Category Archives: Books & Reading

NCompass Live: Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books’, on Wednesday, August 15, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

The directors of the Nebraska Regional Library Systems – Denise, Eric, Kathy, and Scott – get together to do one of their favorite things: talk about the books they’ve been reading. The hour is sure to include some great suggestions – and maybe some surprises!

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Aug. 22 – Excel for Librarians
  • Aug. 29 – We Find and We Fix: Connecting a Community at the Library

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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Friday Reads: Wired by Julie Garwood

Di"Wired" by Julie Garwood BookFacesclaimer: I finished reading this book a week or two ago. Then I found out it was this week’s #BookFaceFriday. I couldn’t resist the temptation.

“A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate…in more ways than one…” Sometimes Goodreads just has the perfect descriptions. I can’t describe Wired by Julie Garwood any better than that. In this book, Allison Trent is a freakishly brilliant computer hacker who has a day job as a supermodel. Yes, you heard me.

Liam Scott is an FBI agent with a prickly exterior who is in a bind and needs a freakishly brilliant computer hacker to casually break into the FBI servers. He is ready and willing to break every rule in the book to complete his mission. But, don’t worry, he has a heart of gold.

Allison would love to help, but she has a super secret double life she doesn’t want anyone to know about! Fear not, I didn’t give any spoilers here. The reader knows about her double life nearly from page one. She is casually breaking a few rules of her own to use her super secret computer powers for good.

You may have noticed this, but Wired is a romantic suspense novel. This book is probably not going to radically change the way you see the world. But it sure is entertaining. Every page you turn reveals a new plot line fresh out of the Romantic Suspense Book of Clichés. It was deliciously predictable in all the right ways and was the perfect way to relax on a lazy weekend.

Read it to find out if two prickly people with a secret heart of gold can collaborate…in more ways than one.

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#BookFaceFriday “Wired”

This week’s #BookFace is practically electric!

"Wired" by Julie Garwood BookFaceWired” by Julie Garwood (Berkley, 2017) is this week’s #BookFaceFriday and seemed like the perfect way to kick off the next round of our Nebraska Library Innovation Studios (LIS) project! NLC staff members will be traveling around Nebraska over the next few months, maybe even visiting your library. They will be installing makerspaces, training librarians/community members in the different types of technology, and showing them how to share it with their communities. This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is Max Wheeler, Instructional Designer on the LIS project! He may not be an FBI agent or a model/hacker but he sure knows a lot about all of our the different machines in our makerspaces.

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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Friday Reads: Murphy’s Law, by Rhys Bowen

I have my mother-in-law to thank for introducing me to a new-to-me mystery series: The Molly Murphy Mysteries.  So far, I’ve read and listened to Book 1: Murphy’s Law, and am halfway through Book 2: Death of Riley.  This series is Mrs. Bowen’s third historical mysteries venture, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Here’s a synopsis of Murphy’s Law:

Murphy’s Law introduces us to the spunky, 19th-century Irish heroine: Molly Murphy. Defending herself from the unwelcome advances of a landowner’s son in Ireland, Molly accidentally kills him and flees to London to escape hanging.  A split second decision introduces Molly to Kathleen O’Connor, who, with her two small children, has tickets on a ship to America, where she plans to join her husband. But after discovering she has  tuberculosis, Kathleen persuades the desperate Molly to take her children to America. On board the ship, Molly attracts the loud attentions of a crude, boisterous type named O’Malley. Her public argument with him comes back to haunt her when he is found murdered on Ellis Island; Molly and a young man she befriended become prime suspects. Although the handsome young detective investigating the case, Daniel Sullivan, appears to believe Molly is innocent, Molly decides she’d better investigate on her own behalf and that of her friend. Wending her way through a gritty, pulsating underworld of recently arrived immigrants in Tammany Hall-era New York, Molly struggles to prove her innocence by any means necessary.

Complete list of the Molly Murphy series titles:

  1. Murphy’s Law (2001)
  2. Death of Riley (2002)
  3. For the Love of Mike (2003)
  4. In Like Flynn (2005)
  5. Oh Danny Boy (2006)
  6. In Dublin’s Fair City (2007)
  7. Tell Me, Pretty Maiden (2008)
  8. In a Gilded Cage (2009)
  9. The Last Illusion (2010)
  10. Bless the Bride (2011)
  11. Hush Now, Don’t You Cry (2012)
  12. The Family Way (2013)
  13. City of Darkness and Light (2014)
  14. The Edge of Dreams (2015)
  15. Away in a Manger (2015)
  16. Time of Fog and Fire (2016)
  17. The Ghost of Christmas Past (2017)
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September is Library Card Sign-up Month

The Incredibles are Honorary Chairs for Library Card Sign-up Month 2018! September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide join together to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning.

This September Disney Pixar’s superhero family, the Incredibles, will team up with the ALA to promote the value of a library card. As honorary chairs, the Incredibles will remind families, students, and people of all ages that signing up for a library card is a great step toward a truly super lifestyle: libraries offer fun and informative resources to help you pursue your passions and succeed in school. For more information and resources for programming,  see http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/celebrationweeks/card and http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/library-card-sign-up-month-tools. Use the hashtag #LibraryCardSignUp to join the celebration on social media.

 

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#BookFaceFriday “The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God”

This week’s #BookFace had us at “seriocomic love story,” and yes, seriocomic is a real word."The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God" BookFace Image

The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God” by Timothy Schaffert (Unbridled Books, 2005) is this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Written by a Nebraska author, and set in our very own state, this novel is all about the twisting turns of the “Good Life.”  This novel a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and it’s the perfect choice for your next book club read!

“Laced with hope and an aching sweetness, it is as whimsical and smile-inducing as its title. Readers will fall for Hud, his family, and the one-off inhabitants of the quirky little town from page one owing to Schaffert’s homey yet elegant and precise prose. The only reason to put the book down is to make it last.” —Library Journal, starred

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen!

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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Friday Reads: Canada by Mike Myers

Canada by Mike Myers
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (October 22, 2016)

This title came to my attention on July 1st aka Canada Day as the daily special from Audible. I was intrigued, downloaded the title, and eagerly began listening. It helps that the author of whom I have long been a fan reads this title.

Myers begins with the premise that Canada lacks a mission statement. The country promises to provide good government and a safe place to live but is that enough? The inevitable comparisons to life in the United States make up a great deal of content. He compares regional colloquialisms, health care, the love of hockey, and the government supported CBC to their American counterparts. The United States does not propagate information about Canada so there may be many episodes in Canadian history that will be new information. To drive this point home, when my curiosity was piqued for the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, father of the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I looked for books to read more about him from my local library, but there were none.

Mike Myers was born to two Liverpudlian parents who immigrated to Canada for better employment opportunities. English parents making a life in Canada caused a clash of culture. Mike shares how the values of his parents and the humor of his brothers Peter and Paul shaped his worldview and brand of comedy. One of the attributes of his father in often-difficult situations was a non-rhetorical question of “how can we make this funny?”

Mike shares how his character Wayne Campbell (Wayne’s World) is a quintessential Canadian creation, specifically from the Scarborough district of Montreal, dissecting everything from his language to his name. Other Saturday Night Live characters also owe their origin to Mike’s Canadian and British upbringing.  With Canadian, British, and United States Citizenship, it’s clear that Mike Myers is a very proud Canadian patriot despite being an expatriate.

Myers, Mike (2016) Canada. Doubleday Canada

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#BookFaceFriday “Harry Potter” 20th Anniversary

You’re a #BookFaceFriday Harry!Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I first started reading Harry Potter! We’re celebrating the iconic series with this week’s #BookFace! Featuring two of the series novels, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2009) and “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix” (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003). As an added bonus July 31st is both J. K. Rowling and Harry’s birthday! It also marks the day Harry found out he was a wizard. NLC has the entire series in our Book Club Kit collection, and they can all be reserved for your book club to read today!

This week’s #BookFaceFriday models are some very special magicians we’ve had at the Commission lately, NLC has been getting a bit of a facelift with new paint and carpeting! It’s like having our very own house elves. We asked a few of the Brown Brothers Construction crew to step in as this week’s models!

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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Save the Date for Fall Book Festival

2018 Nebraska Book Festival LogoNebraska books and writers will be featured and celebrated at the Nebraska Book Festival on August 25, 2018. This event will highlight work by Nebraska writers and publishers, with a focus on stories and poetry set in Nebraska.

The August 25 Nebraska Book Festival will be held at the University of Nebraska City Campus Union from 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. It will feature author appearances, book signings, exhibitors, booksellers, poetry readings, and hands-on family activities. Authors include Janice Harrington, Stew Magnuson, Brandon Vogel, Melissa Fraterrigo, Jeff Kurrus and Michael Forsberg, along with Nebraska poets from the 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. The Nebraska Writers Guild will feature readings, discussions, and workshops for writers. Concierge Marketing will host Maker activities to celebrate books, including family activities  to encourage book lovers of all ages to craft, draw, imagine, and create.

An opening reception on Friday evening and a closing reception on Sunday afternoon will be held at the Center for Great Plains Studies to highlight new Nebraska books. The Festival is sponsored by University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Center for the Book, Lincoln City Libraries, Humanities Nebraska, Union Bank and Trust, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications, Friends of University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Writers Guild, and Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. More information about the Festival is available at http://bookfestival.nebraska.gov/2018/index.aspx.

 

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#BookFaceFriday “The Castaways”

This #BookFaceFriday we’re featuring the perfect summer beach read!

"The Castaways" BookFace

Calling all book clubs! “The Castaways” by Elin Hilderbrand (Back Bay Books, 2010) has something for everyone, full of complex relationships, intrigue, lies, and redemption. Sit back, relax, and dive into this book. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and can be reserved for your book club to read today!

“Hilderbrand provides the perfect summer read as she explores love, loss, and, ultimately, absolution.”
                                               –Booklist

This week’s #BookFaceFriday models are Interlibrary Loan Staff Assistant, Lynda Clause, and TBBS Audio Production Studio Manager, Gabe Kramer!

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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Friday Reads: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Set during the Civil War and following years, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women tells the story of four remarkable sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. When we first meet them, they, and their mother, struggle to make ends meet while their father serves as a minster in the Union army. Despite their lack of material wealth, the Marches share what little they have with their poorer neighbors. This charitable act catches the eye of their wealthy neighbor James Laurence and his grandson, Laurie. Over the course of the novel, Laurie grows close to the sisters, particularly Jo.

In writing Little Women, Alcott drew heavily from her childhood in Concord, Massachusetts, the book’s principal setting. Like the Marches, the Alcott family struggled financially at times. The Alcott family also followed American transcendentalism or the belief that people and nature are inherently good. On numerous occasions, Alcott’s characters express a belief in transcendentalism. Even when they’re at their lowest, they choose to see the good in others. Additionally, the character of Jo is said to be drawn from Alcott. They not only shared numerous personality traits, but both chose to pursue literary careers at a time when middle class women did not work outside of the home.

While Little Women takes place during the late-nineteenth century, the story continues to strike a chord with today’s readers. Like modern girls, the March sisters fall in love, encounter envy, struggle to fit in with wealthy friends, fight with siblings, and find their way in the world. We rejoice at Meg’s marriage, laugh at Jo’s antics, and weep when they lose loved ones because these are universal experiences we all go through at some point. In other words, we see ourselves in the Marches.

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. New York: Signet Classics, 2004. Originally published 1868.

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#BookFaceFriday “A Lost Lady”

It’s the end of an era with this week’s #BookFace!

"A Lost Lady" by Willa Cather BookFaceWe chose, renowned Nebraska author, Willa Cather’s novel “A Lost Lady” (Virago UK, 2006) as this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Published in 1923 and set against the background of the west, it’s a third person account of a small town aristocrat’s social decline, and the symbolic end of the idealized pioneer and old west. The heroine, Marian Forrester, has been coined a “symbolic flower of the Old American West,” and is rumored to have been an inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan. This short novel is a quick and engaging read for any book club!

Her finest novel… Unforgettable…This wonderful performance displays Cather’s narrative technique at its sharpest, as well as her understanding of the eloquence of the slightest gesture, the simplest statement … A masterpiece.” –Irish Times

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Cataloging Librarian, Allison Badger! If you get a chance, wish her a happy birthday, because it’s today!

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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Friday Reads: Calypso, by David Sedaris

CalypsoThis spring, I consumed a lot of depressing nonfiction. As summer approached, I was ready for a change. I wanted to read something funny, with the power to transport me out of my own head. Luckily, David Sedaris’s new book, Calypso, hit the shelves on May 29, 2018. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Like Sedaris’s previous books, Calypso is a collection of personal stories (Sedaris refers to them as “realish”) told for maximum comedic effect. As his readers have come to expect, many of these tales feature family: his four living siblings; his nonagenarian father, Lou; and his long-term and long-suffering boyfriend, Hugh. His mother, who died during cancer treatment in 1991, and his sister, Tiffany, who committed suicide in 2013, are also present, even in their absence.

What’s different about this current book is that everyone is older; themes of middle age and the passage of time run throughout. This doesn’t make the book a downer though, just relatable, as I too have aged. And never fear–Sedaris’s talent for treating sober and mundane topics poignantly, while at the same time triggering barks of laughter with his irreverent, sometimes shocking humor, remains intact.

In some of my favorite passages in the book, Sedaris muses on his twenty-plus-year relationship with Hugh. For instance, in “Company Man” Sedaris writes:

We’re not a horrible couple, but we have our share of fights, the type that can start with a misplaced sock and suddenly be about everything. “I haven’t liked you since 2002,” [Hugh] hissed during a recent argument over which airport security line was moving the fastest.

This didn’t hurt me so much as confuse me. “What happened in 2002?” I asked.

Hugh’s line about not liking David since 2002 cracks me up, but I think the fact that the insult merely piques David’s curiosity about what happened in 2002 brilliantly conveys the security and familiarity of the couple’s bond, despite squabbles.

Other stories in the collection deal with, among other things, a fatty tumor Sedaris wants to have removed so he can feed it to a snapping turtle; his mother’s never addressed alcoholism; a psychic-mediated conversation between his sister Amy and their deceased mother and sister; and their father’s refusal to move out of his house despite regular falls. Depressing, yes, but hilariously so! I promise!

Sedaris, David. Calypso. New York: Little, Brown, & Co., 2018.

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#BookFaceFriday “Let Your Voice Be Heard”

 Let the good times roll with this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

"Let Your Voice be Heard: the Life and Times of Pete Seeger" BookFace Photo

Summer Reading Programs are happening all across Nebraska right now. This week’s #BookFace selection, “Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger” by Anita Silvey (Clarion Books, 2016) is the perfect fit since the Summer 2018 Reading Program motto is “Libraries Rock!” and the theme is music. Almost all public libraries, and a few school libraries, offer summer reading programs in Nebraska. It’s offered to the children, teens, and sometimes adults, of various communities across the state.  Every year, the Library Commission provides a manual to public libraries in Nebraska, as well as a booklist of titles that relate to the theme.

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.

“With the engaging, well-illustrated biography Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger, author Anita Silvey explains how this unlikely folk-music hero turned singalongs into social change.”  –The Washington Post

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Commission’s Talking Book & Braille Service Circulation Clerk, Nicholas Westra!

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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Friday Reads: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

I heard Celeste Ng speak at a United for Libraries hosted author event a few years ago. At the same event, I received an advance copy of her book, Little Fires Everywhere. I enjoyed her remarks but I wasn’t especially interested in reading the book. The book has received a lot of attention since its publication. It is included on many best books of 2017 lists and it is now among three books on Lincoln City Libraries short list for One Book One Lincoln voting. During a recent and long road trip, I had a chance to listen to the audio version of Ng’s book. I wasn’t disappointed.

Little Fires Everywhere begins with a house on fire and speculation about who is to blame. At the top of the list is the youngest family member – a non-conforming teen rebel. But did she do it and, if so, why? The setting is Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the story evolves from the developing relationships among members of two families – one long rooted in the community and prosperous, and the other (a mother and daughter) impoverished and living day to day under uncertain circumstances. Central are the two mothers – Elena Richardson, a local news reporter, mother of four and a well-connected community member, and Mia Warren, a mysterious artist and single mother of one. Connections evolve and conflict emerges as a result of the attempted adoption of a Chinese-American baby and an ensuing custody battle. In the background is Elena Richardson’s effort to uncover Mia Warren’s true identity.

Lincoln’s three books selected for the all community read are all excellent choices. Celeste Ng’s book is worthy and notable. If chosen, it will make an interesting read and a great source for conversation.

Little Fires Everywhere is Celeste Ng’s second novel. Her debut book is, Everything I Never Told You, an award winning best seller.

Ng, Celeste. Little fires everywhere. (New York: Penguin Press) 2017.

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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 June 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies: Nebraska State College System, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency,  Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

All 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.

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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#BookFaceFriday “The Life of Kit Carson”

 This #BookFaceFriday might not be the king of the wild frontier… but it’s close.

"The Life of Kit Carson" by Alan E. Grey BookFaceFriday Image

The Life of Kit Carson” by Alan E. Grey (Bison Books, 2014) is a great reference for young readers exploring the old west. As part of our permanent collection it’s available for check out to anyone. Just ask our amazing Information Services staff! This title is published by the Bison Books, and imprint of University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program.

“Composed of stories discovered through years of research, this book is an exciting and easy-to-read, action-packed tale. Young readers and adults alike will find both education and entertainment in this masterfully presented life story.”

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Commission’s Business Manager, Jerry Breazile!

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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Friday Reads: Petty: The Biography by Warren Zanes

For years, I overlooked the simplicity and beauty of Tom Petty’s music. Some points of clarification at the outset: I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Heartbreakers to Tom Petty, and it should be noted that the band (both collectively and individually) did a fair amount of side work, including backing Johnny Cash and the Travelling Wilburys (among other things). I owe it to my daughter (11-year old astrology expert and member of the counterculture) for my renewed interest in Petty, and the Heartbreakers. As a youngster, I never really listened to him much. Not that I had anything against him or his music, but I guess I just did not have the appreciation at that time. At any rate, the daughter, oddly and I’m not sure how, became a huge Petty fan. She likely was drawn to his simplicity, musical genius, and willingness to tell it like it is. Speaking of how Tom and the Heartbreakers got hooked up with Johnny Cash, Tom mentions that the band was interested in all forms of American music, pure forms that is, “not what they would call country today. What they would call country today is sort of like bad rock groups with a fiddle.” Tom and the Heartbreakers backed Cash on American II: Unchained. As much as I could go on about Cash, this little review today is about Petty, so let us steer back in that direction.

Petty, written by former Del Fuegos guitarist Warren Zanes, chronicles Tom’s upbringing, complete with an abusive alcoholic father in 1950’s working class Gainesville, FL.  Arguably, the most difficult obstacle in Petty’s childhood was his lack of familial support for his interests and passion (music), but some might argue that being severely beaten around age 5 would be just as bad or worse. At any rate, Tom did not have an easy childhood, and while struggling through the monotony and boredom of school, he did get hooked up with other musicians, notably taking guitar lessons from Don Felder (the Eagles), forming various cover bands, and then the assembly of Mudcrutch. Most of the members of Mudcrutch subsequently became members of the Heartbreakers.

The account provided by Zanes relies on interviews from various people around the band and Petty himself. I think Tom wanted to tell his story, but felt the need to have it done independently, so that it seemed more credible. I can’t say I blame him, as I’ve often read autobiographies (especially by musicians) that come across as braggadocios, even if not intended. This one doesn’t play that way. Petty is such a likeable figure because of his honesty and humility. That is not to say that the duration of the Heartbreakers was without conflict, because it certainly was not. In addition to the Heartbreakers and various producers (notably Jimmy Iovine and Rick Rubin), numerous other prominent figures played a role in his life, such as (to name just a few) close friends Stevie Nicks, Jeff Lynne, Bruce Springsteen, and George Harrison. One of the reasons Petty has appeal (aside from his work with the Heartbreakers) is his work and friendship with these other musicians. For a nice little example of this, check out the performance at George Harrison’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2004), and a cat named Prince who makes an appearance around 3:29.

Zanes of course also covers personal aspects of Petty’s life, including his relationship with his first wife, Jane Benyo, his kids, and his second wife, Dana York. Zanes also chronicles Tom’s depression and heroin use, and while that certainly is a large part of his story, it does not overwhelm the reader. It just seems to be an honest depiction and part of his story. As far as biographies go, this is one of the better ones.

Zanes, Warren. Petty: The Biography. 2016. Print.

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Treasurer Stenberg Encourages Young Readers, Nebraska Libraries To Participate in NEST Read to Win $529 Drawing

Lincoln, Neb. (June 27, 2018) – Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg is encouraging  Nebraska youth ages 3 to 18 to take part in the summer reading programs at their local libraries for an opportunity to win a $529 NEST college savings account. He also is encouraging all Nebraska libraries to make the NEST Read to Win $529 Drawing available to their patrons.

Stenberg, who is Trustee of the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, announced the Read to Win $529 Drawing in May at the Kearney Public Library. With him were Sally Snyder of the Nebraska Library Commission and Shawntel Daniell of First National Bank, Kearney.

“The Read to Win $529 Drawing is an exciting opportunity for parents to learn more about our excellent state-sponsored college savings program and for young readers to start or add to their college savings accounts. If you haven’t heard about the Read to Win $529 Drawing at your local library, ask your librarian more about it,” Stenberg said.

Children and teens may participate in the Read to Win $529 drawing by completing their local libraries’ requirements for the summer reading program and registering through their local libraries before August 22. Fifteen summer readers between the ages of 3 and 18 will be selected in a random drawing to win a $529 contribution each to a NEST 529 College Savings account. Five winners will be selected from each of Nebraska’s three congressional districts. The library of each winner also will receive a $250 contribution from NEST.

Winners will be invited to a recognition event this fall in the Capitol. Money for the Read to Win $529 Drawing is provided by First National Bank of Omaha, Program Manager for NEST.

Stenberg said 13,960 children, who were summer readers at 53 libraries, participated in the NEST drawing last year. He would like to see an increase in both the number of children entering the drawing and the number of libraries participating.

“Libraries large and small can offer this drawing at little extra effort on their part. We would particularly like to see libraries in mid-size cities that did not participate last year sign up this year,” Stenberg said. Details are available on the Nebraska Library Commission website at nlc.nebraska.gov.

“At NEST, we recognize the role that reading plays in a child’s educational success and life-long love of learning. We are committed to helping families prepare financially for their children’s educational futures through our tax-advantaged NEST 529 college savings plans and the multiple scholarship opportunities we offer,” Stenberg said.

“Read to Win is an easy contest to enter. While children are having fun choosing books to read by themselves or in family groups and completing their libraries’ summer reading requirements, they also can be entered in the Read to Win $529 Drawing. Only a parent’s signature is required. Nothing more,” he said.

Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner said, “NEST Read to Win $529 is an excellent incentive for Nebraska Summer Reading Program participants and a great way to bring awareness to Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans. Young readers become lifelong learners, and we anticipate that this summer more Nebraska libraries will encourage their summer readers to participate in this opportunity to benefit from college savings plans when they advance to higher education.”

Read to Win contest rules are available at www.NEST529.com. Click on “Grow” and select “Scholarships & Rewards.” Rules also are available at https://treasurer.nebraska.gov/csp/scholarships/.

Information on the Nebraska Summer Reading Program is available at local libraries or at the Nebraska Library Commission’s website at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/youth/summerreading/.

About Nebraska Library Commission
As Nebraska’s state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services—bringing together people and information. Visit nlc.nebraska.gov.

About NEST
NEST is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 251,000 accounts, including 76,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529Advisor.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.

About First National Bank of Omaha
First National Bank is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National and its affiliates have more than $21 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas.

Investments Are Not FDIC Insured* · No Bank, State or Federal Guarantee · May Lose Value
*Except the Bank Savings Individual Investment Option

 

 

 Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg at the Kearney Public Library to announce the Read to Win $529 Drawing. With him, from left, are Shawntel Daniell, First National Bank, Kearney; Sally Snyder, Nebraska Library Commission; and Matthew Williams, Director, Kearney Public Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg reads to three of his grandchildren at the Kearney Public Library.

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Friday Reads: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya

I became motivated to reread this book when I looked at the booklist for The Great American Read program and realized that it had been about forty years since I first encountered this classic “Coming of Age” story.

With Bless Me, Ultima (1972), the first in a trilogy (followed by the publication of Heart of Aztlan in 1976 and Tortuga in 1979), Anaya follows six-year-old Antonio on his growing-up journey and spins the story by revealing dreams and reality—and blurring the fine line between them from time to time. Anaya says he does not seek characters—they just come to him. So it is with Ultima. Anaya says she appeared in the doorway while he was writing and assured him that the story will not work unless he put her in it. Ultima is a pivotal character in the story. She is a curandera—a healer and teacher, and she guides Antonio gently without prescribing exact choices to make or solutions to problems.

From the first dream sequence to the last (you’ll recognize them, they are in italics), it is clear that Antonio was born to struggle and that his path is marked by having his feet in two different worlds. Throughout the book, he is faced with tests. Some are common tests of childhood, like how to overcome the loneliness of feeling different. Others are extremely unusual and painful tests for a young person to endure and learn from. I feel like this book has resonated with so many readers because even though we may live in different worlds, many of us can really relate to his experience. Are we all on the same journey as Antonio? Struggling to understand good and evil around (and within) us? But are some of us especially lost with no guides or curanderas to show us the way?

The setting and characters ring true to me. The book mirrors my experience in small towns in New Mexico right down to my best friend Lenora’s grandmother—who might very well be the model for Antonio’s mother—speaking only Spanish, warning us against straying to the city (too late—we were already on our way to LA), and feeding us the most heavenly comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The story is told in flat-out beautiful writing, and unless you read the book, you’ll just have to take my word for it that this book has one of the best first paragraphs ever! So I’d suggest you (and your book group) find out for yourselves. This #FridayReads feature is available as a Book Club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

The Great American Read is an eight-part PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, in the context of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen through a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. Voting for America’s favorite book opened with the launch of the two-hour premiere episode on May 22 and continues throughout the summer, leading up to the grand finale “favorite” announcement in October 2018. Viewers can vote at pbs.org/greatamericanread and through hashtag voting via Facebook and Twitter using #GreatReadPBS. I think I might be voting for Bless Me Ultima. Which book will you vote for?

Review by Mary Jo Ryan.

#fridayreads

#GreatReadPBS

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