With the coming of that most famous and famously auspicious of days, thanks to Shakespeare, here are some excellent books about or set in ancient Rome. Fiction and nonfiction both.
Mary Beard, a Cambridge don, presents a fresh and enlightening history of Rome's first thousand years. The author brilliantly combines scholarly insight with engaging storytelling. An excellent book!
A fascinating account of the events of the first century, when the Republic decayed, ushering in the imperial era. Emphasis is placed on the roles and influences of key historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Brutus and Octavian.
A tale of ambition, this story traces the life of famous orator Cicero, from his years as a rising lawyer to his entrance into the political arena, facing off against the leading men of the day. This is the first of a trilogy, continued in Conspirata and concluding with Dictator.
The first in a series, this is the story of men ambitiously striving for glory and power in the Roman arenas of politics and war. This is for anyone who likes their historical fiction truly epic and rich in historical details.
The Provo City Library first jumped into the Instagram world almost two and a half years ago. We started simple, with a picture of our Circulation desk’s Halloween decorations. Now, we have over 1,070 followers and more than 550 posts. We’ve used the account to promote books and programs, hold competitions, and generally keep people informed about what we’re doing and what we love. In addition to all that, we’ve used it to hold moments of remembrance for past events in Provo and the library, i.e. Throwback Thursdays. Shown below are our most liked Throwback Thursday (#tbt) posts.
5. In fifth place, we have a three-way tie: The first post is a snapshot of our building back when it housed the Brigham Young Academy. The second is of the Lewis Building, where Brigham Young Academy first began. The third shows the library’s beehive fountain, which was part of the original building grounds, and was rebuilt as close to the original as possible when the library was redone in 1999.
“Before there was the Provo City Library, there was… the Brigham Young Academy! Looking back to the early days of such a beautiful building made for learning and looking forward to a bright future. “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” –Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol”
“Throwback to the original home of the Brigham Young Academy before it moved to where the Library is located now! Located on the northeast corner of 3rd West and Center St., the Lewis Building burned down in 1884, the year after this picture was taken. (University Archives, BYU)”
“ 'A new fountain exactly like the old one will be placed in the same spot when construction is complete… The top section of the old fountain—the granite beehive—will be part of the new fountain. Workers will replicate the rest of the fountain from old photos.' –Amy K. Stewart, The DailyHerald, August 6, 1999”
4. In fourth place, we have a then-and-now comparison picture, showing the 1876 Brigham Young Academy building next to the current-day Provo City Library.
“Throwback Thursday! This photo is the original Brigham Young Academy, dated 1876. The restored building reopened at the Provo City Library at Academy Square in 2001.”
3. The third place picture shows a couple standing outside the original Provo Library, which, at the time, was located in the basement of the courthouse.
“Throwback Thursday to the old Provo Library! This couple knew when it was time to bundle up and celebrate the first snow of the year!”
2. In second place, we have another tie, both stunning original pictures of the Brigham Young Academy building. The former is dated appx. 1906, the latter 1897.
“Throwback Thursday #provolibrary #provorocks #gelatinsilverprint #1906live #trees #thatmountaintho”
“Throwing it back to 1897! Long before this was the #provolibrary, it was the Brigham Young Academy. (Photo courtesy of BYU L. Tom Perry Special Collections).”
1. And finally (drumroll please), our first place prize goes to the photo of the 25th Anniversary celebration of the founding of the Brigham Young Academy. That one was cool enough that the Utah Valley paper asked if they could use it in one of their Sunday editions.
“In October 1890, a crowd gathered outside the Academy Building to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Brigham Young Academy #throwWaybackthursday #oldiebutgoodie #october #provo #nofilter”
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We get many questions at the Children's Desk about the distinctive artwork featured in our area. The large sculptures of a unicorn and a dragon that sit behind the desk are especially good at eliciting curiosity and admiration. We often find toddlers who have sneaked behind the librarians' chairs so that they can stare up in awe at the fantasy creatures and try to touch them.
These colorful and whimsical creations are the work of local artist Jean Jeppson Clay. To make her "cloth machê" art, she first builds a framework of the shape and then covers it with cloth dipped in a glue mixture. When this dries it becomes very hard, and then Jean adds paint and adornments until her one-of-a-kind masterpiece is complete. Besides the two sculptures behind the Children's Desk, many more of Jean's creations are displayed throughout the children's side of the library on top of shelves and in window wells.
Come visit us and experience the talent of a great local artist!
You can also see more of Jean’s work at bagelislandcreations.com!
Honestly, March is an amazing month for new YA! With the publication of several long-anticipated titles from established authors like Cat Winters, Robison Wells, and Stefan Bachmann; newcomers like Kathryn Purdie and Brittney Cavallaro; and with books coming from personal favorite authors of mine like Sharon Biggs Waller and April Genevieve Tucholke, we’re going to have a lot of amazing new books hitting our shelves next month.
With so many great books coming out, read on to find out which titles you absolutely cannot afford to miss this month!
I will read anything penned by Cat Winters. Anything. From YA to adult, Winters crafts remarkable, affecting, and dark stories steeped in American history; and I find that I walk away from her work not only a little wiser about the world, but a little more wary of it, too. Mix those qualities into a retelling of my favorite Shakespearian play of all time—HAMLET—and you have a recipe for a book I desperate want to read.
Add this to your shelf if you enjoy well-wrought historical fiction, or a novel with a slightly creepy edge.
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.
The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.
Sharon Biggs Waller’s thoroughly-researched historical fiction is nothing short of evocative, thrilling, and quite often, unapologetically feminist. Her debut novel, A Mad Wicked Folly, brought the struggle of the British suffragettes to life in a sweeping, cinematic novel of a young woman torn between her place in her rapidly-evolving society, her family, and her own desire to pursue her artistic talents.
I expect no less on this second outing with Waller, and am very much looking forward to adventuring across the world with Elodie!
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls' father is a plant hunter, usually off adventuring through the jungles of China.
Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan fails to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid, meaning that he will be thrown into debtors' prison and the girls will be sent to the orphanage or the poorhouse. Elodie's father has one last chance to return to China, find the orchid, and save the family—and this time, thanks to an unforeseen twist of fate, Elodie is going with him. Elodie has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China.
But even if she can find the orchid, how can she find herself now that staid, responsible Elodie has seen how much the world has to offer?
With a handful of starred reviews to its name, THE SERPENT KING may very well be a book that carries its buzz straight to the end-of-year awards season. With a moving story, powerful prose, and well-wrought characters, fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green should find much to enjoy in Zentner’s new novel.
Also of note for our Provo patrons: Zentner is an LDS author based out of Nashville, Tennessee.
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.
He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.
Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.
I have been waiting for this novel to be published for years. Years, I tell you! When April Tucholke announced that she was working a new YA horror novel, one told in three voices with unreliable narrators and an uncertain antagonist, I knew this would be a book for me. Tucholke’s previous works have been dreamlike, sometimes-terrifying, but always masterfully-written stories of strange girls and odd boys caught in cruel situations.
FROM THE PUBLISHER:
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened? Someone knows. Someone is lying.
Make sure not to miss . . .
Find these and other great, brand new YA titles in the Teen Corner in the first floor reference wing!