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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Science-fiction is far from my favorite genre. In fact, for years, I didn’t bother picking it up. I love science but I’ve never been interested in stories about it. Nothing wrong with it, but my favorite books are about people—stories that deal with human vulnerability and the human condition, rather than technology or alien warfare.
But a few years ago I kept hearing about a new book that had come out that was blowing everybody away. It was listed as sci-fi, but I had heard so much about it that I gave it a shot anyway. To my surprise, it didn’t fit into the more traditional sci-fi genre, and was instead a meditation on how people handle cataclysmic events. Yes, it was technically sci-fi, but the author approached it in a different way, focusing far less on the science of the situation and more on the reactions of the people involved in them.
I’m still not interested in typical science-fiction, but reading different books in the genre has shown me that many of them sort of break the confines of the category and are more invested in the humanity of the stories than they are the technology. Ultimately, these books are asking bigger questions about our world and about humanity, with science-fiction as a frame. You won’t find yourself reading about the inside of an alien spaceship in any of these stories, but you will find books about survival, art, humanity, and hard questions.
Station Eleven is the book that first convinced me that just because a book is labelled science-fiction doesn’t mean it can’t also be about human stories. This book weaves narratives together to create a portrait of the world after a flu-like disease spreads and kills huge amounts of the human population. But that descriptor doesn’t even come close to the breadth and depth of this novel. Rather than focusing on the disease and the specifics of the medicine behind it, the author tells the stories of the people before, during, and after, and how humans will push for more than survival even in the darkest of times.
Billed as a mystery alien story, Emily Henry’s latest young adult novel is really more a story of grief, with a touch of magical realism. A group of teenage friends spend their summer nights filming videos for their YouTube channel when one night a mysterious incident makes them question their memories, and what they know of the world. From there, the story takes off and reveals that sometimes people are not who we expect them to be, and that grief makes us react in ways that we might not anticipate.
This book is probably the book on this list that feels least like science-fiction to me, and reads more like literary fiction with a science slant. People in a college town are falling asleep and then staying asleep, entrenched in dreams that are incredibly vivid, and nobody knows why. Worse, nobody knows how to wake them up. What sounds like a book that could veer heavily into medical discussions on what this means for our biology is instead a book that occasionally discusses the medical ramifications, but relies mostly on the experiences of both the people who are dreaming, and those who are awake. Karen Thompson Walker delves into the questions asked by the people left behind, trying to piece together the puzzle of why this is happening, how, and what to do about it; and into the minds of the dreamers who don’t know what is real and fake.
Blake Crouch’s thriller novel is by far the hardest read on this list. It follows a complicated story about a man who is kidnapped by a stranger in a mask before waking up on a gurney surrounded by people he doesn’t recognize, but who know him. The life he wakes up to is not his. He no longer has a wife or a son, and his career trajectory is vastly different. Although the story of “Dark Matter” is closer to a classic science-fiction novel than anything else on this list, at its root it is not about the complex science of the situation, but the harrowing philosophical questions that it raises—how do we know the life we’re living is real at all?
Chances are, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo and the KonMari method by now. If not, you’re probably still buried under a mountain of possessions like most of America. With her 2014 bestseller, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, Marie Kondo single-handedly started a revolution of decluttering and organizing. More recently, she has come out with a Netflix series called TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO that has reached a whole new audience and flooded the world with decluttering fever once again. Now that you’ve read the book (and the sequel, SPARK JOY), and watched the Netflix series, you may be wondering where else you can get inspiration for your spring cleaning. The following are some great books on organization and living with less that you may find interesting.
Perhaps you have KonMari-ed down to just the items that “spark joy” and are looking for a new frontier to battle. Cal Newport suggests diving into your digital clutter. The same way that an overabundance of physical clutter can overwhelm you at home, an overabundance of digital clutter can overwhelm you everywhere you go. If non-essential notifications and the pressure to capture the perfect picture for social media can distract you from real-life moments, perhaps this book is for you.
While similar in the aim to declutter, Swedish Death Cleaning and the KonMari method are a bit different. Have you ever had a relative die and, during the grieving process, had to sort through their collection of stuff only to find junk and items you felt guilt-tripped into keeping? Swedish Death Cleaning aims to remove this burden from your relatives by taking care of it throughout your life. Rather than just asking if items "spark joy” for you, you also ask if they will be useful to your posterity. Margareta Magnusson does a beautiful job of outlining this process as she goes through her own things, with some humor thrown in along the way.
Written by Joshua Becker, popular editor of the Becoming Minimalist website (https://www.becomingminimalist.com/), The Minimalist Home guides readers through the process of decluttering their home by room rather than by type. If Marie Kondo inspired you but her style of decluttering didn’t work for you, Becker’s might. Also, note that minimalism to Becker doesn’t mean getting down to the bare bones – it means to get rid of the excess, whatever that means for your life.
If minimalism isn’t for you, and you’re looking for another gentle organizing technique that doesn’t suggest getting rid of everything you own, Amanda Sullivan may be the next author you need to read. Her tips on organization are a bit more realistic for the everyday person. Read this book if Marie Kondo’s technique was a little too much for you and you want to try another method of organization – one that doesn’t involve an intense folding process.
After being diagnosed with MS, Courtney Carver took on the excess in her life so that she could focus on what mattered most: her daughter. She describes her diagnosis as a “wake-up call,” but hopefully the rest of us don’t need an incurable disease to get us on the path we want in life. Jonathan Fields said it best, “Marie Kondo taught us how to declutter our homes; now it’s time to let Courtney Carver take us to a deeper place.” If tidying up with Marie Kondo brought you joy, but you still feel that there is something missing (or rather, excessive) in your life, this might be the next book for you.