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Fun Reads to Start 2014

by Stephen - 0 Comment(s)

Sometimes the best books are the ones we find by accident. When looking for a few new titles to write about for 2014, a slight typo in my searching provided me with some surprisingly fun results!

Fourteen Fibs

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus

Gregory is not particularly fond of math, especially the math on his report card, which is telling him he is probably going to fail his least favorite subject. Unfortunately his family loves math more than anything, especially when it comes to the annual city-wide mathematics competition which Gregory has promised to enter this year, just like his father did when he was Gregory’s age. What Gregory really wants is to attend author camp where he can pursue his love of writing poetry, but with his current grades, it looks like he may be sent to math camp instead. Guess what they do at math camp...

I'd recommend this one for grades 4-8.


Monument 14 by Emmy LaybourneMonument 14

14 students take refuge in a super-box-store following the biggest natural disaster in history (seriously, it involves a volcano, tsunamis, giant hail, super-storms, and earthquakes). If the natural disaster wasn’t enough, chemicals leaking from a nearby military base are causing strange symptoms in each of the children, which differ depending on their blood type. What could have ended up being just another post-apocalyptic young adult novel is instead a gripping account of survival. Think Dawn of the Dead meets Lord of the Flies at The Breakfast Club.

I would recommend this one for teens, although adults will find much to enjoy as well.


Serve to Win

Serve to Win: the 14 day Gluten-Free Plan

Tennis great Novak Djokovic offers this memoir/diet book which recounts his experiences during the bombing of Belgrade, his rise to become the number 1 ranked tennis player in the world and finally his health struggles surrounding his body’s inability to process wheat. Djokovic shares the diet plan he followed to rid himself of his gluten-related health issues, lose weight and rise to the very top of his game.

New Local Music

by Jan S - 0 Comment(s)

Calgary is fortunate to have a diverse and eclectic music scene. We are lucky to have great festivals like Folk Fest, Sled Island, the Calgary International Blues Festival and many other festivals and great local venues to check out. There is also a plethora of great artists in this city many of whom can be seen at various festivals and shows throughout the city. In the past year there have been a number of new releases from some great local artists. So if you are looking for some new music to check out, why not start with some local talent.

Cowpuncher Ghost Notes

Ghost Notes is local band, Cowpuncher's third full length album. The band recorded the album right here in Calgary and had their album release party on November 22 at the Palomino. The album is a mix of county alt-rock tracks that will appeal to fans of either genre. The album art for the record includes pictures of the band members caked in mud; homage to the volunteers who helped during the Flood of 2013. You can also check out the bands' earlier releases the self-titled Cowpuncher and Call Me When You're Single.

Mission Statement Dragon Fli Empire

Dragon Fli Empire has been active on the local hip hop scene since 2002 and their latest release Mission Statement is their fourth full length album; and the first since their 2009 release Redefine. The video for the first song off the album called "Ain't Going Down" was recently released and features a number of familiar landmarks and icons, including the C-Train, Downtown city scape, the Rockies and a Jarome Iginla jersey on MC Teekay. You can also check out older releases by the band, Redefine and Intermission EP, as well as DJ Cosm's solo effort Time and Space.

My Prairie Home Rae SpoonCalgary born (now Montreal resident) Rae Spoon has had a very busy year. The album My Prairie Home is the soundtrack to a National Film Board production, that documents Spoon's childhood experiences being raised in an Evangelical Christian home and Spoon's experiences with gender identity (Spoon is transgender and identifies by the pronoun 'they'). The film is currently working its way through the film festival circuit and will be shown at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. The songs on the album are short, but each song has a haunting, honest, and vulnerable feel to it. If you want to learn more about Rae Spoon checkout their book First Spring Grass Fire, as well as some of their earlier albums including I Can't Keep All of Our Secrets, Love is a Hunter, and Superioryouareinferior.

Snow... what is it good for?

by Stephen - 0 Comment(s)

It’s been awhile since we have had a truly snowy holiday season like this one. While you are taking some time off with family and friends this year, be sure to take advantage of this winter wonderland while it’s here (and you aren’t trying to commute in it). Here are a few fun titles from the Calgary Public Library to get you in the mood!

Snowmen at Work

Snowmen at Work by Caralyn Buehner

What do snowmen do when we’re all asleep? An awful lot it turns out as we learn about all of the important jobs snowmen do when the sun sets and we’re all asleep. This fun (if also somewhat terrifying) idea makes for a great book to share with the family on a cold winter day. If you like this one, be sure to check out the other 3 in the Snowmen series.

100 snowmen

100 Snowmen by Jen Arena

What’s better than one snowman? How about 100? This is a beautifully illustrated numbers book depicts snowmen sliding, having snowball fights, playing hide and seek and just plain enjoying the snowy landscape. Great for young children, who are beginning to grasp basic addition, this is a fun way to introduce children to math (and snowmen).

On Linden Square

On Linden Square by Kate Sullivan

Stella Mae Culpepper’s winter vacation is off to a slow start as she spends the first morning watching her neighbours going about their daily lives in Linden Square. She recognizes them all, and yet she’s never spoken a work to any of them and they’ve never stopped to say hi to her. All of that changes when a sudden blizzard fills Linden Square with snow. As most children know snow = potential and Stella is soon sculpting and playing in the cold fluffy goodness which her neighbours can’t resist for long, even if they are grown-ups.

Snow Play: How to Make Forts, Slides, Winter Campfires, plus the Coolest Loch Ness Monster and 21 Other Brrrilliant Projects in the Snow.

The title pretty well says it all for this wonderful winter activity book of projects and games to keep children busy during those sub-zero days. Each activity includes colour photos and detailed illustrations to help children (and adults) along. Aimed at older children, young ones will need an adult to help with many of these activities.

Picture Perfect Parties

by Lorrie - 0 Comment(s)

Since we are heading into a season with some serious celebrating you may want to check out some books about putting on the best party on the block. Some people are known for their ability to throw fabulous parties and luckily they are willing to share their knowledge with the rest of us. Why not check out some party books to give your New Year’s bash that little extra something.

Picture Perfect Parties by Annette Joseph gives you multiple ideas to plan that perfect party. A step-by-step book is always nice when you want to put on a fabulous party for your closest friends. Picture Perfect Parties gives you step-by-step instruction for creating the kind of party you really want. It tells you what kind of food and drinks you should serve, how to set the table and decorate the house. Everything is done with the budget conscious in mind including using household items to decorate.

The idea behind this book is to make your party fabulous without tons of money or labour involved. The recipes are tested, simple, delicious and easy to make. Planning is key to having a successful event with helpful suggestions like setting the table a day ahead and choosing recipes that can be cooked ahead.

Martha Stewart was one of the first to create a book for entertaining that pulls together planning, decorating and recipes with your own sense of style. The word entertaining took on a whole new look when Martha Stewart came out with her book Entertaining and now you can find many good books on how to put together a memorable gathering. Martha has a newer title called Martha's Entertaining with updated ideas and a more easy going style.

Simple Stunning Parties at Home by Karen Bussen is another title that offers no-fuss entertaining while showcasing your personal style. All these books present themed detailed plans for parties throughout the year that give you tableware to lighting as well as food and decorating. Personally the food will make or break a dinner party no matter how great the decorating is but if you can have a fun innovative party theme and great food you will have everyone talking about your parties.

Selectors' Favourites

by Stephen - 1 Comment(s)

The book selectors at the Calgary Public Library see thousands of books over the course of a year as they look for new and exciting materials for the Library's collection. Although it is impossible to remember all of them, every year a few books stand out above the rest. Here are four of the selector's favourite reads from 2013!


RelishRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley.

It is a joy to read this graphic memoir celebrating the author’s life-long love affair with food – from her mother’s perfect chocolate chip cookies and a great recipe for huevos rancheros, to an appreciation for junk food that her father, a chef, finds unbelievably frustrating when she enters a McDonalds in Italy. Readers will find both the story and the included recipes worth their time.



Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala.Wave

Wave is a heart wrenching memoir about the devastating 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Sonali Deraniyagala, her husband, two sons and parents were enjoying their Christmas vacation in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit and in an instant Sonali lost her entire family. How does a person continue to live when everything they know is taken from them? Wave is a powerful book about grief, loss, anger, healing, honesty and most importantly love.


The Day the Crayons QuitThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

This entertaining picture book chronicles the dramatic labour dispute between Duncan and his crayons through a series of letters outlining each colour’s grievances. Grey is sick of colouring in all of those enormous elephants and whales, black is sick of being limited to outlining everything and yellow and orange can’t agree on who should be responsible for the Sun. With charming illustrations and a great sense of humour this is the best kind of picture book for parents and children alike.





CanadaI could not put down Richard Ford’s memorable book “Canada”. His sparse and lyrical writing eloquently captivates the harsh reality of Dell Parson’s life as he is traumatically separated from his family to begin life anew in 1960’s rural Saskatchewan. When his parents are arrested and imprisoned in Montana, he is smuggled across the Canadian border and put under the care of mysterious American, Arthur Remlinger. The story is powerfully told through young Dell’s eyes as we see his struggle to redefine himself and develop his own moral compass. Despite the underlying current of violence, this is ultimately a story of hope.

eReaders vs. Tablets

by Shannon C - 3 Comment(s)

Thinking of buying an eReader or tablet? You’re in good company. More and more stalwart print book fans are purchasing eReaders and tablets this holiday season. And with your Calgary Public Library card you can download “all sorts of awesomeness” like free eBooks and eMagazines from our website.

What do you need to know when buying an eReader or tablet? Read on!

Can I borrow eBooks from the Library?

With your library card you can download free eBooks from our OverDrive and Freading collections and eMagazines through Zinio like US Weekly, The Economist, Martha Stewart Living, Rolling Stone and over 350 others.

Which devices can I use to borrow Library ebooks and eMagazines?

Many of today’s popular devices work with OverDrive, Freading:

Kobo Arc 7HDKobo Arc 7HDeReaders

  • Kobo Aura, Glo, Mini, Touch
  • Sony Reader WiFi, Touch
  • Barnes and Noble Nook


  • Kobo Vox and Arc
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Google Nexus
  • Sony WiFi-PRS-T1
  • Kindle Fire

Zinio eMagazines can be viewed on any computer, tablet or smartphone through a two-step process.

Want to download Library eBooks? Search OverDrive’s list of compatible and incompatible devices to make sure your chosen device is compatible. Note that some of the newer devices won’t yet be included on the list. 

Considering a Kindle? You can use the Kindle Fire tablet with OverDrive in Canada by downloading the OverDrive Media Console app to your device. The Kindle Fire works with Freading also, with a few extra steps.

Which eReader or tablet should I buy?

Do your research before buying a new device. We have Consumer Reports in print at all our locations and you can access it online in our E-Library (have your library card ready)!

Here are a few things to consider when making a purchase:

  • Cost: Prices are generally lower for eReaders than for tablets. Expect to pay between $80 to $400 for an eReader. Tablets cost from $200 to $850 depending on storage size and connectivity.
  • Weight: eReaders are lighter than tablets — the Kobo Mini weighs in at 134 grams, while the Apple iPad2 weighs 1.33 pounds. Try a friend’s if you can or try a few out at the store to see what feels most comfortable to you.
  • Screen Size: The Kobo Mini measures only 4 inches by 5 inches while tablets like the Apple’s iPad are double that at 7 by 10 inches, closer to the size of a magazine, or hard cover book.
  • Screen type: In general, tablets have LCD screens and are back-lit, emitting their own light, but the print can be less sharp. EReaders have e-ink (electronic ink) screens that reduce glare and reflections in bright-light conditions, but rely on reflected ambient light to light up the screen.
  • Functionality: What do you want to do with your device? Do you just want to read, read and read some more? If that’s the case you might want to choose an eReader, specifically designed to create a great reading experience. If you want to do more with your device, like search the Internet, download apps, take photos and watch video, choose a tablet.
  • Battery Life: Tablets use a lot more energy than eReaders do, due to their screen type and processing power, and need frequent charging with high-use. EReaders on the other hand can go for weeks without charging.

iPad AiriPad AirFor more information visit:

How can I learn about borrowing eBooks from the Library?

We offer great programs on getting started with eBooks at the Library:

  • eBooks: A Library on the Go
    Library staff demonstrate how to download an eBook using OverDrive, and answer your questions.
  • The eBook Doctor
    Drop in for one-on-one help with your eBook and E-Reader questions and learn how to use OverDrive and Freading.

Check back December 16 for our 2014 programs — they fill up fast!

What if I need more help?

Check out our Getting Started information for OverDrive, Freading and Zinio online.

Still not finding what you need? Feel free to call us at 403-260-2782 and our staff will be happy to help!

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