Category Archives: Books & Reading

What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for January and February 2021.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the Nebraska Legislature, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.  You can read synopses of the books received from the University of Nebraska Press in the Book Briefs blogposts.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.  By law (State Statutes 51-411 to 51-413) all Nebraska state agencies are required to submit their published documents to the Clearinghouse.  For more information, visit the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse page, contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian; or contact Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

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Friday Reads: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

“Between life and death there is a library,” she said. “And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.”

This is the idea behind The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I debated how to write this review without giving too much of the story away and a pro/con list seemed the best way to do that.

Pros:

-An easy read. I had it finished in just a few sittings.

-There are some beautifully written passages that just envelop you.

-The characters are very relatable.

Cons:

-Those beautifully written passages? For me they sometimes felt misplaced and would totally take me out of the story.

-The plot leads you in such a way that you don’t necessarily want to take the time to read everything fully, you just want to get to the next plot point.

-Everything about the book feels very unoriginal and overdone. It seems more like something you’d see someone write for a short story class in college, not from a well-known author.

During the pandemic reading, for me, has become more of a chore than being enjoyable. For every book I do manage to finish there are ten that I don’t, or don’t even really start. It was nice to find a book that caught my attention enough to stick with it and even with all its faults it wasn’t a burden to read.

Would I suggest rushing out and buying it? No, but if you happen across it in the library someday maybe check it out.

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NCompass Live: Nebraska Writers Collective Spring Programs for Young Poets

Hear about the ‘Nebraska Writers Collective Spring Programs for Young Poets’ and the search for the first-ever Nebraska Youth Poet Laureate, on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, March 3 at 10am CT.

The Nebraska Writers Collective typically does their ‘Louder Than a Bomb: Great Plains Youth Poetry Festival’ each spring. For obvious reasons, we won’t be gathering in ballrooms to cheer on young poets, but we have some exciting new programs to make up for this:

  • Working with Urban Word, the national group who coordinates the programs which made Amanda Gorman our country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate, we are going to name the first Nebraska Youth Poet Laureate.
  • We are accepting videos by high school and junior high poets for a video poetry contest.
  • We are accepting written poems by high school and middle school poets, offering prizes and publication in our ‘2021 Louder Than a Bomb’ anthology.

Join Matt Mason, Executive Director of the Nebraska Writers Collective and Nebraska State Poet, and Gina Tranisi, Program Director of the Nebraska Writers Collective, to hear all about what the Nebraska Writers Collective has planned for young poets in 2021.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • March 17 – Ways to Fill Your Shelves Without Draining Your Budget
  • March 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech – How I Turned My Dad’s House Into a Smart Home Using Amazon Alexa Devices

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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#BookFaceFriday “Oona Out of Order” by Margarita Montimore

Great Scott! It’s #BookFaceFriday

No DeLorean necessary for this week’s time-traveling #BookFace. Check out “Oona Out of Order” by Margarita Montimore (Flatiron Books, 2020) in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. It’s perfect for fans of “The Time Travelers Wife” but with less ugly crying. Hop through time and explore the weight of one girl’s life choices in this inventive novel. It’s available as an eBook and Audiobook, add it to your holds list today!

“A compelling page-turner…Montimore delivers a rock-and-roll love letter to 1980s–90s New York City as Oona discovers her true self through a lifetime of music and pop culture. A perfect match for those who enjoy well-developed characters with a twist.”

Library Journal (starred review)

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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Big Talk From Small Libraries 2021 is tomorrow!

Small libraries! Awesome ideas! FREE!

Join us tomorrow for the 10th annual Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference. Registration is still open, so head over to the Registration page and sign up!

We have a great agenda for the day, with seven 50 minute sessions plus four 10 minute lightning round sessions.

Topics range from technology to programming to new roles for libraries as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event is a great opportunity to learn about the innovative things your colleagues are doing in their small libraries.

And, Nebraska library staff and board members can earn 1 hour of CE Credit for each hour of the conference you attend! A special Big Talk From Small Libraries CE Report form has been made available for you to submit your C.E. credits.

So, come join us for a day of big ideas from small libraries!

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.  UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in January and February 2021:

Alliance Rises in the West : Labor, Race, and Solidarity in Industrial California by Charlotte K. Sunseri. (Series: Historical Archaeology of the American West)

Alliance Rises in the West documents the experiences of a company town at a critical moment in the rise of working-class consciousness in nineteenth-century California. Through archaeological research Charlotte K. Sunseri overcomes the silence of the documentary record to re-examine the mining frontier at Mono Mills, a community of multiple ethnic and racial groups, predominantly Chinese immigrants and Kudzadika Paiutes. The rise of political, economic, and social alliances among workers symbolized solidarity and provided opportunity to effect change in this setting of unequal power. Urban planning and neighborhood layout depict company structures of control and surveillance, while household archaeology from ethnically distinct neighborhoods speaks to lived experiences and how working-class identities emerged to crosscut ethnic and racial divides imposed in capitalism.

Mono Mills’s Paiute and Chinese communities experienced exclusionary legislation and brutal treatment on the basis of racial prejudice but lived alongside and built community with European American laborers, managers, and merchants who were also on an economic periphery. These experiences in Mono Mills and other nineteenth-century company towns did not occur in a vacuum; capitalists’ control and ideologies of race and class all doubled down as American workers used collective action to change the rules of the system. In this rare, in-depth perspective, close consideration of the ghost towns that dot the landscape of the West shows the haunting elements of capitalism and racial structures that characterized Gilded Age society and whose legacies endure to this day.

Hybrid Anxieties : Queering the French-Algerian War and Its Postcolonial Legacies by C. L. Quinan.(Series: Expanding Frontiers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

Situated at the crossroads of queer theory and postcolonial studies, Hybrid Anxieties analyzes the intertwined and composite aspects of identities and textual forms in the wake of the French-Algerian War (1954–1962). C. L. Quinan argues that the war precipitated a dynamic in which a contestation of hegemonic masculinity occurred alongside a production of queer modes of subjectivity, embodiment, and memory that subvert norms. Innovations in literature and cinema were also directly impacted by the long and difficult process of decolonization, as the war provoked a rethinking of politics and aesthetics. The novels, films, and poetry analyzed in Hybrid Anxieties trace this imbrication of content and form, demonstrating how a postwar fracturing had both salutary and injurious effects, not only on bodies and psyches but also on artistic forms.

Adopting a queer postcolonial perspective, Hybrid Anxieties adds a new impulse to the question of how to rethink hegemonic notions of gender, sexuality, and nationality, thereby opening up new spaces for considering the redemptive and productive possibilities of negotiating life in a postcolonial context. Without losing sight of the trauma of this particularly violent chapter in history, Hybrid Anxieties proposes a new kind of hybridity that, however anxious and anticipatory, emphasizes the productive forces of a queer desire to deconstruct teleological relationships between past, present, and future.

Misanthropoetics : Social Flight and Literary Form in Early Modern England by Robert Darcy.

Misanthropoetics explores efforts by Renaissance writers to represent social flight and withdrawal as a fictional escape from the incongruous demands of culture. Through the invented term of its title, this book investigates the literary misanthrope in a number of key examples from Shakespeare, Jonson, Spenser, and the satirical milieu of Marston to exemplify the seemingly unresolvable paradoxes of social life.

In Shakespeare’s England a burgeoning urban population and the codification of social controls drove a new imaginary of revolt and flight in the figure of the literary misanthrope. This figure of disillusionment became an experiment in protesting absurd social demands, pitting friendship and family against prudent economies, testimonies of durable love against erosions of historical time, and stable categories of gender against the breakdown and promiscuity of language.

Misanthropoetics chronicles the period’s own excoriating critique of the illusion of resolution fostered within a social world beleaguered by myriad pressures and demands. This study interrogates form as a means not toward order but toward the impasse of irresolution, to detecting and declaring the social function of life as inherently incongruous. Robert Darcy applies questions of phenomenology and psychoanalysis, deconstruction and chaos theory to observe how the great deployers of literary form lost confidence that it could adhere to clear and stable rules of engagement, even as they tried desperately to shape and preserve it.

Telltale Women : Chronicling Gender in Early Modern Historiography by Allison Machlis Meyer. (Series: Women and Gender in the Early Modern World)

Telltale Women fundamentally reimagines the relationship between the history play and its source material as an intertextual one, presenting evidence for a new narrative about how—and why—these genres disparately chronicle the histories of royal women. Allison Machlis Meyer challenges established perceptions of source study, historiography, and the staging of gender politics in well-known drama by arguing that chronicles and political histories frequently value women’s political interventions and use narrative techniques to invest their voices with authority. Dramatists who used these sources for their history plays thus encountered a historical record that offered surprisingly ample precedents for depicting women’s perspectives and political influence as legitimate, and writers for the commercial theater grappled with such precedents by reshaping source material to create stage representations of royal women that condemned queenship and female power.

By tracing how the sanctioning of women’s political participation changes from the narrative page to the dramatic stage, Meyer demonstrates that gender politics in both canonical and noncanonical history plays emerge from playwrights’ intertextual engagements with a rich alternative view of women in the narrative historiography of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

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#BookFaceFriday “On Account of the Gum” by Adam Rex

This #BookFace is caught in a sticky situation…

And this day started out so well! If you’re looking for the best advice on how to remove gum from your hair, maybe skip reading “On Account of the Gum” by Adan Rex. If you’re looking for a good laugh, this is your book! It’s available as an eBook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Nebraska OverDrive Libraries has a wide variety of children’s books, from picture books to to youth adult titles, and more.

Conversational rhyme, cascading action, and dramatic page turns create a story of early-morning, get-ready-for-school chaos. Gum-wrapper endpaper illustrations collaged under a bubble gum-pink wash set the tone for escalating silliness . . . [On Account of the Gum is a] gloriously giggly tale glued together by a glob of very gooey gum. –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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: Conventionally Yours, by Annabeth Albert

Since last Sunday was Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d select something romantic for this week’s Friday Reads. My choice: Conventionally Yours, by Annabeth Albert. If you’re a fan of the “enemies to lovers” and “forced proximity” romance tropes, this might be right down your alley. If you enjoy reading about gamer culture, even better!

Conventionally Yours falls neatly into the new adult romance subgenre. Conrad (21) and Alden (23), the two protagonists, are both navigating fraught transitions between college and uncertain adult futures—Conrad because he had to drop out of college after his parents cut off financial support when they found out he was gay; Alden, who’s neurodiverse, because of failed attempts to get into medical school, followed by pressure from his mothers to come up with immediately-actionable alternate plans.

Conrad and Alden’s initial interactions are at a local game shop, where both participate in a small group devoted to playing the popular card game, Odyssey. At this point, they don’t get along at all. Conrad views Alden as rigid, rules-bound, and no fun, whereas Alden sees Conrad as a popular but irresponsible college drop-out working a series of dead-end jobs. Then, due to a cascade of chance circumstances, and to their mutual horror, they wind up stuck together in a car on a cross-country road trip to “Massive Odyssey Con West,” where they’ll compete for a seat on the pro Odyssey tour—an outcome that both view as a miracle solution to their near-term problems.

While this might seem like a recipe for disaster, in true romance fashion the drive time provides opportunities for the two to get to know each other better, correct misconceptions, and develop feelings. Alden grows indignant on Conrad’s behalf when he learns his family disowned him, and when he realizes Conrad is skimping on food because of tenuous finances he begins “accidentally” ordering more than he can eat in order to share. Conrad, for his part, really listens when Alden lashes out at him after he makes caustic comments about Alden always trying to be perfect. For the first time, Alden feels like someone understands how imperfect he feels after his moms spent years trying to get him diagnosed and fixed. And for the first time, he feels acceptance: “You’re just you. Just Alden. It’s who you are. Changing any of it isn’t necessary,” Conrad assures him.

Though Conrad and Alden experience a détente, coupled with growing attraction and affection, during their time on the road, there is still plenty of drama and tension to be resolved, not least of which is competing against each other in the tournament after learning how much the other needs the win. However, as you can probably guess given this is genre romance, there are happy resolutions in store for Conrad and Alden, both individually and as a couple, in the end.

Albert, Annabeth. Conventionally Yours. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday “Zombie Films on Valentine’s Day” by Emily Gould

Run Carrrl! It’s a Valentine’s Day #BookFace!

Zombies and romance, like milk and cookies, the perfect pair. Get in on the action with “Zombie Films on Valentine’s Day” by Emily Gould; it’s available as an eBook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Nebraska OverDrive Libraries has a myriad of choices, from romance to horror,so you can find just what you’re jonesing for. Unless what you’re craving is brains.

There’s nothing worse than spending Valentine’s Day without a date, or so Alec believes—and all his friends agree. Desperate not to spend the night alone, he tries asking everyone he knows to hang out with him, even going so far as to ask a member of his awful band to hang out for the night. Anything, after all, must be better than spending Valentine’s Day alone.Book Jacket

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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 – Magazines in OverDrive!

Extra Extra! Read all about it on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! We now have over 3,000 magazine titles for users to pick from. Three years of issues are available of many titles, as well as some single titles (generally special edition issues of certain magazines or items like adult coloring books). Magazines do not count against a reader’s checkout limit of 6, and magazine issues may be checked out for 7, 14, or 21 days, depending on your library’s policy. There are 2,400 English-language titles, 182 Spanish-language titles, and other languages include French, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Afrikaans, and Italian. Take a look at “Computer Hoy” a Spanish-language title now available as an eBook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries!

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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!

This week’s #BookFace model is TBBS’s Studio Engineer, Matt Hier. Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Pie Academy by Ken Haedrich

Pie, pie, me oh my.

Between the historic snowfall last week and the upcoming arctic blast, it’s the perfect time to stay in a warm kitchen baking all the wonderfully lovely pies. Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More by Ken Haedrich is a great resource for home bakers at any skill level. “All you need is fat, flour, salt, and sometimes sugar” (p. 13).

The book starts with the basics of making pie – the tools, the ingredients, and the dough. Pie doesn’t require anything fancy to get started, just practice. His step-by-step instructions for making the perfect piecrust has been extremely helpful. This mini class on crust is followed by an entire chapter of twenty-five different crust recipes, including crusts with butter, shortening, lard, crumb-style, graham crackers, and gluten-free versions.

The book then has chapters with recipes for berry, apple, fall fruit, pecan, custard, cream, hand pies, icebox pies, freezer pies, and other “oddball” pies. Classic pumpkin pie, sour cream raisin pies, brownie pies, watermelon rind pie, strawberry-rhubarb crumb pie, Ritz mock apple pie, polenta pie, nectarine and blueberry-lime pie…there are so many detailed recipes with gorgeous pictures. Included in the recipes, there are “Recipe for Success” sections that offer additional tips and tricks from Haedrich. Throughout the book, there are extra pie trivia or history bites, as well as other lessons, such as how to mail a pie or the differences between apple types. Lastly, there’s a trouble-shooting guide in the back where Haedrich answers some common issues like cracked dough or runny filling.

Even if you’re not a newbie pie baker (like me), there are so many fillings, crust variations, and decorations included for more experienced bakers to find something new.

Haedrich, K. Pie Academy: Master the Perfect Crust and 255 Amazing Fillings, with Fruits, Nuts, Creams, Custards, Ice Cream, and More. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2020. Print.

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Friday Reads: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of small things

I just started The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and I’m so glad I did. Over a foot of snow on the ground outside calls for some entertainment set in warm climes. Summer in India reads really well right now.

I bought this book a few years ago, when it was required for a class I was taking, and then the school changed the professor for the class, and that new professor changed the books. This book was the one from the original slate that I was looking forward to the most. I was happy to take it off the shelf this week. It’s the story of twin boys and their connection to each other, as their family, which is already going through some things, welcomes visiting relatives who have their own problems. It’s lush and full of surprises from the beginning, and yet never goes out of rhythm.

This is Roy’s first novel, and it follows her training as an architect and her work as a production designer. There’s a lot going on in this book, but we’re in good hands. Roy knows her details and characters and shares them with us luxuriously, but never overwhelms us. Her vision is clear, and her characters are wonderfully flawed, and their relationships are familiar, yet unexpected, in their complexity.

And of course, The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize, which is always a good recommendation. If you like well-planned sprawling stories about families full of interesting characters, and not a snowdrift in sight, you will want to check it out.

Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things. New York: Random House, 1997. Print.

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NCompass Live: 2021 One Book One Nebraska: ‘Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II’

NOTE! This is a Special Edition of NCompass Live being held at a special time! Next week’s NCompass Live will be held from 1:00pm – 2:00pm Central Time on Wednesday, February 3.

In this seventeenth year of One Book One Nebraska, Nebraska libraries and other literary and cultural organizations continue to plan activities and events to encourage all Nebraskans to read and discuss the same book. Join us to hear more about this state reading promotion activity, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and the Nebraska Library Commission.

We are very pleased to announce that our featured guest will be James Kimble, author of the 2021 selection Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II (Bison Books, 2014).

Join Author James Kimble, Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission Communication Coordinator Tessa Terry, Humanities Nebraska Director of Literary Programs Erika Hamilton, Nebraska Center for the Book President Christine Walsh, and Nebraska Center for the Book Board Member Becky Faber to:

  • Learn about how to create a successful local reading promotion using Nebraska’s year-long, statewide celebration featuring Prairie Forge, by James Kimble.
  • Brainstorm strategies to read and discuss Prairie Forge.
  • Find tools to help engage your community in local activities to encourage them to come together through literature to explore this work in community-wide reading programs.
  • Learn about the 2021 Celebration of Nebraska Books, which will celebrate this book, along with the winners of the 2021 Nebraska Book Awards.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Feb. 10 – Education Programs Leading to Credentials in Librarianship
  • Feb. 17 – Engagement with Soft Skills: Using Board Games at the Library
  • Feb. 24 – Pretty Sweet Tech – How to Make Green Screen Videos Using Free and Low-Cost Tools
  • March 17 – Ways to Fill Your Shelves Without Draining Your Budget
  • March 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech – How I Turned My Dad’s House Into a Smart Home Using Amazon Alexa Devices

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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#BookFaceFriday “Once Upon a Winter Day” by Liza Woodruff

We’re walking in a #BookFace wonderland!

After building a snowman, making an igloo, or taking part in a snowball fight, let the kids warm up with a mug of cocoa and a good book! Even if your local library branch is closed due to crazy winter weather, you always have access to a new read on OverDrive. From kid’s titles to recipe books, you can find a lot of reading options right from your own home, all you need is a library card. Check out “Once Upon a Winer Day” by Liza Woodruff, it’s available as an eBook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries!

“It’s a richly narrative landscape—one that should inspire readers to venture outside and notice stories of their own.”Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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What’s Sally Reading?

ALA Youth Media Awards Were Announced January 25, 2921!

The American Library Association (ALA) announced the 2021 Youth Media Awards on Monday.  You can see the lists on their press release.  Or you may choose to visit the ALA’s site for this page that lists each award, to click on the one you are interested in to see the award winner and honor books listed.  This year I did poorly in the number of awarded books I have read, so I already have a few that I missed on reserve at the library. 

The Coretta Scott King Author Book Award was given to Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson.  It is told in free verse.  ZJ’s (Zacharias Johnson, J.) father is a professional football star.  A loving husband and father who would play with ZJ and his friends and loved music and laughter.  That was Before. 

Now his father is experiencing painful headaches and memory loss.  Set in the early 2000s, when the study of the effects of many hits in football was just underway and we were beginning to realize concussions are dangerous. The reality of the father’s injuries is tough to see.  Damage done cannot be changed.  The resultant effects upon family and friends is both poignant and heartfelt.

This book is a good choice for grades 5 – 8.

(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: All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

My colleague Tessa Terry reviewed the Inspector Gamache series in 2018. This book is the latest (#16) in the series and takes place in Paris. It begins with the entire family walking home from a bistro dinner only to witness Armand’s godfather; Stephen Horowitz, violently hit and run over by a van. To Armand’s eyes, this is no accident, but the French Police aren’t convinced.

Series readers love the stability of spending time with beloved characters in a familiar place. This book leaves the usual setting of Three Pines (a small town in Quebec) and takes place primarily in Paris. French names were a challenge, keeping track of who was friend or foe, which was part of the plot twist. Working out of his jurisdiction Chief Inspector Gamache relies upon his librarian wife, Reine-Marie, a local librarian, and his family members to help discover the truth about his godfather’s attacker.

Tessa mentioned the narrator Ralph Cosham in her first review. From Audiofile Magazine: We are saddened that Ralph Cosham passed away in September 2014.  His voice for Gamache is described as one that “combines British intellectual with a Frenchman’s warmth … it’s as if those two got married–and Gamache would be their son.” From Louise Penny’s newsletter: “after this tragic loss, we finally have our new voice for the books … he’s a British actor named Robert Bathurst, best known in North America for his role in Downton Abbey.”  I was delighted that Bathurst recently beat Tom Hank’s in this past year’s Audie Awards for best Male Narrator for his recording of Louise Penny’s Kingdom of the Blind. For a devoted series reader/listener, the narrator is as important as the text. I can personally vouch for both narrators.

If you are looking for some Pandemic reading (or listening), that will take you away from your living room to a small Canadian town with colorful characters, look no further. Here is the series listing if you prefer to read them in order.

Penny, Louise. All the Devils are Here   Minotaur Books. 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House”

Hail to the #BookFaceFriday!

Feeling patriotic after Wednesday’s Inauguration? Take a look behind the curtain with this week’s #BookFace title, “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” by Kate Andersen Brower. This nonfiction read is available as an ebook and Audiobook from Nebraska OverDrive Libraries.

“This intimate portrait of what it’s like to take care of the first family is a compelling read. Whether you’re a political or history junkie or devoted Downton Abbey viewer, this book adds unique context to understanding our presidents as human beings.” (Chuck Todd, moderator, Meet the Press)

Find this ebook and many more titles through Nebraska OverDrive. 173 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 17,165 audiobooks and 28,972 eBooks. 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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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: Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin

Historical Fiction meets Murder Mystery is always a good read in my book. In this case the setting is Medieval Europe, more specifically Cambridge, England. Our heroine is Adelia Aguilar, a trained doctor and what we would call a medical examiner. Rare and heretical for the time, she must pretend to be an assistant and translator for her long time Muslim protector, Mansur. Think Rizzoli and Isles, but with knights, monks, and convents.

Four children have been brutally murdered in Cambridge. The townspeople have accused the local Jewish community of the crimes and forced them to flee. The disruption to King Henry II’s tax revenues leads him to ask for outside help from the King of Sicily. Thus our story begins with Adelia’s summoning from the Salerno School of Medicine.

If you love procedural drama intertwined with historical facts, this is the book for you. Even better, it’s a series of five books.

Franklin, Ariana. Mistress of the Art of Death. G.P. Putnam’s Sons. 2007.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Children’s Blizzard”

Get blown away by this #BookFaceFriday!

January 12, 1888, began as an unseasonably warm morning across Nebraska… but that’s not how it ended. Today for #BookFaceFriday we have a tale of two books, both titled “The Children’s Blizzard,” and both about that fateful snowstorm. And yes, they are both a part of one or more of our collections. First, we have “The Children’s Blizzard: A Novel” by Melanie Benjamin (Delacorte Press, 2021) is brand new to our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries collection, and it’s available in both eBook and Audiobook.

“In this piercingly detailed drama, riveting in its action and psychology, Benjamin reveals the grim aspects of homesteading, from brutal deprivations to violent racism toward Native Americans and African Americans, while orchestrating, with grace and resonance, transformative moral awakenings and sustaining love.”Booklist (starred review)

Our second contender is “The Children’s Blizzard” by David Laskin (Harper Perennial; 3rd edition,2005.) A nonfiction title that is available in both our Book Club Kit Collection and as an eBook and Audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. 

“In The Children’s Blizzard, David Laskin deploys historical fact of the finest grain to tell the story of a monstrous blizzard that caught the settlers of the Great Plains utterly by surprise. Using the storm as a lens, Laskin captures the brutal, heartbreaking folly of this chapter in America’s history, and along the way delves into the freakish physics of extreme cold. This is a book best read with a fire roaring in the hearth and a blanket and box of tissues near at hand.” — Erik Larson, author of Isaac’s Storm and The Devil in the White City

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

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