Author Archives: Aimee Owen

#BookFaceFriday: Bivouac

Don’t just stand there, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Another #BookFace throwback as we celebrate Black History Month. Bivouac, by Nebraska author Kwame Dawes, was originally posted as a dual #BookFaceFriday and Friday Reads review by NLC staff assistant Lynda Clause, and was featured at the 2019 Nebraska Book Festival.

“With expressive description and languid cadence, Dawes deftly constructs a background that serves as an amorphous setting for the complicated experience of a grieving son…With subtle yet lyrical description of internal struggles set against a foreign background, Bivouac serves as a deceptively symbolic read about the bleak and mirthless aspects of life and, subsequently, death.”
The Daily Nebraskan

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

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Friday Reads: The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander

I’ll be the first to admit that you can put the word “library” in any book title, and I’ll read it without hesitation. But I am sure glad I picked up The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander, because it was delightful. I read a handful of middle-grade books around this time each year, and this has been my favorite selection so far of 2020.

Trying to abscond from her nanny at the library and get some quality reading time in, Lenora stumbles into the “staff only” section. Recognizing her potential, the head librarian offers her a job as “Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian”, tasking her to use her wits and valor to serve her patrons. Lenora embarks on a series of adventures, some comical, some harrowing, in her quest to answer patron inquiries. If only my days on the reference desk were this exciting!

This book clocks in at 208 pages, so it’s a fairly quick read, making it ideal for read-alouds. The fast-pace and fun facts will keep middle grade readers engaged. I have a certain niece named Lenora that will be getting a copy soon for sure!

Alexander, Zeno. The Library of Ever. Imprint, 2019.

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Unbearable Lightness Of Being” by Milan Kundera

Hold on to your hats, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera (Harper & Row, 1984) is one of many classic titles your book club can reserve from our collection! You can browse our classics by using the “Search by Genre” drop-down list in our book club kit search options: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/.

“Kundera is a virtuoso . . . A work of the boldest mastery, originality, and richness.”– Elizabeth Hardwick, (Vanity Fair)

This week’s #BookFace model is Allana Novotny, our Technology & Access Services Librarian!

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Curmudgeons, Drunkards, & Outright Fools by Thomas P. Lowry

As you prepare to ring in the new year, don’t get caught in a compromising position like those in our #BookFaceFriday, Thomas P. Lowry’s “Curmudgeons, Drunkards, & Outright Fools: Courts-Martial of Civil War Union Colonels” (Bison Books, 2003). Lowry details the misdeeds and misfortunes of fifty colonels and lieutenant colonels during the war between the North and South. This title is published by Bison Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state documents program.

Lowry has taken the genre of the historical underside to its proper scholarly limits; he has coupled the lurid and the weird with excellent research and analysis. – Civil War Times

This week’s #BookFace model is neither curmudgeon, nor drunkard, nor fool. It’s Matt Hier, our new Audio Production Studio Manager!

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Cold Shot” by Dani Pettrey

After this week’s chilly temps, we’re ready for a smokin’ hot #BookFaceFriday!

This #BookFaceFriday is the first installment of the Chesapeake Valor series by romantic suspense author Dani Pettrey. Is your book group in the mood for a suspenseful thriller or fast-paced mystery? You can search our book club kit by genre: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/.

“An intricate plot, a reunion of friends and an appealing lead couple make this a standout.”–Booklist

This week’s #BookFace model is Lowell Owen, spouse of Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen. He will probably hesitate to visit her at work in the future.

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Komi Can’t Communicate” by Tomohito Oda

Is our quiet #BookFaceFriday coolly aloof…or just super awkward?

This #BookFaceFriday is also this week’s Friday Read’s post by our Youth Services Coordinator Sally Snyder! Read all about the first volume in this Manga series in her review.

“The journey to 100 friends begins with a single conversation.” book cover

This week’s #BookFace model is Library Development Staff Assistant, Linda Babcock!

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

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#BookFaceFriday – “Dracula” by Bram Stoker

Velcome to #BookFaceFriday!

Grab your garlic and wooden stakes, we’re wrapping up October with this classic tale of horror (Puffin Classics, 1994, first published 1897). Written as a series of journal entries and letters, it tells the story of the quest to destroy the evil Count Dracula and end his reign of terror.

“Those who cannot find their own reflection in Bram Stoker’s still-living creation are surely the undead .” New York Times Review of Books

This week’s #BookFace model is our new TBBS Circulation Technician, Amy Irons!

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

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Friday Reads: My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

It’s a well known fact that sisters have complicated relationships, possibly none more so than Korede and her younger sister Ayoola. Nurse Korede is hardworking, practical, and reliable, while her beautiful little sister is anything but. Charming and sweet, but ultimately selfish and unmotivated, Ayoola surrounds herself with those that will take care of her: men, friends, and Korede.

While she resents Ayoola’s easy and fun-filled life, Korede nevertheless continues to bail her sister out of every mess she gets into… including murder. Ayoola has killed the last 3 men she dated, calling her big sister to help her hide the evidence. Now, Ayoola has attracted the attention of Korede’s boss (and crush), head doctor Tade. Korede must decide if blood really is thicker than water (or just harder to clean up).

Braitwaite, Oyinkan. My Sister the Serial Killer. Doubleday, 2018.

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Friday Reads: “Pretend I’m Dead” and “Vacuum in the Dark” by Jen Beagin

I read a review for Vacuum in the Dark and discovered that it was the sequel to Jen Beagin’s 2015 debut novel, Pretend I’m Dead. The latter tells the story of Mona, a 24-year-old cleaning woman in Lowell, Massachusetts, who just can’t seem to find her place in the world. Mona volunteers at a clean-needle exchange, collects vintage vacuum cleaners, and has an inner-dialogue with NPR’s Terry Gross (“This is Fresh Air!”). After a doomed relationship with a junkie, she moves to Taos, New Mexico.

The rest of the novel, and the next book, follow Mona as she builds her house cleaning business in Taos (getting to know her clients in person and through their belongings; if you ever thought your cleaning person didn’t snoop, you’d be wrong). She makes poor decisions and weird friends, follows a man to Bakersfield, California, and confronts her past… and her future.

Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but I’d suggest reading them in order. Neither is terribly long – about 240 pages each. If you enjoy gallows humor, quirky characters, and discussions of cleaning products, Mona is the anti-heroine you’ve been waiting for.

Beagin, Jen. Pretend I’m Dead. Northwestern University Press, 2015.
Beagin, Jen. Vacuum in the Dark. Scribner, 2019.

 

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#BookFaceFriday – The Dewey Decimal System of Love

This #BookFaceFriday has love down to a (library) science…

“For questions about love, and more particularly, inappropriate love, go the 306.7s.” If you’re searching your library’s catalog for a quick, funny, and perhaps slightly naughty, summer beach read, look no further than Josephine Carr’s “The Dewey Decimal System of Love” (New American Library, 2003).

“…a most bizarre, unpredictable and thoroughly delightful mess that keeps the pages turning and the laughs coming.” — Tampa Tribune

This week’s #BookFace model is Mary Sauers, our Government Information Services Librarian. Mary knows all about love in the library – she married another librarian, former NLC Technology Librarian, and current Director of Technology at Do Space, Michael Sauers.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Prodigal Summer”

It’s a jungle out there, #BookFaceFriday fans!

Can’t you just feel the heat radiating from this rain forest setting? Oh, wait, that’s just the local weather! Set over the course of a particularly humid summer, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper Perennial, 2000) “weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.” This title is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, along with several other titles by Kingsolver. It seemed like a perfect choice for this week’s bookface, as our local flora and fauna thrive (while the rest of us wilt) in the current heat and humidity!

A “blend of breathtaking artistry, encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world, attention to detail, and ardent commitment to the supremacy of nature.” San Francisco Chronicle

This week’s #BookFace photo was taken on location in Costa Rica by our staff assistant, Kayla Henzel. Thank you Kayla, for your dedication to the #BookFace cause, even while off the clock!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Black Cherries”

This #BookFace seemed ripe for the picking…

Black Cherries by Grace Stone Coates (Bison Books, 2003) is a reprint of the original 1931 title. “In this series of linked stories the child narrator, Veve, cannot fathom all the mysteries of her family’s life together, but by watching and listening she pieces together a painful past.” This title is published by Bison Books, an imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state documents program.

Black Cherries is a work of genius, written in vital fluids, illuminated by lightening, quivering with truth.”—Statesman Journal, Salem, OK

This week’s #BookFace model is Tina Walker, director of the Keene Memorial Library in Fremont. She was visiting the Library Commission to present on our weekly NCompass Live webinar series. Check out her episode, Growing Partnerships Where Least Expected.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Beyond To Kill a Mockingbird

PBS recently posted this list of “10 books besides ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ that tackle racial injustice” and I couldn’t help but notice that the Nebraska Library Commission has several of these titles in our book club kit collection.

If your class or book club would like to read any of these, click on the title to request the book set. Of course, we have To Kill a Mockingbird too!

Looking for other great book club reads? Check out our entire collection here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub/

 

 

 

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Nebraska Archives Online from the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries

“Archivists from the four University of Nebraska institutions have collaborated to launch
Nebraska Archives Online
, a database that provides access to finding-aids and guides for the university system’s archival and manuscript collections.

Through the work of the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries, Nebraska Archives Online meets a longstanding need to provide a one-stop portal to these collections. It’s a resource meant to engage the public’s curiosity and improve the research process for students and others with research needs. The materials in each of the NU archives are available for anyone to use.”

Read more about the database here:
https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/university-launches-nebraska-archives-online/

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Stoner”

This week’s #BookFaceFriday is kind of a bummer, man…

Does this #BookFace look familiar? You might recognize this cover from Sam Shaw’s recent Friday Reads post about “Stoner” by John Williams (NYRB Classics, 2006). Sam, our Planning and Data Coordinator, was gracious enough to pose for this week’s photo.

“A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life…I’m amazed a novel this good escaped general attention for so long.” —Ian McEwan

Friday Reads is a weekly book review series posted by Nebraska Library Commission staff. Former NLC staffer Laura Johnson created this series to model the idea of talking about books and to help readers get to know our staff a little better.  We hope that our book reviews will start a conversation about books among our readers and encourage others to share their own reviews and recommendations. Past Friday Reads are archived on the NCompass blog, or you can browse a list of reviews here.

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

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Friday Reads: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Keiko Furukura realized as a child that she was different from everyone else. Her classmates and teachers were increasingly dismayed by her behavior and her family desperately wanted her to be “cured” and become “normal.” Until Keiko found her job at the Smile Mart convenience store during university, she felt doomed to be the odd one out.

But at Smile Mart, the world makes perfect sense. She can follow the employee behavior manual, mimic the speech and dress of her co-workers, and everyone seems happy with her. Flash-forward 18 years; working part-time at a convenience store is no longer enough to keep her friends and family satisfied, and Keiko finds that it is time for a change.

This story gives some insight into the importance of conformity in Japanese culture; it is more important to Keiko’s friends and family that she meet societal expectations, to get married or find a real career path, than to live a content life as a misfit…even if that marriage is dysfunctional or the career makes her unhappy. Keiko must decide if she will do as others think she should… or be true to herself. A short read, this humorous yet heart-breaking tale may have you wondering who the misfits really are.

Murata, Sayaka. Convenience Store Woman. Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori, Grove Press, 2018.

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Disaster Planning and Recovery

Taylor Nebraska Damaged BridgeAs the floodwaters begin to recede, many communities in our state are working to assess and repair the damage left behind. Staff at the Nebraska Library Commission and Regional Library Systems have been in contact with Nebraska libraries. With great relief, we have heard that minimal damage has been reported in the public libraries in affected areas; some wet carpet and a few flooded basements. Now those libraries can focus on helping their communities recover.

If your library is looking for information on disaster planning and materials preservation, check out our page of library-specific resources: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/preservation.aspx

If you are helping residents find information on disaster recovery, we have compiled this page of resources on NebraskAccess: http://nebraskaccess.nebraska.gov/emergency.asp

We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

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#BookFaceFriday “Very Valentine”

If the shoe fits…

Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani is the first book in the Valentine trilogy, and was an obvious choice for the week of Valentine’s Day! Love, travel, and shoes… what more could a girl ask for?

“With its vibrant cast of characters, its magical settings, and handmade shoes to die for Very Valentine is a sumptuous feast, a celebration of love and loss filled with Adriana Trigiani’s trademark heart and humour.” – from the back cover.

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Administrative and Communications Staff Assistant Kayla Henzel.

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

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#BookFaceFriday “Miracle on 49th Street”

This week’s bookface was nothing but net!

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica is the story of professional basketball player Josh Cameron, who is suddenly confronted by 12-year-old Molly, the daughter he never knew he had. Molly has just lost her mother to cancer, and is shocked to discover that her father is none other than her favorite Celtics’ MVP. Now all she has to do is convince Josh that she’s telling him the truth…

“This novel is . . . an enjoyable read with interesting peeks into the world of professional basketball. It will appeal to young teen sports enthusiasts as well as kids just looking for a good story.” –VOYA

Today’s #BookFace model is an “oldie but a goodie!” Sue Biltoft is back with the NLC as our accountant. Sue returned to us in December after a few years off, and we are very happy she did!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist”

To #BookFace, perchance to dream…

“Poetry is all I have to give. I don’t know any other way to help.” Based on real-life abolitionist Gertrudis Gomez de Avellanda (Tula), Margarita Engle’s book of verse tells the story of a brave young woman who fought against her family’s expectations and spoke out against her country’s treatment of women and the practice of slavery. The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionistis a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is one of many YA selections that we have available. Reserve it for your book club today!

“An inspiring fictionalized verse biography of one of Cuba’s most influential writers… Fiery and engaging, a powerful portrait of the liberating power of art.” – Kirkus Reviews

Today’s #BookFace model is one of our Talking Book & Braille Service reader advisors, Holly!

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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