Nonfiction

  • Teen Self Help

    The start of school is a new beginning, a great time to evaluate goals and start good habits. Maybe you want to be better at planning homework time, or are interested in building your resume. Maybe you just want to feel more comfortable in your own skin. A new school year is a great time to work on yourself and your future. If you are looking for some great ways to improve your school year, our nonfiction collection is a great place to start. 

    10.10 Seven HabitsSEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEENS
    by Sean Covey
    (2014)

    This is a classic when it comes to setting goals and making decisions. Covey builds off the original 7 Habits to help you work on different aspects of your life, from friendships to school, to getting along with your parents to dating. It also has great sections on how to create good social media habits, resist negative peer pressure, and find direction in life and school.  

     

    10.10 Ignite Your SparkIGNITE YOUR SPARK: DISCOVERING WHO YOU ARE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
    by Patricia Wooster
    (2017)

    What do you love? What makes you excited about life? These are some of the key questions asked by this book. Through interactive quizzes and activities it will help you find things that motivate you to be your best and most creative self. Learn how to make failure into success, build your determination, and build the future that you really want.   

     

    10.10 The Self Esteem HabitTHE SELF-ESTEEM HABIT FOR TEENS: 50 SIMPLE WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE EVERY DAY  
    by Lisa Schab
    (2017)

    It’s hard not compare yourself to others, especially in high school. With social media creating unattainable standards, it is difficult not to be hard on ourselves. What happens when these feelings of comparison become insecurities? Using these simple habits of mind, you can build your confidence and self-esteem.

     

    10.10 Getting Stuff DoneA TEEN’S GUIDE TO GETTING STUFF DONE
    by Jennifer Shannon
    (2017)

    Do you struggle with procrastination? There are actually different types of procrastinators. Are you a warrior? A pleaser? A perfectionist? Or are you a rebel? Each type has different strengths and weaknesses and different reasons for procrastinating. Learn to understand your motivation or lack of motivation with this interesting and insightful discussion of why you may be leaving things until the last minute.   

     
  • Scary Woman

    It’s October, which means Halloween is getting close! Many people find macabre and unsettling stories to be extra fun to read at this time of year. The following is a list of books that detail true stories of female criminals. Murderers are usually thought of as men, but these women have proven that they can be just as devastatingly and unspeakably evil.  

    10.30 Till Death Do Us Part‘TILL DEATH DO US PART: LOVE, MARRIAGE, AND THE MIND OF THE KILLER SPOUSE
    By Dr. Robi Ludwig & Matt Birkbeck
    (2006)

    At least six people in the U.S. are murdered every day by a spouse/intimate partner. This book features the psychological profiles of infamous killer spouses – many of them women!  

     

    10.30 Tender MurderersTENDER MURDERERS: WOMEN WHO KILL
    By Trina Robbins
    (2003)

    This book is divided into sections that revolve around a particular theme, like murder for money, murder for love, etc. What drives a woman to kill? What brings her to that point of no return?  

     

    10.30 Lady KillersLADY KILLERS: DEADLY WOMEN THROUGHOUT HISTORY
    By Tori Telfer
    (2017)

    Is there such a thing as a female serial killer? This book argues that there definitely is and gives fourteen fascinatingly disturbing examples as proof.  

     

    10.30 BurnedBURNED
    By Edward Humes
    (2019)

    In 1989, Jo Ann Parks survived a house fire that killed her three children. In 1993, she was arrested and convicted of setting that fire. Did she kill her children?   

     

    10.30 Ugly PreyUGLY PREY
    By Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi
    (2017)

    This fascinating book is different than the others on this list – the criminal, Sabella Nitti, was not a criminal at all. Readers won’t be able to put down this heartbreaking and true story of the first woman to be sentenced to death in Chicago.

     
  • Coneflower resized 

    Utah is in a drought. Most of the state still remains under extreme or exceptional drought, according to DROUGHT.GOV. While more than half of our water is used for agriculture, there is still quite a bit we can do on our own to manage our household water consumption.  

    One of the ways you can save on water is through XERISCAPING. Xeriscaping focuses on using plants native to desert climates and can completely remove the need for irrigation or watering. In addition to the resources available at the UTAH WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAM website, we have several books on the topic of xeriscaping and conserving water that you can use for your home's landscaping and gardens. 

    3.5 Gardening with Less WaterGARDENING WITH LESS WATER
    By David A. Bainbridge
    (2015) 

    Drought is not a new concept in the West and this book focuses on building gardens with these drought conditions in mind. From clay-pot irrigation systems to gravity wicks, there is bound to be a type of watering system that benefits your garden and minimizes your water bill. 

     

    3.5 Hot Color Dry GardenHOT COLOR, DRY GARDEN
    By Nan Sterman
    (2018)

    This water-wise gardener's resource covers dry gardening how-to, as well as the color and design elements needed to implement a functioning and beautiful space. Filled with bright images and a plant directory, this book provides a great starting point for embarking on a xeriscaping project. 

     

    3.5 The Water wise HomeTHE WATER-WISE HOME
    By Laura Allen
    (2015)

    Written by the co-founder of Greywater Action, THE WATER-WISE HOME provides tips and tricks for both inside and out to reuse your water. With discussions on how to target irrigation issues and maximize greywater reuse for your landscape, this user-friendly guide covers all questions and methods to make a water-wise landscape a reality. 

     

    3.5 Rock GardeningROCK GARDENING
    By Joseph Tychonievich
    (2016)

    A classic method of gardening that has been gaining popularity, ROCK GARDENING covers ways to garden among rocks that focuses on highlighting the climate you're in. From alpine gardens to desert-scaping, this book covers plants, soil, and construction with vibrant photos and down-to-earth writing. 

     

    More books on xeriscaping and climate-wise gardening can be found in our upstairs nonfiction section or in our CATALOG.

     
  •  Utah History

    Here at the library, our Special Collections contains many things: old city records and Provo High year books, old maps and historical artifacts, and biographies and compiled records detailing Provo and Utah’s history. Now if we take a look back into history, back when Utah was only a territory or had barely become a state, it was a very different kind of place. Utah was a dangerous place, and the men who tried to profit on that danger would go on to make the roads and train rails, places of relatively safety, some of the most dangerous places in the West. Here is a list of four books that outline some of the Special Collections more adventurous books. 

    THE LAST OF THE BANDIT RAIDERS
    By Murray E. King
    (2000) 

    This book follows the life of Matt Warner, an Old West bandit that often ran in the crew of Butch Cassidy, and Tom & Bill McCarty. After being caught in 1900, he turned away from the bandit life and became a law-abiding citizen. But his bandit days would give him the experience to become the lawman for Carbon County, serving as sheriff, justice of the peace, detective, and night policeman during his life time. 

    To illustrate the type of man Matt Warner was, here’s a story. When he was 91 and working as a night policeman, he shot a gun right out of the hand of a criminal he was arresting. The criminal would later say that Warner’s gun had apparently appeared out of thin air. Warner, at 91, was just that fast. 

     

    UTAH BANDITS, BUSHWACKERS, OUTLAWS, CROOKS, DEVILS, GHOSTS & DESPERADOS!
    By Carole Marsh
    (1990) 

    This book is a collection of short stories, things you’d hear around the dinner table or around a campfire, that catalogs and records a number of experiences from people like Butch Cassidy. In the introduction to the book, the author wrote that “history is what really happened, not just what got recorded in the history books.” So this small collection was Marsh’s way of supplementing and calling out the bias of traditional textbooks. 

     

    THE OUTLAW TRAIL: A HISTORY OF BUTCH CASSIDY AND HIS WILD BUNCH
    By Charles Kelly
    (1959)

    Charles Kelly collected stories from “old timers who personally knew the outlaws” and other sources in an attempt to put together the most accurate history of Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch. Kelly covers all of the Wild Bunch’s early years of bank robberies, the gang’s use of a hole in the side of canyon, and some of Cassidy’s copycats like Gunplay Max who was arrested after robbing a bank in Provo, failing miserably to copy Cassidy and the Wild Bunch’s success. 

     

    These are just three, among others, of the books in our Special Collections that detail the Wild West roots of Utah. Come into the library and ask the reference desk about our Special Collections to find more historical records, artifacts, and books about the history of the Provo area. 

     

  • mountains

    Utah is a great place to have fun in the summer! Our website has a great list of activities and events during summer, but don’t forget to enjoy the amazing mountain ranges and hiking trails. The natural beauty of our state attracts visitors from all over the world, so you should enjoy it too!

    Waterfalls are great hiking destinations, and the surrounding area has quite a few to choose from. For an easy and beautiful hike, give Stewart Falls a try. Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon is a unique and fun experience. For the more adventurous hikers, there are Emerald Lake and Mount Timpanogos, as well as Mount Nebo and Lake Blanche.  

    Don’t forget that beautiful vistas are not the only thing to enjoy up in the mountains. Utah is full of interesting geology, and rockhounding is an interesting hobby for the Utah hikers. The mountains are also full of nature’s bounty, and foraging can be a fun pastime if you need a more immediately rewarding hiking experience. It is so satisfying to create a meal from ingredients that you picked out in the wild! Try to take someone along that is familiar with edible plants in the area to avoid any mis-identifications!  

    However you enjoy your hike, don’t forget to bring plenty of water, wear good shoes, and protective clothing. Hiking alone can be fun, but it is best to bring a buddy along, or better yet, go with the whole family! Getting away from life’s distractions is a great way to bond with loved ones and is fantastic physical exercise.  

    Whether you want to enjoy the abundant trails, the beautiful scenery, or the breathtaking waterfalls, the Provo Library has some great books to inspire your visit to the mountains!  

    Hiking the WasatchHIKING THE WASATCH 
    By John Veranth
    (2014)

    Complete with maps and black and white photographs, this is a great resource for anyone that would like to explore Millcreek, Big Cottonwood, or Little Cottonwood Canyon, as well as several other areas along the Wasatch front. Veranth discusses general hiking tips and even has a section on the history of the Wasatch Mountains for anyone interested in the geology of the area.  

     

     

    Rockhounding UtahROCKHOUNDING UTAH: A GUIDE TO THE STATE'S BEST ROCKHOUNDING SITES 
    By Garry Warren
    (2014)

    This lovely little book is full of great information and beautiful photographs to get any rock hound excited about Utah. The author divides the state into different areas and showcases different rocks that can be found there. Complete with maps and advice on rockhounding etiquette, this is a great pick for anyone looking for a new outdoor hobby.  

     

     

    Best Hikes with DogsBEST HIKES WITH DOGS UTAH 
    By Dayna Stern
    (2013)

    Ok, this book is just adorable! And perfect for anyone that loves to hike with their four-legged best friend. The first section has tips and etiquette for hiking with dogs on any trail. The rest of the book lists a great number of trails ranging from northern Utah all the way to Southwestern Utah with everywhere in between. Grab your pet and upgrade your walk to a great hike outdoors.  

     

     

     

    Edible Wild PlantsEDIBLE WILD PLANTS
    By John Kallas
    (2010)

    Whether you are a foraging enthusiast or simply have a budding interest in botany or gardening, this book is for you. John Kallas covers a wide variety of wild greens and informs the reader about important stages in plant development. Each plant described in this book has its own chapter filled with beautiful color photographs, maps, and engaging description to help even the most novice of enthusiasts. Kallas even provides information about poisonous look-alikes, as well as nutritional information. With this great reference in hand, a wild food adventurer can up their game both in the wilderness and in the kitchen.

  • Roaring 20s

    Chop your hair into a shingled bob, start wearing low-waist dresses, and learn to do the Charleston. But a word of warning—if you’re faking your identity to win back the lost love of your life through fraud and wealth, your story might not end so well, old sport

    Since most of us weren’t alive during the first roaring twenties (looking at you, centenarians), people everywhere geared up to celebrate the 2020s in style. The 1920s were marked by decadence, lavish parties, and making the most of youth. While social distancing might put a damper on some of that, you can still celebrate the second roaring twenties by picking up a book, whether it be fact or fiction, and diving in.

    Books from the 1920s: 

    4.14 The Sun Also RisesTHE SUN ALSO RISES
    By Ernest Hemingway
    (1926) 

    Perhaps Hemingway’s most enduring classic, THE SUN ALSO RISES, is also his most quintessentially 1920s. In his recognizable prose style, he captures the spirit of the expatriates living in Europe.THE SUN ALSO RISES is a roman à clef, and is based on the actual experiences of Hemingway and a group of friends while on a trip to Spain.  

     

    4.14 The Mysterious Affair at StylesTHE MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT STYLES
    By Agatha Christie
    (1920) 

    For fans of classic mystery novels, this is Christie’s first use of Hercule Poirot, her famous Belgian inspector. Despite being Christie’s first published mystery novel, it was well-received, and praised for cleverness. The plot involves a poisoning, an ever-changing will, and a mysterious argument. 

     

    Books Set in the 1920s: 

    4.14 The House at RivertonTHE HOUSE AT RIVERTON
    By Kate Morton
    (2008) 

    Grace Bradley was once a servant at the impressive Riverton House, owned by the wealthy and glamorous Hartford family. She is now ninety-eight years old, and for the last seventy-five years she has kept a secret about a young man’s death. A film director is interested in her account of events, and in telling her story. Grace is forced to relive that fateful summer.   

     

    4.14 Gods of Jade and ShadowGODS OF JADE AND SHADOW
    By Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    (2019) 

    Casiopea Tun dreams of living a life more interesting than her quiet life in Southern Mexico, where she cleans floors for her grandfather. She gets all the adventure she could want, and more, when she finds a wooden box and accidentally releases the Mayan god of death, who wants her to assist him on a quest. Agreeing to go, Casiopea is swept into a world steeped in danger and darkness, but full of possibility.  

     

    Nonfiction About the 1920s: 

    4.14 Bright Young ThingsBRIGHT YOUNG THINGS
    By Alison Maloney
    (2013) 

    For those in search of a quick overview of the twenties, this book will be your best friend. It’s a guide to the parties, music, cocktails, and history of the roaring twenties and it’ll help you infuse some of that flapper spirit into your next soirée.  

     

    4.14 The Great SwimTHE GREAT SWIM
    By Gavin Mortimer
    (2008) 

    For something a little different, THE GREAT SWIM recounts the first women to swim the English Channel in 1926. This book, which uses primary sources to construct a narrative of these four women, also gives cultural context to the situation. 

     
  •  Passport

    My husband and I try to take a vacation at least every other year, but we haven’t had much money to do so and usually end up going somewhere close by for a few days. Don’t get me wrong, that’s still nice but sometimes I wish we could afford to go somewhere a little more exotic.

    Because of this, I often find myself reading as a way to travel instead. Luckily, the library has a great selection of travelogues! While travelogues aren’t the same as actually travelling the world, they’re definitely a lot cheaper (especially if you check them out from the library). Here are a few of the library’s most recent travelogue purchases:

    10.4 The RhineTHE RHINE 
    By Ben Coates
    (2018)

    For five years, author Ben Coates lived alongside the Rhine River. In this book, he details his journey by bicycle along the river. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history, particularly those who live alongside it.

     

    10.4 My 25 Years in ProvenceMY TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN PROVENCE
    By Peter Mayle
    (2018)

    Twenty-five years ago, Peter Mayle and his wife went on a vacation. When their original vacation destination fell through, the ended up in Aix-en-Provence. While there, they fell in love with town and decided to uproot their lives in England to move there.

     

    10.4 South Toward HomeSOUTH TOWARD HOME 
    By Julia Reed
    (2018)

    For some travel a little closer to home, this book is about Julia Reed traveling through the American South where she grew up. With humor and affection, she explores the highs of Southern life while also shining a light on some of the region’s more embarrassing tendencies.

     
  • writerfriendly

     

    Here at the library, we love having authors come to speak with our patrons about the books they've written. But one thing I've noticed at almost every single author event is that they also talk about the act of writing, and they give advice to others on how to improve their writing experiences. It strikes me as an incredible opportunity to hear from people in the trenches, who have a lot of experience and knowledge to share.

    Libraries would be nothing without writers and authors, and we try to support them here at the Provo City Library. I know several writers who come here regularly to write on our quiet floor. Each November we host a series of NaNoWriMo events to encourage and support writers in our community. Our Authorlink events are a great opportunity to meet with professional writers and get advice and maybe even a little cheerleading from them.

    We also have a few items in our collection that may help you on your path as a writer. I'd like to recommend these titles if you're looking to improve your craft or even turn your work into a profitable creation:

    THE WRITER'S MARKET
    (note: we also have Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, and even Poet's Market) 

    These amazing books are published yearly, and have thousands of listings for book publishers, magazines, contests, and literary agents. They also include interviews, articles, and advice from top writers and instructors.

    NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM!  A  LOW-STRESS, HIGH-VELOCITY GUIDE TO WRITING A NOVEL IN 30 DAYS
    by Chris Baty
    (2004)

    The founder of NaNoWriMo has written the definitive handbook for extreme noveling.  It's a mix of optimism and practical solutions that are perfect for both first-time novelists and seasoned writers.  It's the perfect kick-start to get your next novel written.

    READING LIKE A WRITER
    by Francince Prose
    (2006)

    Reading is a key tool for writers.  Prose invites you to take a guided tour of the tools and tricks of master authors. A heightened appreciation and understanding of their work not only leads to better reading, but better writing as well!

    stiefvater signing

    This picture is from a signing that Maggie Steifvater did.  I loved her advice and it's one of the best things I can recommend for up-and-coming writers!  Best of luck!

  •  Zero Waste

    I don’t know if you’ve heard, but garbage is so passé. Pollution is a major problem, contributing to the destruction of ecosystems, ruining our health, and just making our beautiful Earth look trashy. Just Google “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” for some eye-opening images. Most of the pollution that humans put out into the ocean is single-use plastics. Plastic plays an important role in our tech and medical industries, but do we really need to use plastic just for its convenience?  

    I have tried to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that I use in my home. Let’s be real, I am not Superwoman—I have a job, kids, hobbies, etc. I am busy. But here are 3 simple changes that I have made in order to make a difference:  

    1. Remember your R’s: Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle.
      Refuse to bring things into your life that you don’t need (I’m looking at you, free swag). Reduce the stuff in your home that you don’t use like clothes you don’t wear. Buy items that can be reused over and over instead of just once. Recyle what you can, which includes paper, plastics, and metal cans.

    2. Bring reusable grocery bags to the store:
      This is so easy. Just keep them in the car. They are also sturdier and bigger than plastic bags, so that is a win! But don’t stop there—you can bring reusable produce bags to the store too. Reusable produce bags are easy to make, or available to purchase online. Or better yet, just skip the bag altogether. I have only had a cashier give me a strange look one time.

    3. Compost.
      I have zero outdoor space to compost, so I have tried a few methods for indoor composting. The winner? Vermicomposting. That’s right—worms. It takes a bit of time and money to get your worms going, but they eat fast, produce great fertilizer for gardens or houseplants, and best of all—no smell! 

    There are TONS of other things you can do in order to reduce waste in your home. If you want to learn more about the zero waste movement and how you can reduce your dependence on single-use plastics, I personally recommend these titles that you can find here at the library: 

    8.8 Trashing the PlanetTRASHING THE PLANET
    By Stuart A. Kallen
    (2017) 

     

    8.8 Zero Waste HomeZERO WASTE HOME
    By Bea Johnson
    (2013) 

     

    8.8 Compost CityCOMPOST CITY: PRACTICAL COMPOSTING KNOW-HOW FOR SMALL-SPACE LIVING
    BY Rebecca Louie
    (2015)   

     
  •  Utah Archaeology 

    Often times when I tell people that I participated in an archaeological excavation of Fremont pit houses right here in Provo, they respond with, “What? I didn’t know that Provo had archaeology!” Not only does Provo have archaeology, but much of Utah is full of interesting reminders of the people that were here before us. Our Special Collections room focuses on Provo and Utah history, so it is a great place to find some books on Utah archaeology.

    9.25 Hunter GathererHUNTER-GATHERER ARCHAEOLOGY IN UTAH VALLEY
    By Joel C. Janetski
    (2007)

    This book is close to my heart since I know some of the people involved in its making. This is the most “archaeological” of the books on this list, meaning that it is a collection of published academic papers on hunter-gatherer sites around Utah Valley. Excavations are at the heart of archaeological research, and these reports include artifacts found, maps of stratigraphy (those layers in the dirt that tell archaeologists a lot), and cool photos and illustrations of artifacts and site maps. There are tables, graphs, and charts, info on burials, and illustrations of stone points and pot sherds found (yes, it’s sherds not shards, but that’s a conversation for another time). It’s neat to browse through site reports like this, but you should always read the summary and conclusions section to get a good overview of what was found at the site during excavation. Just writing about this makes me long for my university days, excavating and writing up reports just like this. Excuse me while I get lost in nostalgia.  

     

    9.25 Horned Snakes and Axel GreaseHORNED SNAKES AND AXLE GREASE: A ROADSIDE GUIDE TO THE ARCHAEOLOGY, HISTORY, AND ROCK ART OF THE NINE MILE
    (2003)

    Maybe you’ve heard of Nine Mile Canyon? If you haven’t, it’s time for a road trip! The name is a little misleading, as the canyon is actually much longer than nine miles, but its fame is legendary. This area is famous for tons of Fremont rock art in the form of structures and petroglyphs. This is very accessible with not a lot of jargon, and it gives a great little history of the Fremont, what we know of that culture, and then a little about the canyon and surrounding lands. My favorite part of this book? The last half is a guide of the different rock art features throughout the canyon. There are maps, color photos, illustrations, and interpretations of the rock art you’ll see. Ready to drive down to the canyon yet? 

     

    9.25 Traces of FreemontTRACES OF FREMONT: SOCIETY AND ROCK ART IN ANCIENT UTAH
    By Steven R. Simms
    (2010)

    Yes, another Fremont book. But Fremont archaeology is Utah archaeology (and the archaeology I’m most familiar with, so there’s that too). This book is a great coffee table book—it’s big, full of gorgeous color photos, and gives just enough info to be informative without going in too deep. And you get to see the really interesting and rare finds, and not just pottery pieces and arrowheads (apologies to those people that spend their lives studying those things. Your work is important).  

     

    This is just a sampling of the great info you can get on Utah archaeology and history in our stacks. Ask a librarian about finding these books in Special Collections or on the regular shelves!

  • Shoes

    One of the things I love about reading is the ability to gain new perspectives and empathize with others, even when they’re fictional. I especially love books that let me safely experience things outside of my comfort zone. As a public librarian my path crosses with a wide variety of people, and while it can be easy to make assumptions, I read a few books this year that I felt gave me a new understanding of the people around me.

    NONFICTION 

    3.27 EducatedEDUCATED
    By Tara Westover
    (2018)

    People come to the Library for a variety of reasons and with a variety of backgrounds. This book reminds me that, what at first glance can appear to be rudeness, laziness, or a lack of cleanliness, can be due to a variety of legitimate reasons I know nothing about. Tara Westover was born in the mountains of Idaho to survivalist parents and didn’t set foot in a classroom until she was 17-years-old. Attending college was different from any experience she’d ever had, and her unique past and limited understanding of the world, history, and social norms made her experiences and accomplishments all the more extraordinary. Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction, and this powerful memoir is just that.

     

    3.27 The 57 BusTHE 57 BUS 
    By Dashka Slater
    (2017)

    I’ve had the opportunity to take books to teens in juvenile detention, meeting several who dreamed of a life better than the one they were living. I’ve also met people with a variety of gender identities, struggling to figure out who they are. This book follows the lives of two teens in with similar struggles, something I’ve never dealt with, and found very eye opening. One day on the 57 bus, for no particular reason aside from thinking it could be funny, Richard set Sasha’s skirt on fire. He thought it would smolder a bit and surprise Sasha, like a practical joke, but instead it erupted in a ball of flames, severely burning Sasha’s body. It was treated as a hate crime since Sasha is agender, and Richard was facing life imprisonment. Using her background in journalism, Slater covers the lives and decisions of both teens leading up to the incident, and how both lives were heartbreakingly altered.

     

    FICTION 

    3.27 An Absolutely Remarkable ThingAN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING
    By Hank Green
    (2018)

    I met one of my favorite YouTubers this year and was amazed at how normal she was without a camera in hand. In an age of social media influencers it can be easy to idolize people and feel like you know them without actually meeting them. In this contemporary sci-fi novel, mysterious giant statues appear overnight around the world, and April May goes viral for being in a YouTube video about the first one. What does becoming an overnight celebrity do to a person? How does social media change our perception of reality? This book explores those questions in a way that feels genuine and personal, probably because the author is a social media influencer himself. If you follow someone who makes their living on social media, this book can be eye opening. 

     

    3.27 Sea WitchSEA WITCH 
    By Sarah Henning
    (2018)

    If you’ve seen the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, odds are you have a pretty negative opinion of the Sea Witch. Henning spins the original Hans Christian Andersen tale a little differently, focusing on the origin of the Sea Witch, and only introducing the Little Mermaid at the very end where the original tale begins. It’s hard to not feel compassion for the Sea Witch when you understand her background and why she made the decision to take the Little Mermaids voice in exchange for legs. While Disney’s Sea Witch is an archetypal villain, Henning humanizes her and turns her into a sympathetic and multifaceted character that feels more realistic. If you want your perception of a fictional character to take a 180° turn, this is the book to do it. 

     

    3.27 Warm BodiesWARM BODIES 
    By Isaac Marion
    (2011)

    Okay, I can’t say I’ve ever met a zombie, but if a zombie apocalypse were to ever happen, I want the zombies to be like the ones in WARM BODIES. The vast majority of the book is spent inside R’s head, listening to his internal dialogue and seeing the changed world through his eyes. It’s quite philosophical for a zombie book, which is why it’s on my list. R has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listing to Frank Sinatra. When he decides to let one girl live and keep her safe from the undead, his life death will change forever. This is a funny, scary, and moving take on the classic Romeo and Juliet story.

     

    So, if you want to expand your horizons this year, exercise your empathy, and perhaps get out of your comfort zone through the safety of a book, I would highly recommend any of these titles.

     
  • Dog

    I want a pet. I don’t care if it’s a cat, dog, or hedgehog. I just want one. Unfortunately, I can’t get one right now. If you’re in the same boat, never fear. I have some books that will help you feel the love of having a pet without needing the finances or time to take care of one. 

    5.29 StormySTORMY
    By Guojing
    (2019) 

    STORMY is a wordless picture book about a dog. Each page shares a snapshot of the dog’s life alone. Will the sweet pup find a forever home? 

     

    5.29 TrumanTRUMAN
    By Jean Reidy
    (2019) 

    Truman is the most courageous and noble turtle you will ever meet. When his girl leaves for her first day of school, he is distraught. All he knows is that she’s missing. And what do the most courageous and noble turtles do when their girl goes missing? Brave the untold dangers of the living room to find her. 

     

    5.29 Wildwood DancingWILDWOOD DANCING
    By Juliet Marillier
    (2007) 

    If you like amphibians, then you may want to read this retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. In this version, one of the princesses owns an unusual frog that may be more important than anyone realizes. Or maybe not. 

     

    5.29 Because of Winn DixieBECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE
    By Kate DiCamillo
    (2000) 

    Those wanting to spend a summer in Florida with a big ugly dog won’t want to miss this read. BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE follows India Opal Buloni and her summer spent with her lovable mutt. 

     

    5.29 Pom Pom AnimalsPOM POM ANIMALS
    By Trikotri
    (2018) 

    If all the books above just make you want a pet even more, then that’s ok. You can make one. Follow the directions in this book to create your own cute pet using wool. You can make up to 45 different animals! From bears to cats, you’re sure to find an animal craft to soothe your heart as it pines for an animal friend.

     
  • expecting

     

    My husband tells me that I have a researcher personality because every time I decide to do anything new I always try to find as much information as I can about the topic beforehand.  When my husband and I decided it was time for us to start having children, naturally I read everything I could find on how to make it happen.  Then once we found out I was pregnant, I focused my searches on books about pregnancy.  These are the books I found that have been most helpful so far in my search!

    WTE Before Youre ExpectingWHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE YOU’RE EXPECTING
    by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff
    (2009)  

    This book has all of the useful information from diet and lifestyle changes to make before you start trying, how the menstrual cycle works and how to pinpoint ovulation, to challenges and how to get help.  What I loved most about this book is how the information is organized.  Every topic has its own section and sub-topics have bolded beginnings, making it very easy to skip irrelevant information without missing anything you want to know.  

     

     

    impatient womans guideTHE IMPATIENT WOMAN’S GUIDE TO GETTING PREGNANT
    by Jean M. Twenge
    (2012)

    I really related to the title of this book!  Once we decided to start trying I was so impatient for it to happen.  This book is great because it has very detailed information on how the different stages of the menstrual cycle work, different methods for how to pinpoint ovulation, and how to use that information most effectively.  It also has information about diet, miscarriage, when to talk to a doctor, and more.  

     

     

    WTE When Youre ExpectingWHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
    by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff
    (2016)  

    What to Expect When You’re Expecting is full of information starting with lifestyle, diet, and dedicated chapters for each month, through  labor, delivery, and postpartum, and includes information about expecting multiples, managing complications, and loss.  This book has been my go-to resource for random symptoms or questions and for an overall look at what to expect each month.  The index is thorough and especially helpful when I’m not sure what month has what I’m looking for.  I have tried looking at other books that do a walk-through of pregnancy, but this one has been most detailed and has the clearest organization method so far.  

     

    WTE Eating WellWHAT TO EXPECT: EATING WELL WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING
    by Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff
    (2005)  

    It turns out that I really like the What to Expect series!  While What to Expect When You’re Expecting does have a chapter dedicated to eating well with the same diet theory, this book also includes how to eat well for a lot of different situations common to pregnancy like gestational diabetes or heartburn, a chapter about weight gain, and even eating well postpartum.  The best part is it has a full cookbook section at the end that follows their diet advice!  

     

     

    doula guide to birthTHE DOULA GUIDE TO BIRTH: SECRETS EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN SHOULD KNOW
    by Ananda Lowe
    (2009)  

    What I liked most about this book was it didn’t pass judgment or try to scare the reader regarding hospitals or medical pain management.  I don’t want to make fear-based decisions when it comes to birth, and this book provided a lot of useful information about the birth process and different approaches without trying to scare readers in one direction or another.  Even though I have decided not to use a doula, this book was still worth the read.

  • Funny Book

    I love to read books about comedians, comedy’s impact in the world, and books that are just plain funny.  I’ve been known to send many jokes to friends and loved ones because I can’t resist sharing a good laugh with those I love.  There are countless books that contribute to the laughs in the world, and I find them irresistible!  Here are a few favorites that are too good for me to keep them to myself, in a few of my favorite packages:

    Comedian Biography

    A comedian’s biography will usually overview their life, and can sometimes examine their personal demons as well as their greatest triumphs, as is the case with Dave Itzkoff’s book about Robin Williams called ROBIN.  One of the most popular of this group has to be BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey, which not only talks about the course of her career, but is sprinkled along the way with her (often hilarious) observations.  It’s well worth the read, and the audiobook, narrated by Fey herself, is a winner.  This category also definitely needs to mention Billy Crystal’s STILL FOOLIN' 'EM, the story of his life which has its share of laughs combined with heart, personal loss and redemption, and some absolutely amazing experiences.

    Comedy as the Subject

    Many books love to talk about comedy as a phenomenon, especially because their stories are usually a roller-coaster-ride of their rise in popularity, bumps along the way, and eventual fall or translation into something new.  SEINFELDIA: HOW A SHOW ABOUT NOTHING CHANGED EVERYTHING by Jennifer Armstrong and AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes are excellent examples.  But my personal favorite is probably THE DAILY SHOW: AN ORAL HISTORY AS TOLD BY JON STEWART, THE CORRESPONDENTS, STAFF, AND GUESTS by Chris Smith.  Not only is this the story of a show which singled-handedly created a new genre of humor, but an overview of the major events of America during its time, especially the political landscape and its shifts.  It’s an interesting way to review the events of the past two decades, to be sure.

    Comedy as the Content

    Lastly, you can just go straight for the jokes.  There are quite a few excellent comedians out there who are willing to package up their trusted material and let the masses experience them without the cost of admission.  Ellen DeGeneres has published a delightful collection of bits in SERIOUSLY... I'M KIDDING, but my favorite comedian-turned-author has to be Jim Gaffigan, whose titles even crack me up: DAD IS FAT, and FOOD: A LOVE STORY being a couple of favorites. These books are best suited to audiobook listening because they are usually performed by the author, and you get the benefit of all their skillful delivery and timing. 

  •  writing memoir

    Since I have been reading a lot of memoir, I have been thinking about how you write a memoir.  I have been an obsessive journaler since I was thirteen.  In my early twenties I wanted to do something more than just journal.  A writing mentor introduced me to Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES and I was hooked. I didn’t know there were books about writing books! 

    The most important thing I learned from this book was to get in the habit of writing every day in my writer’s notebook. This is the first tool in your toolkit. So, I set the goal that I was going to write in my notebook for ten minutes every day. Soon, I discovered that I was writing for thirty minutes every day. My notebook turned into notebooks! These notebooks gave me the building blocks that I needed to translate messy journal passages into thoughtful, personal essays (more on that, later). If you are interested in starting a writing practice or enriching your journaling process, check out these books from our catalogue. 

    10.09 Writing Down the BonesWRITING DOWN THE BONES
    By Natalie Goldberg
    (2010)

    This is the book that started it all. Goldberg is full of energy and excitement. Go get a notebook! Sit down! Breathe! Write! But she doesn’t leave you hanging. Every chapter is about an aspect of writing. Say you want more help with wordiness; she has a chapter for that. Maybe you have writer’s block; there’s a chapter for that. You can either read straight through, or focus on different aspects of your writing. 

     

    10.09 The Right to WriteTHE RIGHT TO WRITE
    By Julia Cameron
    (1999)

    Julia Cameron’s first book THE ARTIST’S WAY introduces the idea of morning pages. That you roll out of bed and walk over to your desk and write for thirty minutes to an hour. In this book , every chapter introduces a myth that we have been taught about writing and ways to give away those myths and keep writing. Then she gives an invitation to write. These prompts are really fun and insightful. I really enjoyed them.

     

    10.09 Writers Idea BookTHE WRITER’S IDEA BOOK
    By Jack Heffron
    (2000)

    If you want practical advice and prompts for what to write about, this is your book. Building off the ideas that you will see in Cameron and Goldberg, Heffron gives you pages and pages of writing prompts that range from the tender to the hysterical (you wake up and find a clown in your room, what do you do?)

     

    10.09 Bird by BirdBIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE
    By Anne Lamott
    (1995)

    Lamott weaves stories of her childhood throughout solid, step by step writing advice. She is inspiring in her advice to get the first draft out in your notebook and then build from there. She also encourages you to keep your heart and your eyes open because writing is everywhere and anywhere and always within us.

     

    10.09 On WritingON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT
    By Stephen King
    (2000)

    Don’t be scared. This book is amazing. For those who love King’s stories, he does talk about how he wrote his books;  for those who are a leery, he focuses on the tools of the craft more than the scary details of his demented tales.  King’s biggest piece of advice is to read. Read, read, read. “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t the time or the tools to write.”

     
  • Smokey Bear 01

    6.10 The Games BookTHE GAMES BOOK
    By Huw Davies
    (2009)

    Smokey Bear obviously spends a lot of time outdoors in a camping-like environment. And there is a lot to do while on camping trips; however, sometimes you just want to play a game with the campers next door or do something a little different than hiking—and this book is perfect for that! Smokey can learn all sorts of games (including some that can be played or sung around a campfire). This book would definitely be helpful in getting long-term campers to enjoy their trips just a touch more. 

     

    6.10 Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkSCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
    By Alvin Schwartz
    (1981)

    Inevitably whenever someone goes camping for long periods of time—and Smokey Bear is the king of camping—they end up having at least one night where they tell scary stories around a camp fire. This is the classic scary stories book that Smokey should add to his camping supply list. Even though they are classics—I’m sure there are at least a few of Smokey’s camping friends that haven’t had their socks scared off by some of these classic tales. 

     

    6.10 National Parks of AmericaTHE NATIONAL PARKS OF AMERICA
    By Michael Brett
    (2001)

    Smokey Bear loves being outdoors—and what better book to have than one that tells of some of the best places to spend time outdoors (our National Parks!). This book would go over all of the fun places that are set aside to enjoy—from the Appalachians in the East to the Grand Canyon in the West. This book would help Smokey plan which places he would enjoy visiting next. 

     

    6.10 Wildlife of the WorldWILDLIFE OF THE WORLD 
    By Jamie Ambrose
    (2015)

    With Smokey spending so much time outdoors, he is sure to run into a plethora of wildlife. Here is a book that talks about all kinds of animals that can be found in the wild. This book will help Smokey learn what to expect from these fascinating creatures that he might encounter. 

     

    6.10 50 Burning Questions50 BURNING QUESTIONS: A SIZZLING HISTORY OF FIRE
    By Tanya Lloyd Kyi
    (2010)

    The most important thing to Smokey Bear is that he wants to prevent forest fires and the destruction that they cause. And after a couple of years full of horrid fires, who can blame him? Here is a book that will help Smokey learn more about fires to hopefully help arm him with knowledge to help to prevent them in the future.