Liz

  • little things 01

     

    1. Flashlight under the pillow, always! My parents would have to take away my book so that I would do my homework. I slept with a flashlight under my pillow for years so that I could sneak in a few hours of ‘fun reading’ once everyone was asleep. Always gave me a little thrill that I was rebelling and staying awake long past my official bedtime.

    2. Story time! My favorite part of elementary school was story time after lunch recess- teacher read aloud... Or was it back scratch trains that we all made? I had wonderful elementary school teachers who really instilled a love of reading. I remember fondly listening to books like the PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, THE LITTLE PRINCE, HARRY POTTER, CHRONICLES OF NARNIA and many others during that after recess reading time. It was meant to calm us down after the rambunctious recess, but I truly looked forward to the stories each day.

    3. Belle was my favorite disney princess, and she was given a library as a gift!! Belle really is the most literary minded of the princesses. She escapes to books and rereads her favorites. I love doing just that. She is thrilled by the gift of a library from the Beast and it really shows what kinds of things she values.

    4. Scholastic book catalog orders. Before the days of Amazon, we used to order books the old fashioned way! I loved getting the overly colorful, flimsy catalogs and pouring over them in hopes of convincing my mom that I NEEDED those books. Then the shrink wrapped books would arrive at school and it was like a mini holiday. New stories, adventures and new worlds to discover!

    5. In my family we never did Christmas lists. My parents didn’t want to encourage an entitled, present-oriented holiday season so we didn’t stress too much about the gift part. But one year my mom was stumped and asked what I wanted and I answered- BOOKS! So they proceeded to add to the family collection with many, many classics. Unfortunately for my siblings, and fortunately for me and the family library, my parents went a little overboard and had to start wrapping the books for the other kids to make things look more even. I was thrilled to have so many new books to read and my siblings were disenchanted by the idea of wrapped presents as they were books... books for their big sister.

    6. Preppy clothes. To say I’m obsessed with J.Crew is an understatement. I am not sure what instigated the love of preppy clothes but they are my go-to style and seem like an easy option to look classy and put together. Thankfully librarian style and business casual go hand in hand with preppy clothes.

    7. Organizing. I have always had a knack for having a lot of stuff but also the gift of organizing that stuff into manageable, even beautifully arranged spaces. As a kid I would love to have a full overhaul of my room, completely tearing it apart and organizing everything from my junk box, re-organizing and folding my clothes, my bookshelves, to under my bed. I started from a young age keeping my clothes in rainbow order. On numerous occasions I would actually rearrange the all the furniture in my room too. My mom would always be surprised that I could move my heavy wooden furniture but I had it down to a science and revelled in the fresh feng shui of my room. As librarians we don’t do these things per se but weeding and collection development is a great source of accomplished and focused organizing.

    8. Glasses. This goes along with the preppy clothes idea. I always wanted glasses growing up. I would try on everyone’s and always try on tons whenever I was at a store with frames. My parents eyes started to change for the worse in college, and sure enough mine took a turn for the worse too. And I was thrilled! :) Glasses are not my everyday look but I love that I can have my own real ones when I want to.

    9. Arthur says having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card. If you’ve seen this musical episode, you have experienced the instant stuck-in-your-head ability of this song. It’s cheesy and great, and marks a generation of kids who watched arthur, wanted to read and wanted their own library card. I was definitely a part of this group!

    10. Bringing books when I travel. I am notorious for overpacking in general but I always manage to bring too many books. I anticipate that I will read or study on the plane or in the car and it never quite happens. On my study abroad to France I brought the big thick unabridged version of LES MISERABLES. I just had to finish it while living in Paris!

  • YA sequels

     

    The pain is familiar to you: you pick up that book you've been hearing so much about, devour its contents, and then get to the last page only to discover that there is a SEQUEL planned, which means that instead of wrapping everything up nicely there are cliffhangers that will just leave you dangling, waiting and waiting and WAITING until the next book is published (a year later?! What makes publishers think we have this kind of patience?). For these 9 series, 2016 means that your wait is (at least temporarily) over!

    GLASS SWORD
    by Victoria Aveyard
    Release date: February 9th, 2016

    This is the second book in the RED QUEEN trilogy, which opened up at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 2015. Universal Pictures has already acquired the film rights so you know this one will be a popular read. It continues with the heroine Mare Barrow running for her life as she deals with her own personal darkness and the growing rebel uprising. A captivating fantasy full of action packed drama, romance, and all the fun of dystopian fiction.     

    THE LAST STAR
    by Rick Yancey
    Release date: May 24th, 2016

    The third and final book in the sci-fi apocalyptic 5TH WAVE series is finally here. This epic conclusion will determine the fate of planet Earth in a wildly entertaining page turner. This too has a film planned starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Nick Robinson.      

    THE ROSE AND THE DAGGER
    by Renee Ahdieh
    Release date: May 3rd, 2016

    Inspired by the classic Arabian Nights this is the followup to THE WRATH AND THE DAWN (2015).  Protagonist Shahrzad is torn between loyalties to those she loves but she determines to not be a pawn in the schemes and takes matters into her own hands as she learns to harness her powers. This lush and fast-paced novel keeps you intrigued with curses, subplots, romance and a culturally diverse setting.    

    A COURT OF MIST AND FURY
    by Sarah J Maas
    Release date: May 3rd, 2016

    This sequel to A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, tells of Fayre as the High Fae in the Night Court and the twisted politics, power and passions between good and evil therein. This seductive, action packed fantasy is sure to please fans.    

    A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT
    by Sabaa Tahir
    Release date: August 30th, 2016

    Number two of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, picks up where the previous ended with adventures and journeys fighting against the evil in the empire. Laia and Elias struggle to free her brother from prison in the north; meanwhile in the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla must juggle loyalty, love and power around the twisted leader Marcus.  

    THE CROWN
    by Kiera Cass
    Release date: May 3rd, 2016

    Cass’s fifth and the SELECTION series finale picks up with Eadlyn and her 35 suitors-dilemma as she realizes that she won’t be happy to remain alone. Eadlyn doesn’t believe that she can have the happily ever after fairytale that her parents were blessed with but the heart has a way of surprising you and Eadlyn is forced to make an important choice. Romantic, fast paced and engaging, this novel will wrap up the series in a satisfying way.  

    THE SHADOW HOUR
    by Melissa Grey
    Release date: July 12th, 2016

    Book number two of the GIRL AT MIDNIGHT series, Grey writes a world-building, urban fantasy continuing the story of Echo, the firebird--a creature of light that is said to bring peace. Echo has already overcome many losses but must struggle with dangers near and far, as well as learn to use her own powers.   

    YELLOW BRICK WAR
    by Danielle Paige
    Release date: March 15th, 2016

    Number three of the best-selling DOROTHY MUST DIE series tells of Amy Gumm’s mission to take down the evil dictator of Oz and Kansas--the not-so-sweet Dorothy Gale. Amy joins forces with the Revolutionary order of the Wicked to finally defeat her in this dark and gruesome tale full of magic, suspense and action.    

    THE WINNER’S KISS
    by Marie Rutkoski
    Release date: March 29th, 2016

    This final book in THE WINNER’S trilogy is complex and suspenseful as Arin believes the worst in Kestrel’s past behavior while she is in fact prisoner in a war camp. The war between East and West escalates as this fantasy tale unfolds, revealing the true nature of the characters and their love.   

     

  • fierce 01

     

    #Whatireallyreallywant is for everyone to read about these important women! In no particular order or preference, each tells of a woman you should be aware of and knowledgeable about. #girlpower

    Frida Kahlo by Guillermo Kahlo

    FRIDA KAHLO was a famous surrealist and modern artist and should be remembered as more than just the wife of another famous Mexican artist. She is renowned for her inventive self-portraits and examining the tougher aspects of life through her paintings. This compilation is a first of it’s kind- an illustrated journal complete with Frida’s own thoughts, poems, dreams, sketches, self portraits and more. It covers the last ten years of her life from 1944-1954, in a captivating and sometimes haunting, sometimes witty way. Giving perspective on her turbulent relationship with Diego, living with a debilitating handicap and the ensuing surgeries, and insights on her creative process, this auto biography shines with Frida’s own hand.

    (Portrait of Frida Kahlo by her father, Guillermo Kahlo; public domain)

    diary kahloTHE DIARY OF FRIDA KAHLO: AN INTIMATE SELF-PORTRAIT
    by Frida Kahlo
    (2005)

     

     

     

     

     

    Profile portrait of Catherine II by Fedor Rokotov 1763 Tretyakov galleryCATHERINE THE GREAT was the most renowned and longest-ruling female leader of Russia, reigning from 1762–1796. She came to power after her husband was assassinated and while under her rule Russia became one of the great powers of Europe. Balancing the government, foreign policy, cultural development, domestic rebellion, wars, and welfare of the Russian people were all in her hands. This book accurately captures the life of this great women, giving details to her personal relationships, her well developed philosophical mind, and her successes and struggles in ruling the vast country of Russia.

    (Portrait of Catherine II by Fedor Rokotov; public domain)

    catherine the greatCATHERINE THE GREAT: PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN
    by Robert K. Massie
    (2011)

     

     

     

      

    Marie Curie 1903MARIE SKLODOWSKA CURIE was distinguished physicist and chemist who pioneered research on radioactivity (a term that she coined!). She was the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, the only woman to win it twice, and the only person to win twice in multiple sciences.  She discovered two elements—polonium and radium. She was the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris and became the first women to be entombed on her own merits in the Pantheon of Paris. This book is a visual journey through Marie’s life—collages, photos, clippings, drawings—giving a compelling narrative to the fascinating scientific significance of her work, while mixing in romance and intrigue.

    (Portrait from the 1903 Nobel Prize committee; public domain)

    RadioactiveRADIOACTIVE: MARIE & PIERRE CURIE: A TALE OF LOVE AND FALLOUT
    by Lauren Redniss
    (2010)

     

     

     

     

    CleopatraLubowska

    CLEOPATRA has been imagined for centuries by poets, artists and historians alike in attempt to convey her beauty, wealth, power and importance. She was the last acting pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty founded by Alexander the Great. She was married twice to her brothers but her lovers- Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony place her as the most influential woman of the age.  This book separates fact from fiction to reveal in rich detail the dazzling life of this magnetic queen. 

    (Portrait of  dancer Winniefred Foote in Cleopatra costume; public domain, courtesy of the Library of Congress)

    cleopatraCLEOPATRA: A LIFE
    by Stacy Schiff
    (2010)

     

     

     

     

     

    Malala Yousafzai Education for girls 22419395331MALALA YOUSAFZAI is a human rights activist known for her advocacy for education and women.  In her  province of Pakistan the local Taliban sometimes banned girls from attending school. Her family runs a chain of schools in that region and on October 9, 2012 a gunman boarded her school bus, asked for her name and shot her. After intensive recovery Malala is thriving and continues her advocacy against this kind of violence and discrimination. She was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in the world, she was the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace prize and she continues to speak at international conventions. This is her powerful story of a family uprooted by global terrorism, the fight for girl’s education, and her beliefs that have already changed the world.

    (Portrait by Simon Davis of the UK Department for International Development; creative commons license)

    malalaI AM MALALA: THE GIRL WHO STOOD UP FOR EDUCATION AND WAS SHOT BY THE TALIBAN
    by Malala Yousafzai
    (2013)

     

     

     

     

     

  • classics to love 1

     Classic
    /’klasik/

    Adjective
    1. Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstand of its kind            
    Synonyms: definitive, authoritative

    Noun
    1. A work of art of recognized and establish value
    Synonyms: model, epitome, paradigm, exemplar

    Classics: I. Love. Classics. They're not everyone’s cup of tea, but when you find the good ones they can really speak to your soul. I recommend classics to build well-rounded readership but also because they are well written and are something you can sink your teeth into. They are fiction, but not silly fiction that will fade with every new trend. They aren’t necessarily your fun, poolside entertainment kind of books, but you can become just as absorbed if you give them a chance.

    Classics give historical perspectives of the authors and help describe how society and culture is formed. These books can give deeper insights on life—growing up, family dynamics, love, betrayal, school, marriage, work, race, religion, war and so much more. Some of these I first read as a teenager when I’d ask my dad for book suggestions, but I’ve come back to these over the years. At different ages and stages of life these books have held deeper meaning. All of these favorites would be excellent for men and women, at all ages, teenage and above. 

    Here are 20 Classics to love—or at least make you feel something (preferably not disgust): 

    • LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott
    • EMMA by Jane Austen
    • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen
    • CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    • COUNTE OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas
    • ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by LM Montgomery
    • THREE MUSKETEERS by Alexandre Dumas
    • LES MISERABLES by Victor Hugo
    • NORTH AND SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell
    • FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD by Thomas Hardy
    • DRACULA by Bram Stoker
    • A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith
    • CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by CS Lewis
    • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA by Gaston Leroux
    • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
    • THE LITTLE PRINCE by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    • THE LORD OF THE RINGS by JRR Tolkien
    • ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy
    • DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank
    • FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley

    classics to love 3

  • dance movies 1

    I’m a sucker for cheesy chick flicks, and dance movies are no exception. They are in their own category of favorite for me, probably because deep down inside I wish I was more of a dancer. I took a little here and there growing up, and even tried to get into it again in college, but to no avail. Unfortunately ballerinas don’t come in the 5’10” variety. When I took the accelerated advanced ballet class at BYU, I had a zeal that rarely emerged for coursework. My teacher saw this and really tried to mentor me. I was the same size as the two boys in the class (most of the girls barely passed the 5’ or 100 lbs mark) and because of my athletic background I could keep up with the boys with the bigger and double-time jumps. That bit was fun but I never felt like I could quite fit in with the other little dancers, no matter how graceful or accurately I moved. Watching dance movies gives me that little taste of a dancer’s life that I never had. I go to almost all of Ballet West’s major performances and listen to Tchaikovsky when I want to mellow out, but dance movies are a favorite because it combines chick flick rom-com with dance.  Here are a few that the library owns:

    Untitled 1STEP UP 
    Directed by Anne Fletcher
    (2006)

    Ballet meets the streets, traditional classical meets contemporary hip hop, and love unfolds as prejudices give way. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan are a perfect pair because their chemistry is 100% real- they are now married and have a daughter! Even though the plot seems a bit unbelievable at times, a great soundtrack and awesome dancing make for an epic dance film. The step up franchise has continued with 4 other Step up movies, varying in acting ability, dance skills and chemistry between the main actors. My personal ranking of the 5 movies goes as follows: 1, 2, 4, 5, 3.

    Untitled 2TAKE THE LEAD 
    Directed by Liz Friedlander
    (2006).

    Antonio Banderas ballroom dancing...need I say more? That alone makes this movie worth watching. TAKE THE LEAD has an endearing plot where the friendship and love seem to grow organically as ballroom dance and ballroom etiquette becomes integrated into their lives. This has a nice take home message and entertaining, classy dancing.

     

    Untitled 3SAVE THE LAST DANCE 
    Directed by Thomas Carter
    (2006)

    There seems to be a trend of good dance movies coming out in 2006. I’m not sure why, but it’s interesting. This is another ballet meets hip hop movie in the streets of Chicago. Ballerina Kat has suffered a tremendous loss, and a new friend helps in the healing process as she strives to accomplish her dreams. This film gets into deeper things with divorce, race, death, gang violence and inner city culture all while telling the tale of a dancer as she grows up.

     

    Untitled 4FOOTLOOSE
    Directed by Craig Brewer
    (2011)

    This is the remake of the original FOOTLOOSE from 1984, also found here at the library, showing how dancing is a very good thing despite some rigid city rules. I think I like the new one better because I don’t see any chemistry between Kevin Bacon and Lori Singer, whereas with Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough, there is plenty of chemistry despite their relatively new acting chops. This is a fun movie showing teens' lives can be enhanced by good clean dancing and new friends.

     

    Untitled 5DIRTY DANCING 
    Directed by Emile Ardolino
    (1987)

    This is an old classic when it comes to dance movies. Try to ignore the age difference and sketchy relationships and focus on the fun latin dance moves. I admit the whole setup is odd with the family vacation summer camp vibe, but nevertheless this film is very entertaining. If you’ve ever wondered where the phrase “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” come from, or wondered what ‘the lift’ is that’s mentioned in so many rom-coms, then you need to watch this. Like #4 there was also a remake done, found here, but it’s not nearly as good as the original in my opinion.

     

    As far as dance movies are concerned there are definitely more than 5 good ones, so this list is just the tip of the iceberg. A few that the library doesn’t own that I also love include: CENTER STAGE, STREETDANCE, HONEY 2, A BALLERINA'S TALE, FIRST POSITION, and HIGH STRUNG. Enjoy and keep dancing!

    The library hosts various dance related activities that you can come to no matter your dance ability. Seriously any level, we don’t judge! We have a Learn It series with zumba and bollywood classes. It’s a great way to get some exercise and move to some good beats! September through May on first and third Mondays of each month, we host cultural performances which often include dance, theater and music groups- Wasatch ballet, legacy dance studio, WOFA afro fusion dance, and more!  Be sure to look out for and attend these events.

  • forgotten authoress

     

    Anyone heard of the great Romanticism authors Lord Byron or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? How about Romanticism painters like J.M. William Turner or Caspar David Friedrich? What about Romanticism musicians like Schubert, Liszt or Beethoven? Probably a resounding YES to all of those famous and talented men who are considered geniuses in their fields because they pushed boundaries and invented new techniques and ideas in their art. Romanticism is not about being lovey-dovey romantic at all, but more about the power and majesty of man in relation to the awe-inspiring grandeur of the natural world. To be considered a genius your artistic creations have to build off the established to produce new definitions of what is great. We should continue to give kudos to all artistic geniuses where they are due! But let’s not forget the women during the same time period who can likewise be considered and especially those who establish women characters as geniuses. 

    Ever heard of the famous and talented authoress Madame Germaine de Staël? I’m not surprised if your answer is no. Napoleon Bonaparte really hated her so she was exiled from her beloved Paris, and unfortunately she was written out of the history books and out of literary anthologies (for the most part.) Her novel CORINNE, OR ITALY is one of my all time favorites so I was saddened, but not entirely shocked, to learn that the library didn’t own a copy. We now own a copy of CORINNE, OR ITALY (by Staël, Madame de (Anne-Louise-Germaine), 1766-1817., published 1805)- find it here!

    Madame de Staël should be remembered and read because she was an influential writer and thinker, who proved that opposition can be inspiration. After being exiled from Paris, Staël set up a renowned and thriving salon in her home at Coppet, Switzerland. This became a locus for the great philosophical minds and writers of the Romanticism movement. Staël wrote novels, poems, philosophical treatises and started a female authorship trend that continued throughout the 1800s with great female authors like George Sand, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Gaskell,  Anne Radcliffe, and Christina Rossetti, to name just a few. Staël’s bestselling novel CORINNE, OR ITALY, was a subtle critique of Napoleon’s oppressive regime as he passed civil codes restricting the freedoms women previously gained during the French revolution. This novel pushed a radical proposition that a woman could be a genius on the stage, anticipating the prima donna figure, while tying in autobiographical references. This novel should be read alongside other French literature classics as she helped establish the genre and tradition of great female authors. 

    (Warning! Spoilers below!)

    Raise your hand if you’ve ever been dumped by someone you were head over heels for, where you thought it was totally perfect and you’d live happily ever after? Well (spoiler alert!) Corinne was dumped by Oswald. And then he chooses to marry Corinne’s much younger half-sister who couldn’t be more different than Corinne.  Completely distraught, she settles into a depressed melancholic state because of it… and then she overcomes the melancholy and helps teach and guide another talented young girl to take her place on the stage. Corinne’s voice and fire is not stolen by a small inconsequential man, but instead her voice is channeled into a matriarchal lineage of talented women. If there was ever a “how to get over a dumb man” novel, this is the ultimate classics edition. I happened to be fully immersed in Corinne studies when a similar break up happened to me and the irony was so apparent. I needed to pick myself back up and find my voice again. Staël’s work helped me be able to do so! 

    I respect and revere this female author and the way she set up future women’s writing achievements. She totally was a feminist in her day! Her novel CORINNE is a classic in my book and an overall great novel. 

  • downton

    Does anyone else have a Downton Abbey-sized hole in their heart? [If you are really into the Downton Abbey thing PCL has made a pinterest board for you- list upon lists specifically inspired by the lives and drama around that famous place.] I definitely miss that show, so I have to be content with rewatching and discovering other similar shows that fit my fancy. These are a few that I have really enjoyed. I’m still working on my husband and close friends to fully appreciate these kinds of shows; they are my top favorite genre, with RomComs in a close second. I probably got into this genre because my parents like these sorts of books and always encouraged me to read the classics. They are not big movie or TV watchers, but when they do it’s usually a period piece.  Do you have more recommendations for me, (I need them please!)? How did you first fall in love with the PBS/BBC/Masterpiece Collection/ period pieces?

    8.11 Far from the Madding CrowdFAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
    Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
    (2015)

    This film is absolutely stunning. The music, acting, countryside landscapes, and cinematography.  I love the spunk, independence, and feminist thinking of the character of Bathsheba Everdeen and Carey Mulligan brings her to life.  I hadn’t heard much about the film when it came out and a friend sent me the trailer, inviting me to go. As I sat in class,  I couldn’t watch the trailer with sound, but even just the short trailer without sound got me hooked.

     

    8.10 North and SouthNORTH AND SOUTH
    Directed by Brian Percival
    (2005) 

    The tension between English northern and southern traditions and personalities during the Industrial Revolution, mirrored in John Thornton and Margaret Hale’s relationship, is awesome. When you watch it, I dare you to try to NOT hum along to the swelling intro music. 

     

     

    8.11 Pride and PrejudicePRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    Directed by Simon Langton 
    (1995)

    Now this is the looooong one, so you really have to commit. If you are a first timer or new to the P&P cult, then brace yourself. Colin Firth is an amazing Mr. Darcy. This Elizabeth is not my favorite but she does a good job. It follows the book closely which I like, since so many movies do a poor job representing the book. Since P&P fans tend to be very judgemental on that front, I think it speaks for itself that the film has been so beloved for so long. I think Jane Austen would be proud. What’s your top P&P rendition?

     

    8.11 Jane EyreJANE EYRE
    Directed by Susanna White
    (2006)

    The first time I saw this film it was with my classics-loving parents during a really terrible thunderstorm in Colorado. Much of the film is also rather emotionally volatile, accompanied with turbulent, dreary weather and, you guessed it, thunder and lightning storms! So as I watched the film and got more into it, perplexed by the characters’ behaviors (hoping against all hope that there would be a happy romantic ending...), the actual storm got worse outside. Right during a thunderstorm scene in the film the power went out at our house! It was SO ironic and hilarious because we all wanted to finish the film!

    8.11 The Young VictoriaTHE YOUNG VICTORIA
    Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée 
    (2010)

    I’m not sure why there has been such a surge of Victoria shows over the past few years, but I’m not complaining. This was the first I ever saw of her, and Emily Blunt with Rupert Friend is phenomenal. They totally capture the beauty and romance between Victoria and Albert. With so many Victoria shows out and more on their way, be sure to check them out here and here! PS that second one- I’m really excited about the movie coming out because Judi Dench is such a powerful actress! Which one is your favorite version?

     

     

  • meditation 1

    “Focus your attention within. You will experience new power, new strength and new peace of body, mind and spirit. All bonds that limited you will be removed.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda  

    I tend to be a stressed and anxious person. I worry, A LOT. This does nothing productive and actually makes my life harder. It also makes me ill- I get tense muscles, rashes, acne, headaches, depression, anxiety and food sensitivities, to name a few . Our bodies don’t take well to stress on the excessive side. (A healthy amount of stress does help us be productive and motivated contributors to society.)  But thankfully there are options to relieve the excess stress. One very underused option is meditation. Focusing on breathing, calming down the mind, and drawing attention inward can soothe and liberate the mind and body. Besides being a librarian, I am a certified yoga instructor and during my training I was taught meditation techniques that truly work. I’ve found these simple meditation techniques to be very beneficial in reducing stress, healing my body and alleviating my worries. The only hard part about it is consistently doing it!  

    The main reasons people DON’T meditate:

    1. A skeptical mindset. Meditation is the ultimate act of ‘sharpening the saw.’ 
    2. Impatience: it’s too easy. The daily benefit is small but the long term benefit is huge.
    3. Concern about being too selfish. You are just as important as everyone else. And what you want matters just as much as what everybody else wants.
    4. A need for external authorization. Being attuned to your inner guidance will never lead you astray.
    5. Emotional discomfort. Becoming aware of negative thoughts and feelings gives you the power to change them and to liberate yourself from them, the power to transform your life!  

    My personal reason to not meditate- #2 Impatience. I can’t stick to a daily routine. It’s too simple and though I definitely have 20 minutes each day that could go towards meditating, I choose worthless fillers like social media and TV, instead of choosing what would really help me. What’s your reason for not meditating?  

    Follow these steps for a basic meditation sequence:

    • Throughout the practice remain poised and alert
    • Sit upright in a cross legged posture, eyes closed, hands resting on knees
    • Acknowledge your relationship to the Infinite, however you perceive it to be
    • Direct your attention to your spiritual eye- the center space between the eyebrows
    • Observe your natural breathing rhythm. Let it flow easily.
    • If using a one word mantra- mentally recite it on the inhale or exhale; feel peaceful on the opposite breath (One word mantras- peace, shalom, shanti, joy, happiness, Om etc)
    • With a word-phrase mantra- mentally recite the first word on the inhale and the second word as you exhale. (mantra phrases- So-Hum, Hong-Sau, Om-God, Be-Still, I-Am etc)
    • Continue the internal chanting for at least 20 complete breaths or for as long as you desire.
    • When you are relaxed and internalized, disregard the mantra and continue to breathe in a calm, alert state for the duration of your session (10+ minutes).
    • To conclude your practice, open your eyes and remain calm and posed in your seated position for a few moments before resuming normal activities.  

    Meditation is proven to have both spiritual and physical positive side effects including:

    1. Improved function of the immune system.
    2. Increased production of healing hormones. (DHEA, melatonin, serotonin, HGH)
    3. Changes in the brain that support emotional stability.

    By meditating the mind is brought into stillness, and the body follows calming down the overactive ‘fight or flight’ response caused by STRESS. Stress is at the root of most illnesses and can be reduced in the body through meditation. Different areas of the brain are strengthened when meditating giving you great capacity to handle stress is a positive way.  

    *From Steven Nibley’s meditation class for yoga teachers training  

    What’s stopping you from living a healthier, happier, less stressful life? Here are library resources to help you begin a meditation practice:

    The Power of StillnessTHE POWER OF STILLNESS: LEARN MEDITATION IN 30 DAYS
    by Tobin Blake
    (2003)

     

     

     

     

     

    Chakra MeditationCHAKRA MEDITATION: DISCOVER ENERGY, CREATIVITY, FOCUS, LOVE, COMMUNICATION, WISDOM, AND SPIRIT
    by Swami Saradananda
    (2008)

     

     

     

     

    Christ Centered MeditationCHRIST-CENTERED MEDITATION: A HANDBOOK FOR A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
    by Pam Blackwell
    (2011)

     

     

     

    The Headspace Guide to MeditationTHE HEADSPACE GUIDE TO MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS: HOW MINDFULNESS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN TEN MINUTES A DAY
    by Andy Puddicombe
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

    Meditation Made SimpleMEDITATION MADE SIMPLE: WEEKLY PRACTICES FOR RELIEVING STRESS, FINDING BALANCE, AND CULTIVATING JOY
    by Paula Watkins
    (2016)

     

    QUIET TIME MEDITATION
    by Creative Music Service
    (2005)

     

    CANON FOR RELAXATION AND MEDITATION
    by Johann Pachelbel
    (1990)

    Guided Mindfulness MeditationGUIDED MINDFULNESS MEDITATION SERIES 1
    by Jon Kabat-Zinn
    (2002)

     

  • strong girls

    Do you want to raise strong, smart, ambitious and independent girls? Do you want to be the kind of woman who makes a difference in the world? READ. Read about women! Read from the Feminist Fiction Starter Guide.

    As the oldest child of a typical Mormon family, growing up in Colorado, I never grew up with the word feminist. Then in college at BYU I heard the word thrown around as an almost ‘dirty’ word. It wasn’t until years later in graduate program at BYU that I came to understand feminist to mean someone who shares a common goal: to define, establish and achieve equal political economic, personal and social rights for women. And then I realized I AM a feminist. A staunch one at that! I had been raised to be a strong, independent woman who would think and act for herself, defending human rights for all and wanting others to have the same realization: feminism is a good thing.

    So what shaped me all those years leading up to this epiphany? READING. Reading wonderful fiction that had female protagonists who got real stuff done. They overcame hard things, helped others who were down, they learned about boys, dating and heartbreak, they grew into their bodies over those awkward teenage years, and they conquered and achieved. 

    Here are my first four picks for a Feminist Fiction Starter Guide; check back next week for additional picks for readers young and old!

    FOR YOUNGER READERS:

    anne of green gablesANNE OF GREEN GABLES
    by L.M. Montgomery
    (1908)

    Anne is one of those headstrong fiery characters (plus she has great red hair!) who lives life to the fullest. She never lets social convention or the ‘norms’ dictate her behavior. She is smart and pursues her education so intently that she competes for top of the class with the boys. She won’t let boys bully her and she is a loyal and devoted friend. 

     

     

     

    ella enchantedELLA ENCHANTED
    by Gail Carson Levine
    (1997)

     I am definitely the kind of person who doesn’t like being told what to do, so I felt for Ella as she was cursed with the gift of obedience. Because of her goodness and perseverance she is able to overcome the spell and finds true love (the ideal!).

     

     

     

    FOR OLDER READERS: 

    mists of avalonTHE MISTS OF AVALON
    by Marion Zimmer Bradley
    (1982)

    This is the King Arthur story told from the powerful and passionate women in his life. Morganne is the sister that gets a bad rap, or is forgotten in other King Arthur stories, but here she reigns as the best Camelot has to offer. The complex web of women at this time is told with their plots for power, love and magical/mystical influences. 

     

     

     

    red tentTHE RED TENT
    by Anita Diamant
    (1997)

    This book gave me a love for the Old Testament. I like the female perspective on a story that I had read and heard only from the Biblical (male) perspective. In a wonderful blend of historical and fiction Diamant gives a voice to Dinah, the one and only daughter in the famous 12 tribes of Israel family.

     

     

     

    There are my first four picks for raising a young feminist! What books would you recommend to raise a strong girl? 

     

     

     

     

     

  • strong girls

    Do you want to raise strong, smart, ambitious and independent girls? Do you want to be the kind of woman who makes a difference in the world? READ. Read about women! Read from the Feminist Fiction Starter Guide.

    As the oldest child of a typical Mormon family, growing up in Colorado, I never grew up with the word feminist. Then in college at BYU I heard the word thrown around as an almost ‘dirty’ word. It wasn’t until years later in graduate program at BYU that I came to understand feminist to mean someone who shares a common goal: to define, establish and achieve equal political economic, personal and social rights for women. And then I realized I AM a feminist. A staunch one at that! I had been raised to be a strong, independent woman who would think and act for herself, defending human rights for all and wanting others to have the same realization: feminism is a good thing.

    So what shaped me all those years leading up to this epiphany? READING. Reading wonderful fiction that had female protagonists who got real stuff done. They overcame hard things, helped others who were down, they learned about boys, dating and heartbreak, they grew into their bodies over those awkward teenage years, and they conquered and achieved. 

    Last week I shared my first four picks for a Feminist Fiction Starter Guide; here are more picks for raising a strong, independent girl! 

    FOR YOUNGER READERS:

    mists of avalonISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS
    by Scott O'Dell
    (1960)

    This is a survival story at its heart, making Karana a real inspiration to girls. She was left behind by her tribe on their island and is forced to build shelter, find food, make weapons and fight her enemies, alone. This is a coming of age story giving insight to another culture and teaching some practical survival skills.

     

     

     

    ella enchantedLITTLE WOMEN
    by Louisa May Alcott
    (1868)

    There is such a range of women in this book that a young reader can learn from. Jo is my personal favorite, but there are so many life choices that each March sister faces that teach girls about growing up. You can be like Amy and aspire to have many wealthy beaus, or you could be like Meg and marry a good honest man, or you can be like Jo and seek a career and teaching job. This classic is a reflection on American life during the time of the Civil War and helps readers see options for the way they approach the world and relationships.

     

     

    FOR OLDER READERS:

    red tentTHE HELP
    by Kathryn Stockett
    (2009)

    I have always had a soft spot in my heart for those suffering from civil rights injustices. I could really connect to the various women’s stories and I wanted redemption and recourse for those wrongs against black women in the south. I think young girls need to recognize the issue of race in America and how to not be narrow minded or discriminate.

     

     

     

    anne of green gablesTHE HUNGER GAMES
    by Suzanne Collins
    (2008)

    I love how Katniss is the protector of her family. I am also the oldest child and I would like to imagine I could begin a war all because I wanted to protect my little sister from a brutal death game. Katniss is bold and yet flawed and we get to see her grow, overcome obstacles, and accept the harder facts of life. She made me want to be a strong fighter but also someone who lived life passionately.  

     

      

    Others that I haven’t personally read but come highly recommended in this category (not all are appropriate for young girls, but all are pretty classic in feminist fiction):

    PRINCESS ACADEMY by Shannon Hale

    SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN by Lisa See

    BUDDHA IN THE ATTIC by Julia Otsuka

    THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood 

     There's my list! What titles would you recommend for raising a strong girl? 

     

     

     

  •  take a hike

    At this time of year I often start to get wanderlust. The sun is shining and I want to go explore. I want to buy plane tickets and go to places I’ve never been… and not be stuck inside working. I am always a bit more ambitious and excited in the daydreams than in real life. Anyone else feel this way? I think that could be attributed to poor planning ahead. When I finally have a free day, I haven’t planned a thing and so my wandering isn’t happening. I love hiking, but finding the right one last minute can be daunting, so I end up going to the same hikes over and over again.  Here’s where the library can really help! The library has a wealth of information available for the travel-minded, especially for those who love the outdoors. 

    From the comfort of your own computer you can discover so much on our website. I’m sure these pages are under appreciated simply because most people don’t know they exist! Some helpful lists and links that can help you discover the surrounding area of Provo found on this page, including information about:

    • Outdoor specialties- water, caves, ponds

    • Hiking and biking trails

    • Bird watching and other wildlife watching

    • Campgrounds

    • Neighboring city parks

    • Scenic drives

    • Rental stores for all outdoor needs

    • Links to helpful resources: national parks, Utah forest service, state parks, fishing guide, hot springs etc 

    When I see this list I want to do all the things! But there’s quite a few so I’ll start small. I’m most excited about the various hiking and biking options. Each hike has location, directions, terrain level and pictures to show the beauty of Utah. Some hikes that look particularly good for me to do this summer include:

    • Grotto Falls trail

    • Battle CreekCanyon Falls

    • Dry Canyon trails

    • Fifth water trail- this one leads to hot pots!

    • 5 Senses nature trail 

    14883520 10157676473555258 4236593460787473560 o
    Ashlee B. Gilson, Bridal Veil Falls, Provo Photo Contest

    Places on the outdoors list that I already love and would recommend to anyone new or old to Provo:

    • Bridal Veil Falls- this is where my family goes for ‘nature walks’. It’s not quite a hike and yet it’s in the canyon and you can be close to the waterfall and go for a quick, very easy walk.

    • Timpanogos Caves- I have fond memories of running this zigzag trail with my cousins as a kid. We’d go to the cave as a family, and the hike up to the cave is quite nice.

    • Deer Creek State Park- This can be a fun place to take a BBQ picnic. Or if you have the option to go boating or paddle boarding, that is really fun too! But beware -  this water is FREEZING! Even in the middle of a hot summer I’d recommend a wetsuit.

    • Provo River and River Trails- These are fun for so many activities. Along the Provo river trail you can run, bike or longboard (be aware you can get going pretty fast at some places so wear a helmet!). The river is also pretty cold even in the middle of summer, but it’s fun to float the river in inner tubes.

    • Utah Lake State Park- around the lake there are a few walkways for a peaceful stroll, and close to the water there are always lots of rocks to throw in or to skip haha! There are also covered picnic tables for your use. This is a great spot if you want an outdoor location to film engagement videos!

    • Bonneville Shoreline Trail- For a long time I have lived close to various parts of this trail. You can quickly leave suburbia and feel like you are in the mountains because the trails snake along the base of them. I’d usually see other joggers but never too many to make it feel crowded. These get really dark at night so be careful! (I’m paranoid a cougar will come get me when I’m alone on a walk/hike)

    14876662 10157676474810258 6572691505244594409 o 1
    Brian Mortenson, Rock Canyon, Provo Photo Contest

     ***If you want to get really ambitious the library has all sorts of maps of national parks complete with trails and topography maps to navigate!! These would be great if you plan to backpack in the Uintas! You can find these maps on the second floor under the call number 912.7925 MAPS UTAH. Come check these out!

    What hikes are you looking forward to this summer? Are there any important ones missing from our website? Enjoy this beautiful weather and happy hiking!