Category Archives: Books & Reading

NCompass Live: Guerrilla Storytime

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Guerrilla Storytime’, on Wednesday, December 6, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

One of the greatest Youth Services resources out there is you! Join us for a special online version of Guerrilla Storytime where I’ll ask questions and take responses from attendees. If you know of a special rhyme, tip, or trick that others would enjoy learning, then feel free to submit a video or instructions to Rebecca ahead of time. Send them to hafuboti@gmail.com, and she’ll try to include as many submissions as possible. This guerrilla training method was created by Cory Eckert and pioneered in Guerrilla Storytimes facilitated by Storytime Underground.

Presenter: Rebecca McCorkindale, Assistant Library Director and Creative Director, Gretna (NE) Public Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Dec. 13  How to Choose Your News: Educating College Students on Identifying Bias
  • Dec. 20 – Best New Teen Books of 2017
  • Dec. 27 – The Next Best Thing to Having Your Own Gigabit Internet
  • Jan. 3, 2018 – Best New Children’s Books of 2017

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: NLC Annual Book Drive

Get into the holiday giving spirit with NLC’s annual book drive!!

"Jake" BookFace

“Jake” by Audrey Couloumbis (Yearling, 2011)

Every year, for the last twenty-nine years, Nebraska Library Commission staff collect new or used books for children and teens to be donated to the Salvation Army for their Christmas giveaway for youth in need.

We had some fun with a few donated books that were just perfect for #BookFaceFriday. Even better they had holiday themes! We just couldn’t resist. One of this week’s #BookFace models is Talking Book & Braille Service Director, Scott Scholz, who luckily for us, wears a stocking cap regularly to work.

"Olive the Other Reindeer" BookFace

“Olive, the Other Reindeer” by Vivian Walsh (Author),‎ J. otto Seibold (Author, Illustrator) (Scholastic Inc, 1998)

We also got a little help from the downtown Lincoln skyline. Maybe if you’re lucky this Christmas eve, you’ll spot Olive pulling Santa’s sleigh.

Inside spread of “Olive, the Other Reindeer” by Vivian Walsh (Author),‎ J. otto Seibold (Author, Illustrator) (Scholastic Inc, 1998)

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 on Friday Dec. 15th.

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: The Dirty Life by Kristen Kimball

I have a secret obsession with farming. I have no delusions that I could actual be a farmer -I keep a small garden in the summer months, but I’m not a morning person, and prefer to keep my fingernails clean. However, I love to read tales of those who decide to take the plunge and live off the land. My latest foray into the realm of the modern homesteader was The Dirty Life: A Memoir of  Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball.

A New York City journalist, Kimball heads to rural Pennsylvania to interview an organic farmer about food trends. Despite her big-city lifestyle, she falls in love with the farmer and his dream of community-supported agriculture. Soon she’s traded her studio apartment in the East Village for a ramshackle house upstate, sans electricity, while she and the farmer search for land upon which to build his bucolic vision. She ditches 90% of her belongings, begins raising chickens, and gets engaged on a mountaintop. And that’s Chapter 1.

The rest of the book spans the first year of Kimball’s life with the farmer, as they find their land and begin the process of creating a self-sustaining farm, planning their wedding, and convincing their new community of the value of local, organic food. It’s full of the pastoral details I adore in print (but would run from screaming in real life I’m sure!): misbehaving roosters, tomato plants as tall as trees, Amish auctions, and a runaway team of horses. Kimball’s training as a journalist serves her well; I could smell the dirt and the vegetation and the life on the farm. As a good book should, it made me sad when I reached the last pages, but I’ll tuck it onto my bookshelf, knowing that I can visit the farm any time I want.

Kimball, Kristen. The Dirty Life: a Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. New York: Scribner, 2010.
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NCompass Live: Libraries Rock! : Summer Reading Program 2018

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Libraries Rock! : Summer Reading Program 2018’, on Wednesday, November 29, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

For Summer 2018 the Summer Reading Program motto is “Libraries Rock!” and the theme is music. Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services at the Nebraska Library Commission, will give brief book talks of new titles that will address the music focus.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Dec. 6 – Guerrilla Storytime
  • Dec. 13  How to Choose Your News: Educating College Students on Identifying Bias
  • Dec. 27 – The Next Best Thing to Having Your Own Gigabit Internet

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 “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver

Happy #BookFaceFriday from the Nebraska Library Commission!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Thanksgiving is officially over for another year. We’ve put on our stretchy pants, relaxed to watch some football, and are eyeing the leftover pumpkin pie. Maybe it’s time to indulge in something other than carbs. Get back to the basics with bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” (Harper, 2007). Join Barbra and her family on this food themed adventure as they “vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it”. Reserve this nonfiction narrative for your book club today!

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Innovation Studio’s Staff Assistant, Cynthia Nigh, who also happens to be an avid cook and gardener. Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Solo by Kwame Alexander

Written in free verse, we meet Blade, who is almost 18, and the son of a famous rock star. His father is now more famous for his crazy acts while drunk or on drugs. His older sister is still supportive of their father, but not Blade, not anymore. On the day of his high school graduation, when he was ready to address the students and parents, his father created a spectacle by running a motorcycle into the stand. That evening his sister reveals that Blade was adopted.

And in no time he is on his way to Ghana, to find his birth mother.  She is from the U.S. but is working in Ghana, to make a difference.  Blade has much to sort through— the death of his adoptive mother when he was about 10, his father’s behaviors, his girlfriend cheating on him, meeting his birth mother, the people he has met in Ghana, and his nightmares that won’t let go.  A look at the cathartic moments in the main character’s life, and what it reveals of his true self.  Amazing.

Alexander is one of my favorite authors, and this title is one more of his I greatly enjoyed.

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Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2018

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2018 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 2018 will be held on Friday, February 23, 2018 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 12, 2018.

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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NCompass Live: Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) to the Good Life

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Non-Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) to the Good Life’, on Wednesday, November 22, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

Blind and visually impaired people use screen readers and other assistive technology to access computers. This presentation will focus on how free screen readers can be used in the library to help visually impaired patrons gain equal access to information. Learn how screen readers work and how to set up a computer station for the blind. The presenter will also provide an overview of how to make your websites more screen reader friendly. A virtual handout will be available with some helpful information, including resources for both librarians and patrons to learn how to operate screen readers.

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Reader Services Advisor, Talking Book and Braille Service, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Nov. 29 – Libraries Rock! : Summer Reading Program 2018
  • Dec. 6 – Guerrilla Storytime
  • Dec. 13  How to Choose Your News: Educating College Students on Identifying Bias
  • Dec. 27 – The Next Best Thing to Having Your Own Gigabit Internet

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: The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

With the recent release of The Dark Tower movie, I decided to finally start reading the Stephen King series that the movie is based on.

So far, I’ve only read the first book in the Dark Tower Series, The Gunslinger. I really liked the feel of the book, which was a mixture of locations – western? but with magic? far into our own future after a major unknown apocalypse? alternate history? parallel universe? Unfortunately, by the end of the first book, you still don’t know exactly where or when you are.

So, of course now I’m hooked and have to continue reading to find out what’s really going on. Why is Roland, the last Gunslinger, chasing the Man in Black? Who is the Man in Black…really? What is the Dark Tower? Who is this strange boy Jake, who seems to know a lot about our reality and time, but seems to have some memory loss? Does he belong in this realm or ours?

Although it is the first book in the series, The Gunslinger was a bit disjointed in introducing the characters, location, and plot. It felt like you should already know something about this place before reading this book, but you don’t. And it has an almost annoying ‘non-ending’, in that its tale isn’t resolved, so you do have to continue with the rest of the books to get the full story. Good job on sucking us in, Stephen King!

Luckily, I was able to finish the book before I saw the movie. It was very interesting to match up the parts of the movie that came from the first book in the Dark Tower series. But, I did know that there were also parts of the movie that were pulled from other books in the series, so I kind of got some spoilers, but I don’t think any of them have ruined my desire to keep reading.

I know the movie has received some bad reviews. But, after my reading of The Gunslinger, I think there is so much to the world of the Dark Tower, that it is just too difficult to squeeze it all into one film. That’s why I’m glad that there are talks about a TV series being done. I think that will do a better job of representing the books.

I recommend reading the books and watching the movie. They are both similar and different from each other, and I enjoyed them each for what they are.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” by Ann Packer

It’s #BookFaceFriday at the Nebraska Library Commission!

"The Dive From Clausen's Pier" BookFace PhotoHave you ever just packed a bag, and left? For a vacation? A road trip? What about to start a whole new life? In Ann Packer’s debut novel, “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” (Vintage, 2003), main character, Carrie Bell, does just that. Reserve this intimate and emotionally thrilling novel for your book club today!

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

This week’s #BookFace model is Nebraska Library Innovation Studio’s Project Manager, JoAnn McManus. Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld

Happy #BookFaceFriday from the Nebraska Library Commission!

BookFace: Uglies by Scott WesterfeldDid you know we offer YA titles in our Book Club Kits? Don’t miss out on Scott Westerfeld’s teen novel “Uglies” (Simon Pulse, 2011)! “Uglies” is the first novel in a three-part series that has more than 3 million books in print, has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and spent more than fifty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

You’ve seen this week’s #BookFace model before, you just might not know it. Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen, is also our weekly hand model holding up all the books we feature. Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Important Artifacts… by Leanne Shapton

This is a story about a relationship coming together and then falling apart. It’s a very unusual book by Leanne Shapton, with a very long title: Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry.

The story is told through the format of an auction catalog, and items are presented in the order they would have mattered in the relationship—a pair of vintage salt and pepper shakers given as a gift, a pair of snowshoes worn on a winter vacation, leftover jars of homemade jam that the couple gave out as holiday presents. Often the items are accompanied by pictures of Lenore or Harold wearing or using the item. Some ephemera, such as opera programs or wedding invitations, bear scribbled conversations between the couple, and these are very telling. Also illuminating are the inscriptions inside the books given to each other as gifts.

Our characters have tastes refined enough to pass judgment on, without having to feel mean about it.  These are the sort of things people buy selectively when they have more taste than money—shoes from Prada and Louboutin, toiletries from Chanel and Kiehl’s, clothes from Sonia Rykiel and John Galliano. Even the second-hand items are of good provenance—an Elsa Schiaparelli coat from a shop in Greece that someone may have said once belonged to the famous Maria Callas (someone else may have believed it—I’m reminded of the scene in Desperately Seeking Susan where the vintage shop owner tells Roberta that Susan’s jacket once belonged to Jimi Hendrix).

Each object could be expounded upon, so I’ll go for those porcelain poodles on the cover, given to Lenore by Harold. It’s been made clear in the book, previous to arrival of these dogs on page 68, that Lenore wants a dog—and that Harold doesn’t. Who thinks it’s cute to buy someone little dog figurines, as a gift, when that person really wants a real live dog, and might be thinking they’re actually going to get a dog for a present instead? Someone in touch with the recipient’s tastes but not their desires. Yes, a dog is horrible gift, and yes, Lenore had no reason to expect a dog was a possible gift. But I know how dog owners think, and it occurred to her that she was going to get a puppy as a present, and she would have taken that puppy as a good sign about their relationship. This is a good example, then, of what was wrong with this relationship: a couple that likes the same things (objects) but doesn’t love the same things (experiences, pursuits, achievements).

This is a very unique way to tell a story, especially a love story. It’s a comment on commercialism, on aspirational consumerism, on the expression of identity through objects. But beyond that, it’s engaging—we really do get a sense of these people, and we care about them, just based on photos and descriptions of their possessions.

Shapton, Leanne. Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009. Print.
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NCompass Live: Using YA Literature to Inspire Teen Girls’ Interests in STEM

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Using YA Literature to Inspire Teen Girls’ Interests in STEM’, on Wednesday, November 8, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

If Hunger Games can inspire young women to take up the bow and arrow, then surely other young adult (YA) titles can inspire enthusiasm for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). This program will discuss the role of YA fiction in teen development and specific YA titles to encourage STEM interests with teen girls.

Presenter: Dr. Melissa Cast-Brede, Department of Teacher Education, College of Education, University of Nebraska Omaha.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Nov. 15 – What’s Up @ the Commission?
  • Nov. 29 – Libraries Rock! : Summer Reading Program 2018
  • Dec. 6 – Guerrilla Storytime
  • Dec. 13  How to Choose Your News: Educating College Students on Identifying Bias
  • Dec. 27 – The Next Best Thing to Having Your Own Gigabit Internet

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

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

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What’s Up Doc? New State Agency Publications at the Nebraska Library Commission

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for October 2017.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, the Nebraska Department of Labor, the Nebraska Secretary of State, 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 .pdf 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, or contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian, or Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

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Friday Reads: The Country Club Murders by Julie Mulhern

I’ve been trying to read more mysteries lately and it seems as though I’ve really been missing out on some things. The Deep End was one of those books that I saw on Amazon for $2, bought on a whim, and got hooked.  This is the first book in The Country Club Murders series by Julie Mulhern. The sixth book in the series, Cold as Ice, was just published October 17th.

Set in 1974 Kansas City, MO, the book begins with Ellison Russell, a rather successful artist, who goes out for an early morning swim at the local country club, only to bump into the dead body of Madeline Harper (who happens to be her husband’s mistress). She would be the prime suspect for Madeline’s murder except that Ellison’s husband, Henry, has disappeared. Murder, blackmail, an overbearing mother, and country club secrets all surround Ellison as she tries to discover who the killer is while protecting her teenage daughter, Grace.

Mulhern does a good job at developing the mystery and the characters. In the beginning, Ellison seems like a fairly defeated character. She has her art, but is just waiting for Grace to graduate high school so she can divorce Henry. Throughout the book though, she starts to stand up and stop caring what her mother (or fellow country club members) think. Funny. Easy to read. Not quite a cozy mystery, there’s a bit of an edge to it with the slight references to Henry’s affairs. Borderline cozy?

 

 

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#BookFaceFriday “Broken For You” by Stephanie Kallos

Happy #BookFaceFriday from the Nebraska Library Commission!

Broken For You #BookFaceWe love highlighting Nebraska authors, especially those we offer in our Book Club Kits, like Stephanie Kallos’s “Broken For You” (Grove Press, 2004)! This national bestseller was a 2006 One Book One Lincoln finalist and a Today Show Book Club selection.

Love this #bookface & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available for book clubs at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/ref/bookclub.

Our #BookFaceFriday model is Nebraska Library Commission’s Accountant, Tan Ngo. Check out our past #BookFace photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads; Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is dark fantasy, set in a world of manners reminiscent of 1700s Europe, and all that is bright and dark in that world.  A gritty place of revenge by an underdog who should not be able to succeed, a school for assassins, a city built of the bones of a fallen god, where there is literally rarely a true night of darkness. All this makes the discord between the main gods seem…anticlimactic, normal or even anticipated.  And of course, forbidden magic just to makes things more interesting.

Mia Corvere is ten when her father is part of a failed rebellion. He is hanged before her eyes.  All of her family is dead or imprisoned, and she narrowly escapes death more than once, before becoming an apprentice assassin. Mr. Kristoff creates a very human character in Mia, and despite all she’s been through, and all she’s done, she’s still human. Both she, and her sidekick are smart mouthed, wry, and funny. Mr Kindly, a not-cat, shadow creature, has limitations, but aides Mia throughout.  The author also contrasts the narrative of her early days with her teen years going to the Red Church of the Goddess of Night and Murder.  The entertaining narrative is also accompanied by footnotes! And yes, please read the footnotes! Not only do you get back story, such as the dirt on the argument between the Goddess of Darkness and her Three eyed Husband of Light, but also more humor.  Mia isn’t a hardened assassin, nor an action figure killing machine–(although, of course, to go through that punishment and keep on going….only in fiction & the movies!).

There is a lot going on in the book, who is the fallen god, really? Where did all the suns come from? Why do the shadows have such power, and whose side are they really on? While Mr. Kindly seems to be Mia’s familiar and friend, bonded at an early age, will he always be there for her?

This is definitely an adult book with blood, gore, murder, sex, etc.  It is not Hogwarts. The reading may be slow for some, but if you got through Tolkien, this is no challenge.

And it’s only the first part! Godsgrave, is book two of the Nevernight Chronicle, to be finished in a third book.

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Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry Chosen as 2018 One Book One Nebraska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 23, 2017

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Jo Ryan
402-471-3434
800-307-2665

Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry Chosen as 2018 One Book One Nebraska   

People across Nebraska are encouraged to read the work of Nebraska poets in 2018—and then talk about the poems with their friends and neighbors. Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry (The Backwaters Press, 2007) edited by Greg Kosmicki and Mary K. Stillwell was selected as the 2018 One Book One Nebraska at the Nebraska Center for the Book’s Celebration of Nebraska Books on October 21.

Poems by more than eighty contemporary Nebraska poets are featured in the collection. This includes Pulitzer Prize winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States Ted Kooser, Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen, former State Poet William Kloefkorn, several poets who have had their poems read on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac (Greg Kuzma, Marjorie Saiser, Grace Bauer, and Greg Kosmicki), and widely noted poets Hilda Raz, Roy Scheele, Steve Langan, and many others.

Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events that will encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities will be available after January 1, 2018 at http://onebook.nebraska.gov. Updates and activity listings will be posted on the One Book One Nebraska Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/onebookonenebraska.

2018 will mark the fourteenth year of the One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book. 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.

One Book One Nebraska is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. The Nebraska Center for the Book 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 housed at and 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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Young Nebraskans Win Scholarships through their Library Summer Reading Program

Nebraska’s young readers had a great time at the 2017 Summer Reading Programs in libraries across the state and some of them won a $529. Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg, First National Bank of Omaha, and the Nebraska Library Commission presented 15 Nebraska children and teenagers each with a $529 contribution to a NEST 529 College Savings account in the fourth annual Read to Win Drawing at the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda. Each winner’s respective library branch was awarded $250. For more information see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases/1710winners.nest529.aspx.

PHOTO CAPTION: Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg  with Joanna Swanson of First National Bank of Omaha and Rod Wagner, director of the Nebraska Library Commission, and some of the winners of the Read to Win summer reading program. From left, back row, Caine Genereux of Bartlett, Braden Anderson of Hallam and Brayden Reinboth of Lincoln. Center row, Emery Palser of Ravenna, Boaz Roan of Grand Island and Ruth Mansour of Omaha. Front row, from left, Lincoln Lappe and Jacob Miller of Lincoln

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Friday Reads: Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who would never read a book calledPaperbacks from Hell - cover Satan’s Pets and my kind of people.  For the latter, Paperbacks from Hell is a delight, a treasure trove of unseemly old horror novels from the days when skeletons were popular cover models and literally any animal could be cast as a monster.

Grady Hendrix is building quite a name for himself as a genre fiction standout.  He wrote Horrorstör, history’s greatest novel about a haunted furniture store.  And then he wrote My Best Friend’s Exorcism, which he describes as “Beaches meets The Exorcist, only it’s set in the Eighties.”  So we’re all pretty lucky that he found the time to compile this book and document the explosion of paperbacks that followed Ira Levin and William Peter Blatty’s surprise success.

It’s a long trek from Rosemary’s Baby & The Exorcist to Viking mummies & psychotic cows, and Hendrix navigates masterfully.  If the only noteworthy thing about a book is a shark/grizzly bear fight, that’s all that’s mentioned.  More worthwhile works get lengthier treatments and Hendrix maintains his sense of humor throughout.  I suspect that it’s probably more enjoyable to read his witty synopses than most of the novels they describe.  For example:

“[T]hough we all feel sympathy for the yeti who hates snow in Snowman, how many ski instructors will we allow him to decapitate before we hire a bunch of hunters and Vietnam vets to go after him with crossbows armed with tiny nuclear arrowheads?”

Yes!  The proceedings are organized topically, so we spend time with killer clowns, critters, toys, Santas, and skeletons, the last being my favorites due to their assorted jobs.  Even in this tiny niche of publishing history, there’s a lot of diversity and the only thing that really unifies these books is that they are all better than Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

I’d recommend reading this in print, as it’s the best way to experience the garish covers that are reprinted here, and I’d also advise keeping a notebook handy—this book almost doubled my “to-read” list.  A wildly fun read that’s perfect for pumpkin season.

Hendrix, G., & Errickson, W. (2017). Paperbacks from Hell: the twisted history of 70s and 80s horror fiction. Philadelphia: Quirk Books.

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