• Rarely Seen FB event


    Last year, we published a list of six free library dates; this year, we thought we’d give an update with specific things you can do this December at the library. It’s a proven fact that doing something interesting at the library is way better than awkwardly exchanging resumes and “how many siblings do you have…?” stories over dinner. 

    1. Visit our “Rarely Seen” exhibit 

    The Attic is the perfect place for a date; though it was a bustling madhouse this summer with our Little Builders exhibit, it’s returned to its roots as a gallery for fantastic art, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be hosting “Rarely Seen” from National Geographic (yes, THAT National Geographic). This traveling exhibit features photographs of rarely seen phenomena, from natural wonders to man-made curiosities. 

    What makes this a great date? First, The Attic is still enjoying a bit of a “hidden gem” status, so your date will likely be impressed with your insider library knowledge. Second, each photo is a conversation in itself. That’s 50 potential conversations waiting to happen, conversations that are WAY more interesting than, “So…what’s your major?” 

    We’re open Monday-Friday from 3:30 to 9:00 pm, and you can catch this exhibit until December 29. After that, we’ll close for a few weeks while we switch over to a new exhibit, at which point you can go on another date. 

    2. Get some culture 

    Last week, Shaina posted about the various holiday performances we’re hosting this December. This does mean that you’ll have to have a Monday night date, but it will be worth it! 

    If you miss our December performances, never fear; we have cultural performances the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month from September through May. Enjoy an evening with local music, dance, and theatre groups, all without breaking the bank (because it’s free. Everything is free!).  

    3. Solve a (fictional) murder 

    You may have already played our Whodunit Mystery Game, but it’s undergone a recent revamp and it’s better than ever! Participants travel from room to room in the library trying to solve a mystery, similar to the game Clue, by Parker Brothers. Some of your favorite villains have been causing mayhem in the library. The winner will correctly guess the suspect, location, and the weapon involved in the crime.  

    This is a great group date; we don’t recommend it for fewer than 3 (or, since that would be a strange date, we’ll say 4) or more than 18. This game takes about an hour to complete, and can be scheduled for any time the library is open (we just need at least one week’s notice to make sure we’re available). 

    4. Get trapped together…and escape! 

    Escape Rooms are all the group date rage right now, and rightly so. Nothing says, “I think I might really like you and want to get to know you better” than solving a series of complicated puzzles together. It’s a great way to make sure you’re not dating a dummy. 

    Our current escape room is Harry Potter-themed; no prior knowledge of Harry Potter is required, though it certainly won’t hurt! 

    The escape room works best with 4 to 8 players, but requests for groups of other sizes can be considered on a case-by-case basis. Adults ages 18 and up will enjoy the game the most.  Teens may enjoy the game, but we ask that they be accompanied by at least one adult. Like our Whodunit game, requests must be made at least one week in advance. 

    5. Build more than a relationship 

    We know the dilemma; you want to go on a date, but you also just really want to stay at home and play with toys. Well, with our on-demand boxes, you don’t have to choose! We have a variety of builder-themed boxes available for checkout in the library. From magna-tiles to KEVA planks and more, you can spend an evening building cool things; go out for ice cream afterwards and then give yourself a high five for planning a date that 10-year-old you would be proud of. 

    The best part of all of these dates? The memories, obviously. But also, they’re all free. All the time. So what are you waiting for? Schedule a library date today!

  • kid lit worlds 01

    In the Children’s Department there is a series of books where each title starts with “You Wouldn’t Want to…” This is a fun series in that it tells loads of facts in a fun (and often gross or gruesome) way to interested kids. They range from YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO BE A SALEM WITCH to YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LIVE WITHOUT INSECTS (these books cover quite the range of topics). 

    In thinking about these books, I started thinking about the broader world of Children’s Literature. And really, there are a lot of books that I’m just not convinced I would want to live in (or could ever handle living in). In fact, I think they might be just a bit more horrid than I suspect when reading while sitting on a cozy spot on my sofa. So here is the list of my top five children’s books that I would not want to live in: 

    lion the witch and the wardrobeTHE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
    by C. S. Lewis

    Not only does this world have an evil witch running around turning everyone to stone (or quite a lot of people) and manipulating and controlling hordes of bad guys…this world (at least for the majority of this book) is a world of Winter. I HATE being cold. I also hate bad guys ruling the world. But I can’t think if I am too cold. I suspect that in this world I would be basically a stone statue just from having to traipse about in a world of snow without really getting a chance to warm up. So I’m glad Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were all able to take care of things while I watched (or read rather) from the sidelines. For the rest of the CHRONICLES OF NARNIA I think I could possibly handle being in that world. Just not the Winter season.

    fever 1793FEVER, 1793
    by Laurie Halse Anderson

    Out of all of the books on my list, this one is actually a place (Philadelphia) and a time (1793) that actually existed. Which means that I am sure glad that I live when I do (since Philadelphia is actually a wonderful city and I have nothing against it…I just wouldn’t want to live in Philadelphia in 1793!). Mostly, I like some modern conveniences: central heating (see entry for THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE), plumbing, and modern medicine. That’s right, where would I be without doctors to help me feel well? I tell you what, I probably wouldn’t be around. And I wouldn’t want to live in that type of world and I probably wouldn’t want to see any of the people with those horrific diseases in that world, would you?

    loraxTHE LORAX
    by Dr. Seuss

    Yeah, I think most people probably saw this one coming. A world without trees and loads of smog in the air just isn’t any fun—especially if the world could have been a world with pink, yellow, and orange trees. I think the tragedy of this world is that you know just how amazing it could be…and then how sad life is when things get bad. I promise Dr. Seuss. I learned my lesson. I’m with the Lorax on this one.

    gregor the overlanderGREGOR THE OVERLANDER
    by Suzanne Collins

    Bugs, arachnids, and rodents tend to freak me out. That being the case, I probably wouldn’t do well in Gregor’s world. Not to mention that it is all underground (and thus sometimes very dark). I do like how Gregor becomes quite the hero…but this is one quest I am glad to read away from all the creatures that make me squeamish. 

    My least favorite place is a TIE:
    game of sunken places

    by M.T. Anderson

    jumanji  JUMANJI
    by Chris Van Allsburg  

    Wow. If you could see me right now you would notice that I am shuddering at the thought of living in these two similar worlds. Totally great stories; however, I do not think that I could be nearly as brave as any of these characters when they found out their world is a GIANT GAME BOARD. Just imagine playing monopoly and when a bit of bad luck comes your way you have to RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! Yeah. I’m glad I don’t have to roll the dice and hope for my life.

    So there you have it, the five worlds of Children’s Literature that I would HATE to live in. Don’t get me wrong, these are amazing stories. I love them all. I just wouldn’t want to be characters in those stories. What about you? Are there any worlds I missed?

    *There are also some horrific fantasy and dystopian worlds that tend to live in our young adult fiction collection. None of these have been considered (otherwise the HUNGER GAMES world would be #1 on my list).



  •  picking favorites

    Today's a very special day, and you might not even know it! It's International Book Lovers Day! Given that this is one of the happiest days of the year, we've been brainstorming the best ways to celebrate. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. Read something, of course!

    2. Read to a child.

    3. Have a child read to you.

    4. Start a book club.

      Book Clubbin

    5. Reserve a book club set for your brand new club. 

    6. Check out a book from the library.

    7. Donate books you no longer want to the library. If we can’t add them to the library collection, we sell them in our book store and all profits go to library programming.

    8. Write a review of a book you love on Amazon. Reader reviews can make a big difference in an author's career.

    9. If you don't already have one, open a Goodreads account to keep track of what you've read and what you want to read.

    10. Follow our children's or teen and adult staff review blogs.

    11. Fill out a personalized reading recommendation form on our website and we'll recommend books just for you!

    12. Make plans to meet an author and get a book signed at one of our many upcoming AuthorLink events.

    13. Skim a review journal like Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, or The New York Times Book Review to find your next great read.

    14. If you have kids, add story time to your fall schedule. It starts up again on August 28th!

    15. Sniff a book.You know you want to.
      Rory Gilmore

    16. Have a favorite genre? Check out our adult, teen, and children’s booklists for recommendations.

    17. Visit our Read-alikes page to find authors who are similar to your favorites

    18. Reread a book that always makes you cry. It’s cathartic.

    19. Set up an Overdrive account if you haven’t already! We have hundreds of ebooks and eAudiobooks for you to check out.

    20. Think audiobooks readers are too slow? Listen to audiobooks on Overdrive at whatever pace you’d like – even chipmunk-speed double time.

    21. Download Libby to your smartphone and test it out. Overdrive will be phasing out its old app soon in favor of this new, easier-to-use app.

    22. Don’t feel like you have enough time to read? Try a graphic novel.

    23. Read an award-winning book.
      National Book Award 

    24. Or, read a Goodreads Choice book selected by fellow readers. Make sure to vote for your 2017 favorites at the end of the year!

    25. Cuddle your pet while reading.

      Gloomy Days are the Best
      Image by Cat Versus Human

    26. Ask a librarian for a book recommendation.

    27. Visit a used bookstore like Pioneer Book.

    28. Learn a new skill from a nonfiction book.

    29. Try your hand at writing a book.

    30. Sign up for NaNoWriMo and commit to write an entire novel in November.

    31. Use Novelist to find books you might like.

    32. Does your place of employment have a waiting room? Stock it with books, including picture books for young readers.

    33. Is the library missing a book you’d like to read? Submit a purchase request, and we might just buy it.

    34. Or, see if we can borrow it from another library for you. It's free!
    35. Some books always seeem to be checked out. Place one on hold to make sure you're next in line!

    36. Take a look at our librarians’ favorite children’s, teen, and adult books from last year, and make plans to attend next year’s Best Books program in February

    37. Set aside a specific amount of time each day for reading.

    38. Give a book as a gift.

    39. Learn about our early literacy workshops for children ages 2-3 and their parents/caregivers.
    40. Create a cozy reading spot in your home.

      Reading nook

    41. Try reading a book in a format you don’t usually use – eBooks, digital audiobooks, books on cd, or maybe even a printed book.

    42. Read a book from an unfamiliar genre.

    43. If you’re a teen, sign up for our Teen Volunteer Board. You can help make the library even better!

    44. Did you know the Provo City Libray and the Orem Public Library have a reciprocal agreement where their patrons can use both libraries? Get a library card at the Orem Library if you don’t already have one, and double your library options!

    45. Plan to bring your children to Library Kids for books and literacy-based crafts and activities.

    46. Make sure your kids see you reading for fun. They're more likely to love reading if they know you do.

    47. Register for Parent/Child Book Clubs in September.

    48. Watch a film adaptation of a great book.

    49. Read the book one of your favorite film adaptations is based on.

    50. Sign up for a library tour to learn about the fascinating history of this beautiful building or about how to use the library more effectively. 

      Library at Dusk Summer 019.2

    51. Know a Provo resident who doesn’t have a library card? Encourage them to get one by sharing what you love about the library and how easy it is to set up an account.

    52. Reread your favorite parts of your favorite book.

    53. Finally pick up that classic book you’ve been meaning to read for years.

    54. Have a struggling reader at home? Have them read to a pet.

    55. Or a stuffed animal.

    56. If you have kids age 4 and younger, pledge to read 1000 books with them before kindergarten

    57. Recommend a book to a friend.

    58. Build your home library by buying a book you love.

    59. Volunteer to read to seniors at a retirement home.

    60. Encourage your children to talk about what they’re reading by asking lots of open-ended questions.

    61. Read the books your children love to make these conversations even better.

    62. Gather friends and family for silent reading time.

    63. Set a reading goal for the rest of the year.

    64. Carry a book with you all day.

    65. Become a #bookstagrammer.

      Essays by E.B. WhiteImage by @oliverskywolfoliverskywolf

    66. Upcycle a book into art.

    67. Buy a book for $2 at our used bookstore.

    68. Revisit a childhood favorite.

    69. Visit Buzzfeed to take endless “which book character are you?” quizzes.

    70. Plan a literary-themed Halloween costume.

    71. Start a little free library.

    72. Tuck a friendly note into a book donation for the person who buys it.

    73. Make a new recipe from a cookbook.

    74. Reorganize your bookshelves.

    75. Run out of shelf space? Buy and set up a new bookshelf. You can never have too many.
      Not Enough Bookshelves


  • TheBerenstainBearsYou may think this post’s title sounds crazy, but read a little closer. Does anything seem strange? Just the slightest bit not-right, grammatically speaking? If so, fear not -- you’re far from alone.

    The Berenstein Bears are one of the great institutions in children’s literature. They’re practically foundational texts for most Americans under 50, with hundreds of stories written in the series about a family of bears named Berenstein.

    Except that isn’t their name at all. While many people (this writer included) distinctly remember the name spelled Berenstein (pronounced  “-steen”), the actual name of both the bears and their authors is Berenstain (pronounced, as it would be, “-stain”).

    This controversy has created online factions, with one side assuring the other that it has always been spelled Berenstain, and that this is just a widespread misunderstanding. But some who believe in BerenstEin argue that this controversy is something more – a conspiracy.

    The theory has been floating around the blogosphere since at least 2011, but gained significant steam late last year when Stranger Dimensions reported on the issue. To paraphrase some fairly serious quantum physics, the theory posits that sometime between 1986 and 2011, our universe, in which the bears were named BerenstEin, merged with a near-identical parallel universe in which the family is called BerenstAin – which altered our history and left many people perplexed by the change. Further theorists argue that this mess could even have been created by an errant time traveler.

    Convinced? Many true believers refuse to accept any evidence of these parallel universes, including the son of Stan and Jan BerenstAin.

    While we more than likely didn’t collide with an alternate dimension at some point in the 1990s, this discrepancy in names may be evidence of a real psychological enigma: the Mandela Effect.

    The Mandela Effect is based on large groups of people collectively remembering Nelson Mandela dying in a South African jail in the 1990s, which, of course, didn’t happen. But this sort of phenomenon happens more often than one would expect, and this Berenstain conspiracy certainly fits the narrative.  

    Whether you believe it’s always been spelled Berenstain or think there’s something more cosmically sinister at play, you can check out the many books featuring the family at the Provo City Library.

    Which universe do you live in?
    The real one. It's always been Berenstain!
    I swear it's Berenstein. Years of memories can't be wrong!
    Quiz Maker
  •  Do you love art? Do you love books? Well, then this post is for you.

    In my recent online wanderings, I've stumbled across a variety of incredible book sculptures. By folding, curling, cutting, and reshaping pages, artists transform old books into gorgeous works of art that celebrate literature.

    Since the book sale is this Saturday, I thought I'd share this artform with you. In addition to finding your next read there, it's a chance to buy dozens of inexpensive, used books for craft and art projects. Why not upcycle a dated textbook into a whimsical piece of art?

    Here are a few of my favorites as inspiration:

    by MarielleJL

    Sculpture Peter Pan


    By PagesReimagined

    Sculpture Treasure Island 2 


    By LitArTure

    Sculpture A Tree Groes in Brooklyn


    by WetCanvasArt

    Sculpture Pride and Prejudice


    By MalenaValcarcel

    Sculpture Harry Potter 1


    And a little more HARRY POTTER
    By StorybookSculpture

    Sculpture Harry Potter 2


    By WetCanvasArt

    Sculpture Alice in Wonderland


    And in case you need a hat for the Mad Hatter's Tea Party
    By WetCanvasArt

     Sculpture Hat


    By WordsInk

     Scupture Gilead


    By WordsInk

    Sculpture The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe


    By WordsInk

    Sculpture The Kite Runner


    By ThePoetTrees

    Sculpture Don Quixote


    By StorybookSculpture

    Sculpture Cinderella


    And a lovely nook for reading them in
    By MalenaValcarcel

    Sculpture Book Nook


    Aren’t they beautiful? In case you’re feeling inspired to try your hand at artistic book upcycling, Provo Library also has several instruction books that can help.

    By Madeline Arendt





    The Repurposed LibraryTHE REPURPOSED LIBRARY
    By Lisa Occhipinti






    Art Made from BooksART MADE FROM BOOKS
    By Laura Heyenga





    Playing with BooksPLAYING WITH BOOKS
    By Jason Thompson






  • best boyfriends 01


    It’s been a few months since my Worst Boyfriends in Classic Literature list came out, and I’ve been trying to come up with one featuring best boyfriends ever since. The trouble is, there are surprisingly few good men in classic literary relationships. Even the male romantic leads that I like often do deeply troubling things (I’m looking at you and that possible marital rape scene, Rhett Butler). I was also disappointed in myself when I realized that I often find literary good guys super boring (it’s my fault, not yours, Edward Ferrars).

    But never fear, reader dear; there are good men out there, even in the realm of classic literature. Mostly, I have realized, they live in the countryside and children’s novels.

    As with the worst boyfriends list, I’ll warn you there are serious spoilers ahead.

    Honorable Mention: Marius Pontmercy, LES MISERABLES



    Marius is a good guy, but he’s definitely not my favorite literary romantic lead.

    Bonus points: speaks French, English, and German, courageously holds to his principles, is offended when his friends encourage him to take Cosette as a mistress rather than marry her.

    Deductions: falls in insta-love, has been portrayed by Nick Jonas, does not notice his gal pal is in love with him, loves boring Cosette, initially thinks father-in-law is a murderer, has death wish.

    (photo from the 2012 film, featuring Eddie Redmayne before he decided to become a wizard and go gallavanting after magical creatures)

     10: Joe Willard, BETSY AND JOE

    Joe Willard

    You may not know Joe Willard, but you should. This is especially true if you love the Anne of Green Gables series even a little bit, since this is basically the Minnesotan version. Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series, which is loosely based on the author’s own youth in the early 1900s, follows Betsy Ray and her best friends from age 5 to their twenties. Along the way, Betsy meets Joe Willard, who becomes her main school competitor (echoes of Anne and Gilbert, anyone?), her dancing partner, her writing buddy (she’s an aspiring novelist, he’s an aspiring journalist), and ultimately her husband. His succinct agony column apologizing to Betsy is one of my favorite love confessions in literature.

    A Joe Willard line that only a librarian (or possibly only this librarian) would find romantic: “Say, you told me you thought Les Miserables was the greatest novel ever written. I think Vanity Fair is the greatest. Let’s fight.”

    (illustration from the Betsy-Tacy books)

    9: Faramir, THE RETURN OF THE KING


    It seemed appropriate to throw in a little classic fantasy to shake up this list of nineteenth century British and American novels. Faramir is the ultimate good guy. The appendices to THE LORD OF THE RINGS describe him this way:  “He read the hearts of men as shrewdly as his father, but what he read moved him sooner to pity than to scorn. He was gentle in bearing, and a lover of lore and of music, and therefore by many in those days his courage was judged less than his brother’s. But it was not so, except that he did not seek glory in danger without a purpose.” Add to that the fact that he is never tempted by the ring (unless we’re talking about Peter Jackson’s version), and you’ve got yourself a pretty great man. In The Return of the King, Faramir becomes completely devoted to Eowyn, and I love that they fall in love with each other only gradually.

    Basically, if you like your fellows sweet and sensitive but also able to kick butt when necessary, Faramir’s the guy for you.  

    (photo from the LORD OF THE RINGS films, with Faramir portrayed by David Wenham)


    1870 success OldFashionedGirl byLMAlcott RobertsBros

    AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL is my go-to read when I’m feeling blue. It’s not as well-known as LITTLE WOMEN, but I can’t recommend it highly enough if you’re looking for something short, sweet, and lovely.

    For anyone who really wanted Jo to end up with Laurie, I give you Tom. Tom is pretty rambunctious when we first meet him, and he loves nothing better than teasing his sister’s friend Polly. It’s clear that he has a good heart, though, and he and Polly become dear friends and confidantes. In the end, Tom goes West, grows a beard, and works hard to make up for the financial troubles he has caused his family. He never confesses his love for Polly until he feels like he has grown up enough to be her equal.

    Favorite butterfly-inducing moment: Before Tom even recognizes his romantic interest in Polly, he finds himself “idly wondering for a minute if she knew how long and curly her lashes were.”  

    (illustration from the book published by the Roberts Brothers)

    7: Professor Bhaer, LITTLE WOMEN


    All the Laurie/Jo shippers out there are probably up in arms, but please hear me out on this one. I feel like I should note LITTLE WOMEN is my favorite book, and I’ve reread it at least a dozen times. You can trust that I’ve completely overthought this.  

    I love Laurie. Seriously. I LOVE him. Probably more than it is appropriate for me to feel for an imaginary person. He’s playful, sweet, and fun, and he loves the March women with all his giant heart. BUT, I don’t think he belongs with Jo, and neither did Jo. I must confess that I also wouldn’t mind if Jo had never married anyone at all (though 14-year-old me would vehemently disagree).

    Nevertheless, if Jo must marry, Professor Bhaer is ideal. He might be poor and a little paternalistic, but he’s smart and sweet and an adult. He’s well-read. He’s quiet and humble yet direct. He’s wonderful with children (his interactions with little Tina melt my cynical heart). He darns his own socks. He is fundamentally selfless and kind, and nearly every scene that features him is testament to that. Finally, remember that scene with the ball of yarn and the head bumping? Or the proposal scene under the umbrella? I still get the warm fuzzies thinking of those ones.

    Also, I just realized that the old man character I’ve been picturing isn’t even forty, so now I’m having an existential crisis.  

    (photo: Winona Ryder and Gabriel Byrne as Jo March and Friedrich Bhaer, in LITTLE WOMEN, 1994)

    6: Fitzwilliam Darcy, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE 

    The Many Faces of Darcy

    Oh, Darcy. I have mixed feelings about him because he can be moody and aloof, but PRIDE AND PREJUDICE has hands-down my favorite love story of all time. Darcy has his faults to begin with (as does Elizabeth), but he is ultimately humble enough to change. It’s also worth noting that the story progresses largely through Lizzy’s thoughts and dialogue, and, at least initially, she’s not a reliable narrator where he’s concerned. As the story progresses, we learn that Darcy is a kind and loving older brother, a generous employer, and in the end a selfless romantic lead. Best of all, he loves Elizabeth because she is his intellectual and moral equal. That’s my kind of romance.

    In the words of my coworker: “He better be somewhere on there, because he’s my bae.”  

    (photo from so many film versions of Darcy. Seriously. So many.)

    Part Two coming soon! (update: it's here!) While you're waiting, who would you recommend for the top 5 slots? 

  • best boyfriends 01


    I’m sure you’ve been waiting impatiently, readers, and the time has finally come. I’m ready to wax eloquent once again on the merits of classic literature’s best men (read part one in this series here). 

    A few warnings: First, this is nearly 1000 words, which is embarrassingly long. Apparently I have very strong opinions about imaginary men. Don’t judge. Second, as always, spoilers abound in my descriptions. 

    And with that, here are my top five literary fellas.

    5. Almanzo Wilder, Little House on the Prairie series


    First of all, Almanzo was mighty fine in real life. Like many of the men on this list, he’s the strong but silent type, and he supports Laura in her goals wholeheartedly. When she tells him she doesn’t want to promise to “obey” in her wedding vows, he’s completely onboard. He also saved an entire town by riding through a blizzard to find food, so that’s just a little bit impressive. Bonus points: builds a house with an incredible pantry, makes excellent pancakes, was an actual, nonimaginary person. Deductions: started courting Laura when he was 25 and she was 15, which, by modern standards, is 100% creepy.

    (photo of Almanzo Wilder by unknown photographer; public domain)

    4. Mr. Thornton, NORTH AND SOUTH


    Thornton has a temper and can be awkward in one-on-one interactions. Nevertheless, he is a kind and, much like Mr. Darcy, is humble enough to admit faults and change his views. Unlike Darcy, he has pulled himself up in society through sheer grit. His father committed suicide, leaving the family in horrible debt. Through intense hard work, Thornton reestablishes the family financially and insists on paying his father’s debts long after creditors had given up on payment. He cares for his flighty sister, and he loves and respects his mama.

    Also, he apparently has incredible teeth, “a set of teeth so faultless and beautiful as to give the effect of sudden sunlight when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes, changed the whole look from the severe and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare anything, to the keen honest enjoyment of the moment.” (I’m now imagining him with one of those little star things they use to show gleaming teeth for cartoon characters.)

    Note: If we’re talking classic literary film adaptations, then Mr. Thornton is without question my favorite male lead. In the 2004 BBC miniseries, Thornton is played by Richard Armitage, a god among men (and dwarves) with the voice to match. “Look back at me…”

    (photo: Richard Armitage. Copyright BBC.) 

    3. Mr. Knightley, EMMA  


    Knightley is my favorite Austen hero because he’s Emma’s best friend long before he’s a romantic interest. And he’s a true friend who communicates honestly, even when it might hurt his standing with her. He’s loving and truly a nice guy, but he’s also willing to call Emma out on her crap (and let’s admit it, Emma occasionally makes choices that deserve calling out).

    Although he’s a member of the gentry, he’s not a snob. He respects and befriends farmers and governesses without judgment. He is kind even to awkward Miss Bates, and he continually protects and defends her. He’s also gentle and respectful toward Emma’s father, in spite of his irrational behavior. (Side note, there’s a delightfully zany academic theory that Mr. Woodhouse is the villain of Emma. I swear I’m not making that up.) Knightley even offers to leave his own estate after marriage so that Emma can stay with her father! That’s true love, y’all.

    Favorite warm fuzzies line: “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

    (photo: Jeremy Northam in Miramax's version of the classic. Probably don't look at his current IMDB page; just let him live in this regency getup forever). 

    2. Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables series  


    Initially, Gilbert is a little bit smug, but then, so is Anne. He’s misguided in his first flirting attempts (carrots, anyone?), but he more than makes up for it. In spite of all of Anne’s prickliness and resentment, he is always kind to her after their initial interaction. I love that they fall in love through friendly academic rivalry (intellectual equality = my kind of romance); they push each other to be better.

    Other things I love about Gilbert: He loves Anne completely but remains her friend when she doesn’t feel the same. He lets her know how he feels and then waits patiently without pushing her for more. He never tries to change Anne, but loves her for all her quirks and foibles. He encourages her to write and offers great advice. He works hard, eventually becoming a caring doctor. He selflessly gives up his teaching spot in Avonlea so that Anne can stay at Green Gables after Matthew dies (*sob*).

    After Anne and Gilbert marry, “their happiness was in each other’s keeping and both were unafraid.” Isn’t that just lovely?

    (photo: Jonathan Crombie in CBC Television's masterful miniseries)



    Gabriel is kind, humble, loyal, dignified, intelligent, and incredibly hardworking. When the universe hands him an awful situation (via Bathsheba’s rejection and his dog’s excessive enthusiasm for herding sheep) he doesn’t mope. Instead, he goes right back to work and isn’t too proud to start over again. He loves Bathsheba through all of her rejections and bad choices: “I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain – that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.” He never demands that she love him in return, though; throughout it all, he respects her right to marry whomever she chooses or not to marry at all. He also believes in her ability to run a farm, which is pretty impressive considering the book was written in 1874. Most importantly, he brings Bathsheba a pet lamb when he proposes, which totally would have worked on me.

    (photo: Matthias Schoenaerts in the Fox Searchlight Pictures adaptation)

    Writing this list has brought about several revelations, some of them unsettling. It appears that I like my (literary) men intelligent, dignified, hardworking, and pro-feminism. Bonus points if they have a farm or country house. Accents are also a plus. More alarmingly, I don’t seem to be bothered by old men or May-December romances. I also appear to have a thing for pining/one-sided love that is ultimately requited. And for imaginary men. Off to see a therapist now.

    psychiatric help

    What do you think? Who did we miss? Disagree with the top pick? Battle it out (nicely) in the comments!

    Wondering about the scoundrels we denounced in the worst boyfriends lists? Revisit parts one and two of that list. 


  • book friends 01

    Every now and again I read a book and am reminded of another character in an alternative book by a totally different author. And then I think if these two characters lived in the same world…they would totally be friends. So I thought I would share some of my favorite would-be-friends. Here are numbers 10-6 of my favorites (my top five will be shared in a follow-up post). 


    jackson potter

    Now this might be a love/hate relationship for these two. Both Harry and Percy have this “must save the world” mentality that is coupled with the “must be loyal and save my friends even at the cost of myself” mentality. I think they would both work well to save the world—together. On the other hand, because they are both used to the glory and fame that comes with their death-defying accomplishments, perhaps they would just get on each other’s nerves. And even though Annabeth and Hermione are both great friends to their aforementioned heroes…I’m not so sure that they would actually like each other.




    Most people know all about Fancy Nancy. And yes, she is fancy! And she likes big, fancy words. But many people don’t actually know about the girls from SHOE-LA-LA! by Karen Beaumont (there is also a sequel called HATS OFF TO YOU!). Now these four best friends are all into fashion and being fancy. And they are all into exploring what type of fancy they like (what shoes are their favorites, what hats are their favorites). Basically, it is four friends that enjoy being fancy (and on occasion casual) just as much as Fancy Nancy. Seriously, these girls could all be presidents of the “Pink and Sparkly” club.



    Clementine Ramona

    Even though these two spunky girls were not written in the same decades, they have quite a bit in common. Clementine is a girl who loves her family and tends to get into a lot of mischief. Ramona also loves her family and always finds herself in a scrape or two. Both girls could share stories about what it is like to be loved yet sometimes misunderstood by family. And both have been frustrated with their siblings (though Clementine’s is younger and Ramona’s is older). All-in-all these two could be a whole heap of trouble if they lived in the same neighborhood—for it is certain that they could become the best of friends. 

    7. ANNE & BETSY

    Anne Betsy

    Most people know Anne from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. Anne is smart and imaginative; loyalty to friends is important to her. Plus she lived around the turn of the century (1899/1900s) in Canada. Betsy is a little less known (but just as fun to read). Betsy also is smart, imaginative, and fiercely loyal to her friends. Betsy and Anne are both writers who love stories. They both fall in love with the boy next door (as well as have a little spat with said boy next door). Only it happens much later in Betsy’s series than it does in Anne’s. And Betsy’s story takes place in Minnesota (arguably just as cold as parts of Canada) around the 1910s. Basically, if these two characters lived in the same place, they would have been friends (or kindred spirits) who had all sorts of adventures together!



    Snow Ella

    This one seems like a given. I mean, who wouldn’t think that two princesses would be good friends with each other. Only, I’m talking about two specific versions of Snow White and Cinderella. The book SNOW WHITE by Matt Phelan is a graphic novel that throws a 1920s spin on the classic tale. The picture book ELLA’S BIG CHANCE by Shirley Hughes is a Jazz-Age story of Cinderella that also takes place in the roaring 20s. Both of these girls have to find the courage to stand up to their evil stepmothers. Both of these girls have good friends that help them through the really horrid times. And even though they both don’t actually end up with a “prince,” they both find true love and live happily ever after.



  • book friends 01

    Last week I shared some of my favorite characters that should be friends. This week I am sharing the next five sets of characters that should meet, hang out, and become besties. Seriously, these characters often have a whole lot in common. Here are my top five.

    Do you know of any book characters that you think should be friends?


    Frank Goldfish

    Frank Einstein is a scientist who loves inventing things. He is somewhat of a mixture of Albert Einstein and Frankenstein. Frank works tirelessly on science project after science project. And he also saves the world on the side. Grandpa from THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH is also quite a scientist. He has invented a way to become “young” again. Grandpa Melvin might be a bad teenager this go-round, but he still loves science and family (which makes me think that he would have no problem becoming friends with Frank Einstein as he journeys to becoming one of the greatest kid inventors and scientists of all time—as long as they both didn’t want to invent the same things…). The only thing I wonder is, who would become the better scientist—Frank or Grandpa Melvin?


    Pigeon Bird

    I don’t know if these two characters will actually get along—because they are the most moody birds I have ever read about! However, they both are fowls that have very deep (and dramatic) feelings. The Pigeon wants to drive a bus, have a puppy, eat a cookie, and not go to bed or take a bath. And he tends to have a tantrum around page 20 or so. Grumpy Bird is quite grumpy (and in the sequel is pretty hungry!). Grumpy Bird doesn’t know how to show his feelings, especially when his friends are trying to copy him. And this leads to a bit of a tantrum for Grumpy Bird as well. Seriously, these two birds could be friends—or at least theoretical friends.



    Summerlost Rules

    Cedar Lee from the book SUMMERLOST by Ally Condie is trying to figure out her life after a horrible accident killed her dad and younger brother, Ben. Cedar struggles with the mixed feelings of missing her family and being relieved that Ben (who was somewhere on the autistic scale) isn’t around to frustrate her. Catherine from the book RULES by Cynthia Lord also has an autistic brother. Catherine is often frustrated by the complexity of her family dynamic; however, Catherine fiercely loves her brother. I believe that if Cedar and Catherine were living in the same neighborhood (or the same book), they would have been friends. They would have so much to talk about: from the frustrations, challenges, and joys of being a big sister to an autistic brother to life, love and all that is in-between. Seriously, these two book characters should be friends.



    Garvey Crossover

    In the book GARVEY’S CHOICE by Nikki Grimes, Garvey is told by his father that he should participate in sports. Garvey doesn’t actually like sports (he totally rocks at singing), but he does want to please his father. He comes from a great family that cares about each other. (His sister even distracts their dad when she knows Garvey needs a distraction, and Garvey’s mom is often seen trying to help the dad figure out what is important to Garvey.) Josh Bell, on the other hand, is the star of his basketball team (with his brother Jordan) in the book THE CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander. Josh is trying to figure out who he is through both basketball and poetry. Josh also comes from a great family. His mom and dad are ultra-supportive. And even though Josh doesn’t always get along with his brother, Jordan, they are a good support (overall) to each other. Both Garvey and Josh have dads who love sports. They both have good families. Basically, they could be the type of people who could be friends if they went to the same school. And I think these two would be a good balance of perspective for each other. So, it may be a little bit of a stretch, but I think these two characters could really be quite good friends.



    Charmed Gardener

    In THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSILL CASTLE by Janet S. Fox, Katherine, Robbie, and Amelie have to figure out why so many children are disappearing at the boarding school where they stay during the London Blitz. In THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier, Molly and Kip are two orphans who have to earn their keep while staying away from a sinister evil that stalks them and their household at night. In both of these children’s horror stories the kids have to solve the mystery of what is happening before they become the next victims of the evil. Both take place in out-of-the-way grand English country homes, and all of these kids (though especially Katherine and Molly) show a lot of grit, pluck, and determination. Seriously, I bet these characters could sit together around a camp fire in the summer and swap scary stories…and then laugh over the similarities of it all. Then they might go out and save the world from another evil together. Yeah, they totally would be friends!



  • SR 2017 FB

     One of the challenges in our Summer Reading Program is the “Ask a Librarian” Challenge.  Patrons can click on the blue "Ask a Librarian" tab on the right side of every Provo City Library web page, and either send us a question or tell us their favorite joke.  We have gotten so many interesting questions over the past few weeks, it’s allowed us to flex our librarian muscles!  But I have to admit – my personal favorite has been seeing all of the jokes submitted by our hilarious patrons!  Below is a collection of the jokes submitted so far. Thanks for all the laughs! 

    What do you call a camel with three humps?
    What did the right eye say to the left eye?
    Between you and me, something smells!  
    Why did Adele cross the road?
    To say hello from the other side. 
    How did the hipster burn his tongue?
    He drank his coffee before it was cool 
    What did the ocean say to the other ocean?
    Nothing, it just waved. 
    What happens to a frog's car when it breaks down?
    It gets toad away 
    What are bears without bees?
    What do you call a cow with 5 legs?
    A Moo-tant 
    What do you call a pig that knows karate?
    A pork chop! 
    Why can't you give Elsa a balloon?
    Because she will Let it go...  
    Knock knock.
    Who's there?
    Rita who?
    Rita lot of good books! 
    When the pig ate the mole, the mole and the pig ran away! 
    What do you say to comfort a grammar nazi?
    There, Their, They're. 
    What do you call a reptile that works as a detective?
    An investigator 
    Why did the Chicken cross the playground?
    To get to the other slide! 
    What is Darth Vader's favorite dessert?
    Do you know why elephants paint their toenails Red?
    So they can hide in Cherry trees.Have you ever seen one in a cherry tree? Good Camouflage isn't it? 
    If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
    What kind of dog can tell the time?
    A watchdog. 
    If a fly did not have wings would we call it a walk? 
    What's green and has wheels?
    Grass!!! I lied about the wheels. 
    Why did the chicken cross the möbius strip?
    To get to the same side! 
    What do you call a fish with no eyes?
    A fsh. 
    What do you get when you divide a jack-o-lantern’s circumference by its diameter?
    Pumpkin Pi  
    Knock, knock...
    Who's there?
    Boo, who?
    Don't cry, it's only a joke! 
    Knock Knock
    Who's there?
    Doctor who?
    Why was the tomato blushing?
    Because it saw the salad dressing!  
    What kind of food does a racehorse eat?
    Fast Food! 
    Why did the cookie go to the doctor?
    Because he was feeling crumby!    
    Why did the Invisible Man turn down the job?
    He just couldn't see himself doing it. 
    What do you call an elephant that doesn't matter?
    Where is Flash's (superhero) favorite place to eat?
    At a fast food restaurant.  
    How do you make an elephant float?
    1 scoop of ice scream, 2 squirts of soda, and 3 scoops of elephant 
    And God said to John, come forth and you shall be granted eternal life.
    But John came fifth and won a toaster. 
    What do you call cheese that is not yours?
    Nacho cheese! 
    Knock Knock
    Who"s there?
    Pizza Who?
    Pizza really great guy 
    Why does a chicken coop only have two doors?
    Because if it had four, it would be chicken sedan. 
    How do you get Pikachu on a bus?
    You poke him on. 
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Banana who?
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Banana who?
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Banana who?
    Knock, knock. 
    Who's there? 
    Orange who? 
    Orange you glad that I didn't say banana anymore?  
    Knock Knock.
    Who's there?
    Boo who?
    Is your tummy hurting? Is that why you said boo who? 
    If you are annoyed and I am annoyed, does that make us paranoid?!!  
    Why do cows wear bells?
    Because their horns don't work!  
    Why didn't the skeleton go to the dance?
    Because he had no body to go with. 
    I will be telling you a Spanglish joke.
    What do you call Dora con tualla?
    What is the difference between a gross transit terminal and a lobster with plastic surgery?
    One's a crusty bus station and one's a busty crustacean.
  •  Fountain Pen










    Words are awesome.

    But, add a little syntax, and you can string them together into sentences that, if possible, are even more awesome. I can appreciate a good line, so I always have my eye out for exceptional sentences. And while perusing the books over on the children’s side, I’ve discovered plenty of opening lines that make me want to read on. Can you guess which of our popular children’s chapter books begin with these intriguing first words?  

    1. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

    2. Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.

    3. There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

    4. The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!

    5. Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

    6. You wouldn’t think we’d have to leave Chicago to see a dead body.

    7. I am on my mountain in a tree home that people have passed without ever knowing that I am here.

    8. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.

    9. Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.

    10. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

    11. Once upon a time, many years ago— when our grandfathers were children— there was a doctor, and his name was Dolittle— John Dolittle, M.D. “M.D.” means that he was a proper doctor and knew a whole lot.

    12. When Mrs. Frederick C. Little’s second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.

    13. That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.

    14. I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks.

    15. Prince charming is afraid of old ladies. Didn’t know that, did you? 


    1. THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

    2. THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan

    3. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

    4. THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin


    6. A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck

    7. MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN by Jean Craighead George

    8. HOLES by Louis Sachar

    9. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON by Cressida Cowell


    11. THE STORY OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE by Hugh Lofting

    12. STUART LITTLE by E.B. White

    13. ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine

    14. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate

    15. THE HERO’S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM by Christopher Healy
  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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






    11.9 Crooked KingdomCROOKED KINGDOM
    By Leigh Bardugo






    11.9 The Smaller EvilTHE SMALLER EVIL
    By Stephanie Kuehn






    By Douglas Axe





    11.9 Amy SnowAMY SNOW
    By Tracy Rees






    11.9 A Murder in TimeA MURDER IN TIME
    By Julie McElwain






    11.9 Rare ObjectsRARE OBJECTS
    By Kathleen Tessaro






    11.9 The Fitzosbornes in ExileTHE FITZOSBORNES IN EXILE
    By Michelle Cooper






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






    11.9 A Quiet LifeA QUIET LIFE
    By Natasha Walter






    By C.S. Lewis





    11.9 TwilightTWILIGHT
    By Stephanie Meyer






  • lynda


    Provo City Library offer its cardholders free access to’s 6.300-plus course library of instructional videos. This new database to learn software application, design, job search and business skills that can help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

    While requires a paid subscription to learn from top-quality, industry experts, now a Provo Library card gets you unlimited access’s courses for free. Simply enter your library cardbarcode and PIN on any computer with an Internet connection and begin learning on your own schedule.

    This database is built around five or ten minute video tutorials along with downloadable examples and exercises. Earn certificates of completion that can be added to a resume or attached to a Linkedin profile.

    Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you can find exactly what you need to update job skills, advance in a career or pursue a hobby with an ever-growing list of courses and videos in business, creativity and technology. Kickstart your career development, step-in to basic or advanced technology,strengthen your eye for creativity, and much more all on your own time, wherever you may be.

    This new service, powered by and Linkedin, is free with your library card. To get started, visit our Online Resources page or use this direct link. You can find helpful tools and information, as well as a link to contact support.

    Related: By the Numbers

  • dan santat


    Dan Santat is coming to the library for Children’s Book Festival on April 28th & 29th!    

    If you’re like me, it’s easy to rattle off a long list of fiction authors. Unfortunately, the names of picture book authors and illustrators are often more elusive. I think the pictures distract me. However, Dan Santat is one name worth remembering.  

    A bit of research uncovered that Santat’s parents originally hoped he’d become a doctor. With this goal in mind, Santat attended the University of California, San Diego where he graduated with a degree in Biology. Fortunately for us, he decided to embrace a different passion. He went on to study illustration at the Art Center College for Design and graduated with honors.  

    Santat is widely known as one of the most hardworking in his field, churning out an incredible number of illustrations yearly. He has revealed on several occasions that one of the factors that helped him work so tirelessly was trying to support a family on an artist’s paycheck. At one point, Santat was offered a position as a google doodler—a dream job. This would have finally given him financial stability, but he also knew it would take all of his time away from illustration. Incredibly, he turned the offer down.  

    Santat’s work ethic pushed him to his emotional, physical, and creative limits. THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE was the book that changed everything for him. It is one of the few books that Santat both authored and illustrated, and its tone is a little more simple and sweet than his usual style. In fact, even the main character’s adorable name, Beekle, has an adorable story: it was how his son first learned to say “bicycle.” When Santat heard the Caldecott committee was looking at Beekle, he couldn’t believe it. When the Caldecott medal was officially awarded to him in 2015, he admits that he broke down in tears.  

    We can’t wait to hear from this amazing artist! Here’s just a couple of the titles we have by him that you can check out before his visit:  



    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat






    Written and Illustrated by Dan Santat



    hensel and gretel ninja chicks


    Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz, Illustrated by Dan Santat



    ricky ricottas mighty robot


    Written by Dav Pilkey, Illustrated by Dan Santat





  • Ghost

    As I was looking up some books, I realized that a lot of picture book titles can be foreboding. Some sounded like they belonged to horror films rather than picture books. With that thought spiraling out of control, I decided to create my own horror film synopses for different children’s book titles. 

    10.7 Bye Bye Baby BrotherBYE-BYE BABY BROTHER!
    By Sheena Dempsey

    Actual Book: This is a story for children who are about to become older siblings. It addresses the jealousy children may feel when they have to share their parents. 

    Horror Movie Idea: An older sibling decides to oust their new baby brother. Is there a changeling in the midst? Or a demonic spirit? Don’t know. But this title could be truly frightening. 


    10.7 Ruby Red ShoesRUBY RED SHOES
    By Kate Knapp

    Actual Book: This book is about a rabbit named Ruby and her life with her grandmother. They love quilts, buttons, tea and more. This book is a calming and lovely. 

    Horror Movie Idea: Think a twisted Wizard of Oz prequel that explains how the ruby slippers got their color. The Witch of the East loved the blood of her victims (I know. The original slippers were silver, but the movie slippers are so pretty!). 


    10.7 Youll Find MeYOU’LL FIND ME
    By Amanda Hill

    Actual Book: This book is told in rhyme and encourages hope throughout the grieving process. Losing someone can be hard, and this story helps create a space for parent-child conversations on the tough topic. 

    Horror Movie Idea: A girl with a loving boyfriend starts receiving life threatening notes. She and her boyfriend go to the police but they can’t find substantial evidence. She eventually figures out that her boyfriend has dissociative identity disorder and his alternate personality is a serial killer who’s chosen her as the next target.  The nice side of her boyfriend tells her to run away when he finds out the truth. Now the question is, will the crazy half of the boyfriend find her or will her feminine wiles find the hero beneath the monster? 


    10.7 Swim Swim SinkSWIM SWIM SINK
    By Jennifer Harney

    Actual Book: This is a cute book about three ducklings following their mama out for a swim, but then something strange happens. One of the ducklings sink! The little one tries and tries again to swim but it takes a little creativity to keep the duckling afloat. 

    Horror Movie Idea: A family decides to vacation at a rented beach house. A storm comes in and they spend the day indoors. Then they realize the house is flooding and slowly sinking into the ocean. They try to leave, but they’ve been locked in with no way out. The family swims from furniture to rafters as the house sinks deeper into the ocean. Oh, and there’s a creature in the water. 


    10.7 Everyone AwakeEVERYONE’S AWAKE
    By Colin Meloy

    Actual Book: Told in rhyme, this book talks about what happens when everyone stays awake at night. Someone practices their trapeze skills while others do house chores. The whimsical illustrations bring the story together in a delightful way. 

    Horror Movie Idea: No one on earth has been able to fall asleep for 42 days. Anesthesiologists can’t even put their patients to sleep for surgery. Everyone is growing tired, weary, and more irritable. Then people start seeing things and people realize that their childhood nightmares are coming to life.  What are some titles you’d rewrite as horror movies?

  • puntastic titles

    I love a good pun. We have recently been evaluating the mystery section and the titles of cozy mysteries, in particular, frequently feature puns. Below are 10 of my favorites. While I haven’t read any of these books, the titles alone make me want to check them out!

    lord of the wingsLORD OF THE WINGS
    by Donna Andrews

    It's Halloween in Caerphilly and the town has come up with another festival to bring in the tourists. Meg Langslow is heading up the “Goblin Patrol,” there's trouble at the Haunted House, and body parts are being found at the zoo. Meg is once again called in to save the day and solve the crime. (Meg Langslow Mystery #19)



    seven threadly sinsSEVEN THREADLY SINS
    by Janet Bolin

    Willow Vanderling has never wanted to be a model, yet surprisingly, here she is voluntarily strutting her stuff in a charity runway show. But the director, Antonio, is making the fashion show a less-than-fabulous affair. After Antonio plays a shocking prank on Willow and her friends, he mysteriously winds up dead—and someone is trying to pin the blame on Willow. (Threadville Mystery #5)




    arsenic and old cakeARSENIC AND OLD CAKE
    by Jacklyn Brady

    Cake shop owner Rita Lucero agrees to help blind trumpet player Old Dog Leg Magee solve a family mystery, and, while undercover at a bed-and-breakfast with Cajun bartender Gabriel Broussard, finds more than one mystery to solve. (Piece of Cake Mystery #3)




    silence of the llamas

    by Anne Canadeo

    The Black Sheep Knitters attend a thread and fiber festival and end up investigating an attack against the local llamas in this fifth title in the charming mystery series, with bonus recipes and knitting ideas. (BlackSheep Knitting Mystery #5)




    rest in pizzaREST IN PIZZA
    by Chris Cavender

    Cozy towns like Timber Ridge—the home of Eleanor Swift's delectable pizzeria, A Slice of Delight—don't take well to prima donna celebrities. So no one is pleased when famous chef Antonio Benet roars into town for a book signing and insults Eleanor, her saucy sister Maddie, and everyone else within earshot.Insults are one thing, however...but a cold dish of murder is quite another. (Pizza Lovers Mystery #4)



    from here to paternityFROM HERE TO PATERNITY
    by Jill Churchill

    Jane Jeffry, suburban sleuth extraordinaire, and her friend, Detective Mel VanDyne, have braved a blizzard to join her friend Shelley at a Colorado ski resort. In spite of having all their kids along, Jane and Shelley imagine a few days of relaxation. But their hopes are dashed on their first attempt to ski when Jane careens into a snowman that hides a very real, and very dead, body. (Jane Jeffry Mystery #6)



    license to quillLICENSE TO QUILL
    by Jacopo Della Quercia

    This is a page-turning James Bond-esque spy thriller starring William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. The story follows the golden age of English espionage, the cold war gripping post-Reformation Europe, the cloak-and-dagger politics of Shakespeare's England, and lastly, the mysterious origins of the Bard's most haunting play: Macbeth. You won't want to miss this fast-paced historical retelling!



    freezer ill shootFREEZER I’LL SHOOT
    by Victoria Hamilton

    Trying to escape her overbearing mother, vintage kitchenware enthusiast Jaymie Leighton retreats to her family's cottage. While there she hopes to write an article about the Ice House restaurant, owned by good friends and neighbors. One night, Jaymie overhears an argument and, ever the sleuth, sets out to explore. But when she stumbles upon a dead body her blood runs cold. (Vintage Kitchen Mystery #3)



    crepes of wrathTHE CREPES OF WRATH
    by Tamar Myers

    Magdalena Yoder investigates the murder of Lizzie Mast, the worst cook in peaceful Hernia, Pennsylvania, while coping with an influx of new guests at the PennDutch Inn and a killer who will do anything to stop her from uncovering the truth. (Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery #9)




    fleece navidadFLEECE NAVIDAD
    by Maggie Sefton

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for the knitters of Fort Connor. Juliet’s new romance has given her an extra reason to be joyful this year. But as soon as she finds happiness, death finds her. Suspicion falls on a newcomer to the knitting group; the crew isn’t convinced of this person’s guilt. It’s up to them to separate the true lion from the lambs before someone else gets fleeced. (Knitting Mystery #6)



  • Free Library Date Ideas


    The best kind of date is a free date. Luckily, 99.99% of everything in a library is free. The best part is that no matter what happens on your date, you won’t have to leave empty handed.

    1. Movie Night

    Every so often we put up a fun, family-friendly movie on the big screen so you can make sure your future significant other isn’t too good for the classics.

    Those big screen movies don’t even cover the movies we have available to check out or stream where the choosing up to you! (Pro-tip for choosing movies: Nobody actually likes Citizen Kane.) Plus a varied selection of foreign films

    2. Learn It

    Is there anything more attractive than watching someone learn something new? As librarians, we submit that there is not. And the library is the perfect place to learn something new, with classes like beekeeping, crafts, yoga, and writing, plus books that introduce fun recipes and cool hobbies.

    You name it—you learn it.

    3. Take a gallery stroll

    The age old dilemma:  You need to convince your date that you’re super cultured, we get it.

    Impress your date with deep, poignant questions, in our not one but two gallery spaces. In the Anderson Gallery you'll find the best of local art; in The Attic you'll find well nationally traveling science, history and art exhibits.

    These free exhibits change out after a few months so you can come back and impress your date over and over.

    4. Find the perfect book

    An incredibly wise scholar once said that finding a person who likes a good book is like that book is recommending that person to you.

    With booklists and librarians, the library is the perfect place to figure out whether or not you’re compatible. Is your intended more ULYSESS or HARRY POTTER?  PARADISE LOST or PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? The possibilities are endless.

    5. Meet your favorite Author

    Trying to woo a book nerd? Here’s how. Talk about their favorite book and then invite them to meet the author at an AuthorLink Event

    Internationally renowned authors visit the Provo Library all the time, your date’s favorite is sure to be among them. Hear about their inspiration and the process of creating your date’s favorite book, and sometimes there’s even food.

    Bonus points: Surprise your intended with a signed copy of their favorite book. (Advisory Note: this action can result in high amounts of squealing and several marriage proposals.)

    6. Game Night

    On Friday nights we bring out our board games. We have classics like Monopoly (capitalism never seemed more romantic) and Sorry! (A word you need to start practicing if you want this relationship to go anywhere).

    If you’re feeling a bit more active, play our interactive Who Dunnit Murder Mystery Game and solve a Clue-style murder inside the library.

    The only end to our activities is the city mandated curfew!


  • bad boyfriends 01

    I’ve been a big classics reader since high school, and over the years I’ve noticed an unsettling trend: men in classic lit often treat women like trash.  Just to be clear, I love these books.  I’d just like to avoid modeling any relationships on them.  And so, for your reading pleasure, I’ve compiled a list of the very worst boyfriends in classic literature.  Be aware that my ordering is completely subjective and based solely on how angry the respective characters make me.

    Warning: major spoilers ahead, if you can really consider them spoilers when the books have been around for 80 years or more.

    10) Willoughby, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

    Willoughby is handsome and affectionate, and at first he seems like the perfect fit for Marianne.  I mean, the guy loves poetry.  Everything’s going great until his aunt disinherits him over a scandal (the secret love child – a favorite 19th century plot device).  As soon as that happens, he’s out of Marianne’s life faster than you can say boo. I honestly believe Willoughby loved Marianne, but he loved cash a lot more.  It’s all about the money, money, money.

    9) Romeo, ROMEO AND JULIET

    People view Romeo and Juliet as one of the greatest love stories of all time, but if you think about it, Romeo’s kind of a punk.  He’s impulsive, he’s melodramatic, he’s violent (I don’t know about you, but killing your beloved’s cousin strikes me as a bad idea), and he’s more than a little flaky. At the beginning of the play, he’s busy sulking over breaking up with Rosaline.  Twenty seconds later he’s ready to live and die for Juliet because she’s pretty. Ugh.  

    8) Ashley Wilkes, GONE WITH THE WIND

    In my opinion, Ashley Wilkes = namby pamby foo foo garbage (to borrow a favorite phrase from one of my high school teachers).  Melanie is goodness incarnate, and Ashley doesn’t deserve her.  Scarlett is a terrible human being (but a fascinating one!) and Ashley doesn’t deserve her either.  

    7) George Wickham, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

    Wickham is gorgeous.  He’s charming.  He has a spiffy army uniform.  But he’s also a liar, a gambler, and a terrible flirt.  Even more problematically, he has penchant for seducing naïve teenage girls.  To quote now-disbanded girl group G.R.L.: “It’s such a pity, a boy so pretty with an ugly heart.”  

    6) Edward Rochester, JANE EYRE

    I love Jane Eyre as much as the next girl, but now that I’m not a swooning fourteen year old, I realize that Rochester is objectively pretty awful.  First, he locks up his mentally ill wife in the attic and pretends she doesn’t exist.  Then, he manipulates Jane by acting like he wants to marry Blanche Ingram.  Remember that part where he dresses up like a gypsy so that Jane will confess her love? Not okay.  Finally, he attempts to illegally marry Jane without ever mentioning the whole I-have-a-secret-crazy-wife-who-I-keep-hidden-in-the-attic thing to her.  At the moment of his proposal, lightning nearly strikes him.  Even God thinks Rochester is a bad boyfriend.  

    Next week we'll delve even further into the depths of male-lameness in part 2 of this list! Until then, who do you think I missed? Call out classic lit's worst boyfriends in the comments!

  • bad boyfriends 01

    This week we return with part two of our list of the 10 worst boyfriends in classic literature (missed part one? Read it here!). As I mentioned last week, MAJOR spoilers abound in these descriptions, though the books are all at least 80 years old so you've probably at least seen the movie by now...

    5) Heathcliff, WUTHERING HEIGHTS

    On one level, I feel really bad for Heathcliff, but on another, deeper level, I just think he’s terrible.  He’s moody, obsessive, possessive, violent, and prone to kidnapping people.  To be fair, Catherine is also awful.  That whole, “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” line seems fairly accurate, and not in a flattering way.  

    4) Sergeant Troy, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

    Sergeant Troy treats Bathsheba badly, but he absolutely destroys poor Fanny Robbin.  That sad, sweet girl went to marry him, but accidentally went to the wrong chapel.  Does this seem like an innocent accident to you?  Well, not to Sergeant Troy.  Humiliated, he refuses to speak with Fanny, in spite of the fact that she is pregnant with his child.  He then woos and wins Bathsheba, only to gamble away her fortune and criticize her for not being Fanny.  Oh, did I mention that Fanny dies in abject poverty as a result of Troy’s cruelty?  Yep, he’s such a bad boyfriend that it actually kills her.  

    3) Hamlet, HAMLET

    Poor Ophelia.  Your boyfriend takes out all his mommy issues on you.  He claims to love you but then shows up half-dressed at your door, grabs your wrist in a vice-like grip, stares at you for a while, says nothing, and then leaves while still staring at you like a creeper.  When you try to break things off with him, he verbally assaults you and questions your virtue.  That’s when he goes really nutso.  He stabs your dad.  He stabs your brother.  He drives you to suicide.  Not a great track record.  

    2) Angel Clare, TESS OF THE D’URBERVILLES  

    I hate Angel Clare.  HATE him.  Maybe I’m not supposed to because Tess loves him so much and because I’m supposed to be busy hating Alec d’Urberville, but my most intense literary hatred is forever reserved for Angel.  It’s not your girlfriend/wife’s fault she was raped, Angel.  Even if she had been gallivanting across the English countryside with every lord and shepherd in sight, it’s not like you’re exactly a paragon of virtue yourself, you hypocrite.  You’re the worst.  


    Except for Mr. B, who is the actual worst.  Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of this book, since it’s essentially the story of a wealthy man repeatedly trying to seduce or rape his maid in ever more creative ways.  She evades him for 500 pages, at which point he repents and they marry.  Mr. B: a terrible reward for Pamela’s virtue.  

    Honorable Mention (not because they’re any less terrible, but because this list was getting way too long): Othello, OTHELLO; Jay Gatsby, THE GREAT GATSBY; Gilbert Markham, THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL; Arthur Huntingdon, THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL; Edward Casaubon, MIDDLEMARCH; Arthur Dimmesdale, THE SCARLET LETTER; Bill Sikes, OLIVER TWIST; the Phantom, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, St. John Rivers, JANE EYRE;  Edmund Bertram, MANSFIELD PARK; Henry Higgins, PYGMALION; Frank Churchill, EMMA; Fernand Mondego, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. 

    And there we have it! Classic literature's terrible boyfriends! Who did I leave out? 

  • Worst Moms

    Not to brag, but I won the cosmic lottery when it comes to moms. My mom is the actual best mother in the history of the known universe. But even with such cause to celebrate her magnificence, I find the Hallmarky saccharine brand of hoopla just, well, gross. If you’re as #done with consumerist schmaltz as I am and looking for a new angle of mother appreciation (or want to feel better about your own mothering), check out these books featuring my picks for top five worst moms in literature:

    5.30 Pride and Prejudice5) Mrs. Bennet

    By Jane Austen

    Trying  to get five daughters married off before your husband dies and leaves you all penniless would be enough stress to drive anyone to the brink, and I sympathize, truly, but not enough to overlook the hot mess of a mother that is Mrs. Bennet. Mrs. Bennet lacks tact, maturity, and indeed any sense of shame. It’s not like she doesn’t know how to behave, she just doesn’t much care. You think she would, you know, being so worried about her daughters’ futures, but alas, no such luck.



    5.30 A Game of Thrones4) Cersei Lannister

    SONG OF ICE AND FIRE SERIES (Game of Thrones)
    By George R.R. Martin
    (1996 - present)

    In this series, bad dads outnumber the bad moms by a LOT, but what few there are sure go for gold. First there’s Cersei, the queen, a spoiled, entitled, scheming woman who cares for no one but her children. Unfortunately that motherly love doesn’t do much good in the way of actual parenting; her eldest son is, in a word, monstrous. Maybe he’s born that way or maybe it’s parenting, but we’ll never know, since Cersei refuses to think ill of her precious princeling.



    5.30 Carrie3) Margaret White

    By Stephen King

    The sins of the fathers – or mother in this case – don’t rest upon the child’s head but they sure can make an impact. Margaret is a glaring advertisement for therapy and forgiving yourself. Consumed with guilt after becoming pregnant at age 17, Margaret takes everything to the fanatic extreme – with a capital F E. Poor Carrie is basically set up for failure between her mother’s abuse and bullying at school.

    Yikes Level: ALL THE YIKES


    5.30 Coraline2) The Other Mother

    By Neil Gaiman

    No, I’m not mom-shaming Coraline’s actual mother. The “other mother” through the portal in the wall is the one you should watch out for. That manipulative, murderous, child-snatching monster is the stuff of nightmares.



    5.30 Harry Potter1) Petunia Dursley

    By J. K. Rowling

    Petunia Dursely, nee Evans, would make this list for her loving but appalling parenting of her own son, but what secures her the top spot on this list is her neglect of Harry. There’s no excuse to treat a child like that, period, and when you’re spoiling your own son to disgusting excess in the very same house, that compounds the horribleness by the power of hypocrisy. If you can’t put aside old offences when your newly orphaned infant nephew, the child of your only, once-cherished sister arrives at your doorstep, are you even human?



    Honorable Mentions: Queen Gertrude, HAMLET;  Lysa Arryn, SONG OF ICE AND FIRE (GAME OF THRONES) SERIES; “Evil Step-Mother”, (looking at you, fairy tales!).  A moment of silence please for all the Cinderellas , Snow Whites, and others in all their incarnations who’ve suffered at the hands of the dreaded “ Evil Step-mother”.

    Phew! What a list. Stay tuned for next month, when I’ll be putting literature’s dads on blast.

    Blogger’s Note: Hopefully I’ve been clear in my writing that this post is meant to be humorous, and not at all suggesting that abuse in any form is funny. The reality is that Mother’s Day isn’t a happy occasion for everyone. Many of us in our human family do suffer at the hands of those that should love and care for them best. Some of us have lost mothers. To all of us, no matter our situation, I hope we all can think of a person or two who have given motherly care to us through the years, no matter what name or label applies.

  • Clickbait. It’s the worst, right? Yet I, with all my mental faculties engaged, still find myself drawn in. I’m always sure that #16 will really amaze me (fact: #16 almost never amazes me). 

    Still, the idea of playing around with clickbait titles is pretty great. Inspired by others who’ve rewritten classic literature titles as clickbait, our team sat down to give it a whirl. 

    Reader beware: this is kind of an addicting game.    

    click alice

    Have you read this one recently? You really never will guess what she found there, unless "flamingo croquet" is part of your regular imaginary landscape. 

    click dante

    Maybe you will believe it; it's greed. The fourth circle is greedy people jousting. 

    click persuasion

    We call this one shock and "awwwww!" 

    click hamlet

    I am constantly disappointed that law enforcement doesn't try the same weird tricks Hamlet did. It would make Court TV A LOT more interesting. 

    What classic titles can you rewrite as clickbait? Delightful suggestions may become a future blog post!