Nonfiction

  • better world

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

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

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

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

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

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

    8.29 LaRoseLAROSE 
    By Louise Erdrich
    (2016)

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

     

     

     

    8.29 HomegoingHOMEGOING 
    By Yaa Gyasi
    (2016)

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

    8.29 AmericanahAMERICANAH 
    By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    (2014)

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

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

     

     



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

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

     

     



    8.29 Home FireHOME FIRE 
    By Kamila Shamsie
    (2017)

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

     

     

     

     

  • nonfiction

     

    Around February the Provo City Library presents a “Best Books of…” program where our librarians talk about their favorite titles published during the previous year.  To do this, we somewhat obsessively read everything new we can get our hands on.  This year I’ve been working hard to find titles I can talk about next February and I’m excited to say there are lots I’ll have to choose from.

     

    Below is a preview for February’s program.  It’s a list of my five favorite nonfiction titles published so far in 2016!

     

    When Breath Becomes AirWHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR
    by Paul Kalanithi

    (2016)


    Just as Paul Kalanithi began finishing up his last year of residency, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  Given about a year to live, he decided to fulfill his dream of being a writer by penning this amazing memoir.  I love, love loved Kalanithi’s beautiful prose and thoughtful reflections on what it means to live life and accept death.

     

    Spain in Our HeartsSPAIN IN OUR HEARTS: AMERICANS IN THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, 1936-1939
    by Adam Hochschild

    (2016)

    
I am sure I learned about the Spanish Civil War during some history class but I certainly don’t remember it being this fascinating.  Hochschild here presents this conflict and its impact on world history as both governments and individuals took sides and prepared for the greater conflict of an impending world war.

     

    Seven Brief LessonsSEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS
    by Carlo Rovelli

    (2016)

    Although this book is less than 100 pages long, it seemed like a lot more since I found it  necessary to read most of the book at least twice just to sort of walk away with a vague understanding of the concepts Rovelli discusses.  This is not to say he does not write in an understandable and approachable way.  He does.  I just don’t get physics.

     

    RomanovsROMANOVS: 1613-1918
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore

    (2016)

    What I learned from this 700 page tome is that the Romanovs were mostly all crazy.  Also, they were surrounded by mostly crazy people.  I don’t mean to be super judgy about it, all the stress of running an empire and producing heirs would really drive any sane person mad.  Also, it makes for a really great read.

     

    GeneGENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY
    by Siddhartha Mukherjee

    (2016)

    DNA is a fascinating little molecule. What I found more fascinating in this book is how the discovery and study of DNA has affected society and culture.  The many issues involved with so many conflicting but valid opinions make this history of genetics as gripping as a novel. 

     

     

  • bring spring

     

    Spring is upon us, and I don't know about you, but I suddenly find myself invigorated and ready to get some things done! There are many things I have been neglecting over the winter, and now that the sun is shining and I don't have to wear my heavy winter coat outside, I think I'm just about ready to tackle them. Here's my list of biggest things to tackle over the next few weeks and the books I’m going to use to get them done.

    pruning plant by plantPRUNING PLANT BY PLANT
    by Andrew Mikolajski
    (2012)

    My yard feels like a wild forest sometimes, and it seems like the reaching branches sneak up on me each season. For many plants, the end of winter and beginning of spring is the right time to prune and get them ready for the new growing season. This book is a DK publication, which means it is especially gorgeous to flip through, and the many photographs are sure to perfectly illustrate just what you need to know to get your garden ready for the warm weather.

     

    joy of lessTHE JOY OF LESS: A MINIMALIST GUIDE TO DECLUTTER, ORGANIZE, AND SIMPLIFY
    by Francine Jay
    (2016)

    I don't know what it is about cold weather, but I can't help but accumulate growing piles of things that need to be organized.  Stray junk mail, art projects from my kids, and thank you letters seem to find their way into a box that I always intend to “go through later.” Somehow, the warm weather of spring always manages to inspire me to unpack my piles and get organized again, and this book has many helpful tips and hints to inspire anyone like me.

     

    lower your taxesEASY WAYS TO LOWER YOUR TAXES: SIMPLE STRATEGIES EVERY TAXPAYER SHOULD KNOW
    by Sandra Block  
    (2008)

    Tax season always seems to sneak up on me, and each year I promise myself that I'm going to pay more attention to saving receipts throughout the year and looking for ways to lower my taxes. This book is a great resource for just this endeavor!

     

     

     

    hands on homeTHE HANDS-ON HOME: A SEASONAL GUIDE TO COOKING, PRESERVING & NATURAL HOMEKEEPING
    by Erica Stauss
    (2015)

    Each spring I get so inspired by things growing everywhere that I recommit to eating produce in season. We have a few seasonal cookbooks that are committed to showing which recipes will make the best of each season, and I especially like this book as it includes information on preserving and homekeeping as well.

     

    complete home repairCOMPLETE HOME REPAIR: WITH 350 PROJECTS AND 2,300 PHOTOS
    Black & Decker Corporation
    (2008) 

    These Black & Decker books are amazing in their ability to help novices like me understand what to do. From patching part of my driveway concrete that chipped from the ice in the winter, to touching up the caulk in my bathroom, to improving the efficiency of my appliances, this book is a gold mine for homeowners who need to do small repairs or simply making things work better.

    We also have an online resource for home improvement just like this book except that it also includes videos and magazine articles, through our Home Improvement Reference Center database. 

    Looking for more springtime recommendations? You're in luck!

     

  • Every Friday, we'll bring you short lists of things our staff members are loving lately. Here's a list of Sharon's Five Favorite Clutter-Defeating Books. It's the new year, and you might not be able to take control of all aspects of your life, but these recommendations can certainly help you take control of your stuff!

     

    1The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
    by Marie Kondo
    (2014)

    A practical guide and international bestseller from a Japanese cleaning consultant. Marie’s new book, Spark Joy, will be released on January 5, 2016.  

     

    2ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World
    by Evan Michael Zislis
    (2015)

    Zislis is a professional organizer who helps people simplify so they can focus on what matters most: “who we love, what we do, how, and why we live - because everything else is just stuff.”  

     

    3Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized 
    by Susan C Pinsky 
    (2012)

    Pinsky gives practical, ADHD-friendly solutions for a more organized home and life. 

      

    4Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good 
    by Andrew J. Mellen 
    (2010)

    Professional Organizer Mellen offers this comprehensive 400-page book to make your life more organized.  

     

    5Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight: The Six-Week Total-Life Slim Down
    by Peter Walsh
    (2015)

    The author maintains that people cannot make their best and healthiest choices in a cluttered, disorganized home. He presents a 6-week plan to help readers declutter AND lose weight. Walsh appears regularly on The Rachael Ray Show and writes for O: The Oprah magazine. 

  • archaeology

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

     

    7.28 TimelineTIMELINE
    By Michael Crichton
    (1999)

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

     

     

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

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

     

    7.28 ArchaeologyARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE
    By Archaeological Institute of America

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

     

     

     

  • rome

    With the coming of that most famous and famously auspicious of days, thanks to Shakespeare, here are some excellent books about or set in ancient Rome. Fiction and nonfiction both.

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

    Mary Beard, a Cambridge don, presents a fresh and enlightening history of Rome's first thousand years. The author brilliantly combines scholarly insight with engaging storytelling. An excellent book!

     

     

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

    A fascinating account of the events of the first century, when the Republic decayed, ushering in the imperial era. Emphasis is placed on the roles and influences of key historical figures, such as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Brutus and Octavian.

     

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

    A tale of ambition, this story traces the life of famous orator Cicero, from his years as a rising lawyer to his entrance into the political arena, facing off against the leading men of the day. This is the first of a trilogy, continued in Conspirata and concluding with Dictator.

     

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

    The first in a series, this is the story of men ambitiously striving for glory and power in the Roman arenas of politics and war. This is for anyone who likes their historical fiction truly epic and rich in historical details.

  • kenya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    7.21 UnbowedUNBOWED
    By Wangari Maathai
    (2006) 

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

     

  • k pop books

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

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

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

     

    8.4 RE JaneRE JANE
    By Patricia Park
    (2015)

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

     

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

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

     

     

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

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

     

     

  • smarter

    I love reading books about physics. Somehow, I survived my formal education, pre-school through a master’s degree, without a physics class. Fortunately, there are some amazing scientists with a gift for writing and explaining that have provided me the opportunity to bolster my formal education. I love that these books make me feel very smart as a concept snaps into place and I actually understand why E=mc2. Of course, I cannot explain what I’ve learned to anyone and within a few days I’ve lost that light of understanding. But, at least while reading, the world makes sense.Here is a list of my favorites:

    10.20 A Short History of Nearly EverythingA SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING
    By Bill Bryson
    (2003)

    This hefty tome was my first introduction to Bill Bryson and I’ve loved him ever since.  While the entire book is not dedicated to physics exactly, the author begins with the Big Bang and then meanders his way through the history of the universe and our world.  Completely entertaining and enlightening.

     

     

    10.20 emc2E=mc2: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS EQUATION
    By David Bodanis
    (2005)

    A biography about an equation sounds a little odd but the history E=mc2 is so full of drama it is actually a perfect fit. Though I do love many other books on the topic, this one created for me the most memorable “ah ha” moment. Bodanis set out to explain something everyone can recite, but few actually understand. He totally succeeded in my case!

     

     

    10.20 Physics of the FuturePHYSICS OF THE FUTURE: HOW SCIENCE WILL SHAPE HUMAN DESTINY AND OUR DAILY LIVES BY THE YEAR 2100
    By Michio Kaku
    (2011)

    With a slightly different goal than other authors on this list, Kaku explain where things are headed and more of the application of physics instead of focusing on the actual science.  He adds imagination to the mix and helps readers see how physics affects us now and in the increasingly near future.

     

     

    10.20 Seven Brief Lessons on PhysicsSEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS
    By Carlo Rovelli
    (2016)

    General relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, and black holes are a few of the topics discussed in this collection’s 86 pages.  If you only have a few hours, this is the physics book for you.  I did have to stop and reread several portions to follow the science, but I loved the playful tone and lyrical writing.

     

     

    10.20 Astrophysics for People in a HurryASTROPHYSICS FOR PEOPLE IN A HURRY
    By Neil deGrasse Tyson
    (2017)

    Neil deGrasse Tyson’s celebrity status drew me to this book but his ability to explain very complicated concepts kept me reading.  His writing is approachable and entertaining and here he provides a basic understanding of the past, present, and future of the cosmos. 

     

     

     

  • dk books

    Can you have a favorite publisher? I certainly do! DK (Dorling Kindersley) is a British publishing company that specializes in illustrated reference books for adults, teens, and children. They produce (in my humble opinion) the best nonfiction books of any other publisher.

    I’ve loved flipping through DK books since I was a little girl. I’d check the library Juvenile nonfiction shelves for a title that piqued my interest. Then after reading the interesting facts and looking at the awesome pictures, I’d turn to the end pages. On the inside front and back cover (of the Eyewitness books specifically) the end pages show the covers of even more DK books. I couldn’t wait to get more from the library!

    The Provo City Library has 1,499 books published by DK! DK has a book on nearly every nonfiction subject you could want from travel, cooking, arts and crafts to history, science, gardening and more. Here are just five that I think are absolutely fabulous.

    6.23.17.PredatorsPREDATOR 
    By David Burnie
    (2011)

    This is one of those awesome Eyewitness books! This book talks about the predatory behavior of hundreds of animals and how that behavior has changed over time. Using short blocks of text and plenty of pictures you learn the ways these animals stalk, lure, trap, and store their prey as well as how these animals fit into the food chain. As a bonus, this book has a clip art CD-ROM filled with many of the photographs used in this book.

     

    6.23.17.Super Cool TechSUPER COOL TECH: TECHNOLOGY, INVENTION, INNOVATION 
    By Ian R. Graham
    (2016)

    This book is just what it says it is, all about super cool technology! I had so much fun flipping through this book and telling my co-worker all about the interesting details found in the book. From 3-D printers, and RFID tags in football helmets to an Icehotel in Sweden and self-healing concrete this book is fascinating!

    6.23.17.How To CookHOW TO COOK: DELICIOUS DISHES PERFECT FOR TEEN COOKS 
    By Maggie Mayhew
    (2011)

    While I am far past my teen years, this book is awesome! It begins with basic information on healthy eating, food safety and hygiene, and discusses recipe abbreviations and how to weigh your ingredients. Then each recipe takes you step by step on how to make each delicious dish. The recipes have pictures and illustrations to help the reader visualize the process. From soup to dessert, this book is a winner. I’m excited to try out several of the recipes and techniques featured in this book!

    6.23.17.Paper CraftPAPER CRAFT
    By Christy Lusiak, editor
    (2015)

    Feeling crafty? In its brightly colored pages, this book has 50 projects that transform your favorite paper into gorgeous decorations, cards, flowers and more. No matter your skill level, there is a project perfect for you. With step by step photographic instructions, anyone can make something beautiful using this book.

     

    6.23.17.Big HistoryBIG HISTORY 
    By David Christian
    (2016)

    Bill Gates is quoted on the cover of this book saying, “BIG HISTORY provides a framework for understanding literally all of history, ever…” That’s a pretty big statement! However, after looking through this massive (439 pages to be exact) book, he’s not wrong. This book follows earth’s history from the creation to the present day discussing geology, biology, physics, anthropology, sociology and more to tell the story of human existence. Covering 13.8 billion years of history is no small feat, but this book has done just that in a visually pleasing and interesting way.

    It was so hard for me to choose just five, so be sure to keep an eye out for other great DK books next time you’re in the library.

  • WWII nonfiction

    World War II and the Nazi Regime are endlessly fascinating subjects for historians and the public alike. Thousands of books have been written about the most violent and disturbing years of the 20th century. As time goes on, more discoveries are made in the form of newly uncovered letters, diaries, and declassified government documents. In addition, the passage of time gives us new insights and a deeper understanding of how these events have impacted our world.

    Here are 5 excellent books about World War II written in the last 8 years. 

    12.29.2017 Higher CallA HIGHER CALL: AN INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF COMBAT AND CHIVALRY IN THE WAR-TORN SKIES OF WORLD WAR II
    By Adam Makos
    (2012)

    In December 1943, American bomber pilot Charlie Brown and German ace flyer Franz Stigler met in the skies over Germany. The bomber, nearly torn to shreds and with half its crew dead, was miraculously still flying, but a few shots from the Messerschmitt would end all that. In an extraordinary gesture, Stigler, risking a firing squad if his superiors found out, let the bomber escape and even escorted it to safe airspace. Forty years later, the two men would seek each other out and their stories would finally be told. 

     

    12.29.2017 Hitlers Holy RelicsHITLER’S HOLY RELICS: A TRUE STORY OF NAZI PLUNDER AND THE RACE TO RECOVER THE CROWN JEWELS OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE
    By Sidney Kirkpatrick
    (2010)

    The Nazis plundered many masterpieces of art and history during WWII, but a secret bunker held the ones that Hitler valued most: the Spear of Destiny and the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. World rulers throughout history had been obsessed with these ancient artifacts, but at the end of the War they disappeared. Revealing the story of the lost jewels for the first time, Kirkpatrick takes readers deep into the twisted Nazi ideology of medieval mysticism and world domination. 

     

    12.29.2017 Iron WindAN IRON WIND: EUROPE UNDER HITLER
    By Peter Fritzsche
    (2016)

    There has been much written about the Nazi political and military leadership, but what about ordinary German citizens? What did they think of the Nazi party, and how did they deal with the chaotic and violent actions taking place in their country? Using diaries, letters, and more, Fritzsche creates a wider and more nuanced understanding of the effects of the War on German civilians. 

     

    12.29.2017 GI BridesGI BRIDES: THE WARTIME GIRLS WHO CROSSED THE ATLANTIC FOR LOVE
    By Duncan Barrett
    (2014)

    Over 70,000 British women became GI brides, marrying American servicemen who were stationed in Britain during WWII. This is the true story of 4 of these women, who gave up everything for love and faced the challenge of making a new home in America with a husband they sometimes barely knew. 

     

    12.29.2017 BonhoefferBONHOEFFER: PASTOR, MARTYR, PROPHET, SPY
    By Eric Metaxas
    (2010)

    As Nazism spread across Germany, there were a few who were bold enough to stand up to the Regime and even attempt to sabotage it. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Now considered one of the greatest theologians of modern history, Bonhoeffer was a Christian pastor who fought against the Nazi ideology with words and actions. Using newly discovered documents, Metaxas reveals Dietrich’s extraordinary life and his courageous death.

     
  • informational dvds family 1

    It’s a new year and a great time to learn something new! Did you know that we have informational DVDs just for kids? Here are a few titles just added to the Children’s collection that your whole family might enjoy:

    2.2 Shark LadySHARK LADY: THE TRUE STORY OF HOW EUGENIE CLARK BECAME THE OCEAN’S MOST FEARLESS SCIENTIST
    (2017)

    Jess Keating’s picture book comes to life in this video about the real life adventures of Dr. Keating, who studied sharks and other sea life. DVD includes read along subtitles.  

     

    2.2 Drawing with MarkDRAWING WITH MARK
    (2014)

    In this series of videos, former Disney illustrator Mark Marderosian takes kids on adventures, showing them how to draw the things they see. Mark and the gang visit museums, zoos, and more. Check out all six DVDs in the series.  

     

    2.2 Good Night YogaGOOD NIGHT YOGA: A POSE-BY-POSE BEDTIME STORY
    (2017)

    This film adaptation of Mariam Gate’s picture book demonstrates yoga poses to help children calm down in preparation for bedtime. You can also try GOOD MORNING YOGA to start the day.  

     

    2.2 Born in ChinaDISNEYNATURE: BORN IN CHINA
    (2017)

    Disney’s annual Earth Day film celebration follows the lives of a panda, a golden monkey, and a snow leopard in China.  

     

    2.2 Six DotsSIX DOTS: A STORY OF YOUNG LOUIS BRAILLE
    (2017)

    This animation of Jennifer Bryant’s book shows the determination of a blind boy who wanted to read so badly that he invented his own alphabet.

     
  • joseph smith

     Today, April 6th, is the anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The history of the LDS church is unescapably tied to the history of Utah and also Provo and it can be a fascinating topic to delve into.  In celebration of the 1830 founding of this influential religion, I have compiled a list of key works that explain more about its founder and first prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. 

    Each of these books illuminates a different perspective of this complex and visionary man who, while born into humble circumstances, started a movement that would touch the lives of millions.  Even if you think you already know a lot about Joseph Smith, I guarantee you will discover a wealth of new details in the following volumes.

    4.6 Witness to the MartyrdomWITNESS TO THE MARTYRDOM
    By John Taylor
    (2017)

    On June 27, 1844, John Taylor, was in Carthage Jail along with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and was severely wounded during the fatal altercation with the mob. He recovered his health and put into writing his recollections of the Prophet's final days on earth. John Taylor's detailed first-person account of the Martyrdom is a witness to the goodness and deep faith of the leading Brethren of the restored Church. 

     

    Rough Stone RollingJOSEPH SMITH: ROUGH STONE ROLLING
    By Richard Lyman Bushman
    (2005)

    While many “experts” continue to view Joseph Smith as a controversial figure, renowned scholar (and Latter-day Saint) Richard Bushman locates Joseph in his historical and cultural context, fleshing out the many nuances of nineteenth-century American life that produced such a fertile ground for emerging religions.

     

    The History of Joseph Smith by his MotherTHE HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH BY HIS MOTHER
    By Lucy Mack Smith
    (2004)

    In this incomparable classic, Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the prophet Joseph Smith, Takes a tender look back at the extraordinary life of her son. She relates with stirring personal detail the events that shaped his character, as well as the visions and miracles of the gospel restoration that reshaped the world.

     

    4.6 Precept upon PreceptPRECEPT UPON PRECEPT
    By Robert L. Millet
    (2016)

    Latter-day Saint doctrine is based on the restoration of a correct understanding of God's "character, perfections, and attributes." In Precept upon Precept, esteemed Latter-day Saint scholar and speaker Robert L. Millet explored how the restoration of one truth led to questions that led to answers and the restoration of more truths—line upon line, precept upon precept.

     

    5.6 Joseph Smith PapersJOSEPH SMITH PAPERS
    Compiled by various historians and The Church Historian’s Press
    (2008)

    And finally, for those who want access to it all, we have the JOSEPH SMITH PAPERS.  This project “is an effort to gather together all extant Josephs Smith documents and to publish  complete and accurate transcripts of those documetns with both textual and contextual annotations.”  Print volumes available at the library include documents, histories, revelations and translations, and journals.

     
  •  magic books 1

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

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

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



    10.6 The IllusionistsTHE ILLUSIONISTS
    Rosie Thomas
    (2014) 

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

     

     

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

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

     

     

     

    10.6 The PrestigeTHE PRESTIGE
    By Christopher Priest
    (1995) 

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

     

     

     

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

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

     

  • blogfood

    It's no secret that I love fall!  This is my favorite season as the leaves start to turn, the weather starts to get chilly, and I can break out my collection of scarves and gloves that have been neglected for too long.  Looking at some of the season's new cookbooks is equally enjoyable for me – the lovely roasts and stews on the covers, treat ideas to share on special occasions, and plenty of ideas to create new memories with the people you love.  Here are a few recently purchased cookbooks to get your autumn groove on:

    Purely PumpkinPURELY PUMPKIN: MORE THAN 100 WHOLESOME RECIPES TO SHARE, SAVOR, AND WARM YOUR KITCHEN
    by Allison Day
    (2016)

    This book definitely ushers in an excitement for all-things pumpkin!  In Purely Pumpkin, blogger Allison Day celebrates the most famous vegetable of the season with savory and sweet recipes that take advantage of pumpkin’s many incarnations: pumpkin flesh, puree, seeds, spice, even pumpkin seed oil.  Simply flipping through this book will warm your chilly fingers and have you wondering if the scent of cinnamon is in the air.

    Hungry Fans Game Day CookbookTHE HUNGRY FAN'S GAME DAY COOKBOOK: 165 RECIPES FOR EATING, DRINKING, & WATCHING SPORTS
    by Daina Falk
    (2016)

    I don’t think we can talk about fall cookbooks without mentioning game-day treats and tailgating with friends.  This book celebrates the art of feeding hungry sports fans from Wisconsin-style Fried Cheese Curds (go Packers!) to Chipotle Chicken Potato Skins.  Daughter of legendary sports agent David Falk, Daina Falk presents more than 100 recipes as well as tips on planning menus, packing, along with fun facts and team trivia.

    Caramel Caramel and More CaramelCARAMEL, CARAMEL & MORE CARAMEL!: SWEET AND SAVORY RECIPES FOR CREATIVE CARAMEL CUISINE
    by Michal Moses and Ivana Nitzan
    (2016)

    You may have been expecting the caramel-covered apples on the cover, but did you see the Salmon with Soy Caramel Sauce coming?  This book covers it all, with fifty recipes covering caramel candies, bars, cakes, desserts, and even savory dishes.  If you’ve ever been intimidated by creating your own caramel this book will walk you through the basics, and for more experienced caramel-makers, there are some truly inventive recipes that will make your mouth water.

    Best Cobblers and Crisps EverBEST COBBLERS AND CRISPS EVER: NO-FAIL RECIPES FOR RUSTIC FRUIT DESSERTS
    by Monica Sweeney
    (2016)

    Take full advantage of all of those end-of-summer fruits and orchard offerings with this delicious book on cobblers and crisps.  It even boasts a few pumpkin creations and sauce recipes that will have you glazing and whipping with the best of them.  If the changing leaves outside have you craving a pie in the oven to fill your home with the smell of nutmeg and ginger, you can spend a fraction of the time instead and have a lovely crispy-topped cobbler to show for it!

    Modern PotluckMODERN POTLUCK: BEAUTIFUL FOOD TO SHARE
    by Kristin Donnelly
    (2016)

    Let’s face it – this is the season of potlucks.  From holiday parties to office celebrations to elaborate weekend family dinners, we’re cooking for crowds these days.  One thing that I love about this book is that it will help you to accommodate gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets that inevitably come up amongst large groups.  This is also a gorgeous, pleasing book to flip through, and will reward you with extras like tips on event planning and packing food for travel.  These extras are a real bonus, as it’s no fun to spend hours to prepare for guests only to mildly hate them when they finally arrive!  Here you’ll find help to not only cook for the season, but to enjoy those moments with your loved ones more.

  • pete seeger

    For any 10-year-olds with an interest in the folk music of the 1960s, this blog post is for you!***crickets***Okay, okay. I know how it sounds, but one of the fascinating things about biographies written for children is that many are written about people that most children aren’t initially interested in. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be books about Einstein, Disney, and Muhammad Ali. But some of the real gems of our biography collection are about people that may not have obvious “kid-appeal” in 2017.Take Pete Seeger. I became a fan of his music as a sophomore in college when I became a little more politically active, a little more frustrated at “modern life,” and a little more convinced that the 1960s was the time to live. Ask me as a ten-year-old who Pete Seeger was, though, and I would have had no answer. I think the same is probably true of most kids.Still, for whatever reason there have been four well-written, fairly acclaimed children’s biographies about Pete Seeger published in the last year. Perhaps it is because he passed away in 2014 and publishers are eager to capitalize on a chance to make new biographies. Or perhaps it’s just because the stars aligned. We may never know. But if you’re interested in teaching your child the value of folk music and peaceful political activism – which might not be such a bad thing – here are all the Pete Seeger books our children’s department has to offer:

    10.13 Who Was Pete SeegerWHO WAS PETE SEEGER? 
    By Noel MacCarry
    (2017)

    The newest installment in a series of books that has written a biography for everyone. This book provides a good amount of detail and presents a charming caricature of the artist.

     

     

     

    10.13 Let Your Voice Be HeardLET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PETE SEEGER 
    By Anita Silvey
    (2016)

    This book provides a lot of good information about the life of Pete Seeger and the causes that were important to him – enough for kids to go out and explore more on their own.

     

     

    10.13 ListenLISTEN: HOW PETE SEEGER GOT AMERICA SINGING 
    By Leda Schubert
    Illustrated by Raul Colon
    (2017)

    This is my favorite of the bunch—mostly because I like picture book biographies. But also because it shows the influence Pete Seeger had in unexpected ways. Plus, it includes the titles of all his songs, which is fun for fans.

     

    10.13 Stand Up and SingSTAND UP AND SING!: PETE SEEGER, FOLK MUSIC, AND THE PATH TO JUSTICE 
    By Susanna Reich
    Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
    (2017)

    This one is a little text heavy for a picture book biography, but it does maybe the best job of explaining the oppression that Pete Seeger sought to overcome by making a statement with his music. 

    10.13 AbiyoyoBONUS: ABIYOYO 
    By Pete Seeger
    Illustrated by Michael Hays
    (1986)

    This picture book version of Seeger’s own ballad was a Reading Rainbow pick back in the day and is an adaptation of a South African folktale. With a note from Seeger in the front of the book, this is perhaps the best way to introduce young music fans to Pete Seeger.

     

  • nonfiction favorites

    Several years ago, I joined a book club. A friend invited me because I had told her that I wanted to read more books, but life had gotten in the way. It seemed that having a deadline and a group of people to hold me accountable was just what I needed. 

    The group read almost exclusively fiction novels. And for my first few choices, I had us read fiction too until someone outside our book club recommended a nonfiction book to me that sounded really interesting, which I devoured. The Authors had taken mountains of research and turned it into a nicely condensed book that kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the night. The book was filled with information that changed the way I thought about everyday life—my mind was blown, and I loved it.

    On my next turn, I had the book club read nonfiction. Since then I have chosen non-fiction every time, which has elicited a few eye rolls. The fact that I enjoy non-fiction has become characteristic of my personality.

    There are non-fiction authors who can keep the reader on their toes the same way intense fiction can. It is good to stretch outside your comfort zone now and then. Find a topic you love and read a nonfiction book about it. You will never turn back.

    Here are a few of my favorite recommendations to help you get started:

    NutureShockNURTURESHOCK: NEW THINKING ABOUT CHILDREN
    By Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
    (2009)

    Each chapter devotes itself to interesting child development ideas that are different than you would expect because Bronson and Merryman claim that many common strategies for nurturing children are backfiring. I have changed the way I speak to my children based on these ideas.

     

     

     

    female brainTHE FEMALE BRAIN
    By Louann Brizendine
    (2006)

    This book is good for women as well as the men who spend a lot of time with them. So many sections left me in awe of how accurate it described the way I think and experience life.

     

     

     

    FreakonomicsFREAKONOMICS: A ROGUE ECONOMIST EXPLORES THE HIDDEN SIDE OF EVERYTHING
    By Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
    (2006)

    This book is a far cry from a boring economics lesson: My mind was blown. This book uncovers the real human desires that drive economics. The authors shared research and conclusions I would have never expected, and I was especially interested in the section on what parents choose to name their children.

     

    habitTHE POWER OF HABIT: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS
    By Charles Duhigg
    (2012)

    You probably already know that habits are important, but Duhigg shows that habits are even more important in our lives than we previously thought. He explains why we are compelled to continue a habit that we want to get rid of and how to attempt to rethink why we do what we do.

     

     

     

    quietQUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN’T STOP TALKING
    Susan Cain
    (2012)

    Introversion can be a confusing subject. As an introvert, this book helped me understand myself as well as the positive side of being an introvert. It’s good to know that introverts can be leaders too. It is more about where you get your energy from, quiet introspection or being with other people. Group brainstorming and group projects are not always as productive as society makes them out to be. I felt validated for being myself.

     

  • friday faves

     

    I have a confession to make: I’m a reluctant self-help reader. Fiction is typically my preference over nonfiction, and I’ve been especially resistant to self-help books. I thought they weren’t really my thing, and I think I had a vague, unfair assumption that most self-help books would be unscientific psychobabble. Over the last few months, though, I’ve been devouring self-help books, and these favorites have actually improved my quality of life.

     

    willpowerWILLPOWER: REDISCOVERING THE GREATEST HUMAN STRENGTH
    by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
    (2012)

    This book is the one that had me completely rethinking my attitude toward self-help books. You won’t find any pseudoscience or vague personal ideas here. Instead, research psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and science writer John Tierney lay out what scientists have learned about the nature of willpower through decades of research. They offer concrete steps individuals can take to improve their self-control and share fascinating related anecdotes. Best of all, though, they back up every claim by describing the experiments and studies that scientists used to understand how to exercise and build willpower. This was an engrossing read for me, and I have been actively applying its ideas in my life. I also can’t stop sharing interesting details from it with my friends and coworkers.

     

    declutterTHE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP: THE JAPANESE ART OF DECLUTTERING AND ORGANIZING
    by Marie Kondo
    (2014)

    This book really did change me. I wrote a glowing review of it last summer, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Though The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up isn’t as scientific as some of the others on the list, it is based on the strategies used by the author, a wildly popular professional organizer from Japan. Her basic principle is that you go, category by category, through every item in your home, hold it close and decide whether or not it “sparks joy.” If it doesn’t, you toss it. As hokey as that might sound, it radically changed the way I look my belongings. I now buy less to begin with, get rid of anything I don’t need and love, and keep my home tidier than ever before.

     

    switchSWITCH: HOW TO CHANGE THINGS WHEN CHANGE IS HARD
    by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
    (2010)

    As the subtitle suggests, Switch explains how individuals and organizations can motivate and implement change. Even when we want to change something, human nature makes us resistant. The authors dedicate each chapter to a specific strategy for overcoming that resistance. I loved how organized and easy to follow Switch was.

     

    habitTHE POWER OF HABIT: WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO IN LIFE AND BUSINESS
    by Charles Duhigg
    (2012)

    Even though this book was a bestseller, I didn’t love it nearly as much as the others on the list. The structure was confusing, a lot of the book seemed like filler, and I felt like the authors were defining “habit” as everything and anything. In spite of those frustrations, I’m including The Power of Habit because the first three chapters and especially the appendix were fantastic. If you read just those sections, you’ll come away with a much better understanding of how our habits shape us and how we in turn can shape our habits.

     

    gritGRIT: THE POWER OF PASSION AND PERSEVERENCE
    by Angela Duckworth
    (2016)

    I’ve just started reading this book, so I can’t fully recommend it just yet. I think it’s going to be a good read, though. We often assume that those who achieve incredible things must have some kind of native genius; naturally talented, they were born to be Olympic gymnasts, concert pianists, political masterminds, or exceptional writers. Duckworth argues instead that extraordinary achievements result not from unusual intelligence or talent, but from what she calls “grit,” a mix of passion and persistent effort.

     

     

  • travel writing favorites

     

    As one stricken with seemingly unquenchable wanderlust, when I can’t be out exploring the world myself (because we all have to work sometimes, right?) I like to read about other’s travels, and thusly live vicariously through their experiences. That’s why one of my favorite genres is travel literature.

    In general, travel literature consists of descriptive accounts of a person’s travels, both near and far, as well as people they meet, cultures they encounter, and often a mix of humor, history, science, and speculation. I always learn something new about the locations authors write about as well as some dos and don’ts for visiting a place and being a conscientious traveler, overall.

    In the 900s and beyond, we have a good selection of travel writing and travel books to peruse, including travel guides as well as travel literature. Here is a list of travel literature available at the library that I would recommend for those interested in exploring the genre.

    patagoniaIN PATAGONIA
    by Bruce Chatwin
    (1977)

    Considered a travel masterpiece, this account of Chatwin's journey through Patagonia will make you want to add this destination to your list for new reasons. It includes some history and a search for Butch Cassidy’s cabin, extraordinary descriptions of a seemingly wild place, and a lot of soul searching.

     

    secretknowledgeofwaterTHE SECRET KNOWLEDGE OF WATER: DISCOVERING THE ESSENCE OF THE AMERICAN DESERT
    by Craig Childs
    (2001)

    In the desert, water is life, and knowing how to find it can determine whether you survive. While Childs wanders the American deserts in order to map water, he shares his scientific knowledge and waxes philosophical about the meaning of water in relation to life and death, in a place where the resource is so sparse.

    motorcyclediaries2THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES: NOTES ON A LATIN AMERICAN JOURNEY
    by Che Guevara
    (2003)

    Before Che Guevara was a revolutionary, he was a med student who started out on a motorcycle journey to experience South America with his best friend, Alberto Granado. Through his experience and reflections on this journey, you can see the beginnings of his revolutionary leanings as he encounters social injustices and hardships of people throughout the country.

    sunburned countryIN A SUNBURNED COUNTRY
    by Bill Bryson
    (2001)

    Famed and funny travel author Bill Bryson relishes the reader with stories of his travels in Australia where he encounters interesting natives and spouts facts about the deadly and peculiar animal and insect inhabitants. Bryson is a wonderfully insightful and beloved travel author, so picking up any of his books will not disappoint.

    prisoner of zionPRISONER OF ZION: MUSLIMS, MORMONS, AND OTHER MISADVENTURES
    by Scott Carrier
    (2011)

    Scott Carrier, a journalist and radio producer living in Utah, travels around the world in search of stories. In this book, Carrier writes thoughtfully about what it means to be an outsider traveling through areas of religious fanaticism in both Afghanistan shortly after 9-11 and amongst the Mormons in Utah.

     

     

    Honorable mentions:

    TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY: IN SEARCH OF AMERICA by John Steinbeck

    THE GREAT RAILWAY BAZAAR: BY TRAIN THROUGH ASIA by Paul Theroux

    SEA AND SARDINIA by D.H. Lawrence

    BREATHLESS: AN AMERICAN GIRL IN PARIS by Nancy Miller

  • housefridayfaves

    There is an interesting trend on the rise in nonfiction literature. More and more, authors who write a nonfiction book for adults will then go back and edit their work and re-release it as a slightly shorter, more streamlined version meant for young adults. While some people are skeptical of the need for two versions of the same book, I find I quite like the new variety on offer. These books can fill the gap between juvenile nonfiction and adult nonfiction, which is great news for some middle grade readers who want to read something more advanced, for young adults who appreciate a tailored and easier transition into adult books, and for certain adults—ahem—who like their nonfiction quick and easy with all the good bits left in.

    Here are five wonderful books that were either adapted for young adults or written specifically with them in mind.

    the family romanovTHE FAMILY ROMANOV: MURDER, REBELLION & THE FALL OF IMPERIAL RUSSIA
    byy Candace Fleming
    (2014)

    Thousands of diamonds sewn into clothes to hide them from the soldiers, starving peasants beating at the castle gates, and a princess who may have survived her family’s murder. This fascinating page-turner tells the story of Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II, and his family, who lived in supreme luxury, loved each other fiercely, and completely failed their people in their greatest crisis.

    boy on a boatTHE BOYS IN THE BOAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMERICAN TEAM’S EPIC JOURNEY TO WIN GOLD AT THE 1936 OLYMPICS
    by Daniel Brown
    (2015)

    During the dark days of the Great Depression, nine boys from the University of Washington, the sons of loggers and farmers, took on the elite German rowing team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and showed Hitler and the world the meaning of American determination.

    race to save the lord god birdTHE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD
    by Phillip Hoose
    (2004)

    This award-winning book focuses on the legendary Ivory-billed Woodpecker and the span of 200 years during which Americans went from trying to shoot it for their stuffed bird collections to desperately trying to save it from extinction.

    unbrokenUNBROKEN: AN OLYMPIAN’S JOURNEY FROM AIRMAN TO CASTAWAY TO CAPTIVE
    by Laura Hillenbrand
    (2014)

    When Louis Zamperini and two fellow airmen crashed into the Pacific Ocean in the middle of World War II, they could not have known that it was only the beginning of one of the most famous and harrowing survival stories ever told. After surviving the dangers of the ocean, they then had to survive the physical and emotional torture of a Japanese POW camp, while their hope of ever returning home slowly ebbed away.

    revenge of the whaleREVENGE OF THE WHALE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE WHALESHIP ESSEX
    by Nathaniel Philbrick
    (2002)

    This young adult adaptation of In the Heart of the Sea tells the true story of a whaleship that was sunk by an angry whale and the long struggle to survive for the captain and sailors stranded in a few small lifeboats without food or water. 

     

  • genealogy

    If you are fascinated by family history and sleuthing for mysteries on your family tree, there are a number of recent books you‘ll want to read. DNA testing is transforming genealogical research and enabling individuals to find answers to family history mysteries and locate previously unknown relatives. The mapping of the human gene, begun systematically in 1990, has spurred technology and medical research and enabled the discovery of genes associated with dozens of medical conditions. The science is fascinating and sometimes beyond the comprehension of a layman.  But the human stories of people who have benefitted from the advances in knowledge about our genes and chromosomes are fascinating and accessible.  Two gripping recent books tell stories of two different families afflicted with mysterious illnesses which ultimately are discovered to be linked to genetic mutations unique to their families.

    06.27.17 Mercies in DiguiseMERCIES IN DISGUISE
    Gina Kolata
    (2017)  

    Watching their proud father suffer from a mysterious illness that gradually rendered him helpless, the sons in the Baxley family vow to find the cause of his death. A chance comment by an elderly neighbor revealed the possibility that others in the family had suffered from the same disease.  Assembling a family tree they realized that the disease had struck many others in the family and would threaten themselves and their children unless they took action to identify the mutated gene responsible for the debilitating illness.

     

    06.27.17 The Family GeneTHE FAMILY GENE: A MISSION TO TURN MY DEADLY INHERITANCE INTO A HOPEFUL FUTURE
    Joselin Linder
    (2017)  

    While only in her twenties, the author begins to have strange symptoms, the first of which was swelling in her legs. After years of visiting various doctors she is diagnosed with a blockage in her liver. As she investigates her family tree she begins to see that her father’s illness was like hers, an uncle was also afflicted, and her great-grandmother died with similar symptoms.  Working with genetic researchers she confirms that fourteen relatives had died with the same disease caused by a brand new genetic mutation never seen before except in her family. The discovery means that the living generation of her family lives under the shadow of the same genetic illness.  

    Genetic genealogy uses genetic testing to discover or infer relationships between individuals. This rapidly growing field helps people identify their paternity and their more distant origins. Affordable genetic testing has been available since the early 2000s and hundreds of thousands of people have been tested with sometimes surprising results.

    06.27.17 The Stranger in My GenesTHE STRANGER IN MY GENES: A MEMOIR
    Bill Griffeth
    (2016) 

    Bill Griffeth is a successful financial journalist on CNBC and has also been a passionate genealogy hobbyist since 2003.  A cousin who was also interested in genealogy persuaded him to have a DNA test so that the two of them could compare results in order to learn more about their family history.  The DNA results were a shock because they revealed that the two cousins were not related – in other words, the man who raised Griffeth and whose genealogical lines Griffeth had spent years researching was not his biological father. Bill Griffeth has presented at genealogy clubs and historical societies many times over the years but never had his belief that “genealogy is the pursuit of truth” been challenged in such a personal way.  This book narrates the fallout from the genetic genealogy discovery of his true biological heritage.

     

    If you are interested in the more technical and scientific details of gene mapping and genetic genealogy, there are two highly recommended resources you can find at Provo Library.

    6.27.17 The Family Tree Guide to DNA TestingTHE FAMILY TREE GUIDE TO DNA TESTING AND GENETIC GENEALOGY
    Blaine T. Bettinger
    (2016)

    The Family Tree guide describes in clear language what DNA testing is, how it is used in genealogy and who the major companies are that do genetic testing. Once you have results from your DNA testing, the book also helps you understand how to interpret the results.

     

     

    6.27.17 The Gene an Intimate HistoryTHE GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY
    Siddhartha Mukherjee
    (2017) 

    Siddartha Mukherjee won the Pulitzer Prize for his previous book about cancer, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES. Set against the backdrop of his own extended family’s history of inherited mental illness, his beautiful writing about genetics begins with the time that genes were first theorized and conceptualized and traces developments in genetics to the present when we can directly manipulate the human genome.

  • 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)

     

  •  houseplants

    I love houseplants!  I usually acquire some new ones during the winter when everything is so dreary and dead outside.  There’s just something refreshing about being surrounded by greenery in the dead of winter.  Since I don’t have very good light from any of my windows, I have found it very helpful to look at books like these to find plants I would be able to accommodate.  It’s also fun to flip through them and daydream about all the beautiful plants I will be able to house one day if I ever get sunny windows! Houseplants:

    4.3 HouseplantsHOUSEPLANTS
    By Lisa Eldred Steinkopf
    (2017)

    When you don’t have any yard space to nurture your green thumb, houseplants are the answer!  This guide teaches you how to take care of your houseplants to ensure they are happy and healthy.  It contains profiles for more than 150 plants to help you choose the plants that will be best for you. 

     

    4.3 The Indestructible House PlantTHE INDESTRUCTIBLE HOUSEPLANT
    By Tovah Martin
    (2015)

    Anyone can grow healthy houseplants if you pick the right plants!  This book focuses on very tough but beautiful plants that can withstand a fair amount of neglect.  No houseplant is completely maintenance free however, so it still includes instructions for how to care for your (almost) indestructible plant.   

     

    4.3 The Indoor Plant BibleTHE INDOOR PLANT BIBLE
    By Dorte Nissen
    (2005)

    Each plant gets its own page in this book.   Each profile contains information about the plant and care instructions, complete with icons that make it easy to visually browse for a plant with certain needs.  Each plant is pictured with well-done photographs, rather than illustrations. 

     

    4.3 The Complete Guide to HouseplantsTHE COMPLETE GUIDE TO HOUSEPLANTS
    By Valerie Bradley
    (2006)

    Have a specific room in mind but don’t know what plant to put in it?  This book has lists for various rooms in your home and lists of plants with certain traits.  There’s also a directory for 250 different plants complete with photographs, a description, care instructions, and propagation instructions for each one. 

     

    4.3 Terrarium CraftTERRARIUM CRAFT
    By Amy Bryant Aiello
    (2011)

    To go in a slightly different direction from the books listed thus far, terrariums also make great indoor plant decorations.  This book gives instructions for 50 different terrarium designs along different themes such as forest, beach, and desert.  These terrariums are sure to add an interesting display piece to your home. 

     

    4.3 The New TerrariumTHE NEW TERRARIUM
    By Tovah Martin
    (2009)

    This book doesn’t just give instructions for recreating a specific terrarium design, it also gives the reader a lot of information about terrariums and how they benefit plants.  With sections for different types of containers, set-up, care, and plant species, The New Terrarium will be especially helpful for anyone interested in creating their very own plant terrarium.

     
  •  Train Tracks

    On May 10th, 1869 the transcontinental railway was completed, and the meeting point of the East and West going railways was right here in Utah. This year marks the 150th anniversary of this historic event and there are several celebrations planned throughout the state. You can find more information about events and celebrations at Spike150.org, or plan a visit to the Golden Spike National Historic Park and see where it happened.

    In honor of this anniversary, visit the library to peruse unique books from our Special Collections area about Golden Spike and the history of trains and railroads in Utah.

    5.10 Golden SpikeGOLDEN SPIKE: NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE 
    By Robert M. Utley
    (1969)

    Part of the “Historical Handbook Series” published by the National Parks Service and U.S. Department of Interior, this small book packs a lot of history into its 60-ish pages. It details how the Promontory site was chosen and the record breaking 10 miles of track laid in a day the push to complete the railroad was happening.  

     

    5.10 Railway ReflectionsRAILWAY REFLECTIONS: A HISTORICAL REVIEW OF UTAH RAILROADS 
    By  Gilbert H. Bennett
    (1999)

    This unique book is a collection of paintings by artist Gilbert H. Bennett. It takes the reader on a historical journey through railroading history in Utah, beginning at the Golden Spike. The beautiful full color prints of the oil and watercolor paintings are beautiful and add a great visual to a fascinating history.

     

    5.10 Iron Horses to PromontoryIRON HORSES TO PROMONTORY: GOLDEN SPIKE EDITION 
    By Gerald M. Best
    (1969)

    Chock full of illustrations, some historic photographs, and scans of newspaper clippings, this book is perfect for the history buff with a propensity towards the visual. The high quality photos are pretty remarkable, and make the already interesting piece of history more robust and accessible.

     

    5.10 Crossroads of the WestCROSSROAD OF THE WEST: A PHOTOGRAPHIC LOOK AT FIFTY YEARS OF RAILROADING HISTORY IN UTAH 
    By Blair Kooistra
    (1998)

    Another photographic collection, this book goes beyond the Golden Spike and delves into more modern railroading developments and uses. It includes breathtaking full color photos of more recent trains and rail lines, including Kennecott’s specially designed train cars and the Rio Grande’s Carbon County coal train. This is a must read for any true railfan.   

     

    5.10 Golden SpikeTHE GOLDEN SPIKE 
    Edited by David E. Miller
    (1973)

    The Western History Center at the University of Utah compiled this book of well researched historical articles from colleges and organizations around the state. They published it in conjunction with the centennial or 100 year anniversary of the Golden Spike.

     

    If you’d like to know more about the Transcontinental Railroad and this fascinating time in our nation’s history, there are some very thorough and well researched books about this topic available on our e-book and audiobook service, Libby. Here are a few that come highly recommended:

    NOTHING LIKE IT IN THE WORLD

    RAILROADED

    EMPIRE EXPRESS

  • grilled cheese

    I recently came upon a few books with a surprising commonality: grilled cheese. Who knew that grilled cheese was the comfort food of choice? These books are of different tones and genres but all of them will leave you with a desire to experiment with different grilled cheese recipes. 

    7.24 The listTHE LIST
    By Melanie Jacobson
    (2011)

    Ashley Barrett has a list of things she wants to accomplish before she gets married. One thing on that list is a summer fling. What better way to a man’s heart than through his stomach? Will Ashley’s grilled cheese seal the deal? Featured grilled cheese secret: sourdough bread. 

     

    7.24 The Optimists Guide to Letting GoTHE OPTIMIST’S GUIDE TO LETTING GO
    By Amy E. Reichert
    (2018)

    When Gina’s husband passed away he left her with a mopey teenage daughter, a cranky mother, and a grilled cheese food truck. Will Gina’s optimistic attitude be enough to keep her relationships and business afloat? Featured grilled cheese secret: cream cheese 

     

    7.24 Dont Worry It Gets WorseDON’T WORRY, IT GETS WORSE: ONE TWENTY SOMETHING’S (MOSTLY FAILED) ATTEMPTS AT ADULTHOOD
    By Alida Nugent
    (2013)

    In this autobiography you’ll meet Alida. She’s a college graduate attempting (and failing) to transition to adult life. Good thing she has good friends, great parents, and a life-altering grilled cheese sandwich. Featured grilled cheese secret: grease and insatiable hunger. 

     

    7.24 Grilled Cheese and DragonsGRILLED CHEESE AND DRAGONS
    By Nancy Krulik
    (2018) 

    Princess Serena doesn’t want to be a pretty little princess. She wants to be a knight. But she has to accomplish a quest before her father will let her go to knight school. Along the way she learns about teamwork, kindness, and how delicious grilled cheese can be. Featured grilled cheese secret: Eat it with a dragon! There you have it! A compilation of my recently read books that feature grilled cheese. If these books inspired you to make your own grilled cheese sandwich, then may I recommend one more read: 

     

    7.24 Grilled Cheese KitchenGRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN: BREAD + CHEESE + EVERTHING IN BETWEEN
    By Heidi Gibson
    (2016)

    This cook book contains recipes for grilled cheese, mac and cheese, soups, and more!

     
  • Learn It hair blog

    I have always struggled with fixing hair. Over the years, I mastered the basic pony tail and called it good. Now I have two daughters and my hair styling skills are lacking. I look around at all the adorable hairstyles and wish I could learn some tips and tricks to make it easier.

    I’m really excited about our Learn It class on Tuesday, September 19th at 7:00 pm in the Shaw Programming Room. It is Hair 101 and will be taught by students from Paul Mitchell The School in Provo. They will teach us some hands-on braiding techniques and answer general hair care questions. I can’t wait to learn some new or better ways to braid hair. If you are like me and struggle with hair styling, or maybe you already know a lot, but are looking for something new, you should come to our Learn It class on September 19th. 

    If you can’t make it to the class, there are also some great books here in the library. I’ve found a few books that have helped me feel a little braver to try some other styles.

    9.18 Amazing HairstylesAMAZING HAIRSTYLES FROM EASY TO ELEGANT
    By Becky Porter
    (2014) 

    This book has great color pictures that show the hair style from different angels and then a picture for each step, with really easy to understand instructions. One of the other things I love about this book is that each section is color coded, so it’s easy to find. On the first page of the section it has a page with every hairstyle in that section with it’s name and what page you can find it on. It saved me a ton of time to flip to the overview and then straight to the style I was interested in.  

    9.18 HairstyledHAIRSTYLED
    By Anne Thoumieux
    (2016) 

    This book has colored photos with steps and instructions, but I found them a little more confusing than the previous book. Also, there weren’t many styles that I could actually see myself using. It did have specific styles for different types and lengths of hair so it wasn’t just all things that needed long hair to do.

     

    9.18 DIY Updos Knots and TwistsDIY UPDOS, KNOTS, & TWISTS
    By Melissa Cook
    (2015) 

    This book was great because the pictures show steps of the women fixing their own hair which is helpful because I don’t have a stylist at home to do cute things to my hair when I’m trying to get ready for the day. This helped me to see where my hands should be and how I should hold each strand of hair and also where I needed to put the bobby pins.  

     

    I look forward to trying some of these new styles, now I just have to hope that my daughters will sit still long enough for me to figure them out.  

  •  Haunting

    Since it is Halloween today, I thought I would write a post about haunted places in Provo. It would be great to start with personal experiences of our reportedly haunted Academy building. Unfortunately, after working here for twenty years, the only unexplained phenomena I have experienced is that the batteries in any clock I hang in my office die really really fast.  I’ve even replaced the clock a few times and finally just gave up on it. But I don’t think that really counts as paranormal.

    However, we have a number of wonderful books that discuss Utah hauntings and the one that caught my attention recently is RESTLESS SPIRITS: UTAH’S SMALL TOWN GHOSTS by Linda Dunning. She has a whole section on Provo Haunts. Below is a wonderful summary of those hauntings from her book:

    “The Utes massacred at Table Point and in Rock Canyon were never buried. They were left to the wild animals and the whims of nature. Is it any wonder that both of these places are haunted by the dead?

    Old Bishop was a leader to his people and a friend to the white man. His spirit walks the shore of the Provo River in winter.  Bill Hickman, notorious outlaw and lawman, told his tall tales about both of these events.

    In Provo Canyon, the stories of Bridal Veil Falls are both old and new, according to the decade from which they came. Hermits, witches, healers, and old miners are said to have inhabited this canyon, and their stories might have been lost except for the tales told here.

    Brigham Young University has its share of haunted buildings. Musical instruments play by themselves in the music department, and rumor has it that one of the museums is experiencing so much phenomena that a man was summoned to bless the place.

    An old pioneer graveyard is buried under a building, which is, of course, “haunted.” The old Utah County jail has spirited criminals, and the Hotel Roberts, which was razed in 2004, had an atmosphere all its own. Even Geneva Steel, once the largest employer in the valley, was silent, still, and definitely haunted until it was abandoned in 2005.

    Tell me that you aren’t intrigued by at least one of these quick teasers! This is a great little book and it’s available here at the Provo City Library. As I was reading through these creepy stories I discovered a previous book by the same author that she says describes “in depth” the hauntings of Maeser Elementary and the Brigham Young Academy building. Why did we not own this book? Well, we do now!

    If you want to learn more about what is creepy in our community and state, check out these titles:

    10.31 Restless SpiritsRESTLESS SPIRITS: UTAH’S SMALL TOWN GHOSTS
    by Linda Dunning
    (2010) 

    A resurrection witnessed, skeletons unearthed from the cellar of a saloon, and a ghostly apparition searching for her lost child – these stories and more will chill your bones, curdle your blood, and make even the most confident skeptic believe in the supernatural!

     

    10.31 Lost LandscapesLOST LANDSCAPES: UTAH’S GHOSTS, MYSTERIOUS CREATURES, AND ALIENS
    by Linda Dunning
    (2007) 

    For young and old alike, this book will pique interest and raise questions to the mysteries lurking within Utah’s borders. Whether it be the unsolved riddles of places, people, puzzling objects, the legends that have been passed down through the generations, everyone will find something that will have them eagerly turning to the next page.

     

    10.31 Haunted UtahHAUNTED UTAH: GHOSTS AND STRANGE PHENOMENA FROM THE BEEHIVE STATE
    by Andy Weeks
    (2012) 

    This collection of stories includes the phantom hitchhiker of American Fork, Ogden’s elegant haunted hotel, activity at Salt Lake City’s This is the Place Heritage Park, ghost children at Mercer Cemetery, the white lady of Spring Canyon, and bizarre creatures, including Sasquatch, Utah Lake’s black-eyed monster, and the Moon Lake Monster.

     

    10.31 Specters in DoorwaysSPECTERS IN DOORWAYS
    by Linda Dunning
    (2009)

    Reveals the mysteries and miracles of haunted mansions and farm houses, ghostly hotels and public buildings, spirit-infested hospitals, churches and gathering places, eerie old schools, colleges and universities and finally, the phantoms of Utah’s many old mills and abandoned factories.

     
  •  

    condo renovation

     

    If you’re a DIY-er like I dream of being, the library is a great place for getting ideas and helpful how-to instructions.

    In the age of the internet it’s hard to imagine why you would want to go to the library instead of just typing your question into Google.

    Librarian tip: The internet is great, but the library is better.

    Here are a few reasons why I chose to use the library’s resources instead: 

    • I get sick of all those ads or popups asking you to watch this video or subscribe to their newsletter. Navigating websites can be very annoying!
    • Surely I'm not the only one who mistakes an ad for content on the page. It’s really hard to distinguish sometimes.
    • Websites are usually trying to sell you something. This makes it more difficult to trust the information provided.
    • It's difficult to determine if you can trust that someone actually knows what they are talking about or if they are merely passing themselves off as an authority on the topic. 

    At the library, however, you can find trusted information from experts with no advertising (well, magazines have advertising but at least you can turn the page...). 

    So here’s how I went about using the library to help with my condo renovation.

     

    The Dreaming Stage

    Provo City Library has a variety of great resources if you’re trying to figure out what your style is or how to tackle a project. During this stage I looked through a lot of books and magazines.

    Librarian tip: Use your mobile device to access full color magazines including several with great home improvement articles.

    Watch this brief video tutorial to learn more about downloading  digital magazines.  

    While a lot of home improvement magazines show high design concepts out of my price range or focus on décor over renovating, there is still a lot of good practical advice. For example, in House Beautiful magazine I found several articles discussing trends in paint colors. This helped me figure out what colors and style I wanted to go with (grays and blues, and a more modern style).

    In addition to magazines, I checked out several helpful books that provide do it yourself information about nearly any type of home remodeling or renovation project.

    Probably one of the most helpful books I checked out was NEW KITCHEN IDEA BOOK by Heather J. Paper (2016).

    kitchen

     

    Updated just this year, this book is crammed full of inspiring and practical design options for every part of the kitchen. It covers everything from layouts to countertops, cabinets, sinks and appliances. It also discusses flooring and other finishing details and even has a section on eco-friendly ideas.

     

     

     

    The Reality Stage

    When we finally, finally began the actual remodeling process, I was again very grateful for the resources available at my fingertips.

    Librarian tip: Utilize your 24/7 access to Home Improvement Reference Center, an online database providing users with detailed, user-friendly “how-to” information covering all manner of home improvement/repair projects.

    At one point, we switched to refinishing the cabinets to save money. However, we had no idea how to properly paint cabinets so they wouldn’t chip or fade. I went online to use the Home Improvement Reference Center and found the perfect article describing exactly what we needed to do. 

    Just as a comparison, I also tried searching YouTube for instructional videos and found a few results, but they either left out critical details or implied your paint would chip even if you used their instructions.

     

    The Enjoyment Stage  

    While this project turned out to take far longer and cost a bit more than planned, the resources I found at the library helped me create the vision I had in my head  and gave me the confidence to tackle doing it all myself. Now onto living in my new lovely abode!

  • Music

    How do our super patrons use the library?  They take advantage of all we have to offer, of course! The library offers a diverse amount of services, but today we’ll be talking specifically about how Super Music Lovers use the library.  As a music lover myself, I know the library might not always be the first thing we think of to satisfy our music needs, but the library offers several great musical resources!

    Freegal.com

    With just your library card, you can access Freegal, our music-streaming service that gives you access to five hours of ad-free music every day. Freegal has put together some playlists to choose from, or you can make your own playlists from the music available. This site also allows you to download three songs each week for free, and that's it: you own it. You can play it anytime from your music player on your phone or computer. 

    Music on CD and Sheet Music you can check out

    The Provo Library has thousands of albums on CD! We purchase CDs from a wide variety of genres and artists, and CDs have no fee to check out. We also have a growing collection of sheet music with hot titles like the complete libretto of the Broadway musical HAMILTON, and music from the motion picture THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

    Monday Night Performances

    There’s nothing quite like feeling the energy of a live performance.  Luckily, performers and musicians from our community regularly come to perform at our library.  Some of our seasonal performances, such as the Utah Valley Handbell Ringers each December, are a community tradition!  These performances are always free, and you can see our upcoming schedule on our Monday Night @ the Library page.

    The Basement Creative Lab audiovisual production space

    Being a lover of music goes hand in hand with being a creator of music, when your passion pushes you to participate rather than simply enjoy!  Our new Basement Creative Lab provides a space for creators looking for a space to record sound and video, supplied with equipment and editing stations that is free for Provo residents to use. All you have to do to use it is take our free “Intro to Studio Production” class to get oriented with our equipment. We also periodically offer specialized classes on subjects like Audio Production.  More information and registration for our classes can be done on our Basement Creative Lab page.

  •  Gardening

    Sometimes I feel like the best way to describe me is: A Food Moron. I grew up in a metropolitan area, in an era when convenience foods were the new miracle of the food industry, and dinner came more often from a can or a box or even a window than it did from the ground. Now that I am in our lovely community here in Provo, I have felt often that I have a huge amount of catching up to do. So many people around me seem to already have a grasp on how to grow your own food and put it on the table for your family without any cardboard boxes involved at all!  And while I don't feel like I have the benefit of a lifetime of knowledge of good food practices, I am trying to learn now as an adult so that I can improve my life and the lives of my family. 

    But food is becoming an increasingly tricky subject, almost as perilous to navigate in social settings as politics and religion.  You can find as many different opinions on food practices as there are people in the room. The publishing industry reflects this trend as well, with a new food-related book coming out almost every day prescribing one method or another.

    While I don't claim to have any more answers than the next person, I have read several interesting books recently that have helped me to learn about the food industry, and more importantly, that have inspired me personally to make changes. Which is why I've spent the last two months digging through the dirt in my backyard, pulling up roots, hammering and drilling: things I never thought I'd be doing when I was growing up!

     Garden 1.1
    My yard in February 2018

    Garden 2
    Versus April 2018

    I heartily support anyone who's trying to make their life better with better food practices, whatever they are! But these are the books that have educated me and inspired me to get out the shovel and do something.  

    6.20 CookedCOOKED: A NATURAL HISTORY OF TRANSFORMATION
    Michael Pollan
    (2013)

    Michael Pollan has been a critical player in our national conversations about food for the better part of two decades.  While he's written many important books on the subject of the environment and agriculture, Cooked was a culmination of sorts where much of his knowledge and research was encapsulated in practical application. 

     

    6.20 Salt Sugar FatSALT, SUGAR, FAT: HOW THE FOOD GIANTS HOOKED US
    By Michael Moss
    (2013)

    This book takes an in-depth look at major players in the food industry, and examines how research and development of their products is done to help it become as desirable as possible to consumers today.  It's a fascinating look at how food products are specifically designed to keep people eating ("bet you can't eat just one") while no real attention is paid to nutrition unless it can be used as a market appeal.   

     

    6.20 The Dorito EffectTHE DORITO EFFECT
    By Mark Schatzker
    (2015)

    While part of this book covers similar ground as the book above, Schatzker takes it another step further to examine agricultural practices over the last century as well.  Many varieties of grown food have been bred for decades for its resistance to disease and bigger yields, but practically no consideration for taste.  As a result, many grown foods have lost much of their true flavors and intensity, and people increasingly turn to the processed food industry to provide flavor, at the expense of nutrition. 

     

    6.20 Animal Vegetable MiracleANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE
    By Barbara Kingsolver
    (2007)

    Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family moved from Tuscon to Virginia to live for one year eating only what they produced themselves or what they could find locally produced.  Kingsolver's mindfulness of the world around her and passion for responsible eating are incredibly inspiring.  I haven't yet found someone who wasn't motivated to make even a small change after reading this. 

     

    6.20 The Third PlateTHE THIRD PLATE: FIELD NOTES ON THE FUTURE OF FOOD
    By Dan Barber
    (2014)

    Written by the renowned chef of the Blue Hill restaurant and one of the original chefs of the farm-to-table movement, Dan Barber explores the evolution of American food, its effect on our environment, and most importantly the environment's effect on food.  This is a fascinating discussion of true sustainability, and how the practices that will benefit our environment the most will also help to provide us with the most delicious food possible. 

     
  • Looking at Books

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Crooked KingdomCROOKED KINGDOM
    By Leigh Bardugo
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Amy SnowAMY SNOW
    By Tracy Rees
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

    11.9 Rare ObjectsRARE OBJECTS
    By Kathleen Tessaro
    (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

     

    11.9 TwilightTWILIGHT
    By Stephanie Meyer
    (2005)

     

     

     

     

     

  • reading lately

    I’ve been luxuriating in memoir lately. It’s so powerful to read about people’s experiences in their own words. It’s like sitting down with them in a cozy corner and having a really good chat.

    Memoir is deeply personal writing about a specific time in a person’s life and touches on the person’s memories, feelings, and emotions.

    Memoir can be inspiring, horrifying, intoxicating, and hysterical. If you are interested in trying out memoir for the first time, or are looking for your next good read, check out this list of what I’ve been reading lately.

    5.21 EducatedEDUCATED
    By Tara Westover
    (2018)

    Tara Westover grew up living off the grid in Idaho. Her erratic father and her midwife mother were strict fundamentalist, so Tara and her siblings never went to school. Tara was 17 the first time she entered a classroom. This is an astounding memoir about how Westover taught herself so she could enter BYU as a college freshman.

    This was a heart wrenching read. The ignorance, squalor, and violence that she experienced in her family of origin is hard to stomach. How could a story like this happen in a modern, civilized world? Yet, the way Westover describes her experience is unflinching and ultimately inspirational. This one will really make you think.       

     

    5.21 BecomingBECOMING
    By Michelle Obama
    (2018)

    This is an intimate portrait of a powerful woman who has experienced heartbreaks and successes that have shaped an amazing life. I really appreciated the section where she recounts her experience with fertility treatments and trying to get pregnant.

    These tender details make this more than just a “famous person” memoir. It is articulate and impeccably written. Reading this book was like having Michelle Obama as a delightful house guest for a couple of days.

     

    5.21 In PiecesIN PIECES
    by Sally Field
    (2018)

    Field gives an unflinching and heartbreaking view of Old Hollywood and her experiences as she evolved from teen sweetheart to Oscar-winning leading lady.

    Field’s authenticity and vulnerability is compelling and her life is inspiring. Though some of the subject matter is dark, her glowing hope shines through. This is a beautifully written, tender and raw memoir about an inner child who just wants to be enough.

     

    5.21 Whiskey in a TeacupWHISKEY IN A TEACUP: WHAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND BAKING BISCUITS
    By Reese Witherspoon
    (2018

    )In this chatty memoir/recipe book, Reese Witherspoon shares what it was like growing up in The South, particularly the influence of her grandmother Dorothea. At the end of each chapter, she shares family recipes and lists of books and music that can bring the charm and tradition of Tennessee to your home.

    I loved this book. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but Reese Witherspoon writes with charm and candor about her upbringing and the power of family. It was really interesting to see into her life outside of her movies.

     

    5.21 Talking as Fast as I CanTALKING AS FAST AS I CAN: FROM GILMORE GIRLS TO GILMORE GIRLS, (AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN)
    By Lauren Graham
    (2016)

    This memoir was like talking to my best friends about life, love, and our favorite episodes of GILMORE GIRLS. Graham explains her childhood, her life-changing role as Dolly Levi in HELLO, DOLLY!  and all the things that lead her to GILMORE GIRLS and PARENTHOOD. She also shares from her diary that she kept during the filming of GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE and her reunion with Alexis Bledel and Kelly Bishop and what it was like to be without Edward Herriman’s quintessential Richard Gilmore. But mostly it is about how she always felt that she had something inside of her that she wanted to share, that she needed to impart, and she did, talking as fast as she could.

     
  • Marie Kondo

    Chances are, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo and the KonMari method by now. If not, you’re probably still buried under a mountain of possessions like most of America. With her 2014 bestseller, THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, Marie Kondo single-handedly started a revolution of decluttering and organizing. More recently, she has come out with a Netflix series called TIDYING UP WITH MARIE KONDO that has reached a whole new audience and flooded the world with decluttering fever once again. Now that you’ve read the book (and the sequel, SPARK JOY), and watched the Netflix series, you may be wondering where else you can get inspiration for your spring cleaning. The following are some great books on organization and living with less that you may find interesting. 

    11.01 Digital MinimalismDIGITAL MINIMALISM
    By Cal Newport
    (2019)

    Perhaps you have KonMari-ed down to just the items that “spark joy” and are looking for a new frontier to battle. Cal Newport suggests diving into your digital clutter. The same way that an overabundance of physical clutter can overwhelm you at home, an overabundance of digital clutter can overwhelm you everywhere you go. If non-essential notifications and the pressure to capture the perfect picture for social media can distract you from real-life moments, perhaps this book is for you. 

     

    11.01 The Gentle Art of Swedish Death CleaningTHE GENTLE ART OF SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING: HOW TO FREE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM A LIFETIME OF CLUTTER
    By Margareta Magnusson
    (2018)

    While similar in the aim to declutter, Swedish Death Cleaning and the KonMari method are a bit different. Have you ever had a relative die and, during the grieving process, had to sort through their collection of stuff only to find junk and items you felt guilt-tripped into keeping? Swedish Death Cleaning aims to remove this burden from your relatives by taking care of it throughout your life. Rather than just asking if items "spark joy” for you, you also ask if they will be useful to your posterity. Margareta Magnusson does a beautiful job of outlining this process as she goes through her own things, with some humor thrown in along the way. 

     

    11.01 The Minimalist HomeTHE MINIMALIST HOME: A ROOM-BY-ROOM GUIDE TO A DECLUTTERED, REFOCUSED LIFE
    By Joshua Becker
    (2018)

    Written by Joshua Becker, popular editor of the Becoming Minimalist website (https://www.becomingminimalist.com/), The Minimalist Home guides readers through the process of decluttering their home by room rather than by type. If Marie Kondo inspired you but her style of decluttering didn’t work for you, Becker’s might. Also, note that minimalism to Becker doesn’t mean getting down to the bare bones – it means to get rid of the excess, whatever that means for your life. 

     

    11.01 Organized EnoughORGANIZED ENOUGH: THE ANTI-PERFECTIONIST’S GUIDE TO GETTING – AND STAYING – ORGANIZED
    By Amanda Sullivan
    (2017)

    If minimalism isn’t for you, and you’re looking for another gentle organizing technique that doesn’t suggest getting rid of everything you own, Amanda Sullivan may be the next author you need to read. Her tips on organization are a bit more realistic for the everyday person. Read this book if Marie Kondo’s technique was a little too much for you and you want to try another method of organization – one that doesn’t involve an intense folding process. 

     

    11.01 Soulful SimplicitySOULFUL SIMPLICITY
    By Courtney Carver
    (2017)

    After being diagnosed with MS, Courtney Carver took on the excess in her life so that she could focus on what mattered most: her daughter. She describes her diagnosis as a “wake-up call,” but hopefully the rest of us don’t need an incurable disease to get us on the path we want in life. Jonathan Fields said it best, “Marie Kondo taught us how to declutter our homes; now it’s time to let Courtney Carver take us to a deeper place.” If tidying up with Marie Kondo brought you joy, but you still feel that there is something missing (or rather, excessive) in your life, this might be the next book for you.

     
  • desserts 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    SHEET PAN DESSERTS

    SWEETS & TREATS WITH SIX SISTERS' STUFF

    ILLUSTRATED STEP BY STEP BAKING

  • narrative food 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    CHOCOLATE: A BITTERSWEET SAGA OF DARK AND LIGHT

    ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE

    RELISH: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN

  • funny autobiographies 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    BOY: TALES OF CHILDHOOD

    KNUCKLEHEAD: TALL TALES & MOSTLY TRUE STORIES OF GROWING UP

    HOW ANGEL PETERSON GOT HIS NAME: AND OTHER OUTRAGEOUS TALES OF EXTREME SPORTS

  • Hamilton 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    ALEXANDER HAMILTON

    FALLEN FOUNDER: THE LIFE OF AARON BURR

    LADIES OF LIBERTY 

  • Female Jazz Biographies 01

     

    Find them in the catalog: 

    STRANGE FRUIT

    JOSEPHINE

    NINA

  • self improvement nonfiction 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    DARING GREATLY

    YOU ARE A BADASS

    LEADERSHIP AND SELF-DECEPTION

  • Maps 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    MAPS

    WHERE ON EARTH?

    MAPS AND GEOGRAPHY

  • Happy World Thinking Day! Here are some great books to get you thinking about thinking: 

    psychological reads

  • science technology natural history 01

    Find them in the catalog: 

    ANIMALIUM

    THING EXPLAINER

    I CONTAIN MULTITUDES

     

  • Sports Success Biographies 01

  • Downton Abbey

    Hello, fellow Downton Abbey fans! If you’re anything like me, you’re awaiting the Downton Abbey movie with a mixture of hope and trepedation. I’m excited to return to my favorite period drama and become reaquainted with beloved characters, both above and below stairs.

    At the same time, I’m worried. They’d wrapped up the final season so happily for everyone, hadn’t they? A sucker for a happy ending, I was pleased with where characters ended up in the final season, and I’m just not sure I can take it if Anna and Bates are subjected to new trauma. JUST LET THOSE POOR PEOPLE LIVE IN PEACE, Julian Fellowes!

    Nevertheless, I’ll be there on opening night.

    In the meantime, here are a few library materials to get you back into that Downton frame of mind. 

    9.13 Lady AlminaLADY ALMINA AND THE REAL DOWNTON ABBEY: THE LOST LEGACY OF HIGHCLERE CASTLE
    By Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon
    (2011)

    Downton Abbey, is, alas, a fictional place, but the entirety of the series was filmed at Highclere Castle, a country house in Hampshire England with history going back to the 9th century (though the current building was build primarily in the 1600s and 1700s). This book, written by the current Countess of Carnarvon who lives in the castle today, tells the story of one of Highclere’s most famous residents, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.

     

    9.13 Below StairsBELOW STAIRS: THE CLASSIC KITCHEN MAID’S MEMOIR THAT INSPIRED UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS AND DOWNTON ABBEY
    By Margaret Powell
    (2012)

    If you were always more interested in the exploits of Daisy and Mrs. Patmore than in the goings-on of the Crawleys, this is the book for you. Margaret Powell, who lived from 1908 to 1984, became a bestselling writer with this memoir about her experiences as a maid and later a cook in aristocratic houses in the 1920s and 1930s. As the title suggests, her book was eventually a source of inspiration for Downton Abbey.

     

    9.13 Downton Abbey MusicDOWNTON ABBEY: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION: FEATURING THE MUSICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF ALL SIX SEASONS
    By John Lunn
    (2016)

    It doesn’t take much to conjure up the notes of Downton Abbey’s opening theme in my mind. This CD collection brings together favorite musical pieces from throughout the show’s run. And if you’re a pianist, why not check out the sheet music too?

     

    9.13 Edwardian CookingEDWARDIAN COOKING: 80 RECIPES INSPIRED BY DOWNTON ABBEY’S ELEGANT MEALS
    By Larry Edwards
    (2012)

    If you’re feeling especially motivated, you can try your hand at one of the delicious recipes in this historically-inspired cookbook. It blessedly stays away from away from aspics (a.k.a meat jello) and the like, instead favoring classics like pork tenderloin with sweetened cinnamon apples and any number of tea sandwiches and biscuits. 

     

    9.13 Downton Abbey A CelebrationDOWNTON ABBEY: A CELEBRATION
    By Jessica Fellowes
    (2015)

    Written by Jessica Fellowes, niece of show creator Julian Fellowes, this book goes behind the scenes on the Downton set, with gorgeous location shots of Highclere Castle and stills from all six seasons of the classic period drama. It's a perfect refresher course if you’re feeling a little foggy on the timeline of the series. 

     
  • indian cookery

    I think my sudden interest in Indian cooking was triggered by reading A LONG WAY HOME by Saroo Brierley (made into the movie LION in 2016). At age five he became separated from his brother at a train station in India and ended up in Calcutta. Too young to even accurately remember the name of his home village, he was taken to an orphanage and adopted by a family in Australia. In his memoir he lovingly describes memories of the food his mother prepared on an iron griddle over the fire. Food was scarce and the family was always hungry, making the tempting smells of the food even more appetizing. Favorites were yellow lentil dal, and deep fried dough made from bhuja (chickpea flour and spices). Goat curry was a rare treat whose garlicky flavor “exploded” in his mouth.

    I can find Indian recipes online and it can be quick, but there is nothing like browsing a cookbook with beautiful illustrations and finding something new on every page.  You may not know when you start looking for a goat curry recipe that cauliflower with ginger and cumin would satisfy your craving for Indian food without having to go to the store to buy goat gizzards! But serendipitously the cookbook opens to an appetizing photo of the spicy cauliflower.

    Whether you are an omnivore, a vegan, or a vegetarian, Indian food has something delicious for you. 

    7.25 Vegan Richas Indian KitchenVEGAN RICHA’S INDIAN KITCHEN: TRADITIONAL AND CREATIVE RECIPES FOR THE HOME COOK
    Richa Hingle
    2015 

     

     

     

    7.25 My Two SouthsMY TWO SOUTHS: BLENDING THE FLAVORS OF INDIA INTO A SOUTHERN KITCHEN
    Asha Gomez
    (2016) 

     

     

    7.25 The Three Sisters Quick and Easy Indian CookingTHE THREE SISTERS QUICK AND EASY INDIAN COOKBOOK
    Serena, Alexa, and Priya Kaul
    (2012) 

     

     

    7.25 My Indian KitchenMY INDIAN KITCHEN: PREPARING DELICIOUS INDIAN MEALS WITHOUT FEAR OR FUSS
    Hari Nayak
    (2011) 

     

     

     

    7.25 Simple Indian CookerySIMPLE INDIAN COOKERY: STEP BY STEP TO EVERYONE’S FAVOURITE INDIAN RECIPES
    Madhur Jaffrey
    (2006) 

     

     

     

    Two memoirs by famous Indian cooks give an intimate look into food and family in India.

    7.25 Love Loss and What We AteLOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT WE ATE
    Padma Lakshmi
    (2016)

    Padma Lakshmi is the author of several recipe books and producer of Top Chef, a reality TV show in which contestants compete in culinary challenges. Along with details of her marriage to Salman Rushdie, Lakshmi recounts how her love for food was born in India. 

     

     

     

    7.25 Climbing the Mango TreesCLIMBING THE MANGO TREES: A MEMOIR OF A CHILDHOOD IN INDIA
    Madhur Jaffrey
    (2006) 

    Madhur Jaffrey has written more than a dozen Indian cookbooks, the first of which was published in 1973 and introduced America to Indian cooking. 

     

     

     

  •  informational comics

    There are some kids who just don’t like to read.  Maybe they are a slow reader or have a learning disability.  Maybe they just can’t be bothered to sit down long enough to read a whole book.  When a kid like that gets assigned to do a report for school, it can cause major trauma and drama for both the child and parent.  One solution is to try an informational comic book. Here at the Provo Library we have around 250 informational comic books for kids on a wide variety of topics, from science to history, including 80 biographies (think president or explorer reports).  The informational comics have a lot of great…well… information, and it’s in a form that is palatable for reluctant and comic-book-only readers.  Informational comic books are so enticing, why not pick out an interesting one and just set it on the coffee table in the living room. Then watch and see how long it takes before your child picks it up and starts reading! 

    Here are some great informational comics.     

    3.28 Older than DirtOLDER THAN DIRT: A WILD BUT TRUE HISTORY OF EARTH
    By Don Brown and Mike Perfit
    (2017)

    A precocious and often sarcastic groundhog and his friend, an earthworm, take the reader on a tour of the history of the Earth, from the Big Bang to its projected demise.  

     

    3.28 ShackletonSHACKLETON: THE VOYAGE OF THE JAMES CAIRD
    By Gavin McCumiskey and David Butler
    (2016)

    The harrowing adventure of the passengers of Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition comes to life with dramatic dialog and full color illustrations. 

     

    3.28 BaggywrinklesBAGGYWRINKLES: A LUBBER’S GUIDE TO LIFE AT SEA
    By Lucy Bellwood
    (2016)

    Don’t know your port from your bow? This humorous guide introduces the reader to a boatload of nautical terminology, history, and lore.

     
  • Sleep

    Riddle: What question can you never say yes to?

    Answer: Are you asleep?

    Unhappily, for some of us we can answer the question and the answer is often “NO!  I’m not asleep!” Either we can’t fall asleep when we go to bed or we wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.  Our lives are keyed up and wired and getting enough sleep turns out to be a very difficult thing to do.  You can poll your neighbors - read a boring book, take melatonin, put a hot pad on your tummy, count sheep – or you can read what experts have to say.  Here are some recent books that shed light on the problem of sleeplessness.  

    2.27 The Sleep SolutionTHE SLEEP SOLUTION: WHY YOUR SLEEP IS BROKEN AND HOW TO FIX IT
    by W. Chris Winter, M.D.
    (2017)   

    Sleep expert and neurologist, Dr. Winter, has twenty-four years of experience helping more than 10,000 people sleep better. His book will help you understand your sleep patterns and problems to find the best interventions so you can have healthy sleep. 

     

    2.27 SnoozeSNOOZE: THE LOST ART OF SLEEP
    by Michael McGirr
    (2017)

    Looking back at the sleep patterns of great people like Shakespeare, Aristotle, and Thomas Edison, McGirr’s entertaining book explains what our brains are doing when we are asleep, the benefits of healthy sleep, and why sound sleep is sometimes so elusive.

     

    2.27 You are Getting SleepyYOU ARE GETTING SLEEPY: LIFESTYLE BASED SOLUTIONS FOR INSOMNIA
    by Paul Glovinsky and Arthur Spielman
    (2017)

    Two doctors share recent research about how people get sleepy, the difference between fatigue and being sleepy, and how being hyper or depressed can interfere with sleep and lead to insomnia.

     

    2.27 Wild NightsWILD NIGHTS: HOW TAMING SLEEP CREATED OUR RESTLESS WORLD
    by Benjamin Reiss
    (2017)

    Sleep is essential to human beings but down through history where we sleep, who we sleep with, and how much we sleep have changed dramatically. Our modern cultural definition of the requirements for sleep has added to our sleep problems, contributing to insomnia, exhaustion and sleep disorders.

     

    2.27 The Power of WhenTHE POWER OF WHEN
    by Michael Breus
    (2016)

    Exploring exciting new research about out biology, Michael Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep medicine specialist, offers a comprehensive quiz to help you discover your “chronotype.”  Find out how to take advantage of your “body’s inner clock” in order to know your best time of day for a variety of personal activities including sleep.  Take the quizzes he offers in the book to learn what your own personal circadian rhythms are and discover if you are a “Dolphin, Wolf, Bear, or Lion.”

     
  • SR 2019 FB

    It’s summertime and that means the Summer Reading Program is upon us. Did you know that Summer Reading isn’t just for kids and teens? All you need is a library card and you can sign up and enjoy a summer full of fun activities, movies, and of course—reading!  Everyone who reads four books earns a free tote bag. After that, the more you read the more prizes and chances you get to enter the online drawings at the end of July. Drawing prizes this year include:

    • Celestron Travel Telescope

    • Amazon Echo

    • Lego Apollo Saturn V Model Rocket

    • Kindle Paperwhite eReader

    • Provo Rec Center Pass (2 available)

    • Star Trek Catan

    • Beats Headphones

    • Gift Cards

    The Grand Prize is a $300 Amazon gift card! So it’s time to get your reading on and start winning some prizes! If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some fun and powerful books to inspire you this summer. 

    6.5 Daring GreatlyDARING GREATLY
    By Brené Brown
    (2012) 

    If you haven’t read anything by Brené Brown, this will be a treat for you. She is a Researcher/Storyteller who studies shame and vulnerability. In the book she explains and expounds on the data from twelve years of research about vulnerability and how it makes us better human beings in the long run. This is a staple for anyone wanting to understand and improve their relationships with their kids, spouses, and friends.  

     

    6.5 Big MagicBIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR
    By Elizabeth Gilbert
    (2015) 

    Have you ever wanted to be more creative, more courageous, and more curious? Liz Gilbert, author of EAT, PRAY, LOVE, explores the nature of inspiration and what keeps us all living small and stagnant when it comes to our creativity. This book is a huge encouragement to anyone wanting to bring more joy and inspiration into their lives. It might be just the right nudge for you to tackle that big summer project.  

     

    6.5 The Life Changing Magic of Tidying UpTHE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP
    By Marie Kondō
    (2014) 

    Okay. So, maybe you have already heard of this book or you have watched the addicting Netflix series. Maybe you want to experience some life-changing magic of your own. This is a short, delightful book on the power of letting go of things that don’t bring you joy. Summertime can be the perfect time to make even small changes to your closet, your attic, or your garage. Get the kids involved. Ask yourself: do you really need four sets of measurement cups in your kitchen drawer? Choose the fabulous yellow ones and let the rest go!  

     

    6.5 Girl Wash Your FaceGIRL, WASH YOUR FACE
    By Rachel Hollis
    (2018) 

    Rachel Hollis is impossible to not like. As founder of TheChicSite.com and CEO of a media company, she knows a lot about being authentic and selling your strengths. But what really makes Rachel like your best friend is that she talks about all the lies we tell ourselves that keep us insecure and unfulfilled. She starts each chapter with a lie and then talks about what helped her get over it and move forward. This is a laugh-out-loud-then-bring-you-to-your-knees memoir/self-help/management book.  

     

    6.5 WolfpackWOLFPACK: HOW TO COME TOGETHER, UNLEASH OUR POWER, AND CHANGE THE GAME
    By Abby Wambach
    (2019)

    I love Abby Wambach. And it’s not just because she is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup champion. It’s because she is such an amazing leader and person off of the field. In May she gave what soon became a viral commencement speech at Barnard College. In it she made the statement, “You were never Red Riding Hood. You were always the wolf.” She builds on this idea in her book, which isn’t just about leadership, but about coming together with your people and loving and supporting each other so that we all have a chance of making it through this life. If you are looking for inspiration this summer, you may just find it in Abby’s book.

     
  • journalists 

    Since I’ve started working for the library I’ve noticed myself reading more broadly, specifically in non-fiction. I used to read fiction almost exclusively, but I’ve really enjoyed getting exposed to some great non-fiction titles and authors. Particularly, I find myself attracted to non-fiction written by journalists. These books are usually written in a way that is really accessible to those outside of whatever industry/group/topic they’re writing about. They read a little quicker since they’re less technical and sometimes even have the feel of a novel. Here are just a few of my favorite non-fiction authors who also happen to be journalists:

    12.27 BlinkMalcolm Gladwell

    Gladwell became popular largely after the success of his book OUTLIERS, but he’s written several other titles including THE TIPPING POINT and DAVID & GOLIATH. He has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1996.

    My favorite: BLINK

     

    12.27 The Undoing ProjectMichael Lewis

    Lewis has had several of his books turned into popular movies including MONEYBALL, THE BLIND SIDE, and THE BIG SHORT. He has written for several different publications but is currently a contributing editor to Vanity Fair.

    My favorite: THE UNDOING PROJECT

     

    12.27 The Library BookSusan Orlean

    Orlean’s book THE ORCHID THIEF was turned into a movie called Adaptation starring Nicolas Cage, Tilda Swinton, and Meryl Streep. One of her other titles is RIN TIN TIN which is about the popular dog actor Rin Tin Tin. She has written for numerous publications including Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vogue, and The New Yorker magazine.

    My favorite:THE LIBRARY BOOK

     

    12.27 The Feather ThiefKirk Wallace Johnson

    Johnson wrote a memoir detailing his work with his organization The List Project titled TO BE A FRIEND IS FATAL. While he has contributed to The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal, he mainly focuses on his non-profit organization which seeks to help Iraqi refugees who worked for the U.S. government during the Iraq War.

    My favorite:THE FEATHER THIEF

     

    Other popular journalist authors:

    Mary Roach (STIFF, GULP)

    Mitch Albom (TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE,HAVE A LITTLE FAITH)

    Truman Capote (IN COLD BLOOD)

    Jon Krakauer (INTO THIN AIR, MISSOULA)

  • KidsCameras FB

    We’re excited to tell you about the Provo Library’s newest children’s program -- Kids & Cameras! This is a class for 9-12 year olds who are interested in learning about movies and trying their hand at the many different elements of filmmaking.  

    Kids experience a lot of media but not very much education about media. In Kids & Cameras we learn the language with which to talk about movies, and we learn the skills to create our own videos. The basic format is as follows: we talk about a filmmaking concept/practice/skill, and then watch short films or film excerpts demonstrating the idea. After that, the kids divide into small groups and are given mini assignments to complete. Filmmaking involves a lot of problem solving, experimenting, and resourcefulness. This program is a great place to practice collaboration, exercise creativity, and learn technical skills. 

    Kids & Cameras takes place on Wednesdays from 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM in the Story Room. Registration for this program opens on Mondays at 10:00 AM. There is room for 16 students every week.   

    We teach Camera Basics and an Editing Basics every month, so that new kids can join in during any time of year. The Camera Basics and Editing Basics classes are prerequisites to the more advanced “outbreak” classes that will start in October. Some of these classes include composition, monster movies, and stop motion animation! Check the calendar to see which class is being offered that week.   

    We’re so excited for this new program and hope to see you there! In the meantime, here are some cool resources you can check out from the library or online: 

    9.27 The Kids Should See ThisTHE KIDS SHOULD SEE THIS

    This site is not specifically about filmmaking, but it’s a really great collection of 3,000 “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them” videos, many of which are great examples of filmmaking principles. 

     

     

    9.27 Brick FlicksBRICK FLICKS 
    Sarah Herman
    2014

    A comprehensive guide to making your own stop-motion LEGO movies 

     

     

     

    9.27 Childrens Book of MoviesTHE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF MOVIES 
    Ann Baggaley
    2014

    Explore the magical, behind-the-scenes world of the movies.  

     

     

     

    9.27 Learn to Speak FilmLEARN TO SPEAK FILM 
    Michael Glassbourg
    2013

    A guide to creating, promoting & screening your movies.