Top 21 “Overdue Finds” of 2021

2021 was another great year for Overdue Finds! The show explored topics from sci-fi books to sports movies and spent some quality time with Degrassi, Moana and ABBA. We celebrated milestone anniversaries for Lord of the Rings and It’s a Wonderful Life and looked back at the hottest trends of 1996. Special guests on the podcast included author Irshad Manji, journalist and writer Tanya Talaga, advertiser and podcaster Terry O’Reilly, broadcaster Michael Landsberg, and video game Narrative Designer Shelby Carleton. We also won a Canadian Podcast Award for Outstanding Artwork for a Series

Overdue Finds has so much support from EPL and we’re so grateful for the staff who are guests on the show and those who work behind the scenes. During each episode of Overdue Finds, we ask our guests to name a movie, album, book or video game that they've recently enjoyed – but we know they’ve got a lot more suggestions! To celebrate 2021, we asked guests to share their own top "Overdue Finds" from the last year.  So sit back, settle in, and enjoy!

1. The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet by John Green

“In essays that review everything from Canada geese, Auld Lang Syne, and sycamore trees, John Green reflects on his own experiences, the realities of living through the pandemic, and the things that make life terrible and beautiful. From reading his novels and watching Vlogbrothers YouTube videos, I knew that John Green had the potential to be a brilliant essayist and I was not disappointed. The collection is erudite, funny, beautiful, and occasionally heartbreaking. I laughed and ugly cried and after closing the copy I borrowed from the library, I immediately went out and bought a copy of my own.” – Beth Kilfoy, Collections Librarian and guest on Episode 80: Bridgerton.

The Anthropocene Reviewed is also available as an ebook, a downloadable audiobook, an audiobook, and a large print book.

2. Beans directed by Tracey Deer

“My true overdue find of 2021 was For All Mankind, a series streaming on Apple+. It’s a historical AU of the 1960s space race (positing that the Russians land on the moon first), but it takes you way, way beyond that! Solid acting, gripping drama, steamy romance, and space! Need I say more? I’m hoping against hope Apple+ will start to release their exclusive content on physical media – it’s excellent content that the people deserve!

My second option that we do have in the collection is “Beans” – the 2021 winner of Canadian Screen Awards “Best Picture” (and many other wins/nominations on the film festival circuit over the past year) that should be arriving on our shelves any day now! It’s about the 1990 Oka crisis, from the perspective of a young Mohawk girl (based on the filmmaker Tracey Deer’s real life experience). There’s a lot of heart and a lot of truth, which is something I think we all need right now.” – Quincy Hiscott, Collections Assessment Librarian and guest on Episode 86: Best Canadian Music.

3. Bombshell by Sarah MacLean

“In my opinion, Sarah MacLean is one of the best romance authors currently writing in the genre. Her strong female characters, over the top plots, and blending of modern sentiments with historical settings make for fun romps and demonstrate her deep understanding why readers love romance novels. Avid romance readers should also check out her podcast, Fated Mates, in which she has in-depth and hilarious discussions about romance novels with her co-host, romance critic Jen Prokop. Caution: the podcast is definitely NSFW.” – Ashley Dotto, Library Services Coordinator and guest on Episode 81: Moana.

Bombshell is also available as an ebook and as a downloadable audiobook.

4. Censorettes by Elizabeth Bales Frank

“I was drawn to this book initially by the randomness of its cover design and discovered a gem of a story inside. Censorettes, beginning in Bermuda during WW2 but making it’s way through England and Egypt, tells the story of a Lucy Barrette, who, along with a group of intrepid young women, works for British Intelligence intercepting and inspecting intercontinental mail. Part mystery, part wartime adventure, part romance, Censorettes paints a vivid portrait of love and friendship against the backdrop of a world at war.” – Camilla Fita, Community Librarian, podcast editor, and guest on Episode 85: While You Wait

Censorettes is also available as an ebook.

5. Chungking Express directed by Wong Kar-wai

Chungking Express was released in theatres in 1994, and after decades of being out of print it is ready to be rediscovered by North American audiences with this restored The Criterion Collection release. Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-Wai presents a story that is equal parts quirkily comedic, cathartically romantic, and mysteriously dangerous through his lush and sensual visuals, pitch-perfect soundtrack, and trademark soulful romanticism.” – Indy Randhawa, Library Assistant and guest on Episode 98: It’s A Wonderful Life

6. Delicates by Brenna Thummler

Delicates by Brenna Thummler follows up on her first children’s graphic novel, Sheets. We’ve already met Marjorie, the daughter of a recently widowed father and the only person that knows that her family’s laundromat is infested with sheet ghosts. One particular ghost, a young boy named Wendell, has become her best friend during the incredibly isolating year following her mother’s death. Now, as a new school year is set to begin, Marjorie is finally making friends – alive ones – with the popular kids at school. However, she recognizes the dangers of being different. One of her classmates, Eliza, is a social outcast because of her interest in ghost photography. While Marjorie sees herself in Eliza, recognizing her loneliness, she can also see that all of her tentative friendships would end immediately if anyone were to discover her secret. This beautifully illustrated story delves into some serious topics, never doubting the ability of its young audience to understand the importance of feeling heard, seen, and accepted.” – Maria Milanowski, Library Assistant, Overdue Finds Team member and list-maker for Episode 97: Lord of the Rings.

Delicates is also available as an ebook.

7. The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

“A genre bending sci fi psychological thriller where nothing is as it first appears, The Echo Wife is the story of brilliant Evelyn, a scientist who has perfected the art of cloning.  Unfortunately, her work came at the cost of her marriage.  However, everything she knows about her science is turned on it’s head when one day her ex-husband’s new girlfriend knocks on her door and she finds herself . . . looking at her own clone!” – Meg DeForest, Community Librarian, podcast editor, and guest on Episode 79: Best Movie Soundtracks.  

The Echo Wife is also available as an ebook and a downloadable audiobook.

8. Fight Night by Miriam Toews

“Three generations of strong women in one home, told from the voice of a young girl, who bonds with her maternal grandmother and learns to “fight” an ornery life.” – Susan Chau, Community Librarian and guest on Episode 82: Best and Worst Parents in Pop Culture.

Fight Night is also available as an ebook and a downloadable audiobook.

9. Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer’s Guide by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras

“We may not be doing much traveling during COVID, but when I dream about traveling, I dream about eating. And while that’s on pause, I live vicariously through this amazing book, published by the same folks who also do the wonderful Atlas Obscura. You learn about so many wonderful dishes from around the world, their unique histories, and really delve into food cultures that you may not have known much about before. One warning: make sure to have a snack while reading this book, or your belly will be rumbling!” – Nancy Sheng, Associate Manager and guest on Episode 99: Best of 2021.

Gastro Obscura is also available as an ebook.

10. Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal: The Complete First Season

“The description is deceptively simple: A caveman and a dinosaur bond over shared tragedy and work together to survive in a perilous prehistoric world. What you get is so much more complex.  Tartakovsky masterfully uses animation and an original score to tell a story of unexpected friendship in a world that tempers its extreme violence with lots of heart. You'll want to rewatch it over and over.” – Anna Wallace, Library Assistant and guest on Episode 88: Sports Movies.

Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal is available on DVD.

11. Hitman III

“Ever wanted to feel like a super spy in disguise at a black-tie event? How about as the ‘detective’ in a Knives Out-style murder mystery at an English manor? Hitman 3 says “go for it, Agent 47.” This is the final chapter in the recent Hitman series reboot (the previous 2 games are also available at EPL). The game is very open-ended in that it allows the player to achieve objectives however they see fit – often with hilarious and unpredictable results.” – Mike Eaton, Library Services Coordinator and Guest on Episode 82: Best and Worst Parents in Pop Culture.

Hitman III is also available on PS4 and PS5.

12. The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu

“Part adventure and part mystery, ‘The Library of the Dead’ follows the equally cynical and smart ghost-talking teen Ropafadzo “Ropa” Moyo. While carrying messages between the living and the dead (for a fee!), Ropa learns that a mysterious, occult force is endangering Edinburgh’s children. Fast-paced, funny, and with some fraught moments, this story is recommended for teen and adult fans of magical libraries, talkative ghosts, and Stephen King. (I read the audiobook version, which was a delight).” – Holly Arnason, Associate Manager and guest on Episode 95: Freaky Friday.

The Library of the Dead is also available as an ebook, and as a downloadable audiobook.

13. Magic Candies by Hŭi-na Paek

“We are generally enormous picture book fans, I keep telling them I’ll bring home every new picture book until they ask me to stop. Specifically, the illustrations in Magic Candies are like nothing we’ve ever seen before, truly magically alive and whimsical at the same time. The story is  heartbreaking, funny, and so clever – I think it spoke to all of us in very deep personal ways in how brilliantly layered it is, just like a candy!” – Angelica Thompson, Manager and Mom of Corbin and Lux, guests on Episode 90: Even More Kids Pop Culture Confessions.

14. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“The Riva siblings have always lived in the shadow of their famous father Mick. Over the course of an epic end-of-summer all-night party hosted by supermodel sister Nina, the Rivas will learn long-hidden secrets, confront past hurts, and watch their house go up in flames.  Taylor Jenkins Reid was also the author of Daisy Jones & The Six, one of my favourite books from 2019.” – Caroline Land, Co-Host of Overdue Finds, Manager, and list-maker for Episode 96: ABBA.

Malibu Rising is also available as an ebook, a downloadable audiobook, on an audiobook CD, and in large print.

15. Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey by James Rebanks

“Pastoral Song by James Rebanks is an insightful and poignant exploration of the state of the farming industry in England. At times it had me in tears at what has been lost and at others filled with hope for the new, and old, farming practices being used by a growing number of farmers in an effort to revitalize and reimagine farming. The love and passion the author has for the land that was farmed by his father and his grandfather and back generations before that is extremely moving and his deep understanding, as well as empathy, for the choices people in the industry made over the past few decades that have ultimately destroyed the very life farmers were trying to maintain, is explored with a sensitive and beautiful touch. Winner of the Wainwright nature writing prize, this is a must read book of 2021.” – Kate Gibson, Manager and guest on Episode 97: Lord of the Rings.

Pastoral Song by James Rebanks is also available as an ebook.

16. Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning

“I would love to include the 2021 Governor General Award English language fiction winner by Norma Dunning titled Tainna: The Unseen Ones. This book is a set of 6 stories with interesting, deep characters. These characters deal with ever-present prejudice, racism, hostility, and alienation but fight to rise above it all with resilience, humour, and spirituality.” – Caitlin Miller, Library Assistant and guest on Episode 84: Indigenous Reads.

Tainna is also available as an ebook.

17. This is Your Mind on Plants by Michael Pollan

“Gardeners, psychonauts, and coffee addicts will all find something of interest in Pollan’s exploration of 3 psychoactive plant products (caffeine, opium, and mescaline). He is funny, accessible, and honest about his own experiences with each of these substances.” – Vicky Varga, Manager and guest on Episode 89: Sci-Fi Books.

This Is your Mind on Plants is also available as an ebook, a downloadable audiobook, on an audiobook CD, and in large print.

18. Whisper Down the Lane by Clay Chapman

“In a year of SO MANY slasher/70s-80s horror homages (The Final Girl Support Group, Goblin, My Heart Is A Chainsaw, Survive The Night), this one really stood out for me. Great story, very surprising ending, and genuine horror (but not necessarily where you expect it to be). And so many allusions to classic 70s and 80s horror!” – Richard Thornley, Manager and guest on Episode 99: Best of 2021.

Whisper Down the Lane is available as an ebook.

19. Yearbook by Seth Rogen

“Sure you can borrow the physical book but to truly get the full Yearbook experience you need to borrow the audiobook version which is read by Seth Rogen himself. In this hilarious biography from the Canadian actor, he shares stories about growing up in BC, starting his stand up career when he was 14, and later moving to Hollywood. There’s also a hysterical chapter dedicated to his father’s love for Bonanza Steakhouse which as someone who also had more than a few family dinners at the former chain restaurant was my personal favourite chapter of the book.” – Bryce Crittenden, Co-Host of Overdue Finds, Senior Marketing Consultant, and kicked off 2021 with Episode 73: New Year’s Resolutions.

Yearbook is available as a book and ebook.

20. Yoshi no Zuikara: The Frog In The Well Does Not Know The Ocean by Satsuki Yoshino

“This is a 3 volume manga series about a manga creator named Tohno Naruhiko who has had his most recent manga series cancelled, and his editor has an idea for him to do another slice of life when his eye has always been on fantasy. What follows is a charming story about a manga creator finding his groove again in his hometown. There is so much charm in this story, and I love slice of life stories set in small towns. As someone who creates, this also inspires me and makes me want to create more. It reminds me a lot of Bakuman, another of my favorite manga series, but with a more in depth look at someone who is currently struggling with creating, something I had been doing a lot of myself in 2021. This is a great series to pull you out of your funk and get you back on the creative journey, or at the very least, make you smile.” – Josh Carr, Library Assistant and guest on Episode 86: Best Canadian Music.

Yoshi No Zuikara is available as a print book.

21. You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes

“My Overdue Find is the book series You, by Caroline Kepnes. It's a trilogy that includes You, Hidden Bodies and You Love Me, the final book having come out in 2021. The series has been adapted into a fantastic Netflix series. The series is told through the perspective of and narrated by the villain of the story, Joe Goldberg.  Joe is an obsessive stalker with a twisted definition of love who, perhaps inevitably, escalates to murder. The series illustrates the dangers of social media and how easy it is in modern society to watch and track a person's life and movements.  It has a delicious cast of flawed characters that are almost entirely unlikeable. I found myself not knowing who to root for.” – Jaime Henderson, Library Assistant and guest on Episode 87: Degrassi.  

You Love Me by Caroline Kepnes is also available as an ebook, a downloadable audiobook, and in large print.

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