Over the last year, I think we have all learned the power of books in our lives. They transport us to other worlds, comfort and soothe us, and give us great ideas to think about. So, to celebrate, here are six books about . . . books. But not just ordinary books; books that forever change the lives of their readers.
An English bride longing for escape volunteers as a horseback librarian for Eleanor Roosevelt's new traveling library. Along with four other women, she is determined to go to deliver books to the canyons and hollers of Depression-era Kentucky. The books and their characters become a lifeline, especially for the women in the small towns she delivers to.
Books left unfinished by their authors are relegated to Hell’s Unwritten Wing. These books often have restless characters who escape and must be captured by the head librarian. But when a hero goes missing and an angel attacks, the existence of a mysterious book that could destroy Heaven and Hell is revealed.
A woman navigating the out-of-place artifacts in her caretaker’s sprawling early 20th-century mansion discovers an enigmatic book that reveals impossible truths about the world and her own past.
Clay Jannon works at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It’s a strange place with two sets of customers. One set is pretty normal. The other set is a group of octogenarians who believe that an ancient printer discovered impossible truths about immortality and coded them into a book. They seek to unlock that code. Soon Clay is pulled into their quest and discovers some important truths about himself.
In his search for the perfect book to read, a Vermont graduate student finds himself picking up a book and reading about his own childhood experience. Soon he is on a quest to find clues to a magical underground library of stories that is facing utter destruction.
In this fascinating true-crime story, Susan Orlean creates a narrative about the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history. While exploring the facts of the case, she also interweaves her own beloved experiences with libraries. Ultimately, this book is about the power of books and how institutions like libraries can change our lives forever.
It’s that time of year, and our Summer Reading Program is in full swing! Once again, this year we’re using the super fun software from Beanstack to track reading and activity badges. And whether you’ve been doing reading challenges with us on Beanstack for a few years, or whether this is your first rodeo with online tracking, we have some tips and tricks we’re excited to share with you for the free and easy Beanstack mobile app!
First, to download the app, simply search Beanstack Tracker in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
Type in Provo City Library, and then sign in just like you would on the Beanstack website.
If you haven’t already, you can also set up your account right on your phone. From that point you can click on the Account gear icon on the right of your bottom screen menu, and then on Readers.
If your account was created previously on the website, all of your readers should show up here (don’t forget to add some cute profile pics!).
If you’re just setting up your account, start adding readers from this screen by tapping Add a Reader. Once your readers are all entered, it’s time to head back to the home screen to register for a reading challenge!
Choose the reader you want to register for a challenge. You can change readers by tapping the profile pic (or circle with reader’s initials) at the top right on your home screen.
You can then search for that reader’s available reading challenges by tapping the Discover compass icon at the bottom of your screen. If your reader has not registered for any challenges, you’ll have the option to see any available challenges.
If your reader was previously registered on the website, you’ll see a list of their current and past registrations, any available new challenges, as well as their logging status.
Tap on Register to get started in a new challenge!
Logging is where the Beanstack mobile app shines! On the website you have two options when logging – you can log for a single reader, or you can log for all readers on your account. However, on the mobile app, you can log for a single reader, all readers on your account, or any combination of readers, AND you can also log reading in multiple, concurrently-running programs like Summer Reading and 1000 Books Before Kindergarten! But first things first… To log reading in the mobile app, tap the giant plus icon on your bottom menu and tap Reading. You’ll then be prompted to choose which readers you’re logging for. If you’ve done a family read aloud, choose them all!
Next comes the logging method, another place where the app excels.
You can type in a title or ISBN, select a recently logged title if it’s a repeat read or a continuing read, or simply log minutes without a book title attached. However, the easiest, quickest, and most fun option is the Scan ISBN feature. Just tap it, flip that book over, and hover the red line over the book’s barcode – that book is in!
You can choose whether or not to Track Progress by tapping the toggle, which would end up looking like this:
Then you have a few choices:
Start a Reading Session starts a timer right within the app.
When you stop the timer, the minutes will automatically be logged for the readers you chose previously. Slick! Be sure to say yes if you finished the book to log it as completed!
Log Past Reading gives you the opportunity to log reading for any previous days or if you choose not to use the app timer. Simply enter the date if you’d like, the number of minutes read (required), the number of pages (optional), and whether or not the book is finished. Bam – logged!
Quick Log as Complete will quickly log a book read. However, all but one of our reading challenges tracks minutes, so the only program this would be currently useful for is 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.
Logging Activities is easy peasy – tap the giant plus icon on your bottom menu and click Activity. Choose your readers, and tap on the appropriate category! Or to see available activities, tap the Discover compass icon on the bottom menu and click on the Activities tab at the top.
Logging 1000 books sounds pretty daunting. However, chances are you’re reading many of the same books over and over. My top tips for you:
All of our seasonal reading challenges (Summer Reading, Winter Reading, Spring Reading, etc.) track MINUTES for completion. However, 1000 Books Before Kindergarten tracks BOOKS. If you have a child registered for BOTH of these programs, the mobile app is your magic wand. It is the only way to log one time and have it applied to BOTH PROGRAMS. The Beanstack website does not have the functionality for this. Just make sure that when you’re logging reading for a child enrolled in 1000 Books that you log minutes, as well as the title of the picture book, and mark the book as complete. If logged this way in the mobile app, the reading will automatically be applied to both programs!
All in all, the Beanstack mobile app is an incredibly convenient and powerful tool for logging your family’s reading, particularly if you’re reading aloud to multiple kids, doing a family read aloud, or logging for concurrent programs. So be sure to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with it. If you have questions or need help, we’re here for you – give us a call or come to one of our reference desks. And as always, Happy Reading!
I love a mystery that’s not afraid to have some laughs along the way. I was naturally interested in the new film, KNIVES OUT. This movie delivered, but it left me wanting more. If you like mysteries that don’t take themselves too seriously, check out some of the funny films below!
A forgotten gem from the great Bob Hope. The movie lampoons the popular “noir” mysteries of the 1940’s, with the comedian playing the accidental detective. Filled with great one-liners, some no doubt ad-libbed by Hope, the film is fun from beginning to end.
This 1960’s comedy is so good it has spawned countless sequels, remakes and even cartoon characters. My suggestion is to start with original Inspector Clouseau and follow him as he tries to thwart a jewel thief in THE PINK PANTHER.
Though movies based on board games usually have less than stellar results, this film is the exception. With one of the best comedy casts to ever grace a film, the jokes will have you rolling in the aisles. Or in the parlor. With the revolver.
What is your favorite book?
As a librarian, I get asked this all the time. It’s a tough question, I know. And it’s okay to have more than one answer! But indulge me for a moment, and think of a favorite book or two.
Why are these books our favorites? What is it about them that makes us like them?
Often, I enjoy books I can relate to. It doesn’t have to be an exact replica of my life -- in fact, that might be pretty boring. But there’s a special something when I can relate to the characters, locations, and events in a book. The similarities I have with Harry Potter, for example, help me enjoy his adventures in magic.
But some groups of people are not represented proportionately in literature. For example, the multicultural publisher Lee and Low Books released an infographic in May of 2018 based on statistics provided by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Despite the fact that 37% of the United States’ population are people of color (other races besides white), only 10% of children’s books published since 1994 have authors, characters, or content who are Native or people of color.
Why are so many voices silenced or ignored in literature? There may not be clear answers, but everyone deserves to have their voice heard and to see themselves in the pages of a book. Reluctant readers are more likely to become enthusiastic about reading when they can relate to the books they read.
In her 1980 article titled “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors,” Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop focuses on children of color who see the world through the “windows” of books they read; however, the world they see in literature is very different from the one they live in. Bishop said, “When children cannot find themselves reflected in the books they read, or when the images they see are distorted, negative, or laughable, they learn a powerful lesson about how they are devalued in the society of which they are a part.”1
On the flip side of the coin, white children also suffer when they are kept from the nature of the world they live in by the underrepresentation of other races in literature. All can benefit from the richness of human diversity; after all, variety is the spice of life. Below is a list of books I personally have read that were written by or about people of color or people from multicultural backgrounds.
This post is the first installment of Diverse Reads, a series that gathers books with diverse characters or authors: people who are LGBTQIA+, Native, people of color, gender diverse, people with disabilities, or ethnic, cultural, or religious minorities. I hope that these books help open a window for you into other worldviews.
In 1930s Alabama, twelve-year-old Hoodoo Hatcher is the only member of his family who seems unable to practice folk magic, but when a mysterious man called the Stranger puts the entire town at risk from his black magic, Hoodoo must learn to conjure to defeat him. This book shows various elements of African-American culture that is often skimmed over or ignored, most notably folk magic.
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson is unexpectedly proposed to at a Dodgers game, stranger Carlos Ibarra and his sister rescue her from the awkward situation and the prying camera crews. Nikole hooks up with Carlos for a casual relationship, but finds herself falling harder for him than she ever imagined. A superb example of representation (with a black main character, a Latino love interest, a black lesbian side character, and a Korean side character), this book showcases the racial melting pot of modern-day Los Angeles.
Handa carries seven delicious fruits to her friend Akeyo as a surprise. But thanks to some hungry animals she meets along the way, it's Handa who's in for a surprise! Giving an insight into Luo people of sub-Saharan Africa, this older work depicts the flora and fauna of an environment that may be foreign to many Western readers.
When Mia's abuela moves in with Mia and her parents in the city, Abuela can't read the English words in Mia's bedtime stories. While they cook, Mia helps her grandmother learn English. However, it is still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories. But a colorful parrot named Mango might bring an unexpected solution to their communication problem. This book accurately portrays the cross-generational language barrier that often arises in Latinx immigrant families, like my own.
Sang Ly struggles to survive by picking through garbage in Cambodia's largest municipal dump. Under threat of eviction by an embittered old drunk who is charged with collecting rents from the poor of Stung Meanchey, Sang Ly embarks on a desperate journey to save her ailing son from a life of ignorance and poverty. This book shows a rare view of the extreme poverty rampant in contemporary Southeast Asia.
A little girl's daddy steps in to help her arrange her curly, coiling, wild hair into styles that allow her to be her natural, beautiful self. This book highlights and extolls elements of Black culture that are often ignored or even treated derisively in mainstream media.
1 Bishop, R. (1990). “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors.” Ohio State University. Perspectives: Choosing and Using Books for the Classroom, 6(3).