I Judged that Cover 

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s great advice! I can’t count how many books I almost didn’t read because my inner snark judged the cover. Fortunately for me, my inner snark doesn’t win every battle and I’ve found some really good stories by relying on friends’ recommendations rather than the cover.   Here are some fabulous books that I prejudged: 

11.13 Along for the RideALONG FOR THE RIDE
By Sarah Dessen
(2009)

I judged this cover because it posed three questions in my mind:

1. How long did it take the two models to get in that precarious and unnatural position?

2. Why is she wearing a dress while riding a bike?

3. Where are her shoes?

None of these questions were answered in the book, but it was still a fun read. 

The story follows an insomniac named Auden. Tired of her mother’s antics, she decides to spend her summer vacation with her dad and his new wife. Her time is filled with working, making new friends, and catching the eye of Eli, a fellow insomniac with a tortured past. Can Auden and Eli help each other find hope and healing?

 

11.13 Royal TargetROYAL TARGET
By Tracie Hunter Abramson
(2008)

This cover gave off a James Bond meets The Princess Diaries vibe. An unlikely match that earned it a space on my “mustard and cheese” shelf (meaning this book puts together two elements that I like and has the potential to be really good or really bad). Fortunately, I found this book very enjoyable. 

Janessa Rogers is a CIA agent that specializes in linguistics and security detail. When she’s assigned to protect the royal family of Meridia, she knows her skills will be put to the test. However, she never suspected her assignment would require her to go undercover as Prince Garrett’s fiancée.

 

ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE11.13 Alanna
By Tamora Pierce
(1983)

First of all, I would like the world to know that Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors. She’s amazing and the worlds she creates are beautiful and mesmerizing. That being said, this particular cover gave me pause. I mean, there’s A LOT I could say about this cover. But I’ll settle with: when your horse has better hair than you do, you know there’s a problem. 

Alanna wants nothing more than to be a knight. When her father plans to send her off to a convent to learn magic, she decides it’s time to take action. She convinces her twin brother, Thom, to switch places with her. Alanna, now disguised, becomes a royal page and learns how hard she must work to achieve her dream.

 

11.13 The Blue SwordTHE BLUE SWORD
By Robin McKinley
(1982)

Why did I judge this cover? For two reasons:

1. That horse (you know which one).

2. The sword pictured is not, in fact, blue.You had one job, cover artist.

Anyway, this is a Robin McKinley book and her work is always solid. I felt connected to her characters and thoroughly enjoyed the story. It’s a nice balance of action, plot, and character development. 

Harry Crewe is a recently orphaned girl. She travels across the ocean to live with her brother in the Royal Province of Daria. After arriving, she is kidnapped by the king of the native Hill-folk and finds herself on an adventure that changes her life forever.

 

11.13 Seeking PersephoneSEEKING PERSEPHONE
By Sarah M. Eden
(2011)

I have a theory when it comes to this style of book covers: the number of Photoshop layers used directly correlates with the cheesiness level of writing (e.g., If you can easily see 7 layers, then the book will have a 7/10 cheese rating).  Eden proved my theory wrong. She proved it very wrong. This book is wonderful. It is well researched, gloriously written, and the sweet moments did not involve cheese. 

The Duke of Kielder needs an heir but he is the most feared man in England. Persephone needs financial stability but that seems nigh impossible. To solve their problems, they settle upon a marriage of convenience. But will they get more than they bargained for?

 

11.13 The Grand SophyTHE GRAND SOPHY
By Georgette Heyer
(1950)

One of my best friends recommended this book to me. I borrowed her copy with this cover. Let me just say, I wondered what Belle from Beauty and the Beast was doing with a monkey and a guy that thought a green tailcoat was a good idea. I dragged my feet with starting this book, but once I did I couldn’t put it down.   

Sophy Stanton-Lacy finds herself in her aunt’s household while her father goes away on business. Upon her arrival, she realizes how desperately the family needs her help. One cousin is engaged to a bore, another is in love with a poet, the young children need some fun, and her uncle is useless. Sophy wastes no time in meddling in their affairs to ensure a happy ending for all.

 

There you have it! Six great books I never would have read had I allowed my inner snark to win. What are your favorite books with interesting cover art?

Poetry Quiz 

In a poetry rut? Hungry for fantastic metaphors and scrumptious imagery? Take our quiz and get a recommendation personally selected for you by a poetry-loving librarian at the Provo City Library!

What’s your favorite color?

  1. Wintergreen
  2. Carmine red and lapis lazuli blue
  3. The color of trees
  4. *Black—like my soul 
 

Which best describes your dream vacation?

  1. Somewhere with lots of nature
  2. Somewhere with lots of history
  3. Anywhere outside of America
  4. Somewhere spooky 
 

How do you feel about Marie Kondo?

  1. Keeping a house in order is a good thing.
  2. This world is chaos and disorder.Ideally we would clean and purge ourselves of untidiness, but cleaning is complicated and untidiness is intricate.
  3. Magical thinking.
  4. It’s a great way to subvert the capitalist patriarchy! 
 

Which superhero would you be?

  1. No thanks. I like the quiet of a normal human life.
  2. (Your Name), Patron Saint of (Your Favorite Food)
  3. Assassin of Assassins: fights those who hurt others
  4. Indigo Girl: can tell the future, talk to ghosts, read minds, cast spells 
 

How do you consume music?

  1. One album at a time
  2. Only in vinyl form. The sound quality is better on the older format and it’s fun to watch the needle move down in circles.
  3. Mixes and playlists
  4. I like to play it myself on whatever instrument I can get my hands on! 
 

Morning person or night owl?

  1. Morning person. I love silvery early dawns.
  2. I prefer the shrouded dusky skies of evening
  3. I love daylight when everyone’s out and I am a witness to the whole world!
  4. Night owl forever. 
 

Describe your style.

  1. Classic and practical
  2. Gucci-ish and dramatic
  3. Eclectic and flashy
  4. Bohemian and edgy 
 

If you answered mostly A, you’d love:

11.11 The Wild IrisTHE WILD IRIS
By Louise Gluck
(1992)

In THE WILD IRIS, spareness meets loveliness, wryness meets praise for the beauty and sorrow of the natural world and of human beings and relationships. THE WILD IRIS is an astounding study in collection-building as it spans both a whole day and a cycle of seasons from spring to fall, with individual poems taking on different species of flowers, and Gluck building wonderful and surprising metaphors for each one that address marriage, grief, and her role as a woman and poet. Call number 811.54 GLU 

 

If you answered mostly B, you should read:

11.11 The InfernoTHE INFERNO
By Dante
(2009 translation)

Time to go back to the oeuvres of the ancients! Well, not exactly ancient—Dante wrote THE INFERNO during the Renaissance and if you haven’t read it yet, consider this your call to action. THE INFERNO is the first part of a three-part epic poem that explores the various circles of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise through the perspective of a fictional Dante, guided through the experience by Virgil. In THE INFERNO, the two descend to the depths of Hell while Dante narrates the whole thing using meticulous terza rima.

Call number 851 DAN 2009 

 

If you answered mostly C, try:

11.11 American Sonnets for My Past and Future AssassinAMERICAN SONNETS FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN
By Terrance Hayes
(2018)

AMERICAN SONNETS is just that—sonnets by an American and about America and its current sociopolitical state, especially concerning race relations and the status of minorities. Influenced by the Gerard Manley Hopkins-like sprung rhythms and internal rhymes of hip-hop and rap, Hayes’ poems are sonically stellar tongue-twisters that inspire reflection on the words themselves and the slippery relationships between their definitions and connotations.

Call number 811.54 HAY 2018 

*From line 10 of “American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin [Any day now you will have the ability to feed the name]” 

 

If you answered mostly D, you’ll enjoy:

11.11 Witch WifeWITCH WIFE
By Kiki Petrosino
(2017)

With an incantatory sound quality reminiscent of “Sow” by Sylvia Plath, WITCH WIFE is a delightful take on womanhood, femininity, and power in a patriarchal world. Although Petrosino’s collection feels very much a product of a contemporary moment, it hearkens to William Blake, Macbeth, and the subversive ways of women across centuries. It is at once dark, light, spooky, funny, weighty, and whimsical. 

Call number 811.6 PET 2017 

 

Find more poetry books on our second floor in call number section 811!

Writing 

I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl and was constantly making up stories inside my head before I even knew how to speak. It all started before I even picked up a book or had a general idea what the concept of “writing” really was. The craft of story was constantly calling out to me, even if I didn’t understand it back then.

I’m sure many of you may sympathize with this. Perhaps you fell in love with a certain book so much you’d love to make a masterpiece like that for yourself. Maybe you find sentences lovely or certain adjectives exciting. To non-writers this may seem odd, but don’t worry, you’re safe to be odd here. I’ll be the first to admit I am a complete word-nerd.

But the trouble is I’m also a student, which means writing has this odd dichotomy inside of me as an activity of complete enjoyment and also that boring assignment due next week. Sometimes, as I stare at my screen, I get overwhelmed with how much I don’t know or how much there is left to do. Writing is hard and, more than often, I need inspiration to pick up a pen and feel like I am truly working towards something.

So here, as my gift to you, are books from writers to writers that will again renew inside of you that spark. 

11.08 On WritingON WRITING: A MEMIOR OF THE CRAFT
By Stephen King
(2000)

This is the first writing book I ever read, back in high school when I was fearful of the advice the book may contain because it was by Stephen King. Surely the man woke up with the genius to write his famous works. Yet, when I began to read, I found that King presented himself as any other human. There were his struggles, his disappointments, and also his highlights. This living legend is actually just a human with loads of ambition. He covers aspect of his life and also goes deeply into what he has learned are successful tools for any writer.

 

11.08 Bird by BirdBIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE
By Anne Lamott
(1994)

The advice begins with a story of Lamott’s father, also a writer, and gives the book its name. She writes, “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’” If you are overwhelmed by writing, pick up Bird by Bird for some inspiration on how to pace yourself.

 

11.08 Of Other WorldsOF OTHER WORLDS: ESSAYS AND STORIES
By C. S. Lewis
(1994)

C.S. Lewis, another of the greats, takes a different approach in this book than many others. Rather than explaining what the tools of a great writer are, he focuses on the importance wonder within a story, which was largely critiqued when he was writing. Speculative fiction writers should take notice of this volume as Lewis writes about his favorite stories and why readers particularly like them. On top of all of this, he adds stories of his own, including insights from his most famous works. This collection is truly a celebration of fantasy.

 

11.08 Dear AllyDEAR ALLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE A BOOK?
By Ally Carter
(2019)

After receiving numerous emails from teens, YA writer Ally Carter discovered that not only do teens have great questions about writing, they are also extremely passionate about the craft. Carter admits “how to write books” helped her when she was first starting out and felt she needed to send out a call to all teens to email their major writing questions. This book is a collection of those questions and Carter’s answers in an attempt to help writers, especially teen writers. Queries and answers range from, “how do I begin a story?” to, “what do I do now that I’ve finished?” and everything in between.

 

DVD Player 

Did you know the Provo City Library has many popular movies that you can check out for FREE? Our entertainment DVD collection is full of old classics, family favorites, and current blockbusters. You can check out up to 20 DVDs at a time and you get to keep them for 3 weeks. Don’t forget that our Children’s library also has a DVD section with lots of great movies for kids. 

Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find the movie you’re looking for or to know when you can place holds on the newest titles. 

Here are 5 tips to find your perfect movie! 

1. CHECK UPCOMING RELEASES

Want to know what new blockbuster is available this week? Check out our New Audio/Visual page for a current list. It will give this week’s release and what to look for next week. 

2. PLACE HOLDS EARLY

Placing a hold on new DVDs is a little different than the rest of the materials in our collection. DVDs are normally released on Tuesdays. You can place a new DVD on hold beginning on the release date. The title may appear in the catalog several weeks before it is released, but it won’t allow you to place a hold. If this is the case, the record will list the release date as a General Note.

DVDs 1

3. FIND OUT WHAT'S NEW

We keep a running list of all the DVDs added to our Adult DVD collection each month. There is a binder by the DVD collection with tabs for each month. The most confusing thing about this list is that we can’t create the new monthly list until the month is over, so it is always one month behind the current month. Feature Films are listed at the top and replacements or older movies are listed at the bottom. We usually try to update this list within the first few days of the new month. This list can also be found on our website under the New Audio/Visual page

4. KNOW HOW IT'S ORGANIZED

Ever get confused on how we organize our DVDs? The entertainment DVDs are grouped in alphabetical sections by the first main word of the title. This means words like “The” and “A” don’t count as part of the title. The call number will let you know where to look.

DVD 2

Hint: If the collection is listed as J DVD it is in the Children’s Department. We don’t organize the DVDs within the alphabetical section so you may need to look through all the movies in the G section to find Guardians of the Galaxy, for example. 

Some movies are given subcategories so that all the connected movies will end up in the same alphabetical section. If you are having a hard time finding a movie, check to make sure it is not shelved by one of these categories (the subcategory will come before the title in the call number). The current subcategories that we have are:

  • BOND

  • CADFAEL

  • INSPECTO (Inspector Morse)

  • SHERLOCK

  • STAR TREK

  • STAR WARS

5. ASK FOR HELP 

When in doubt, ask a librarian! That’s why we are here. We love to help answer your questions and help you find whatever you are looking for.

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