Category Archives: Books & Reading

Nourish Strong Partnerships to Foster Health Education

HealthHappensThe Health Happens in Libraries team has posted a new article to support libraries as you Nourish Strong Partnerships to Foster Health Education. The article includes two key resources to amplify your efforts:

Supporting Healthy Communities through Health Information and Services is a free resource to guide library staff in identifying local community health priorities and finding the right partners to address those priorities. The guide emphasizes strategies to access community data, make contact with other community organizations, and serve children, families and your community at large with a focus on health. The PDF guide can be downloaded here.

In addition, the Developing Health Literacy through Health Information and Services guide provides further inspiration on promoting health literacy in your community. It highlights many freely available health literacy resources for you and your library’s patrons to access at any time. This PDF guide is available for download here.

Both guides include individual and team reflection questions to help you take action on the information in a local context.

Please-take a look! Print a copy, share with your colleagues and post your ideas for using these resources to social media with the hashtag #libs4health. (If this request looks familiar, it is! :-))

Thanks for all you do to contribute to the vitality of your communities.

(Reprinted from OCLC WebJunction, Thursday, February 25, 2016)

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What’s Sally Reading?

Bram Stoker Award Finalist Lists

The eleven finalist lists have now been announced on their web page.  In the category Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel the finalists are:  Jennifer Brozek for Never Let Me Sleep (Book 1 of the Melissa Allen Trilogy), Michaelbrent Collings for The Ridealong, John Dixon for Devil’s Pocket (sequel to Phoenix Island), Tonya Hurley for Hallowed (Book 3 of the Blessed trilogy), Maureen Johnson for The Shadow Cabinet (Book 3 of the Shades of London series), and Ian Welke for End Times at Ridgemont High.  I have not read any of these titles, which shows me a gap in my effort to include all genres of books in my reading and recommendations to Nebraska librarians.  (I did read The Diviners and Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray.)  I promise to include more in my reading (and keep the light on at night).

Goodrich019We Forgot Brock! written and illustrated by Carter Goodrich shows the great friendship between Phillip and his imaginary friend Brock.  One fun illustration shows Phillip’s parents in the foreground looking out the window and seeing only Phillip, when the reader knows Brock is there too.  Life takes a turn when the family goes to the Big Fair.  Phillip and Brock have a great time on the rides but Phillip is sleepy when it is time to go home.  Brock, still at the Fair, looks but cannot find Phillip anywhere.  Fortunately he is rescued by Anne and her imaginary friend Princess Sparkledust.  Phillip and Brock struggle to go on without each other – until they run into each other again!  Soon all four are friends.  A fun picture book for preschool through grade 1.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Adopt a book!

giveawaysThe Library Commission has a range of books that are looking for a good home.  There are volumes of Nebraska history,  poetry books, library science texts, reference works, titles by local authors, and much more.  All are free for Nebraska librarians to browse, request, and keep!  A small set of titles has been highlighted on our website: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/giveaway.aspx.

Should any of these interest you, email the Information Services team with your requests.  There is no charge if you are able to pick up the books.  Books can be mailed to you for a small suggested donation to cover postage  Next time you stop by the Library Commission, ask to have a look at the shelf – who knows what treasures you will find!

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Friday Reads: How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy, by Stephen Witt

howmusicgotfreeHow do you listen to music nowadays?  Do you still buy CDs? (…did you ever buy CDs? I might be showing my age here…), download digital files, use a streaming service online?  Did you ever wonder how exactly we got from the “good old days” of recording mixed tapes to having any song available at our fingertips?  How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt answers this question and more.  From the invention of the MP3 format to the role of the music industury executives in the demise of their own business, this is a fascinating history of an industry turned on its head.  Witt focuses on 3 individuals who couldn’t be more different, yet who each played a crucial role in changing how we access music.
In Germany, an audio engineer, Karlheinz Brandenburg, and his team developed the MPEG3 data compression format and fought for its acceptance over rival formats, a largely political battle.  When not adopted by the industry, the team released the MP3 format to the public as a free conversion tool and music player.
In North Carolina, Dell Glover was using his job at a CD manufacturing plant to become the leading music leaker in an elite online community.  What had been a tedious task of burning individual cds to sell from the trunk of his car on weekends became vastly simplified with the introduction of the MP3 format and the ability to upload music easily and quickly to the internet.  (Mr. Witt also published this piece about Dell Glover in the New Yorker in April 2015.)
In New York, Doug Morris, the CEO of Universal Music Group, was too concerned with signing the next big rap artist to pay much mind to the growing portable music revolution.  Morris and other executives failed to grasp the significance of the MP3 format (and the piracy it enabled), leading eventually to a litigative nightmare and the downfall of the music industry as we knew it.
Whether or not you were online in the heyday of Napster, this book tells a compelling tale about a fascinating part of our recent history.
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Friday Reads: Updraft by Fran Wilde

UpdraftThis book is a first for the author, who is known by her short stories, according to the book blurb. This tale, is one of redemption in a postapocalyptic world set far, far in the future, of, I would guess, Earth, since there are familiar species of birds. But it’s the juxtaposition of the familiar birds with the strange that makes it so compelling.

Humans live in towers of living bone, the higher in the tower, the higher your social status, and as the towers grow, the lower levels are abandoned, since they get more crowded by the growth of the bone.  Travel between the towers is allowed, and is accomplished by flying with one’s own set of wings, which one is tested for at a certain, young age. Travel inside the towers is accomplished by ladders.  But the outcasts of the culture are also left in the lower levels of the tower to live or die. It is a very rule orientated way of living, where the main character, Kirit, longs to be a trader, like her mother, attain the right to fly to other towers and trade and also bring medicine. She is close to earning the right to fly free, as well as earn her apprenticeship as the story opens, when she and her once closest friend Nat, break the Tabu/Law, she goes outside during an attack, and he doesn’t let her back in. So they are equally at fault, and get caught by one of their officers, called a Singer. But in being caught outside, Kirit displays a unique skill that the Singers need. But the skill gets in the way of her dreams.

In another story, she might have simply gone with the authority figure, but not this one. She and Nat both work to get through their punishment in time for both to take their flight tests. To get done in time they meet and receive help from one of the cast off citizens of the towers, Tobiat, old, with injuries badly set and healed, and mind a little scattered.  He turns out to be key to many of the mysteries  come to face.  The tests seem to be passed, but the Singers have skewed them, and both Kirit has to go with them to their tower. She learns secrets that turn many of the things she’s learned in the towers inside out, and finds that the strange creatures that attack their towers were once much different. Not only does so much she has learned about her family change, but also about her culture.

So much happens in such a short pace of time. But it changes so many lives of this small  civilization on the edge of survival.  The disruption spreads from one life, to a family, to an order keeping service type organization. It’s interesting to see, after reading the book, how the character of one actor, can serve as a catalyst to expose the wrongdoing of an entire organization.

Reviews

Book Review by Julie Novakova, in Fantasy Scroll Mag

The Illustrated Page blog

Bibliosanctum blog

 

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What’s Sally Reading?

Gene Luen Lang Named Newest Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

The purpose of the Ambassador is to “raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people” (from their home page, link below).  Lang’s theme for his two-year term is “Reading Without Walls.”  Named in January by the Library of Congress and sponsored by The Center for the Book, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader, the first Ambassador was Jon Scieszka for the 2008-2009 term. A selection committee reviews nominations and makes their choice. Visit their home page to see the criteria and read more about the newest choice.  Previous Ambassadors, in term order, are: Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, Walter Dean Myers and Kate DiCamillo.

Spencer128The Sweetest Heist in History, Book 2 of the “Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective” series by Octavia Spencer finds Randi visiting her aunt Gigi in Brooklyn, New York for Thanksgiving and bringing her new friends D.C. and Pudge with her. They soon uncover suspicious doings in her aunt’s apartment building and at the Brooklyn Museum across the street. Could there be a plot to steal some of the Fabergé eggs soon to be on display? Randi and her friends are determined to outwit any criminals and save the eggs. A fun mystery for readers in grades 4-6.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Friday Reads: The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day

The Circus in Winter cover“When I was little, my mother told me there are basically two kinds of people in the world: town people and circus people.  The kind who stay are town people, and the kind who leave are circus people.”

And neither are guaranteed happiness, which these stories make crystal clear.  Spanning decades and connected by both the circus and the small Indiana town in which it spends the off-season, these tales present a dazzling array of characters—elephant trainers! Zulu queens! Driveway-paving Gypsies!  But this is the circus in winter, when the lights have dimmed and the canvas has dropped.  It’s not focused on public spectacle, but on the often heartbreaking private lives of these extraordinary people.

Wallace Porter assembles his circus to assuage his own broken heart.  Over the years, he imports transient talent from all over the globe.  The circus, like the Pequod (or like the United States), becomes a “big tent” which includes people of assorted backgrounds working together for common goals.  But they’re also united by human experience—death, failed relationships, and the feeling of entrapment generated by familiar surroundings.   This is a somber book, but it’s not really a tearjerker in the Nicholas Sparks style.  It’s muted and plaintive, even in its humor (“They cried for a while, then went downstairs to make pancakes.”).

Structurally, Day’s book is reminiscent of Winesburg, Ohio and Olive Kitteridge.  Midway between a novel and set of short stories, The Circus in Winter lacks a true central narrative, but is united by overlapping characters and overarching themes.  And, of course, the circus looms over all of these tales, whether as the place where the clowns live or as a symbol of escape from snowy small towns.

“A depressing book about the circus, but only the backstage stuff” is probably one of Earth’s hardest sells.  But this is a compelling work that deserves a wider audience and is perfect for bleak winter days.

Day, C. (2005). The circus in winter. Orlando: Harcourt.

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New Nebraska State Agency Publications

Nebraska StatehoodNew Nebraska State Agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for January 2016. Included are Annual and Audit reports, Economic Development reports, Summer Reading programs for Libraries, and new titles from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

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Friday Reads: Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

Cinderella ate my daughter by Peggy…

Cinderella Ate My Daughter
by Peggy Orenstein

Have you ever noticed the increased abundance of princesses and pink in the youth section? Have you ever wondered how that came about?

Peggy Orenstein is an accomplished writer and cultural critic. When she has a daughter, she hopes to offer her a positive childhood experience that doesn’t revolve around her daughter being pretty or a “princess.” What she encounters is a consumer culture very different than the one she grew up in—and one that has surprising appeal for her daughter.

Orenstein takes a personal approach to the story, and her desire for her daughter’s happiness—even if it doesn’t look like the happiness she imagined for her—gives the book a very balanced and nuanced tone about complicated topics. Even when she visits a toddler beauty pageant, she doesn’t judge the families that are involved, but she does present an unvarnished look at the mechanics and effects of the child beauty industry. She writes honestly about moments when she doesn’t handle her frustration well—like when her four-year-old wants hyper-sexualized “bratty” doll/action figures on their trip to the store. In that sense, it’s a classic story of a child and a parent having different ideas about identity—and the parent having to learn how to let their child have their own ideas, in the safest environment they can provide.

What really stuck with me was the description of the processes companies use to market to children. You won’t forget the story about the branding shift at Disney, when the new head of the consumer products division realized that the firm demarcation between Disney vehicles—which was designed to protect narrative integrity—was getting in the way of selling products. Or his moment of clarity at a Disney on Ice show, when he realized all the little girls in the audience were wearing homemade costumes—and how his company could change that.

My paperback copy is covered with accolades and blurbs, and I like that People called the book “Funny,” while Vanity Fair called it “Blood-Chilling.” I read this as an assigned book for a class, but I’d recommend it to anyone who has children, or who works with children—or anyone who is curious about generational differences in attitudes towards gender and consumerism.

Orenstein, P. (2011). Cinderella ate my daughter: Dispatches from the front lines of the new girlie-girl culture. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

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NCompass Live: One Book, One School, One Community – Experiences with all-school reads

NCompass live smallJoin us for next week’s NCompass Live, “One Book, One School, One Community – Experiences with all-school reads”, on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Learn about how Schoo Middle School in Lincoln, NE, spreads a love of reading, a sense of community and the idea of helping others through an annual all-school reading program. Discussion will center on Schoo’s experiences with funding, book selection, promotion, staff buy-in, resources, and community service.

Presenter: April Jorgensen, Media Specialist, Schoo Middle School, Lincoln, NE.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Feb. 3 – Teaching Digital Literacy with TechBoomers.com and Other Online Resources
  • Feb. 17 – The Secret to Successful Internships
  • Feb. 24 – Linked Data and Libraries: An Overview
  • March 2 – What is this New Adult Fiction: A new category of literature or stepped up YA novels?

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 Sally Reading?

2016 Notable Children’s Books Announced

The Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA) has announced their list of books from 2015 that were selected as Notable Children’s Books – 2016.  As it says on the web page, “According to the Notables Criteria, ‘notable’ is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding.” The list is divided into four sections: Younger Readers, Middle Readers, Older Readers, and All Ages. Each category is “loosely” defined by grade ranges in the introduction. Enjoy looking over the list and I hope you find something to add to your collection!

Koehler096Something small and white this week reminded me of the picture book The Little Snowplow by Lora Koehler. The Little Snowplow joined the BIG trucks for the town, and they all told him to leave the jobs to them, they would handle them and he was too little. So he cleaned up after parades, cleared streams and other small jobs, but as fall began to change to winter he began his training exercises. When the snow fell, it was soon overwhelming. He kept clearing and clearing, and soon went to work to help the dump truck who was caught in an avalanche. Power of the small.

(The Nebraska Library Commission receives free copies of children’s and young adult books for review from a number of publishers.  After review, the books are distributed free, via the Regional Library Systems, to Nebraska school and public libraries.)

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Friday Reads: The Last Midwife

midwifeSandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors, and The Last Midwife does not disappoint.

It is 1880 and Gracy Brookens is the only midwife in a small Colorado mining town where she has delivered hundreds, maybe thousands, of babies in her lifetime. The women of Swandyke trust and depend on Gracy, and most couldn’t imagine getting through pregnancy and labor without her by their sides.

But everything changes when a baby is found dead…and the evidence points to Gracy as the murderer.

She didn’t commit the crime, but clearing her name isn’t so easy when her innocence is not quite as simple, either. She knows things, and that’s dangerous. Invited into her neighbors’ homes during their most intimate and vulnerable times, she can’t help what she sees and hears. A woman sometimes says things in the birthing bed, when life and death seem suspended within the same moment. Gracy has always tucked those revelations away, even the confessions that have cast shadows on her heart.

With her friends taking sides and a trial looming, Gracy must decide whether it’s worth risking everything to prove her innocence. And she knows that her years of discretion may simply demand too high a price now…especially since she’s been keeping more than a few dark secrets of her own.

With Sandra Dallas’s incomparable gift for creating a sense of time and place and characters that capture your heart, The Last Midwife tells the story of family, community, and the secrets that can destroy and unite them.

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Governor Ricketts Proclaims 2016 One Book One Nebraska: The Meaning of Names

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:onebooklogo163pxw
January 14, 2016
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rod Wagner
402-471-4001
800-307-2665

Governor Ricketts Proclaims 2016 One Book One Nebraska: The Meaning of Names

On Jan. 13, 2016 Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation honoring 2016 One Book One Nebraska: The Meaning of Names by Karen Shoemaker, of Lincoln. In this year people across Nebraska are encouraged to read this Nebraska-set novel with a World War I backdrop. The Meaning of Names follows a German-American woman trying to raise a family in the heartland and keep them safe from the effects of war and the influenza panic, as well as from violence and prejudice. Karen Shoemaker, author of The Meaning of Names, presented the governor with a copy of the book.

Photos of the proclamation-signing ceremony are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/librarycommission/albums/72157663407721711

The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Commission, and Humanities Nebraska is entering its twelfth year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events to encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities are available at http://onebook.nebraska.gov. Updates and activity listings will be posted there and on http://www.facebook.com/onebookonenebraska.

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 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.”

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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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2015 State Agency Publications Received at the Library Commission

NEState SealNebraska State Government Publications 2015 is a listing of the new state publications received in 2015 by the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. It is a compilation of the state publications listed in What’s Up Doc?, the Clearinghouse’s blog. They are arranged in two separate lists: by broad subject categories and alphabetically by title. All of the publications listed here are available for loan from the Library Commission by calling 1-800-307-2665 and asking for the Reference desk (outside Nebraska and in Lincoln call 402-471-4016). Users wishing to obtain their own copies must request them directly from the issuing agency.

The majority of items have been cataloged and the OCLC number listed. They can be searched in the Library Commission’s Online catalog.

 Many publications are also available in other formats. Microfiche copies of documents published prior to 2006 may be available at the State Depository Libraries.

State Publications Online, a Clearinghouse web page, lists publications in electronic format.

This list, along with issues of What’s Up Doc?, and annual lists from previous years are also available online.

For additional copies of this publication please contact:

Mary Sauers | Government & Information Services Librarian | Nebraska Library Commission | 402-471-4017 | Mary.sauers@nebraska.gov

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New State Agency Publications Received at the Library Commission

Nebraska StatehoodNew Nebraska State Agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for November and December 2015.  Included are titles from the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System, and University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

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ALA Announces the Youth Media Awards

The Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) Division of the American Library Association (ALA) announced Monday, January 11, 2016, the winner of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson, is the 2016 Newbery Medal winner. Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: The War that Saved My Life written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Roller Girl written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, and Echo written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

The 2016 Caldecott Medal winner is Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick. Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Trombone Shorty illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews, Waiting illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, Last Stop on Market Street illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Peña.

To read a copy of the ALA press announcement and learn about all the other award winners and honor books, go to: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/youth/ala.yma.2016.pdf

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NCompass Live: Riding the Range from Your Armchair

NCompass live smallJoin us for the first NCompass Live of 2016, “Riding the Range from Your Armchair”, on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Do you need to find westerns writers other than Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour for your patrons? Join Nebraska Library Commission staff for a discussion of western stories that are historical, contemporary, mystery, romance, traditional, or maybe jump new cliffs.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Jan. 20 – Moving to Windows 10
  • Jan. 27 – One Book, One School, One Community – Experiences with all-school reads
  • Feb. 3 – Teaching Digital Literacy with TechBoomers.com and Other Online Resources
  • Feb. 17 – The Secret to Successful Internships

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: A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

Oa is for alibine year for Christmas I asked everyone to give me a copy of their favorite book; just one book and hopefully an explanation of why it held that honor. This was well over 20 years ago and my college roommate gave me a copy of A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton. One of the many librarian stereotypes is that we love mysteries so I’d avoided this genre but I read it and I liked it. Sue’s books saved me on a dreadful flight when I was sick and a horrible vacation and the fictional character Kinsey Millhone became a good friend. She’s a low-maintenance, hard-driving, common sense kind of woman whose luck in love has sometimes been similar to my own. If you are a series reader and have yet to read Sue’s books, the book club collection may be just the ticket. The order could not be any easier to understand: A is for Alibi; B is for Burglar; C is for Corpse and on and on through the most recent release X. In the series, Henry Pitts plays Kinsey’s friend and landlord and is a favorite character of mine with the runner up being Rosie who runs the local restaurant and bar where Kinsey often has dinner or meets clients. You may want to know that Sue has adamantly said no to ever selling her rights to turn this series into a movie which actually pleases me because the characters will always stay in my mind, tidy as you please with no alterations from Hollywood. Here is a list of the titles so you can make your reservation.

 

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NCompass Live: Best New Children’s Books of 2015

NCompass live smallJoin us for the first NCompass Live of 2016, “Best New Children’s Books of 2015”, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 10:00-11:00 am Central Time.

Sally Snyder, Nebraska Library Commission’s Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, will give brief book talks on new titles that could be good additions to your library’s collection. Titles for preschool through elementary school will be included.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Jan. 13, 2016 – Riding the Range from Your Armchair
  • Jan. 20, 2016 – Moving to Windows 10
  • Jan. 27, 2016 – One Book, One School, One Community – Experiences with all-school reads
  • Feb. 3, 2016 – Teaching Digital Literacy with TechBoomers.com and Other Online Resources

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: My 2015 Reading Challenge

For 2015 I set a personal reading challenge of 120 books.  It seemed like an attainable goal; in 2014 I completed 100 books, and I read for the Golden Sower Awards voting committee, so I go through a LOT of intermediate-level books in the spring.  And really, what’s 10 books a month, right? But life happens, as it always does, and sometimes life hands you a newborn that kicks books out of your hands when you try to read in the evenings…  I got a little behind in my reading pace over the summer.  I got back on track and finished my 120th book on December 31st.

 

I read for pleasure mainly, but also for enlightenment, or distraction, or because my son or husband beat me to the remote control.  I’m not a picky reader: there were memoirs, mysteries, poetry, science fiction, fantasy, classics, humor, short stories, political issues, historical fiction, information science, chick lit, and graphic novels.  There was a book on economics, (Adam Smith, anyone), several on parenting, one about dressing better, many about celebrities, and also many about mice and their adventures (I read to a 5 year old).  I read in all formats – good ol’ print, eBooks, and audio.  The beauty of such a lofty goal (for me) was that I didn’t allow myself to be choosy.  If it piqued my curiosity, I read it.  Quite a few titles I waited months on reserve for at my local library, but just as many were impulse grabs.  Only a couple earned me fines for late return…

 

Out of 120 books, there were bound to be a few that I loved and some that I could have done without.  I’ve shared a couple so far this year in our Friday Reads feature (Ready Player One, After the Golden Age), and here I will mention a couple more:

 

furiouslyhappy
If you want to laugh until you cry: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson. The author is deeply depressed, but doesn’t let it get her down. (New York: Flatiron Books, 2015. ISBN 1250077001)

 

If you just want to cry:  Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  This book made me sad for all of humanity.  I took a couple of days off from reading after this. (New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. ISBN 0147520509)

 

 nestIf you want to cringe: The Nest by Kenneth Oppel.  This one had me listening for the buzzing of small insects.  Aimed at the upper-elementary set, but creepy enough for us older kids too. (New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015. ISBN 148143232X)

 

martianIf you want to cheer for the underdog: The Martian, by Andy Weir – read it before you see the movie.  Or better yet listen to it -the Brilliance Audio version has R.C. Bray narrate to great effect. (Grand Haven, MI: Brilliance Audio, 2014. ISBN 9781491523216)

 

asyouwishIf you loved “one of the greatest love stories ever told”: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes.  First watch the movie, then read the book.  Then watch the movie again.  I went the audiobook route again – narrated by the author.  (New York: Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014. ISBN 9781442383456)

 

Did you set a reading goal this past year?  Are you aiming for a certain number in the year to come?
Happy New Year everyone – looking forward to many more great books in 2016!

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