Nothing makes me happier than giving someone the absolute perfect gift. I don’t manage it all the time, but it is something I take pride in. Whenever I’m asked for gift giving tips, I always say the same thing. It takes time. It can seldom be achieved last minute. You have to pay attention to what people say and do all the time and then pick up on the little clues that tell you what they need that they don’t even know they need. Then, and this is very important, you have to write it down somewhere so that you remember what it is when a gift giving holiday or event presents itself.
Basically, being a great gift giver is hard work! Unfortunately, we don’t always have that kind of time to spend and, without fail, Christmas just tends to sneak up on us so that here we are, just a few weeks from the big day, and we have no idea what to get all those amazing people on our lists. They deserve the best! We want to give them the best! But what is that best thing?
It’s a book! Obviously! But which book can sometimes be the kicker. So, I’ve put together a Librarian’s Guide to Book Giving this holiday! I hope it helps!!
Anna Fox lives alone, drinks too much, and likes spying on her neighbors. Then one day she thinks she sees something horrible happen in the house next door and her sanity comes under scrutiny to the point that she questions her own memory. Who is really in danger?
Rice has a new job protecting the Virginian Appalachia. It’s lonely, hard work but when he finds the carcass of a bear killed on his territory he begins a dangerous search for the poachers.
This lovely novel follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings.
This is the story of the passionate, stormy marriage between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a fiercely independent and ambitious young war correspondent.
Hal is in desperate need of money, and when a strange letter arrives telling her she has inherited a substantial fortune, she decides to take advantage of the executor’s mistake. Unfortunately, lying was never her strength and she quickly finds herself in far over her head.
How can a U.S. President be kidnapped from the most guarded residence in the world? This is a thriller that confronts the darkest threats that face the world, with the highest stakes conceivable.Loves an engrossing, heart wrenching story of survival-
It's almost Christmas break and kids will be spending more time with their families. This is a great time to snuggle around the fireplace and read a novel aloud together. Or maybe you are going on a road trip and want a Christmas themed book to listen to in the car. Here are some of my favorite feel good family Christmas novels.
The Vanderbeeker family includes two parents, four kids and three pets. They have lived in the same brownstone in Harlem as long as any of the kids can remember. One day, right before Christmas, their landlord and upstairs neighbor decides he is not going to renew their lease. The kids are horrified at the thought of having to move, so they start a campaign to convince reclusive old Mr. Biederman that he really does not want to make them leave. The antics of the kids are funny and each child has an individual and endearing personality. It has great parent/child relationships, and all the protagonists are trying to do what is right
Grandma Dowdel, the star of the Newbery winner, A Year Down Yonder, returns in this heart warming Christmas book. It is 1958 and a new preacher and his family has moved into town. When their son, Bob, is attacked by bullies and tied, naked to Grandma Dowdel’s privy, Grandma Dowdel decides to take the family into her care using her own brand of unconventional love.
Nicholas lives with his father, Joel, who is a woodcutter in Finland. They are poor, but Nicolas is relatively happy and enjoys spending time in the forest with his dad. When Joel goes away with some strange men and doesn’t return, Nicholas goes on a grand quest to find him. This is an origin story about how Nicolas becomes Father Christmas. The story is definitely told from a British point of view. Nicolas becomes Father Christmas, not the more American Santa Claus, but even American readers will enjoy the many references to Christmas traditions.
The Herdman’s are the worst family in town. They are dirty, uneducated, and wild. When they find out that the Sunday School offers snacks, they volunteer to be in the church’s Christmas pageant. As the crazy kids take over the production, the long-suffering director and her family marvel to see how they are transformed by the Christmas story. This one is an older book that is becoming a classic worthy of being re-read to each new generation.
I know we don’t even like to think of it, but sometimes when you check out a library book, disaster strikes.
I remember when it happened for me; I was in graduate school, and had to do a book review of a new title in my field. I wasn’t particularly enjoying the book, and left it on the back of the couch while I went to take a shower. Apparently, I was sending out some serious, “I don’t like this book,” vibes, because when I came back downstairs I discovered that my new, adorable, naughty puppy had ripped the back cover to shreds. This was frustrating because not only did I have to pay for the book, BUT I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE IT! Proof positive that adorable puppies can ruin your life.
We know that accidents happen: your toddler got too excited to turn the page; you did not anticipate the sauce splatter from your spaghetti dinner; your relaxing bath was interrupted by a spider and the book fell into the tub during the mighty struggle.
So you damaged a library book: now what? I talked with our circulation and book repair department to help you navigate those troubled waters as gracefully as possible.
A: If you notice an item is damaged, the best thing to do is to bring it in and talk to the clerks in the circulation department. Show them the damage, and explain that it was like that when you checked it out. If you aren’t able to come in, place a sticky note near the damage in the book (but sticking out so it’s noticeable) with a note that says the book was damaged before you checked it out. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to just turn it back in via the book drop without saying anything; if our clerks notice damage when they’re checking the book back in, they will see who checked it out last and hold that person responsible.
A: Bring the damaged item to the Circulation Desk and we will go over the damage with you. If we determine that the book is no longer fit for circulation, you will be charged for its replacement. Once you have paid for the item, it is up to you if you keep the book or give it back to us. If you give it back to us, we will discard it and it will be placed in our Used Book Store.
A: The fee for the book is based on the list price for the book when it was purchased.
A: Nope, because we need to make sure it really is an identical copy. The replacement fee also covers the staff time of locating, ordering, and processing the book for our collection.
A: If the damage is minimal, sometimes the book can still be used. Circulating gently damaged books is a way for us to keep costs down so we can buy more new books instead of paying a lot of money to replace old ones. Again, if you notice damage, please either bring it to the desk or put a note where the damage is and we will make sure you’re not charged for it.
So the overriding message from our conversation is this: if you notice book damage, whether or not you caused it, please talk to us! We’re here to help.
Also, keep your books away from puppies. They’re the worst.
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.
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…
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!
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)!
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?
So there you have it, my penultimate literary vacation spot. Only one more left. Where do you think it will be?