Tag Archives: TV Shows

VPL’s Staff Choice Awards of 2023


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!


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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More Food For Nerds

The cover of Heroes' Feast The Official D&D Cookbook by Kyle Newman

Back in March, I made a post about some of the nerdy cookbooks we have in our collection here at VPL. Since then, we’ve added more, and there were options that I just didn’t mention the first time around. The last time around, I highlighted some books that did a little of everything and a couple that focused on gaming. This time I’ve ended up with two based on shows and one on… kind of a show? More of a personality. But before I launch into the full three-course meal, let’s start with some hours-d’oeuvres, the books that either didn’t make it to me in time or that I just feel need a quick mention.

First up, the one that didn’t make it: Heroes’ Feast, the official Dungeons & Dragons Cookbook. Would I have wanted to make some halfling dishes? Maybe find out what Dragonborn eat? Or try some cuisine eaten by Drow in the Underdark? Whatever I would have made would likely spice up a game night. If you’re a D&D fan, throw a hold on this and roll your percentile dice to see what recipe you should cook from it.

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Life in Plastic: Barbie and Beyond

Have you bought your tickets for the Barbie movie yet? Perhaps you’re planning on doing a Barbie-Oppenheimer (“Barbenheimer”) double feature, if you’ve got all the time in the world? I’m just as hyped as everyone else! And all this hoopla around Barbie got me thinking of The Power of the Doll in pop culture. Barbie herself has been kicking around since 1959, so she’s clearly got staying power. And over the decades there has been no shortage of thinkpieces on the iconic doll and her role in the lives of young girls. 

Dolls, being tied to girls or to the experience of being raised female, have always had a place in media and art as a way to explore that experience under various degrees of sexism. Ibsen’s A Doll’s House critiques the suffocating nature of marriage roles in the 19th century. In Valley of the Dolls, “dolls” refers to sedative drugs but also to its main characters who, while not passing any sort of feminism test, understandably operate under patriarchy in the 1960s. Even Scandinavian pop sensation Aqua’s 1997 banger “Barbie Girl” is really about the perception of women as objects. Serious stuff!  

But that all comes from adult artists who, divorced from the simple act of play, see dolls as ripe for metaphor. To kids, Barbie is simply a toy. I remember lots of handwringing about Barbie and her effect on girls’ self-esteem and body image. And recently there’s been some revival of that discourse online. But in practice, I don’t know a single person who had a bad experience with Barbie. The excitement for Barbie the movie just proves the enduring appeal of this particular doll, especially for those of us who grew up playing with her. As one of my favourite tweets on the subject goes, “I simply did not give Barbie this power over me, I controlled HER life.” I can’t speak for everyone’s experiences, but for me, Barbie and all her accoutrements were just toys. Ways to express our weird little imaginations. My Barbies were perpetually getting stuck on rollercoasters or reenacting the sinking of the Titanic. My one Ken doll was a flop whose head kept falling off, so he often had to sit these scenes out. If I coveted anything in real life, it was Barbie’s Dream House and her white Jeep Wrangler. It really was not serious.  

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