Blog - Library Services Centre

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. 

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LSC will be closed for the holidays from Dec 24th, and will reopen on Jan 4th, 2021 (and be glad to leave 2020 behind). Merrys and happys from everyone at LSC to all of you.

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With the winter holidays looking a little different this year for most people, we asked our staff to share some of their favourite winter holiday books, movies, and music. 

 

cover of The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper / children on a snowhill running towards the sunsetJamie Q., Manager of Customer Experience and Selection Services, chose The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis. This juvenile fiction book celebrates the winter solstice and Yule through a poem written by Cooper.  The winter solstice happens every year on December 21st, celebrating the shortest day of the year, looking forward to the days getting longer and lighter.

 

cover of Idina Menzel's Christmas: Season for love / Idina hugging a coat tight to her, in snowfallContinuing in Selection Services, fiction selector Rachel S. and her partner traditionally watch The Sound of Music, the Home Alone movies, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  She notes that there isn’t a lot of Chanukah music by pop stars, but she likes Idina Menzel’s Christmas: Season for Love album, especially the cover of Joni Mitchell’s River.

 

cover of Anna and the Apocalypse / Anna in a school uniform holding a giant candy cane above her head, with zombies in the backgroundNonfiction selector Stef W. isn’t generally into Christmas movies, unless they’re offbeat and funny.  Some of her favourites include Anna and the Apocalypse, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Krampus (2015), and Rare Exports. At some point she will get over her childhood fear of gremlins in order to properly watch the movies. Christmas songs she enjoys include the soundtrack from Anna and the Apocalypse, The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York, and Da vet du at det er Jul by Ylvis (yes, that Ylvis).

 

cover of How the Grinch Stole Christmas / the Grinch against an orange backgroundSara P., juvenile fiction selector, had this to say about her picks for 2020:

“Ever since my kids were little, we started a tradition of watching “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on Christmas Eve while eating “fancy” appetizers (grocery store party pack). My girls love this short movie and even insisted on watching it the one year when my brother and family visited from the US and stayed past the appetizer dinner hour. The girls did not care that family was visiting. The movie went into the DVD player and we all HAD to watch it. We also own the book and will read it repeatedly leading up to the Xmas holidays; it never gets old or boring.

 

Now, I also have a personal tradition that I have had for at least the last 20 years (guessing here) and that is listening to Mary’s Boy Child from the Boney M Christmas album. As soon as Dec 1st hits, that song comes on in my car, my house, and during my run. I still own the CD but now also have the song on my phone for quick access. It is a classic that never gets old or boring to me.”

 

cover of Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White by Saumiya Balasubramaniam / a young girl kneels and plays in the snowCataloguer Shannon O. has spent the year reading everything she can get her hands on – over 450 books and counting. Narrowing down her favourites for children’s picture books, she chose Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White by Saumiya Balasubramaniam; Our Subway Baby by Peter Mercurio; and Snow Falls by Kate Gardner. For adult fiction, her favourite three are Mistletoe and Mr. Right by Sarah Morganthaler; Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur; and In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren .

 

cover of Hogfather by Terry Prachett / the personification of Death dressed as Santa, flying in a sleigh pulled by boarsFrom IT, software developer Mike Q. has a classic Terry Pratchett book as his favourite: Hogfather.  When the Disworld equivalent of Santa, the Hogfather, vanishes on Hogswatchnight, Death takes up the sleigh’s reins – meaning his granddaughter, gothic governess Susan, must unravel the mystery before Discworld loses its entire myth system.

 

cover of Black Christmas (1974) / a woman being suffocated by plastic, inside a Christmas wreath Carrie P. from Human Resources has two movies on her list of winter holiday favourites.  In the original 1974 version of Black Christmas, a group of sorority girls on Christmas break find they’re being stalked by a stranger.  Her second pick is a lighter one: 2015’s A Very Murray Christmas, in which Bill Murray worries that a snowstorm in New York will prevent the audience from showing up to his TV show.

 

cover of Muppet Christmas Carol / Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo and Robin dressed as Victorian charactersLast but not least, Michael C. in Marketing enjoys The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas 2148741, a collection of short essays by 42 secular celebrities, comedians, scientists, and writers on the meaning of Christmas – as it applies to an atheist.  His favourite Christmas movie is, of course, the classic Muppet Christmas Carol featuring Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, and Michael Caine as Scrooge.

 

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.

 

Merry happy!

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Yesterday was Indigenous Veterans Day. Wednesday is Remembrance Day. While we do not close for these dates, we do take a moment to reflect and to remember on the brave and valorous individuals who have fought and sacrificed, across history and the world. May they never be forgotten.

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Thanksgiving likely looks a lot different than usual this year. Reagrdless, take the day to be thankful that we've gotten this far, and be hopeful that things will get better from here. LSC will be doing so, but back at it all the more Tuesday morning. Happy turkey day, everyone! Gobble-gobble.

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The summer wanes and the world begins once again to smell of red leaves and pumpkin spiced drinks. We're taking Sept 7th to relax before leaning into the fall. Enjoy yourself.

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We're taking Monday off for teh Civic Holiday, same as all our friends in Alberta, BC, Saskachewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nunavut. Everyone else, we'll see you on Tuesday.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Happy new year!

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LSC is closed Monday, August 5th for the Civic Holiday, which has a variety of names across Canada. So, Happy British Columbia Day, New Brunswick Day, Saskatchewan Day, Natal Day, Terry Fox Day, Heritage Day, Colonel By Day, George Hamilton Day, Joseph Brant Day, Founders' Day, McLaughlin Day, Alexander Mackenzie Day, James Cockburn Day, Peter Robinson Day, John Galt Day, or Simcoe Day. To anyone who doesn't get the day off... Labour Day isn't far off.

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