Staff Picks

    • Every month some of our staff members' favourite books go on display on the side of the popular bookshelf on the main floor. Check them out in the library, or reserve them right here - you might find something you like!

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      Former Staff Members’ Picks


      Staff Picks for February 2017

      Millions of Cats

      Millions of Cats
      by Wanda Gag
      Jessica's Pick

      Need a moral boost for midterms? This picture book, with macabre fairytale elements that only a pre-WWII published book can naturally pull off, is literally a Battle Royale of cats. The premise of the story is of a lonely elderly couple’s search for a cat companion, but how they achieve this end is (unexpectedly) equally horrific and hilarious.

      Despite its appearance, Millions of Cats has acquired a legacy to its name, not only being the oldest American picture book still in print, but as a 1929 John Newberry Award winner as well. Those accolades aside, Millions of Cats is unquestionably worth the read. :)
      Millions of Cats

      Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
      by Ransom Riggs
      Michael's Pick

      I was suspicious of this book for a long time. The cover was weird, I thought how they billed it as a book that tells a story around weird photographs was weird, and the author’s name was weird (and definitely made up). I eventually gave the book a shot, and was very glad I did.

      While the author’s initial idea may have been to write a novel that incorporates all those weird photographs into it, what he ended up with is so much more than that. Without giving too much away, it’s the story of a teenage boy named Jacob who is is haunted not only by his grandfather’s death, but also because he either saw or hallucinated some sort of monster near the body when he found it (troubling, either way). The book is probably the best blend of fantasy and reality that I’ve read since the Harry Potter series.
      The Outsider

      The Outsider
      by Albert Camus
      Sarah's Pick

      This novel serves as an introduction to Albert Camus’s philosophy of absurdism – which is often considered to be a subsect of existentialism (although Camus dictates that his philosophy is separate). In The Outsider you will explore the mind of a man who is accused of murder, and you will learn about his thoughts on life and death. Although it explores some complex philosophy this novel is still quite funny – albeit in a dark way.
      Recipes for Disaster

      Recipes for Disaster
      by CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective
      Jessica's Pick

      Do you ever dream of making secret plans? Wanting to challenge the status quo? Maybe being part of the Trump resistance? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, Recipes for Disaster: An Anarchist Cookbook is for you.

      P.s. As the authors quote in this book, I also have never “engaged in any of the dumb and dangerous activities described herin.” Only dreamt of it.☺
      Simple Recipes

      Simple Recipes
      by Madeleine Thein
      Sabrina's Pick

      I first read Simple Recipes over a decade ago and just loved it! This book is made up of seven short stories that feature Canadians of Asian descent. This is not the type of book where the Asian characters have any kind of Oriental(ist) kung-fu skills or mystical beauty – Madeleine Thien represents normal, daily life in Canada with a quiet and graceful realism. Her title story opens with a description of her father washing rice, a simple act that is described in simple but powerful prose. Thien won the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize and Governor General’s Literary Award for her newest novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, but her debut work Simple Recipes shows that she is also a masterful short story writer.
      Tenth Good Thing

      The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
      by Judith Viorst
      Jessica's Pick

      It is a truth universally unacknowledged that a book in possession of a bad cover must not want to be read. Unless it has a cat on it.

      I picked this book up based solely for that reason, and was unexpectedly brought to tears almost at the first page. In a child’s voice the story narrates the loss of a beloved cat, Barney, and the transition of grief the boy experiences. After his pet’s burial, the boy realizes something beautiful. That in the ground everything changes and grows, and now Barney’s there too helping grow flowers and trees, and “that’s a pretty nice job for a cat.” Everyone who has lost a creature will be able to identify with this book, and find solace from it.