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Read to Travel

Once again I’m back to talk about places I have traveled because of books that I have read—or places that I loved going to visit  because of the literature that was written there. Hannibal, Rome, London, and Concord have all made my list. Today I’m going to talk about my second favorite place(s) to go on vacation due to books I have read. And yes, if you noticed, this place is really two places. It would have been three  dream places if my time hadn’t been so short. 

Bath & Chawton, England

I know I already mentioned London earlier—and I still love that choice. But I seriously took two major detours when traveling in England for one author: Jane Austen! So yes, London is amazing; however, Bath & Chawton—specifically Chawton—were places that I went specifically because of reading (and I was not disappointed!). 

The only reason I went to Bath was because of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION (and if pressed possibly because of Northanger Abbey as well). Without Jane and her novels I probably wouldn’t have been persuaded to go visit Bath. And to be completely honest without this adaptation of the movie PERSUASION, I probably wouldn’t have recognized just how beautiful Bath is and wouldn’t have had such a desire to go and see where Anne Elliot lived and finally got her happily ever after. While in Bath we visited the Roman Baths and the Royal Crescent (yes, that one spot that every movie set in Bath uses because it is that beautiful). I swear Anne Elliot must have been just around the corner while we were there… 

classic Bath

Joella at the Roman Baths in Bath

bath

I couldn’t travel to Jane Austen country without actually going to Chawton, England—the place where the Jane Austen Museum is. It was here that Jane wrote and/or revised all six of her completed works: SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, MANSFIELD PARK, NORTHANGER ABBEY, EMMA, and PERSUASION. Not only that, but at the museum you can see the writing table where Jane wrote everything. The. Desk. Where. All. The. Things. Were. Written! Plus you can see Jane’s ring—the ring that lived on her finger! This is the vacation spot for all of you who wish to geek-out about all things Jane Austen! 

chawton

When walking around Bath or in the gardens at the Jane Austen Museum, I truly got a feel for what it might have been like for Jane Austen to live there and write there. These two locations had some of the most fan-girl-like moments to connect one to Jane Austen. It truly felt like I made some sort of pilgrimage to be in my favorite books written by my favorite author (and for a librarian who likes SO MANY books, this is quite the confession)!

 Jane Austen s writing table

Joella at Jane Austen s House

The only thing that would have made this literary vacation even better was if I could have gone up to see the Pemberley location from the 1995 movie version of Pride and Prejudice. That would have possibly sent this vacation to the very top of my read to travel list. Alas, with only so much time over the pond it didn’t happen…but there is always next time, eh? 

Joella reading on a beach while traveling

So there you have it, my penultimate literary vacation spot. Only one more left. Where do you think it will be? 

 Graphic Novels you Can Give Without Worry 1

Books make the best Christmas gifts! Alright, sure, I am a little biased, but I firmly believe there is a book for everyone, even for the pickiest of readers.  Last month, I wrote a post singing the praises of graphic novels and why you should read them. All those reasons also apply to why graphic novels make great gifts!

Last year, we published a list of well-reviewed, clean graphic novels that make great gifts for anyone on your list. We’ve had such great feedback about last year’s suggestions, so here is an updated edition including some newer releases that have hit the shelves since then.

12.7 Rebel LadiesBRAZEN: REBEL LADIES WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
By Penelope Bagieu
(2018) 

With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Penelope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

 

12.7 The Prince and the DressmakerTHE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER
By Jen Wang
(2018) 

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. Sebastian's secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances--one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone's secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?

 

12.7 SheetsSHEETS
By Brenna Thummler
(2018) 

Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen-year-old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she's worked for.

 

12.7 ApolloAPOLLO
By Matt Fitch
(2018) 

In 1969, humankind set foot on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins carried the fire for all the world. Backed by the brightest minds in engineering and science, the three boarded a rocket and flew through the void, just to know that we could. In Apollo, Matt Fitch, Chris Baker, and Mike Collins unpack the urban legends, the gossip, and the speculation to reveal a remarkable true story about life, death, dreams, and the reality of humanity's greatest exploratory achievement

 

12.7 The Gigantic Beard that was EvilTHE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL
By Stephen Collins
(2013) 

On the buttoned-down island of Here, all is well. By which we mean: orderly, neat, contained, and, moreover, beardless. Or at least it is until one famous day, when Dave, bald but for a single hair, finds himself assailed by a terrifying, unstoppable... monster*! (*beard) Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what, most importantly, are they going to do with Dave? 

 

Happy gift-giving! If you missed last year’s list, check it out here.

 Brandon Sanderson

Whenever people find out I study English and work at the Provo Library, they immediately ask me what books I recommend. My immediate response is, “Any book by Brandon Sanderson.”

It would be an understatement to say that I’m an avid fan. When I first read his books, I thought, “Boy, this is what a novel should be.” Then I discovered the man is from Utah, publishes about a book a year, has several different series, and nearly all of these books connect. That’s right, Sanderson has created a universe called “The Cosmere” and several of his book series take place within this universe.

Take a breath with me; it’s a lot to take in. I remember when I first discovered this, the subtle connection between the books, and I was already several books in. I had to go back and reread all the books (not to mention many internet searches to find out what people much smarter than me already put together).I’m here to do the hard work for you. After my considerable time in the worlds of Brandon Sanderson, I have come up with an order for my friends to read the books. My purpose today is to share that list with you and to highlight an amazing author’s career.

One last tip, keep a lookout for the name “Hoid.” You may see him pop up here or there.

11.30 MistbornMISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE
By Brandon Sanderson
(2006)

This is the first Sanderson book I read. In this society, a God-like tyrant, the Lord Ruler has set up society where there are two social classes: Skaa and Nobles. A group of thieves, the leader of which, Kelsier, has a personal vendetta against the Lord Ruler, plans to overthrow the government. The story is a trilogy with a great magic system and great stakes. It can be on the heavier side for those just getting into Sanderson. If you feel this way, go ahead and read the next one (Elantris) first and save this one for second.

 

11.30 ElantrisELANTRIS
By Brandon Sanderson
(2005)

Elantris is the first book Sanderson wrote. Many say for this fact alone it should then be the first to read. There is an argument for this, but I put it second just because I feel this one is easier to get into after the introduction of Mistborn. Once some people in this world would be taken by the Shaod (as it is called in the book) and become like gods. That is before the events of the Reod, when this blessing became a curse. Now those taken by the Shaod are thrown into the city of Elantris, where the cursed people will live for all eternity.

 

11.30 WarbreakerWARBREAKER
By Brandon Sanderson
(2009)

Some people have the tendency to skip this one because it isn’t as popular as some of the others like Mistborn or Way of Kings. I beg of you, don’t skip this book if you are fascinated by the connective quality of the books. This one is important for some of those mind-blowing Sanderson moments. Warbreaker is mostly about two sisters, princesses who come from a land where color isn’t widely used. You see, color is part of the source of the magic, along with that which they call “breath.”

Note: Hoid’s name won’t be mentioned in this book. If you pay attention and perhaps search Wikipedia a little, you’ll be able to find out where he is.

 

11.30 Way of KingsWAY OF KINGS
By Brandon Sanderson
(2010)

This is the one where things really seem to start colliding. In this monstrous novel (1007 pages, see why I had you warmed up of the ones half that size?) Sanderson gives us a world currently in a ten year war, following the assassination of King Gavilar. This book is Sanderson’s pinnacle of world building, as he builds amazing magic systems, multiple political systems, and several character viewpoints. Not to mention that Hoid character I told you about makes a special, and much longer, appearance. This is the first of three, but Sanderson plans to write ten total of this series. 

 

Ultimately Sanderson has many more books to read, even in the Cosmere, but I hope you will find this a great beginning guide to your new book obsession.

A Very Freegal Christmas

If you don’t know what Freegal is, you are missing out. Freegal is like Pandora or Spotify but it’s better because it’s ad free and provided for you by your friendly local library!  To find more information about how to access and use Freegal, see videos here. To access Freegal through the Provo City Library website, click here. Or you can download the free app from your app store and login that way.   

What will you find on Freegal? Music!! With your library card you can stream 5 hours of music each day and each week, you can download 3 songs to keep forever! That’s right! You get to download songs and play them whenever. 

As a compulsive reader and book listener, I have to admit I’m not an avid music fan. I don’t listen to the radio much and other than my daughter’s favorite collection of lullabies, I don’t usually listen to much music. However, that all changes in December. During the holiday season I listen to Christmas music whenever I get the chance and I love being able to listen to the classic Christmas carols as well as new renditions by current artists. 

That’s where Freegal comes in super handy. Here are a few Christmas Playlists Freegal has available to you and to me this very minute! 

A MERRY MODERN CHRISTMAS MIXTAPE

Featuring:

  • All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Carey
  • Underneath the Christmas Tree by Kelly Clarkson
  • What Christmas Means To Me by Pentatonix
  • Must Be Santa by She & Him
  • And 83 more!  
 

CHESTNUTS ROASTING: CHRISTMAS CLASSICS

Featuring:

  • White Christmas by Bing Crosby
  • The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
  • A Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
  • And 75 more!
 

HOLIDAY SONGS

Featuring:

  • Frosty the Snowman by The Ronettes
  • Santa Baby by Kellie Pickler
  • It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Noah Cyrus
  • Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan
  • And 71 more!
 

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