Search Results for: great american read

Free Materials for Nebraska Libraries to Support Great American Read Programming

The Great American Read is the new PBS eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign to discover America’s favorite novel. Everyone can vote for their favorite from a list of 100 novels chosen in a national survey. NET Television is offering Nebraska resources for programming to help community members participate in the Great American Read. Nebraska libraries are invited to request posters and bookmarks (and possibly a local screening) from Marthaellen Florence, Director, Community Engagement, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications – NET, mflorenc@netad.unl.edu, 402-470-6603.

See http://netnebraska.org/greatread or Facebook.com/netNebraska for more information about the program broadcasts on NET. The series is hosted by Meredith Vieira and features conversations with authors, celebrities, and book lovers. The programs are scheduled for the next six weeks, leading up to the last day of voting (October 18, 2018) and announcement of America’s favorite read (October 23, 3018).

Schedule

“Launch Special” (Premiered Tuesday, May 22, 2018) – WATCH NOW

“Fall Kick-off” (Premieres Tuesday, September 11, 2018 7:00 p.m. ct)
“Who Am I?” (Premieres Tuesday, September 18, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Heroes” (Premieres Tuesday, September 25, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Villains and Monsters” (Premieres Tuesday, October 2, 2018 7:00 p.m. ct)
“What We Do For Love” (Premieres Tuesday, October 9, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Other Worlds” (Premieres Tuesday, October 16, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)
“Grand Finale” (Premieres Tuesday, October 23, 2018  7:00 p.m. ct)

The Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book and Braille Service helps Nebraska librarians serve library customers who can’t use regular print, and all but four of the Great American Read titles are available in the talking book format through this service. For more information, see http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/?s=great+american+read. To help serve book clubs that want to read a title from this list, the Nebraska Library Commission Book Club Kit collection contains 59 of the 100 selections. To serve your library customers, search at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/ or contact Lisa Kelly, Information Services Director, 402-471-4015 for the list of Great American Read titles available in Book Club Kits.

For more information, see the recording of the Sept. 5, 2018 NCompass Live Great American Read broadcast at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=17615 

#GreatReadPBS

 

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Information Resources, Programming, Public Relations, Talking Book & Braille Service (TBBS) | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: The Great American Read

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘The Great American Read’, on Wednesday, September 5, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

The Great American Read is the new PBS eight-part television competition and nationwide campaign to discover America’s favorite novel. Everyone can vote for their favorite from a list of 100 novels chosen in a national survey. Marthaellen Florence, from NET Television, and Katie Murtha, from Lincoln City Libraries, will join us to share resources and activities that you can use in your library to help your community participate in the program.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Sept. 12 – Book vs. Movie: The Ultimate Showdown!
  • Sept. 19 – Get a Youth Grant for Excellence!
  • Sept. 26 – 2018 Continuing Education/Training and Internship Grants
  • Oct. 3 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE – ENJOY NLA/NSLA!
  • Oct. 24 – Strategies for Identifying Fake News

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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“The Great American Read” Books available to Talking Book and Braille Service readers

The Great American Read LogoThis reading list, curated by PBS, shows the diversity of America’s 100 most beloved fiction books. Voting for America’s greatest novel began May 22nd and will end in October 2018. Learn more about The Great American Read and how to vote at http://www.pbs.org/the-great-american-read/about/show/

For library patrons who can’t use regular print, all but four of the Great American Read titles are available in the talking book format. If you know readers who would love to be involved, but their vision is making it hard to use regular print, they can’t hold a book, or turn pages, the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service is here to help! You can use the 5-digit numbers beside the book titles below to order these and many other wonderful books and magazines. Simply give us a call anywhere in Nebraska by dialing 1-800-742-7691, or visit our section of the NLC website.

DB Title and Author
73474 1984 by George Orwell
50482 A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
29012 A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel by John Irving
24697 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
44769 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
53084 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
65599 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Alex Cross Series by James Patterson
50842 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
77188 Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
11077 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
(also within DB 53999)
56114 Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
(also within DB 50475)
51074 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
26026 Beloved by Toni Morrison
62431 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
65402 The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
49486 The Call of the Wild by Jack London
48063 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
47480 Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
74950 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
50083 Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
52680 Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
57412 Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
58842 The Color Purple by Alice Walker
56946 Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas
50147 Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
56893 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
55735 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
24290 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
26423 Doña Bárbára by Rómulo Gallegos
44126 Dune by Frank Herbert
74504 Fifty Shades of Grey series by E.L. James
36176 Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
80139 Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
book 1 10365, book 2 80139, book 3 10610
25835 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
45742 Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin
Prequel Companion  80183, Prequel Anthology  80183
book 1 45742, book 2 49913, book 3 51406,
book 4 62348, book 5 73557
85921 Ghost by Jason Reynolds
59561 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
37689 The Giver by Lois Lowry
25677 The Godfather by Mario Puzo
74888 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
33082 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
68308 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
53991 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
16147 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23150 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
24695 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
book 1 47260, book 2 48437, book 3 48772, book 4 50228,
book 5 56062,  book 6 60262, book 7 64495
30535 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
12613 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
68889 The Help by Kathryn Stockett
18339 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
book 1 68384, book 2 69689,  book 3, 71734
21513 The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
56346 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
47868 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
29021 The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
32018 Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
47462 Left Behind by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
44071 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
18128 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry
book 1 43928, book 2 45001, book 3 22959, book 4 37323
61873 Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Lord of the Rings (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien
prequel 48978, book 1 47486,  book 2 47487, book 3 47488
54698 The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
78389 The Martian by Andy Weir
45008 Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
34184 Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
43180 The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
25181 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
book 1 36535,  book 2 36536, book 3 38591, book 4 43320
book 5 53366,  book 6 61201, book 7 70073,  book 8 79331
22433 The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
56794 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
59950 The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
30999 The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett
50549 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
73772 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
11106 Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
67237 The Shack by William P. Young
52190 Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
15759 The Sirens Of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
12942 The Stand by Stephen King
34114 The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
26498 Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Tales of The City series by Armistead Maupin
book 1 39531, book 2 39602, book 3 39603,  book 4 39604,
book 5  39605, book 6 39606, book 7 65336, book 8 72107,
book 9 78276
35745 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
47510 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
29252 This Present Darkness by Frank. E. Peretti
36414 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twilight Saga series by Stephanie Meyer
book 1 82750, book 2 64367, book 3 65812,  book 4 67238
67136 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25982 Watchers by Dean Koontz
The Wheel of Time series by  Robert Jordan and Brandon
Sanderson
prequel 57628, book 1 57628, book 2 34701,  book 3 34702,
book 4 36984, book 5 37569, book 6 39661,  book 7 43043,
book 8 47082, book 9 51203, book 10 55506, book 11 62078,
book 12 70020, book 13 71926, book 14 76085
32449 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
50261 White Teeth by Zadie Smith
25178 Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
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APPLY NOW: ‘The Great American Read’ Grants for Public Libraries

Nebraska public libraries are invited to apply for grants to host public programs around the PBS series “The Great American Read,” an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us, the ALA Public Programs Office announced. “The Great American Read” will engage audiences with a list of 100 diverse books, encouraging audiences to read the books, vote from the list of 100, and share their personal connections to the titles.

 Fifty U.S. public libraries will be selected through a competitive application process to receive a cash grant to support programs and events related to “The Great American Read.” Selected libraries will also receive a programming kit, developed by ALA and PBS, that will help public libraries participate in a national conversation about reading and books, including those featured in the series that highlight themes of love, heroes, villains, other worlds and self-discovery.

Selected libraries will be required to hold at least three public programs related to “The Great American Read” series May and November 2018. Collaboration with local PBS member stations is strongly encouraged.

Read the full project guidelines and apply online by April 17.

“The Great American Read” will premiere May 22 on PBS stations with a two-hour launch, kicking off a summer of reading and voting. In fall 2018, seven new episodes will air, featuring appearances by celebrities, athletes, experts, authors and everyday Americans advocating for their favorite book, culminating with a finale that reveals America’s best-loved novel as chosen by the American public. Selected libraries will receive a DVD collection of the eight-part series with public performance rights; a hardcover copy of the companion book, “The Great American Read: The Book of Books” by PBS (Black Dog & Leventhal, August 21, 2018); print materials for local program promotion and publicity; a programming guide developed by ALA, PBS and a panel of librarian advisors; and more. The libraries will also have the opportunity to host private screenings of the series premiere and six fall episodes before they broadcast to the public.

“The Great American Read” is a production of Nutopia for PBS. PBS Funding for “The Great American Read” is provided by The Anne Ray Foundation and PBS. For more information contact Sarah Ostman, Communications Manager, Public Programs Office, American Library Association, 312-280-5061, sostman@ala.org.

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Friday Reads & BookFace Friday: “Making It So” by Patrick Stewart

I remember watching and enjoying Star Trek: The Next Generation, starring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, but I wouldn’t call myself a diehard Trekkie. That was no barrier to finding Making It So, Stewart’s recently released memoir, enchanting and delightful. Especially the Audie award-winning audio edition, narrated by Stewart, himself.

As you can imagine, he declaims every word of every sentence with gusto!

Stewart (b. 1940) starts at the beginning, describing what it was like growing up working class in Yorkshire in the 1940s and early 1950s. This includes a brief etymology lesson on the Yorkshire dialect he grew up speaking, which, according to Stewart, would have been “nearly incomprehensible to Londoners, let alone Americans.” For instance, he explains that “ata,” which meant “are you,” descended from “art though”; “nowt” meant “nothing”; “Geroff!” meant “leave me alone”; and a chamber pot was a “gazunder,” because it “goes under” the bed. This is relevant since in order to become an actor he had to learn “received pronunciation,” or “RP.” (RP was the standard pronunciation used by BBC broadcasters back in the day.)

Stewart also does a good job conveying the degree to which theater permeated English society at the time. It ranged from amateur dramatics (“am-drams”) at the local level, to a network of regional repertory theaters, all the way up to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and the National Theatre in London. And thanks to financial support by the government in the form of grants and scholarships, it was accessible to alleven a working-class boy like Stewart, who got his start locally and then worked his way to the top.

If you are particularly interested in the Star Trek: Next Generation portion of this memoir, you’ll have to be patient, or skip to chapter 16. From there on out (there are a total of 25 chapters in the book), you will be rewarded with lots of insider, behind-the-scenes information about Stewart’s time as Picard. There are also plenty of details about his stint as Charles Xavier in the X-Men movie franchise, and voice work for Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy and American Dad, as well as other television, film, theater, and social media projects he’s participated in, including reciting all Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram during the pandemic lockdown.

While this memoir will appeal to Trekkies, theater nerds, and Anglofiles, there are also elements that will resonate with anyone who has lived a long life filled with both gratitude and regret. In later chapters, Stewart expresses remorse over the demise of his 23-year marriage to his first wife, and the damage that did to his relationship with their children, Daniel and Sophie: “[T]he hurt caused by my split with their mother has never fully gone away,” he writes. After a second brief marriage falls apart, he laments: “And so, another divorce. I felt stupid and responsible.” But he also joyfully expounds on life with his third wife, Sunny Ozell, to whom he’s been married since 2013, as well as his well-publicized friendship with Ian McKellen. Overall, Stewart comes across as a vibrant, engaged octogenarian who, despite living a full, rich life, is still ready for more!

Stewart, Patrick. Making It So: A Memoir. Gallery Books, 2023.

You can find “Making It So: A Memoir” by Patrick Stewart as an eBook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & Friday Reads? We suggest checking out all the titles available in our Book Club collection, permanent collection, and Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Nebraska Public Media Book Club Kit Inspired by the new Ken Burns documentary The American Buffalo

In partnership with Nebraska Public Media, the Nebraska Library Commission has added 30 copies of Great Plains Bison to our book club collection. Book club kits with 10 copies are also owned by: Bellevue Public Library, Kearney Public Library, Lincoln City Libraries, and the Regional Library Systems

This book club kit explores the themes of conservation, restoration and respect. What can we learn from the stories of bison and the Pawnee seed keepers? How can conservation be practiced today?
The book club guide includes:
Discussion questions
Additional reading suggestions and organizations to explore
Two recipes from Chef Anthony Warrior

Great Plains Bison, written by buffalo rancher Dan O’Brien (also featured in The American Buffalo), traces the history and ecology of this American symbol from the origins of the great herds that once dominated the prairie to its near extinction in the late 19th century and the subsequent efforts to restore the bison population. A project of the Center for Great Plains Studies and the School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska; published by Bison Books.

Seed Warriors, directed by Rebekka Schlichting (Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska), follows a group of seed keepers in their ancestral homelands of Nebraska as they seek to regain sovereignty over the food system. By reclaiming their sacred corn seeds, they work to return to the healthy, traditional lifeways of the Pawnee people. Learn more at PawneeSeed.org.

Produced in collaboration with Nebraska Public Media for the HOMEGROWN: Future Visions digital shorts series. HOMEGROWN: Future Visions is a Co-Production of Firelight Media and the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), with funding provided by the CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING (CPB), In Association with PBS

Ken Burns’s newest documentary, The American Buffalo, tells the dramatic story of the near extinction and improbable rescue of America’s national mammal. Premiering October 16 on PBS and the PBS Video App. Learn more at PBS.org/americanbuffalo.

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Friday Reads: The Reluctant Pilgrim by Roger Welsch

Roger Welsch’s The Reluctant Pilgrim is a curious and relatable book, a book of inter-connected stories from Welsch’s forty-year exploration of Native American community and spirituality. Known for his humor, this is not a book of humor. It is a thoughtful reflection on personal experiences and associations as an adopted member of the Omaha Tribe. Welsch’s journey expounds on the unexplainable, mysterious, the physical – round stones, eagle feathers, buffalo skulls, coyotes, and crows. In short, a phrase he repeats often “Something Is Going On.” Throughout, Welsch shares the inspiration and wisdom he experiences in his many associations with Native American communities, Native elders, ceremonies, and nature.

I confess to reading only this book among the forty plus Welsch wrote over many years. I do have several on the bookshelf and I look forward to reading them. Like many others, I’ve enjoyed Welsch’s public presentations. Storytelling was his special gift whether as a speaker or as a writer. His humor is notable but his generosity, perspective, wisdom, and devotion to the stories of the Great Plains stands out as truly remarkable.

Welsch left a tenured professorship at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to move with his family to a small 60-acre property near Dannebrog, Nebraska. From there he intended to pursue a writing and speaking career – and that he did. Like many, I remember Roger Welsch’s twelve plus years as a correspondent presenting his biweekly “Postcards From Nebraska” on CBS News Sunday Morning.

It’s interesting that Roger Welsch, the recognized dean of storytellers, has a nearly uncountable number of stories about his own life that have become a part of our folklore. His interests were eclectic. He developed an interest in tractors and wrote about them. I gave away Busted Tractors and Rusty Knuckles to a farmer family member. Welsch founded the Liars Hall of Fame and he served on his county’s weed-control board to be a voice for preserving native grasses and other plants.

Others who have written about Welsch’s books recommend that The Reluctant Pilgrim be read with his earlier book, Touching the Fire.

Roger Welsch. The Reluctant Pilgrim: A Skeptic’s Journey into Native Mysteries. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2015.

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Friday Reads: The Ancient One by T.A. Barron

Today is Arbor Day – go out and plant a tree! To celebrate the day, I decided to read a book about saving trees. Giant, magical redwood trees.

The Ancient One, by T.A. Barron is the second book in a trilogy about the adventures of thirteen year old Kate, but it is an entirely stand-alone novel. You don’t need to read the other books in the series to understand and enjoy this one.

Kate is visiting her Great Aunt Melanie, who lives in a rural town in Oregon where logging companies have done so much clear cutting of the forest that they are running out of trees to cut down, and work is almost impossible to find anymore. Tensions are high and many citizens are angry about the loss of income.

But, a new source of trees has recently been discovered – an ancient redwood forest in the Lost Crater, a previously inaccessible extinct volcano. Aunt Melanie has been working to protect the trees from the loggers – they may be the oldest redwoods on the planet and they were a sacred place to a lost Native American tribe, the Halamis.

Aunt Melanie is quite the mysterious figure, loving and supportive, but also full of secrets. There’s something just a bit different about her. And she has a special connection to her walking stick, with its carved owl’s head handle. Strange things seem to happen when she is around. As Kate is being chased by some boys in town, she trips and falls, but the boys keep running right past her, as if they didn’t see her laying in the mud, as if she wasn’t even there. And suddenly, Aunt Melanie is there, dismissing Kate’s confusion and making curious comments about being … invisible?

Kate and Aunt Melanie hike into the Lost Crater, to hopefully stop the loggers from cutting down the redwoods. When Kate must return to the redwood grove to retrieve Aunt Melanie’s accidentally left behind walking stick, she is transported back in time, where she becomes involved in a battle to save the same forest from an evil force.

I truly enjoyed this fantasy novel with its strong environmental message, it’s a combination that I haven’t read before. The world of the past is well developed and Kate’s encounters, unfortunately, mirror the struggles in our own time over climate change. It will definitely make you think about nature and how we should be protecting it, for our future.

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Book Club Spotlight – The Loren Eiseley Reader

cover for The Loren Eiseley Reader. Two small kids stand in a forest of sunflowers, pointing towards a silhouette of the Lincoln Skyline

It’s finally the best week of the year- National Library Week! Hosted by the American Library Association, this year’s motto is “More to the Story.” Like we discussed in our last Spotlight, The Reading List, libraries are more than just book depots; they are places for community and social engagement. And today, we’ll look at a different aspect of “More to the Story,” in how a book can be greater than the sum of its parts and live on long past its author. Published posthumously The Loren Eiseley Reader is a collection of essays by celebrated Nebraskan anthropologist and philosopher Loren Eiseley. This collection includes a foreword by his friend and fellow author Ray Bradbury, who closes by musing on the longevity of the written word: “The essays you’ve written and the books that you’ve created are children, so your heritage will go on to the end of this century and to the centuries beyond. You have children, Loren Eiseley, and you will live forever.”

The Loren Eiseley Reader is a collection of short essays and stories taken from Eiseley’s work throughout his life, including his academic work, poetry, and other nonfiction. The essays are organized into three categories: Reflections of a Naturalist, Reflections of a Writer, and Reflections of a Wanderer. A reader can pick up wherever they want and not feel constrained to a linear experience. Even though it’s confined to the first heading, being a naturalist affects all of Eiseley’s work. He saw the Earth as a beautiful mystery and contemplated its meaning and grander scope throughout his writing. Even in the most scientific discussions, such as evacuating fossils, Eiseley takes the reader back in time with him. Not to point out how insignificant we are in the scope of history, but how incredible it is that something came before us and something will come after us.

“I had come a long way down since morning; I had projected myself across a dimension I was not fitted to traverse in the flesh.”

Loren Eiseley

In addition to showcasing Eiseley’s work, The Reader was compiled to introduce secondary students to engaging examples of well-written essays and prose. According to The Loren Eiseley Society, The Reader and its companion Teacher’s Guide can fit seamlessly into any classroom, “Eiseley’s ideas and powerful prose are a perfect fit for students of science, literature, and history, both natural and anthropological. His writing provides profound insight into the workings of the natural world and man’s relationship to that world, and his unique literary style is rich ground for students of literature.” And students might also be excited to learn about the namesake of their local library. A student reader collection might not be your standard book club pick, but there can be a lot of value in reading some naturalist nonfiction as we move into spring and summer, while the Nebraska prairie slowly comes back to life.

If you’re interested in requesting The Loren Eiseley Reader for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. There are 9 copies available (A librarian must request items)

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Friday Reads: The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the the Making – and Unmaking – of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club

It seems appropriate, off the buzz of this year’s World Cup, for a focus on either soccer (if you accept the American term) or football (if you live in the rest of the world). The World Cup saw many exciting games, and the consensus is deciding them via penalty kicks seems a bit arbitrary, but in the spirit of history, tradition, and nothing to offer as a better alternative, let’s accept the practice to determine a victor. Of course, the penalties can be exciting also, and the game cannot go on forever in extra time. As for the U.S. Men’s National Team (or USMNT), they certainly have some talented players, but the coaching needs a major overhaul. Two things of note on a long laundry list of items: (1) If you are in charge, don’t hire your brother. Even if you think your brother is highly qualified. Find someone else. (2) If you are said brother, and have conversations with players in the locker room, don’t go to reporters or others and disclose said conversations. Keep them within the team. The players will have respect for you for such professionalism, and you will earn much needed trust.

But today’s write-up isn’t about the World Cup, or the USMNT. It’s about FC (football club) Barcelona, aka “Barca”, in this well written narrative from Simon Kuper, entitled The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making—and Unmaking—of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club. One might be tempted to think that this book is about one of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi, but Messi’s rise throughout the Barca system is only a minor part of this story. The Barca club (which also focuses on sports besides just soccer), was founded in 1899, and is one of the highest value sports clubs and one of the richest football clubs in terms of revenue (it’s the expenses that might be the issue). To illustrate, Barca exceeded $1B in revenue in 2018. By comparison (believe it or not), in 2018 the highest revenue of an NFL team was the Dallas Cowboys, at $800M. Unlike the Cowboys, Barca posted a loss in that year. But, who really gives a rap about financial capabilities, it’s about winning games. A large part of the story of the rise of the Barca club has to do with its system of bringing young players in, as did Messi at age 13 (he is from central Argentina), and developing them within the Barca program.

The Barca story in this book takes place largely with the introduction of Dutch player/manager/coach Johan Cruyff, who had a long history in the sport, and was traded to Barca in 1973 as a player. Cruyff brought to Barca the Dutch concept of Total Football, where every player on the team (sans goalkeeper) is interchangeable. In other words, fluidity. Defender can move to attacker, and another player covers the open position left when the defender moves upfield. After Cruyff’s retirement from playing and various coaching gigs, he returned to FC Barcelona for the 1988-89 season as manager. Throughout his time as coach, he managed to win 11 trophies, only surpassed by one of his star players (and Barca coach from 2007-2012), Pep Guardiola (15 trophies).

Guardiola is a good example of the system of Barca success, joining the Barcelona youth academy (La Masia) at the age of 13 (same age as Messi), and climbing up to through the ranks and developing his talents. The 2008-09 FC Barcelona team under Guardiola (as manager) is considered one of the best ever, with many players coming from the La Masia youth program, notably Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets.

But, as with practically any ascent, there usually is a descent, and Kuper describes the fall of Barca with detail that leaves the reader with sadness. There isn’t one event to point to the financial ruin of the club, but rather a series of bad decisions and bad luck. COVID responses that left stadiums empty certainly didn’t help. All in all, Kuper’s effort here is coherent, easy to follow, and engaging.

Kuper, Simon. The Barcelona Complex: Lionel Messi and the Making—and Unmaking—of the World’s Greatest Soccer Club. Penguin. 2021.

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Book Club Spotlight – Native American Heritage Month

For November, we are spotlighting titles in our Book Club Collection written by Indigenous authors for Native American Heritage Month. In 1976 Cherokee-Osage Native American Jerry C. Elliott-High Eagle authored the Congressional legislation for Native American Awareness week, which grew into what we now celebrate as Native American Heritage Month in 1990 with a declaration from then-President George H.W. Bush. This month is a great opportunity to read and learn about whose ancestral land you live on, their history, colonization, and all the incredible works of Indigenous art and literature.

Past Book Club Spotlights featuring Native American Authors:

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

18-year-old Daunis Fontaine is the product of a scandal between a white woman and an Ojibwe man. Even though her mother’s family is well-respected, and her father’s side are revered Firekeepers, Daunis is an outsider. She is not welcome in her predominantly white town or at the reservation, where tribal leaders deny her parentage and membership. But when murders and overdoses related to drug trafficking slowly spread around Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Daunis is witness to it all. Now she must team up with the new (and mysterious) star hockey player to use her knowledge of science, Ojibwe medicine, and these tight-knit communities to uncover long-held secrets. 

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The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

Excitable and brave spirited, Omakayas, or Little Frog, is a young Ojibwe girl who lives with her family near present-day Lake Superior. As white people begin to take over the land, Omakays and her siblings continue their way of life while the adults fear that they must move soon. We follow the local community as they survive, learn important lessons and skills, and enjoy a peaceful life together. But when a sickly visitor crashes a powwow one night, he brings deadly smallpox to the area; and the course of the community and Omakayas’ life are changed forever.

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You can find a list of both our fiction and non-fiction titles on our Book Club Kit page under the Native American Voices keyword.

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell, and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.”

Black elk
Black Elk Speaks (One book One Nebraska 2017)

And if like me, you’re excited about the food-heavy holidays, we have a few foody titles in our collection that your club might be interested in as well:

Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbie Michiko Florence

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell

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Friday Reads: “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” by Diana Gabaldon

I have been a huge fan of time travel fiction, historical fiction, and medical fiction for a very long time, and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, tops my list of all three of these genres. The 9th book in the series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (2021), is her latest installment in this sweeping saga. I am also a huge fan of the Outlander TV series, currently having just concluded season 6, with each season roughly matching each book. Because it had been 8 years since the previous book, I went back and listened to books 6, 7, and 8–before diving into book 9. As always, it did not disappoint!

For those new to the series, Claire Beauchamp Randall, a WWII British Army nurse, falls through standing stones (similar to Stonehenge) in 1946, and lands in 1743 Scotland, where she meets Jamie Fraser, a twenty-something red-haired Scots warrior and laird. Claire, while trying to figure out how to get back to her own time and husband, is protected by Jamie, and they fall in love. Together they must survive clan wars, British Redcoats, injuries, starvation, and French intrigue as they come ever closer to Culloden–the Jacobite Rising battle that would determine the fate of Highlands culture and possibly the throne of Great Britain. Through all of these circumstances, Claire uses her medical knowledge to help any and all in need. Immediately before Culloden, Jamie sends Claire back through the stones to her own time–back to her husband Frank. For the next twenty years, Claire believes Jamie to be dead at Culloden, and not until Frank dies does she begin to suspect that Jamie might still be alive in the past. Eventually Claire and Jamie are reunited, and their adventures together in 18th century Scotland, the Caribbean, and the American Colonies are a great read. That brings us to Book 9–Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

It is now 1779, and Claire and Jamie have been settled for awhile on Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, along with their daughter Brianna and her family, friends, and other refugees from Scotland. They have built a solid life–Jamie as a land owner, and Claire as a healer. Independence from Great Britain has been declared, but loyalties are split across all of the colonies, even on Fraser’s Ridge. As the Revolutionary War rages from New York to Georgia, Jamie and Claire need to once again stay closely bonded to survive–through war, fire, disease, injuries, death, and someone special from Jamie’s past. As always, a wonderful historical fiction saga with a great set up at the end for book 10. I can’t wait!

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What’s Sally Reading?

Nominees for YALSA’s 2022 Lists Are Updated Weekly 

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association), a section of the American Library Association (ALA), has a schedule of updates of nominees for several of their lists for 2022.  Check their blog, The Hub, each week or month to learn what titles are being considered for their Best Fiction for Young Adults (Mondays), Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (Tuesdays), Amazing Audiobooks (Wednesday), and Great Graphic Novels (Thursday).  You see a copy of the cover and a review of the book, usually one title with a review and one or more additional titles merely listed per posting. 

At the bottom of each posting there is occasionally a place to click to see all the postings referring to that list.   A quarterly compilation of each list is available, the first ones were posted on The Hub in early April, the second list was posted in early July.

You and your teens are also welcome to submit titles for consideration for any of the lists.  Also at the bottom of each posting is a link to the information and form to suggest a title for that list.

Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and illustrated by Robyn Smith is a graphic novel included on two nominees’ lists: Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and Great Graphic Novels. 

Nubia is fast and strong – really strong.  She is black and her two mothers constantly remind her not to use her strength, it will only get her in trouble; they DO want the best for her.  Her two best friends (LaQuisha and Jason) want her to enjoy her summer, but that seems unlikely.   She is in a convenience store for a refill when two robbers enter.  She stays low, as her mothers would want, until a guy she likes is threatened – and she throws the ATM at the robber and then runs.  No surprise to Nubia, a policeman finds her part way home and handcuffs her, until he learns the two robbers were men.  Then he releases her and tells her to stay out of trouble.

Dealing with many things common in high school – liking a guy and being awkward around him – Nubia must also deal with racism; and keep in mind that if people learn of her abilities, they will likely be afraid of her, they will not see her as Wonder Woman.  But when her best friend Quisha, is threatened by her former boyfriend, Nubia finds a way to catch him out without violence.  And… it turns out Nubia is related to Wonder Woman.

As School Library Journal said, “No superhero collection is complete without Nubia.”

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Friday Reads: The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

I’m not sure why I haven’t read Kristin Hannah’s books until recently, but once discovered, I am completely hooked. So far, I’ve read four of her books, loved all of them, but especially The Great Alone. It kept my interest so completely that I stayed up late reading, and when I couldn’t read it, I was listening to the audio version. It’s that good.

Alaska, 1974. Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.

For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: He will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. 

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in 18 hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: They are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves. 

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska – a place of incomparable beauty and danger. 

The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night audiobook about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature. (Audible)

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Friday Reads: The Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I love reading historical novels, especially ones that are based in fact and teach me about a subject I previously knew little about. The Signature of All Things is just such a book. Elizabeth Gilbert’s descriptions of the botanical world, and how plants were discovered, acquired, and improved, are truly masterful.

Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family, led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Exquisitely researched and told at a galloping pace, The Signature of All Things soars across the globe—from London to Peru to Philadelphia to Tahiti to Amsterdam, and beyond. Along the way, the story is peopled with unforgettable characters: missionaries, abolitionists, adventurers, astronomers, sea captains, geniuses, and the quite mad. But most memorable of all, it is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas. (Amazon.com)

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Friday Reads: Cookbooks

It’s time for more cookbooks!

I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to share, so I thought I would include a few favorites from my last cookbook haul:

Perfectly Golden: Inspired Recipes from Goldenrod Pastries, the Nebraska Bakery that Specializes in Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Vegan Treats by Angela Garbacz

Goldenrod Pastries, located in Lincoln, is an amazing bakery with the best baked goods of all kinds. As much as I would love to just visit every day, having the cookbook now helps fill the gaps.

Gluten-free and vegan baking can be intimidating, but the recipes are clear and easy enough, even for beginning bakers. The photos are all bright and cheerful, and there are plenty of notes to help explain different parts of the recipes, like flours.

I started with the cinnamon rolls which turned out perfectly and may very well replace my usual recipe!

Aran: Recipes and Stories from a Bakery in the Heart of Scotland by Flora Shedden

One of the best parts of reading cookbooks, especially this last year, is looking at amazing pictures and reading stories of far-off places, and turning your kitchen into something like a small Scottish bakery. Flora Shedden’s (from the Great British Bake Off) book has become a favorite. Aran (meaning bread) is full of recipes arranged by the time of day in the bakery, starting with making bread before dawn, including a section for getting your sourdough starters just right. The recipes are simple and encouraging, with plenty of instructions for North American conversions. Some recipes, like croissants, are multi-day projects but well worth the extra time and effort (with lots of butter).

And now for something completely different!

Fuel Your Body: How to Cook and Eat for Peak Performance: 77 Simple, Nutritious, Whole-Food Recipes for Every Athlete by Angie Asche

This is already my new favorite everyday cookbook. The recipes are super simple and delicious, focusing on helping you reach your full athletic potential whether you’re just trying to get healthy, you’re a recreational runner, or a more serious athlete. The first section includes great information for athletes (or parents of athletes) on basic nutrition concepts and timing your meals around game time to give you the best boost, as well as several weekly meal plans (including a vegan/plant-based plan) and how to make the perfect smoothie. These recipes are quick and easy, perfect for weekly meals. The baked banana oatmeal has been great for breakfast meal prep through the week. The lentil tacos, almond flour cookies, and ginger-citrus smoothie are also new staples.

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What’s Sally Reading?

ALA Upcoming Youth Awards and Newly Announced Lists

The American Library Association (ALA) will announce the Youth Media Awards (think Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King Awards and more) starting at 8 am CT next Monday, January 25.  For the first time that I am aware of, they also have released several annual booklists early.  They are:

Best Fiction for Young Adults

Great Graphic Novels for Teens

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

Check these lists out to see what you may already have in your collection.

One of the Top Ten titles for the “Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers” Continue reading

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Friday Reads: Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor

More accurately described – Friday listens, this title is available exclusively from Audible.com. Break Shot was recorded by James in his home studio, TheBarn in western Massachusetts and released in conjunction with his 19th studio album, American Standard. At only an hour and a half, I listened twice, enjoying it even more the second time. It begins with the following: “I’m James Taylor and I’m a professional autobiographer. I usually talk about myself with a guitar in my hand and I have one now.” James explains that the title is an analogy for his tight knit family that eventually split apart “like a break shot in the game of pool … when you slam the cue ball into the fifteen other balls and they all go flying off.”  James and his four siblings were raised with great privilege in North Carolina in the ‘60’s but the family fell apart. Three of the kids ended up in psychiatric hospitals.  Drug and alcohol addiction took their toll.

Despite coming from a family of doctors and lawyers, James wasn’t interested in college. His parents supported his decision to spend tuition money on a flight to London. This trip provided the pivotal moment of his life. Through life-long friend Danny Kortchmar, James met with Peter Asher, the head of A&R (Artist & Repertoire) at Apple Records and played his demo tape.  Peter liked what he heard and recalls calling out,  “is there a Beatle in the house?”  James auditioned for Paul McCartney and George Harrison with the song Something in the Way She Moves. James’ first album James Taylor, was the first recording by a non-British artist released by Apple Records in 1968.

Break Shot didn’t provide a great deal of revelatory information, so much of James’ life is in his lyrics, but the storytelling intertwined with the recorded songs provided an experience you can’t have with a printed book. This audio memoir was for me, a private concert. This recording is part of a new series, Words+Music, Audible’s musical storytelling initiative. With other exclusive music biographies by Tom Morello, Common, St. Vincent, Sheryl Crow, and T Bone Burnett, I hope other audio publishers will begin providing similar recordings.

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Friday Reads: Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, by Phuc Tran

I love memoirs. Not only do they offer readers insight into what it’s like to live lives different from their own, they also remind us of how much we humans have in common. That’s definitely the case with Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In, by Vietnamese American teacher, writer, and tattoo artist Phuc Tran.

In 1975, when Tran was one, his family fled the fall of Saigon and wound up resettled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In Sigh Gone, Tran describes what it was like growing up as a member of “the token refugee family” (2) in town. As one can imagine, it included schoolyard taunts and name-calling, and, when out in public with his family, the discomfort of always sticking out.

Tran also describes the resentment he felt toward his parents over what he saw, at the time, as their cultural and English language failings: “I needed to trust in my dad’s ability to navigate the world at large, and I was already doubting him. . . . Five-year-olds were supposed to believe what their parents said. Maybe some kids’ parents still had the golden nimbus of infallibility, but not my parents and not for me” (16).

Going forward, Tran chronicles his relentless efforts to assimilate. By high school, his two-pronged strategy included pursuit of academic excellence and successful integration into the punk/skater subculture. Of the later, he writes, “[b]eing a freak because of my weird clothes and hair was a respite. These were things that I had chosen . . . Fighting rednecks because you were a punk was far better than fighting because you were Asian, and fighting with allies was far better than fighting alone” (6).

So why did this book resonate with me? For one, Tran’s depiction of high school, with its cliques and angst—a “cultural cul-de-sac built with the craftsman blueprint of John Hughes, the Frank Lloyd Wright of teen malaise” (2)—is viscerally familiar. His description of his job as a library page also warmed my librarian’s heart, as did his discovery and adoption of Clifton Fadiman’s The Lifetime Reading Plan, which he stumbled on while prepping for the library’s used book sale.

Though the Plan, was “unapologetically American, classist, and white” (4), Tran could not have cared less at the time; it served as a catalyst for his burgeoning love of literature–which the English major in me appreciated. He also viewed the Plan as his entrée to the world of big ideas that can connect people across time, geography, and culture—which is what Tran, himself, has accomplished with this memoir. Sigh, Gone concludes right after Tran graduates from high school, just as he’s poised to head off to Bard College, which had described itself to him in its admissions literature as “A Place to Think” (267). So fitting!

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#BookFace & Friday Reads: “Lovely War” by Julie Berry

I first picked up this book because I was drawn to the cover art and soft, muted color scheme, but also because I’m a sucker for historical fiction. I expected a straight forward period romance, boy meets girl, boy goes to war, there’s pining, an injury, and a happily ever after. Don’t get me wrong, there is some of the expected, but let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised by this novel’s unexpected plot and characters.

It all starts with a torrid affair between gods, Aphrodite and Ares to be exact. Then turns into two love stories the goddess orchestrated during the last World War. The author introduces us to interesting characters from different walks of life, weaving their stories together for the reader. Berry dives in to overlooked parts of World War I history like the roles of black American soldiers, James Reese Europe’s introduction of Jazz to France, and YMCA volunteer work to name a few. I really appreciated the appendix and bibliography included at the end of the book. They let the reader know which parts of the story are factual and expand on those issues. Berry also includes references to nonfiction works that she used, so the reader can keep learning.

This title comes from our large collection of children’s and young adult books sent to us as review copies from book publishers. When our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, is done with them, the review copies are available for the Library System Directors to distribute to school and public libraries in their systems. Public and school library staff are also welcome to stop by and select some titles for their library collections. We think this one would be a great addition to any library. Contact Sally Snyder for more information.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available in our Book Club collection, permanent collection, and Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

Berry, Julie. Lovely War. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2019.

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