Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudofo 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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#BookFaceFriday “Unbridled Dreams”

This #BookFace isn’t our first rodeo!

Unbridled Dreams BookFaceFridaySet in Nebraska against the background of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Exhibition, and written by a Nebraska author “Unbridled Dreams” by Stephanie Grace Whitson (Bethany House, 2008) is one of our most popular book club kits. We’ve been wanting to use this book for a while now, but it is almost always checked out. Take a wild west adventure with seventeen year old Irma, as she pursues her dreams even if they go against her mother’s wishes. If I were you, I’d add this Nebraska title to your book club list today!

Set against the backdrop of the Wild West Exhibition, Unbridled Dreams is an unusual novel whose characters stayed with me long after I closed the book.” –Historical Novel Society

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Library Technology Specialist, Holly Woldt!

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

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

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

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

“Deep in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.”

"The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers

I just love the title of this week’s #BookFace! Before I had even known what it was about, that title made me want to read it. It shouldn’t surprise you that it was taken from a poem: “The Lonely Hunter” by William Sharp. “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers (Demco Media, 2004) First published in 1940, McCullers loosely based the young heroine, “Mick”, off of herself and her childhood in the south. With descriptions like “Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition,” and “spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated… to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty ” how can you not want to read it? As a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection this is a must read for any book club!

When one puts [this book] down, it is with . . . a feeling of having been nourished by the truth.” –May Sarton

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our new Government Information Services intern, Samantha Alvarez. She’s a recent graduate from Lincoln Southeast High School with plans to attend Hastings College this fall. Samantha’s choice to major in Library Science is based on her love of reading and desire to be surrounded by books. Here at the Commission she’ll be scanning and shelving our collection of federal and state documents.

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: Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

All 5-year-old Mike wanted from life was to go to Disney World. One day, his dad packed him in the car, drove him to an abandoned shipyard, and told him that The Happiest Place on Earth must have closed. That was the day that ol’ Mike Muñoz realizes that life will be a constant disappointment, and just when you think you’re going to get what you want, it will all be taken away.

Today, Mike is a 22-year-old landscaper (although he prefers the title “topiary artist” for his skills with the hedge-trimmers). He still lives with his mom and his developmentally disabled brother, their dad long gone to parts unknown. He drives a junky car, always one step away from engine failure, and still hangs out with his high school buddy, neither of them with any romantic prospects on the horizon.

When Mike loses his landscaping job for refusing to pick up dog poo, he is determined to do whatever it takes to break free of his hand-to-mouth existence and chase the American Dream, perhaps writing “the great American landscaping novel” along the way. And so begins a series of unfortunate events that will be all too familiar to anyone who has ever tried to escape from the cycle of poverty that holds down a good portion of our society. Though angry and resentful about his lot in life, Mike keeps his sense of humor, even as “The Man” takes everything else away.

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Nominate Books Before June 30 for the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards

There’s still time to nominate the next Nebraska Book Award winner! Have you read any good Nebraska books lately? If you have, you can nominate them for a book award. The 2018 Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB) and Nebraska Library Commission, will recognize and honor books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or relate to Nebraska.

Books published in 2017, as indicated by the copyright date, are eligible for nomination. They must be professionally published, have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), and be bound. Books may be entered in one or more of the following categories: Nonfiction, Fiction, Children/Young Adult, Cover/Design/Illustration,  and Poetry. Certificates will be awarded to the winners in each category. Award winners will be presented at the Fall 2018 Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books and Annual Meeting in Lincoln.

The entry fee is $40 per book and per category entered. Deadline for entries is June 30, 2018. For more information, including entry forms, see http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html or contact Mary Jo Ryan, 402-471-2045, 800-307-2665, for print information. Enter by sending the entry form (http://www.centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/docs/BookAwardsEntry2018.pdf), three copies of the book, and the entry fee to NCB Book Awards Competition, Nebraska Library Commission, The Atrium, 1200 N Street, Suite 120, Lincoln, NE 68508-2023.

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission. As the 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.

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#BookFaceFriday “Last Night in the OR”

I need a 100 cc’s of teddy bear stuffing, STAT!

Just kidding. Unlike this week’s #BookFace author, we didn’t actually need to do any doctoring for this week’s photo. “Last Night in the OR: A Transplant Surgeon’s Odyssey” by Bud Shaw, MD (Plume, 2015) is the fascinating memoir of retired surgeon, Bud Shaw. It follows his journey in medicine, more specifically, the revolution in the field of liver transplantation.  This Nebraska author tells us stories from his days in medical school to opening a world renowned transplant center in Omaha. As a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection this memoir is a perfect non-fiction choice for your book club’s next read!

Shaw’s lean prose offers insights into medical professionals’ private perspectives as well as a sobering sense of human fragility and the scientific strides taken to counter it. A bracing, unusual personal narrative that should appeal to aspiring physicians as well as to those considering the “big questions” around high-risk surgery.”—Kirkus

This week’s #BookFace model is our Computer Services Director, Vern Buis. He may not perform surgery on humans or teddy bears, but he always diagnoses and cures our sick computers.

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: To the Stars Through Difficulties

From the author’s website:

To the Stars Through Difficulties (She Writes Press, 2017) is inspired by the fifty-nine Carnegie libraries built in Kansas early in the 20th century.

Andrew Carnegie was the Johnny Appleseed of libraries – but public libraries would never have thrived on the prairie in the early 20th Century if it weren’t for the women in small and remote communities who sponsored waffle suppers, minstrel shows, and women’s baseball games to buy books.

Angelina returns to her father’s hometown of New Hope to complete her dissertation on the Carnegie libraries, just as Traci arrives as artist-in-residence at the renovated Carnegie Arts Center, just when Gayle takes refuge after the devastation of the neighboring town of Prairie Hill by a tornado. Discovery of an old journal provides not only the information Angelina needs to finish her dissertation but also the ammunition to save the Arts Center from attacks by the Religious Righteous and the inspiration for the neighboring and rival town of Prairie Hill to build a cultural center as the first act of reclaiming their lives after the tornado.”

This is definitely a book for library lovers. The history of Carnegie libraries is beautifully interwoven within the story of the present day struggles and triumphs of the libraries/arts/cultural centers of the novel. As a librarian, I of course identified with library school student Angelina. But, the strength, intelligence, and determination of all of the women is inspiring. A very well written, feel-good read … perfect for a relaxing summer vacation or book club discussion.

Want to learn more? Romalyn Tilghman, author of To the Stars Through Difficulties, was on a recent episode of NCompass Live. Check out the archived recording!

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NCompass Live: One Book – One Lincoln: Building Community One Book at a Time

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘One Book – One Lincoln: Building Community One Book at a Time’, on Wednesday, June 13, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Katie Murtha, Bennett Martin Public Library Librarian and coordinator for the One Book – One Lincoln Community Reading Program, will provide background information on One Book – One Lincoln that had its inaugural year in 2002 and has been a highlight activity of Lincoln City Libraries and the City of Lincoln each year since then. Katie will touch on various past years’ books, programs, and discussion opportunities and how the program has undergone continual changes to better incorporate community participation, input, and feedback.

Lincoln is currently in the process of choosing the 2018 One Book – One Lincoln title. Three finalists were announced by the Selection Committee on May 28th: Beartown, Killers of the Flower Moon, and Little Fires Everywhere. The title will be determined by a community vote with voting taking place through July 31. The winning title will be announced in September. Check the One Book – One Lincoln website often for the latest announcements.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • June 20 – Rising to the Challenge: Using the Aspen Institute Report and Action Guide for Strategic Planning
  • June 27 – The 2018 Public Library Accreditation Process
  • July 11 – WebJunction: The Learning Place for Libraries
  • July 18 – Many Languages, Many Cultures: Responding to Diverse Health Information Needs
  • July 25 – Emergency and Disaster Response Planning for Libraries
  • August 1 – Engaging Your Community
  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books

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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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 May 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies: Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Nebraska Board of Barber Examiners,  Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska Public Power District, Nebraska State Electrical Division, 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 “Big Girl Panties”

#BookFaceFriday is in full bloom this week!

This week’s #BookFace was almost serendipitous. It all came together when one of our staff members received flowers for her birthday. We snagged her, and the beautiful bouquet for “Big Girl Panties” by Stephanie Evanovich (Avon, 2014). A quirky, romantic story of finding love and oneself again after loss. This perfect summer beach read is part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection! Make it your next book club selection today!

“Evanovich’s incredibly entertaining debut mesmerizes with wit, heart, and intelligence . . . Quality writing, memorable characters, and an emotionally satisfying story add up to a marvelous gem.” –Publishers Weekly 

This week’s #BookFace model is Linda Babcock, our Library Development Services Staff Assistant. P.S. Happy Birthday, Linda!

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: I Am Gandhi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero by Brad Meltzer

As graphic novels have gained popularity and recognition as legitimate reading, authors and illustrators continue to expand into other areas.  Although nonfiction told in graphic novel format has been around for quite some time, it seems in recent years more opportunities have been taken.  Well-known nonfiction writer, Brad Meltzer, has created a slim volume the publisher is calling a graphic biography.

I Am Gandhi is illustrated by 25 artists, with the variety of art strengthening this excellent biography of an outstanding man.  Meltzer tells of his childhood in India, his time spent in London and South Africa, and mentions a particular picture book that influenced his life.  It is written as if Gandhi himself is telling of his life to a small group of children.  How he developed his non-violent approach, what existing ideas influenced him in its development, and how he and others put it into practice are all included.

This title is a good introduction to Gandhi, his life and beliefs.  It may guide readers to look for more in-depth information about him.  The timeline, quotes, and photos at the back of the book add to his story.

Librarians may see the title and author and think of his series of biographies for much younger readers, also titled “Ordinary People Change the World.”  This younger series is aimed at kindergarten through grade 3 and gives a much briefer look at a number of amazing people.

Meltzer, Brad. I Am Gandhi: A Graphic Biography of a Hero. , 2018. Print.
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Friday Reads: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Sometimes a book in your read-me-next list jumps to the front of the pack. I read the news reports like everyone else, a month ago, April 25, 2018—the Golden State Killer had finally been arrested. Over thirty years since his last likely murder, authorities arrested a suspect, 72-year-old Sacramento resident Joseph James DeAngelo, a former police officer, based on DNA evidence. I thought to myself: it’s time to read that book by Michelle McNamara, before I read anything else.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer chronicles McNamara’s tireless research into the then-cold case of the serial killer (and rapist and burglar) that she dubbed the Golden State Killer, a moniker now solidified by recent media attention. While I’m not a true-crime buff, I am a lover of research and storytelling and problem-solving, and McNamara’s journey is thoughtfully told, somehow incredibly informative without ever being lurid or sensational. She never exploits or re-victimizes the people who had the misfortune to experience the mystifying, seemingly random violence of the Golden State Killer. The events in the book are not detailed chronologically from the Killer’s perspective, either, which would be more expected. This structure of the presentation of events seems to de-center and deflate the Killer, which is poetic, considering his need for control. Truly, this book is not really about him.

We read about his crimes in different geographic areas of law enforcement, between 1974 and 1986, and how different agencies put together that the crimes in their area might be committed by one offender. And then, occurring much later, we read how investigators realized how all these offenders (the East Area Rapist, the Original Night Stalker, the Visalia Ransacker, etc.) might be one extremely prolific criminal, that we now know as the Golden State Killer. McNamara details the protocols of investigations, and how they were changing, especially related to DNA collection and testing. She also did copious research herself, and interviews other researchers, amateur and professional, for a fascinating look into the minds of those who try to solve crimes.

McNamara died before she could complete the book. I didn’t know much about her or her writing career before she died. I was familiar with the work of her husband, Patton Oswalt, having enjoyed reading his books and watching his stand-up routines. McNamara was well-known in true crime circles for her blog TrueCrimeDiary, which focused on—you guessed it—true crime and cold cases, an interest she had ever since the unsolved murder of a teenager in her neighborhood as a child. When she died unexpectedly in 2016, McNamara had mostly completed the book, and had written many articles about the case and made extensive notes. The book was completed, faithful to its original intent, by a true crime writer she had worked with previously (Paul Haynes) and Oswalt. The editors have made it very clear what was written by her, what was transcribed from her notes and recordings, what was adapted from her published articles, and so on.

The book was released in February 2018, and it was the story of its posthumous publication that attracted me to it at first. Then HBO purchased the rights, and I was even more interested. And you already know what happened on April 25, 2018.

The title sounds like an odd choice, but when you read the chapter it comes from—a letter McNamara wrote to the Killer, about his eventual capture that she was certain would occur, written long before April 25,, 2018—you’ll understand why it was chosen for the title.

Of interest to library workers: using WorldCat as a research tool, on p 269, in a chapter called “The One.” In this engrossing chapter, we read about the “one” suspect on which various investigators each fixated, how they were each sure they had finally figured out who their suspect was, and then how all the different “ones” were ruled out. (Sidney, Nebraska is also mentioned on p 269—but don’t worry, just read the chapter.)

Also of interest to Nebraskans: the epigraph is a poem by Weldon Kees, “Crime Club.” It helps set an eerie tone for a book as much about the people solving a crime as it is about crime or a criminal. Sure, after you finish the book, you’ll probably want to dive into the news reports about Joseph James DeAngelo. (There’s plenty to read about him already, and more will come out when we get closer to a trial.)

But you might also take a little time to appreciate Weldon Kees. And look into the mystery of his disappearance, if you choose. Or just enjoy some of his poetry.

McNamara, Michelle. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. , 2018. Print.
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#BookFaceFriday “The Sky Always Hears Me”

This week’s #BookFaceFriday has us dreaming of blue skies, as far as the eye can see.

“The more one knows, the less one believes”- New Chopstix, Lincoln

This week’s #BookFace selection is all about growing up in a small town & fortune cookie wisdom. I like to think it’s about my own small town, where nothing especially exciting ever happens and yet somehow, high school is still full of drama. Just like Central Nowhere, the setting of this week’s selection, by Nebraska author Kirstin Cronn-Mills, “The Sky Always Hears Me: And the Hills Don’t Mind” (Flux, 2009). The perfect coming of age YA novel for a summer book club read. And since this book is in our NLC Book Club Kit collection, it should definitely be on your TBR list!

Written with candor and splashes of humor…this provocative story captures the essence of adolescent ennui and uncertainty through an uncensored first-person narrative. Stubborn, quick-witted and determined to make her dreams come true, Morgan will draw sympathy from readers.“–Publishers Weekly

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 Celebrations

Nebraska books and writers will be featured and celebrated at two events in Lincoln, so save the dates for the Nebraska Book Festival on August 25, 2018 and Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 27, 2018. These two events will highlight work by Nebraska writers and publishers, featuring 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.-5:00 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. 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, 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.

The October 27 Celebration of Nebraska Books will be held at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall North. The winners of the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards—Nebraska’s prestigious awards for literacy, writing, and publishing—will read from their winning books and sign copies of the books. Nominate books for the Nebraska Book Awards at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/awards/nebookawards.html. The Celebration will also feature poetry readings in honor of the 2018 One Book One Nebraska book selection, Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2007) edited by Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell.

Awards will be presented to supporters of Nebraska writing. The Mildred Bennett Award will recognize an individual who has made a significant contribution to fostering the literary tradition in Nebraska, reminding us of the literary and intellectual traditions that enrich our lives and mold our world. The Jane Geske Award will be presented to a Nebraska organization for exceptional contribution to literacy, books, reading, libraries, or literature in Nebraska. It commemorates Geske’s passion for books, and was established in recognition of her contributions to the well-being of Nebraska libraries. Nomination forms are available at http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/nominationforms.html.

The Nebraska Cen­ter for the Book An­nual Meeting will be held at 1:30 p.m.—just prior to the Celebration of Nebraska Books. An Awards Reception honoring the winners, book signings, and announcement of the 2019 One Book One Nebraska book choice will conclude the festivities. The 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), Nebraska Library Commis­sion, and History Nebraska—with Humanities Nebraska supporting the One Book One Nebraska presentation. For more information see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/celebration.html and https://www.facebook.com/NebraskaCenterfortheBook.

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NCompass Live: Big-Time Library Support in Small Towns

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Big-Time Library Support in Small Towns’, on Wednesday, May 23, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

With examples from my newly released novel, To the Stars Through Difficulties, this session will highlight efforts in small towns to support libraries, a century ago and today. The novel was inspired by the 59 Carnegie libraries in Kansas, has won generous reviews from Booklist, Library Review Journal, and United for Libraries, as well gold medal IPPY and Readers’ Favorites awards. It was just listed as a finalist in the INDIES Foreword awards. My own background is in small town arts council development, with work first in Kansas and then for the National Endowment for the Arts in the Midwest and the Pacific Rim.

Presenter: Romalyn Tilghman, She Writes Press.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • May 30 – Library Innovation Studios – A Project Update and Review of the Application Process
  • June 20 – Rising to the Challenge: Using the Aspen Institute Report and Action Guide for Strategic Planning
  • June 27 – The 2018 Public Library Accreditation Process
  • July 18 – Many Languages, Many Cultures: Responding to Diverse Health Information Needs
  • August 1 – Engaging Your Community
  • Aug. 15 – Some of Our Favorites: The System Directors Talk Books

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: Moon by Alison Oliver

Moon is overwhelmed with homework, music lessons, soccer practice, chores, and stuff. Every single day is the same.

But she wonders how it could be if she just didn’t have to do these things.

Following a shooting star and some paw prints into the forest, Moon meets a wolf who, along with his pack, shows her their “wolfy ways” – how to play, how to be still, and how to be wild.

Moon, written and illustrated by Alison Oliver (2018), is a sweet story with beautiful, expressive pictures about balancing the day-to-day busy schedules with time spent outside, playing and connecting.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Language of Flowers”

Those April showers have finally brought us some May flowers in this week’s #BookFaceFriday!

We’ve got spring fever this week at the NLC, so we thought this flowery #BookFace would be just perfect. I can practically smell the lilacs in this picture from my desk. This week’s selection isThe Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine Books, 2012) would be a great choice for your next read. This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, put this New York Times bestseller on your to read list today!

A captivating novel in which a single sprig of rosemary speaks louder than words . . . The Language of Flowers deftly weaves the sweetness of newfound love with the heartache of past mistakes. . . . [It] will certainly change how you choose your next bouquet.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

This week’s #BookFace model is the adorable Margot!

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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NCompass Live: 2018 One Book One Nebraska: “Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry”

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘2018 One Book One Nebraska: Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry‘, on Wednesday, May 16, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

In this fourteenth 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 statewide reading promotion activity, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, The Backwaters Press, and the Nebraska Library Commission.

We are very pleased to announce that our featured guests will be Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell, editors of the 2018 selection, Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry.

Join Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner, Nebraska Library Commission Communication Coordinator Mary Jo Ryan, and Molly Fisher, Commissioner and Nebraska Center for the Book Board Member, to:

  • Learn about how to create a successful local reading promotion using Nebraska’s year-long, statewide celebration featuring Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry, Edited by Greg Kosmicki & Mary K. Stillwell.
  • Brainstorm strategies to read and discuss Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry, a collection of poems by more than 80 contemporary Nebraska poets, including Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States, Ted Kooser, Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen, former State Poet William Kloefkorn, and many others.
  • 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 Celebration of Nebraska Books, set for October 27, which will celebrate this book, along with the winners of the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • May 23 – Big-Time Library Support in Small Towns
  • May 30 – Library Innovation Studios – A Project Update and Review of the Application Process
  • June 20 – Rising to the Challenge: Using the Aspen Institute Report and Action Guide for Strategic Planning
  • July 18 – Many Languages, Many Cultures: Responding to Diverse Health Information Needs
  • August 1 – Engaging Your Community

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.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Nebraska Center for the Book | 1 Comment

#BookFaceFriday “The Quality of Courage”

Hey, batter batter! It’s #BookFaceFriday!

Buy us some peanuts and Cracker Jack, with this #BookFace, we don’t care if we ever come back. This week’s selection is a collection of short stories, from a squad leader’s reactions under machine-gun fire to a small boy overcoming his fear of the barber’s chair. Mickey Mantle’sThe Quality of Courage: True Stories of Heroism and Bravery” (Bantam, 1965) would be a great choice for your next read. This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, reserve this collection of short stories for your book club today!

I want to sell you on something I respect and admire more than any single thing… courage. Courage will get you further than brains, money or athletic skill, and I’ll tell you why…” —Mickey Mantle

This week’s #BookFace model is Bruce Oorlog, NLC’s Mail/Material Specialist and avid baseball fan!

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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