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Adult Fiction

  • 6 degrees header 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you.

    Today's books: Housemaids and housemates. 

    housemaids and house mates

    SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY
    by Siri Mitchell
    (2010)

    In this Christian historical romance set in the Gilded Age, Clara Carter’s father insists that she marry New York’s most eligible bachelor, the De Vries heir.  When Franklin De Vries and his brother return early from Europe, Clara receives a crash course in etiquette and appearances, only to discover that she may not want what her family wants for her.

    MAID TO MATCH
    by Deeanne Gist
    (2010)

    Told from the perspective of a housemaid, this Christian historical romance set in the Gilded Age goes behind the scenes at Biltmore Estate.  Tillie Reese is thrilled to work at the largest private home in the country and aspires to become a lady’s maid, but an attractive footman may get in the way.

    LONGBOURN
    by Jo Baker
    (2014)

    Though readers may think they are familiar with Longbourn and the Bennet family, Jo Baker’s retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE shares an entirely new story.  Told from the perspective of housemaid Sarah, Longbourn goes behind the scenes to explore class issues.

    THE SECRET DIARY OF LIZZIE BENNET
    by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
    (2014)

    More than just a retelling of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, this novelization is an adaptation of an adaptation (wrap your head around that!).  For viewers who just couldn’t get enough of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Bernie Su and Vlog Brother Hank Green’s Emmy Award winning YouTube series, The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet reveals more about Lizzie’s adventures in grad school, at home with her two sisters, and at Pemberley Digital.

    THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
    by John Green
    (2014)

    John Green, the second half of the YouTube’s Vlog Brothers, based this tale of teen cancer and love in part on the experiences of real life cancer patient Esther Earl.  In THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (which takes its title from William Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR), Sixteen year old Hazel attends a cancer support group where she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow cancer patient who will change her life forever.

    A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
    by William Shakespeare
    (Sometime between 1590 and 1597)

    One of William Shakespeare’s most popular comedies, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM describes a series of mishaps during a night in an enchanted forest. Hermia’s father insists that she marry Demetrius even though she loves Lysander.  Her best friend Helena, meanwhile, loves Demetrius with all her heart and is crushed that he has rejected her.  When mischievous fairies interfere, hilarious chaos ensues. 

  • Six Degrees 01

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you.

    We're celebrating Shakespeare this week (it's his birthday, after all!), and you might surprised with how easy it was to connect him to some of our favorite stars of THE OFFICE. 

    FATES AND FURIES
    by Lauren Groff
    (2015)  

    This novel is a portrait of a marriage with the various secrets and deceptions of the husband and wife unfolding as the story progresses. The first half focuses on the husband, Lotto, a struggling actor who achieves considerable success writing plays instead. The second half focuses on Matilde as she grapples with tragic loss and her own dark past.

    THE TRAGEDY OF ARTHUR
    by Arthur Phillips  
    (2011)  

    Arthur and his sister Dana are presented with a play, purportedly written by William Shakespeare, by their dying father, still serving prison time for fraud. Their father’s dying wish is for his children to publish this never before seen work.

    WILL IN THE WORLD: HOW SHAKESPEARE BECAME SHAKESPEARE
    by Stephen Greenblatt
    (2004)

    This book explores the rise of William Shakespeare from his humble background to become the most famous and influential English playwright in the world. The author paints this portrait within the context of the Elizabethan world in which he grew up and which shaped his theatrical works.  

    BORN WITH TEETH 
    by Kate Mulgrew  
    (2015)

    Starting with her upbringing in Iowa, Kate Mulgrew tells her story of moving to New York to study theater, getting her first television role in the soap opera RYAN’S HOPE and later, her most famous role as Captain Janeway in STAR TREK: VOYAGER. However, she places more emphasis on her personal life, relationship challenges and her attempts to reconnect with the daughter she gave up for adoption.

    IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT BUT ME? (AND OTHER CONCERNS) 
    by Mindy Kaling
    (2011)

    Mindy Kaling, television writer and actor best known for her work in THE OFFICE, offers an array of humorous observations about her work, family, relationship challenges and her struggles with body image issues.

    ONE MORE THING: STORIES AND OTHER STORIES 
    by B.J. Novak
    (2014)  

    Well known for his writing and acting in the television series THE OFFICE, this is a collection of short stories varied and brilliant. The titular story is about a young boy who wins a sweepstakes contest only to discover that collecting the winning may prove more harmful than good for him and his family.

  • time and tempests 01 

    Ever wonder how librarians hone their recommendation skills? Sometimes, our librarians play a game we call the 6 Degrees of reading. The rules are simple: choose six books, each connected somehow to the book above it, with the last book in the list connecting to the first. Periodically, we like the results enough to share them with you.

    This time around: time limits and tempests. 

    FIVE DAYS LEFT
    by Julie Lawson Timmer
    (2014)

    Two stories run parallel in this novel of heartbreak and hope.  Mara has five daysleft before she plans to kill herself before her Huntington’s Disease becomes more than she can bare.  Scott has five days left as guardian to an 8-year-old foster son whose mother is being released from prison and plans to take custody.  This book chronicles the five days that each has left with the ones they love.

    A MAN CALLED OVE
    by Fredrik Backman
    (2014)

    A lonely old man is planning to kill himself now that his wife is gone and he finds he has little to live for.  But the annoying new neighbors, old estranged friends, and a stray cat all interject themselves into his life and, unintentionally, find ways to foil his suicidal plans. While it sounds depressing, it is actually very funny and heartwarming.

    THE HISTORY OF LOVE
    by Nicole Krauss
    (2005)

    Leo Gursky is a lonely old man who survived the holocaust but is now nearing the end of his life and worries that no one will notice when he is gone.  Alma Singer is a fourteen-year-old trying to help her mother fight loneliness and depression. An obscure novel helps to bring these two strangers together where they may find salvation and peace.

    THE SHADOW OF THE WIND
    by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    (2004)

    Daniel Sempere is the son of a bookstore owner during the 1950s in Barcelona.  He discovers an obscure novel, and begins a quest to uncover the many mysteries surrounding the book and its author.  Zafon vibrantly creates a dark and mysterious Barcelona with a magical world lurking beneath the surface.

    ALL TOGETHER DEAD (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood #7)
    by Charlaine Harris
    (2007)

    Sookie Stackhouse has a telepathic gift.  But as a small-town waitress in Louisiana, her gift really only gets in the way.  In this 7th book in the series, Sookie gets entangled in vampire politics which are especially dangerous since the local vampire queen has been weakened by the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.  Harris presents a supernatural South where magic lurks beneath the surface.

    FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL: LIFE AND DEATH IN A STORM-RAVAGED HOSPITALF
    by Sheri Fink
    (2013)

    An investigative journalist delves into what happened at New Orleans’ Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina.  Inadequate planning left doctors and nurses without power, leadership, or a way to getting patients and personnel to safety.  Over the five days they survived in the aftermath of the storm, life and death decisions had to be made.  The fallout from those decisions eventually caused several of the staff involved to be charged with second-degree murder. 

  • Book giving

    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!!

    For your fiction reader who:

     

    Watched A QUIET PLACE in the theater 4 times-

    12.13 The Woman in the WindowTHE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
    By A.J. Finn 
    (2018)

    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?

     
     

    Loves to read about manly men living in the woods-

    12.13 BearskinBEARSKIN
    By James McLaughlin 
    (2018)

    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.

     
     

    Loves mythology-

    12.13 CirceCIRCE
    By Madeline Miller 
    (2018)

    This lovely novel follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings.

     
     

    Loves historical fiction involving doomed romances-

    12.13 Love RuinLOVE & RUIN
    By Paula McLain 
    (2018)

    This is the story of the passionate, stormy marriage between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, a fiercely independent and ambitious young war correspondent. 

     
     

    Enjoys a creepy little mystery with an endearing protagonist-

    12.13 The Death of Mrs. WestawayTHE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY
    By Ruth Ware 

    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.

     
     

    Likes politically charged adventures (co-authored by former U.S. Presidents)-

    12.13 The President is MissingTHE PRESIDENT IS MISSING
    By James Patterson & Bill Clinton
    (2018)

    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-

     
  • Book giving

    Not sure what gifts to give this holiday season? We've got you covered. This week and next, be on the lookout for book recommendations for every type of reader.

    Yesterday, we shared some of the best new fiction books for adult readers, and today we have a few more to suggest.

    For your fiction reader who:

     

    Loves an engrossing, heart wrenching story of survival-

    12.13 The Great AloneTHE GREAT ALONE
    By Kristin Hannah 
    (2018)

    At the age of 13, Lenora’s unconventional parents move the family to an isolated homestead in Alaska. They are ill prepared to weather the long, cold winter but are able to lean on their new community and their own endurance to build a new life for themselves.

     

    Needs a new version of a classic fairy tell-

    12.13 Spinning SilverSPINNING SILVER
    By Naomi Novik 
    (2018)

    This is a fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairtale. Miryem, the daughter of a moneylender attracts the attention of the cold creatures who haunt the wood. Quickly she learns that words have power, and the fate of a kingdom lies in her golden touch.

     

    Enjoys a story that can change your perspective-

    12.14 UnshelteredUNSHELTERED
    By Barbara Kingsolver 
    (2018)

    How could two hardworking people do everything right in life, and still end up destitute? This question is asked as the novel shifts between two stories tied together by a piece of land and the need for a roof to shelter from the storms. 

     

    Loves a heartwarming stories of the fragility and wonder of life-

    12.14 Virgil WanderVIRGIL WANDER
    by Leif Enger 

    This is an enchanting and timeless all-American story that follows the inhabitants of a small Midwestern town in their quest to revive its flagging heart.

     

    Misses THE HIGHLANDER and loves the thought of living forever-

    12.14 How to Stop TimeHOW TO STOP TIME
    By Matt Haig 

    Tom may look like an average 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. What does a man who can live forever learn in life?  To carefully guard his identity and his heart. This is a wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself and the inevitability of change.

     

    Needs a little proper romance-

    12.14 Promises and PrimrosesPROMISES & PRIMROSES
    By Josi S. Kilpack 

    When Elliott undertakes a ‘marriage campaign’ to see his wayward nieces and nephews securely married, he has no idea it will lead to a reunion with his own lost love.

     
  •  Judging a Book By Its Cover 628

    A while back, I shared one of my favorite librarian hobbies – spotting copycat book covers. Since then, I’ve kept an eagle eye out for more, and I’ve discovered a surprising and strangely specific trend in 2017 and 2018 cover art: the shiny bug.

    This past publishing year has produced a handful of gorgeous covers featuring intricate, stylized, metallic insects. It’s an unlikely trend, but a beautiful one.

    10.12 Dreadful Young LadiesDREADFUL YOUNG LADIES: AND OTHER STORIES
    By Kelly Barnhill
    (2018)

     

    10.12 Strange the DreamerSTRANGE THE DREAMER
    By Laini Taylor
    (2017) 

     

    10.12 Bruja BornBRUJA BORN
    By Zoraida Cordova
    (2018)

     

    10.12 The Moth PresentsTHE MOTH PRESENTS ALL THESE WONDERS
    By Catherine Burns
    (2017)

     

    Like just about everything, book cover art follows trends (we’re capitalists, y’all). In the 80s and 90s, chick lit, with its pastel illustrations, dominated YA.  During my teen years in the early 2000s, it was all about bright, solid colors, à la THE PRINCESS DIARIES and SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS (tangent, but Rachel Hawkins recent book ROYALS seems to harken back to that style). More recently, books like THE LUXE and THE SELECTION spawned a seemingly endless parade of ball gown-centric cover art.

    So where’d all these glittery bugs come from? I see it as part of a larger trend that I’m pretty jazzed about:  a move away from depicting characters and towards gorgeous lettering. I’ve written about a few of my favorite covers in this style before, and I plan to share more soon.

    So, what are some of your favorite book covers? Have you noticed any recent trends in cover art?

  • magical circuses

     

    Read-alikes: library jargon for “If you like this, you’ll probably also like this other thing!” Those of us who work at libraries are constantly on the hunt for read-alikes both as a professional courtesy to our patrons and as a way to satisfy our own voracious reading appetites. 

    (We have a variety of resources to find great read-alikes; the easiest way to find them is to click on the “Reading Suggestions” tab of our website). 

    One read-alike game I like to play is to find similar books across audiences. Can I find the writing qualities and characteristics of adult fiction authors I love in a middle-grade book? What about a book for teens? It’s a little bit like watching fiction grow up. So today I have for you three books that I feel like share some striking similarities even though they’re written for vastly different audiences. Three books; three audiences; three magical settings rich with detail and complex characters. Magical realism for all ages. 

    MIDDLE-GRADE 

    11.2.17 Circus MirandusCIRCUS MIRANDUS
    By Cassie Beasley
    (2015)

    Micah Tuttle has grown up hearing stories of a magical circus his grandpa visited as a boy. Now that his grandpa is dying, he sets off to find the mysterious circus in order to save his grandpa’s life. The narrative jumps back and forth between present day Micah and his new friend/school project partner Jenny on their quest to save his grandpa and his grandpa’s experiences as a boy at the circus. Kids with vivid imaginations will love the lush description of Circus Mirandus. 

     

     

    YOUNG ADULT

    11.2 CaravalCARAVAL
    By Stephanie Garber
    (2017)

    Okay, this one isn’t exactly a circus, but it is a magical, carnival-like setting. With an arranged marriage on the horizon, Scarlett figures this is her only chance to realize her dream of seeing Caraval, a legendary audience-participation event. When she and her sister arrive, things get much more complicated than they imagined, and the consequences turn dire fairly quickly.

    As is the case for most young adult books, we trade the innocent guy/girl helpful friendship of the middle-grade years for a fast-paced, “I hate you/I love you” storyline.There is banter; there is kissing; there is action, and adventure, and magic, and a carousel that my imagination loves to ride again and again. 

    ADULT FICTION 

    11.2.2017 The Night CircusTHE NIGHT CIRCUS
    By Erin Morgenstern 
    (2011) 

    I could go on and on about THE NIGHT CIRCUS; I read it about a year after its release, and I’ve honestly been looking for adequate read-alikes ever since. It wasn’t until this year that I’ve actually felt like I found them (hence this post!). Reading THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a sensory experience; not many novels can hold up to occasional second-person narration, but it’s perfect here. When I read it, I crave caramel popcorn and hot chocolate. The descriptions of the circus are rich and vivid and I’m always sad it doesn’t exist for real. 

    THE NIGHT CIRCUS is a long, magical game, pitting two champions, Celia and Marco, against one another in a magical battle to the death (though it takes years of competing to realize this). In THE NIGHT CIRCUS, we trade that fierce, instant love of teenage years (CARAVAL takes place over just three days!) for a nuanced relationship born in intrigue and cultivated through hearty and beautiful and, ultimately, deadly competition.

    I should also mention that I’ve listened to all three of these as audiobooks, and I actually recommend that if you’ve got the time and resources (which you do, thanks to the library!). This is especially the case with THE NIGHT CIRCUS, which is read by Jim Dale and is just delightful.

  • dan wells

    Provo City Library is a great place for fans to meet some really great authors—check out our AuthorLink page to see some of the exciting authors we’ll be hosting in the coming months. However, over the last few months, I was reminded that Barnes and Noble has author events as well. In my hunt to see who was coming to Utah Valley, I was reminded of an old favorite: Dan Wells. He is a local author that came to Barnes and Noble the first weekend in March.

    If you haven’t heard of Dan Wells, I would definitely recommend him if you are keen on the supernatural or horror. Of the 14 books he’s written, I’ve read and would highly recommend the following:

    4.11 I am not a serial killerI AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
    (2010) 

    This book follows high school teen, John Cleaver. He recognizes in himself things he’s noticed in the serial killers he obsesses over; So he creates a set of rules that he lives by to not concede to the monster inside. When he learns that there is a serial killer in town, he has to embrace the inner monster to save his town. I generally describe this series as teen Dexter meets Supernatural. This was especially amusing to read while on public transit in Seattle. My coworkers would look at me with concern and ask if it was a self-help book. 

     

    4.11 The Devils Only FriendTHE DEVIL’S ONLY FRIEND
    (2015)

    This book is the first in a second series that follows John Cleaver. It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away pertinent details of the first series, but basically, John hunts demons and works for a special government kill team. 

     

    4.11 The Hollow CityTHE HOLLOW CITY
    (2012)

    The Hollow City is the story of Michael Shipman who has paranoid schizophrenia. He is haunted by voices and stalked by faceless men. He has been linked to a series of killings and no one believes his plea of innocence. The book is told from Michael’s point of view and the unreliable narrator has you questioning which experiences are his paranoid delusions and which are the real monsters he should be running from. 

     

    3.11 Extreme MakeoverEXTREME MAKEOVER: APOCALYPSE EDITION
    (2016)

    Amazon’s summarizes this book as “Dan Well’s Extreme Makeover is a satirical new suspense about a health and beauty company that accidentally develops a hand lotion that can overwrite your DNA.” With that teaser alone I was so intrigued that I couldn’t help but take it home with me from my Barnes and Noble trip… but not before getting it signed. 

     

    During the book signing I learned a couple things from Dan Wells that you should know too:

    1. All of his current series are complete! While there are a couple series he would like to possibly write more for, there will be no cliff-hangers or waiting to read the next one.

    2. You can just binge straight through.  He is working on a trilogy with Brandon Sanderson about heroes that go from earth to earth in parallel universes to save them from the end of the world. I am stoked by just the premise, and it is an excellent combination of writers. 
  • best books 15 adults

    Fifty seems like such a huge number but when I looked through my list of books read last year, whittling it down was brutal! There were so many amazing titles published in 2015 and I was able to read a whole bunch of them thanks to my recent attempts to limit my television time….possibly a case of trading one vice for another?

    Hopefully we will have a lot of people attend our “Best Books of 2015” event next week as we share our favorites.  With this post, I decided to give you my top five 2015 books that did not make it to my list of 20 I get to share at the program.  These books were very enjoyable and just barely missed the cut.

    Secret ChordTHE SECRET CHORD
    By Geraldine Brooks

    As with all Brooks’ novels, this is a richly detailed piece of historical fiction which presents a unique twist on events or people already familiar.  THE SECRET CHORD tells of King David’s rise to power and subsequent fall from grace.  While I enjoyed the novel, I did not love it as much as I have some of the author’s previous works such as YEAR OF WONDERS and PEOPLE OF THE BOOK (which I recommend frequently).

     

     

     

    Other DaughterTHE OTHER DAUGHTER
    By Lauren Willig

    Another favorite author of mine, Willig writes mainly historical romances.  Her PINK CARNATION series first caught my attention years ago.  However, she also writes stand-alone novels that I look forward to reading.  They are light and fast-paced with fun, relatable characters. THE OTHER DAUGHTER tells the story of Rachel Woodley, the illegitimate daughter of an English Earl, and her attempts to confront her father with his abandonment of her and her mother.

     

     

     

    Precious OneTHE PRECIOUS ONE
    By Marisa De los Santos

    THE PRECIOUS ONE is also a book about a daughter looking to come to terms with her father’s abandonment.  Taisy hasn’t been in contact with her father in over a decade, so when he calls her and asks for her help in writing his memoir she reluctantly agrees.  The story is told with alternating narratives between Taisy and Willow, Taisy’s teenaged half-sister who seems to have all the love and attention Taisy’s father was never able to give her.  A great novel about family and forgiveness. 

     

     

     

    NeurotribesNEUROTRIBES: THE LEGACY OF AUTISM AND THE FUTURE OF NEURODIVERSITY  
    By Steve Silberman

    This is a groundbreaking book about the history and future of autism.  What I really admired about this book was the author’s ability to present the science and history of the topic in a very personal and conversational manner.  He tells of people and their stories which made it a riveting read.

     

     

     

     

    Natural Born HeroesNATURAL BORN HEROES: HOW A DARING BAND OF MISFITS MASTERED THE LOST SECRETS OF STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE  
    By Christopher McDougall

    McDougall is best known for writing BORN TO RUN which seemed to start an entire movement of barefoot running.  In this new book he searches other areas of history to find the secrets to history’s greatest heroes and athletes.  With a bit of World War II history, a fascinating look at the island of Crete, and inspirational stories of amazing physical abilities, this is a great choice for armchair athletes like me.

    Please join us next week for even more recommendations from 2015! Plus, there will be cupcakes. Come for the books, stay for the cupcakes. 

  • BB 2016 FB

     

    On Wednesday, February 22nd we will present our annual Best Books event!  This consists of three presentations (though participants only have time to visit two) on the best children’s, teen, and adult books our librarians read in 2016.  We’ve been reading furiously all year to compile our lists and are so excited to talk about them.

    For the next few days we will be giving you a little preview. Below is a list of five books that ALMOST made it into my best adult books of 2016.  Last year I read over 100 books and so many of them were amazing.  These five books were great….just not as great as the 20 I will be talking about on the 22nd.

    The DollhouseTHE DOLLHOUSE 
    by Fiona Davis
    (2016)

    I love books that weave stories from history with those in present times.  THE DOLLHOUSE is a wonderful example of this popular writing style.  Here a journalist becomes obsessed with the life of a neighbor in her rent controlled New York apartment building. The more she learns about the building, its history, and its tenants, the more desperate she becomes for more and more personal details.  The mystery, drama, and history of the story kept me reading to the last surprising twist.

     

     

    Curious Charms

    CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER
    by Phaedra Patrcik 
    (2016)

    Arthur Pepper’s life is precisely orchestrated just as it was before his wife Miriam died. However, on the one-year anniversary of her death, Arthur discovers a charm bracelet he’s never seen before and begins a journey of hope and healing.  This is a great choice for those who loved THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY and A MAN CALLED OVE.

     

     

    City of Mirrors

    CITY OF MIRRORS
    by Justin Cronin
    (2016)

    This is the last volume in THE PASSAGE trilogy.  I have loved every installment of this epic post-apocalyptic horror series.  The final volume was an exciting and satisfying conclusion.  Since I already talked about this series in previous years’ Best Books events, I decided to leave it off this year to be able to highlight other stellar 2016 publications.  But for horror readers, this really was a standout conclusion and shouldn’t be missed.

     

    Lab GirlLABGIRL
    by Hope Jahren 
    (2016)

    I agonized over not including this specific title in my list because it really is a wonderfully written memoir.  Jahren tells about her adventures as a female scientist in a very male dominated academic environment.  She talks about her special friendship and collaborative relationship with lab partner, Bill.  Add to that an amazingly honest and revealing description of her struggles with mental illness and you begin to see why this is such a special book.  Maybe I should swap it out on my list….ahhhh, I can’t decide!!

     

    Frontier GritFRONTIER GRIT: THE UNLIKELY TRUE STORIES OF DARING PIONEER WOMEN
    by Marianne Monson 
    (2016)

    Twelve amazing women who helped to settle the west are spotlighted in this cumulative biography.  Two of my favorite sketches were about Nellie Cashman who, in her 80s, mushed a dog sled 750 miles in seventeen days and Martha Hughes Cannon who became the first female State Senator in the United States, defeating her own husband who was also on the ballot.  These women are inspiring and I loved reading about their nonconventional lives and pioneering spirits.  

      

    It is so hard to pick favorites with so many talented writers supplying us amazing books for every taste.  Hopefully you can join us on the 22nd to see our complete lists.  We will have delicious cupcakes and exciting door prizes as well, so bring a friend or two!

     

     

  • crazy rich asians

    CRAZY RICH ASIANS took the world by storm this summer. It was the first movie from a major studio in 25 years to have an all Asian main cast. While just one in a long line of book-to-movie adaptations, Crazy Rich Asians has become popular mainly due to its portrayal of the lifestyles of the extremely rich and its depictions of family drama. The entire series is extremely addicting, so here are five other books that may fill that “crazy rich” hole in your heart. 

    2.11 The NestTHE NEST
    By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
    (2016) 

    The Plumb siblings have been watching the trust fund that their father left them soar in value. What was originally meant as a modest mid-life supplement has now become something that the siblings are counting on to solve multiple self-inflicted problems. When their trust fund is endangered, the siblings must come together to make sure the futures they’ve envisioned stay intact. 

     

    2.11 Family TrustFAMILY TRUST
    By Kathy Wang
    (2018)  

    Stanley Huang has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For years he’s been telling his family that he’s worth a small fortune. Stanley’s son, daughter, and first and second wives are all interested in how much he’s worth for various reasons, and with this diagnosis, it looks the details of his estate are finally about to be revealed. 

     

    2.11 What We Were PromisedWHAT WE WERE PROMISED
    By Lucy Tan
    (2018) 

    After spending some time in America, the Zhen family has moved back to China. As they settle into their luxurious apartment in Shanghai, they also join an elite community of Chinese-born, Western-educated professionals. Each member of the Zhen family struggles with aspects of their new life and what they’ve left behind.

     

    2.11 Wangs vs. the WorldTHE WANGS VS. THE WORLD
    By Jade Chang
    (2016)

    The Wangs used to have it all, but then the financial crisis hit and they lost everything. The father, Charles Wang, wants to start over in China in an attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride. His family, however, are proving to be less than cooperative. 

     

    2.11 Sarong Party GirlsSARONG PARTY GIRLS
    By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
    (2016) 

    Brand-obsessed Jazzy is determined to find herself and her best girlfriends husbands by the end of the year. And not just any husbands, rich ang moh or Western expats. As she pursues her quest to find a white husband, Jazzy faces the troubling incongruity of new money and old-world attitudes as well as gender politics and class tensions.

     
  • Hamilton

    Confession: after listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the first time, I sobbed in my car for ten minutes.

    I had gone back and forth, listening first to the audiobook of the Ron Chernow biography that inspired the play and then to the soundtrack until I caught up chronologically with my reading. By the time I had finished the biography, I was deeply invested in the stories and personalities of early American history, but when the final song shifted focus to Eliza … I was a goner. It was quiet, unexpected, meaningful, and so incredibly moving. I think it’s the best final number in musical theater history, and I will fight you on that.

    There was no going back for me. I was obsessed.

    If you care about musical theater at all, you already know that Hamilton is coming to town. The national tour arrives in Salt Lake City in just a few short weeks, and the digital fight to get tickets was a bloodbath. Whether you were one of the lucky few to get tickets or you’re now considering selling a kidney in order to afford one on craigslist*, the library provides plenty of ways to become the ultimate Hamilton fan.

    1) Read the biography

    3.1 Alexander HamiltonALEXANDER HAMILTON
    By Ron Chernow
    (2004)

    The book that started it all. Lin-Manuel Miranda read ALEXANDER HAMILTON while on vacation in 2008 and spent the next several years gradually crafting the music, lyrics, and book for his musical juggernaut. Even if you’re not a big history buff, rest assured that Pulitzer prize winner Chernow is a master biographer who makes history come alive in an accessible, compelling way. 

     

    2) Listen to the soundtrack

    3.1 SoundtrackHAMILTON: ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING
    Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
    (2015)

    If you haven’t listened to the soundtrack yet, stop reading and place a hold on it now.

    Seriously. Now.

     

    3) Learn the backstory

    3.1 Hamilton the RevolutionHAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION
    By Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
    (2016)

    Now that you’re knee-deep in the world of HAMILTON, it’s time to dive a little deeper. HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION, also affectionately known as the Hamiltome, gives an insider’s look into the making of the musical. Part of what makes HAMILTON so accessible to so many people is the way it blends hip hop with classic musical theater styling. It has so many subtle nods to rap and musical theater history, and the Hamiltome is the best way to catch them all. 

     

    4) Sing (and play) along

    3.1 MusicHAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL
    Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
    (2016)

    Even if you don’t have the velvety voice of Leslie Odom Jr. or the lyrical speed of Renée Elise Goldsberry, you can take your best shot at the music. We have both the standard piano/vocal music and an easy piano version for you to try. 

     

    5) Keep reading

    3.1 I Eliza HamiltonThe popularity of the musical has led to an explosion of Hamilton-related fiction in the past couple of years. For adults, there’s I, ELIZA HAMILTON, THE HAMILTON AFFAIR, and (later this year) MY DEAR HAMILTON, and teens can read ALEX AND ELIZA, HAMILTON AND PEGGY! A REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDSHIP, or ALEXANDER HAMILTON: THE GRAPHIC HISTORY OF AN AMERICAN FOUNDING FATHER.

    Everything you need if you're not quite ready to leave Hamilton behind.

     

    *The Provo City Library does not endorse selling human organs, even for Hamilton tickets.

  • lds fiction genre

    Are you looking for novels with LDS standards? For the last year and a half, I have been the librarian responsible for purchasing the LDS Fiction books. Since there are so many books published each year, there is no way for me to read everything. So, I rely on publishers to give me a helping hand. The three main publishers of LDS Fiction include Deseret Book, Covenant, and Cedar Fort, along with their imprints. Many of these publishers have stated in their submission guidelines that they only accept books that meet LDS Standards.

    The LDS Fiction market in years past mainly focused on books with LDS characters at the forefront. However, now many of these publishers are putting out books that may not necessarily have LDS characters in the book, but they still follow LDS standards. At the Utah Library Association Conference in May, I attended a session about LDS Fiction where several authors spoke about their experiences writing for the LDS market. Several of them mentioned that one of the reason they like writing for smaller Indie presses is that they are not pressured to make their books edgy; they can adhere to LDS standards and be proud of what they have written.

    So how do you find these books at the library? When you are here at the library it is easy to browse the shelves looking for the LDS sticker.

    Picture 1

     

    Recently we added an LDS Fiction genre tag to the catalog records for these books and now you can easily browse for titles from home too.

    Picture 2

    You can click on the LDS Fiction genre tag link to browse all of the other titles with that tag.

     

    Alternatively, you can do an advanced search on the catalog.

    Picture 3

     

    Type “LDS Fiction” into the “Find items that have: All these words” search bar and click on “Advanced Search."

    Picture 4

     

    As you can see, we have over 2,000 items with the LDS Fiction genre tag!

    Picture 5

     

    We hope this genre tag will help our patrons find some great new reads! If there is an LDS Fiction title you would like to suggest we purchase, you can fill out the Purchase Suggestion Form on our website.

  • better world

    Recently, I’ve felt bombarded by news of violent clashes around the world. I know I am not alone. I am saddened when I see victims and frustrated when it seems to only get worse. I want to do something but I am a confirmed introvert.  Rallies and demonstrations are far outside my comfort zone. But I think I have uncovered a strategy to, in my own small way, make a difference…by encouraging everyone to READ!

    That’s right. I plan to fight intolerance with stories.

    I’m a librarian. I’ve been pushing books at people for almost two decades. I recommend all types of books, and I’m always trying to find something that appeals to each patron. But I would like to extend a new type of reading challenge. Go pick up a book that represents a different perspective from what you know. Find a book that challenges you. Find a book that leads you through experiences of people you may never meet or, maybe more powerfully, through experiences of people who may live right next door.

    It’s proven that reading can build empathy. And doesn’t the world desperately need more empathy? Books are often praised for how they help us imagine fantastic worlds beyond our own. They also help us image the real world beyond our own experiences.

    Join me and fight the fear and the anger that is threatening our society by picking up a book that will stretch your horizons. Talk about these books in your book clubs and with your friends and family. Encourage your children to read about other kinds of people living other kinds of lives. Discover the world and the amazing diverse populations that people it. Open your eyes to vistas you may never see and embrace individuals you may never meet! 

    Below are a few books that have powerfully affected my world view over the past few years:

    8.29 LaRoseLAROSE 
    By Louise Erdrich
    (2016)

    Tragedy strikes a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation when and the whole community must deal with the aftermath. (Fiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 HomegoingHOMEGOING 
    By Yaa Gyasi
    (2016)

    Beginning in 18th century Ghana, HOMEGOING tells of two half-sisters who take diverging paths that lead their posterity from the Gold Coast to 20th century Harlem. (Fiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 In the Shadow of the Banyan TreeIN THE SHADOW OF THE BANYAN 
    By Vaddey Ratner
    (2012)

    Civil war in Cambodia leaves a young girl in a brutal forced labor camp where she clings to the myths and legends told to her by her father. (Fiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 The Book of Unknown AmericansTHE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS 
    By Cristina Henriquez
    (2014)

    A family moves to America from Mexico to aid the recovery of their daughter who suffered a near-fatal accident. (Fiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 AmericanahAMERICANAH 
    By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    (2014)

    Two young Nigerian sweethearts are separated as they study abroad in America and England only to be reunited in their homeland 15 years later. (Fiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 I Am MalalaI AM MALALA 
    By Malala Yousafzai
    (2016)

    Malala tells of her fight to attend school in a Taliban controlled area and the resulting violence that nearly cost her life. (Nonfiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 No One Cares About Crazy PeopleNO ONE CARES ABOUT CRAZY PEOPLE 
    By Ron Powers
    (2017)

    What is it like to suffer from mental illness in the United States?  Ron Powers presents a powerful narrative using his own sons who suffer from schizophrenia. (Nonfiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 A Thousand Miles to FreedomA THOUSAND MILES TO FREEDOM 
    By Eunsun Kim
    (2015)

    After escaping from North Korea as a girl, Un-Ju relates her nine-year journey to freedom. (Nonfiction)

     

     

     

    8.29 Between the World and MeBETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME 
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    (2015)

    Written as a letter to his son, this is a view into the experience of a black man in America and his hopes for the future. (Nonfiction)

     

     

     

    And here are a few I plan to read to take up my own challenge:

    8.29 Hillbilly ElegyHILLBILLY ELEGY 
    By J.D. Vance
    (2016)

    The author shares the story of his years growing up in a poor Rust Belt town and a deep look into the struggles of America’s white working class. (Nonfiction)

     

     



    8.29 Born a CrimeBORN A CRIME 
    By Trevor Noah
    (2016)

    The inspiring story of a boy becoming a man during the twilight of apartheid. (Nonfiction)

     

     



    8.29 Home FireHOME FIRE 
    By Kamila Shamsie
    (2017)

    The story of an immigrant family driven to pit love against loyalty with devastating consequences. (Fiction)

     

     

     

     

  • fiction

     

    Part two of my favorite books of 2016 consists of five fiction titles.  Lately, I’ve been picking up books from best seller lists without reading a thing about them.  I have pretty much just judged them by their titles, covers, and the fact that at least a few people have liked them.  So far, I haven’t been led too far astray and found these five gems.  I’m not going to tell you very much about them and hopefully when you fold back their covers you will be as surprised and delighted as I have been.

     

    My Name is Lucy BartonMY NAME IS LUCY BARTON
    by Elizabeth Strout
    (2016)

    When I want to read something beautifully written, I pay a lot of attention to award winning authors.  Elizabeth Strout won a Pulitzer and, while I don’t usually enjoy short stories, I did like reading Olive Kitteridge.  So, I picked up My Name is Lucy Barton and started reading, hoping to enjoy more of Strout’s lovely way of expressing the feelings and thoughts of her dynamic characters.  I did!  This is a wonderful example of her gift as a writer and I loved every word.

     

    Americas First DaughterAMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER
    by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
    (2016)

    The cover of this book displays stately Monticello and a woman in a big dress.  So, when I decided to check it out, I obviously knew it was about Thomas Jefferson’s daughter.  I was expecting a historic novel of some kind but I don’t think I expected Patsy Jefferson to be such a complicated protagonist.  Dray and Kamoie give readers a new perspective on the birth of our nation and everyday life in the colonies from the eyes of a woman in the center of it all.

     

    Black Rabbit Hall
    by Eve Chase
    (2016)

    I honestly knew nothing about this book when I downloaded it to my tablet.  But I did like the cover, with its dark wrought iron gate and stately mansion in the distance.  I was in the mood for something a little gloomy and the image spoke to me.  And…I loved it.  There’s a little romance, a little mystery, a bit of angst, tragedy and deception.  All these things worked together to delight and captivate me.  I can’t wait to recommend it to all my fellow Kate Morton fans!

     

    Everyone BraveEVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN
    by Chris Cleave
    (2016)

    It wasn’t the cover as much as the amazing title of this book that hooked me.  Everyone Brave is Forgiven screams of an amazing story to be told.  There is definitely not a shortage of World War II fiction available, but I believe I liked this better than All The Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale, though I did really like both of those.  But Cleave’s characters were so relatable and witty that I wanted to keep them as friends forever, despite their flaws and shortcomings.

     

    Rare ObjectsRARE OBJECTS
    by Chris Cleave
    (2016)

    This book definitely grabbed me with its cover.  It depicts a lovely girl in a beautiful dress staring at the camera and made me think of Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, which was a favorite of mine a few years ago.  Plus, I don’t read a lot of fiction that takes place during The Great Depression and I like to mix things up sometimes.  This was another random choice that I am very glad I made.  Chris Cleave presents lovely complicated characters and a beautiful message of redemption.

  • adult kid books 

    There are plenty of books in the children’s department here at the Provo City Library that adults love to read. The same is true in reverse. We often send our smaller patrons over to the adult’s department to find a specific title they are interested in. Here are 5 of my favorite titles that kids can enjoy, but which can’t be found in our Juvenile Fiction collection.   

    10.05.2018 SweetnessTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
    by Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    A new favorite character among readers, Flavia de Luce is a witty 11-yr-old sleuth and an aspiring chemist. Previously, Flavia’s time has been spent trying to make her sisters’ lives miserable and being made miserable in return. That’s until she finds a dead man in the garden and realizes she’s finally found something to truly put her mind to. This is the perfect book for young mystery-lovers that need to be challenged just a bit.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: While only 11, Flavia often speaks, thinks, and acts like an adult. There is also a smattering of swearing and the occasional Agatha-Christie-esque murder.   

     

    01.05.2018 Book ThiefTHE BOOK THIEF
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    As soon as it was published, The Book Thief became an instant classic. The tale of young Liesel Meminger and her hodge-podge family is narrated by Death. He is a thoughtful and beautiful storyteller, following the little “book thief” during the first half of WWII in Nazi Germany. This is a great read for anyone, but especially for the many kids who love WWII historical fiction.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The Book Thief can at times be both a little slow and very sad. It touches on themes of wartime violence and Nazi philosophy. It also has quite a bit of language in it both in English and German. I enjoyed listening to this book because the reader gave those words the appropriate color.   

     

    01.05.2018 To Kill a MockingbirdTO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
    by Harper Lee
    (1960)

    With over 3 million reviews on Goodreads, most people are familiar with Lee’s tale of childhood antics and the cancer of racism. Scout is an adventurous but naive character who only experiences racism from a distance until it’s thrust violently into her life. Seeing the small southern town through Scout’s eyes can be a wonderful, if gradual, first step into an eye-opening recognition of injustice.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: The main conflict of this book is the accused rape of a white girl by a black man. Both the racism and the believability or un-believability of the girl are sensitive topics. There are also the obvious racial slurs, other language, and violent scenes.   

     

    01.05.2018 Hitchhikers GuideTHE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
    by Douglas Adams
    (1979)

    Arthur Dent discovers his good friend is actually an intergalactic hitchhiker when he’s plucked from earth just moments before it’s destroyed. Hilarious and very British, chaos ensues as a ragtag group travels the universe. While this one may be a bit of a stretch for some kids, many enjoy both its hilarity and thoughtfulness. 

    Why it’s on the adult side: To be fair, this is an adult book. It’s both witty and, at times, philosophical. Be prepared for a smattering of language and sexual innuendos of varying degrees.   

     

    01.05.2018 Michael VeyMICHAEL VEY: THE PRISONER OF CELL 25
    by Richard Paul Evans
    (2011)

    At our library, this book is cataloged as “young adult,” but it’s enjoyed by all ages. 14-yr-old Michael Vey has Tourette's syndrome, but he also has incredible electrical powers. After discovering that one of the most popular girls in school (and his crush) has similar abilities, the two embark on a quest to discover the origin of their mutation. This story is action-packed and a lot of fun.  

    Why it’s on the adult side: Although plenty of kids love this series, I was surprised at the amount of violence. There is also moments of psychological torture that, if really considered, can be quite emotional.   

     
  • 1000pages

    With summer ever nearing (and our own Summer Reading Program imminent), it’s time to start considering the books that will occupy your next three months. While many folks will plan a grand stack of books to consume, others would rather take on one or two behemoths of literature. We raise a toast to those brave souls undeterred by doorstop-sized books, so in that spirit, here are 5 classics of world literature that weigh in at over 1000 pages.  

    warandpeaceWAR AND PEACE
    by Leo Tolstoy    

    Perhaps too obviously, this list must start with the book that has practically become cultural shorthand for “a gigantic book.” Tolstoy’s titanic novel of the years before, during and after the Napoleonic Wars is a surefire way to get some serious literary bragging rights. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed midway through, you can decompress by watching the recent (and terrific) BBC adaptation of the novel.   

     

    LesmiserablesLES MISERABLES
    by Victor Hugo

    You may already know this story very well, but Hugo’s novel is a landmark achievement that stands above all its many adaptations. This story of the French Revolution may seem daunting at the outset, but at least there’s a convenient soundtrack for your reading journey.  

     

     

    donquixoteDON QUIXOTE
    by Miguel Cervantes

    Cervantes’ epic journey of a romantic idealist lost in the contemporary world is a perfect choice for any daydreamer looking for a challenge. Recent translations have worked diligently to maintain this story’s unique voice and grasp of language – but bonus points if you conquer it in its original Spanish

     

     

    gonewiththewindGONE WITH THE WIND
    by Margaret Mitchell

    Despite its gargantuan size, GONE WITH THE WIND was one of the most popular novels of its time, which is often credited to Mitchell’s unfussy, simple style. The Depression-era equivalent of a beach read, this book may be huge, but you may be able to get through it faster than it would take to watch the movie!

     

     

    infinitejestINFINITE JEST
    by David Foster Wallace  

    After four historical epics from around the world, here’s a novel of colossal length that confronts what it means to exist in our modern world. Wallace was a singular writer who, despite his verbose work, never wrote condescendingly or ostentatiously. INFINITE JEST is a major literary challenge, but its fans promise a rich, profound experience (and it’s this librarian’s own summer challenge).  

     

    To all summer readers, with books big and small: good luck!

  • trilogies 01

     

    Next Tuesday the final volume of Justin Cronin’s PASSAGE trilogy will be released.  I am VERY excited about it!  So, to commemorate here is a list of some my favorite trilogies!  

    The Passage Trilogy

    THE PASSAGE

    THE PASSAGETHE TWELVETHE CITY OF MIRRORS   
    by Justin Cronin
    (2010, 2012, 2016)  

    You may notice from the publication date that it has been four long years since THE TWELVE was published.  That is why I’m so excited about this final installment appearing on our shelves.  I want to know what happens to Amy and her friends in their post-apocalyptic world filled with the living dead!  This is a dark and gripping story filled with characters I’ve grown to love in a terrifying world I am really hoping gets better by the time I turn the last page in THE CITY OF MIRRORS.   

    mistborntrilogy thumb
    MISTBORN

    THE FINAL EMPIRE, THE WELL OF ASCENSION, THE HERO OF AGES
    by Brandon Sanderson 

    (2006, 2007, 2008)  

    I may love this trilogy mostly because I want alomantic powers more than any other fictional magic I’ve encountered.  It just sounds like fun and I want to fly.  Also, Brandon Sanderson writes great characters that I quickly grow attached to with plot lines that are seldom predictable.  Technically, this trilogy has turned into a series, but the first three tell a great story all by themselves.  

    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    LORD OF THE RINGS

    THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE TWO TOWERS, THE RETURN OF THE KING
    by J.R.R. Tolkien 

    (1954, 1954, 1955)

    I don’t think I really need to defend this choice.  It’s kind of a given.  

    otori cycle
    TALES OF THE OTORI

    ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOORGRASS FOR HIS PILLOWBRILLIANCE OF THE MOON  
    by Lian Hearn 
    (2002, 2003, 2004)  

    TALES OF THE OTORI mixes a little bit of magic with feudal Japan.  It was one of those books that didn’t get a ton of attention when it was first released but I couldn’t put down.  That sounds a little sad, but hidden gems like ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR are a librarian’s best friends.  We rely on them when recommending books to people who have already read “everything”.  And who can resist magical ninjas?  (Again, technically, this is a series, but I didn’t love any of the books after the first three so I pretend they don’t exist.  I can easily recommend people just read the trilogy.)  

    jason bourne
    BOURNE TRILOGY

    THE BOURNE IDENTITY, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
    by Robert Ludlum 

    (1980, 1986, 1990)  

    If you have watched the movies, you will still be surprised by what you find in these classic spy novels.  Beyond an amnesiac assassin named Jason Bourne, the books and the movies don’t have a whole lot in common.  Cold war technology and spy craft may seem a little dated to some, but just think of it like a historical adventure novel and it becomes charmingly retro.  Right?

  • archaeology

    As a former archaeology student, I can’t even keep track of the amount of times someone tells me, “Oh, you studied archaeology? I always wanted to do that!” Archaeology is definitely fun and exciting, calling to mind ancient tombs, exotic locals, lost cities, and ruggedly handsome Indiana Jones-type explorers. While all of those things are certainly perks, one of the best things about the field of archaeology is that you can get lost in all those exciting adventures just by opening up a book!  

    At the library we have all sorts of books to suit your archaeological interests. Looking for books on ancient Rome? Head over to the 937s. Prefer Aztec, Maya, and Native American archaeology? Check out the 970s. We even have books on forensic anthropology (think Dr. Brennan from TV show Bones). We have titles about the ancient celts of Britain and Europe, the Inca, ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and more.  

    So, if you harbor a secret desire to be an archaeologist, check out these and more titles from our library! 

    7.28 The World Encyclopedia of ArchaeologyTHE WORLD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ARCHAEOLOGY
    By Aedeen Cremin
    (2007)

    This beautiful book is full of colorful photos from the most significant sites to the most important cultural treasures of the ancient world. This is a good place to start if you just want to learn about broad topics or just to pique your interest for more in depth study.  

     

     

    7.28 Nine Mile CanyonNINE MILE CANYON
    By Norma Dalton
    (2014)

    Guess what—Utah is chalk-full of interesting archaeology! Long before pioneers and Ute tribes lived in this area, the Fremont people lived, farmed, and thrived. One of the coolest things that the Fremont left behind is their amazing rock art! And there is no better place to find concentrated amounts of rock art in Utah than Nine Mile Canyon. This site is just northeast of Price, only about an hour and a half drive from Provo, and makes for a great day trip!  

     

    7.28 TimelineTIMELINE
    By Michael Crichton
    (1999)

    Like archaeology? Like medieval knights? Like sci-fi? Odds are, you will like TIMELINE.  A group of archaeologists get sent back in time to medieval France in order to save their professor. This is just the archaeological fiction book that you need for summer. Bonus—there is even a movie starring Paul Walker and Gerard Butler that is just perfect for a fun summer movie night with friends or family.  

     

     

    7.28 Breaking the Maya CodeBREAKING THE MAYA CODE: THE 200-YEAR QUEST TO DECIPHER THE HEIROGLYPHS OF THE ANCIENT MAYA
    Directed by Dave Lebrun
    (2008)

    This documentary is awarding-winning for a reason. It is that good. It could be Sigourney Weaver’s alluring narration, or perhaps the hypnotic visuals. Or maybe it’s the rivalries and colliding personalities involved in unlocking the secrets of Mayan hieroglyphs. Whatever the reason, this documentary is a fascinating look into the history of Maya studies, Mayan writing, and Mayan calendars.

     

    7.28 ArchaeologyARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE
    By Archaeological Institute of America

    Did you know that the library has magazines that you can check out? Among the many amazing periodicals is this gem, with little tidbits and stories regarding current archaeological finds around the globe.

     

     

     

  • rome

    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.

    spqrS.P.Q.R.: A HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME
    by Mary Beard
    (2015)

    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!

     

     

    rubiconRUBICON: THE LAST YEARS OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC 
    by Tom Holland
    (2003)

    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.

     

    imperiumIMPERIUM: A NOVEL OF ANCIENT ROME 
    by Robert Harris
    (2006)

    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.

     

    first in romeTHE FIRST MAN IN ROME
    by Colleen McCullough
    (1990)

    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.

  • kenya

    Do you have an upcoming trip? Whether it’s for business or pleasure, there’s a sure fire way to increase the awesomeness of your travel experience: Check out a book. 

    But not just any book. Check out a book that was written about the place you’re going. Whether you’re headed to Rome, Hong Kong, or St. George, we have a book that will help you connect with that place, its culture and its history. 

    A couple years ago I spent a few months at a girls school in Kenya. I had a wonderfully immersive experience made only better by the fact that while I was there I was pretty dedicated to reading literature written by people who actually lived, or had lived, in Kenya. Doing this helped broaden my perspective of this young, postcolonial country that I was trying to understand. Here are 5 of my favorite Kenyan books: 

    7.21 Out of AfricaOUT OF AFRICA
    By Isak Dinesen
    (1937)

    This is one of the most familiar Kenyan literature titles thanks to the movie featuring Meryl Streep. Karen Blixen (pen name, Isak Dinesen) writes her biographical memoir of life on a Kenyan coffee farm when Kenya was still a British colony. She was one of many Danes who migrated to Kenya, where the Danish presence remains strong to this day. Her home has been converted into a historical memorial and museum, and while the area that was once her plantation has become part of Nairobi, the locals still refer to the entire area as “Karen.” Blixen’s views are decidedly white-washed, but she still gives a lovely and honest account of what it was like for an educated, single (married but separated) white woman to take up living in a completely foreign environment. 

    7.21 West with the NightWEST WITH THE NIGHT
    By Beryl Markham
    (1942) 

    This is another Kenyan colonial memoir. I picked this up because I was told by a fellow literature BA that it had some of the most beautiful prose she’d ever read. She wasn’t wrong. Both Markham and Dinesen paint a beautiful picture of the fantastic Kenyan landscape that is so foreign to many of us living in the US. This is also another great feminist tale as Markham shares her experiences as a single, woman pilot in the African bush. One of her most intense scenes involves an elephant hunt with a murderous bull elephant. While reading this, the locals had already made sure I was scared to death of these big, beautiful creatures, but this scene solidified that fear. Interestingly enough, if you read Out of Africa and wonder where Blixen’s husband is, you can find him hanging out with Markham in this tale, proving how close knit the white settlers were at this time. 

    7.21 UnbowedUNBOWED
    By Wangari Maathai
    (2006) 

    There’s no way my reading list would be complete without this amazing autobiography by Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Prize winner for her work with the Green Belt Movement. She was the personal hero of many of the girls on campus, and her views gave me important insight into both the environmental and political crises facing the country. Unbowed is the perfect title for this book about a woman who never stepped back from a fight if she knew the cause would help her country.  

    Unfortunately, the Provo library doesn’t own the following two books, but they are still worth looking up. 

     

    7.21 A Grain of WheatA GRAIN OF WHEAT
    By Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo
    (1967) 

    Even though the Provo library doesn’t currently own any of the fictional works of renowned Kenyan writer, Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo, we do have his autobiography, BIRTH OF A DREAM WEAVER: A WRITER'S AWAKENING. A Grain of Wheat is worth a read if you’re at all interested in the Kenyan independence movement of the 50s. It’s an emotion-driven tale of the controversy that overshadowed the personal lives of everyone leading up to Uhuru. For me, this was an important glimpse into the feelings of someone who actually lived through these turbulent times and the resulting aftermath. 

     

    7.21 The River and the SourceTHE RIVER AND THE SOURCE
    By Margaret A. Ogola
    (1995)

    I read this book in tandem with the girls at the school where I was living. This amazing tale follows a family through 4 generations, spanning from tribal life in the bush, through university degrees and life in the city. This tale covers love, loss, disease, and political instability as the family tries to survive and stay true to their roots. Akoko, the first protagonist, is heralded throughout as the matriarch of the family, the source of the river.

     

     

  • k pop books

    In a previous Friday Faves, I listed my favorite K-pop CDs, but this time I want to highlight some of the books that I picked up simply because of my love for K-pop and Korean culture. I’m not saying these are the best out there (there’s a LOT I haven’t read yet), but these are ones that I enjoyed simply because… well… Korea! If you’ve got some favorite books that are about Korea or take place there, leave a comment so that I know what to read next! 

    8.4 The Birth of Korean CoolTHE BIRTH OF KOREAN COOL
    By Euny Hong
    (2014)

    Going from a third-world to first-world country in a matter of a few short decades is no simple task, but South Korea managed it, and is now becoming one of the world’s top exporters of pop culture. Euny Hong describes her experience of moving to Korea when she was twelve in the 1980s and how she’s seen the country go from very un-cool, to ultra-cool in that time. This was a fascinating read to see how the country essentially rebranded itself. 

     

     

    8.4 K Pop NowK-POP NOW!
    By Mark James Russell
    (2014)

    There are a wide variety of factors that have contributed to the development and growing popularity of K-pop. Russell provides a broad overview that includes historical and cultural influences, as well as describing what makes the industry unique and different from Western music. From there, Russell provides overviews of some of the current hottest artists in boy groups, girl groups, and solo acts, then briefly ventures onto the future of k-pop and what to expect when traveling to South Korea. 

    8.4 Bride of the Water GodBRIDE OF THE WATER GOD
    by Mi-Kyung Yun
    (2007)

    In this manhwa, Soah’s village is suffering from a long drought. To appease Habaek, the water god, they must sacrifice a girl to be his bride. When Soah is chosen, she understands she will likely die. However, there is something unique about her, and Habaek decides to rescue her. As she adjusts to live in Habaek’s kingdom, she discovers that there are a lot of mysterious things going on, including some that surround her new husband. This is a beautifully drawn manhwa that will be made into a K-drama later this year. 

     

    8.4 RE JaneRE JANE
    By Patricia Park
    (2015)

    In this modern retelling of Jane Eyre, Jane Re is a half-Korean, half-American orphan who grew up in New York. She doesn’t quite fit in and becomes desperate to get away from her Uncle’s strict rules. Jane finds a job working as an au pair for two Brooklyn academics and their daughter, which presents its own unique problems and opportunities. When her grandfather passes away, a quick trip to Seoul for the funeral turns into an extended stay as she reconnects with family and discovers a modern Korea, completely different from the one her uncle left decades earlier.  

     

    8.4 Stars of K Pop GirlsSTARS OF K-POP: GIRLS
    By StarNews
    (2014)

    Through photographs, interviews, and statistics, this book highlights some of the biggest girl groups in the k-pop industry. Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, Kara, f(x), Secret, Sistar, 4minute, T-ara, Miss A, Brown Eyed Girls, Afterschool, Girl’s Day, A Pink, Rainbow, and Crayon Pop are all highlighted with individual member information and tons of pictures. This book is a visual feast for the k-pop fan.

     

     

    8.4 Stars of K Pop BoysSTARS OF K-POP: BOYS
    By StarNews
    (2014)

    Very similar to its above counterpart, this edition of STARS OF K-POP focuses on male idols and groups including Psy, TVXQ, Big Bang, Super Junior, Beast, SHINee, Infinite, 2PM, 2AM, CNBLUE, ZE:A, F.T. Island, MBLAQ, EXO, and Supernova.

     

     

  • Woman Reading

    In the process of figuring out what to write about for this post, I made a list of some of my top favorite books—the ones that are always on the tip of my tongue when someone asks me for a recommendation. As I looked at these varied books from different genres, I realized that while the stories are fantastic and beautifully done, each one of these books have some of my favorite female leads. They are strong, clever, and courageous. They make mistakes and come back stronger for it.

    Here are 4 pretty amazing books with top-notch female characters: 

    1.19 Code Name VerityCODE NAME VERITY
    by Elizabeth Wein
    (2012)

    In 1943, a British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. On board are two best friends, Maddie (pilot) and Julie (spy). Julie is captured and is forced to detail the British war effort or face execution. She chooses to write her confession in the form of a novel, telling a story of friendship between her and Maddie and about how she ended up in her current predicament. The second half of the book is from Maddie’s point of view and everything that happens after her plane went down. This book does so well showing strong women in the WWII war effort. There is layered storytelling, clever intertextual devices, and unreliable narrators. There is also a prequel about Julie called THE PEARL THIEF that came out in 2017.  

     

    1.19 The Book ThiefTHE BOOK THEIF 
    by Markus Zusak
    (2005)

    This book is set in WWII and told from the point of view of Death. It’s about a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and a whole lot of thievery. Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich, scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. She is taught to read by her accordion-playing foster father and the Jewish man hidden in her basement. This book is so beautifully written and told in such a way that you know what’s going to happen. Death’s point of view is a circular one, so he’s not concerned about spoilers, but that doesn’t matter because I’ve read this book at least 3 times and know what’s coming… each time is beautifully devastating.  

     

    1.19 The Eyre AffairTHE EYRE AFFAIR 
    Jasper Fforde
    (2002)

    Set in an alternative universe of Great Britain 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality and literature is taken very, very seriously. So much so that there is a special division of Literary Detectives in the police force to protect it. Enter Thursday Next (that’s our protagonist not me talking about next Thursday). While trying to capture Acheron Hades, the third most wanted man in the world, her uncle Mycroft is kidnapped for his invention that can let you enter books. Acheron Hades doesn’t use this invention to go into his favorite book but to go into the original manuscript of Jane Eyre and kidnap her half way through the book. As the book is first person, there is an uproar around the world because half of Jane Eyre is now just blank pages. Thursday has to save her uncle, save Jane, and try not to mess with the continuity of the book. This is a book (series) for people who love books. If you haven’t read Jane Eyre, that’s fine, neither has Thursday’s partner, so they will catch you up on the finer details. The writing is clever, the story is silly, and the humor is dry.  

     

    1.19 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieTHE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE 
    Alan Bradley
    (2009)

    11-year-old Flavia de Luce loves chemistry and poisons. During the summer of 1950, in the sleepy English village of Bishop’s Lacey, a dead bird is found on Flavia’s doorstep with a postage stamp pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and sees him take his last dying breath. Flavia is appalled and delighted and decides she’s going to follow the clues to solve the crime herself… to help the police of course. This is a brilliant series with a clever protagonist that uses the fact that she’s 11 to sneak her way through her village to solve the murders.  For people already familiar with the series, the 9th book “The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place” is out end of this month. 

     
  • great musicals

    So anyone who knows me knows that I love most every musical that I have come across. The only one I have seen so far and do not like is Carousel. I love the signature song but hate the plot. Musicals have a lot of different backgrounds for their stories. There are musicals like MAMMA MIA that were written to fit the music, or there are some like SHREK and THE ADDAMS FAMILY that were based off of a movie or a television show, and there are some like THE MUSIC MAN that are a representation of life experiences.  But did you know that there are many musicals that are either loosely or strictly based off of a book? Oh yes! This makes me so happy because it combines two of my most favorite things. So let me share with you some of my favorite book to musical adaptations.

    9.15 Oliver TwistOLIVER TWIST
    By Charles Dickens
    (1838)

    OLIVER!: This is one of the few cases where I loved the musical more than I liked the book. I think that Charles Dickens helped try to start a revolution of change that sadly did not really start rolling until much later, but it is such a sad story with not a particularly happy end. I love how the musical keeps the spirit of how desperate things are and then brings hope for Oliver at the end.

     

     

    9.15 Alexander HamiltonALEXANDER HAMILTON
    By Ron Chernow
    (2004)

    HAMILTON: So weirdly enough I loved this musical. I say weirdly because 99.99% of the time I HATE Rap music. It does absolutely nothing for me and I don’t enjoy it. But I love the story/ tragedy of Alexander Hamilton. Even more than his story I love the story of his wife Eliza. She was the one who really worked to make sure that her husband’s legacy lived on and that he was a name that people would recognize in the history books.

     

     

    9.15 A Little PrincessA LITTLE PRINCESS
    By Francis Hodgson Burnett
    (1905)

    A LITTLE PRINCESS: My favorite song from this Musical is "Good Luck, Bonne Chance." I love how they bring out the storytelling talent that Sarah Crew has in the book paring it with a fun, catchy tune. I love this story so much! I like stories where people are still good and kind even when life kicks them while they are down, then karma comes and bites everyone else, and then good things happen to the main character.

     

    9.15 The Wizard of OzTHE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
    By L. Frank Baum
    (1900)

    THE WIZARD OF OZ: So if you didn’t know The Wizard of Oz is an entire series of books. There are 14 books written by L. Frank Baum which all provide a different facet of the world of Oz. The first book came out almost 40 years before Judy Garland played as Dorothy. I love the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." It has always been one of my favorite songs.

     

     

    9.15 The Scarlet PimpernelTHE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
    By Baroness Orczy
    (1905)

    THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL: This is one of my all-time favorite stories in almost every single version I have ever seen. Each version is slightly different, but consistently my favorite part is when Percy finds out that Marguerite loves him and never betrayed him. I love how they adjust that part of the story every time.

     

     

  •  Journals

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love to read journals and diaries. I grew up reading every single Dear America book I could get my hands on as well as any of the Royal Diaries books. I learned the other day what the difference is between a diary and a journal - technically a diary is simply a record of events as they happen in someone’s life, where a journal is a book that is a bit more personal and goes through a person’s thoughts and feelings and the evolution thereof. Super cool! Who knew? 

    I personally love the perspective a journal gives about a person’s life and what they were going through.The following are a few books which are written in a journal or diary format. What are some of your favorite journals and diaries to read?

    7.6 Book of a Thousand DaysBOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS
    by Shannon Hale
    (2007)

    Dashti is a fifteen year old who is sworn to obey her sixteen year old mistress, the Lady Saren. This story records the years of Saren’s punishment locked in a tower, then records her going to another's lands and posing as a kitchen maid in order to stay alive.

     

    7.6 Diary of a Young GirlTHE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
    by Anne Frank
    (1947)

    This is the record of a wonderful young Jewish girl, who was triumphantly human and herself through the ordeal of life before her family was taken to a concentration camp.

     

    7.6 The Perks of Being a WallflowerTHE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
    by Stephen Chbosky
    (1999)

    This book follows the life of Charlie, who is a freshman in High School. Though he is not the weirdest kid in town, he is not popular. This book discusses the unique perspective of a life lived on the fringes, but then learning to step away from the wall and live on the dance floor.

     

    7.6 These is My WordsTHESE IS MY WORDS
    by Nancy Turner
    (1998)

    This story follows Sarah Agnes Prine, beginning in 1881, when her father decides the family needs to move their horse ranch from Arizona to Texas. Sara is 17 and is a tomboy, though she would love nothing more than to be gracious and beautiful like other women. Follow the story of Sarah’s family as Sarah is the one person that often saves them from certain death.

     

    7.6 Go Ask AliceGO ASK ALICE
    by Anonymous
    (1971)

    This book follows the story of a 15 year old girl who develops a drug habit and runs away from home.

     
  •  magic books 1

    The arrival of autumn brings the changing of the leaves, the smell of pumpkin spice, and perhaps a little magic on the crisp evening air. Fall was once a time for traveling magicians to breeze through town, mystifying and delighting the carnival-going masses. We may be short on traveling magicians, but the library has some great books that can bring the world of legerdemain to you. Snuggle up with a blanket, a hot beverage, and a book about magic!  

    10.6 Carter Beats the DevilCARTER BEATS THE DEVIL
    By Glenn David Gold
    (2002)

    This is one of my very favorite books of all time. In 1920, Charles Carter, known as Carter the Great, who became a master illusionist out of loneliness and desperation, creates the most outrageous stunt of all, involving President Harding--one that could cause his downfall. Somewhere in between historical fiction and biography, Carter’s tale of his rise and fall in the entertainment world of the roaring 20s is pure gold.  



    10.6 The IllusionistsTHE ILLUSIONISTS
    Rosie Thomas
    (2014) 

    An artist, his model, and two magicians are thrown together by a twist of fate, their lives are inextricably linked: the fortune of one depends on the fortune of the other. And as Eliza gets sucked into the seductive and dangerous world her strange companions inhabit, she risks not only her heart, but also her life. 

     

     

    10.6 Jonathan Strange Mr. NorrellJONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL
    By Susanna Clarke
    (2004) 

    In nineteenth-century England, all is going well for rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr. Norrell's pupil.

     

     

     

    10.6 The PrestigeTHE PRESTIGE
    By Christopher Priest
    (1995) 

    A 19th century feud between two English stage magicians involves electricity, duplicity, obsession, and illusion both on and off the stage. Fans of Christopher Nolan’s 2007 film of the same name may be surprised at the differences between book and movie, but will delight in the same sinister tone. 

     

     

     

    10.6 The Secret Life of HoudiniTHE SECRET LIFE OF HOUDINI: THE MAKING OF AMERICA’S FIRST SUPERHERO
    By William Kalush
    2006 

    Confession—when I was in high school, I went through a stage magician phase where I could not get enough magic in my life. I devoured books and movies about stage magic and its history. This book is to blame. When I read this in high school, I was blown away at how interesting Harry Houdini is. Included in this biography are Houdini's secret work as a spy for the United States and England, his post-war efforts to expose the fraudulent activities of spiritualist mediums, and the plot organized by Arthur Conan Doyle to have him murdered.

     

  •  re reads 1

    As much as I enjoy discovering a new book or author, re-reading an old favorite is like sitting down with a dear friend for a long-overdue visit. For this Friday Faves, I wanted to share the top five stand-alone titles that I love to re-read. Happy Reading (and rereading)!

    The Red TentTHE RED TENT
    by Anita Diamant
    (1998)

    This reimagining brings the ancient account of the Book of Genesis to life through the eyes of Jacob’s only daughter, Dinah. In a family of a dozen sons, Dinah is sole heiress to the traditions and knowledge of her mothers. Honest and genuine as she shares her epic journey, you’ll feel as though Dinah were a life-long friend.

     

     

    Till We Have FacesTILL WE HAVE FACES: A MYTH RETOLD
    by C.S. Lewis
    (1985)

    Few books have affected me as much as this gorgeous retelling of the Psyche and Cupid myth. The story centers on Orual, the infamously ugly eldest sister of Psyche, whose astounding beauty earns her the wrath of the goddess Ungit. Lewis’ take on this age-old story explores love in all its forms – familial and romantic, possessive and selfless, destructive and nurturing – as Orual grapples with the divine for understanding and justice.  

     

     

    The Two Princesses of BamarreTHE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE
    by Gail Carson Levine
    (2001)

    You’ve probably heard of ELLA ENCHANTED (another great one to re-read), but you may not have heard of this charming tale. These two sisters couldn’t be more different; Addie is fearful and shy, while brave Meryl longs for adventure. Their world is turned upside down when Meryl contracts the mortal plague known as Gray Death. Desperate to save her sister, Addie takes up a quest to cure the incurable. Can she face her fears – not to mention monsters and other dangers – before it’s too late?  

     

    Good OmensGOOD OMENS: THE NICE AND ACCURATE PROPHECIES OF AGNES NUTTER, WITCH
    by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
    (1990)

    In short, this is one of the most hilarious books ever written. The End Times are upon us, but never fear, Arizaphale and Crowley are on the case. You’ve definitely heard of them, if not by name; you know, that angel with the flaming sword at the gate of Eden and that demon, aka “the serpent,” who tempted Eve? That’s them. They’ve been living among us a long time and quite like things as they are. All they have to do to stop the Apocalypse and dodge the forces of both Good and Evil and find the Antichrist - but that darn kid isn’t where he should be…  

     

    The Importance of Being EarnestTHE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
    by Oscar Wilde
    (1895)

    If you’ve never experienced the unparalleled wit and sass of Oscar Wilde, start with this side-splitting play. John has invented a younger brother named Ernest, a debt-ridden scoundrel, to use as an excuse (and alias) to go to London whenever he likes. Complications arise when he falls for the lovely Gwendolyn, cousin to his friend Algernon, and wants to propose – but her mother, the formidable Lady Bracknell, will have none of it. Mistaken identity, romance, family secrets, stress eating – this play has it all. When you’re finished reading, check out the delightful film adaptation starring Collin Firth, Rupert Everett, Frances O’Conner, Judy Dench, and Reese Witherspoon. 

  • not original

    Unless you live off-grid, it’s no news to you how sequels, spin-offs, remakes, and reboots seem to dominate the box office, TV schedules, and even bookshelves. According to an article written in June 2015, only 39% of the high-grossing films released between 2005 and 2014 were fully original, non-derivative content. Three years later, it seems like the trend has only grown. But I’m not here to bash remakes, adaptations, spin-offs, etc. because if truth be told, there are plenty of great ones that deserve to be celebrated. 

    I’ll share some of my favorites from the library’s shelves with you in a series of posts, of which this is the first. Today’s list will focus on movies whose plots are actually adapted from/inspired by classic literature - and you may not have even noticed: 

    10.10 10 Things I Hate About You10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU
    Directed by Gil Junger
    (1999) 

    Adapted from William Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
    Starring Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt.

    This modern take on Shakespeare is anything but a bland teen rom-com. Along with the mishaps of teenage romance, this film offers much more, exploring coming-of-age themes such as forming identity, evaluating priorities, navigating social and familial expectations, reputation/image, and the importance of self-respect. Oh, and Heath Ledger does a musical number, in case you still needed persuasion. 

    10.10 CluelessCLUELESS
    Directed by Amy Heckerling
    (1995) 

    Adapted from Jane Austen’s EMMA.
    Starring Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, and Paul Rudd. 

    Really! Austen gets a 90’s makeover in this film, where the English countryside society is swapped for the 90210 – Beverly Hills, that is. And for those of you who have a hard time liking the meddling Emma in the original story, her antics are more endearing coming from a pampered 16-year-old. Which of us didn’t think we knew everything at that age, right? Despite the peak 90’s styles, tech, and culture, the movie still holds up; you’ll envy Cher’s closet-organizing software - I sure do! And then there’s the question of how Paul Rudd hasn’t seemed to age since 1995…  

    10.10 O Brother Where Are ThouO BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
    Directed by Joel Coen
    (2001) 

    Adapted from Homer’s THE ODYSSEY.
    Starring George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson (all with honey-sweet southern drawls).

    Mythical adventure gets down-to-earth in this adaptation of Homer’s epic poem. Hilarity ensues as three jailbirds in in 1930’s Mississippi dodge the law, unsavory folk, and more as they seek “The Treasure.” This is one of my all-time favorites for several reasons; you’ve got loveable scamps on a passionate quest, rich historical setting, flawless soundtrack (featuring the stars themselves), and laughs galore. It pulls you in so well you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Homer even gets credited as co-writer! 

    10.10 Shes the ManSHE’S THE MAN
    Directed by Andy Fickman
    (2006) 

    Adapted from William Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT.
    Starring Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum.

    I make no apologies for including another Shakespeare play on this list, particularly when Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum are involved. Bynes is at the top of her game in this hilarious tale of love triangles (seriously there’s about five…five and a half…I tried to chart it out once, it’s a mess) and mistaken identities. While definitely a comedy, there’s also a good dose of warm fuzzies with themes of going after your dreams and being yourself. 

    10.10 The Scarlet PimpernelTHE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
    Directed by Clive Donner
    (1982)

    Adapted from Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL and ELDORADO.
    Starring Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, and Sir Ian McKellen. 

    I know this may seem like a stretch, but hear me out – this movie totally belongs on this list. The reason I’m including it here is…drumroll please…The Scarlet Pimpernel is not just a book, it’s a series! Okay, that is a bit of a stretch, but I for one had no idea there was a whole series of the Scarlet Pimpernel’s adventures. This film version is based on two books in the expansive series written by the Baroness, mostly drawing from the book Eldorado rather than The Scarlet Pimpernel. Mainly though, this made the list because it is a great flick; it’s just plain fun and ever so quotable. “Sink me,” I love it so!  

    What titles would you have put on this list? Stay tuned for more adaptations and remakes worth your time!

     

  • Looking at Books

    A funny thing happens after you’ve worked in a library for a while. You become so familiar with recent and popular book covers that you’re hyper aware of copycat covers, and eventually you start to see them everywhere.

    Sometimes an entire genre will feature similar covers so that you know what the book is before you’ve even read the description (the ubiquitous “girl facing away from you while wearing a fancy period dress” women’s historical fiction cover for instance). Other times, as I suspect is the case for the first pair listed below, a new release tries to capitalize on the popularity of a better established book by using a nearly identical cover. Then there’s the case of stock photos run amuck.

    And sometimes the similarities are simply baffling (do MERE CHRISTIANITY and TWILIGHT really have the same target demographic?).

    Here are a few suspiciously similar book covers we’ve discovered. What have we missed? Share your book doppelgängers in the comments!

    11.9 The Tethered MageTHE TETHERED MAGE
    By Melissa Caruso
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Crooked KingdomCROOKED KINGDOM
    By Leigh Bardugo
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 The Smaller EvilTHE SMALLER EVIL
    By Stephanie Kuehn
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 UndeniableUNDENIABLE: HOW BIOLOGY CONFIRMS OUR INTUITION THAT LIFE IS DESIGNED
    By Douglas Axe
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Amy SnowAMY SNOW
    By Tracy Rees
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 A Murder in TimeA MURDER IN TIME
    By Julie McElwain
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Rare ObjectsRARE OBJECTS
    By Kathleen Tessaro
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 The Fitzosbornes in ExileTHE FITZOSBORNES IN EXILE
    By Michelle Cooper
    (2012)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 The House of DreamsTHE HOUSE OF DREAMS
    By Kate Lord Brown
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 A Quiet LifeA QUIET LIFE
    By Natasha Walter
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Words to Live ByWORDS TO LIVE BY: A GUIDE FOR THE MERELY CHRISTIAN
    By C.S. Lewis
    (2007)

     

     

     

     

    11.9 TwilightTWILIGHT
    By Stephanie Meyer
    (2005)

     

     

     

     

     

  • Atmospheric Race Relations 01

    Find them in our catalog:

    The Secret Life of Bees 

    The Poisonwood Bible 

    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe 

  • English Historical Fiction 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    GREEN DARKNESS

    INNOCENT TRAITOR

    THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY

  • Today is National DNA Day, when we think about the ties and structures that bind us. Though slightly less scientific, here are some fantastic books that focus on the highs and lows of families. 

    Family Literary Fiction 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    GILEAD

    A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN

    I CAPTURE THE CASTLE

  • The Library is closed today in observance of Presidents' Day; in the mean time, here are some patriotic recommendations for you. 

    Strong American History 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    MARCH
    THE WHISKEY REBELS
    THE FIFTH OF MARCH 
  • spies 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    SPYCATCHER

    THE KILL ARTIST

    CARTE BLANCHE 007

  •  End of the World

    Does it say something about you if all you want to read is a story about the end of the world? I hope not, because lately it’s all I seem to be reading! There’s something intriguing about a story set in a world where things can be so much worse, and lately I seem to live for those small threads of meaning that bind people to hope in the face of bleak events. Here are five stories set in familiar but fundamentally altered worlds where people are redefining life as we know it. 

    6.29 The Last PolicemanTHE LAST POLICEMAN
    By Ben H. Winters
    (2012) 

    Suppose you were a beat cop who wanted to be a detective and you were suddenly granted your wish because the world is going to collide with an asteroid in the near future. This is Hank Palace's situation, and in a world where suicide is commonplace, the remaining police force of Concord, New Hampshire, thinks Hank is a nutcase for investigating an apparent suicide as a murder. And yet… why did the man hang himself with a belt other than his own? The end of the world scenario of this detective novel makes it both thought-provoking and strange.  

     

    6.29 Station 11STATION ELEVEN
    By Emily St. John Mandel
    (2014) 

    Outside of Toronto, a famous actor, Arthur Leander, collapses from a heart attack in the middle of a performance of Shakespeare's King Lear. Shortly thereafter, a deadly super-flu quickly spreads and wipes out approximately 99% of the world's population. The novel switches back and forth in time, before and after the pandemic, and centers on the lives of Arthur and people connected to him in one way or the other. In the years after the Fall, one of these people, Kirsten, join a group of traveling actors/musicians who are determined to keep a modicum of culture alive because as their motto says, "Survival is insufficient."

     

    6.29 Life as We Knew ItLIFE AS WE KNEW IT
    By Susan Beth Pfeffer
    (2006) 

    Sixteen-year-old Miranda begins her diary with accounts related to boys and prom. Her writing shifts dramatically after a meteor hits the moon altering the moon’s gravitational pull. This collision changes life forever on earth. Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and the loss of electricity abound. Through the ten-month ordeal, Miranda records how her family through everything and how every day death is a constant threat. Will they have enough food and fuel to make it through the long, cold winter? Will life ever return to normal? Is there even such a thing as “normal” anymore? 

     

    6.29 The FiremanTHE FIREMAN
    By Joe Hill
    (2016) 

    Harper Grayson is a nurse volunteering her time to help those infected by a terrifying plague that is spreading throughout the country. The doctors have named the infection Draco Incendia Trychophyton, but everyone else just calls it Dragonscale. The first symptom is an array of tattoo like marks across the body and the final symptom is spontaneous combustion leaving victims mere ash. When Harper contracts the disease she is quarantined in her home until a mysterious fireman with uncanny pyrotechnic abilities takes her to a hidden community of survivors.

     

    6.29 The Age of MiraclesTHE AGE OF MIRACLES
    By Karen Thompson Walker
    (2012) 

    On a Saturday just like any other, Julia and her friend Hannah have had a sleepover. As they wake up and the day progresses however, they discover that the world as they know it will never be the same. The earth has suddenly begun rotating slower and slower adding minutes and then hours to each day. Not only do the days and night grow longer, but gravity as well as growing food is affected. Julia is facing her world being turned upside down in other ways as well, friendships dissolve, her parents’ marriage is strained, and they boy she likes doesn’t ever seem to notice she’s around.

     
  •  Judging a Book By Its cover

    We all know the old adage about not judging a book by its cover, but cover art nevertheless can make a huge difference in a book’s success. Think about it. When you’re browsing the shelves of the library or a book store, books with distinctive covers or spines are the ones you notice, right?

    Personally, I’m drawn to gorgeous typography. While cover photos and illustrations are all well and good, beautiful print, especially if it has a feminine, vintage vibe, calls me to a book better than anything short of a glowing Kirkus review.

    You know you’re a librarian when you have not only favorite books and authors, but favorite book covers and cover illustrators. These are a few of my favorites:

    9.28.2 Dorian GrayJESSICA HISCHE

    Jessica Hische's work is what first sucked me into the world of cover art, and she's my favorite cover illustrator to this day. I'm a book hoarde... ahem, collector, but I started off just buying paperbacks, not caring what the covers looked like. In an act of youthful folly, I even bought the movie tie-in paperbacks of the LORD OF THE RINGS series many years ago (*shudders*). There was no looking back once I started buying Hische's gorgeous collection of Barnes and Noble leatherbound classics, though. Her work is all about intricate lettering, and in addition to her Barnes and Noble designs, she's created lovely covers for Penguin's Drop Caps series, Audible, and McSweeney's Publishing. Thanks to her, I began buying books for their beauty as well as their readability, and, eleven copies of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE later, it's been a beautiful and expensive path from there.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    9.28.2 The Fox and the StarCORALIE BICKFORD-SMITH

    First of all, we need to acknowledge that Coralie Bickford-Smith's name is AWESOME. With a name like that, she should be either the protagonist of a novel or the lady of an English manor house. Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk about her cover art. 

    Even if you haven't heard Bickford-Smith's name, you've probably seen her work. Penguin has released a series ofclothbound classics which feature her gorgeous and whimsical art and which you've inevitably come across in one book store or another. I'm also a fan of her F. Scott Fitzgerald covers, which have a decidedly Art Deco flair that fits his Jazz Age themes perfectly. My absolute favorite cover of hers, however, is from her very own book THE FOX AND THE STAR. The silver, the swirls, the sweet little fox - like Mary Poppins, it's practically perfect in every way.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    9.28.2 Wink Poppy Midnight

    LISA PERRIN

    Lisa Perrin's work is a recent discovery for me. WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE by Lana Popovic has been getting a lot of buzz in the YA community lately, and when I first saw the cover, I was immediately curious about both the book and the artist. After researching a bit, I found the cover for WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT, and I loved it even more. Perrin has the same intricate, feminine, and typography-based style that I love from Bickford-Smith and Hische, but she also uses color and weaves in animal and botanical patterns in a way that reminds me of Scandinavian folk art. The result is eye-catching, playful, and absolutely lovely.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  •  Learning to Love Fantasy Again 2

    Growing up, I loved fantasy. Authors like Robin McKinley, Gail Carson Levine, Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, and, of course, J.K. Rowling captured my imagination and carried me off to magical worlds. I reread their books again and again, loving the immersion and escapism they offered.

    As an adult, I’ve found a few new favorites (Jessica Day George, Shannon Hale, and Cassie Beasley come to mind), but for the most part I’ve moved away from fantasy in favor of other genres. So many of the novels I’ve tried recently have disappointed me due to shallow world-building or a focus on romance at the expense of plot. I was beginning to wonder if, at the ripe old age of 29, I’m just too old and crotchety for fantasy.

    Fortunately, 2017 is changing my mind. This year, three novels in particular have blown me away with their beautiful writing, imaginative and vivid world building, and three-dimensional characters.

    9.7 The Bear and the NightingaleTHE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE
    By Katherine Arden
    (2017)

    This book, the first by author Katherine Arden, draws on Russian folklore to create an utterly engrossing story of a young girl who embraces magic at a time when it is being suppressed. I read THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE early in the year, but I can still picture the characters and setting with perfect clarity because the book is so beautifully written. Although this is a coming of age story, it is marketed to adults rather than teens, largely because the novel has its dark and creepy aspects. At turns playful, heartbreaking, comforting, scary, and suspenseful, THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE really is a wonderful book.

     

    9.7 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    By Laurie Forest
    (2017)

    This Y.A. fantasy novel is CONTROVERSIAL. Though it received starred reviews from several review journals, it has also been excoriated by a few prominent book bloggers for being racist, homophobic, ableist, sexist, and more. So why is THE BLACK WITCH one of my favorite fantasy reads in years?

    As the book begins, its protagonist, Elloren Gardner undeniable exhibits all of the characteristics listed above, as do her family and the society in which she lives. As the book progresses, however, Elloren gradually comes to recognize that the history and prejudices she’s been raised with are inaccurate and cruel. This may be a book about a racist, but I don't feel like it's a racist book. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    This book may not be for everyone. Particularly for individuals who have been on the receiving end of prejudice, it's perfectly valid to not want to live in the mind of a prejudiced character for hundreds of pages. I believe, however, that THE BLACK WITCH has a valuable message about both how a racist (or homophobe, sexist, ableist, etc.) is made and how they can be unmade. Education and relationships with people who are different from herself are the keys to Elloren’s awakening (which isn’t perfectly complete at the end of the book – this is the first of a series, after all), and maybe through her story readers will confront their own unacknowledged prejudice and privilege. It certainly left me thinking deeply about difficult issues, something that you don’t always expect from Y.A. fantasy.

    On top of that, Laurie Forest is an excellent writer, creating a world with a complex history, fascinating cultures, and a vivid cast of characters. The complexity of the magical society she developed even reminds me of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. I was riveted from the first page and finished this 600 page book within 48 hours.

    9.7 Strange the DreamerSTRANGE THE DREAMER
    By Laini Taylor
    (2017)

    STRANGE THE DREAMER may just have the most unique, vivid, and gorgeous world-building I’ve ever encountered in a fantasy novel.  Lazlo Strange, a poor, orphaned young man, has fixated on the lost city of Weep since childhood. Though others say Weep is simply a myth, Lazlo pours his heart into researching the mysterious city, desperate to uncover its secrets. The story is difficult to do justice to in a synopsis, but count on this novel for dreams, nightmares, adventure, romance, mystery, and plenty of plot twists.

    Plus, the main character is a librarian, which is certainly a point in his favor. I <3 Lazlo Strange.

     

     

  • teacup books

    It was my thirteenth birthday. The present from my grandmother was heavy and thick; it felt like a book. My favorite. I knew that it was going to be something important and special. Something that would change my life. I ripped open the wrapping paper. And there it was. LITTLE WOMEN. I opened it immediately and started to read. I have no memory of the rest of the party, or even the day. I just remember being in Concord, Massachusetts with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.  

    Few other books have molded my childhood like this one did. I immediately saw myself in Jo. I wanted to be a writer like she did. Like Jo, I got frustrated at the unfairness in the world. And also like Jo, I loved my family deeply. If Jo, despite everything, could achieve her dreams,  then so would I. She was the reason I came to love books so much, why I would become an English major. She was why I would teach and eventually become a librarian.  

    And I’m not the only one who has been influenced by Little Women and especially by Jo. Writer and director of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, YOU'VE GOT MAIL, and JULIE AND JULIA, Nora Ephron and her sister Delia grew up reading the book and taking turns playing Jo. Stephanie Meyer cites it as one of her earliest inspirations to become a writer. And the list goes on of women who were particularly inspired to write because of reading this book: Cynthia Ozik, Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley, Anne Tyler, Mary Gordon, Margaret Atwood, and Jhumpa Lahiri are just a few.  

    What is it that makes this book published in 1868-1869, 150 years ago, resonate with girls and women in the 21st century? Maybe it is the strong female characters that each must face her own challenges growing up. Maybe it is portrayal of sisterhood during war and hard economic times that speaks to our modern sensibilities. Whatever it is seems to touch our hearts and makes us long to be better and to be more.  

    Is it time for you to discover or rediscover this classic? For all things Little Women, check out these offerings from our catalog. 

    2.6 Little WomenTHE ANNOTATED LITTLE WOMEN
    By Louisa May Alcott
    Edited by John Matteson
    (2015)

    Pulitzer Prize-winning Alcott biographer John Matteson illuminates the world of Little Women and its author.

     

    2.6 Meg Jo Beth and AmyMEG, JO, BETH, AMY: THE STORY OF LITTLE WOMEN AND WHY IT STILL MATTERS
    By  Anne Boyd Rioux
    (2018)

    In Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Rioux recounts how Louisa May Alcott came to write Little Women, drawing inspiration for it from her own life. Rioux also examines why this tale of family and community ties, set while the Civil War tore America apart, has resonated through later wars, the Depression, and times of changing opportunities for women. 

     

    2.6 Little Women DVDLITTLE WOMEN
    Directed by Gillian Armstrong
    (1994)

    A beloved film adaptation starring Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes, Christian Bale, and Susan Sarandon.

     

    2.6 Little Women 2018LITTLE WOMEN
    Directed by Clare Niederpruem
    (2018)

    A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott's novel. The story details to the passage from childhood to womanhood of Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy who are all sisters. Despite hard times, they cling to optimism. As they mature they face blossoming ambitions and relationships, as well as tragedy, while maintaining their unbreakable bond as sisters.   

     
  • Sullivan

    My father and I have a special kind of two person book club. The two of us read the same books (usually ones that he’ll find for me) and then we nerd out about them together. One day when we were searching for a new fantasy novel, he came across an author who was advertising the fact that his books are all the fun of fantasy without any of the explicit stuff. We jumped on board, and thank goodness we did.

    If you have heard of Michael J. Sullivan, I wouldn’t be surprised. His latest series THE LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE has become a hit, especially in the fantasy community. If you haven’t heard of him, then stick around, because you are about to meet your new favorite author.

    Sullivan has written a full series and is in the middle of two more, all of which are set in the same magical world called Elan. The feeling of the novels is very Tolkienesque, fit with elves, dwarves, and wizards, but also with his own great twists. He weaves his story with myths, legends, and religions that are unique to the world in which he’s built.

    Best of all, he writes all of the books in a series before publishing them, a two-fold gift. For one, the intriguing threads he creates are perfectly weaved throughout, from beginning to end. And secondly, this way we don’t have to sit around, staring at his Goodreads profile and waiting for him to give us some kind of sign for when the next book is coming out (looking at you, Patrick Rothfuss).

    One of my favorite things about Sullivan is how approachable he is. At the beginning of every book, he includes an author’s note, asking for you to shoot him an email with feedback. On top of this, his Goodreads profile is extremely active. At one time I emailed him a question for an assignment in my English class and he replied within the day. This is truly a career author who not only writes well, but looks out for his fans.

    Below I’m going to highlight the first books in each of the Sullivan’s series. Although Sullivan promises that each series is spoiler-free for the others, I suggest reading each series in order of publication, as I’ve lain out.

    1.18 Theft of SwordsTHEFT OF SWORDS: BOOK ONE OF THE RIYRIA REVELATIONS
    By Michael J. Sullivan
    (2011)

    The first book in the RIYRIA REVELATIONS is actually made up of two books in one, which he published himself originally: The Crown Conspiracy and Avempartha. When Sullivan’s books were picked up by a publisher, they decided to publish them two at a time. The story follows the unlikely pair of Hadrian, a master swordsman with a huge conscience, and Royce, an amoral thief. While on a job, the rogues end up being framed for the murder of the king and get thrown into an ancient conspiracy. I highly suggest you read this series before the other two, as it is a brilliant introduction to the world of Elan.

     

    1.18 The Crown TowerTHE CROWN TOWER: BOOK ONE OF THE RIYRIA CHRONICLES
    By Michael J. Sullivan
    (2013)

    Since Theft of Swords takes place 12 years after their first encounter, Sullivan takes this series, THE RIYRIA CHRONICLES, as a chance to show us how the unlikely duo came to be. Although the two men hate each other when they first meet, a common ally hires them to steal from The Crown Tower, an impenetrable fortress. This feat cannot be done without the skills of both, so the hope is they don’t kill each other before the job’s done. This series can be read before The Riyria Revelations, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I’m not too prideful to admit that I nearly cried at the end because of how much I had already grown to love the two.

     

    1.18 Age of MythAGE OF MYTH: BOOK ONE OF THE LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE
    By Michael J. Sullivan
    (2017)

    This most-recent series, The Legends of The First Empire, takes place about 3,000 years before the events of Royce and Hadrian. The basic premise of this story is that everything you learned about the religions and myths in his other series isn’t necessarily accurate. Sullivan takes the phrase “history is written by the winners” with the wonder of an epic fantasy writer. In an age where men worship the Fhrey as gods, a man named Raithe finds himself a God Killer, and sets into motion the beginning of either human annihilation or the dawn of a new age.

     
  •  Little Women

     It may be a couple of days past Mother’s Day, but every day is a good day for celebrating moms, right? In addition to the wonderful women in my life – my mother, grandmother, sisters, and neighbors – I’ve been raised by a number of literary mothers. These women have taught me the value of courage, kindness, hard work, self-improvement, and having an open heart, and I love them as if they were real. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

    A Wrinkle in TimeKate Murry
    A WRINKLE IN TIME
    by Madaleine L'Engle
    (1962)

    Dr. Murry is a brilliant microbiologist who sets an example of hard work, passion, courage, and love for her four wildly different children. She loves awkward Meg, athletic and level-headed twins Sandy and Dennys, and wise Charles Wallace equally and individually. She treats them as rational thinkers and speaks to them with respect as well as warmth. She also immediately welcomes Calvin O’Keefe into the family, sensing that the popular boy comes from an unstable home. Even with her husband missing, Dr. Murry keeps the family together and provides a loving, stable home. She makes delicious stew over the bunson burner, comforts Meg, and conducts experiments in her home lab all at the same time, and that’s pretty darn impressive.  

    little womenMarmee
    LITTLE WOMEN
    by Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    Marmee’s a “tall, motherly lady, with a ‘can-I-help-you’ look about her which was truly delightful.” Is there a more quintessential mother in all of literature? I adore Marmee. It’s not because she’s longsuffering and calm and perfectly good. Instead, I love her for the conversations she has with her daughters when they’ve made mistakes. Her love is unconditional, but she gently helps them understand themselves, to make amends, and to grow. Because she loves them, she guides them to be better than they are. She’s not focused on her daughter’s achievements, but she’s determined to help develop their character.

    Tangent: I will forever feel annoyed that someone addresses Marmee as Abigail in the 1994 film adaptation of Little Women. Her name is Margaret! Meg is named after her! If the filmmakers had really loved Marmee, they would have known that.

    No, I’m not going to get over it. You can’t make me.  

    RoomMa
    ROOM
    by Emma Donoghue
    (2010)

    I expected Room to be a more disturbing book than it was. After all, it’s narrated by a little boy who has never been outside of the hidden underground room where his mother is held captive by a brutal abuser. Because of Ma’s great love for Jack, however, the boy is happy, and the story is often surprisingly gentle. Ma creates structure for their days, plays with Jack, teaches him, makes sure he receives the exercise and nutrients he needs, and protects him from her captor. When Ma decides it’s time to escape, she helps Jack make the difficult transition to understanding there’s a world outside their room. Her situation is horrifying, but she endures it with incredible courage for the sake of her son.  

    Harry PotterMolly Weasley
    HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE
    by J.K. Rowling
    (1997)

    You knew Molly would be on this list, right? She’s warm, fiery, funny, and kind. As much as I love her relationship with her own children, who she treats with equal amounts adoration and exasperation, I’m even more touched by her love for Harry. The moment where Harry receives his first Christmas sweater and a box of home-made fudge from Molly after a lifetime without a real Christmas present leaves me a little teary. In spite of the Weasley’s financial struggles, she takes the orphaned boy into her family with all her giant heart. She’s also an excellent cook and knitter and hug-giver. And then there’s that famous line when Bellatrix almost kills Ginny…

    Molly’s the best.  

    The Secret Life of BeesAugust Boatright
    THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
    by Sue Monk Kidd
    (2001)

    August may not have her own biological children, but she unquestionably has a mother’s heart. When heartbroken Lily stumbles into her life, she takes the girl into her home, where she already takes care of her two sisters and a beekeeping business. She knows who Lily is instantly, but waits for the girl to reveal her identity in her own time. A former teacher, August is intelligent and knowledgeable, nurturing without being pushy, and a wonderful combination of independent and community-oriented. She becomes the ballast and mother figure Lily has spent her life longing for, and she beautifully represents the power of female relationships.  

    Anne of Green GablesMarilla Cuthbert
    ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    by Lucy Maud Montgomery
    (1908)

    Initially, Marilla Cuthbert is gruff and unkind toward sensitive Anne. She intended to adopt a farmboy, so the dreamy, trouble-prone little girl is only a source of frustration. Marilla’s softness and sense of humor gradually appear, however. Her love for her brother is apparent from the beginning, and she relents about keeping Anne at Green Gables for his sake. Though she remains a strict disciplinarian, Marilla and Anne smooth out each other’s rough edges; Anne becomes more practical and disciplined under Marilla’s teaching, and Marilla becomes gentler and happier. After Matthew’s death (which will never stop breaking my heart), Marilla finally opens up in the most beautiful way:

    “We’ve got each other, Anne. I don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t here – if you’d never come. Oh, Anne, I know I’ve been kind of strict and harsh with you maybe – but you mustn’t think I didn’t love you as well as Matthew did, for all that. I want to tell you now when I can. It’s never been easy for me to say things out of my heart, but at times like this it’s easier. I love you as dear as if you were my own flesh and blood and you’ve been my joy and comfort ever since you came to Green Gables.”

    Don’t you just love Marilla?

    the helpAibileen Clark
    The Help
    by Kathryn Stockett
    (2009)

    "Taking care a white babies, that's what I do, along with all the cooking and cleaning. I done raised seventeen kids in my lifetime. I know how to get them babies to sleep, stop crying, and go in the toilet bowl before they mamas even get out a bed in the morning." Having lost her own son, Aibileen Clark is more mother to her charge than the white mother she works for. As THE HELP unfolds, she develops a special relationship with toddler Mae Mobley. After spending three years trying to protect the little girl from her mother's neglect, criticism, and racism, Aibileen decides to counteract all that unkindness with active words of love. We all know her motherly affirmation: "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." 

    Books and the characters within them can profoundly shape the way we view the world. I'm so grateful for the inspiring mothers I've found in a lifetime of reading and for all that they've taught me. So here's to the mothers, both literal and literary!

  • Shark Week

    There are three major holiday seasons at my house: Christmas, Easter, and Shark Week. If you haven’t heard of it (do you live under a rock??), Shark Week is a television program on the Discovery Channel. According to their website, Shark Week is the longest running summer TV event, with this July marking its 30th year running.

    I love sharks, and Shark Week is a time for me to not only get my fill of shark related pseudo-science TV shows (I mean, Phelps vs Shark was not exactly top-notch  science), but I also get to share my love of sharks with friends and family. I might make shark-themed treats, wear a shark shirt or hat (both items of clothing I own), and maybe even enjoy a sharky read. However you choose to celebrate, the library has some great materials to check out if you have sharks on the brain.

    7.23 JawsJAWS
    By Peter Benchley
    (1974)

    You’ve seen the movie, but have you given the book a try? When it was published, Jaws sold millions of copies and was a best-seller for 44 weeks in a row. And if you haven’t seen the movie, widely considered to be one of the best films of all time, you need to stop what you are doing and watch it now. Trivia: Author Peter Benchley actually makes a cameo appearance in the film as the reporter on the beach that discusses the shark attacks.  

     

    7.23 Close to ShoreCLOSE TO SHORE
    By Michael Capuzzo
    (2001)

    Now that you are familiar with the story of Jaws, check out the historical inspiration behind it. This book tells the true story of a rogue shark that terrorized swimmers off the New Jersey coast in the summer of 1916. This was the beginning of our country’s shark hysteria and panic, causing beach-goers to think twice before going in the water.  

     

    7.23 Devils TeethDEVIL’S TEETH
    By Susan Casey
    (2005)

    This is the account of journalist Susan Casey’s obsession with great white sharks that led her to the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco. While not overly data-heavy, this book gives readers a sense of magical wonder at great whites and their relationship to these islands.  

     

    7.23 Encyclopedia of SharksTHE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SHARKS
    By Steve Parker
    (2008)

    Maybe you are tired of the largely false stereotypical Hollywood portrayal of sharks as mindless killers, and you want to learn more about these fascinating creatures. This volume gives you details and scientific facts on hundreds of shark species. You’ll learn about shark evolution, mating rituals, life-cycles, and conservation and protection efforts. That’s right, sharks need protection from an even scarier predator—us! Sharks are in danger from over fishing, sports fishing, and “finning,” and the ecological impact from losing these apex predators is proving to be dire.  

     

    7.23 JawsGREAT WHITE: THE MAJESTY OF SHARKS
    By Chris Fallows
    (2009) 

    Maybe you just want to look at stunning photos of massive great whites, leaping out of the water in a spray of foam and teeth. Well, here you go. You’re welcome.

     
  • read a romance 1

    August is Read a Romance Month, so we're sharing our favorite subgenres of romance. For last week's post on romantic classics, go here, and be sure to join us next week for our favorite funny and fantastical romances!

    PROPER ROMANCE

    Proper Romances have been around for a few years now and are published by local publishing company, Shadow Mountain Publishing.  They “allow readers to enjoy romance at its very best – and at its cleanest-portraying everything they love about a passionate, romantic novel, without busting corsets or bed scenes”.  These novels have becoming extremely popular, and here are a few titles we like to recommend.

    8.22 EdenbrookeEDENBROOKE
    By Julianne Donaldson
    (2012)

    When Marianne receives an invitation to spend the summer with her twin sister in Edenbrooke, she has no idea of the romance and adventure that await her once she meets the dashing Sir Philip.

     

    8.22 Lord Fentons FollyLORD FENTON’S FOLLY
    By Josi Kilpack
    (2015)

    Lord Fenton and Alice Stanbridge's marriage is one of convenience for him, but one of love for her. When Alice realizes the truth, she matches Fenton wit for wit until they both learn to see the truth of each other's hearts and find love beyond the folly.

     

    8.22 Beauty and the Clockwork BeastBEAUTY AND THE CLOCKWORK BEAST
    By Nancy Campbell Allen
    (2016)

    A plea from a desperate relative brings Lucy Pickett to Blackwell Manor, where she meets the estate's resident "Beast," the brooding Lord Blackwell. This series opener boasts an intense (but chaste) romance and a supernatural Victorian setting that blends Gothic atmosphere and Steampunk trappings.

     

    HISTORICAL ROMANCE

    I believe some of the best historical fiction includes a good dose of romance. Here are a few recent historical fiction titles that I think qualify as romances, though you will probably find them in our general fiction collection.

    8.15 Carnegies MaidCARNEGIE’S MAID
    By Marie Benedict
    (2018)

    Engaging, richly-detailed, biographical, and historical fiction. In 1860s Pittsburgh, Clara, an Irish immigrant takes a job working as a maid for Andrew Carnegie, with whom she falls in love, and then goes missing.

     

    8.15 Love and RuinLOVE AND RUIN
    By Paula McLain
    (2018)

    After meeting and falling in love while she covered the Spanish Civil War in Madrid, Martha Gellhorn is forced to choose between her marriage to Ernest Hemingway and her career as a war correspondent.

     

    7.22 Everyone Brave is ForgivenEVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN
    By Chris Cleave
    (2016)

    When war is declared Mary North signs up at the War Office, where she is made a teacher. Tom Shaw and his roommate Alistair enlist. When Mary and Alistair meet love and war tests them in ways they could never imagine.

     
  • read a romance 1

    When it comes to literary genres, I feel like Romance gets a raw deal.  It can be very stigmatized since a good number of us automatically think of books whose covers feature bare chested men embracing partially dressed women with flowing hair…actually sometimes the men have flowing hair as well. And while that does describe a subset of the genre, there are so many other types of romances.  It isn’t hard to find a romance that would feel at home on anyone’s reading list.

    August is Read-A-Romance Month!  For the next few weeks, we'll share Romance subgenres that you may want to check out. Make room for a little love this month and hopefully you’ll discover a new author or genre you can dive into throughout the year.

    ROMANTIC CLASSICS

    If you are in the mood for something timeless check out one of these classics.  They have withstood the test of time and proved themselves worthy of our attention. 

    8.15 North and SouthNORTH AND SOUTH
    By Elizabeth Gaskell
    (1855)

    Through Margaret Hale, a middle-class English southerner who moves to the northern industrial town of Milton, Gaskell skillfully explores issues of class and gender in the conflict between Margaret's ready sympathy with the workers and her growing attraction to the charismatic mill owner, John Thornton.

     

    8.15 Jane EyreJANE EYRE
    By Charlotte Bronte
    (1847)

    In early nineteenth-century England, an orphaned young woman accepts employment as a governess and soon finds herself in love with her employer who has a terrible secret.

     

    8.15 Gone with the WindGONE WITH THE WIND
    By Margaret Mitchell
    (1936)

    A spoiled young Southern belle vows to rebuild her family plantation home after the Civil War and is swept off her feet by a man who infuriates her.

     
    Next week we'll be sharing some of our favorite proper romances and historical romances. Which ones do you love?
  • sanderson alikes

     

    So you’ve already read all of Brandon Sanderson’s books.  In fact, you’ve read everything he’s ever written, including the novellas. Now you’re bored out of your mind waiting for the next STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE book to come out because it’s taking FOREVER. So, what do you read? Well, there’s always WHEEL OF TIME. But either you’ve already read that (being the good Sanderson fan that you are) or you couldn’t muscle your way past Robert Jordan’s ridiculous verbosity. There are classics out there like LORD OF THE RINGS and David Eddings’ BELGARIAD, but to be honest, they’re a little slow. You want something new, something fresh, something that’s going to keep you turning pages until two in the morning. You know, something Sanderson-esque. Well, there aren’t any exact duplicates out there, but there are some that come pretty close. Here is a list of books that pass the “Sanderson test”—they’re Fantasy at its most engaging, most well-written, most complex, and most downright fun to read.

     

    goblin emperorTHE GOBLIN EMPEROR
    By Katherine Addison
    (2014)

    The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile. But when his father and three older brothers are killed, he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

    Sanderson Score: 3/5

    Though I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it had a great critical reception (it was nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards), it has a lot less action than a Sanderson fan might expect. Sanderson does a little bit of court intrigue, but this book is ALL court intrigue. The writing is fairly good, but the formal “court language” has a lot of “thou” and “canst not,” which is a little annoying at first.

    Cleanliness: On par with Sanderson. So pretty clean!

     

    furiesofcalderonFURIES OF CALDERON
    By Jim Butcher 
    (2004)

    In the land of Alera, where people bond with the furies--elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal--young Tavi struggles to cope with his lack of magical talent.

    Sanderson Score: 5/5

    Not only does this book have an engaging plot set in a detailed world, it also has a totally unique Sanderson-esque magic system! The writing is fairly good and mostly disappears behind the plot and characters.

    Cleanliness: On par with Sanderson. So pretty clean!

     

    wizardsfirstruleWIZARD’S FIRST RULE
    By Terry Goodkind
    (1994)

    A beautiful woman falls into Richard Cypher’s life shortly after his father’s violent murder. When she reveals that her quest is to find the legendary Seeker of Truth to stop the evil Darken Rahl, Richard agrees to help.

    Sanderson Score: 4/5

    Though this book is older than the others and draws on a lot more classic fantasy tropes than Sanderson ever would, Goodkind problematizes those tropes in a very modern way. He adds moral quandaries and self-doubt to his good characters in a way that reminds me of Dalinar in THE WAY OF KINGS. Overall, though, I would only recommend this one if you enjoyed THE WHEEL OF TIME in addition to Sanderson’s other works, since that means you have more of a taste for 90s fantasy epics like this one.

    Cleanliness: Like in Sanderson, Goodkind’s characters use made-up swear words. The violence is a bit more graphic than Sanderson, though, and the second half of the book includes a dominatrix named Denna who might offend those sensitive to sexual content.

     

    princeofthornsPRINCE OF THORNS
    By Mark Lawrence
    (2011)

    After years leading a band of bloodthirsty thugs, Prince Jorg Ancrath returns to his father’s castle to reclaim his birthright, but faces magic and treachery once he arrives.

    Sanderson Score: 4/5

    Prince of Thorns is pretty engaging right from the start, with Jorg gloating over a town he has just ravaged and already making plans for his future rise to power. The night I read my sample of this one I actually stayed up until 2am because I couldn’t put it down. The main difference between this and Sanderson is that while Sanderson’s characters are usually fundamentally good, Jorg is fairly evil. You’re definitely rooting for him to become king, especially after everything that’s happened to him, but he frequently will cut up his comrades simply because they annoy him.

    Cleanliness: First, violence. There’s a lot of it, and it’s fairly graphic. Second, swearing. There is plenty of the word “fecking,” mixed in with some actual swears. Third, sexual content. Jorg’s thugs definitely participate in the rape part of rape and pillage and the group visits a lot of whore houses when they’re in town. If those things don’t deter you, though, (and it’s nothing as bad as GAME OF THRONES) you’re in for a treat.

     

    lockelamoraTHE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA
    By Scott Lynch
    (2006)

    Sold into a crew of thieves as a child, Locke Lamora’s natural gifts soon make him an underworld celebrity. Forming a crew of Gentleman Bastards as an adult, he vows to take down the city’s crime boss.

    Sanderson Score: 5/5

    A cross between OLIVER TWIST and the first MISTBORN, this book has everything going for it in terms of plot, characters, and writing. It’s the best written fantasy I’ve picked up in ages, and it manages to capture everything good about the first MISTBORN book while remaining true to its own unique style.

    Cleanliness: Swearing. Big time. A lot. More than I’ve read in any book in quite some time.

     

    promiseofbloodPROMISE OF BLOOD
    By Brian McClellan
    (2013)

    After staging a coup, Field Marshal Tamas inadvertently provokes a war with the Nine Nations, forcing him to rely on his estranged son and a retired police inspector.

    Sanderson Score: 5/5

    This book is actually written by one of Brandon Sanderson’s writing protégés. McClellan attempts to capture Sanderson’s style while putting his own fantasy spin on the French revolution. Though the writing is occasionally rough (it feels like a first novel—lots of potential but not yet polished), the magic system is super cool, and Sanderson himself called the book “Just plain awesome.”

    Cleanliness: Very close to Sanderson levels. There is a tiny bit of swearing, but not much.

     

    hismajestysdragonHIS MAJESTY’S DRAGON
    By Naomi Novik
    (2006)

    When the HMS Reliant captures an unhatched dragon egg, Captain Will Laurence is swept into a kinship with it and joins the elite Aerial Corps.

    Sanderson Score: 3/5

    This one is a little out of the box, since it’s a historical fantasy that takes place during the Napoleonic Wars rather than an epic high fantasy. It’s engaging, the characters are compelling, and though it isn’t a mirror copy of something Sanderson would write, I still think that most of his fans would find it well worth a read.

    Cleanliness: On par with Sanderson. So pretty clean!  

     

    swordofthebrightladySWORD OF THE BRIGHT LADY
    By M.C. Planck 
    (2014)

    After stumbling into a magical medieval universe, mechanical engineer Christopher Sinclair agrees to serve as a priest and solider to the Bright Lady.

    Sanderson Score: 3/5

    My main beef with this book is its ultra-choreographed beginning. Christopher has to wonder if he’s dreaming at least 50 times before he finally gets with the program. Once he does, though, things get better. There’s definitely a fun CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT aspect to it where Christopher uses his knowledge of modern technology to his advantage in a medieval world. It also has some nice moral ambiguity thrown in, since the decision between siding with the goddess of healing or siding with the god of war is more complex than it first appears. Definitely not as well written as Sanderson’s stuff, but still pretty popular with his crowd.

    Cleanliness: On par with Sanderson. So pretty clean!  

     

    name of the windTHE NAME OF THE WIND
    By Patrick Rothfuss
    (2007)

    A magically gifted young man named Kvothe recounts his transformation into the world’s most notorious wizard, musician, thief, and assassin.

    Sanderson Score: 5/5

    You’ve probably read this one already. If you haven’t, you need to. This book is not only the best fantasy of the 21st century (yes, I’ll fight you over that), it has also has this ringing endorsement from Sanderson himself: “Masterful.... There is a beauty to Pat's writing that defies description.” 

    Cleanliness: The first book is just as clean as Sanderson, but the second book does have a good amount of sexual content.

     

     

  • austen ranking

    Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

    I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of incredible authors through our AuthorLink events, but there’s only one I’d completely geek out over. Unfortunately, she’s been dead for nearly 200 years.

    I’m one of those people. Janeite, Austenite, actual crazy person, nerd – whatever you want to call me, I have to confess that when it comes to Jane Austen, I’m more than a casual fan. After reading each of her novels countless times, researching her life extensively, poring over Austen scholarship, and writing a master’s thesis about Austen adaptations, I’ve come to two conclusions:

    1. I’m WAY too invested in the life and writings of a dead person

    2.  Austen 100% lives up to the hype

    If you’ve never read an Austen novel, I’m begging you to do it, even if you’ve seen the film adaptations and think they’re not your thing. The humor, rhythm, and genius of her writing never completely transfer to the screen, and you don’t quite know Austen if you’ve never read her books.

    That being said, Austen adaptations are prolific, ranging from the merely okay to the brilliant, and most of them are worth watching at least once. Fortunately for you, I’ve seen them all, with one notable and a few not so notable exceptions, so I can save you time in choosing where to start.

    Austen nerd that I am, I’ll spend the next few weeks sharing my favorite and not-so-favorite Austen adaptations (except for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES and a handful of obscure adaptations from the 50s and 60s that I still haven’t seen. Whoops.) 

    Miniseries, films, and YouTube adaptations are all up for grabs, but there are a few films I won’t be ranking. Here's why:

    4.26 Death Comes to PemberleyDEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY
    Directed by Daniel Percival
    (2013)

    Because it’s a sequel, not an adaptation of the original. It is on Netflix, though, if you like your Regency period drama with a dash of murder.

     

    4.26 Becoming JaneBECOMING JANE
    Directed by Julian Jarrold
    (2008)

    Because it’s a (romantic, but not terribly accurate) biographical film, not an adaptation of an Austen novel.

     

    4.26 Miss Austen RegretsMISS AUSTEN REGRETS
    Directed by Jeremy Lovering
    (2008)

    Because, again, it’s a biopic, not an Austen adaptation. Maybe it's good that it's not on the list, because our library doesn't own it, and neither does the Orem Public Library. I definitely don't own it, so how did I ever watch this in the first place?

    It's a mystery.

     

    4.26 AustenlandAUSTENLAND
    Directed by Jerusha Hess
    (2014)

    Because, though this film is a joy, it's a Shannon Hale Adaptation, not a Jane Austen adaptation. It is, however, a hilarious homage to Austen, Austen fans, and people who think Austen fans are ridiculous. You should watch it.

     

    4.26 The Jane Austen Book ClubTHE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB
    Directed by Robin Swicord
    (2007)

    Because, though it draws on Austen in its plots, it's in that fuzzy territory between Austen-inspired and a full-fledged adaptation. Feel free to disagree.

     

    4.26 EligibleELIGIBLE
    TBA

    Because, regrettably, I am unable to time travel into the future, even for a modernized Austen adaptation. In the meantime, the book is available.

     

    So, with those banned from the competition, now’s the time for guessing. I'll try to be diplomatic in my analysis, but you don't have to be. Which adaptation do you think deserves the number one spot? Which adaptations are an abomination, defiling all that is good and holy and Austenesque? Let us know in the comments.

     
  • third party

    We all know the two big names in comic books: Marvel and DC. We read their comics, watch their movies, and pick sides over which one is our favorite. However, there’s no monopoly on superheroes, and these two powerhouses aren’t the end of the story. Since the 80s, dozens of smaller publishers have cropped up, each with their own unique heroes, stories, and flavors. Our library collects highly reviewed comics regardless of publisher, so it can be a good place to get your toes wet and try a universe you haven’t read or watched before. Here are just a few of the third-party comics publishers that we house:

    Image Comics

    Founded in 1992, Image Comics provides a place where comics creators can publish their stories without giving up the rights to their characters. This is a huge departure from Marvel and DC’s way of doing things, and means that almost any comic you pick up from them will have an all-new cast. This has led to hundreds of separate storylines rather than a coherent universe. Because of their relative independence (and since you don’t need to know 60 years of history for each character), Image comic books are easy to jump into.

    8.22 DescenderDESCENDER
    By Jeff Lemire
    (2015)

     

     

     

     

     

    CHEW
    Bby John Layman
    (2012)

    REED GUNTHER
    By Shane & Chris Houghton
    (2011)

    INVINCIBLE
    By Robert Kirkman
    (2011)

    Dark Horse

    Founded in 1986, Dark Horse has its fingers in all the pies. It does licensed material like the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER comics, creator-owned material like Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY, and even some manga.

    8.22 BuffyBUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
    By Joss Whedon
    (2007)

     

     

     

     

     

    HELLBOY
    By Michael Mignola
    (2003)

    THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA
    Edited by Patrick Thorpe
    (2013)

    TRIGUN MAXIMUM
    By Yasuhiro Nightow
    (2003)

    VIZ

    Founded the same year as Dark Horse, VIZ is a far more focused publisher. They do manga, manga, and more manga. Because they’re also heavily involved in anime licensing and the television side of things, their manga is frequently adapted into popular shows. Fans of the manga want to watch the shows, and new fans of the shows want to read the manga, so it’s a circular system where both the print and the screen versions of a story benefit.

    8.22 NarutoNARUTO
    By Masashi Kishimoto
    (2003)

     

     

     

     

     

    OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB
    By Bisco Hatori
    (2005)

    FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
    By Hiromu Arakawa
    (2005)

    TOKYO GHOUL
    By Sui Ashida

    IDW

    Last but not least we have Idea and Design Works, or IDW for short. Recognized as the fifth largest comic publisher in the United States, IDW focuses largely on graphic novel adaptations of popular TV shows and films. Though it has adapted several series for adults, the bulk of the company’s titles are intended for children, including their line of Cartoon Network-based comics.

    8.22 Doctor WhoDOCTOR WHO: PRISONERS OF TIME
    By Scott & David Tipton
    (2013)

     

     

     

     

     

    THE POWERPUFF GIRLS
    By Troy Little
    (2014)

    TMNT ADVENTURES
    By Justin Eisinger
    (2012)

    MY LITTLE PONY: THE MAGIC BEGINS
    By Lauren Faust
    (2013)

     

  • millenial pink

    If you don’t know what Millennial Pink is, don’t feel bad. As a millennial—and being self-described “basic”—I make sure that I keep up to date on all of the latest trends. And since I love pink, I’m obviously all about this fad.

    For the un-initiated, Millennial Pink is that one shade of pink that seems to be popping up everywhere these days – hipster restaurants, indie album covers, food (Starbucks’ pink drink anyone?), crushed velvet ballet flats, etc. It’s that not quite peach, not quite coral, not quite Pepto Bismal hue that you’ve seen all over the place whether you realize it or not. If you google “Millennial Pink” you’ll find dozens of articles trying to over-explain its appeal to youths – and they will confirm one thing: it is in.

    Millennial Pink has even crept its ways into publishing houses and libraries – there are a ton of Millennial Pink covered books that have been published recently. I can’t say for sure whether or not you’ll understand young people better by reading a book with a visually appealing cover, but I can say that your Instagram will look a lot better.

    Here’s a list of books in our collection – some old, some new – to help you achieve that Millennial ~aesthetic~

    8.10 Alex and ElizaALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY
    By Melissa De La Cruz
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Dear Fang With LoveDEAR FANG, WITH LOVE
    By Rufi Thorpe
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Tell Me How This Ends WellTELL ME HOW THIS ENDS WELL: A NOVEL

    David Levinson
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 White FurWHITE FUR: A NOVEL
    By Jardine Libaire
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Rules Do Not ApplyTHE RULES DO NOT APPLY: A MEMOIR
    By Ariel Levy
    (2017) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Girl In PiecesGIRL IN PIECES
    By Kathleen Glasgow
    (2016) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The Husbands SecretTHE HUSBAND’S SECRET
    By Liane Moriarty
    (2013) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Rebel BelleREBEL BELLE
    By Rachel Hawkins
    (2014) 

     

     

     

     

     

    8.10 Broken Hearts Fences and Other Things to MendBROKEN HEARTS, FENCES AND OTHER THINGS TO MEND
    By Katie Finn
    (2014)

     

     

     

     

    8.10 The LuxeTHE LUXE
    By Anna Godbersen
    (2007) 

     

     

     

     

    8.10 PrettyPRETTY
    By Justin Sayre
    (2017)

     

     

     

     

     

    Hopefully these recommendations will make your #bookstagram a little more pink and a little more basic. Be sure to tag the Provo City Library in any of your #booksofinstagram finds!

  • Witchy Reads

    My fascination with all things witchy dates back to September 27th, 1996 - more than 20 years! Any guesses what inspired it?

    Ever since then, I've loved the idea of witchcraft, though not in a serious way. There's just something appealing about potions, spells, animal familiars, and covens of powerful women. Thanks to this fascination, fiction books with witchy protagonists inevitably catch my eye. In honor of the season, I thought I'd share a few exciting titles that feature wonderful witches.

    10.12 The Witches of New YorkTHE WITCHES OF NEW YORK
    By Ami McKay
    (2017)

    After reading several starred reviews of Ami McKay's new book, I knew I had to read it. It did not disappoint. THE WITCHES OF NEW YORK tells the story of Adelaide and Eleanor, two magical women who run Tea and Sympathy, a shop that offers tarot readings and herbal remedies in addition to tea and biscuits. When a naive young woman named Beatrice joins them as an assistant, mundane and magical forces combine to endanger the shop and the women who run it. A warning for cautious readers that this novel does include occasional sex and violence.

     

    10.12 The Girl Who Drank the MoonTHE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON
    By Kelly Barnhill
    (2016)

    This Newbery winner is an absolute delight. In this children's novel, the people of the Protectorate abandon a baby in sacrifice to the witch who lives outside their village. Little do they know that Xan is a kindly witch who is baffled by their offerings. Each year she takes the babies to a loving family across the forest, until one night she accidentally enmagics one of her charges. She then raises Luna alongside a swamp monster and a perfectly lovable, perfectly tiny dragon.

    THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON tells a lovely story and features the most charming and playful writing I've encountered aside from J.K. Rowling's. Even better, the audiobook reader gives what may just be my favorite narration of all time.

    10.12 The Black WitchTHE BLACK WITCH
    By Laurie Forest
    (2017)

    I've written about my love for this book before, but I had to include it again here. In THE BLACK WITCH, teenager Elloren Gardner leaves her small village to attend an international boarding school. She's the daughter of the Black Witch, Gardneria's rescuer and one of the most powerful mages of all time. When Elloren arrives at school, however, she discovers that the history she's been taught may not be accurate, and that the prejudices she's been raised with are undeserved and even cruel. THE BLACK WITCH deals with difficult topics in a complex but relatable way and in my opinion deserves every starred review it received.

     

    10.12 The Rules of MagicTHE RULES OF MAGIC
    By Alice Hoffman
    (2017)

    Full disclosure here: I haven't actually read this yet. After all, it only came out two days ago! Fans of Hoffman's 1995 book PRACTICAL MAGIC will be thrilled to know that she has returned to the story of the Owens family. For the members of this magical clan, love is a curse that inevitably results in death and heartache. THE RULES OF MAGIC follows an earlier generation of Owens siblings - Franny, Jet, and Vincent - as they navigate the heady days of the 1960s. I've read a few of Hoffman's other works, and her three-dimensional characters, detailed plots, and lush, lyrical writing never disappoint. And based on early reviews, this prequel is every bit as magical as its predecessor.

    Bonus: If you can't get enough fictional witchcraft, check out basically anything by Sarah Addison Allen. Within the pages of her sweet books, you're sure to find romance and magic in a small southern town.