Library offers delightful holiday diversions

From novels to albums, DVDs to streaming audiobooks, board games to eBooks, the McGill Library is your go-to destination for holiday entertainment, enlightenment and enjoyment.

books-dvd.webFrom novels to albums, DVDs to streaming audiobooks, board games to eBooks, the McGill Library is your go-to destination for holiday entertainment, enlightenment and enjoyment. Students, faculty, and staff members have access to millions of items found in our catalogue and online resources like Kanopy and OverDrive. Alumni can borrow print books, journals, audio materials and scores using their free Library Borrowing Card and with their McGill email address can access e-resources for alumni. Don’t know where to start? Library staff members have shared their picks for the holiday season. Questions? Want more recommendations? Ask us!

TV series

  • Slings and Arrows (3 Seasons) is a Canadian TV series that won 13 Gemini awards. Set at the fictional New Burbage Festival, a Shakespearean festival similar to the real-world Stratford Festival, this comedic series depicts each season as a modern day rendition of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, MacBeth and King Lear. The all-star cast is insanely funny and the theatrics are a laugh a minute thereby creating an unpredictable comedic soap opera. (EL)
  • The French TV series of George Simenon’s detective Maigret, formidably interpreted by Bruno Cremer. We have the complete series (54 episodes) with English subtitles. Sit back and enjoy Paris and the performances.  (LW)


  • Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands for performances by Johnny Depp and Dianne Weist, and for Danny Elfman’s music.  For the irony of casting Vincent Price creating his robot boy, Edward “Scissorhands”, as a substitute for the son he never had.  When Price has a heart attack before he can put the last touch to his creation – Edward’s hands, Depp looks at him, astonished and sad, and says “I’m not finished”….  Aren’t we all?  (LW)
  • I plan to view some of the performances and music documentaries available via Kanopy, one of McGill Library’s streaming video services. A couple on my wish list so far: A Not So Silent Night, the McGarrigle Sisters’ 2009 live Christmas performance at the Knitting Factory stage; and Brasslands: Uniting Cultures Through Music, a documentary that explores Balkan brass music through the stories of individual musicians. (CM)
  • Catalogue summary: “Brooklyn is the emotional tale of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant building a new life in 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland for the shores of New York City and is soon swept up by the intoxicating charms of new love. But when her new life is disrupted by her past, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.” Brooklyn was filmed here in Montreal – can you find the McGill “bits”? (JA)
  • Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 classic The Kid is a heartwarming tale about The Tramp, played by Chaplin, and an orphaned child – The Kid. Enjoy this timeless, silent comedy-drama “with a smile and perhaps a tear”. View it online through the Kanopy streaming service. (MR)


  • From our former Principal, now Governor General, The idea of Canada : letters to a nation by David Johnston is a collection of inspiring, thought-provoking and sometimes laugh-out-loud entertaining letters from an inveterate letter-writer.  Easy to pick up and put down for those of us short on time.  Available in our collection in print and eBook. (LR)
  • Publisher’s note: “Must the sins of America’s past poison its hope for the future? Lately the American Left, withdrawing into the ivied halls of academe to rue the nation’s shame, has answered yes in both word and deed. In Achieving Our Country, one of America’s foremost philosophers [Richard Rorty] challenges this lost generation of the Left to understand the role it might play in the great tradition of democratic intellectual labor that started with writers like Walt Whitman and John Dewey.” (CC)
  • L’art presque perdu de ne rien faire by Québécois author and Immortel of the Académie française, Dany Laferrière. “Je ne sais pas trop comment qualifier ce livre. J’hésite entre un roman des idées et un essai lyrique. En tout cas, j’essaie de brasser ensemble mes réflexions, mes émotions, mes sensations comme mes rires et mes délires, car je n’ai pas l’impression qu’on arrête de vivre parce qu’on est en train de penser.”- Dany Laferrière. (MDM)
  • HamiltonNow that I saw the musical Hamilton in New York, I’m reading about the musical and about the life of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton : the revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCater is a book giving a behind-the-scenes view of Hamilton the musical and detailing many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton’s life. We have it as an e-book and an e-audio book, along with the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow that Lin-Manuel Miranda read and was inspired by to write his musical. Available in print book, e-book and e-audio book. For these and more resources related to the musical Hamilton click here. (JH)
  • John Waters : Interviews in print or eBook version is a collection of interviews with Baltimore’s most revered weirdo. (MC)


  • Carry me by Peter Behrens is a work of historical fiction extensively researched in McGill’s Rare Books and Special Collections.  Beautifully written and totally engaging.  Available in our collection in print and eBook.  (LR)
  • And the birds rained down, eBook translated by J. Saucier and R. Mullins. Catalogue summary: “An award-winning and haunting meditation on aging and self-determination”. This is a terrific translation of Il pleuvait des oiseaux. Le Devoir calls Jocelyne Saucier “a magician for the soul”.  (JA)
  • La femme qui fuit by Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette was the recipient of the 2015 Prix des libraires. “Un style magnifique, un sujet prenant, une sensibilité certaine. Cette lecture fait partie des grands coups de la rentrée littéraire. L’auteure trace le portrait de sa grand-mère, une figure qu’elle a à peine connue. Suzanne Meloche a côtoyé les signataires du Refus global, a été l’épouse du peintre Marcel Barbeau et a vécu une vie étonnante. – Dominique Lemieux, Les libraires.” (MDM)
  • Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine. Imagine a character who is a mix of Snow White, Harry Potter, and the Karate Kid.  This novel is an action-packed, fantasy adventure based on the story of Snow White, including a prince who can turn into a dragon, a princess who wields magic and street-fighting moves, and a quest to destroy a despot queen.  An easy, fun read. (GB)
  • Publisher’s note: “Seventeenth-century Japan: Two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to a country hostile to their religion, where feudal lords force the faithful to publicly renounce their beliefs. Eventually captured and forced to watch their Japanese Christian brothers lay down their lives for their faith, the priests bear witness to unimaginable cruelties that test their own beliefs. Shusaku Endo is one of the most celebrated and well-known Japanese fiction writers of the twentieth century, and Silence is widely considered to be his great masterpiece.” (CC)
  • 15 Dogs by Canadian author André Alexis won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. It all starts with a bet between the Greek gods Hermes and Apollo. The gods choose 15 dogs and decide to instil them with human intelligence and linguistic skills. What follows is a thought-provoking story that left me questioning everything I know about myself and the world around me. It’s a quick, fun read and dog-owners, like me, will love it! Available in print and Ebook. (MR)
  • RURu by Québecoise author Kim Thùy. Catalogue summary: “A runaway bestseller in Quebec, with foreign rights sold to 15 countries around the world, Kim Thuy’s Governor General’s Literary Award-winning RU is a lullaby for Vietnam and a love letter to a new homeland. In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec.” Available in original French and English translation. Also recommended: Thùy’s Vi, and Mãn. (MDM)
  • Anything by Pierre Lemaitre is going to be a page-turner, but one glass of your favourite wine won’t be enough while reading The great swindle – you’ll need the whole bottle. (LW)
  • À cause des garçons : roman & follow up novel Parce que tout me ramène à toi : roman by Québécois author Samuel Larochelle. « Il a 27 ans, du bagou, du talent. [C’est] l’histoire d’un photographe, orphelin de père, qui quitte sa Gaspésie natale pour Montréal, en quête du grand amour. Un jeune gai allumé qui pourrait très bien être notre meilleur ami.  » – Danielle LAURIN, Elle Québec (MDM)


  • For your listening pleasure, I recommend these thrilling Doctor Who episodes written specifically for audio. If you are a fan of David Tennant, you won’t want to miss The Day of the Troll, read by the 10th Doctor himself. If you are more of a Matt Smith fan, he reads two (1, 2) of the audio adventures available in OverDrive. (AC)


dk2-product[1]Take technology home for the holidays! Have you thought about tinkering with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi? Or maybe experiencing a virtual reality rollercoaster ride with an Oculus Rift headset?  These items are on loan now at the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering: Technology @ Schulich Library  (AC)


Did you know that the library lends board games? Strategy games like Settlers of Catan or 1812: The invasion of Canada are available for two-week loans at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library service desk in the McLennan Library Building. Just bring the call number to a staff member. And please don’t lose any pieces! For a full listing of board games, click here. (ED)

Special thanks to our contributors:

  • (JA) Jane Aitkens, Coordinator, ILS & Catalogue, Digital Initiatives
  • (GB) Giovanna Badia, Liaison Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
  • (CC) Colleen Cook, Dean of Libraries
  • (AC) April Colosimo, Liaison Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering
  • (MC) Melissa Como, Senior Library Clerk, Osler Library of the History of Medicine
  • (ED) Eamon Duffy, Coordinator of Operations & Liaison Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • (JH) Joseph Hafner, Associate Dean, Collection Services
  • (EL) Edmund Lesniowski, Library Assistant, Loans, Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • (CM) Cathy Martin, Liaison Librarian and Coordinator, Music Library Access Services, Marvin Duchow Music Library
  • (MDM) Michael David Miller, Liaison Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences Library
  • (MR) Merika Ramundo, Communications Officer, Office of the Dean
  • (LR) Louise Robertson, Coordinator, Receiving, Processing, Special Collections and Database Maintenance, Collections Services
  • (LW) Lonnie Weatherby, Liaison Librarian, Humanities and Social Sciences Library