All posts by Claire

About Claire

Claire is an Information Assistant at Vaughan Public Libraries. Avid cooker, concertgoer, coffee drinker, TV and movie watcher, washi tape enthusiast, and unabashed fan of romance in all its varieties (even Hallmark movies).  |  Meet the team

Canada Reads 2024 In Review


It’s over! The yearly competition to determine which book penned by a Canadian author is ‘the one that all Canadians need to read right now’ has concluded and a victor has been chosen. If you’re not familiar with the format, here’s how it breaks down. Five luminaries on the Canadian cultural scene decide to “champion” one of 15 longlisted books in a debate that’s broadcast over radio and televised across the country. Between March 4-7, daily debates took place, with a round of voting to eliminate one of the books at the conclusion of each discussion. Long-running host Ali Hassan was at the helm, acting as moderator and throwing in a few puns along the way. The theme for this year was an interesting one: Which work is the “one to carry us forward.” Carry us forward to where, you might ask. Fans of Jeopardy (such as myself), may be familiar with last year’s Canada Reads winner and overall excellent human, Mattea Roach. Roach was a formidable competitor on the classic quiz show and now holds the title for “most successful Canadian competitor” in the history of Jeopardy. Roach selected Kate Beaton’s graphic novel, Ducks, as their fighter in the ring. The true account of Beaton’s time working in the oil sands of Alberta and the complicated relationship the writer had with her gainful employment are conveyed through skilled illustrations. It was the first graphic novel to be honoured by the Canada Reads title. Check out one of Roach’s epic wins on Jeopardy here for a taste of their excellence. Turning to this year, the ‘great Canadian book debate’ was in its 23rd iteration, and this year’s contenders chose some intriguing reads. Here are the titles with their corresponding champions:

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The Dorian Awards


Now that we have well and truly been submersed in the lukewarm media bath that is awards season, I thought I would take the opportunity to highlight an award show that often goes unnoticed in all the excitement this time of year. We’re probably all aware of The Oscars and The Golden Globes, but there are many other awards that commemorate the artists, craftspeople, skilled technicians, composers, and other workers who collaborate to do this impossible thing of creating short-form or full-length screen content. I’m focusing on The Dorians this time around, but I will include links to other lesser-known award shows at the end of this post. As always, items that are available in our catalogue are linked throughout, so feel free to “check out” what these more obscure but just as valid awards have highlighted as the best of the best from 2023.

Dorian Awards

The Dorian Awards are nominated and selected by GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics. The name was coined as an homage to poet, playwright, and author Oscar Wilde, the famed writer of The Picture of Dorian Gray and now something of a queer icon. Dorian Award categories include standards like Film of the Year, Director of the Year, and Film Performance of the Year, but they also spotlight LGBTQ storylines, characters, and creators.

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A Couple Comedians to Spread Some Post-Holiday Cheer


Mike Birbiglia’s latest comedy special on Netflix is entitled The Old Man and the Pool. The Hemmingway reference did not go unnoticed by this library worker, that’s for sure. I was drawn to see this latest offering based on a vaguely pleasant recollection of his film, Sleepwalk with Me, which was released in 2012. The film was based on his one-man show of the same name and a corresponding book. All three tell the true story of Birbiglia’s troubles with somnambulism (otherwise known as sleepwalking). Apologies, somnambulism is one of my favourite words — rarely do I find an opportunity to use it. I’ve always seen Birbiglia as someone on the forefront of what is possible in the medium. He seemed to be one of the first to incorporate extended, personal narratives in his comedy. In doing so, he creates an impression of extreme honesty and self-deprecation. Since his specials have often originated as one-man shows, they have a hybrid tone. He combines the earnestness and gravity of drama, with the rhythms of traditional stand-up. The set-ups and punchlines are all there — the pauses that indicate the audience should react to something that was said. All the artifice of the artform is present, but it’s balanced by the perilous reality of movement while unconscious.

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