quirky way of explaining things, breaks down the how’s and why’s of daily life. How do earbuds work? Where did Murphy beds come from? What is the deal with facial hair? All questions you might not have thought to ask, but all stuff you should know. 

 

No Such Thing as a Fish Book of the Year 2019 by the QI Elves / white letters exploding out of a red backgroundIf it is facts you want, one of the best podcasts out there is No Such Thing as a Fish, a weekly podcast from the QI Elves. QI is a long running British comedy quiz show, previously hosted by Stephen Fry and currently hosted by Sandi Toksvig (whom viewers might recognize as one of the hosts of the Great British Bake Off). The Elves, otherwise known as James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber, are the researchers for the show, and the podcast originally began as a place to showcase the facts they had discovered but hadn’t made it to air. The podcast is a perfect blend of rapid-fire comedy and knowledge, with the four hosts waxing at length on topics like the most foul tasting drink in the world (Jeppson's Malört), the origins of the name Chernobyl, or continuously explaining to Dan why Bigfoot doesn’t exist.

 

Since 2017, Fish has put out a new book every year, just before Christmas, filled with their random number of favourite facts from the past year. Book of the Year 2019 and Book of the Year are good books to have around for trivia nights.

 

, My Dad Wrote a Porno: the fully annotated edition of Rocky Flintstone’s Belinda Blinked by Jamie Morton, Alice Levine and James Cooper / gold, elegant letters on a red backgroundStaying on that side of the pod, one of the funniest podcasts in recent years is My Dad Wrote a Porno. The podcast is simple: Jamie Morton discovered that his father had written and self-published an erotic novel on Amazon under the name 'Rocky Flintstone'. Each episode, Jamie reads a chapter of Belinda Blinked to his friends Alice Levine and James Cooper, who react accordingly. The book is horrifically written, utterly non-erotic, and skeleton-quakingly funny. Each episode should come with a warning that you might pee yourself.

 

The success of the show (and the number of people who downloaded the book to read along) meant that Rocky actually achieved his goal of being a published author. In 2016, My Dad Wrote a Porno: the fully annotated edition of Rocky Flintstone’s Belinda Blinked was published in the form of a study guide, with the hosts of the show providing comments throughout the text. 

 

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design by Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt / gold letters in a black square in front of a drawing of a busy city streetOne of the most acclaimed and distinguished podcasts of the last decade has been 99% Invisible, by Roman Mars. And not just because Roman’s voice sounds like auditory chocolate. This fascinating podcast delves deep into the hidden aspects of design and architecture, highlighting those aspects to life that make life livable but go purposefully unseen. Things we would encounter everyday like the quite importance of area codes, or the concept of jaywalking, to more esoteric topics like a lightbulb in California that has been on for 113 years.

 

Last year Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt published The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, described as an anatomist guide to modern living. While it lacks Roman’s dulcet tones, it contains 400 pages of hidden beauty all around us. 

 

These are but a few, a scratching of the surface of successful podcasts that have been published of late. We late the time or space to discuss the numerous books written by the prolific McElroy Brothers; the continuing legacy of Welcome to Nightvale; or the risk and lore of Risk, and Lore! Happily, he have put together Slist 44200 which contains these and other podcast inspired books for your collections. Happy listening and reading.

 

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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Happy 2021!  Here’s to a better year going forward.  However, the year that was wasn’t all bad, so to celebrate, we asked our staff for their picks of the best books and AV from 2020.

 

In The Quick by Kate Hope Day / an astronaut against a pink backgroundMichael C. in Marketing has both a best book and a best movie.  In the Quick by Kate Hope Day is a sci-fi romance in the vein of The Martian and Station Eleven. June, an ambitious young astronaut, finds fiery romance while searching for her beloved uncle’s lost spacecraft and its crew. The Invisible Man, released all the way back in February, is Michael’s choice for best movie.  Directed by Leigh Wannell and loosely based on the H.G. Wells novel, this sci-fi horror features Elisabeth Moss as a woman trying to escape from her abusive former boyfriend, despite the fact that he’s already dead. Is it her trauma or something else haunting her?

 

Crosshairs by Catherine Hernandez / a burning pile of garbage with a cityscape on the horizonIn Cataloguing, Shannon O. has had a bumper year of reading and has really struggled to narrow down her choices of the best of 2020.  In adult fiction, her best of the best is Crosshairs by Canadian author Catherine Hernandez, a near-future dystopic novel where a queer Black performer and his allies fight against an oppressive regime and its concentration camps. In adult nonfiction, she chose The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole, a Canadian journalist and activist who brings to light the racism and inequality he and other members of minorities struggle with in just one year. 

 

Little Women dvd cover / A close up of Saoirse Ronan, a blonde woman in a blue shirtMoving over to Selection Services, manager Jamie Q. had many picks for just about every category, but narrowed it down to these. In the Half Room by Carson Ellis, a picture fiction book about the half things in the half room. Apartment by Teddy Wayne tells the story of an unnamed narrator who invites a charismatic classmate to live with him, but their living situation puts tension on their friendship. Finally, Little Women, the latest movie version of the classic novel, this one directed by Greta Gerwig and featuring Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh, among others. It was a highlight of her pre-lockdown 2020.

 

Midnight Library by Matt Haig / several orange items, including whales, books, and women, passing through small windows as though weaving in and out of the book coverFiction selector Rachel S. says, for adult fiction novels, she has two top picks: Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. In Bookish Life, the titular Nina is a happy, book-reading loner – until the father she never knew existed dies and she’s expected to meet all her new family members while dealing with her attraction to her trivia nemesis, Tom. She also recommends Midnight Library by Matt Haig

 

The Barren Grounds by David Robertson / four figures walking through snow. Two are children, one is a human sized squirrel, and one is a human bear. Both animals are dressed as humans.Juvenile selector Sara P. has this to say about her selections: “Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a great dislike of squirrels so for me to pick a book for the Best of 2020 that features a squirrel means it must be an amazing story! The Barren Grounds: Misewa Saga Book 1 by David A Robertson is a must-read Canadian middle grade story that brings Indigenous culture, both past and present together within a fun fantasy world. I recently had the opportunity to read to a group of children and I picked up AAAlligator by Judith Henderson and not only was it super fun to read aloud but the kids absolutely loved it. The sign of a great book is when not a peep is heard while the librarian is reading. A unique twist to demonstrate acceptance and a community coming together to help someone in need.”

 

To round up our staff picks of 2020, Carrie P. in HR chose the album Slow Rush by the excellently-named Tame Impala.

 

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.

 

In 2021, we will be transitioning the Green Memo into the LSC Weekly Update, delivered via MailChimp. If you want to continue to receive our weekly newsletter, and other notifications and updates, please take a second to update your profile.

 

Happy new year!

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So, there was an election south of the border, if you weren’t aware. Little thing, barely mentioned on the news *deactivates sarcasm filter*. Which gets me in the mood for presidents from history and from the world of fiction. And so, to add another distraction log onto the fires of 2020, I plunge into the backlist and think about past and pretend presidents of the elephant in the room.

 

How to Fight Presidents Daniel O'BrienA few weeks back, I mentioned one of my favourite comedy/history books, How to Fight Presidents: Defending Yourself Against the Badasses Who Ran This Country by Daniel O'Brien. This book, from a former Cracked writer and current writer on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, breaks down the reader’s ability to take every deceased president in a fight. It includes insights like, Grover Cleveland “was 5'11" and 250 lbs of president and his fists were described as “ham-like,” which might be delicious but is probably just scary and painful. He loved hunting and often carried around a rifle that he nicknamed “Death and Destruction” which isn’t a nickname a rifle earns for being pretty.”

 

It is a helpful guide should you ever travel back in time/be confronted with zombie presidents. It might be very important one day to know that you could have definitely taken Millard Fillmore in a fight, a man so hated that upon assuming the presidency after Zachary Taylor died (you also could have beaten Taylor in a fight) his entire cabinet resigned, his party abandoned him, and ultimately caused the downfall of the Whig party. “Please know”, O’Brien writes, “that after his presidency he also formed the Know Nothing Party, a political party that was sort of okay but mostly racist, and during his presidency he causally protected slavery. Because Fillmore wasn’t just boring and a bad president, he was a d**k.”

 

The Bully Pulpit Doris Kearns GoodwinStill on the historical side, but less on the funny is presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. I first came to know Goodwin from her many hilarious appearances on The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. While most know her work from her Lincoln biography Team of Rivals (which Spielberg later used as a source for the film Lincoln), I prefer The Bully Pulpit, her biography of the rise and fall of the relationship between Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft. Roosevelt is one of my favourite US presidents, and Goodwin makes a solid case that Taft is one of the most misunderstood. But the focus of the book is on their friendship, and the betrayal that Taft felt when Roosevelt put his ego in front of that friendship. It is also a fascinating glimpse into the world of the media, the titular bully pulpit, of the time, and seeing the first awakenings of a mass media that has evolved to become all-encompassing in our own time.

 

Hope Never Dies Andrew ShafferOne of the best pieces of surreal fiction in the past few years has been the Obama/Biden mysteries novels Hope Never Dies, and the sequel Hope Rides Again, by Andrew Shaffer. Described by Penguin Random House as "part noir thriller and part bromance", and "a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs," the books see the democrat duo become a mystery solving team in the streets of Delaware and Chicago. With Biden the President-Elect as of this writing, I wonder if we'll eventually get an addition to the series seeing Kamala Harris join the team, like Rene Russo in Lethal Weapon 3.

 

Superman: President LuthorDid you know that in the world of DC Comics, Lex Luthor ran for and won the presidency back in 2000? The long time billionaire industrialist and Superman villain, an avowed anti-alien racist, who filled his administration with yes-men and people of questionable ability, had ties to corrupt and terrorist organizations worldwide, and is unable to escape his greatest motivation: his hatred of Superman. Eventually, before the end of his first term, his conspiracies and criminal activity while in power are revealed and his is removed from office, becoming a fugitive. I don’t know what made me remember all that. Weird. Anyhoo, Luthor’s term of office is chronicled in Superman: President Luthor.

 

The American President Aaron SorkinI think few could argue that the greatest fictional president is Josiah Bartlet, played by Martin Sheen in The West Wing. And while I am a huge WW fan, I am equally a fan of writer Aaron Sorkin’s previous political foyer, The American President, which starred Michael Douglas as President Andrew Sheperd. If we’re talking film presidents, than you also have to mention Kevin Kline in Dave, Terry Crews in Idiocracy, Harrison Ford in Air Force One, Bill Pullman in Independence Day, and Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact. Digging real deep into the long-forgotten box is a mid-nineties movie called My Fellow Americans, in which Jack Lemmon (fresh off his Grumpy Old Men resurgence) and James Gardner play bickering former Presidents who are the target of assassination, and hijinks ensue.

 

A Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesYoung people should definitely have options about at least one fictional President, that being Coriolanus Snow from the Hunger Games series. Snow, far from being anyone's favourite, having presided over the Games for multiple decades. The recent A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes covers Snow's early life as a mentor and his rise to power. For other less savory politicians, there are likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in VeepTony Goldwyn as Fitzgerald Grant III in Scandal, and Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood in House of Cards. But I think most people have had enough of unsavory politics for a while. 

 

Which fictional presidents are your favourites? More than that, which fictional characters would you love to see run for president? Send your answers to mclark@lsc.on.ca.

 

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 weekly Green Memo, 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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Everyone is working their way through a new set of to-do lists that look nothing similar to what they were doing in early March. Many budgets have been shifted to electronic collections that patrons could take advantage of during the time library doors were closed. Now that libraries are reopening, staff members are juggling the tasks of filling holds, managing quarantine, cleaning of materials, and trying to figure out how best to spend the remaining collection budgets in a short time frame.

 

LSC’s selectors are trained professionals in spending collection budgets. Their help, with a few LSC tools, can maximize your budget whether you have had to cut, remain the same, or were able to add funds.

 

LSC’s Administrative Console is a very useful tool for budget tracking. The ADMN login is additional to your regular OLSC login and has many handy features, especially the real-time budget tracking. By quickly entering your budget amounts per fund, you can see how much is spent, how much is outstanding, how much has shipped, and more. This quick glance makes making decisions like moving money to another fund, easier.

 

In addition to the publisher catalogue selection lists we produce every week, LSC releases Bargain Books selection lists every 2 weeks that feature backlist and newer titles available at steep discounts. This lists can be especially useful to supplement children’s programming, or to backfill series. You will continue to find our regular monthly LSC catalogues like Mass Market, DVDs, Large Print, Small Press, Graphic Novels and more on our website as well as on Issuu. You'll also find the lists for all Findaway products including Wonderbooks, Launchpads and newly released Reading Academy. 

 

LSC HomepageFrom the front page of LSC’s website, you’ll see featured topical selection lists based on current world events and social relevancy like Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, Trans Support, Indigenous Voices, and more. The selectors put these together using resources to ensure they are valuable additions to Canadian library collections. Aside from the topical lists, the selectors can make specific suggestions for your library based on circulation data, budget or collection type. In their ARP selections and suggestions for budget management, they ensure, especially where budgets have been cut, that libraries are still receiving top of the market and popular material.

 

We do anticipate some publication date changes in the seasons ahead, as COVID has affected printing schedules industry-wide. LSC will do our best to communicate these changes to you, and make sure your orders are preserved. LSC’s selectors are here to help. If you need carts put together, specific selection lists created, or simply advice on how to proceed with a smaller budget, they are here to help alleviate some of that stress. Just reach out.   

 

And now, some collection specific updates from the Selectors.

 

Angela Stuebing, ARP Coordinator and Graphic Novel Selector:
Nightschool: Weirn Books Vol 1Graphic Novels are as popular as ever for readers both young and old, and are continuing to be released on a regular basis.  We have specifically seen an increase within the Juvenile collection.  There are so many fantastic titles from some of our favourite authors such as Svetlana Chmakova who wrote the Berrybrook Middle School series (Awkward #1Brave #2; Crush #3).  The first book in the new Weirn Books series shouldn’t be missed as part of your collection either!

 

Young Adult/Adult Graphic Novels should not to be forgotten when looking to boost your current event displays, both in the library and on your website.  The recent announcement of the Eisner Award Winners has overlapped with some of the LSC produced topical lists.  Some highlights include: Best Publication for Teens and Best Writer winner Laura Dean Keeps’ Breaking Up with Me, and Best Graphic Album winner Are You Listening.

Rachel Seigel, Adult Fiction Selector:
The CompanionsFiction publishing has felt the impact of the COVID shutdowns, primarily in the form of delays and cancellations. Many titles that had previously been announced for publication from late winter onwards have been either pushed back to fall or into 2021, but there will be plenty of regular print titles and big name releases to fill out budgets. Thanks to the quarantine, there is renewed attention on “pandemic novels” such as the buzzy new novel The Companions by Katie Flynn which focus on the effects of massive global outbreaks on a population.

 

The areas that have been more severely impacted by cancellations and postponements are mass market and large print where we’ve definitely seen a reduction in available titles. If your library has a large budget devoted to these categories, this might be a good time to look at series gap-filling, or bumping up copies of popular titles.

 

Karrie Vinters, AV Selector:
While theatre closures may have affected box office titles, the rest of the film world seems to be keeping up just fine. Direct-to-DVD, TV series, documentaries and re-releases of classics seem to be releasing as per usual, with maybe fewer children’s titles than normal. Libraries may want to consider opening up their collections to these other areas in order to get their budgets spent. TV series on Blu-ray and DVD are on the rise, with more people staying home and ‘binge-watching’ their favorite shows, both old and new.

 

Playstation 5 with controllerThere were some delays earlier this year regarding video game production, but the fall appears to be heavy with great new releases, including the new upcoming platforms Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.  With so many people playing video games to pass their time, this would be a great place to increase spending as this collection is known to circulate very well. Similar to video games, some music releases that were slated for a spring release were delayed to the fall, so watch the upcoming music lists for these exciting titles.

 

Stefanie Waring, Non-Fiction Selector:
As an introvert, I like being at home and I keep myself busy; I cross-stitch, write, og jeg lærer til og med norsk (my grammar is atrocious but I have a lot to say about bears).  But with COVID, many more social people are now stuck at home, looking for something to do with themselves and/or their kids.  This has led to a rise in nonfiction about activities at home, both in terms of homeschooling and in terms of stuff to do that isn't just gaming and binging Netflix.

 

Although schools have reopened, their situation is in constant flux and so libraries are especially interested in nonfiction for all ages that supports the school curriculum, including the new commitment to teaching elementary-school kids how to program.  Outside of school, science - especially nature science - has risen in popularity, many people are discovering new recipes, and there's even been an uptick in witchcraft and spirituality.  With the shift towards people working from home, I also anticipate that upcoming seasons will see more nonfiction on remote work, technology that allows it, and how to be productive outside of the office environment.

 

Sara Pooley, Children’s Product Manager:
The CousinsAs a mother of 4 kids myself, I was incredibly thankful and privileged to have a variety of fiction books while stuck in quarantine at home. This helped pass the time and entertain all the girls (and get them off their devices!) However, there are only so many times you can read the same story before you want or need something new. While my one daughter discovered Percy Jackson for the first time (contact me for if you want to refresh your collection with this classic series), my other daughter discovered a love of thriller/murder and young adult horror. Some of her favourites have been Killing November, a thriller set in a secretive boarding school by Adrianna Mather.  The sequel Hunting November was published in May this year. My daughter also loved One of Us is Lying, along with the sequel One of Us is Next by Karen McManus.  She is very excited to read a new book also by Karen McManus; Cousins, a YA book full of family secrets and mystery, coming this December.

 

Little SquirrelAs happy as I am to see Young Adult Fiction taking off during this pandemic, my other favourite collection has not fared as well: board books. Because of the tactile nature (babies love to gnaw and touch these highly engaging books), they have naturally taken a hit, so libraries have cut back spending in this area. I can only speculate that caregivers with babies who would have traditionally taken part in a library “Books for Babies” initiative which allows play, talk and browsing, are not braving the holds queue at the moment for books that harbor germs. That said, if budget allows, there are two amazing new board book titles through Orca that would make great additions: Little Owl and Little Squirrel, part of the All Natural series by Britta Teckentrup.  

 

Julie Kummu, World Languages:
World Language/Multilingual purchasing has continued to rise over the past few years as libraries strive to maintain and enhance the provision of multilingual materials within their communities. LSC has also recognized this need and responded with offering services such as: including original script in MARC records; cover art for multilingual materials; transliteration stickers; selection lists; and, more frequent shipments throughout the year. While the availability for print materials continues to grow, there is a significant downward trend in the amount of AV materials produced in NTSC format & legally copyright for Canada.

 

As countries around the world continue to deal with the impact of COVID, acquisition of multilingual materials in 2020 has been challenging process. Many countries have been forced to lockdown for months, as a result multilingual publications and shipments have been delayed. This continues to be a fluid situation, as second waves are being reported and possible additional closures are required.  LSC is in contact with our multilingual suppliers on a regular basis, receiving updates as the situation continues to evolve.  As information is communicated to us, we will reach out libraries to let them know if there are any difficulties supplying certain materials; at this time, we will provide various options on how we can proceed temporarily to complete the 2020 budget year. 

 

Since we have re-opened in June, LSC has continued to receive a steady flow of multilingual materials, which so far has included materials in the following languages, but is not limited to:  French, Chinese, Spanish, Persian, Hindi, Panjabi, Tamil, Russian and Hebrew.

 

Libraries have had a hard time, and will be living with the ramifications of the lockdown and continued COVID safety measures for months, if not years. As a not-for-profit, LSC is focused on helping in whatever way we can. If you need additional help for a couple weeks, a month, six months, however long, we can take things off your plate and ensure that new materials continue to arrive in a state that saves you money, time, and stress. We will build lists, build carts, develop temporary ARPs, take on cataloguing, processing, whatever you need for however long you need it. It hasn’t been an easy time for us either, but together we’ll be alright.

 

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 weekly Green Memo, 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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Between the ages of 13 and 23, I worked in horse barns, first as a volunteer and then as a full time job. This gave me a mouth like a sailor, because there’s nothing quite as appropriate as ‘!@$%’ when a thousand-pound animal hip checks you into a wall. These days I work in an office and the only horse I see regularly is my own - whose interests lie mostly in how he’s never been fed, ever, in his entire life – but I still tend to pepper my sentences with cursing.

 

Swearing is Good for YouOf course, there’s a time and a place for swearing. I control myself around customers, children, upper management, and my mother. If someone indicates that they don’t like listening to profanity as punctuation, it’s only appropriate to stop. However, science has shown there are multiple benefits to a good curse, as laid out by Dr. Emma Byrne in her 2017 book Swearing is Good For You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language. Dr. Byrne argues that swearing is essential to both social and emotional health. It allows stroke victims to regain their language skills, fosters relationships between team members, and even reduces pain, as proven in the Mythbusters episode No Pain, No Gain or illustrated by Stephen Fry and Brian Blessed in Planet Word.

 

Bon Cop, Bad CopProfanity has a long history, though it’s obviously changed since the Romans insulted each other by implying their target was submissive to another man – or worse, a woman.  In Biblical times, swearing was to make an oath to the Abrahamic God, an acknowledgment of omniscience and omnipotence. The Bible forbade ‘vain swearing,’ which in the Middle Ages became such shocking phrases as ‘by the blood of Jesus Christ.’  This kind of swearing has actually lasted into modern times in Quebec, which has a unique type of cursing slang that involves the Roman Catholic church. For a great example of how to swear in Quebec, check out Bon Cop, Bad Cop (and then watch its sequel, just because). Famously swear-heavy TV show Deadwood uses modern, scatological swearing; when they filmed the first pilot, they used period appropriate swear words, which ended up making all the characters sound like Yosemite Sam. 

 

Holy Shit: a brief history of swearingThe big swear words these days are short, sharp, and generally shocking, but a lot of them were simply descriptors in the Middle Ages. More information (including some hilarious place names) can be found in this article by the Irish Times, which took its information from Holy Sh*t: a Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr. These days the effectiveness of profanity derives mostly from how inappropriate it is; I could say ‘daisies’ when I stub my toe, but society at large has no problem with flowers so it doesn’t mean much. In his episode of Inside the Actor's Studio, Alan Alda said his favourite swear word was "horse". It’s also why children tend to repeat any profanity they hear over and over (and over): because most of the time they get a reaction from the people around them, whether anger, laughter – because honestly, is there anything funnier than the sweet, innocent voice of a child dropping an F-bomb? – or any other type of attention.

 

How to Swear: an illustrated guideAs we move into the 2020s, it seems that actual curse words are becoming more mainstream, but epithets are becoming the new swear words.  Epithets are descriptive words or phrases used to sum up a person, from ‘the redhead/brunette/other man’ in fiction (a personal pet peeve), to racial and sexual slurs designed to insult. There’s a general idea that swearing means a lower vocabulary and intellectual level, especially if you’re female; nice girls don’t swear, after all.  However, Professor Timothy Jay at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts co-authored a study in 2015 that found people who were fluent in swearing were also more fluent in other aspects of language. A different study, from 2017 found a positive relationship between profanity and honesty; individuals who swear a lot are perceived as less likely to lie or deceive. This doesn’t, however, give anyone carte blanche to fling curses and slurs at anyone they see; context is the difference between venting frustration and actively insulting another person.

 

A pocket dictionary of the vulgar tongueSo now that you know the benefits of some good profanity, how do you go about improving your obscene vocabulary? Stephen Wildish has some ideas in his book How To Swear: An Illustrated Guide. For the curser on the go, there’s A Pocket Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, originally published in 1785 but brought back to life in April 2020 so the next generation can swear like an 18th-century London dockworker. Or if you want to know more about how and why we swear, check out What the F by Benjamin K. Bergen.

 

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 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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