All posts by Sumayyah

About Sumayyah

Sumayyah is an Information Assistant at the Vaughan Public Libraries. She's also a bookworm and author, constantly dreaming up a multitude of different stories and wrestling with finishing them.  |  Meet the team

The Leap Year Conundrum

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While Leap Year is a fun rom-com (which I recommend for anyone who’s a fan of rom-coms, Ireland, or Matthew Goode) and a great way to wrap up February-the-month-of-love…this post is only tangentially about it. In my last post, I talked a bit about the Lunar New Year, and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t also talk about our solar calendar and it’s fun quirk: the leap year.

What is a leap year, why is a leap year, and what does it do besides give February an extra day? Well, I did some digging and it turns out the leap year exists partly because of the sun, partly because of Julius Caesar, and partly because of a Pope.

In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar decided to reform the Roman Calendar, because their year was about 10 days shorter than ours. In order to keep the seasons happening at a regular time, they would simply add a new month to the year whenever it was needed. Inspired by the Egyptians’ more regular solar calendar, Caesar decided to make the year 365 days long instead, to match the time it takes the Earth to orbit the sun. The new Julian calendar sounded like a simple fix, but implementing it took a bit of finagling. To make the transition from the old Roman calendar to the new one flow well, Caesar made that first new year 445 days long and then adjusted the next to our familiar 365 days.

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Here Be Dragons

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According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, and I am a huge fan of dragons. They’re just very cool, and I find it fascinating and mysterious that almost every culture in the world has a dragon or dragon-esque creature in their legends, mythologies, and hagiography. I wonder if they came about in response to dinosaurs…

Funnily enough, I just finished reading The Book of Dragons, an anthology of short stories all about dragons by some of my favourite authors, and so I thought I’d combine those two coincidences into a fun, dragon-themed post! (You can read my response to this book on my own site, if you like!)

Before we get into the media recommendations, you might be wondering what’s with the title. I’d always thought ‘here be dragons’ was a phrase used by ancient mapmakers to mark unknown regions of the world. Apparently, this isn’t quite true! According to a National Geographic article, “apart from an inscription on a single, 16th-century globe, this claim is unfounded.” However, “mapmakers would often place monsters and other imagined creatures to marked unexplored areas” which might be why ‘here be dragons’ can often be found in fictional maps.

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VPL’s Staff Choice Awards of 2023

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Inspired by Adam’s post last year of a similar nature, I thought that it would be fun if the last HOTS post of 2023 was a communal one! And yeah, the title is clickbait; there’s no such official award…but I did reach out to my fellow VPL colleagues and ask them what their favourite and/or most memorable book, movie, show or game was that they enjoyed this year. It didn’t have to be published or created in 2023, but it did have to be currently available in our catalogue (which means I wouldn’t be featuring anything that was currently on order).

My lovely colleagues have delivered their recommendations in their own words. Check it out and discover something new (or old, as the case may be) to explore in 2024!

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Wonder Woman: Dead Earth

“Anything by Daniel Warren Johnson, his comics have been just off the wall amazing. His Wonder Woman mini-series was incredible, but his original work Do A Powerbomb and Murder Falcon are just masterpieces.

He’s the current author of the reboot of the Transformers comics that I have but haven’t started reading yet, but I’m looking forward to it.” — Tommy

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