Rom Com 

There are certain things I will never apologize for and one of those is my unabashed love for romantic comedies. I grew up watching and re-watching favorites like LEGALLY BLONDE, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, and YOU’VE GOT MAIL and as a grown-up I will jump to watch any movie described as “the best rom-com since 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU.” But, if I’m being honest, there are just not a lot of rom-com movies out recently to sufficiently scratch an itch. There are dozens of online news stories about the decline (and recent resurgence) of romantic comedies since the golden age of rom-coms. Here are my suggestions for book – to – movie romances (because no one wants a CLUELESS reboot. 

5LANDLINE
By Rainbow Rowell
(2014)

Fans of the genre will know that the best rom-coms are able to bring a tear to your eye (I’ll refer again to 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU) and this one balances the emotions of a failing relationship with all the tingly, giggly laughter of young love. It’s clear that Georgie’s marriage may be at its end when her husband heads to Nebraska for Christmas with her kids and without her. Then, Georgie discovers she has a chance to reconnect with her husband Neal – through a magical rotary phone that calls the Neal of 15 years earlier. Speaking with younger Neal the week before he proposes may be just the ticket to save their marriage. It is one of life’s greatest injustices that there is no screen adaptation of this deeply satisfying romantic comedy. 

 

5.13 Twenties GirlTWENTIES GIRL: A NOVEL 
By Sophie Kinsella
(2009)

I will put Sophie Kinsella on booklists as long as I am making booklists because she is queen. And because our world is unfair, only two of her books have been adapted for the screen: CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC and the still-in-production CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? This book, TWENTIES GIRL, is the story of Lara and the ghost of her great-aunt Sadie who won’t rest until her treasured necklace is returned to her. As Lara – busy with relationship drama, a struggling business, and a busy life in London – helps Sadie to find peace, Sadie is more concerned with setting Lara up with the dreamy (but living) American named Ed. Seeing ghost-Sadie decked out in flapper wear on the streets of modern London as she meddles in Lara’s personal life (for the better) is the movie we all deserve – please, someone, make it. 

 

5.13 The Hating GameTHE HATING GAME: A NOVEL
By Sally Thorne
(2016)

This one doesn’t quite belong on this list, because a film version is currently listed as “in development” on IMDB – but until I have a cast-list and trailer I’ll be begging for a movie of this book. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are top-notch executive assistants to the CEOS of the new Bexley-Gamin Publishing company and they each hate everything about the other. Things start to really come to a head when both Lucy and Josh are put up for an executive level promotion and Josh takes advantage of the new tension to explore some other more romantic tension. Be advised that this book is not the “cleanest read” on this list, but it is a banter-filled riff on a classic love story - one totally ready for the Hollywood treatment. 

 

5.13 Tell Me Three ThingsTELL ME THREE THINGS
By Julie Buxbaum
(2016)

After her father elopes, Jessie is uprooted from Chicago to live in “the Valley.” Jessie is still mourning the death of her mother two years earlier when she suddenly has to cope with a stepfamily, a giant mansion, a new prep school, and mean girls at school. When she receives an anonymous email from “Somebody/Nobody” (“SN”) offering to guide her through the ins and outs of her new school Jessie is suspicious at first, until she accepts she might need help. This book lays its cards out pretty quickly, but even this familiar teenage rom-com ground is filled with heartfelt lessons about love and loss. In the same vein as SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA or YOU’VE GOT MAIL this tale of young online love would be fun to see playout on screen. 

 

5.13 Vinegar GirlVINEGAR GIRL: THE TAMING OF THE SHREW RETOLD
By Anne Tyler
(2016) 

In this retelling of a classic romantic comedy, Kate Battista is the daughter of a scientist who is convinced he is nearing a breakthrough but only if he can hold on to his research assistant Pyotr. Pyotr’s visa is about to expire and Dr. Battista is desperate to keep him – desperate enough to propose a green-card marriage between his older daughter and his thickly-accented Russian assistant. THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is familiar rom-com territory, but this laugh-out-loud-able reimaging deserves its day on the silver screen.

 

 Train Tracks

On May 10th, 1869 the transcontinental railway was completed, and the meeting point of the East and West going railways was right here in Utah. This year marks the 150th anniversary of this historic event and there are several celebrations planned throughout the state. You can find more information about events and celebrations at Spike150.org, or plan a visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Park and see where it happened.

In honor of this anniversary, visit the library to peruse unique books from our Special Collections area about Golden Spike and the history of trains and railroads in Utah.

5.10 Golden SpikeGOLDEN SPIKE: NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE 
By Robert M. Utley
(1969)

Part of the “Historical Handbook Series” published by the National Parks Service and U.S. Department of Interior, this small book packs a lot of history into its 60-ish pages. It details how the Promontory site was chosen and the record breaking 10 miles of track laid in a day the push to complete the railroad was happening.  

 

5.10 Railway ReflectionsRAILWAY REFLECTIONS: A HISTORICAL REVIEW OF UTAH RAILROADS 
By  Gilbert H. Bennett
(1999)

This unique book is a collection of paintings by artist Gilbert H. Bennett. It takes the reader on a historical journey through railroading history in Utah, beginning at the Golden Spike. The beautiful full color prints of the oil and watercolor paintings are beautiful and add a great visual to a fascinating history.

 

5.10 Iron Horses to PromontoryIRON HORSES TO PROMONTORY: GOLDEN SPIKE EDITION 
By Gerald M. Best
(1969)

Chock full of illustrations, some historic photographs, and scans of newspaper clippings, this book is perfect for the history buff with a propensity towards the visual. The high quality photos are pretty remarkable, and make the already interesting piece of history more robust and accessible.

 

5.10 Crossroads of the WestCROSSROAD OF THE WEST: A PHOTOGRAPHIC LOOK AT FIFTY YEARS OF RAILROADING HISTORY IN UTAH 
By Blair Kooistra
(1998)

Another photographic collection, this book goes beyond the Golden Spike and delves into more modern railroading developments and uses. It includes breathtaking full color photos of more recent trains and rail lines, including Kennecott’s specially designed train cars and the Rio Grande’s Carbon County coal train. This is a must read for any true railfan.   

 

5.10 Golden SpikeTHE GOLDEN SPIKE 
Edited by David E. Miller
(1973)

The Western History Center at the University of Utah compiled this book of well researched historical articles from colleges and organizations around the state. They published it in conjunction with the centennial or 100 year anniversary of the Golden Spike.

 

If you’d like to know more about the Transcontinental Railroad and this fascinating time in our nation’s history, there are some very thorough and well researched books about this topic available on our e-book and audiobook service, Libby. Here are a few that come highly recommended:

NOTHING LIKE IT IN THE WORLD

RAILROADED

EMPIRE EXPRESS

Baby Genius 

Are you looking for resources to supplement your child’s learning? In the coming weeks, we’ll be doing a series of posts on child brain development and how the library can help.Today, we will be talking about infants, which are children up to 18 months of age.

At every stage, the first recommendation (after love) is to read, sing, and talk to your child, which means that the library is a great place to start. For more exposure to reading, singing, and talking, bring your little one to story time! We have story time at a variety of times during the week where our storytellers read, sing, and talk to your children. For children under one year, we offer Book Babies on Mondays and Fridays at 10:00 am, while one- and two-year-olds can attend Toddler Time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 10:05 and 11:05. 

Beyond storytime, the library offers a number of resources to help your children learn and flourish. In particular, we have books and discovery kits that can help develop your baby's eyesight, tactile senses, and ability to identify and name objects.

Eyesight

Not having had the chance to hone his or her senses in the womb, your baby is in need of natural stimulation to help him or her progress, particularly for visual and tactile senses. Contrasting and bright colors help babies to focus on and distinguish between different visual stimuli. While you can (and should) read any and all books with your child, here are a few that might help specifically with their developing eyesight:

5.7 My AnimalsMY ANIMALS
By Xavier Deneux
(2015)

This board book has pictures of animals in black and white with pops of color to train your child’s eyes. Each animal is labelled (which is another great aspect for visual attention, as discussed below), and each page has holes so that your growing child can learn to turn the pages themselves. 

 

5.7 Birds of a ColorBIRDS OF A COLOR
By  élo
(2018)

Focusing more on color contrasts than just black and white, this board book has interactive elements to teach colors by placing them behind black and white patterns. 

 

5.7 Patterns Jr. Discovery KitPATTERNS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

Our Junior Discovery Kits come with books, toys, and suggested activities for a particular topic.The Patterns Jr. kit is filled with contrast perfect for aiding your little one’s visual development. 

 

IDENTIFICATION AND NAMING

A study done by Lisa Scott at the University of Florida showed that labels – like in MY ANIMALS – and names in books have a positive impact on infants' visual attention as they age. You can create the names yourself as you read, or read books like those below with recognizable characters. As you read, point to pictures and say the name of the character or object, even if it isn’t explicitly stated. 

 

5.7 The Cat in the HatTHE CAT IN THE HAT
bY Dr. Seuss
(1957)

This classic by Dr. Seuss has names for many of its characters that you can repeat again and again. 

 

5.7 Berenstain Bears THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: WE LOVE THE LIBRARY
By Mike Berenstain
(2017)

The Berenstain Bears books have repeating characters that you can point out in book after book. We like this one because we also love the library. 

 

TACTILE RECOGNITION

As their tactile senses develop, around 3-6 months, books with texture can be a great tool to introduce your baby to different sensations. We don’t typically keep these in the library, as they tend to get dirty or damaged very quickly travelling between children’s hands. One place where the library does offer them is in a few of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

 

5.7 Night Night FarmFARM JR. DISCOVERY KIT

Not only does this Junior Discovery Kit have textured materials, but farm animals, which can be used to teach names and sounds. 

 

5.7 Numbers Jr. Discovery KitNUMBERS JR. DISCOVERY KIT

The Numbers kit is great for reading, singing, and playing; along with textured materials for tactile senses. 

 

5.7 Safari Jr. Discovery KitSAFARI JR. DISCOVERY KIT

If your baby liked the Farm kit, they’ll love the Safari kit. It has more animals and textured materials! To wrap up, here is another book that discusses child brain development that might have some useful tips. You can check it out directly or get it in any of our Junior Discovery Kits. 

 

FOR PARENTS

5.7 The Whole Brain ChildTHE WHOLE-BRAIN CHILD
By Daniel Siegel
(2011)

This book offers much more than I can say on the topic of child brain development and how to guide them in their growth. Be sure to follow the blog to learn about more library resources to aid brain development in older children!

 

Audrey Hepburn

May 4th would have been Audrey Hepburn’s 90th birthday, so now’s the perfect time to celebrate her remarkable life. (When isn’t it, really?) We all know Audrey for her classic movie roles (ROMAN HOLIDAY, MY FAIR LADY, WAIT UNTIL DARK, CHARADE) and iconic fashion moments (the little black dresses in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S, the post-Paris ball gown in SABRINA, The lace eye mask and sparkly eyeshadow in HOW TO STEAL OF MILLION, the entirety of FUNNY FACE), but she was so much more than that.

Though she never thought much of herself, Audrey Hepburn was a woman of compassion, courage, humility, selflessness, intelligence and gentleness. She enjoyed her acting career, but throughout her life she was most passionate about children – both her own two sons and the impoverished children she advocated for through her work with UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). Audrey spent the last years of her life tirelessly traveling the globe to meet with, serve, and fight on behalf of suffering children.

Because I loved MY FAIR LADY, I wrote a report on Audrey my sophomore year of high school, and I was blown away by her goodness. Ever since, I’ve been joking that I’ll find a way to become her best friend in the afterlife. In addition to watching her films, I’ve read a number of books about her inspiring life over the years. Here are a few of my favorites: 

5.1 Audrey Hepburn An Elegant SpiritAUDREY HEPBURN, AN ELEGANT SPIRIT
By Sean Ferrer
(2005)

This biography, written by Audrey’s son Sean, is the one I most often recommend. It features personal memories and gorgeous family photographs that reveal her love for gardening, ballet, animals (she adored her dogs), motherhood, and a quiet life at her home in Switzerland. It also discusses her insecurities and the heartache she experienced when her father left the family and when she experienced miscarriages as an adult. Ferrer makes a special point to emphasize his mother’s work as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in her later life, and he donated proceeds from the book to the Audrey Hepburn’s Children Fund.

 

5.1 Audrey at HomeAUDREY AT HOME: MEMORIES OF MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN
By Luca Dotti
(2015)

Audrey’s younger son, Luca, compiled this collection of memories, recipes, letters, and hundreds of previously unpublished photographs. It feels more like a scrapbook than a biography, which is why I recommend starting with Ferrer’s book first if you only know Audrey from a movie or two. If you’re already familiar with her backstory, though, AUDREY AT HOME is charming. I love how intimate it feels, particularly in sharing Audrey’s favorite recipes like Penna alla Vodka. I’m grateful that Audrey’s sons have been so generous in sharing their private memories with the loving fans who miss her.

 

5.1 Dutch GirlDUTCH GIRL: AUDREY HEPBURN AND WORLD WAR II
By Robert Matzen
(2019)

Though other biographies discuss Hepburn’s experiences living through the Nazi occupation of Holland as a teen, this is the first book to cover those years of her life in depth. Though her father and initially her mother were Nazi sympathizers, an uncle helped lead the resistance in the Netherlands, and as a teen Audrey carried messages for the underground movement and raised funds through secret ballet performances. Matzen reveals that Audrey and her mother even sheltered a downed English pilot for a time. Later in life, the memory of food and medical relief at the end of the war fueled Audrey’s passionate work on behalf of children. Matzen’s new book offers a fascinating glimpse at this formative time in Audrey’s life.

 

5.1 Audrey and GivenchyAUDREY AND GIVENCHY: A FASHION LOVE AFFAIR
By Cindy De La Hoz
(2016)

If you idolize Audrey for her fashion sense, it’s important to know the man behind many of her most iconic looks: Hubert de Givenchy. When Audrey, a Hollywood newcomer, first went to meet the young designer in the 1950s, he famously expected a different Miss Hepburn at the appointment. That mishap led to a forty-year friendship and collaborative working relationship, however. AUDREY AND GIVENCHY provides wonderful insight into their personal bond and the designs they made famous.

 

5.1 Just Being AudreyJUST BEING AUDREY
By Margaret Cardillo
Illustrated by Julia Denos
(2011)

This sweet picture book provides a lovely overview of Audrey’s life, career, and charity work, and the beautiful illustrations by Julia Denos perfectly capture Hepburn’s personality and charm. Readers of all ages are sure to draw inspiration from JUST BEING AUDREY. 

 

5.1 Gardens of the World with Audrey HepburnBonus: GARDENS OF THE WORLD WITH AUDREY HEPBURN
Directed by Bruce Franchini
(1999)

This emmy-winning documentary series helped make Audrey one of only fifteen EGOT winners in history. She was a passionate gardener, in part because of the deprivation she experienced during World War II; her son Luca said “Her garden in Switzerland which has fruit trees was proof of this – it was beauty in the form of protecting your family.” GARDENS OF THE WORLD reflects her love for the topic. Beautiful shots of roses, tulips, and famous gardens combine with Audrey’s lilting voice for a very relaxing viewing experience. It’s practically ASMR.

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