Staff Picks

July 2019

The Lost Gutenberg

The never-before-told story of one extremely rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible, and its impact on the lives of the fanatical few who were lucky enough to own it.

For rare-book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible--of which there are fewer than 50 in existence--represents the ultimate prize. Here, Margaret Leslie Davis recounts five centuries in the life of one copy, from its creation by Johannes Gutenberg, through the hands of monks, an earl, the Worcestershire sauce king, and a nuclear physicist to its ultimate resting place, in a steel vault in Tokyo. Estelle Doheny, the first woman collector to add the book to her library and its last private owner, tipped the Bible onto a trajectory that forever changed our understanding of the first mechanically printed book.

The Lost Gutenberg draws readers into this incredible saga, immersing them in the lust for beauty, prestige, and knowledge that this rarest of books sparked in its owners. Exploring books as objects of obsession across centuries, this is a must-read for history buffs, book collectors, seekers of hidden treasures, and anyone who has ever craved a remarkable book--and its untold stories.

Autopsy of a Boring Wife

Like a Québécois Bridget Jones’s Diary, Marie-Renée Lavoie’s Autopsy of a Boring Wife tells the hysterically funny and ultimately touching tale of forty-eight-year-old Diane, a woman whose husband leaves her and is having an affair because, he says, she bores him. Diane takes the charge to heart and undertakes an often ribald, highly entertaining journey to restoring trust in herself and others that is at the same time an astute commentary on women and girls, gender differences, and the curious institution of marriage in the twenty-first century. All the details are up for scrutiny in this tender, brisk story of the path to recovery. Autopsy of a Boring Wife is a wonderfully fresh and engaging novel of the pitfalls and missteps of an apparently “boring” life that could be any of ours.

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World collects the personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

As he conveys his profound awe at experiencing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Fredrik Backman doesn’t shy away from revealing his own false steps and fatherly flaws, tackling issues both great and small, from masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.

In between the sleep-deprived lows and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the true story of falling in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, and learning to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally. Alternating between humorous side notes and longer essays offering his son advice as he grows up and ventures out into the world, Backman relays the big and small lessons in life, including:

-How to find the team you belong to
-Why airports explain everything about religion and war
-The reason starting a band is crucial to cultivating and keeping friendships
-How to beat Monkey Island 3
-Why, sometimes, a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight

This is an irresistible and insightful collection, perfect for new parents and fans of Backman’s “unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness). As he eloquently reminds us, “You can be whatever you want to be, but that’s nowhere near as important as knowing that you can be exactly who you are.”

I'm Afraid of Men

"Emotional and painful but also layered with humour, I'm Afraid of Men will widen your lens on gender and challenge you to do better. This challenge is a necessary one--one we must all take up. It is a gift to dive into Vivek's heart and mind." --Rupi Kaur, bestselling author of The Sun and Her Flowers and Milk and Honey

A trans artist explores how masculinity was imposed on her as a boy and continues to haunt her as a girl--and how we might reimagine gender for the twenty-first century.


Vivek Shraya has reason to be afraid. Throughout her life she's endured acts of cruelty and aggression for being too feminine as a boy and not feminine enough as a girl. In order to survive childhood, she had to learn to convincingly perform masculinity. As an adult, she makes daily compromises to steel herself against everything from verbal attacks to heartbreak.

Now, with raw honesty, Shraya delivers an important record of the cumulative damage caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia, releasing trauma from a body that has always refused to assimilate. I'm Afraid of Men is a journey from camouflage to a riot of colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.

Dear Fahrenheit 451

A librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and breakup notes to the books in her life.


If you love to read, and presumably you do since you’ve picked up this book (!), you know that some books affect you so profoundly they forever change the way you think about the world. Some books, on the other hand, disappoint you so much you want to throw them against the wall. Either way, it’s clear that a book can be your new soul mate or the bad relationship you need to end.


In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way. Filled with suggested reading lists, Spence’s take on classic and contemporary books is very much like the best of literature―sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and filled with universal truths.


A celebration of reading, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is for anyone who loves nothing more than curling up with a good book…and another, and another, and another!