Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads; The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

In Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10, it’s the old set up on a cruise ship, there’s a lady in a cabin, but she isn’t really there. There were sounds of a struggle, and a body hitting the water, a smear of some substance on a privacy screen like blood, but in the morning, nothing. The night before there had been suitcases, and clothing in the cabin. In the morning it is completely bare

The Woman in Cabin 10

Lo (Laura) Blacklock wouldn’t have heard the sounds from the cabin next door, except, within days of the trip, her flat in London was broken into while she slept. The burglar actually locked her in her bedroom while he burgled her flat. She’s gone through the trouble of replacing her phone, money and credit cards, but the break in has deeply disturbed her. To top it all off, she’s had a fight with her boyfriend, a photojournalist just back from a foreign shoot. She’s sleep deprived. anxious, and now, can’t find the mysterious young woman, approximately her age, who she borrowed mascara from in cabin 10 next door. Worse, none of the crew or passengers are missing.

But this time, the cruise ship, the cruise, and the passengers are all rather unique. It’s a very, very small, very exclusive cruise ship, more like a large yacht. Fitted out sumptuously, with guests to both fit the setting, and to advertise it–a few of the rich, the owner and his dying wife, travel journalists, a renowned photographer, all to advertise the maiden voyage of the Aurora Borealis, as it sets off from London to sight see the fjords of Norway, cities of the cold northern waters, as well as watch the Northern Lights. And Lo has gotten the chance of a lifetime to go, instead of the owner/head writer of the travel magazine she works for.

On top of the regular narrative are inset emails and online conversations from family and friends unable to contact Lo, foreshadowing a darker, more personal fate for Lo. It all works together to come to an altogether unexpected series of twists. The book is definitely a page turner, as Lo gets herself into trouble taking us right with her.

The Woman in Cabin 10, a novel, by Ruth Ware, Scout Press, imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., hardcover 9781501132933, softcopy 9781501132957, e-book 9781501132940

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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 April 2018.  Included are Annual Reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies. Also included are reports from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, economic development reports from the Nebraska Public Power District, handbooks from the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems, 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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Friday Reads: 45 Pounds, by K.A. Barson

13424250Overweight heroines have a special place in my heart. You would never guess why. It is like the holy grail when they appear in young adult fiction. In K.A. Barson’s 45 Pounds, the wayward Ann Galardi is 16, a size 17, and trying to find her way in life. Through a series of unfortunate life circumstances, she believes that happiness can only be found after losing 45 pounds.

If there are any overweight teenagers reading this right now, you should know that that is the least true thing on the planet! Overweight adults should listen up as well. I am a firm believer that when life gives you lemons, you make lemon bars! With a caramel macchiato. And a carrot to balance things out.

On an unrelated note, I completely related to Ann when she got stuck in a dress in the dressing room. I sifted through some of the Goodreads reviews to this book and was astounded by the number of people who have never gotten stuck in a dress in the dressing room. It can happen to anyone! Really. It was the zipper’s fault. Speak of this to no one.

Anyway, I digress. Ann was the most relatable overweight heroine I have read in a good long time. Most of the books with this theme disappoint me because they all end with the heroine starving herself, losing the weight, and landing the extra hunky dream guy. That is not life!

Life is being overweight and finding a job at a fast food place in the mall where all your skinny peers can point and laugh as they walk in while you’re doing embarrassing things. That was Ann, not me. You’ll have to read the book to verify.

It really doesn’t help that Ann’s mother is a size 6 and would like nothing more for her daughter to be her mini-me. I’m here to tell you that you should just embrace the fat. After you embrace the fat, self-confidence comes along, then you can work on getting to a healthy weight without hating yourself along the way. Easier said than done.

This book teaches you all of those things through an adorably awkward character. Is there a hunky character? Maybe. You’ll just have to find out.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Ordinary Spaceman”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. this #BookFace has returned to it’s home planet.

"The Ordinary Spaceman" BookFace

May the Fourth be with you! It’s #BookFaceFriday and it’s also Star Wars Day!

“I’m just a simple man trying to make my way in the universe.” — Jango Fett. We’re sure Nebraska-born Clayton Anderson would agree with Jango, as he shares his story of growing up to become an astronaut. Anderson’s memoir, “The Ordinary Spaceman” (University of Nebraska Press, 2015) was the winner of the 2016 Nebraska Book Award for Creative Nonfiction.  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 University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program.

“Clayton Anderson is no ordinary astronaut, and this is no ordinary book. It is an uncompromisingly honest rendering of a challenging and fulfilling life by someone with a singular dream and the moxie to pursue it to success.”

—Roger Lemkpe, Lincoln Journal Star

This week’s #BookFace model is Computer Service’s Information Systems Specialist, Dennis Klebe!

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: The Archivist, by Martha Cooley

Matthias Lane is a library archivist, a widower nearing retirement at an American university, who guards the rules of the library’s archives religiously.  Case in point—the archives has among its’ collections the letters written by T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale, a close personal friend. Graduate student Roberta Spire wants access to those letters, but the instructions left when the letters were donated do not allow public viewing until the year 2020. Roberta believes that the letters will give insight into why Eliot enjoyed female companionship, but was so emotionally detached from his wife, as well as to why Eliot became religious. At first, Matthias sees Roberta as only another grad student doing research. But as Roberta persists in wanting to read Eliot’s letters, Matthias is intrigued by her persistence, and by her knowledge of Eliot’s life and poetry that matches his own. As Matthias gets better acquainted with Roberta, he begins to realize that his own life and marriage are similar to Eliot’s, which Matthias has not previously examined in depth. As a result, his dilemma over Eliot’s letters ends in a completely unexpected solution.

This book appealed to me on two levels: it was a story involving a library archives, and a story based in historical fact. The letters of T.S. Eliot to Emily Hale are real, and are kept in the Firestone Library, at Princeton University.  The letters are not to be shown to the public until January 1, 2020.

The Archivist, by Martha Cooley, was written 20 years ago, it was is still a great read, and I highly recommend it.

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Behind the Scenes of #BookFaceFriday

BookFace How To GifCrafting our weekly #BookFaceFriday series this past year has been a blast! We’ve posted before about our bookface photos highlighting the Nebraska 150 book list, and we’ve since expanded into our book club kit and University Press collections. Today, we’ll take you behind the scenes to show you how we construct a bookface photo.

We start by judging books by their covers, so to speak. (We know librarians are not supposed to do that, but we like to bend the rules sometimes. Shhhh, don’t tell!) Books with faces on them are obvious choices, of course, but sometimes we mix things up with a body part or even holiday decor. On occasion, we use the photo to promote an event or award, but for the most part, we just like to share fun covers in our collections.

After we have the book, we choose our victim, er, model. Library Commission staff are regularly featured, but we also like to snag visitors when we can. Please don’t let that discourage you from visiting us.

Then comes the real “work” of posing the model and lining up the shot. Our photographer, Tessa Terry, goes to great lengths to get model and book aligned just so. I mainly just stand there with my arm out, trying not to let the book shake too much.

Love this #BookFace & reading? Want to check out all of our past #BookFaceFriday photos?  Follow us on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page or subscribe to the NLC blog!

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NCompass Live: Introducing the Nebraska Authors Database!

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Introducing the Nebraska Authors Database!’, on Wednesday, April 25, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

NebraskaAuthors.org launches on April 22, 2018! This broadly inclusive database holds the biographical information and bibliographies of more than 4,300 Nebraska authors, past and present. The website is the creation of a collaborative effort between Lincoln City Libraries, the UNL Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association. Learn the features of this database to enhance your knowledge of Nebraska Writers and to understand how this valuable resource can support the reference services at your library.

Presenter: Erin Willis, Curator, Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors, Bennett Martin Public Library, Lincoln City Libraries and Karin Dalziel, Digital Resources Designer & Developer, UNL Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • May 2 – Your Partners in Service: Accessing UNL Libraries Resources
  • May 9 – Computers in Libraries 2018
  • May 16 – 2018 One Book One Nebraska: Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry
  • 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

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: Night School by Lee Child

A member of my book group recently had us read Night School, the 21st entry in Lee Child’s very successful Jack Reacher series. While I’ve often felt it can be more difficult to have good conversations about genre titles, I’m happy to report we found plenty to discuss.

If you are a Lee Child reader, you know that the books feature Jack Reacher – a loner, drifting from place to place after mustering out of the Army in 1997 with the rank of Major.  He does not own a home, possess a driver’s license, or collect federal benefits. The only item typically in his possession is a toothbrush and he never carries luggage of any sort.  In Night School, Child resets the clock and places Reacher back in the army as a military policeman – part of the fictional 110th Special Investigations Unit formed to handle exceptionally difficult cases. The book begins with Reacher receiving an award for completing a successful covert operation in the morning, and by the afternoon, he’s reporting to night school.

His classmates include an FBI agent and a CIA analyst, both of whom also recently completed successful covert operations. Wondering what this school is about they receive the following background briefing: “[A] Jihadist sleeper cell in Hamburg, Germany, has received an unexpected visitor—a Saudi courier, seeking safe haven while waiting to rendezvous with persons unknown. A CIA asset, undercover inside the cell, has overheard the courier whisper a chilling message: The American wants a hundred million dollars.” From here, we follow Reacher and his classmates trying to determine what could be worth a hundred million dollars.

On the Lee Child website, I found an article by Stav Sherez entitled “Five reasons why the Jack Reacher novels are brilliant.” The fact is that even though the books are hugely popular, they often fail to garner much critical respect –as is often the case with series, genre books. The most discussable point of the article for me was that “…the Reacher books are Westerns in disguise and this goes a long way to explaining why they are so phenomenally popular…. Reacher is the classic silent stranger who rides into town and saves the small folk from rapacious bullies.” I would have never thought of Child’s books as westerns, but endings where justice is served are always satisfying.

I asked my group if reading this series in order was essential and the answer was no.  Each book could be a standalone because each is uniquely episodic and Reacher’s personal life does not change or progress dramatically from title to title. Similarly, plots for the Jack Reacher movies starring Tom Cruise have been cherry picked from the series based on those most suitable for cinema (One Shot #9 and Never Go Back #18), as opposed to series order.  We also discussed why people read series (and why some do not) and overwhelmingly series reader do not want to leave the character when others are perfectly happy to do so. When I asked if Jack Reacher could be someone they knew, all of the readers of the series said – he is real to me. As long as Lee Child continues to write, Jack Reacher remains safely in our group of literary friends.

Child, Lee. Night School. New York: Delacorte Press, 2016

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Three Versions of the Truth”

This week’s #BookFaceFriday will blow you away!

BookFace "Three Versions of the Truth"

Hang on to your hats, or umbrellas, just like a windy Nebraska spring, this #BookFace has us barely hanging on. A collection of short stories, this week’s selection is by Nebraska author Amy Knox Brown,Three Versions of the Truth” (Press 53, 2007). This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, reserve this collection of short stories for your book club today!

“Her characters are alive and compelling; each story is a satisfying world to be entered and explored. Ms. Brown’s native Nebraskan landscape flourishes on these pages —descriptions you want to read slowly and then again.” —Jill McCorkle

This week’s #BookFace model is Holly Duggan, NLC’s Continuing Education Coordinator!

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: Tana French

Reading a Tana French novel is like taking a trip to Dublin, Ireland. Like Maeve Binchy, French manages to capture not only the spirit of this city, but its people as well. While French’s novels focus on detectives from Dublin’s murder squad, these are not your classic police procedural mysteries.  Rather, they focus on an ever-changing group of wonderfully complicated characters, full of contradictions, whose personal lives are delightfully messy. The victims, themselves, are equally interesting as well. Like the detectives who investigate their murders, their lives are complex and marked with many question marks. Rarely does the story travel in a straight line, but rather zigs and zags until the final page.

Currently, there are six novels in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series: In the Woods (2007), The Likeness (2008), Faithful Place (2010), Broken Harbor (2012), The Secret Place (2014) and The Trespasser (2016). All take place in Dublin, or the surrounding area. All take place within a short period, usually no more than over the course of a few weeks.

Unlike other series, such as the Kay Scarpetta books by Patricia Cornwell or Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley novels, French focuses each book on a different character. Some characters, such as Frank Mackey and Mick “Scorcher” Kennedy appear in several books. Others, like Rob Ryan from In the Woods, vanish as soon as their story concludes. That said, each title can be read in no particular order without feeling as though you’ve missed something along the way.

Ultimately, French spins terrific tales of suspense and intrigue. Her stories are not always pretty. Often, in their rush to solve a murder, French’s characters reveal their deepest and darkest secrets. Instead of making them unlikeable, it makes them relatable. After all, we all have our secrets.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Outside Boy”

Look Ma, Spring!… just kidding, this is Nebraska. Happy #BookFaceFriday.

BookFace "The Outside Boy"

As we all dream of green grass, buds on trees and temperatures above 50 degrees, hopefully this lush green #BookFace can tide us over for a bit longer. This week’s photo was a family affair, just like the book “The Outside Boy” by Jeanine Cummins (Berkley, 2010). Following a young boy’s adventures as his Pavee gypsy family moves around Ireland. We watch as he struggles with adolescence, family secrets, and the seclusion of his family’s migratory lifestyle. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and can be reserved for your book club to read today!

“Set in Ireland in 1959, Cummins’ first novel (she’s also the author of the memoir A Rip in Heaven, 2004) is a deeply moving and elegiac look at a vanishing culture. Told in Christy’s vernacular but often poetic first-person voice, The Outside Boy is gorgeously written and an implicit celebration of Irish storytelling.” —Michael Cart

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

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#BookFaceFriday “Okay for Now” & “Maniac Magee”

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream in this week’s #BookFaceFriday.

BookFace image April 6, 2018 "Okay for Now" and "Maniac Magee"

Hold onto your cone, we’ve got a two-scoop #BookFace for you this week! A few of the staff over in the Talking Book & Braille department were kind enough to help us out with this week’s Book Face (they were generously compensated with ice cream). We’re excited to highlight two great YA books in our book club collection, “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 1999) and “Okay for Now” by Gary D. Schmidt (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013). The Nebraska Library Commission offers book club kits to both public and school libraries.  These two titles have both been honored with award nominations. “Okay for Now” was a National Book Award Finalist and “Maniac Magee” is a Newbery Medal winner! Get these young adult novels reserved for your book club to read today!

“Okay for Now” by Gary D. Schmidt 
“Reproductions of Audubon plates introduce each chapter in this stealthily powerful, unexpectedly affirming story of discovering and rescuing one’s best self, despite family pressure to do otherwise.”—Booklist, starred review

“Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli
“A Newbery Medal winning modern classic about a racially divided small town and a boy who runs.” —Amazon

This week’s #BookFace models are Gabe Kramer, TBBS Audio Production Studio Manager; and Jerry Hall, TBBS volunteer! A special thanks to TBBS Director, Scott Scholz, for lending a hand.

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: The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border, By Francisco Cantu

Francisco Cantu brings a unique perspective to his debut book, The Line Becomes A River, a nuanced exploration of the United States-Mexican border. In addition to being a third-generation Mexican-American who grew up near the border, Cantu studied international relations and border policy at American University, in Washington, D.C. After graduating with honors, he served in the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. More recently, in 2016, he earned an MFA in Nonfiction from the University of Arizona.

Given Cantu’s background and experience, he could have taken this book in many different directions; the route he chose, however, is that of a deeply personal memoir, described by reviewers as “heartfelt,” “lyrical,” “intimate,” “brutal,” and “heartbreaking.” It unfolds in three unnamed parts. Part one opens with Cantu attending training at the Border Patrol Academy, and it follows him during his initial field placements. While it includes numerous accounts of Cantu’s experiences with border crossers and fellow agents, part one is notably framed by two conversations with his mother, which establish the moral conflict at the heart of the entire narrative.

The first conversation occurs when Cantu is still in training at the academy. During her Christmas visit, Cantu’s mother struggles to understand why he wants to join the Border Patrol, which she refers to as “a paramilitary police force.” He responds: “I’m tired of studying, I’m tired of reading about the border in books. I want to be on the ground, out in the field . . . I don’t see any better way to truly understand the place.” His mother is clearly not convinced and is obviously worried about more than just his physical safety: “There are ways to learn these things that don’t put you at risk, she said, ways that let you help people instead of pitting you against them.”

The second conversation occurs at the end of part one, during a subsequent Christmas visit. When his mother asks if he likes the work and is learning what he wanted, he’s not up to having the conversation he knows she’s trying to initiate. And when she brings up “how a person can become lost in a job, how the soul can buckle when placed within a structure,” he cuts her off: “I was too exhausted to consider my passion or sense of purpose, too afraid to tell my mother about the dreams of dead bodies and crumbling teeth, . . . about my hands shaking at the wheel.”

By part two, Cantu has been promoted to doing intelligence work, first in Tucson, then in El Paso. Though he continues to recount his own experiences, his narrative increasingly focuses on the systemic violence haunting both sides of the border: the beheadings, massacres, and mass graves tied to drug cartels; and the kidnapping and ransoming of desperate border crossers by organized smuggling gangs capitalizing on stricter border enforcement. His teeth are a mess from constant grinding and his nightmares persist.

The narrative’s emotional climax occurs during part three. By this time, Cantu has quit the Border Patrol and returned to school, leaving his most intense stress behind. But completely outrunning the emotional trauma of border enforcement proves impossible. This time it affects Cantu personally, when agents detain his undocumented friend, Jose, who is trying to reenter the United States after visiting his dying mother in Mexico. Suddenly, Cantu is experiencing border enforcement from the perspective of the detainee, and the detainee’s family and friends. He does what he can to help Jose navigate the immigration and court systems, but current policies offer little recourse and his friend is deported.

In the third and final Christmas conversation with his mother, Cantu shares the pain, hurt, and conflict he feels over Jose’s situation: “I don’t know what to do, I confessed. I feel pain, I feel hurt, but it isn’t mine. . . . It’s like I never quit . . . It’s like I’m still a part of this thing that crushes.” His mother responds: “You can’t exist within a system for [four years] without being implicated, without absorbing its poison. . . So what will you do? All you can do is try to find a place to hold it, a way to not lose some purpose for it all.”

One gets the feeling this memoir—dedicated in part “to all those who risk their souls to traverse or patrol an unnatural divide”—may be one manifestation of Cantu’s effort to follow his mother’s advice.

Cantu, Francisco. The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border. New York: Riverhead, 2018.

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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 February 2018.  Included are Annual Reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies. Also included are reports from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, various committee reports to the Nebraska Legislature, 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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Young Nebraskans Win Writing Competition

Do young people still write letters? They do if they want to tell an author about how books can make a difference in a young person’s life. Young Nebraska writers who wrote winning letters in the Letters About Literature competition received award certificates from Gov. Pete Ricketts on at a proclamation-signing ceremony celebrating National Library Week, April 8-14, 2018. Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing promotion program. Nearly 50,000 adolescent and young readers nationwide, in grades four through twelve, participated in this year’s Letters About Literature program—hundreds of them from Nebraska. The competition encourages young people to read, be inspired, and write back to the author (living or dead) who had an impact on their lives.

This annual contest is sponsored nationally by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, with funding from Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Center for the Book was established in 1977 as a public-private partnership to use the resources of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading. The Nebraska competition is coordinated and sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, Houchen Bindery Ltd., Humanities Nebraska, and Chapters Bookstore in Seward.

Young Nebraska writers to be honored are:

Winners
Avery Yosten, Norfolk, for a letter to Rob Buyea
Caleb Hans, Omaha, for a letter to Trenton Lee Stewart
Harper Leigh Wells, Axtell, for a letter to Harper Lee

Alternate Winners
Ryan Ostrander, Lincoln, for a letter to Katherine Applegate
Conleigh Hemmer, Lincoln, for a letter to Herman Melville
Daniel Con, Lexington, for a letter to Suzanne Collins

The students wrote personal letters to authors explaining how his or her work changed their view of themselves or the world. They selected authors from any genre, fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic. Winners were chosen from three competition levels: upper elementary, middle, and secondary school.

The Nebraska winners are honored at a luncheon and receive cash prizes and gift certificates. Their winning letters are placed in the Jane Pope Geske Heritage Room of Nebraska Authors at Bennett Martin Public Library in Lincoln. They will advance to the national competition, with a chance to win a trip to Washington, D.C. for themselves and their parents. For more information about the competition see http://centerforthebook.nebraska.gov/programs/LAL.html.

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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The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Back When We Were Grownups”

We’re loving this #BookFaceFriday‘s 1960 vibe. It’s so very Betty Draper, if you know, Betty Draper read…

"Back When We Were Grownups" BookFace

We’re also loving the idea of reading books about women, written by women as we celebrate Women’s History Month. “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person ” that’s the opening line of this week’s #BookFaceFriday. “Back When We Were Grownups” by Anne Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001) is a familial drama, set in Baltimore, where main character Rebecca Davitch looks back over her life and questions her choices. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and can be reserved for your book club to read today!

“Her characters endear themselves to the reader with their candor and their wit and their simple decency. . . . The charm of an Anne Tyler novel lies in the clarity of her prose and the wisdom of her observations.”
                                               –The Washington Post Book World.

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: The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

A. J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window is a whodunit thriller with lots of surprises and unexpected outcomes. The book has been likened to Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and with elements of a Hitchcock movie.

Anna Fox, a psychologist in her late 30s, is the protagonist. Anna lives alone in an upscale Manhattan home. A young carpenter is a tenant who occupies the basement. The reader soon learns that Anna is agoraphobic and has not left her home during the past year. While living alone she has frequent phone conversations with her husband and 8-year-old daughter who are supposedly living elsewhere. Much of Anna’s time is spent watching black and white movie classics. Home bound, Anna observes her neighborhood and neighbors from her living room window. It is there that she witnesses, from a distance, a violent act in a home occupied by a family new to the neighborhood.

Anna’s fear of leaving her home, her aloneness and depression contribute to excessive drinking with wine as her favored drink. Her drinking, mixed with prescription drugs, compromises her credibility when she reports the incident to the police. Is she delusional? The conflict grows from there among Anna, the new and troubled neighbors, the police, and even her tenant. And there is Anna’s past – how did she become agoraphobic? What’s the story behind the absence of her husband and daughter?

The Woman in the Window is A. J. Finn’s first novel and a best seller from the get go. Though, not surprising because Finn (a pseudonym) is Dan Mallory, an experienced executive mystery fiction editor for William Morrow, the books publisher.

Finn, A J. The Woman in the Window. HarperCollins, 2018. Print.

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#BookFaceFriday “A Journal For Christa”

This week’s #BookFaceFriday is one small step for man, one giant leap for womankind

A Journal for Christa: Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, I’m so glad this is a book we have available in our collection. “A Journal for Christa: Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space” by Grace George Corrigan (University of Nebraska Press, 2000) is a personal account, written by her own mother, of a passionate teacher turned American icon. 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 University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program.

“In this straightforward memoir, McAuliffe’s mother, Grace George Corrigan, makes it very clear just who and what the nation lost in the Challenger tragedy. The product of family history, notes and letters, and the commemorative efforts to honor her daughter, A Journal for Christa provides a very personal biography of a remarkable young woman.”

This week’s #BookFace model was an obvious choice, Library Development Director, Christa Porter!

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: Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier

Last year saw the brilliant return of Twin Peaks season 3 on Showtime. For those of you who haven’t seen season 3 yet, I highly recommend it. However, it would be beneficial for you to review the first 2 seasons, which originally aired in 1990 and 1991. Yep, that’s correct, I’m recommending a TV series from the 90’s. Your local library or inter-library loan service should be able to net you the DVD’s (including season 3). A prequel movie, called Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, is also beneficial before you swan dive into season 3. But today’s write up is about Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier, and not Twin Peaks the video series. While the author of the Final Dossier is Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost (the other co-creator is David Lynch), the book is written as a series of final FBI reports from the perspective of season 3 special agent Tammy Preston. I was surprised at the depth of Tammy’s reports. While I found Tammy’s character in season 3 to be a bit aloof (to put it mildly), not so in the case of the Final Dossier. She comes across as thorough, to the point, and witty in a Twin Peaks sort of way which is to say quite unconventional and refreshing.

The Final Dossier focuses on some rather interesting things about the Twin Peaks townspeople, and specifically what’s happened to them over the past 25 years (the gap between seasons 2 and 3). These people include Shelley Johnson and Co., the Haywards, the Horne’s, the Hurley’s, Windom Earle, Dr. Jacoby, Harry, and Annie. I’m sure I’ve missed some. I’d say it was interesting to read more about these characters, but the ultimate question after watching the ending of season 3 is: What really happened? The Final Dossier does in fact shed some light on these philosophical tidbits, and confirms some thoughts and theories by including dossiers devoted to Major Briggs, Philip Jeffries, Judy, the log lady, and in a roundabout way other big league players such as the Fireman, BOB, and the Woodsmen. Cooper (both good Coop and evil Coop/Mr. C) and Diane are also spread throughout both of these narratives. Be prepared, as these things —  both the book and TV series — include various dimensions, the supernatural, doppelgangers, alternate timelines and realities, and the omnipresent dream, which we may or may not live inside of. Or do we live inside of a dream of a dream? And as Twin Peaks asks, who is the dreamer?

Moving forward from that, I find it helpful to offer a brief sample so the reader of the review can get a flava for the writing style. In this case, thumbs up goes to this one:

“And even as we ‘wonder’ at what we’re doing here, so do we also fear – so deep down below the surface of our lives that few can bear to look at it – that life is a meaningless jest, an extravagant exercise in morbidity, a tale of sorrow and suffering lit by flashes, and made bearable only by moments of companionship and unsustainable joy. Along the way, as we struggle to come to terms and comprehend why this strange fate has befallen us, time becomes no longer our ally – the spendthrift assumption of our youth – but our executioner. It all feels at times like a merciless joke made at our expense, without our consent.”

While I’m now tempted to swing by the local library, grab some Sarte, head home and crank up some Joy Division on my home Hi-Fi, I think I’ll resist those urges. A final thought on the season 3 series that sums up its originality is evidenced by this brief video. And if that doesn’t make you want to watch the series or read the book, I don’t know what would. Maybe it just isn’t for you. But if it is, let me know so we can talk about theories, and we can certainly talk about Judy. Season 3 on DVD is now available.

Frost, Mark. Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier. New York: Flatiron Books, 2017. Print.

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Nominate Books Now for the 2018 Nebraska Book Awards

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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