Following the counsel of Governor Herbert and under the direction of Mayor Kaufusi, Provo City Library will be closed until further notice. No fines will accrue while we are closed. You can return items to our outside book drops during curbside hours.
Following the counsel of Governor Herbert and under the direction of Mayor Kaufusi, Provo City Library will be closed until further notice. No fines will accrue while we are closed. You can return items to our outside book drops during curbside hours.
 

 

Springtime Tree Blossoms

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a few classic comfort reads that bring me the same happy feelings as L.M. Montgomery’s ANNE OF GREEN GABLES series. In that post, I especially wanted to highlight books that have flown under the radar a bit - while their authors might be well-known, the books aren’t necessarily household names. BUT, they should be if you love sweet, timeless stories of everyday life and love.

For today’s post, I wanted to share more Anne Shirley read-alikes, but some of these titles will likely be familiar. Some you might have read before, but if you haven’t and you’re a Green Gables fan, you’ve been missing out! And even if these are old favorites, this long weekend’s the perfect time to cozy up with a beloved reread. 

5.22 These Happy Golden YearsTHESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
(1943)

Of all the books on the list, the Little House series are the ones I’m actually rereading currently, having recently finished LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS and begun LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Though Laura’s life likely seems far more rustic than Anne’s, the two series are actually set in the same time period of the 1870s (the Anne miniseries from the 1980s move things forward to the early 1900s).

That aside, the thing I loved about the Little House books as a kid is the thing I love as an adult – the detailed descriptions of daily work and family life on a homestead. The whole series is a delight, but These Happy Golden Years feels the most similar to the Anne books to me, particularly because it features Laura’s coming of age years. 

 

5.22 Little WomenLITTLE WOMEN
By Louisa May Alcott
(1868)

This is my favorite book of all time, so I had to feature it here. Hard work, family love, heroines with literary aspirations, charming boys next door, sweetly funny writing – this book has all the same merits that I adore in L.M. Montgomery’s writing. Like the Anne books, it makes me want to be a better person.

And if you haven’t seen the new film adaptation yet, go place it on hold now, because it captures the individual personalities of the March sisters (especially Amy!) beautifully. 

 

5.22 GuersneyTHE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
By Mary Ann Shaffer
(2008)

This is a relatively recent release compared to the other books on this list, but Guernsey was one of those rare books that was so charming I wanted to crawl inside the story and live there. The story brings a young female journalist from post-war London to the British island of Guernsey, which had been under German occupation throughout the war. There she uncovers wartime secrets, but also friendship and love. With a winning cast of characters and delightful scenes of small town life, it’ll be a hit with most Anne fans.

 

5.22 The Secret GardenTHE SECRET GARDEN
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
(1911)

This is another of those classic “girl’s books” that tends to come in sets with Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and BLACK BEAUTY, but with good reason. As the book opens, we learn that 10-year-old protagonist Mary Lennox has been both spoiled and emotionally neglected during her childhood in India. In the wake of a cholera outbreak, she’s sent to an uncle’s house in England. When she discovers a hidden, walled garden and makes a friend, her sickliness and sour attitude gradually melt away.

If you love the tender friendships and sweet descriptions of nature that pepper L.M. Montgomery’s books, this is a book for you. And while you’re at it, go read A LITTLE PRINCESS too.

 

5.22 I Capture the CastleI CAPTURE THE CASTLE
By Dodie Smith
(1948)

Take it from J. K. Rowling: “This book has one of the most charismatic narrators I’ve ever met.” It stars Cassandra Mortmain, a seventeen-year-old who recounts her life in daily journal entries in the 1930s. She lives in a dilapidated castle with her father, a novelist dealing with years-long writers block, her beautiful older sister, and her step-mother, an eccentric artist’s model. Though the ending is more ambiguous than most of these happily-ever-after books, the colorful cast of characters and Cassandra’s wry observations are sure to win you over.

 

5.22 The Witch of Blackbird PondTHE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND
By Elizabeth George Speare
(1958)

I read this book over and over again in my teenage years. In 1687, Heroine Kit Tyler is a smart and brave teenage girl who sets off from her Barbados home to live with her New England relatives after her grandfather dies. There she struggles to fit in with the Puritan lifestyle of her aunt, uncle, cousins, and neighbors. She ends up befriending a Quaker woman who is outcast from the community and a handsome young sailor, setting off a series of dangerous events in the small town.

The setting – 1680s Connecticut – is far earlier than the other books on this list, but it has a similar feel nonetheless. Like many of the other characters in these blog posts, Kit discovers family, work ethic, and love in a community where she feels out of place.

If you like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, I also recommend CALICO CAPTIVE, a book by the same author about a young woman taken captive by the Algonquin tribe during the French and Indian War. Elizabeth George Speare only wrote four books, but she’s a two time Newbery medalist and one-time honoree, so her books are all worth reading.

 

Text

Still Uses Her Phone as a Phone

I was born in the 80s, but I must admit, I hate using my phone as a phone.  Why would you call someone when you can send a perfectly good text message instead?  There are no awkward pauses or talking over each other, you can take time to compose a response, and if something else (like perhaps any distracting young people in your house) needs your attention, you don’t have to put anyone on hold.  When someone texts me, I can multitask to the extreme!  Basically: if your phone is ever ringing with a call from me, you know it’s an emergency and something is probably on fire.

If you’re anything like me and can relate to the bliss of easy, fast, brief written communications, the library’s messaging service is for you!  You can chat with a librarian anytime we’re open through live chat, text message or email. 

From any page on our website you can click on the blue “Ask a librarian” button on the rightmost side of the page and choose whether you’d like to start a live chat or ask a question and receive an answer in text or email.

Audiobook

With so many good books coming out each year, it can be easy to feel pressured to only read the latest releases – after all, there is always a new, buzzy book to read. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still read (or re-read!) the classics. My favorite way to rediscover a classic is by approaching it in a new way – on audio! Luckily, there are tons of new audiobooks coming out each year with *famous* narrators and cool productions. Here are some favorite children’s books with audios worth seeking out.

5.20 Phantom TollboothTHE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH 
By Norton Juster
Narrated by Rainn Wilson
(2019)

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH is the story of Milo, a little boy who is bored by everything. Then one day, a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room and, because there’s nothing else to do, he drives through it and into a world where everything seems different. This contemporary classic, first published in 1961, is a beloved and imaginative novel that is only enriched by Rainn Wilson, best known as Dwight from THE OFFICE, and his captivating narration. This book is a little odd, but in a way that children and adults can admire.

 

5.20 CharlotteCHARLOTTE’S WEB 
By E.B. White
Narrated by Meryl Streep with a full cast
(2020)

Does Charlotte’s Web really need an introduction? This perennial favorite tells the story of Wilbur – a runt pig destined to become the famer’s Christmas dinner. In a bid to save his life, Wilbur’s best friend, a spider named Charlotte, constructs elaborate webs lauding Wilbur’s virtues. This new audiobook is nothing short of magical with a full cast of characters (including local favorite Kirby Heyborne as Wilbur) and narration by the incomparable Meryl Streep. This new version is a perfect way to rediscover this terrific, radiant, humble book.

 

5.20 AliceALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND 
By Lewis Carroll
Narrated by Jim Dale
(2008)

I’ve written on this blog before about my love for ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece is an absurd one filled with nonsense and enough humor to make it enjoyable. This classic gets the Jim Dale treatment, who brings the same incredible knack for characterization and magic that he brought to the beloved HARRY POTTER audiobooks. He recounts Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole into a magical world that is unlike anything she’s ever seen. If you’ve never read ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND, now is the time – and be sure to start with this book on CD.

 

5.20 MatildaMATILDA
Available on Overdrive 
By Roald Dahl
Narrated by Kate Winslet
(2013)

Is there any better book than MATILDA? In fact, is there any book character better than Matilda? The incredible Kate Winslet brings them both to life alongside all the other famous characters in this Roald Dahl classic. Never has Miss Honey seemed so sweet or Miss Trunchbull felt so villainous and never has Matilda’s triumph over the terrible adults in her life felt so well-earned. Share this remarkable retelling widely.

 

5.20 The Mouse and the MotorcycleTHE MOUSE AND THE MOTORCYCLE 
By Beverly Cleary
Narrated by B.D. Wong
(2007)

Did you forget how much you love Ralph S. Mouse? Now is the time to remind yourself. B.D. Wong, a prolific actor, who I personally know best for his voicework as Li Shang in Disney’s 1998 MULAN, narrates this classic children’s novel about an adventurous mouse who befriends a young boy visiting the hotel where he lives. Wong brings the humorous antics of Ralph S. Mouse to life.

 

Mandalorian

 It’s been a few months since the Disney+ streaming service graced our television sets, and almost everyone agrees that the shining star in the midst of many classic movies and beloved TV shows is a new series titled, The Mandalorian.

I’m a huge fan of The Mandalorian (Baby Yoda, anyone?). I want more and I want it NOW! I’ll have to wait a few more months for Disney+ to deliver, however, there is something I can do while I wait. I can read books that keep me connected to The Mandalorian! Allow me to show you some of the great books that can be found at the Provo City Library.

5.15 Mandalorian ArmorTHE MANDALORIAN ARMOR
By K. W. Jeter
(1998)

He's the most feared and successful bounty hunter in the galaxy. He is Boba Fett, and even the most hardened criminals tremble at his name. Now he faces the deadliest challenge of his infamous career--an all-out war against his most dangerous enemies.

We don’t know too much about Mando, but we do know about another bounty hunter, Boba Fett. Why not follow along with him and his dangerous expeditions.

 

5.15 AngelfallANGELFALL
By Susan Ee
(2012)

After eons of fighting his own battles, angel warrior Raffe finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

If you like the relationship between Mando and The Child, you’ll enjoy books that include characters with a mentor-apprentice relationship. Angelfall has that and so much more!

 

5.15 SerenitySERENITY: THOSE LEFT BEHIND
By Joss Whedon
(2006)

In a universe filled with hearts and minds as cold and dark as the reaches of space, one small Firefly-class starship named Serenity takes its ragtag crew of mercenaries, outlaws, and fugitives in search of a job, any job, that'll earn them enough cash to afford that most elusive commodity, peace.

The Mandalorian is a space western. If you like the good guy vs. bad guy theme, new frontiers in space, and a ragtag gang of characters, this is the book for you.

 

5.15 Fortunes PawnFORTUNE'S PAWN
By Rachel Bach
(2013)

Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day-but not just yet. That is, until she gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises.

“Girls, come on. Leave the bounty hunting to the men? I don’t think so!” – Elastigirl if she was a bounty hunter…probably…

Anyway, women can be tough, brilliant, bounty hunters too, and Devi Morris seems like the best of the bunch. This book has a unique supernatural atmosphere, exciting, advanced technology, and plenty of mystery to keep you interested.

You can listen to the audio book or read the ebook on the Libby app

 

5.15 The Bounty Hunters CodeTHE BOUNTY HUNTER CODE: FROM THE FILES OF BOBA FETT
By Daniel Wallace
(2014)  

Legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett bound together two volumes of great personal significance: an edition of The bounty hunter's guild handbook, and a recruiting booklet issued by Death Watch, a secretive splinter group of Mandalorians. Together, these volumes make up The bounty hunter code, detailing the skills needed to make a living beyond galactic law as well as the little-known history, philosophy, and gear of Death Watch. 

Suppose you want to learn more about the bounty hunter’s guild and what what it takes to be a bounty hunter?  Look no further. Our good pal Boba Fett compiled plenty of information to quell your curious mind.

 

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