Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

If it’s the end of the year, then it must be Hogswatch! But, the Hogfather is missing! How can we have Hogswatch without him? Not to worry, Death is here to save the day, filling in for him so that all the children will still get their gifts. What could possibly go wrong?

Hogfather is the 20th book in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. And it’s one of the most entertaining, in my opinion. If you haven’t read any Discworld books yet, that’s OK. This one can be read on its own. There’s enough detail and explanation to understand what’s happening. But, for those of you new to this series, Discworld is a magical world, filled with witches, wizards, dragons, trolls, and dwarfs. Physically, it’s a flat disc, sitting on the backs of four enormous elephants, which are standing on the back of an enormous turtle slowly swimming through space. You will recognize some similarities to our world, but since it does have magic, things are quite different.

It’s almost Hogswatchnight, and while Death is keeping up with some of the Hogfather’s duties, there’s still the problem of what happened to him. Luckily, Death’s granddaughter Susan is also on the case. While Death is trying to ensure that people will keep believing in the Hogfather, she’s trying to find him. It turns out that there will be more serious problems than a lack of gifts without a Hogfather. Belief in him also happens to be important to keep other parts of the world working properly. In order to save the Hogfather and Hogswatch, Susan must deal with the “Oh God” of Hangovers, interfering wizards, the realm of the Tooth Fairy, and Mister Teatime, an assassin who insists that his name is pronounced ‘teh-ah-tim-eh’.

As with all of the Discworld books, Hogfather is both a comic fantasy and a satirical commentary on our world. But, this novel also deals with the nature of belief and how important it can be to us, whether we realize it or not. It’s the kind of book you will need to read more than once to absorb the depth and meaning of the storytelling.

If you’re looking for a really fun seasonal read that will restore your faith in humans, Hogfather is the book for you. HAPPY HOGSWATCH!

Pratchett, Terry. Hogfather. New York: Harper, 1996.

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NCompass Live: Best New Teen Books of 2018

What are the ‘Best New Teen Books of 2018?’ Find out on the first FREE NCompass Live webinar of 2019! Join us on Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 10:00am – 11:00am CT, for ‘Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read’.

Learn about qualities of books that teens are reading, and the titles Nebraska teens are seeking at their libraries. The presenters will discuss new books that are popular with teens in their communities and describe the qualities these titles possess that make them good choices for many libraries.

Presenters: Jill Annis, School Librarian, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School; Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Jan. 9, 2019 – Graphic Novel Collection and Programming
  • Jan. 16, 2018 – 2019 One Book One Nebraska: This Blessed Earth
  • Feb. 6, 2019 – You Make Me Want To Break Out

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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#BookFaceFriday “Running With Scissors”

I’d hate to have a Freudian slip with this #BookFace

Get off your therapist’s couch and check out “Running with Scissors: A Memoir” by Augusten Burroughs (Picador, 2003). This New York Times Bestseller is one of those instances where real life is more outlandish than any fictional story.  This book is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and is the perfect selection to get your book club through the winter doldrums!

“I just finished reading the most amazing book. Running with Scissors is hilarious, freaky-deaky, berserk, controlled, transcendent, touching, affectionate, vengeful, all-embracing….It makes a good run at blowing every other [memoir] out of the water.” ―Carolyn See, The Washington Post

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model apparently has a love for running around with boxes on his head. I’m so glad his mother knew how to take advantage of it! Mr. Asher is the son of our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen! She and her family get all the credit for this week’s #BookFace photo!

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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What’s Sally Reading?

School Library Journal Announces 2018 Best Books

Recently, in their December 2018 issue, School Library Journal listed 17 picture books, 21 Chapter Books & Middle Grade titles, 17 YA titles, 12 Nonfiction choices, four Poetry titles, and nine Graphic Novels & Nonfiction choices.  You can visit their web page for a look at the titles they chose to see what you might already have on your shelves, and what you may want to consider adding.  Underneath the slideshow of the titles is an opportunity to download the lists.

As usual, I have read and reviewed some of the titles on their lists, but not had a chance to see and read all of them. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi is one of the Middle Grade titles they selected. It is the first of “Rick Riordan Presents,” an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Aru (12) lives with her mother at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta, Georgia. Her mother is often gone on trips to research and discover artifacts for the Museum. At the beginning of winter break, three schoolmates stop by to challenge Aru to prove one of her stories is true (Aru has a good imagination), thus prompting her to light the lamp that could end the world. This freezes her mother and her schoolmates so Aru appears to be on her own to rectify her mistake. Fortunately, she is teamed up with another girl, Mini.  Soon Aru and her fellow heroine, Mini, are traveling to mystical places to try and save the world. Wonderful action, working through a possible friendship with Mini, and dealing with the guilt she feels keeps Aru on her toes. I am looking forward to the next book, Aru Shah and the Song of Death, which will be published on April 30, 2019.

(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: Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

"Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances" BookFaceThree stories, or novellas, by three different authors are interconnected in a satisfying way and will appeal to teens and adults.

The first story is “The Jubilee Express” by Maureen Johnson. It is about Jubilee (or Julie when she doesn’t want to explain her name) and her sudden, unexpected trip to Florida to visit her grandparents. En route she is stranded in Gracetown when her passenger train runs into a pile of snow during a Christmas Eve blizzard. It makes sense to leave the train for the warm, inviting Waffle House just in view.

“A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle” by John Green is the second story.  Tobin will spend Christmas with his two friends as his parents are stuck in Boston due to the blizzard. Then another friend calls from the Waffle House that there are 14 cheerleaders there from the stranded train and a couple more guys are needed (but not too many more!).

The third story, “The Patron Saint of Pigs” by Lauren Myracle tells of Addie, who recently cheated-on and felt she had to break-up with her boyfriend, and is in despair. Her two best friends are not letting her dwell in her misery and insist she try to think of others instead of just herself. So she decides to be someone else’s “angel” as penance for her mistake.

How does this all come together?  While romantic and festive, the stories are not sugary sweet and the separate plots are brought to heartwarming and gratifying conclusions.  As Booklist noted, “A delightful read any time of the year.” (9/5/08)

Does this sound like a good choice to you?  This is a title you can find in our Book Club Kits.   Reserve it for your book club for something light, yet also substantial.


Green, John,  Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. Let It Snow. Speak, 2008.

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#BookFaceFriday “Let’s Be Reasonable”

This is a #BookFaceFriday to make Grant Wood proud.

"Let's Be Reasonable" by Joel Sartore BookFace Photo

Is there anything more iconic Midwestern than American Gothic? We got the chance to create our own with this week’s #BookFace selection “Let’s Be Reasonable” by Joel Sartore (Unversity of Nebraska Press, 2011). That’s the Nebraska photographer/author himself on the book cover with his wife Kathy. If you’re not familiar with this book of short essays and photography, you should really change that. It’s a must read.

“For this collection of essays and images, photojournalist Santore drew on various subjects encountered in his travels on assignment for CBS Sunday Morning and National Geographic magazine. By turns quirky, candid, whimsical and moving, they cover a wide range of topics, including endangered species, the power of laughter, state-fair food, mud, money, conspicuous consumption, and his own life and family at home in Nebraska.”—Neil Pond, American Profile

(Neil Pond American Profile 2011-09-05)

We pulled this from our Talking Book & Braille (TBBS) collection. It was recorded by NLC in 2016, and narrated by Alice Timm. It’s a part of our collection of Nebraska books and publications made available to Nebraska TBBS customers. It was recently added to TBBS’s Duplication on Demand service. You can learn all about the new Duplication on Demand service in next week’s episode of NCompass Live: Talking Books and Duplication on Demand!

Imagine if there were no books on your library shelves, and instead books were custom-made for every patron, printed and conveniently bound together during their visit. Something along those lines is being implemented with the digital talking books circulated at the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service. Tune in to find out about the technology behind this change, and its advantages and disadvantages for patrons and staff as we begin this adventure together!

Join Scott Scholz, Director of our Talking Book and Braille Service, and Christa Porter next Wednesday, Dec. 26th at 10:00 am Central Time. Register here!

Scott also happens to be one of this week’s #BookFace models!

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

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#BookFaceFriday: NLC Book Drive 2018

Knock! knock! Who’s there! It’s #BookFaceFriday!!

Today is the last day to deliver your donated books! Anyone and everyone is welcome to drop off donated books. We need them by the end of the day TODAY, so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army tonight.

Every year, for the last thirty years, Nebraska Library Commission staff collect new or gently used books for children and teens to be donated to the People’s City Mission and the Salvation Army for their Christmas giveaway for youth in need. The books come from all over. Brought from homes, bought new in stores, or purchased at thrifting excursions, Lincoln City Library’s book sale, or the Scholastic Book Sale.

We snatched this one out of the pile of donated books, “Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?” by Jan Brett (Scholastic, 2003). It’s adorable illustrations and unique folklore made it the perfect #BookFace.

“Kindergarten-Grade 2-In this story based on a traditional Norwegian folktale, a boy traveling from Finnmark to Oslo with his pet polar bear stops by Kyri’s hut on Christmas Eve. The guests help to frighten away the trolls who come to wreak havoc and steal all of the holiday treats. The pleasure here lies mostly in the lush, richly textured illustrations, with Brett’s distinctive borders that incorporate Norwegian folk motifs and trolls romping through skies lit by the Northern lights. Scenery aside, the children are rather one-dimensional, but the bear is handsome and heroic and the trolls satisfyingly ugly and naughty.”  -School Library Journal

This week’s #BookFace model is quite the mama bear herself, Mary Geibel is NLC’s Information Services Technician. She was also willing to wear a holiday sweater just for our #BookFace.

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 #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Good Omens Book CoverI recently ordered a copy of Good Omens, which arrived in my mailbox dingy, awkwardly sized, and with an atrocious “SOON TO BE A TV SERIES” sticker that turned out to not be a sticker at all, but rather a circle printed onto the cover itself like a mosquito trapped in amber — the point being, the book arrived not at all like I had hoped, but rather in a manner that oddly suited it. Like an old, eccentric friend skidding to a stop right at your front-door: slightly out of breath, bedraggled, and altogether entirely welcome.

Good Omens brings together an entire cast of Dramatis Personae to enjoy, but three of the central characters are Crowley (“an Angel who did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards”), Aziraphale (“an Angel, and part-time rare book dealer”), and Adam (“an Antichrist”), all of whom are supposed to bring about the End of the World according to The Plan, but all of whom don’t really want to. Neither Crowley nor Aziraphale, having forged a strange friendship dawning back to the Fall of Man, fancy an eternity of The After run exclusively by either demons or angels. Plus, they’ve developed a sort of attachment to humanity and all of its wonderful imagination. And as for Adam, well… what eleven-year-old wants to do what he’s told?

This is a whirlwind delight of a book; though at times its snappy, quick-witted prose can create as much confusion as it does charm. It’s a book that you would be tempted to read quickly (and can), but you may find yourself (like me) having to go back and carefully reread certain passages. It took me a few attempts to comprehend the baby-swapping that occurs in the beginning. It doesn’t help that a collaboration between two prolific British authors tends to be quite…British, and although the authors’ inclusion of footnotes helps, eventually an untraveled American may need to give up on recognizing where anything is taking place.

It’s a rollicking, reverently irreverent mashup of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and The Holy Bible; a humorous high-energy (oc)cult classic that might end up making a profound point about Life and all that.


Gaiman, Neil, and Terry Pratchett. Good Omens. Harper Collins USA, 2006.

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Friday Reads: Chief inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny

I’ve been working my way through this series for that last year or so, and I’ve yet to be disappointed by one of these books. There were several reasons that drew me to the first book; I was deep into a crime/mystery reading phase, but was feeling burnt out on over-the-top violence and gore. I wanted something still in that genre that wouldn’t keep me up at night, and I found it in Louise Penny’s cozy mysteries. Set in Canada, the series follows aging Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec as he thoughtfully solves murders for their famed homicide division.

Still Life (2005), the first in a what is now a series of 14 (I’m only up to #9 myself) introduces you  to a collection of characters that continue to evolve throughout the series. I especially appreciate the main character, Armand Gamache. he’s not your standard police detective, he’s not the bitter and cynical trope that we see so often in this genre. I’ve also discovered that the audio versions are delightful. The narrator, Ralph Cosham, is exactly what I imagined Armand’s voice to sound like, and the smattering of French through out the books is done equally as well.

These books are the perfect winter read. They’re the kind of books I want to hole up with, wrapped in my favorite cozy blanket and a mug of hot cocoa.

 

Still Life by Louise Penny (Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2006)

#fridayreads

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#BookFaceFriday: NLC Annual Book Drive

We’re on the edge of our seats for NLC’s annual book drive!!

Every year, for the last thirty years, Nebraska Library Commission staff collect new or gently used books for children and teens to be donated to the People’s City Mission and the Salvation Army for their Christmas giveaway for youth in need. The books come from all over. Brought from homes, bought new in stores, or purchased at thrifting excursions, Lincoln City Library’s book sale, or the Scholastic Book Sale.

If you’d like to pitch in, anyone is welcome to drop off donated books. We need them by the end of the day on Dec. 14th, so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army that evening.

We’re having some fun with a few donated books that were just perfect for #BookFaceFriday. Like “Girl, Stolen: A Novel” by April Henry (Henry Holt and Co., 2010). It’s a YA thriller, full of nail-biting suspense.

“Henry spins a captivating tale that shifts between Cheyenne’s and Griffin’s thoughts. Both are well-built, complex characters, trapped in their own ways by life’s circumstances, which–paired with a relentlessly fast pace–ensures a tense read.” ―Publishers Weekly

This week’s #BookFace model is Tan Ngo, NLC’s Accountant for the next few days at least. She’s being stolen away by another state agency, and we can’t believe how much we’re going to miss her!

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 #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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NCompass Live: Summer Reading Program 2019: A Universe of Stories!

Check out next year’s ‘Summer Reading Program 2019: A Universe of Stories!’ on the next FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Next summer will bring plenty of opportunities to talk about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) ideas, especially with science and outer space as the new topic for the Summer Reading Program. Learn about quality books to consider for your library’s collection and start planning for “A Universe of Stories,” in celebration of the historic 1969 landing on the moon. Kids will be clamoring for both fiction and nonfiction titles as they dream about traveling in space.

Presenter: Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Dec. 19 – A Textbook Program is NOT for Us! Re-Imagining Failure Into New Possibilities
  • Dec. 26 – Talking Books and Duplication on Demand!
  • Jan. 2, 2019 – Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read
  • Jan. 9, 2019 – Graphic Novel Collection and Programming
  • Feb. 6, 2019 – You Make Me Want To Break Out

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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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 is now open!

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! We are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries. Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing. Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will be able to present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal by Friday, January 18, 2019.

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

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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 October and November, 2018.  Included are reports from a variety of Nebraska state agencies: Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Service,  Nebraska Legislative Research Office, Nebraska Department of Insurance, University of Nebraska State Museum, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.

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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NCompass Live: Best New Teen Books of 2018

New Date! “Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read” has been rescheduled for January 2, 2019.

You can register for this new date at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=17897

UPDATE: This week’s NCompass Live, “Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read” has been postponed.

We have just been informed that Nebraska State Offices will be closed on Wednesday, December 5, to observe a National Day of Mourning for Former President George H.W. Bush. NCompass Live is the Nebraska Library Commission’s weekly webinar series and as a Nebraska state agency, the Library Commission will now be closed on Wednesday.

We are working to reschedule this NCompass Live and will announce as soon as we have a new date.

Check out the ‘Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read’ on the next FREE NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, December 5 January 2, 2019, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Learn about qualities of books that teens are reading, and the titles Nebraska teens are seeking at their libraries. The presenters will discuss new books that are popular with teens in their communities and describe the qualities these titles possess that make them good choices for many libraries.

Presenters: Jill Annis, School Librarian, Elkhorn Grandview Middle School; Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Dec. 12 – Summer Reading Program 2019: A Universe of Stories!
  • Dec. 19 – A Textbook Program is NOT for Us! Re-Imagining Failure Into New Possibilities
  • Dec. 26 – Talking Books and Duplication on Demand!
  • Jan. 2, 2019 – Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read
  • Jan. 9, 2019 – Graphic Novel Collection and Programming

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: Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstor is a fun, quick read, perfect for the holiday shopping season. It’s a horror story, set in a big box store, formatted to look like a catalog. Author Grady Hendrix has seen a lot of horror movies, and if you have too, there are references aplenty for you to enjoy. He’s also spent a lot of time in Ikea (and does name-check them, as the superstore Orsk is knockoff of the Swedish retail giant) and has a lot of fun with the names of products accordingly. The book has just enough digs about consumer capitalism to make you feel smart, and enough broadly-drawn but relatable characters to make you not dwell on anything too downbeat.

The book would make a good gift, for the reader with a sense of humor on your list. (Or a library book to check out and have in the house, for the family introvert during a holiday gathering.) Are there plot holes? Yes! Is it a masterpiece? No! Is it enjoyable? Definitely. Can you read it surrounded by family being loud, with every TV and speaker in the house on a different channel, while full of sugar? Yes. You’ll still be able to follow the story. You’ll root for the employee character of your choice to make it through the single overnight shift in the possibly haunted, definitely scary Orsk location in Cuyahoga, Ohio, built on the site of an abandoned experimental prison, the Cuyahoga Panopticon. The narrative design is a lot more straightforward than any big box store design. The author is having a good time, and he wants the reader to have one, too.

Hendrix, Grady. Horrorstör: A Novel. Philadelphia, Pa: Quirk, 2014. Print.

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#BookFaceFriday “Homesteading the Plains”

O give me a home where the buffaloes roam!
This week’s #BookFace is about that home on the range
!

#BookFaceFriday is celebrating the Nebraska Book Award winning nonfiction history book “Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History” by Richard Edwards, Jacob K. Friefeld, and Rebecca S. Wingo (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). Richard Edwards and Jacob K. Friefeld, will be at the 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books on December 1st to accept their award and sign books! You don’t want to miss it! The Celebration, free and open to the public, will feature presentations of the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Mildred Bennett Award, and Jane Geske Award, along with the 2018 Nebraska Book Award winners. There will also be a special presentation by the editors of 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, “Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry.”

“Homesteading the Plains offers a bold new look at the history of homesteading, overturning what for decades has been the orthodox scholarly view. The authors begin by noting the striking disparity between the public’s perception of homesteading as a cherished part of our national narrative and most scholars’ harshly negative and dismissive treatment.”—from the book jacket

This week’s #BookFace model is very appropriately, the plains of Nebraska, more accurately a farm on the outskirts of Aimee’s hometown of Elwood!

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: Podcasts as Books

I’m rather late to the world of podcasts, but I’ve been finding more and more really good ones. Even better, I’ve been finding related books for when I just want more of the story or just need a break from listening. Here’s a list of a few I’ve recently gathered:

Limetown. “What happened to the people of Limetown?” Three hundred people living in a small town in Tennessee seemingly disappeared overnight, including Lia Haddock’s uncle Emile. Lia, a journalist, investigates the mysterious research facility and the surrounding town looking for answers as to what really happened that night. The book goes back to seventeen-year old Lia’s, looking for answers about her family who all refuse to talk about the incident, alternating with Emile’s story leading up to the project in Limetown.

Smith, Cote. Limetown: The Prequel to the #1 Podcast. 2018. Print.

Welcome to Night Vale. Presented as a community radio show, the podcast follows Cecil as he updates residents of this small desert town of all the everyday sorts of activities and events, including the dog park, the ghosts, angels, government conspiracies, and such. While I’m still making my way through the podcast archives, I’m sure I’m missing some of the references throughout the book, but it’s still wonderfully weird. The book follows two residents, Diane with her shape-shifting son, and Jackie who owns the pawn shop, and their search for the meaning of “King City.”

Fink, Joseph & Cranor, Jeffrey. Welcome to Night Vale. 2015. Print.

Sawbones. Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband explore how modern medicine has evolved and “all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.” Think eating powdered mummies, using opium or radium as a cure-all, and drilling holes in your head. Although an entertaining introduction to medical history, the book does seem to have a number of editing issues that can be distracting.

McElroy, Justin & McElroy, Sydnee. The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine. 2018. Print.

Lore. Each chapter examines a different “creature” (ghosts, vampires, werewolves, goblins…) and the legends, folklore, or history surrounding them and how they relate to human nature. Great for anyone interested in supernatural/urban legends kinds of things. Though, if you’ve listened to the podcast, the illustrations may be new to you, but the stories are more transcripts.

Mahnke, Aaron. The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures. 2017. Print.

The Moth. True stories told live in front of crowds worldwide, diverse storytellers share their experiences which can be anywhere from dumb things they’ve done to joyful to heartbreaking. The book contains fifty stories from The Moth’s archives. Good if you just want to read some interesting life stories.

Burns, Catherine (editor). The Moth. 2013. Print.

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#BookFaceFriday “What Is Gone”

This week’s Bookface is a smash hit!

#BookFaceFriday is celebrating the Nebraska Book Award winning memoir “What Is Gone” by Amy Knox Brown (Texas Tech University Press, 2017). The author, Amy Knox Brown, will be at the 2018 Celebration of Nebraska Books on December 1st to accept her award and sign books! You don’t want to miss it! The Celebration, free and open to the public, will feature presentations of the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Mildred Bennett Award, and Jane Geske Award, along with the 2018 Nebraska Book Award winners. There will also be a special presentation by the editors of 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection, “Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry.”

“This book speaks to a current tragedy that will bring up what is yet to be dealt with from the author’s past. The back and forth writing works well in this text and references to life in Lincoln and Omaha are numerous for readers who can easily imagine exactly where events took place. The abduction and murder of Candice Harms is described in gruesome detail beyond what those of us who lived through it remember, and violence against women needs to be highlighted again and again as an ill we have not yet solved in our society. An important read for all.”—from the Nebraska Book Award Judges.

This week’s #BookFace model is the beautiful and historic Nebraska Telephone Company Building in downtown Lincoln, it also houses one of our favorite local bookstores, Francie and Finch!! Don’t worry, no vandalism was committed in the creation of this #bookface.

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 City of Lost Fortunes, by Bryan Camp

The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp is an urban fantasy, but in the way of the best Fantasy and Science Fiction, it’s so much more. It makes you think about questions of morality, doing the wrong thing for the right reason, all the shades of gray adults maneuver in the real world, but on steroids in an urban fantasy. Each chapter also begins with a section about mythology, superstition, and religion–which I found fascinating. I didn’t always agree, but it showed me the flavor of New Orleans, where this fantasy takes place. The writer, began writing this on his way out of the city during the flooding of hurricane Katrina.

It’s set in New Orleans, 6 years after Hurricane Katrina hit, and Jude Dubuisson lives on the street, sometimes using his “gifts” to help customers find the lost, from a mother’s earings, to a child taken all the way to Ohio. Not always simple, his gift, he can find the lost item and tell you so much more. But since the hurricane, neither New Orleans, or Jude, has been the same. It’s been raw, painful, to open to his gifts, and he has drawn away from it and himself. But now, his old partner has an invitation that begins it all again. He owes a fortune god a favor, and goes to the meeting place, to be dealt a hand of poker with tarot cards. His seat is among the four gathered supernaturals, a vampire, Scarpelli; an angel, Wings; the Egyptian god of Scribes, Thoth; and voodoo god of the crossroads riding a middle-aged priestess, Papa Legba; and the luck god of New Orleans, Dodge, who resembles the laughing Buddha, or Budhai statues. Jude may owe everything to everyone, and draws a hand of 5 blank cards. He leaves the game, believing it’s a dead man’s hand, but it’s Dodge who is killed.

The characters are well drawn, and even side characters are more than cutouts, but its hard to be certain who will be more important to the story. And the story is a wonderfully worded wild ride. There’s enough here for the literature reader, the travel reader, and the folklorist. We see so many facets of New Orleans actual culture, along with the supernatural aspects in this story, one can nearly smell the different city streets.

The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp, Series: A Crescent City novel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, hardcover, ISBN 9781328810793

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#BookFaceFriday “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine”

Socially awkward never looked so good…

"Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman BookFace

Calling all book clubs! Check out “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel” by Gail Honeyman (Penguin Books, 2018). If it’s good enough for Reece Witherspoon, it’s probably good enough for me. As a  NEW YORK TIMES bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick, this is the perfect choice for your next read. I found Eleanor the perfect antiheroine, hilarious and awkward with a heartbreaking past. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and can be reserved for your book club to read today!

“Eleanor Oliphant is a quirky loner and a model of efficiency with her routine of frozen pizza, vodka and weekly phone calls with Mummy. [She’s] a woman beginning to heal from unimaginable tragedy, with a voice that is deadpan, heartbreaking and humorous all at once.” –NPR.org

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is NLC’s Interlibrary Loan Staff Assistant, Lynda Clause!

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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