What I Loved #11: Beauty Queens, Fifteen Dogs, Mini Terrariums, TCAF

Springtime is upon us! Somehow in-between planning for fall programs (yes, we start early at the library), attending lovely weddings, and shopping for flower pots, I’ve been reading. A lot. And as you’ll see from the photos, mostly outside.

What I Read

Fifteen Dogs and Ru

Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis: In an effort to determine whether or not human intelligence contributes to happiness, the Greek gods Apollo and Hermes grant intelligence to 15 dogs in a Toronto veterinary clinic. This book has made its way onto my “All Time Favourites” list because it combines my 3 favourite aspects of novels: writing that is surprising and artful, an edgy premise that teases my imagination, and challenging philosophical discussions.  Author André Alexis was born in Trinidad and Tobago and grew up in Ottawa. This book is on my newest booklist for the Idea Exchange website: Diverse Canadian Literature.

Beautry QueensBeauty Queens by Libba Bray: What would happen if a plane full of teen girls on their way to a beauty pageant crash landed on a tropical island? How would their perception of beauty change? Would they be able to defend themselves against giant monster snakes AND everyday skin blemishes? This book is a hilarious and inspirational satire on society’s influence on self-esteem, and our perceptions of race and gender. The diversity in the characters is top notch: a trans character transitioning from male to female, LGBTQ characters, hearing impaired character, and characters of multiple races. Plus there are hot pirates, boy bands, and a girl with a tray lodged in her head. How can you go wrong?!

Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki was one of our best purchases from the fantastic Toronto Comic Arts Festival Librarians and Educators day. The disjointed comics feature a variety of magical highschool students who face a lot of the same struggles as non-magical high school students. Sexism, rebellion, Dungeons and Dragons, trying to live a meaningful life while floating around in space, the usual. It take some shockingly dark turns, while remaining sensitive and hilarious throughout.

What I Listened To

Anyone else shift their music listening habits around with the seasons? Yes, I’m late on the Electric Light Orchestra bandwagon. About 40 years late. But have you heard Mr. Blue Sky? It’s the perfect feel good song and I’ve been listening to it every day.

I’ve been really into running to Mother Mother’s newest, edgiest album Very Good Bad Thing. And drive-dancing to any and every song by July Talk.

What I Made

mini terrariumsMy awesome friend Emiline invited me over for dinner and mini-terrarium making and it was fabulous. One layer of rocks (or fake plastic diamonds if you’re feeling fancy), one layer of dried moss, one layer soil, one layer living moss straight from the forest, one layer mini figurines (a little alien lady in my case). Ta-da! I am very excited to decorate my new apartment with these little treasures, and to go on hikes of my own to collect moss and ferns.

Where I Went

This year I went to TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) for the first time! I’m always down for a trip to Toronto, and I was thrilled to discover their free Librarians and Educators day was 1) full of amazing professional development opportunities and 2) hosted in the beautiful Toronto Reference Library. My partner Danny and I both attended and I was able to learn about graphic novels in the library: how to build a female-friendly manga collection, how to overcome weeding issues, how to bring zine-activities into library programming, and what new graphic novels are about to come out! And legendary Scott McCloud gave an inspirational keynote about the power and importance of graphic storytelling.

What’s next for me, summer-adventure-wise? Well hopefully lots of camping, Canada’s Wonderland, ukulele hikes, a play or two in Stratford, who knows!

Whats on your Summer Reading / Summer Adventure List?

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