It’s that time of year again. The time when algorithms — and the multinational corporations who employ them — encourage us to look back. At the pictures we’ve taken, the music we’ve listened to, and the digital lives we’ve led over the past year. We inevitably start to draw conclusions. What kind of year has it been? ‘Have I listened to a lot of emotional music this year?’ Or, ‘Should I start taking more pictures of my friends?’ It feels as if we’re being prepped to make our new year’s resolutions starting from the end of November, and resolutions have never been my friends. I don’t find it helpful to try to start new habits at the beginning of the calendar year, when we’re all getting over the indulgences and excesses of the winter holiday season. If there’s a habit I want to start, I try to start it when the motivation and momentum are there. I don’t know about you, but I generally don’t have much motivation or momentum at the beginning of January. Nevertheless, it is the end of the year, so here at VPL we’re looking back at the most popular books and films borrowed by our customers in 2023. Here are my recommendations from the top ten lists this year. I share them in the hopes that they may bring a little joy to the last part of your 2023. Don’t worry about your new year’s resolutions yet. To paraphrase Ina Garten:
Don’t worry about the future. If you’re in a stream, and you find yourself knocking against the riverbanks, you’re in the wrong stream. Find a stream that carries you along.1
This year’s Autumnal Equinox will also fall on September 23rd, meaning there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. Finally, the last Super Moon of the year—the Harvest Moon—is set to rise in all its glory on the 29th. Meanwhile, Illuminarium at the Distillery District is offering an all-ages immersive event titled Space: A Journey to the Moon and Beyond!
In honour of these and other cosmic events, here are some lovely books all about the heavens above.
Do you like snakes? Have you met The Dude (resident snake at Civic Centre Resource Library)? He’s adorable and is sure to change your mind about snakes, if your answer to the first question was “no”! If you’re not quite up to using exposure to get you over your fear of snakes, then maybe this book will do the trick: I (Don’t) Like Snakes by Nicola Davies (who is also the author of Poop, Tiny Creatures, Extreme Animals, and Just Ducks!, to name a few), illustrated by Luciano Lozano.
This is kind of an odd book, in that I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to fall within the picture book market or the junior non-fiction one, because while there’s a story to it and it’s definitely a book filled with illustrations, Davies also includes lots of information about snakes, from the way they move around to how they molt their skin. One thing’s for sure though: the illustrations are adorable. And! The moral of the story, I think, is not only that snakes are awesome, though they are (maybe in both the colloquial and traditional sense of the word, at that), but that sometimes, hatred stems from ignorance, and that’s a takeaway message filled with hope and a healthy dose of optimism, because that’s something we can take into our own hands – all the more so at the library!
I’m going to move onto a number of books about snakes so that once I (Don’t) Like Snakesstarts up your curiosity for all things anguine, you’ll be able to whet your appetite with some of the following.