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 Anyone who reads a lot can empathize with the pressure I feel, as a librarian, to pick a favorite book. It’s often the first question people ask me when I tell them that reading is my favorite hobby. The problem, of course, is that I don’t have a favorite book.  

Or rather, I have way too many! I could easily come up with a categorized list of about 400 favorite books separated into genre, age group, guilty pleasure books, etc. But, if I had to pick, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is my favorite book on my long list of favorite books. The story is fun and classic and well-known enough that you don’t seem pretentious when you say that you love it. And, like many childhood classics, there are always new interpretations to explore.  

Here are a few favorite books based on my official favorite book:  

Alices Adventures in WonderlandAlice’s Adventures in Wonderland 
By Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by Anna Rifle Bond

The illustrations in Alice have always been one of the best parts for me, and while hundreds of artists have taken the time to illustrate Wonderland, this edition offers a unique interpretation of a magical and fantastic world. Every page in this book is pretty and cartoonish, offering a fun new journey to Wonderland alongside Lewis Carroll’s original and unabridged text.  


By Marissa Meyer

In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Lady Catherine is reluctant to marry the King of Hearts, especially once she finds love with the king’s mysterious new jester. Marissa Meyer crafts her own beautiful version of Wonderland filled with romance and a little bit of darkness. I love this new look at Wonderland.  




Queen of HeartsQueen of Hearts  
By Colleen Oakes

This book offers another exploration into Wonderland before Alice, but here the future Queen of Hearts is called Princess Dinah, and she has yet to learn about the darkness that fills her future kingdom. I was not expecting to enjoy two new Queen of Hearts origin stories in the same year, but this book – the first in a new series – convinced me that there should be even more.  



There are so many Fractured Wonderland stories that it was hard to pick out a few favorites (obviously). Are there other favorites that we missed? 


curved shelves

Though I work at a library, I am not a librarian. I haven’t been a librarian, and probably won’t ever be a librarian. I am, however, a reader, and I love getting recommendations from my librarian friends.  

Lately, I’ve been reading and listening to more and more of their recommendations, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you, so here they are: my recommended recommendations (this post will just be about audiobooks; I’ll share more recommended recommendations in another post!).  

Mary Roach

Carla recently recommended this as one of her favorite always-available audiobooks on Overdrive. Because I sometimes get frustrated waiting for a digital hold to come in, the always-available option is great.  

This book is amazing. You do have to have just a bit of a strong stomach (if sentences like “To see her his way, held open like a Gladstone bag, forces a view of the human torso for what it basically is: a large, sturdy container for guts,” make you queasy, maybe skip this one), but it is fascinating to think about all the ways that cadavers have made our lives better and safer. From medical training to car safety testing, cadavers do more for you than you know! Surprisingly, I don’t usually spend that much time in my day thinking about human decomposition, but it’s been a really interesting listen. Mary Roach is understated and hilarious, and I’m pretty sure I’m going go out and read everything she’s written.


the war that saved my lifeTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE  
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

A few years ago, Joella was on the Odyssey Committee. She listened to hundreds of audiobooks that year, and while she has to keep quiet about all the things the committee listened to as potential winners, she can recommend the award-winners enthusiastically, which is how I heard about THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE.  

If you can, listen to this book. It’s a good read, but an even better listen. The story of two children relocated out of London during World War II is at times heartbreaking and hopeful, and will make you laugh and cry and have all the feels. It explores the ways that we are broken, and the ways that we are healed. It’s middle-grade, so this would be a great listen for younger readers as well.  


ready player one

Ernest Cline

In my year of helping edit blog content, I’ve seen this one recommended several times, and those recommendations especially commend Will Wheaton as a narrator. I agree with those assessments. Will Wheaton is a great narrator that manages to communicate teenage angst and nerd-ish-ness without ever falling into annoying or whiny territory.  

Though at times I felt like the book got a little bogged down in the details of explaining its sort of post-apocalyptic video game-obsessed society, it’s all interesting, and once the story picks up it’s a fast-paced and fun listen. I think anyone could enjoy this book, but it’s especially satisfying if you’re a fan of 80’s pop culture and vintage video games. If you can recall playing text-based RPGs on your family’s Commodore 64 with fondness, this one’s for you.  

So there are my favorite three things I’ve listened to because our librarians told me to; what librarian-recommended books have you loved?  

 Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month? I would guess that, if we haven’t already, all of us will at some point experience our own mental health struggles or have someone very close to us who does. Just like the rest of our bodies, our minds can go through periods of wellness and periods of poor health, and they deserve care and treatment.

A generation or two ago, these struggles might have been kept quiet. Fortunately, our culture is becoming more accepting of and open about mental health. For instance, you might have heard about the Heads Together campaign, spearheaded by younger members of the British royal family, or about the Campaign to Change Direction. Programs like these aim to reduce stigma against mental illness, to educate, and to provide mental health resources.

In recent years, memoirs dealing with mental health, including some REALLY funny memoirs, have become common. Their humorous but honest approach can remind us that we aren't alone and keep us laughing. Here are a few of my favorites.

Hyperbole and a HalfHYPERBOLE AND A HALF
By Allie Brosh

Even if you’ve never heard of Brosh or her blog, you’ve probably seen her CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! meme. Brosh blogs about everyday life using a mix of text and crudely drawn webcomics. In addition to sharing hilarious stories about grammar, her childhood, and her dogs, she has also written about ADHD and, famously, depression.

Whether in book or blog form, HYPERBOLE AND A HALF might just be the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting her second book for a couple of years now, but its expected release date has been pushed back from 2017 to 2050. I’ll be impatiently waiting into old age, it appears.  

By Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. the bloggess) is another author who started out in the blogosphere. She writes irreverently about living in a small Texas town with her patient husband, their daughter, and an ever-growing collection of quirky taxidermy. She frequently writes about her experiences with depression, anxiety, and avoidant personality disorder. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is my favorite of her books, but I also love her first memoir LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED and YOU ARE HERE, a coloring book of the illustrations she creates in moments of anxiety.


Adulthood is a MythADULTHOOD IS A MYTH
By Sarah Andersen

This is a book you could easily read in an hour or two. Sarah Andersen, who also gained a following online (I’m sensing a theme here), creates comics about life as a Millennial adult. In simple drawings, she depicts social anxiety, body image struggles, insecurity, and how pets make it all a bit better.


By Nick Seluk

Nick Seluck is another webcomic creator who eventually became a published author. He is best known for comics depicting inner turmoil between logical Brain and fanciful Heart, as well as various other organs (I have a soft spot for the adorable Gallbladder). I’ve especially enjoyed his comics about anxiety and insomnia.


Youre Never Weird on the InternetYOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST)
By Felicia Day

Felicia Day’s life has been an unusual one. Homeschooled as a child, she went to college at sixteen, finished her math degree with flying colors, and then became an actress and web-series developer. She writes about anxiety, depression, and the intense gaming addiction she developed in her twenties.

YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET is easily the funniest celebrity memoir I’ve ever read (and I’ve read an embarrassing number of celebrity memoirs). Day’s narration of the audiobook is especially hysterical.



Utah is a great place to have fun in the summer! Our website has a great list of activities and events during summer, but don’t forget to enjoy the amazing mountain ranges and hiking trails. The natural beauty of our state attracts visitors from all over the world, so you should enjoy it too!

Waterfalls are great hiking destinations, and the surrounding area has quite a few to choose from. For an easy and beautiful hike, give Stewart Falls a try. Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon is a unique and fun experience. For the more adventurous hikers, there are Emerald Lake and Mount Timpanogos, as well as Mount Nebo and Lake Blanche.  

Don’t forget that beautiful vistas are not the only thing to enjoy up in the mountains. Utah is full of interesting geology, and rockhounding is an interesting hobby for the Utah hikers. The mountains are also full of nature’s bounty, and foraging can be a fun pastime if you need a more immediately rewarding hiking experience. It is so satisfying to create a meal from ingredients that you picked out in the wild! Try to take someone along that is familiar with edible plants in the area to avoid any mis-identifications!  

However you enjoy your hike, don’t forget to bring plenty of water, wear good shoes, and protective clothing. Hiking alone can be fun, but it is best to bring a buddy along, or better yet, go with the whole family! Getting away from life’s distractions is a great way to bond with loved ones and is fantastic physical exercise.  

Whether you want to enjoy the abundant trails, the beautiful scenery, or the breathtaking waterfalls, the Provo Library has some great books to inspire your visit to the mountains!  

Hiking the WasatchHIKING THE WASATCH 
By John Veranth

Complete with maps and black and white photographs, this is a great resource for anyone that would like to explore Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, or Little Cottonwood Canyon, as well as several other areas along the Wasatch front. Veranth discusses general hiking tips and even has a section on the history of the Wasatch Mountains for anyone interested in the geology of the area.  



By Garry Warren

This lovely little book is full of great information and beautiful photographs to get any rock hound excited about Utah. The author divides the state into different areas and showcases different rocks that can be found there. Complete with maps and advice on rockhounding etiquette, this is a great pick for anyone looking for a new outdoor hobby.  



By Dayna Stern

Ok, this book is just adorable! And perfect for anyone that loves to hike with their four-legged best friend. The first section has tips and etiquette for hiking with dogs on any trail. The rest of the book lists a great number of trails ranging from northern Utah all the way to Southwestern Utah with everywhere in between. Grab your pet and upgrade your walk to a great hike outdoors.  




By John Kallas

Whether you are a foraging enthusiast or simply have a budding interest in botany or gardening, this book is for you. John Kallas covers a wide variety of wild greens and informs the reader about important stages in plant development. Each plant described in this book has its own chapter filled with beautiful color photographs, maps, and engaging description to help even the most novice of enthusiasts. Kallas even provides information about poisonous look-alikes, as well as nutritional information. With this great reference in hand, a wild food adventurer can up their game both in the wilderness and in the kitchen.

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