Author Archives: Aimee Owen

#BookFaceFriday “An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good” by Helene Tursten

This #BookFaceFriday will leave you in stitches!

Don’t be fooled by the diminutive size of this week’s #BookFace – it’s more than meets the eye. Just like Maud, the tiny octogenarian protagonist of this short story collection, “An Elderly Lady Is Up To No Good: Stories” by Helene Tursten (Soho Press, 2018). All Maud wants is to live in peace in her rent-free apartment, and travel the world as she pleases… but other people just keep getting in her way. If your book group enjoyed the senior sleuths in “The Thursday Murder Club” or the quirky loner in “Eleanor Oliphant is Just Fine”, you may want to check out the misadventures of Maud – but don’t turn your back on her!

You can find this title and all the new books available on our Book Club Kits page; just look in the Browse Options section and select the Browse New Additions link for our latest reads. It is also available as an e-book and audiobook on Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, along with the sequel, “An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed” and many of Helene Tursten’s other books.

“Wickedly fun . . . if you’ve had your fill of gooey, saccharine sweet holiday books or movies, then this collection of vignettes featuring Maud, an eighty-eight year old serial killer, will cure your holiday sugar rush.”

—The Book Review

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 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 & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Johnny Carson” by Henry Bushkin

Heeeeere’s #BookfaceFriday!

Ever wonder what the librarians at the Nebraska Library Commission do in their free time? When we aren’t ironing our cardigans or putting our grocery lists in alphabetical order (just kidding, I think?), we’re probably reading juicy celebrity biographies like this week’s BookFace selection, “Johnny Carson” by Henry Bushkin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). This title is also the subject of this week’s Friday Reads post, written by Information Services Director, Lisa Kelly. Library Commission staff take turns writing weekly book reviews of titles they have enjoyed (and sometimes not!) in our weekly Friday Reads series. Want to read it yourself? “Johnny Carson” is available as an ebook on Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

“Henry Bushkin’s ‘Johnny Carson’ is that rare celebrity tell-all by an author who knows whom and what he’s talking about.”

The New York Times

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 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 & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday – “Ghost Eaters” by Clay McLeod Chapman

Stare at the dark for too long, and you will eventually see… #BookFaceFriday!

This week’s #BookFaceFriday conjures things that go bump in the night… Stay up late and read “Ghost Eaters” by Clay McLeod Chapman (Quirk Books, 2022.) This title is available as both an eBook and an audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Find this title and other tales of horror in Nebraska OverDrive’s curated collection, “It Came From the Library“, perfect for late-night reading!

“Chapman has created an experience so anxiety inducing, immersive, and intense that readers will feel like something is actually there, lurking over their shoulder as they turn the pages. A great choice for fans of A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Orphans of Bliss, edited by Mark Matthews.”

—Booklist, starred review

Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 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 & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie

The other players on the team looked at me funny when I borrowed a ball to take this photo at the end of their practice, but my kid just rolled his eyes and smiled. “Yeah, my mom does stuff like this all the time.” Being a a recurring #BookfaceFriday model has jaded him to the weird things I do with book covers. (He’s even better at lining up the shot than I am now.)

This book is also about a boy whose parents spend a lot of time with him on the soccer field. Golden Maroni’s dad was a pro soccer player, and now coaches the local high school team. His mom coaches Golden’s middle school team – she’s referred to as Coach or Mom depending on the chapter’s setting.

The title refers to Malcolm Gladwell’s assertion in his book “Outliers” that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery of a skill. While Amy Makechnie specifies in her end-of-book acknowledgements that this rule doesn’t apply to sports, our hero Golden is sure that 10,000 hours of soccer practice will make him as phenomenal as his idol Lionel Messi. But off the field, things aren’t going as well.

Lucy, his team co-captain and best friend (and maybe more?), will move soon if Golden can’t drive away her annoying future stepfather. His older sister Jaimes certainly needs another 10,000 hours of driving practice before Golden feels safe riding with her. And worst of all, a year and a half after a surprising diagnosis, Golden’s dad is losing his battle with ALS; no amount of positive thinking and hard work can stop the progression of this terrible disease. It feels like Golden’s whole world is crashing down around him. The Maroni family motto is “We do hard things.” They work hard, play hard, and never give up on each other. But this year will be different, and Golden must learn that letting go isn’t the same as giving up.

This book was chosen as one of the 10 nominees that young adults across the state will read and vote on for the 2023-24 Golden Sower Novel Award next school year.

Makechnie, Amy. Ten Thousand Tries, ‎ New York, New York : Simon & Schuster, 2021.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Lottery, and Other Stories” by Shirley Jackson

The real winner is #BookFaceFriday

Let’s start October off with a scream with this week’s #BookFaceFriday, “The Lottery, and Other Stories” by Shirley Jackson (Blackstone Publishing, 2014). First published in the New Yorker in 1948, Jackson’s short story, The Lottery, has elicited shock and horror from readers for decades. This audiobook, available in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, includes “The Lottery” as well as 24 other unusual tales from this masterful storyteller. You can find many of Jackson’s other titles on Overdrive, including “The Haunting of Hill House” and “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” as well as some of her lesser-known works.

“The stories remind one of the elemental terrors of childhood.”

James Hilton, Herald Tribune

Find this title and many more spooky tales in Nebraska OverDrive’s curated collection, “It Came From the Library“, perfect for late-night reading! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 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 & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 
 

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#BookFaceFriday “The Forgotten Home Child” by Genevieve Graham

Who could forget #BookFaceFriday?

This week’s #BookFaceFriday is the unforgettable “The Forgotten Home Child” by Genevieve Graham (Simon & Schuster, 2020). Based on the true story of the British Home Children, this historical novel will surely leave your book club group with much to discuss. Didn’t remember to put in your request before this popular title was reserved by another group? Check out these similar titles on our read-alike suggestion page. We’ve taken the work out of finding other books to tide you over until your first choice is available, or just to help you find that next great selection. All titles on this page are in the Book Club Kit collection and suggestions were compiled with the help of the NoveList database from NebraskAccess.

You can find this title and all of the historical fiction available on our Book Club Kits page; just look in the Search Options section and select the Historical Fiction in the Genre drop-down list.

The Forgotten Home Child is a poignant, edgy, and skillfully written portrayal of a Home Child’s experience that typified so many. The absence of any sugar coating makes this story come to life and brings a level of reality that is often lacking—an emotional journey well worth reading.”

LORI OSCHEFSKI, CEO of the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 
 

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Friday Reads: Imaginary by Lee Bacon

Artwork by Asher Owen

I have an 11-year-old son that is going into middle school this fall, so when I picked up Imaginary by Lee Bacon this spring and saw that it was also about an 11-year-old starting middle school, I suggested we read it together. I mentioned to my son that I was going to write about the book for our Friday Reads series, and he kindly offered to just let me copy the review he wrote for school. It is summer after all, so I should be taking it easy, right?

“This story is about a kid named Zach who is going into middle school. Yeah, I know, like it’s middle school, it’s not that complicated… or is it? This book is in the perspective of his imaginary buddy, and not Zach’s.”

The imaginary buddy is Shovel, whom Zach invented when he was a small child. Shovel is basically a big ball of purple fur with arms and legs. Many kids have imaginary friends, but most outgrow those friends as they age. Zach does not. Shovel remains a constant in his life when so many other things change – his family, his home, his friendships, and his attitude. Shovel is our narrator and he is self-aware enough to know that his existence at this point in Zach’s life is both unusual and also necessary for some yet-unknown reason. He wants to help Zach but he is also afraid that Zach will forget about him, as all children eventually must.

The setting of this story is the backyard of a kid named Zach.”

The first appearance of Shovel takes place in the backyard of Zach’s first house. The story also takes the duo to Zach’s new home on the other side of town, to the middle school, and deep into Zach’s imagination, where he and Shovel are heroes that fight dragons and trolls.

“In this book the main characters, or the characters you have to know about, are named Zach, Shovel, Anni, Ryan, and Principal Carter.”

Besides Zach and Shovel, we meet Zach’s first best friend, Ryan, who by middle school has joined the cool crowd. Anni is a new student and Zach’s chance to start fresh with someone that doesn’t know his past. Principal Carter, towering over the student body, is an unexpected ally who knows how to gently guide her charges’ emotional development. Zach’s mom also appears frequently in the story, as well as flashbacks to Zach’s dad.

“Overall, I think this book is a funny, good, and amazing book and deserves a five star rating. Most people think it is worth a 1 star (which is reasonable), but I think it is worth much more!”

I am pretty certain no one would give this book only 1 star, because it is truly funny, good, and amazing, and definitely worth 5 stars. It is also about grief, forgiveness, empathy, learning when to hang on and when to let go, and the importance of a good imagination…and good friends.

Lee, Bacon. Imaginary ‎ New York, New York : Abrams, 2021.

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Friday Reads: Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake

I first read Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake last winter with my kids, who both enjoy humor and talking animals (who doesn’t, right?). A story of an unlikely friendship, Badger and Skunk must learn to co-exist in Aunt Lula’s brownstone. Quiet Badger has lived contentedly alone, doing Important Rock Work, when a knock on the door heralds the arrival of his new roommate, Skunk. An arrival Badger would have foreseen had he checked his mail more often and read Aunt Lula’s letter informing him of her decision to invite Skunk into the house. Alas, he had not and the knock is an unpleasant surprise. Now Badger’s world is chaos: no quiet time for reflection and Important Rock Work, piles of dishes to scrub after Skunk cooks them both delicious meals, an errant potato left in the corner of the kitchen. And the chickens! It’s too much for one Badger to bear. Change is hard, but sometimes even the most stubborn of Badgers will realize that life is better with a good friend.

This book was reread this past week by my 11-year-old to present as a book report, and an Important Brownstone Diorama is in the works on our kitchen table. We both highly recommend this first book in the series, as a read-aloud if you are more like Skunk, or as a quiet read-alone if you are more Badger-like. We are currently awaiting the arrival of the sequel in the mail, which we check about as often as a certain Badger.

Timberlake, Amy. Skunk and Badger. ‎ Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Young Readers, 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday “Women Made Visible” by Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda

 #BookFaceFriday, we see you!

Start your Women’s History Month with this week’s #BookFaceFriday, “Women Made Visible: Feminist Art and Media in Post-1968 Mexico City by Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). One of the most prestigious academic presses in the country, the University of Nebraska Press sends us around 75 select titles per year, which are added to the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse, also known as the Nebraska State Documents Collection. This collection is comprised of publications issued by Nebraska state agencies, ensuring that state government information is available to a wide audience and that those valuable publications are preserved for future generations. University of Nebraska Press books, as well as all state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

“Timely and necessary, Women Made Visible advances the field of Latin American, Chicanx, and Latinx art history.”

—Teresa Eckmann, Woman’s Art Journal

This week’s #BookFace was shot on location at the Nebraska Library Association‘s annual Library Advocacy Day. This event gives Nebraska librarians an opportunity to meet with their state legislators to showcase the outstanding work done in Nebraska libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Fifty-Four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers” by Caela Carter

There’s nothing wrong with this #BookFaceFriday!

Woman with short hair poses with a book. The book is positioned so that the cover blends with the woman's body.

Writing your New Year’s Resolutions? Lots of folks create lists of things they’d like to accomplish or change about themselves. In this week’s #BookFace, “Fifty-Four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers” by Caela Carter (Quill Tree Books, 2021), our protagonist has a long list of things other people thinks she needs to change. But are they truly flaws, or are they just the traits that make Gwendolyn… Gwendolyn? This middle-grade book has a lot to say about acceptance of one’s self and others.

“This sensitive #OwnVoices novel balances the frustration and challenges being dealt with by all the characters. Particularly effective is the cadence of Gwendolyn’s thoughts and voice, creating a likable, realistic character that readers will gravitate to. Recommended to everyone, but particularly for those drawn to Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird and Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign.” — Booklist (starred review)

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.

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “The Last Holiday Concert” by Andrew Clements

We wish you a Merry #BookFace and a Happy New Year!

Fa-la-la-la-la! Driving over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house is the perfect time to listen to an audiobook like “The Last Holiday Concert” by Andrew Clements (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, 2004). This title is available as an audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, along with many of Clements’ other children’s favorites. We also have a few of his titles in our book club kit collection, if your younger readers want to read them as a group.

“Clements is a master at taking elements of relatively common school situations and turning them into masterful stories with truly engaging characters….[This story] will leave youngsters teeming with emotion.”

School Library Journal

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 186 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,554 audiobooks, 32,935 eBooks, and 3,940 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 & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Relaxed Copyright Rules For Virtual Storytimes Ending

Throughout 2020 and 2021, many publishers relaxed their read-aloud and book-sharing rules to allow librarians and educators to have virtual storytimes. While a few publishers have extended these policies until December 31, 2021 (and a couple into 2022), many have allowed these permissions to expire.

If your library has hosted (or is still doing) an online storytime for your youngest patrons, be sure that you check with each publisher’s rules so that you don’t run afoul of copyright laws. For instance, some may allow livestreaming of read-aloud performances, but not recorded videos. Others allow recorded videos posted to limited audiences. Videos may need to be deleted or have access disabled by a certain deadline. Permission forms may still need to be submitted and the publisher credited during the performance. Taking care to check the specific publisher’s rules will help you avoid any legal complications for your library.

We’ve been keeping track of a number of publishers’ rules here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/readonline.aspx#copyright

You can check out our other copyright resources here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/legal/copyright.aspx?menu2

Recommended reading:

These titles and more are available from the Nebraska Library Commission and can be borrowed by librarians and library science students in Nebraska. Find them in our catalog!

  • Coaching Copyright (2020, ALA Editions) by Smith, Kevin L.
  • Compact copyright : quick answers to common questions (2021, ALA Editions) by Sara R. Benson
  • Complete copyright for K-12 librarians and educators (2012, ALA) by Carrie Russell.
  • Copyright Conversations: Rights Literacy in a Digital World (2019, ACRL) edited by Sara R. Benson.
  • Copyright law for librarians and educators : creative strategies and practical solutions (2020, ALA Editions) by Kenneth D. Crews.
  • The copyright librarian : a practical handbook (2016, Chandos Publishing) by Linda Frederiksen

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Friday Reads: “Come Fly With Me: the Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am” by Julia Cooke

If you’ve spent the pandemic grounded as I have, you may enjoy the escape to exotic locates found in Julia Cooke’s Come Fly the World: the Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am.

Following the career progression of three Pan Am flight attendants, Cooke also delves into the evolution of the career itself from the 1950s through the ’70s. Many young women vied for the job of globe-trotting stewardess, but few possessed both the physical attributes (height and weight requirements) and education (a college degree and fluency in two languages were expected), combined with the poise and grace needed to deal with unruly passengers and remain calm in mid-air emergencies. Those who did were rewarded with the opportunity to see the world, shop in foreign markets, and establish themselves as independent women with their own income, with the caveat that they were expected to retire at the age of 26 or upon getting married.

These women were often on the forefront of world events, from Cold War espionage to shuttling U.S. troops on R&R trips out of Vietnam. Flight attendants on layovers in Moscow were surveilled by the Russian government, and planes were shot at in war zones.

They were also often on the leading edge of the feminist movement, pressing the industry for changes in uniforms and physical requirements, as well as allowing married and pregnant women to continue working, and helping men gain entry into the profession.

If your impression of flight attendants is more “Coffee, tea, or me?” than “I am woman, hear me roar”, you will find Cooke’s history of the profession, with it’s glamour and grit, as fascinating as I did.

Cooke, Julia. Come Fly With Me: the Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am. Marine Books, 2021.

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#BookFaceFriday “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich” by Adam Rex

This #BookFaceFriday might ruin your dinner!

You think you’ve got problems? They don’t hold a dripping black candle to those of the monsters in this week’s #BookFace, “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (And Other Stories You’re Sure to Like, Because They’re All About Monsters, and Some of Them Are Also About Food. You Like Food, Don’t You? Well, All Right Then.” by Adam Rex (Harcourt, 2006). With fiendishly-clever rhymes and Rex’s signature drawing style, this picture book will surely delight ghouls and goblins of all ages.

“With irreverent entries such as ‘Count Dracula Doesn’t Know He’s Been Walking Around All Night With Spinach in His Teeth,’ this mash of monster poems will send kids howling (with laughter).”—Family Fun

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.

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Love & Other Curses” by Michael Thomas Ford

Let this #BookFaceFriday cast a spell on you!

This week was the Nebraska Library Association Fall Conference, and this #BookFace, “Love & Other Curses” by Michael Thomas Ford (HarperTeen, 2019), was among the free books available to Nebraska librarians at the School, Children, & Young People (SCYP) booth.

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.

Love & Other Curses is a book with heart—a big, generous, loving heart. Anyone looking for a deep, thoughtful story about love and life and coming of age will enjoy the relationships, the search, and the lovely magic that may or may not be a part of every person’s life.” — New York Journal of Books

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Pandemic Resources for Libraries

The COVID-19 pandemic has waxed and waned, but it is not over. Fortunately, we know much more now than we did in early 2020 – no more sanitizing groceries! On the other hand, this ever-increasing glut of information (and misinformation) can be hard to navigate. We have rounded up some resources on identifying accurate information and other topics related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/navigating_pandemic_information.aspx. As Mr. Rogers said, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”. There is no better place to turn for information literacy help than your local public library!

We’ve also been keeping track of the latest guidance and resources for libraries, businesses, and families. You can find more on our pandemic resource page: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx.
We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

Photo by Anton on Unsplash

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Friday Reads: “Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused” by Melissa Maerz

I enjoy celebrity biographies and behind-the-scenes stories, and those two things come together quite groovily in Melissa Maerz’s oral history of the 1993 cult-classic Dazed and Confused.

Maerz interviews everyone involved with the movie, from Richard Linklater, to the costume designer, casting director, the casts and their families, even Linklater’s high school classmates, many of whom were inspirations for the characters (however unflattering they may find that fact). I learned all sorts of fun facts about the movie and it’s cast, as did my family and friends, because I would constantly share what I was reading as I went along (sorry guys!). I couldn’t help it – this movie was on constant VCR rotation when I was in high school and I can still quote whole scenes without fail. This book was a fun trip down memory lane.

It was especially fun to look at the cast and how far they’ve come since 1993 – this was Matthew McConaughey’s first movie, and his bit part grew and grew until he became the breakout star. Mila Jovovich, who was the biggest name of the cast at the time, saw her part shrink considerably as she got caught up in an on-set romance and neglected her role; her boyfriend Shawn Andrews effectively got himself blackballed from Hollywood for a time due to his attitude and behavior during filming. Texas native Renee Zillweger wanted to be in the movie badly enough that she took a non-speaking, uncredited roll as “Girl in Blue Truck”.

If you’re in need of a slow ride down memory lane while school’s out for the summer, this book will help you rock and roll all night long. Just don’t forget your reading glasses, because if this was your favorite movie in high school, you’re now old like me.

Maerz, Melissa. Alright, alright, alright: the oral history of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. Harper, 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn

Is it steamy out here, or is it just #BookFaceFriday?

A rakish rouge, a scheming debutante, a mysterious gossip column…what could go wrong? Whether or not you spent your pandemic binging Bridgerton on Netflix, why not read the series that inspired it? The Nebraska Library Commission has the first book in the series, The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn (Avon Books, 2000) in our Book Club Kit collection. You can browse the other romances in our Book Club Kits collection by choosing Romance in the Genre dropdown.

Quinn is a consummate storyteller. Her prose is spry and assured, and she excels at creating indelible characters.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Rules for Book Club Kits

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

 
 
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Asian American & Pacific Islander Book Club Kits

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage month! If you are looking for a book club selection that explores and honors AAPI experiences, we have added a genre category to our Book Club Kit page to make it easier. Simply choose “Asian & Pacific Islander Lives” in the Genre dropdown menu to see all the titles available for request.

In addition, new categories have been added for Native American Lives, Black Lives, and Latinx Lives. Our book club kit collection has over 1900 titles and growing, so there is something for every group. Is your preferred title checked out? Don’t forget to check our read-alike page for similar suggestions to tide you over while you wait.

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Friday Reads: The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Science fiction titles have been popping up more and more in my reading list over this past year, perhaps as an escape from our current reality. A list of the some of the best new science fiction from the last 15 years led me to some fantastic escapes, including:

  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014)
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (2014)
  • The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull (2019)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (2014)
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2014)

The last one on that list, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is the first in the Wayfarers trilogy. Described as a “light-hearted space opera”, the story follows a ragtag group of wormhole tunnelers as they cruise through space. New ship accountant Rosemary is adjusting to life off-planet and to her new crew mates. But when the team is offered the tunneling job of a lifetime, Rosemary must decide if she can trust them with a secret about her past.

I don’t often associate “cozy” with “sci-fi” but this is an apt descriptor of this novel. Quirky, likeable characters and a heartwarming tone would make this a perfect read for fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Chambers, Becky. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. New York: Harper Voyager 2016. (Originally self-published, 2014).

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