The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

November 2019 Adult List

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  1. The Family Upstairs
    by Lisa Jewell
    Atria Books
    Nov 05, 2019
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    Hardcover

    Description

    “Rich, dark, and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author

    “A haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read.” —Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author

    From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

    Be careful who you let in.

    Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

    She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

    Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

    In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.
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  2. The Starless Sea
    by Erin Morgenstern
    Doubleday Canada
    Nov 05, 2019
    FICTION / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world—a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

    Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues—a bee, a key, and a sword—that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians—it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose—in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
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  3. The Worst Kind of Want
    by Liska Jacobs
    MCD
    Nov 05, 2019
    FICTION / Psychological
    Hardcover

    Description

    A trip to Italy reignites a woman’s desires to disastrous effect in this dark ode to womanhood, death, and sex

    To cool-headed, fastidious Pricilla Messing, Italy will be an escape, a brief glimpse of freedom from a life that's starting to feel like one long decline.

    Rescued from the bedside of her difficult mother, forty-something Cilla finds herself called away to Rome to keep an eye on her wayward teenage niece, Hannah. But after years of caregiving, babysitting is the last thing Cilla wants to do. Instead she throws herself into Hannah's youthful, heedless world—drinking, dancing, smoking—relishing the heady atmosphere of the Italian summer. After years of feeling used up and overlooked, Cilla feels like she's coming back to life. But being so close to Hannah brings up complicated memories, making Cilla restless and increasingly reckless, and a dangerous flirtation with a teenage boy soon threatens to send her into a tailspin.

    With the sharp-edged insight of Ottessa Moshfegh and the taut seduction of Patricia Highsmith,The Worst Kind of Wantis a dark exploration of the inherent dangers of being a woman. In her unsettling follow-up toCatalina, Liska Jacobs again delivers hypnotic literary noir about a woman whose unruly desires and troubled past push her to the brink of disaster.

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  4. Swimming in Darkness
    by Lucas Harari
    Arsenal Pulp Press
    Nov 01, 2019
    COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    Pierre is a young man at a crossroads. He drops out of architecture school and decides to travel to Vals in the Swiss Alps, home to a thermal springs complex located deep inside a mountain. The complex, designed by architect Peter Zumthor, had been the subject of Pierre's thesis. The mountain holds many mysteries; it was said to have a mouth that periodically swallowed people up. Pierre, sketchbook in hand, is drawn to the enigmatic powers of the mountain and its springs, and attempts to uncover the truth behind them in the secret rooms he discovers deep within the complex. But he finds his match in a man named Valeret who is similarly obsessed, and who'd like nothing more than to eliminate his competitor.

    Gorgeously illustrated, Swimming in Darkness is an intriguing, noirish graphic novel about uncovering the powerful secrets of the natural world.

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  5. City of Scoundrels
    by Victoria Thompson
    Berkley
    Nov 05, 2019
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
    Hardcover

    Description

    An exciting new book in the series featuring Elizabeth Miles, con woman turned Lady, from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.

    Elizabeth Miles finds herself in a position no con can help her escape. Her beloved fiancé, Gideon Bates, is awaiting his turn in the draft to fight in the Great War. Elizabeth is finding it hard to think of anything else, but Gideon has thrown himself into his work, preparing wills for soldiers before they ship out. Corporal Tom Preston is part owner of Preston Shoes, a company that is making footwear for the army, so he has a rather large estate. He needs a new will, however, because he has just been secretly married to a woman whom his family would never approve. He wants to make sure she and their unborn child are provided for if he does not return.

    When Tom is later reported killed, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the new will has gone missing after Tom's bride revealed her identity to his family. Unless the new will is found and validated, the original will, which leaves everything to Tom's brother, will prevail and the wife and child will get nothing. If Tom's new bride survives, that is. Some terrible threats have been leveled against her, and Elizabeth and Gideon must figure out a way, legal or not quite, to secure Tom's fortune for his wife and child while saving her life in the process.
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  6. A Long Night In Paris
    by Dov Alfon
    Quercus Publishing
    Nov 19, 2019
    FICTION / Thrillers / Espionage
    Paperback

    Description

    From a former Israeli spy, comes the most realistic and authentic thriller of the year.

    The Times Number One Bestseller

    Shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger.

    A Times, Telegraph and FT pick for Summer Reads 2019.

    "Breathlessly exciting" Marcel Berlins, The Times.

    "Races along with pace and verve" Adam LeBor, Financial Times

    "A genuinely thrilling espionage novel" John Williams, Mail on Sunday

    "A deeply enjoyable espionage thriller" Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph.

    When an Israeli tech exec disappears from Charles de Gaulle airport with a woman in red, logic dictates youthful indiscretion. But Israel is on a state of high alert nonetheless. Colonel Zeev Abadi, the new head of Unit 8200's Special Section, just happens to have arrived on the same flight.

    For Commissaire Léger of the Paris Police, all coincidences are suspect. When a second young Israeli from the flight is kidnapped, this time at gunpoint from his hotel room, his suspicions are confirmed - and a diplomatic crisis looms. As the race to identify the victims and the reasons behind their abductions intensifies, a covert Chinese commando team watches from the rooftops, while hour by hour the morgue receives fresh bodies from around Paris.

    This could be one long night in the City of Lights.

    Translated from the Hebrew by Daniela Zamir

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  7. Healthy Cocktails
    by Matt Dorsey
    Skyhorse
    Nov 19, 2019
    COOKING / Beverages / Alcoholic / Bartending
    Hardcover

    Description

    50 Better-for-You Boozy Beverages to Shake Up Your Happy Hour!

    This photo-filled recipe book takes the guilt out of happy hour!

    These genuinely tasty cocktails use minimal added sugar, all-natural ingredients, and a mix of liquor and low-alcohol spirits to make drinking feel like the easiest diet to maintain.

    Most of the fifty recipes (and bonus recipes) contain five ingredients or less, most requiring fewer than three steps, so you'll be able to make most of these drinks quickly and with little effort.

    Recipes range from reinterpreted classics, like the Old Fashioned, to millennial favorites like green juice spritzers, using vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, rye, scotch, tequila, and mezcal. Other recipes include:
    • Raspberry Sour
    • Spicy Bee’s Knees
    • Coconut Water Colada
    • Blackberry Smash
    • Sugar-Free Paloma
    • Taste of the Tropics
    • Eat Your Peas
    • Gotham Sunset
    • Ramos Gin Fizz
    • The Green Hour
    • Mint Julep
    • And more!


    With a mix of cocktails for all occasions, from drinking al fresco to a warm night cap, Healthy Cocktails is perfect year-round, day or night, and will surely shake up your happy hour!
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  8. Hinterland Remixed
    by Andrew Burke 'Canada'
    McGill-Queen's University Press
    Nov 06, 2019
    SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies
    Paperback

    Description

    Like the flute melody from Hinterland Who's Who, the 1970s haunt Canadian cultural memory. Though the decade often feels lost to history, Hinterland Remixed focuses on boldly innovative works as well as popular film, television, and music to show that Canada never fully left the 1970s behind. Andrew Burke reveals how contemporary artists and filmmakers have revisited the era's cinematic and televisual residues to uncover what has been lost over the years. Investigating how the traces of an analogue past circulate in a digital age, Burke digs through the remnants of 1970s Canadiana and examines key audiovisual works from this overlooked decade, uncovering the period's aspirations, desires, fears, and anxieties. He then looks to contemporary projects that remix, remediate, and reanimate the period. Exploring an idiosyncratic selection of works - from Michael Snow's experimental landscape film La Région Centrale, to SCTV's satirical skewering of network television, to L'Atelier national du Manitoba's video lament for the Winnipeg Jets - this book asks key questions about nation, nostalgia, media, and memory. A timely intervention, Hinterland Remixed demands we recognize the ways in which the unrealized cultural ambitions and unresolved anxieties of a previous decade continue to resonate in our current lives.
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  9. Queen of Bones
    by Teresa Dovalpage
    Soho Crime
    Nov 12, 2019
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / International Crime & Mystery
    Hardcover

    Description

    Set between Cubas twenty years apart, Havana native Teresa Dovalpage’s new murder mystery explores lingering grudges between old friends and lovers separated by Castro's final sanctioned raft exodus.

    Juan, a Cuban construction worker who has settled in Albuquerque, returns to Havana for the first time since fleeing Cuba by raft twenty years ago. He is traveling with his American wife, Sharon, and hopes to reconnect with Victor, his best friend from college—and, unbeknownst to Sharon, he also hopes to discover what has become of two ex-girlfriends, Elsa and Rosita.

    Juan is surprised to learn that Victor has become Victoria and runs a popular drag show at the local hot spot Café Arabia. Elsa has married a wealthy foreigner, and Rosita, still single, works at the Havana cemetery. When one of these women turns up dead, it will cost Padrino, a Santería priest and former detective on the Havana police force, more than he expects to untangle the group’s lies and hunt down the killer.
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  10. Tasty Every Day
    by Tasty
    Clarkson Potter
    Nov 12, 2019
    COOKING / Methods / Quick & Easy
    Hardcover

    Description

    Specifically designed to get you to delicious on as short a route as possible, these 75 anything-but-average recipes will help you fit dinner (and more) into your packed schedule.

    We know you’re busy, so we'll make it quick. Or, actually, you’ll make it quick. With easy-clean-up one-pot wonders like Spaghetti with Caramelized Lemon, Shrimp, and Parsley and hands-off slow cooker life-savers like Shredded Chicken Tacos, you’ll get food on the table fast and effortlessly. Only have five ingredients? No problem—turn them into craveable Cauliflower Mac ’ n’ Cheese. Wouldn’t it be magic if you could cook once and eat for the week? Spoiler alert: Meal prep makes it possible. Whether you’re short on time, ingredients, clean pans, motivation, or all of the above, there is food here for you. Mealtime can and should be Tasty every single day.
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September & October 2019 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. Sharon, Lois and Bram's Skinnamarink
    by Sharon Hampson 'Canada'
    Tundra Books
    Sep 03, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient G
    Hardcover

    Description

    National bestseller

    Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children's entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! "Skinnamarink" is a timeless anthem of love and inclusion.


    What does "skinnamarink" mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly - especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together.

    Through Qin Leng's wonderfully imaginative illustrations, this delightful picture book tells the story of a community coming together. Young and old, from little mice to a big elephant, people and animals gather into a spontaneous parade as they follow the sound of music.

    Sharon, Lois and Bram formed as a trio of children's entertainers in Toronto in 1978 and went on to create two top-rated children's television shows, most notably The Elephant Show, and to release 21 full-length albums (many of which reached gold, platinum, double platinum and triple platinum). In 2018, Sharon and Bram celebrated their 40th anniversary and they continue to entertain children and share their message of love.
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  2. Guts
    by Raina Telgemeier
    Graphix
    Sep 17, 2019
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General
    Paperback

    Description

    A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts!

    Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?

    Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face -- and conquer -- her fears.
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  3. The Stone Rainbow
    by Liane Shaw 'Canada'
    Second Story Press
    Sep 17, 2019
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / LGBT
    Paperback

    Description

    Jack Pedersen is finding life complicated ever since he came out to his mom. Even though she’s been doing her best to understand, it’s obvious to Jack that his mom still wants to cry every time she says the word gay.

    Complications go into overdrive when a new student named Benjamin arrives at his high school, and Jack starts experiencing feelings he’s never allowed himself before. When a near tragedy turns life upside down, Jack realizes that it’s time to stop hiding and to stand up—for Pride, for Benjamin, and for himself.

    Read more of Jack's story in Liane Shaw's book Caterpillars Can't Swim.
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  4. City of Ghosts #2: Tunnel of Bones
    by Victoria Schwab
    Scholastic Press
    Sep 03, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Horror
    Hardcover

    Description

    The thrilling sequel to Victoria Schwab's New York Times bestselling City of Ghosts!

    Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

    She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass's parents are filming their TV show about the world's most haunted cities. Sure, it's fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there's true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

    When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter -- and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

    And if Cass fails, the force she's unleashed could haunt the city forever.

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab returns to the spooky and heart-pounding world of City of Ghosts, delivering thrilling new adventures and an unforgettable spin on friendship. (Because sometimes, even psychic ghost best friends have secrets. . .)

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  5. The Tyrant's Tomb (The Trials of Apollo, Book Four)
    by Rick Riordan
    Disney-Hyperion
    Sep 24, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Legends, Myths, Fables / Greek & Roman
    Hardcover

    Description

    It's not easy being Apollo, especially when you've been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo's aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.
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  6. Birdsong
    by Julie Flett 'Canada'
    Greystone Kids
    Sep 30, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
    Hardcover

    Description

    SHORTLISTED for the 2019 Governor General's Award

    A tender, luminous portrait of art, nature, and connecting across generations.

    When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett?s textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions.

    A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided on the copyright page.

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  7. The Black Mage
    by Daniel Barnes
    Oni Press
    Oct 29, 2019
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General
    Paperback

    Description

    Harry Potter meets Final Fantasy in this subversive original graphic novel where race, history and magic collide.

    When St. Ivory Academy, a historically white wizarding school, opens its doors to its first-ever black student, everyone believes that the wizarding community is finally taking its first crucial steps toward inclusivity. Or is it? When Tom Token, the beneficiary of the school's "Magical Minority Initiative," begins uncovering weird clues and receiving creepy texts on his phone, he and his friend, Lindsay, stumble into a conspiracy that dates all the way back to the American Civil War, and could cost Tom his very soul.
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  8. The Blue Road
    by Wayde Compton 'Canada'
    Arsenal Pulp Press
    Oct 01, 2019
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / General
    Paperback

    Description

    In this stunning graphic novel, Lacuna is a girl without a family, a past, or a proper home. She lives alone in a swamp made of ink, but with the help of Polaris, a will-o'-the-wisp, she embarks for the fabled Northern Kingdom, where she might find people like her. The only way to get there, though, is to travel the strange and dangerous Blue Road that stretches to the horizon like a mark upon a page. Along the way, Lacuna must overcome trials such as the twisted briars of the Thicket of Tickets and the intractable guard at the Rainbow Border. At the end of her treacherous journey, she reaches a city where memory and vision can be turned against you, in a world of dazzling beauty, divisive magic, and unlikely deliverance. Finally, Lacuna learns that leaving, arriving, returning - they're all just different words for the same thing: starting all over again.

    The Blue Road - the first graphic novel by acclaimed poet and prose writer Wayde Compton and illustrator April dela Noche Milne - explores the world from a migrant's perspective with dreamlike wonder.

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  9. The Kindness Book
    by Todd Parr
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
    Oct 01, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Values & Virtues
    Hardcover

    Description

    Beloved and New York Times bestselling author Todd Parr uses his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity to explore the value and joy in being kind to others.

    With his trademark bright colors and bold lines, Todd Parr takes on a topic more important than ever: being kind to each other. This idea is both a perfect fit for Todd's cheerful, child-friendly positivity and incredibly close to Todd's own heart. No matter what other people choose to do, you can always choose to be kind -- and what a wonderful thing to be! Today's parents and teachers are looking for ways to instill empathy and kindness in children at a young age -- this book is the perfect introduction to a timely and timeless topic.
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  10. Five Minutes
    by Audrey Vernick
    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
    Sep 17, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
    Hardcover

    Description

    A one-of-a-kind, laugh-out-loud picture book, perfect for any kid who has ever begged or bemoaned, "Five more minutes?!"

    Families everywhere will recognize themselves in this clever, hilarious, and completely irresistible picture book. Five minutes is a lot of time... or is it? Well, it depends on what you're doing, of course! Follow one little boy and his family on a very busy day, as he discovers that sometimes five minutes feels like forever--like when you're finishing up at the dentist's office or waiting in line for the bathroom or in the backseat on a long car ride--and sometimes five minutes feels like no time at all--like when you're playing your favorite game or at the tippy top of a roller coaster or snuggling up with a book before bedtime.
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