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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Live Long and Prosper.

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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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Everyone knows that the Junos are basically Canada’s version of the Grammy’s, but did you know how the Junos came to be? Back in 1964, RPM Magazine started to poll Canadians to see who their favorite music groups and artists were. These results would then get announced each December in the magazine. Sometime after this started, Stan Klees, who owned record labels such as Tamarac Records and Red Leaf Records in the 1960s, got together with the founder of RPM, Walt Grealis, and the two of them decided to plan a formal ceremony for the music industry.

 

This first ceremony was called the “Gold Leaf Awards” and took place in 1970, in Toronto Ontario. After its success, RPM Magazine polled its readers again, this time to come up with an official name for the ceremony. The winning name was “Juneau”, after the first president of the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), Pierre Juneau. The name was shortened to Juno, and in 1975 it was aired on Canadian television for the first time.   

 

After Hours by The Weekend / The Weekend stands with his head tilted back, a smile on his face, with a cut on his nose and blood running down his face, his teeth bloody, his lip bruised After previously being postponed twice this year, the 2021 Juno Awards aired on Sunday, June 6th, marking the 50th anniversary of the awards show. For the second year in a row the awards ceremony was held virtually, featuring pre-recorded performances from Canadian superstars Justin Bieber, Shania Twain, Celine Dion and more. While Toronto Native Abel Tesfaye (A.K.A. The Weeknd) took home the most wins for his album After Hours – including Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Contemporary R&B Recording of the Year – he did not make an appearance. Shawn Mendes - also a no-show - won the Juno Fan Choice for Wonder. Justin Bieber won best Pop Album for his album Changes and while he didn’t show up to accept the award, he did pre-record a performance of his song “Somebody”.

 

Dangerous Levels of Introspection by jp saxe / jp saxe sits on a brown leather sofa staring neutrally into the middle distanceAnother Toronto native - and boyfriend to pop star Julia Michaels - JP Saxe, took home the award for Breakthrough Artist. Saxe rose to fame after his collaboration with girlfriend Michaels, for the Grammy nominated song titled “If The World Was Ending”.  The song was produced by Finneas, brother of pop sensation Billie Eilish. The original video for the song currently has over 140 million views on YouTube. Another video was made for the song and released on April 30th 2020, with proceeds going to the Doctors Without Borders charity. This version of "If The World Was Ending" features 25 different artists recording themselves singing clips of the song, including Keith Urban, Noah Cyrus, Finneas, Lindsey Stirling, Alessia Cara, Niall Horan, and so many other talented artists. It truly is a beautiful song, and will be part of JP Saxe’s upcoming album Dangerous Levels of Introspection which will release on June 25.

 

Pray for it by July Talk / a black and white photo of a parking garage, with a shirtless male swan diving off the edgeBest Alternative Album went to yet another Toronto music act, July Talk, for their album Pray For It. Band members Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis appeared through webcam to accept this award. While winners aren’t given much time for their acceptance speeches, they took the time to acknowledge the recent tragic discovery at a Kamloops Residential school, telling Canadians we need to “show up and be honest with each other” finishing with Leah telling saying, “Thank you to the internet, even though you’re mean sometimes.” This is the third time the band has one for Best Alternative Album.

 

reckless by jj wilde / an overhead shot of a dining room table that is in chaos. Photographs, used dishes, drugs, roses, books, booze and dying house pants contribute to the mess.Kitchener native JJ Wilde – real name Jillian Dowding - took home the award for Rock Album of the Year, for her album Ruthless. Wilde is the first woman in 25 years to win this award. The previous winner was Alanis Morrisette, for her album Jagged Little Pill. (Morrisette also won this year, this time winning Best Adult Contemporary Album for the album Such Pretty Forks in the Road). Before her musical success, Wilde worked at local Waterloo music venue Maxwell’s, starting off in coat check and then bartending, where she would get inspired watching the other acts perform. Wilde also performed at her place of work with her former band “The Royal Streets” in 2015, to an almost sold-out crowd.

 

saskadelphia by the tragically hip / on a steel grey field is a photograph of a man walking a dog on a leash through a trailer park. Beneath the photo, in scrabble tiles, the word Saskadelphia is spelled outFor the first time since the death of frontman Gord Downie in 2017, The Tragically Hip performed together, featuring Leslie “Feist” on lead vocal. The moving performance took place inside Massey Hall and was introduced by Gordon Lightfoot. The band was presented the Humanitarian Award by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, surviving members of the classic Canadian rock band Rush. Throughout their career, the members of The Tragically Hip have raised millions of dollars for many different Canadian charities, with Downie also helping to bring to attention the history and hardships faced by Canadian Indigenous people. Gord Downie was an incredible person and extremely talented musician who will always be missed and remembered by his fellow Canadians. The Hip also have a new album out, Saskadelphia, featuring never before heard songs records back in 1991 when the band was working on the classic album Road Apples.

 

For the complete list of winners, you can take a look at Slist 45122.  

 

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!

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The 93rd annual Academy Awards ceremony took place on Sunday, April 25th. Normally the ceremony takes place in February, but was postponed due to the pandemic. The setting this year was much more intimate than the usual awards show, with a scaled back red carpet, and a ‘casual’ outdoors pre-party for nominees to mingle amongst each other. This year, both the Dolby Theatre and Union Station were the backdrops for the show, along with several other locations across the globe to accommodate those with travel restrictions.

 

This year’s show was the lowest rated broadcast since it began airing in 1953 (with numbers adjusted). It was also the third time in the show’s history that there was no host, as the awards struggle to remain relevant both during a pandemic and to a generation who appear apathetic to the glitz and glamour. However, due in part to the reduced number of eligible films released in 2020, this year’s nominees were the most diverse for inclusion for women and people of color both in front of, and behind, the camera.

 

Promising Young Woman poster / a woman lays on her back, her legs raised and crossed to the sky. She lays inside a pair of bright pink lips, dripping lipstick as though bloodFor the first time in its history, two women were nominated for Best Director. Emerald Fennell did not win for directing Promising Young Woman but she did win Best Original Screenplay for the feminist revenge satire-thriller, starring Best Actress nominee Carey Mulligan. Chloe Zhao’s director win made her only the second woman to win this catagory in the history of the award, as well as the first Chinese woman and the first woman of colour to win this award.

 

 

 

Nomadland poster / Francis McDormand sitting in a lawn chair beside a mobile home with a line of laundry in the foreground, with the sprawling prairie behind herZhao won for the film Nomadland, which is based on the non-fiction book by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century. Following a woman who loses her job to automation, she travels across the US in a van and experiences the collapse of the American Dream firsthand. Frances McDormand won Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role in the film, her third Oscar in this category. McDormand has previously won for the films Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and the 1997 Coen Bros. classic film Fargo. Nomadland also took home the most wins of the night, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing.

 

Minari poster / a South Korean family - a grand mother, a father, mother, and two small children - standing in front of a cornfieldAnother first of the night was Steven Yeun’s nomination as the first Asian American for Best Actor, in the Korean-American drama Minari, about a Korean-American family in 1980s America. While Yeun did not win, his co-star Yuh-jung Youn did win the award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film had 6 nominations, but this was the only win. While she may be a new face for many, Youn has had a career in South Korean film and television for over the last 50 years. This win made her the first Korean actor to win an Academy Award. 

 

Judas and the Black Messiah poster / extreme closeups of Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya, under a red filterBest Actor in a Supporting Role went to one of my personal favorites, Daniel Kaluuya. Kaluuya became known for his role in the British television show Skins, and then blew up after his incredible performance in the Jordan Peele film Get Out, for which he was nominated Best Actor in a Leading Role. His incredible portrayal of American Activist Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah was what got him this well-deserved win. This film also received the award for Best Original Song, for the song “Fight for You” by H.E.R.

 

 

The Father poster / greyscale closeups of Anthony Hopkins and Olivia ColemanBest Actor in a Leading Role went to Sir Anthony Hopkins, for his role in the film The Father. In the film, Hopkins plays a man suffering from dementia, while his daughter (played by Best Actress-nominated Olivia Coleman) struggles to get help. This is the second Oscar for Hopkins, whose previous win was for his portrayal of serial killer Hannibal Lector in the 1992 movie Silence of the Lambs. While Hopkins could not be at the ceremony due to him being in his home country of Wales, he did send out a message the following day on his social media, paying tribute to his competitor in the category, Chadwick Boseman. This win makes Hopkins is the oldest-ever acting Oscar winner.

 

Another Round poster / Mads Mikkelsen in profile, drinking directly from a Champaign bottleBest International Feature Film went to the Danish film, Another Round. This film stars Mads Mikkelsen as the leading character, and is about a group of teachers who decide to test out a theory that drinking daily will help them have a more enjoyable life. The film’s world premiere was last year, at the Toronto International Film Festival.

 

Best Documentary Feature went to “My Octopus Teacher”, which, in my opinion, is a film everyone should see. While not yet available on Blu-ray or DVD, the film is streaming on Netflix, and it’s one that shouldn’t be missed. The relationship between the filmmaker and this ocean creature is really just incredible. Definitely a well-deserved win for these filmmakers from South Africa.

 

Soul poster / an animated blackman wearing a fedora and glasses stands in front of a black-navy field, with a small cat beside him. Emerging from his chest is a blue ghost-like being.Disney Pixar’s Soul, about a New York jazz musician (voiced by Jamie Foxx) who gets stuck in the after-life, took home the win for Best Animated Feature Film. This is the first time a film has ever won this award without ever playing in U.S. movie theatres. The film also won for Best Original Score, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from the band Nine Inch Nails, with several of the films songs written by Jon Batiste. This is the second win in this category for the members of the band.

 

 

Sound of Metal poster / Riz Amed stands in profile against a black field, with a wave form behind himSound of Metal was the winner for Best Film Editing and Best Sound, and was nominated for four other categories: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. The film also made history when its star Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim actor to be nominated for the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role. While Ahmed didn’t win, his portrayal of a drummer on the verge of becoming deaf was astounding. This film will be available on Blu-ray & DVD sometime in 2022, where it will be released as part of the Criterion Collection.

 

With theatres poised to reopening the US later this year, and the major film studios intent on releasing their major films either in theatres or on streaming, it is unlikely that 2021 will be as irregular as 2020 in terms of what is eligible. What remains to be seen is if the Academy will consider a streaming release enough to be considered. What also remains to been see is if they will continue to recognize the contributions of under represented filmmakers, or will they slip back to their old ways as they struggle to remain relevant as they quickly approach their 100th anniversary in 2029.

 

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 watching!

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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!

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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,

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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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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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