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The Librarian's Nightstand - Summer 2023

Our librarians share their top throw-in-your-beach-tote reads for the dog days of summer. 

These picks are more than just librarian-approved. They come straight from the librarian’s nightstand! We asked our branch librarians to share a great book they recently finished. Here are their picks.


Aldershot Branch Librarian Andrea

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I recently came across Mirinae Lee's debut novel, 8 Lives of a Century-old Trickster. Fans of historical fiction and tales of love and war will enjoy the story of an obituarist chronicling the life of Mrs. Mook, an older woman living near the North Korean border. Each chapter details her eight interconnected 'lives,' giving insight into women's experiences in violent and war-torn 20th-century Korea.

I was captivated by the unique storytelling and the complex and charming main character inspired by Lee's great-aunt, one of the oldest women to escape from North Korea alone. Unsettling and touching, subtly humorous and horrifying, this emotional roller coaster captivated me while I tried to unravel fact from fiction. It left me pondering the saying, "We are the stories we tell ourselves."

Andrea has recently delved into true crime podcasts and self-narrated audiobooks. She is currently listening to Jody Wilson-Raybould's "Indian" in the Cabinet via OverDrive's Libby app.

Borrow 8 Lives of a Century-old Trickster by Mirinae Lee

Alton Branch Librarian Emma

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Working at the local library for the summer, a bright but anxious teen named Aleisha finds a secret booklist that helps her escape the painful realities she’s facing at home. An unlikely friendship is formed when Aleisha shares the booklist with Mukesh, a lonely widower desperate to connect with his bookworm granddaughter.        

Sometimes the right book finds you at the right time. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams truly embodies this message and sheds light on the restorative power of stories. This gentle and heartwarming read will surely resonate with anyone passionate about reading.

Emma likes to tuck into contemporary and historical fiction, young adult novels, and memoirs and lists Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Lovely War by Julie Berry, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh as her favourite novels.

Borrow The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Central Branch Librarian Mehr

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A Jane Austen Retelling with a Muslim Twist! I was eager to read Much Ado About Nada by Uzma Jalaluddin this year. I don't usually read a lot of contemporary fiction, especially not romance, but this one had me turning the page. Nada is an engineer who is at the cusp of 30 and unmarried. Her best friend, Haleema, is getting married, and she takes Nada to a convention for a "girls' weekend," but she wants to introduce her to her fiance's brother, Baz. Nada and Baz already know each other and have a complicated past. This story is a beautifully written romance with diverse, relatable, and funny characters. I loved the South-Asian Canadian representation! It's the perfect stay-cation read, set in familiar places in a diverse Toronto community.

Mehr loves young adult fantasy and science fiction-dystopian novels. Occasionally, she'll dive into contemporary fiction when she needs to return to Earth after visiting epic fantasy worlds. Some of her favourite authors are Marissa Meyer, S.A. Chakraborty, and S.K. Ali.

Borrow Much Ado About Nada by Uzma Jalaluddin

New Appleby Branch Librarian Kumkum

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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is a real heart-tugger. Set in Appalachia during the Depression, Cussy Mary, known as the Bookwoman, loves her job as a Packhorse Librarian, delivering books to people with limited means in remote areas. Nicknamed "Blue" due to her medical condition of blue skin, she yearns for acceptance and love but faces violence and distaste. A local doctor offers a treatment to change her skin colour. Will it make a difference? Expect this powerful narrative to captivate you with its well-crafted characters, vivid depiction of life's challenges, and rich historical backdrop, leaving a lasting impression even after the final page. For more, read the sequel, The Book Woman's Daughter.

Kumkum often reads two to three books at a time, selecting from various genres including mysteries and thrillers, relationship fiction, contemporary and historical fiction, memoirs, and non-fiction.

Borrow The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Tansley Woods Branch Librarian Deepti

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I loved The House in the Cerulean Sea for lots of reasons. This novel is about unconditional love and respecting the differences of others. It's a sweet, smart, entertaining, and heartwarming story that hooks you from the first chapter, making you giggle, smile, and sigh. It is a story about an orphanage of Magical youth and how a government official is sent to check on things there. He changes his perspective when he stays with them for some time and sees that they are all children first despite all their magical powers. This story teaches us to rise above our biases and love everyone for what they are. It is a very well-written book.

Teacher-turned-librarian, Deepti, loves a good suspense mystery—especially books by master storyteller Jeffrey Archer—or young adult fiction adventures.

Borrow The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune