Tag Archives: Book Covers

Friday Reads & BookFace Friday: “Making It So” by Patrick Stewart

I remember watching and enjoying Star Trek: The Next Generation, starring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, but I wouldn’t call myself a diehard Trekkie. That was no barrier to finding Making It So, Stewart’s recently released memoir, enchanting and delightful. Especially the Audie award-winning audio edition, narrated by Stewart, himself.

As you can imagine, he declaims every word of every sentence with gusto!

Stewart (b. 1940) starts at the beginning, describing what it was like growing up working class in Yorkshire in the 1940s and early 1950s. This includes a brief etymology lesson on the Yorkshire dialect he grew up speaking, which, according to Stewart, would have been “nearly incomprehensible to Londoners, let alone Americans.” For instance, he explains that “ata,” which meant “are you,” descended from “art though”; “nowt” meant “nothing”; “Geroff!” meant “leave me alone”; and a chamber pot was a “gazunder,” because it “goes under” the bed. This is relevant since in order to become an actor he had to learn “received pronunciation,” or “RP.” (RP was the standard pronunciation used by BBC broadcasters back in the day.)

Stewart also does a good job conveying the degree to which theater permeated English society at the time. It ranged from amateur dramatics (“am-drams”) at the local level, to a network of regional repertory theaters, all the way up to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon and the National Theatre in London. And thanks to financial support by the government in the form of grants and scholarships, it was accessible to alleven a working-class boy like Stewart, who got his start locally and then worked his way to the top.

If you are particularly interested in the Star Trek: Next Generation portion of this memoir, you’ll have to be patient, or skip to chapter 16. From there on out (there are a total of 25 chapters in the book), you will be rewarded with lots of insider, behind-the-scenes information about Stewart’s time as Picard. There are also plenty of details about his stint as Charles Xavier in the X-Men movie franchise, and voice work for Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy and American Dad, as well as other television, film, theater, and social media projects he’s participated in, including reciting all Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram during the pandemic lockdown.

While this memoir will appeal to Trekkies, theater nerds, and Anglofiles, there are also elements that will resonate with anyone who has lived a long life filled with both gratitude and regret. In later chapters, Stewart expresses remorse over the demise of his 23-year marriage to his first wife, and the damage that did to his relationship with their children, Daniel and Sophie: “[T]he hurt caused by my split with their mother has never fully gone away,” he writes. After a second brief marriage falls apart, he laments: “And so, another divorce. I felt stupid and responsible.” But he also joyfully expounds on life with his third wife, Sunny Ozell, to whom he’s been married since 2013, as well as his well-publicized friendship with Ian McKellen. Overall, Stewart comes across as a vibrant, engaged octogenarian who, despite living a full, rich life, is still ready for more!

Stewart, Patrick. Making It So: A Memoir. Gallery Books, 2023.

You can find “Making It So: A Memoir” by Patrick Stewart as an eBook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & Friday Reads? We suggest checking out all the titles available in our Book Club collection, permanent collection, and Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Two Tribes” by Emily Bowen Cohen

This #BookFaceFriday is the best of both worlds!

It’s a picture perfect #BookFace, with “Two Tribes” by Emily Bowen Cohen (Heartdrum, 2023) it is a graphic novel geared towards YA or tween readers based on the author’s real life. You can hear all about it on our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder’s, “Best New Teen Reads of 2023” NCompass Live presentation. You can watch the recording and find out all about her book lists on the NCompass Live webpage. In this episode, Sally and Dana Fontaine, Fremont High School Librarian, give brief book talks and reviews of new titles recommended to school and public librarians, covering both middle and high school levels, that were published within the last year.

“In Mia’s struggle to reconcile her ancestries, the creator develops a credible portrayal of self-image and acceptance. Plentiful panels rendered in earth tones further enhance this nuanced portrait of Mia’s search for identity.”

Publishers Weekly

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: Atlantis, by David Gibbins

I am a huge fan of adventure novels and movies, so over the years I have really enjoyed the various books of Clive Cussler, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, David Baldacci, and Lee Child. An action/adventure author that I hadn’t read, David Gibbins, popped up on my radar recently, so I decided to try his first novel in the Jack Howard series, Atlantis, and it did not disappoint! Atlantis was written in 2005, and there are now 11 books in the series , so I’m really looking forward to reading the next one!

Archaeologist Jack Howard is a brave but cautious man. When he embarked on a new search for buried treasure in the Mediterranean, he knew it was a long shot. When he uncovered a golden disc that spoke of a lost civilization more advanced than any in the ancient world, he started to get excited. But when Jack Howard and his intrepid crew finally got close to uncovering the secrets the sea had held for thousands of years, nothing could have prepared them for what they would find in the murky depths – not only a shocking truth about a lost world but an explosive secret that could have devastating consequences today. Jack is determined to stop the legacy of Atlantis from falling into the wrong hands, whatever the cost. But first he must do battle to prevent a global catastrophe! **Synopsis courtesy of Fantastic Fiction**

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#BookFaceFriday “Between the Lines” by Nikki Grimes

Extra! Extra! Read all about this #BookFaceFriday!

This week’s #BookFace is the 2024 selection for One Book for Nebraska Teens “Between the Lines” by Nikki Grimes (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019).

In case you missed it, this week’s NCompass Live was all about our One Book for Nebraska Kids and Teens program, you can still watch the recording and find out all about the program on the NCompass Live webpage. This book is available as a part of our Book Club Kit collection; we have ten copies along with a discussion and activity guide. The Nebraska Library Commission has a large collection of children and young adult titles available to school and library book clubs. You can even search the collection based on grade level to find age and reading level appropriate books.

“These complex students use poetry to find their truest voices and write their own stories. . . . Each character occupies his or her own space and no one character or voice monopolizes the story. The narratives of immigrants, foster children, families effected by incarceration, and teens taxed with familial burdens are thoroughly explored in a thought-provoking way. The poems and voices are a perfect blend of the many facets of American teens’ lives. An excellent companion book that lends itself easily to a teacher’s poetry unit, this is great choice for school and public libraries.”

School Library Journal

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Nothing but the Truth” by Avi

You can’t handle the #BookFace!

This week’s #BookFace is Newbery Honor Book, “Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel” by Avi (Scholastic, 1991).  It’s available as a part of our Book Club Kit collection; we have ten copies along with study questions.

The Nebraska Library Commission has a large collection of children and young adult titles available to school and library book clubs. You can even search the collection based on grade level to find age and reading level appropriate books.

“Structured as a series of journal entries, memos, letters and dialogues, this highly original novel emerges as a witty satire of high school politics, revealing how truth can easily become distorted.”

Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

While we don’t have this particular title available through Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, we do have a significant number of the author’s other works available. You can find twenty books by Avi in the Kids and Teens section. Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple

You don’t have to go looking for this #BookFaceFriday.

Lighten the mood with this week’s #BookFace, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette: A Novel” by Maria Semple (Back Bay Books, 2013), a hilarious novel about a mother and daughter.  It’s available for checkout as an ebook and Audiobook from Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, as part of the curated collection “Have a Laugh: Humorous Reads.” This title is also available as a Book Club Kit; we have thirteen copies available along with discussion questions.

“In her second novel…Semple pieces together a modern-day comic caper full of heart and ingenuity….a compelling composite of a woman’s life-and the way she’s viewed by the many people who share it. As expected from a writer who has written episodes of Arrested Development, the nuances of mundane interactions are brilliantly captured, and the overarching mystery deepens with each page, until the thoroughly satisfying dénouement.”

Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday “The Second Mrs. Astor” by Shana Abé

Come sail away with #BookFaceFriday!

Grab your life jackets, this week’s #BookFace is about to hit rough waters!

The Second Mrs. Astor: a Novel of the Titanic” by Shana Abé (Kensington Books, 2021) is the story of the scandalous marriage of one of America’s wealthiest businessmen and his decades-younger bride. After a lovely honeymoon abroad, they head for home on a brand-new ship… and you probably can guess how that chapter ends! This historical fiction title is available as an ebook and audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, and is one of many titles that are always available; their publishers allow for for simultaneous use (SU), so you can skip the wait and find a great read now!

“Abé is an exquisite storyteller. Rich in detail and deeply moving.” 

—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

This week’s model is our brand-new Talking Book & Braille Service (TBBS) Reader Services Advisor, Jo Mezger. Jo comes to us by way of Lincoln City Libraries, and their favorite genre to read is magical realism (but they could while away hours with the hip-hop books at LCL’s Polley Music Library as well!) Welcome aboard Jo!

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 194 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,174 audiobooks, 36,611 ebooks, and 5,210 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads & #BookFaceFriday: The Fabric of Civilization by Virginia Postrel 

The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.

Mark Weiser

Virginia Postrel’s The Fabric of Civilization begins with the dawn of human history, with the first fibers twisted into string, and ends with modern innovators creating new fibers and types of fabrics. The book is sectioned into seven chapters, each covering a certain step in the fiber-to-textile life cycle: Fiber, Thread, Cloth, Dye, Traders, Consumers, and Innovators. Postrel’s core thesis: fabric was among our first technologies, and it was also our most crucial and defining technology — and it still is. “We hairless apes co-evolved with our cloth,” Postrel writes. “From the moment we’re wrapped in a blanket at birth, we are surrounded by textiles.”     

This book was absolutely fascinating. As a knitter, crocheter, and now a beginning spinner, part of my awe for the fiber crafts comes from their long-stretching history: from me, to my grandmother, to endless generations past. The way I spin yarn from wool, sitting on my couch in front of the TV in 2024, uses the same motions that would be familiar to someone in ancient history. Fibers spun into thread were necessary for the cloth needed for sails, clothing, blankets, political functions, military uniforms, and religious/cultural rituals. My burgeoning love of spinning is likely why Chapter 2: Thread was my favorite. Postrel’s breakdown of how long it would take spinners and their spindles from different eras to produce the thread that was so crucial for exploration, competition, commerce, and general livelihood was incredibly thorough. Take a moment to think about all the fabric around you right now. That fabric is composed of woven threads or knitted yarns. Today’s modern factories use heavy machinery to spin fibers into miles and miles of that thread for jeans, cotton shirts, and wool coats. For much of history, however, that process needed to be done entirely by hand. Much of the rest of the world’s economy could not work until the spinners did, and the quest to expedite the process drove inventions and innovations that had far-reaching effects on industries beyond that of textiles.     

At times, Postrel’s overview and analysis bottlenecks into myopia, and the occasional – but thankfully brief – insertions of her own personal experiences with the textile process were jarring. Postrel occasionally falls into a columnist’s cadence, sacrificing the distance of academic de rigueur for a more conversational tone. Another reader might appreciate the first-person connections and exposé-esque sections – a la How It’s Madeand I can certainly understand the reasoning behind her choice, but I did not find that these added much to the book.  

Her myopia, however, is less forgivable. Postrel would have crafted a more solid body of work had she matched the title with the true scope of her endeavor, and called the book The Fabric of Western Civilization. Industrial Revolution-era Europe and New England are centered far more prominently than I would have preferred. Postrel touches briefly on the interaction between the South’s cotton industry and England’s mills — even after the latter abolished slavery — but doesn’t spend as long on that connection, even though I feel it would have bolstered her argument about global commerce and economy. This was an especially disappointing flaw, especially given Postrel’s own definitions of “civilization,” including the fact that it is a cumulative process not bound to one region or culture; in fact, as Postrel does mention, exchange (willing and unwilling) is what drove the evolution of textiles and humanity both.   

Postrel also falls into the trap of rebuttal for the sake of novel arguments, which end up bordering on dismissal of broader historical truths: particularly and most egregiously in her argument about cotton in the Pre-Civil War South, singling out Edward E. Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (2013) and his statement that increased cotton production was caused by ever-intensifying brutality inflicted on enslaved people. Postrel counters that the production increase can be simply explained, instead, by advancements in both cotton stock and processing technologies. However, there is no reason why both cannot be true. The same root issue is also at play when she disregards the low-wages of the pre-industrial (and typically female) spinners as solely a business decision, devoid of the influence of gender and class politics. History is not a field with single-causes and single-effects.  

Part of the appeal of non-fiction to me, however, is actively engaging with the arguments that the author presents. A sense of wonder is important, but I also want to think about the topic and build my own perspective. And so, overall, I enjoyed the book. I listened to the audiobook read by Caroline Cole, but I do plan to check out the print copy from my local library, in order to explore Postrel’s footnotes and bibliography for further reading and learning opportunities.  

You can find “The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World” by Virginia Postrel is available for download on BARD, the Braille and Audio Reading Download service. BARD is a service offered by the Nebraska Library Commission Talking Book and Braille Service and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress.

Love this #BookFace & reading? We suggest checking out all the titles available in our Book Club collection, permanent collection, and Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

Postrel, Virginia. The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World. Basic Books/OrangeSky Audio, 2021.  

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Friday Reads: The Indigo Girl

The Indigo Girl, by Natasha Boyd, is an exceptional example of historical fiction, one of my favorite genres. In this incredible story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial South Carolina defies all expectations to achieve her dream.

“The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return—against the laws of the day—she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.” [Audible]

This book is set between 1739 and 1744, and Natasha Boyd has done extensive research and masterful writing to form the story of a remarkable young woman whose actions were before her time. I listened to the Audible version, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, and highly recommend this story about a little known piece of American history: the story of The Indigo Girl.

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Every two months we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in November and December, 2023:

Great Plains Forts, by Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes; Series: Discover the Great Plains

Great Plains Forts introduces readers to the fortifications that have impacted the lives of Indigenous peoples, fur trappers and traders, travelers, and military personnel on the Great Plains and prairies from precontact times to the present. Using stories to introduce patterns in fortification construction and use, Jay H. Buckley and Jeffery D. Nokes explore the eras of fort-building on the Great Plains from Canada to Texas. Stories about fortifications and fortified cities built by Indigenous peoples reveal the lesser-known history of precontact violence on the plains.

Great Plains Forts includes stories of Spanish presidios and French and British outposts in their respective borderlands. Forts played a crucial role in the international fur trade and served as emporiums along the overland trails and along riverway corridors as Euro-Americans traveled into the American West. Soldiers and families resided in these military outposts, and this military presence in turn affected Indigenous Plains peoples. The appendix includes a reference guide organized by state and province, enabling readers to search easily for specific forts.

Making Space : Neighbors, Officials, and North African Migrants in the Suburbs of Paris and Lyon, by Melissa K. Byrnes; Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

Since the 2005 urban protests in France, public debate has often centered on questions of how the country has managed its relationship with its North African citizens and residents. In Making Space Melissa K. Byrnes considers how four French suburbs near Paris and Lyon reacted to rapidly growing populations of North Africans, especially Algerians before, during, and after the Algerian War. In particular, Byrnes investigates what motivated local actors such as municipal officials, regional authorities, employers, and others to become involved in debates over migrants’ rights and welfare, and the wide variety of strategies community leaders developed in response to the migrants’ presence. An examination of the ways local policies and attitudes formed and re-formed communities offers a deeper understanding of the decisions that led to the current tensions in French society and questions about France’s ability—and will—to fulfill the promise of liberty, equality, and fraternity for all of its citizens. Byrnes uses local experiences to contradict a version of French migration history that reads the urban unrest of recent years as preordained.

Modern Jewish Theology : the First One Hundred Years, 1835-1935, Edited by Samuel J. Kessler and George Y. Kohler; Series: JPS Anthologies of Jewish Thought

Modern Jewish Theology is the first comprehensive collection of Jewish theological ideas from the pathbreaking nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, featuring selections from more than thirty of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the era as well as explorations of Judaism’s identity, uniqueness, and relevance; the origin of ethical monotheism; and the possibility of Jewish existentialism. These works—most translated for the first time into English by top scholars in modern Jewish history and philosophy—reveal how modern Jewish theology developed in concert with broader trends in Jewish intellectual and social modernization, especially scholarship (Wissenschaft des Judentums), politics (liberalism and Zionism), and religious practice (movement Judaism and the struggles to transcend denominational boundaries).

This anthology thus opens to the English-language reader a true treasure house of source material from the formative years of modern Jewish thought, bringing together writings from the very first generations, who imagined biblical and rabbinic texts and modern scientific research would produce a synthetic view of God, Israel, and the world. A general introduction and chapter introductions guide students and nonspecialists through the key themes and transformations in modern Jewish theology, and extensive annotations immerse them in the latest scholarship.

Reading the Contemporary Author : Narrative, Authority, Fictionality, Edited by Alison Gibbons and Elizabeth King; Series: Frontiers of Narrative

Readers, literary critics, and theorists alike have long demonstrated an abiding fascination with the author, both as a real person—an artist and creator—and as a theoretical concept that shapes the way we read literary works. Whether anonymous, pseudonymous, or trending on social media, authors continue to be an object of critical and readerly interest. Yet theories surrounding authorship have yet to be satisfactorily updated to register the changes wrought on the literary sphere by the advent of the digital age, the recent turn to autofiction, and the current literary climate more generally. In Reading the Contemporary Author the contributors look back on the long history of theorizing the author and offer innovative new approaches for understanding this elusive figure.

Mapping the contours of the vast territory that is contemporary authorship, this collection investigates authorship in the context of narrative genres ranging from memoir and autobiographically informed texts to biofiction and novels featuring novelist narrators and characters. Bringing together the perspectives of leading scholars in narratology, cultural theory, literary criticism, stylistics, comparative literature, and autobiography studies, Reading the Contemporary Author demonstrates that a variety of interdisciplinary viewpoints and critical stances are necessary to capture the multifaceted nature of contemporary authorship.

To Educate American Indians : Selected Writings from the National Educational Association’s Department of Indian Education, 1900-1904, Edited by Larry C. Skogen; Series: Indigenous Education

To Educate American Indians presents the most complete versions of papers presented at the National Educational Association’s Department of Indian Education meetings during a time when the debate about how best to “civilize” Indigenous populations dominated discussions. During this time two philosophies drove the conversation. The first, an Enlightenment era–influenced universalism, held that through an educational alchemy American Indians would become productive, Christianized Americans, distinguishable from their white neighbors only by the color of their skin. Directly confronting the assimilationists’ universalism were the progressive educators who, strongly influenced by the era’s scientific racism, held the notion that American Indians could never become fully assimilated. Despite these differing views, a frightening ethnocentrism and an honor-bound dedication to “gifting” civilization to Native students dominated the writings of educators from the NEA’s Department of Indian Education.

For a decade educators gathered at annual meetings and presented papers on how best to educate Native students. Though the NEA Proceedings published these papers, strict guidelines often meant they were heavily edited before publication. In this volume Larry C. Skogen presents many of these unedited papers and gives them historical context for the years 1900 to 1904.

Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country : Ruin, Realism, and Possibility in the American West, Edited by Mark Fiege, Michael J. Lansing, and Leisl Carr Childers

Wallace Stegner is an iconic western writer. His works of fiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Angle of Repose and Big Rock Candy Mountain, as well as his nonfiction books and essays introduced the beauty and character of the American West to thousands of readers. Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country assesses his life, work, and legacy in light of contemporary issues and crises. Along with Stegner’s achievements, the contributors show how his failures offer equally crucial ways to assess the past, present, and future of the region.

Drawing from history, literature, philosophy, law, geography, and park management, the contributors consider Stegner’s racial liberalism and regional vision, his gendered view of the world, his understandings of conservation and the environment, his personal experience of economic collapse and poverty, his yearning for community, and his abiding attachment to the West. Wallace Stegner’s Unsettled Country is an even-handed reclamation of Stegner’s enduring relevance to anyone concerned about the American West’s uncertain future.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Christmassy Cactus” by Beth Ferry

I’m dreaming of a #BookFaceFriday!

We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with this week’s #BookFace! And surprise, surprise, books are our preferred way to celebrate the holidays! Reading a fun book all snuggled up on the couch with a hot drink is the perfect tradition, so if your looking for a new book option for the younger readers in your life check out “the Christmassy Cactus” written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by N.A. Kang (HarperCollins, 2023.) This picture book is full of delightful illustrations and a fun story for all ages.

“Little readers will be delighted by the holiday magic …This succulent successfully steals the spotlight from the ever-present evergreens.” —Kirkus Reviews

This title comes from our large collection of children’s and young adult books sent to us as review copies from book publishers. When our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, is done with them, the review copies are available for the Library System Directors to distribute to school and public libraries in their systems.

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in September and October, 2023:

Almost Somewhere : Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail, by Suzanne Roberts. Series: Outdoor Lives.

Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in Outdoor Literature

It was 1993, Suzanne Roberts had just finished college, and when her friend suggested they hike California’s John Muir Trail, the adventure sounded like the perfect distraction from a difficult home life and thoughts about the future. But she never imagined that the twenty-eight-day hike would change her life. Part memoir, part nature writing, part travelogue, Almost Somewhere is Roberts’s account of that hike.

John Muir wrote of the Sierra Nevada as a “vast range of light,” and that was exactly what Roberts was looking for. But traveling with two girlfriends, one experienced and unflappable and the other inexperienced and bulimic, she quickly discovered that she needed a new frame of reference. Her story of a month in the backcountry—confronting bears, snowy passes, broken equipment, injuries, and strange men—is as much about finding a woman’s way into outdoor experience as it is about the natural world Roberts so eloquently describes. Candid and funny, and finally, wise, Almost Somewhere not only tells the whimsical coming-of-age story of a young woman ill-prepared for a month in the mountains but also reflects a distinctly feminine view of nature.

This new edition includes an afterword by the author looking back on the ways both she and the John Muir Trail have changed over the past thirty years, as well as book club and classroom discussion questions and photographs from the trip.

The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1887-1888, Volume 2, Edited by Michael Anesko and Greg W. Zacharias, and Katie Sommer. Series: The Complete Letters of Henry James

This second volume of The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1887–1888 contains 182 letters, of which 120 are published for the first time, written from late December 1887 to November 19, 1888. These letters continue to mark Henry James’s ongoing efforts to care for his sister, develop his work, strengthen his professional status, build friendships, engage timely political and economic issues, and maximize his income. James details work on The Aspern PapersThe ReverberatorPartial Portraits, and The Tragic Muse. This volume opens with some of James’s social visits, includes the death of longtime friend Lizzie Boott, and concludes with James on the Continent.

Ecologies of Imperialism in Algeria, by Brock Cutler. Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization.

Between 1865 and 1872 widespread death and disease unfolded amid the most severe ecological disaster in modern North African history: a plague of locusts destroyed crops during a disastrous drought that left many Algerians landless and starving. The famine induced migration that concentrated vulnerable people in unsanitary camps where typhus and cholera ran rampant. Before the rains returned and harvests normalized, some eight hundred thousand Algerians had died.

In Ecologies of Imperialism in Algeria Brock Cutler explores how repeated ecosocial divisions across an expansive ecosystem produced modern imperialism in nineteenth-century Algeria. Massive ecological crises—cultural as well as natural—cleaved communities from their homes, individuals from those communities, and society from its typical ecological relations. At the same time, the relentless, albeit slow-moving crises of ongoing settler colonialism and extractive imperial capitalism cleaved Algeria to France in a new way. Ecosocial divisions became apparent in performances of imperial power: officials along the Algerian-Tunisian border compulsively repeated narratives of “transgression” that over decades made the division real; a case of poisoned bread tied settlers in Algiers to Paris; Morocco-Algeria border violence exposed the exceptional nature of imperial sovereignty; a case of vagabondage in Oran evoked colonial gender binaries. In each case, factors in the broader ecosystem were implicated in performances of social division, separating political entities from each other, human from nature, rational from irrational, and women from men. Although these performances take place in the nineteenth-century Maghrib, the process they describe goes beyond those spatial and temporal limits—across the field of modern imperialism to the present day.

Encountering Palestine : Un/Making Spaces of Colonial Violence, Edited by Mark Griffiths and Mikko Joronen. Series: Cultural Geographies + Rewriting the Earth.

Encountering Palestine: Un/making Spaces of Colonial Violence, edited by Mark Griffiths and Mikko Joronen, sits at the intersection of cultural and political geographies and offers innovative reflections on power, colonialism, and anti-colonialism in contemporary Palestine and Israel. Organized around the theme of encountering and focusing on the ways violence and struggle are un/made in the encounter between the colonizer and colonized, the essays focus on power relations as they manifest in cultural practices and everyday lives in anti/colonial Palestine.

Covering numerous sites in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel, Encountering Palestine addresses a range of empirical topics—from marriage and queer aesthetics to policing, demolition, armament failure, and violence. The contributors utilize diverse theoretical frameworks, such as hyperreality, settler capitalism, intimate biopolitics, and politics of vulnerability, to help us better understand the cultural making and unmaking of colonial and anti-colonial space in Palestine. Encountering Palestine asks us to rethink how colonialism and power operate in Palestine, the ways Palestinians struggle, and the lifeways that constantly encounter, un/make, and counter the spaces of colonial violence.

Galloping Gourmet : Eating and Drinking With Buffalo Bill, by Steve Friesen.

Galloping Gourmet explores an unfamiliar side of a familiar character in American history, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. In this entertaining narrative Steve Friesen explores the evolving role of eating and drinking in Buffalo Bill’s life (1846–1917). Friesen starts with Buffalo Bill’s culinary roots on the American Plains, eating simple foods such as cornbread, fried “yellow-legged” chicken, and hardtack. Buffalo Bill discovered gourmet dining while leading buffalo-hunting expeditions and scouting. As his fame increased, so did his desire and opportunities for fine dining: his early show business career allowed him to dine at some of the best restaurants in the country.

Friesen examines the creation of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1883, in which Cody introduced his diverse cast of employees to dining that equaled America’s best restaurants. One newspaper reporter observed that “Colonel Cody displays no more care about anything than the proper feeding of horse and man.” Cody opened the first Mexican restaurant east of the Mississippi and introduced American foodways to Europe. Equally comfortable eating around a campfire on the plains or at Delmonico’s in New York City, he also dined with leading celebrities of his day. In the final section Friesen addresses the controversies surrounding Cody’s drinking, his death, and his ongoing culinary legacy. Galloping Gourmet includes an appendix of more than thirty annotated period recipes.

Godfall : a Novel, by Van Jensen. Series: Flyover Fiction.

When a massive asteroid hurtles toward Earth, humanity braces for annihilation—but the end doesn’t come. In fact, it isn’t an asteroid but a three-mile-tall alien that drops down, seemingly dead, outside Little Springs, Nebraska. Dubbed “the giant,” its arrival transforms the red-state farm town into a top-secret government research site and major metropolitan area, flooded with soldiers, scientists, bureaucrats, spies, criminals, conspiracy theorists—and a murderer.

As the sheriff of Little Springs, David Blunt thought he’d be keeping the peace among the same people he’d known all his life, not breaking up chanting crowds of conspiracy theorists in tiger masks or struggling to control a town hall meeting about the construction of a mosque. As a series of brutal, bizarre murders strikes close to home, Blunt throws himself into the hunt for a killer who seems connected to the Giant. With bodies piling up and tensions in Little Springs mounting, he realizes that in order to find the answers he needs, he must first reconcile his old worldview with the town he now lives in—before it’s too late.

The Grapes of Conquest : Race, Labor, and the Industrialization of California Wine, 1769-1920, by Julia Ornelas-Higdon. Series: At Table.

California’s wine country conjures images of pastoral vineyards and cellars lined with oak barrels. As a mainstay of the state’s economy, California wines occupy the popular imagination like never before and drive tourism in famous viticultural regions across the state. Scholars know remarkably little, however, about the history of the wine industry and the diverse groups who built it. In fact, contemporary stereotypes belie how the state’s commercial wine industry was born amid social turmoil and racialized violence in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century California.

In The Grapes of Conquest Julia Ornelas-Higdon addresses these gaps in the historical narrative and popular imagination. Beginning with the industry’s inception at the California missions, Ornelas-Higdon examines the evolution of wine growing across three distinct political regimes—Spanish, Mexican, and American—through the industry’s demise after Prohibition. This interethnic study of race and labor in California examines how California Natives, Mexican Californios, Chinese immigrants, and Euro-Americans came together to build the industry. Ornelas-Higdon identifies the birth of the wine industry as a significant missing piece of California history—one that reshapes scholars’ understandings of how conquest played out, how race and citizenship were constructed, and how agribusiness emerged across the region. The Grapes of Conquest unearths the working-class, multiracial roots of the California wine industry, challenging its contemporary identity as the purview of elite populations.

The Incarceration of Native American Women : Creating Pathways to Wellness and Recovery Through Gentle Action Theory, by Carma Corcoran. Series: New Visions in Native American and Indigenous Studies.

In The Incarceration of Native American Women, Carma Corcoran examines the rising number of Native American women being incarcerated in Indian Country. With years of experience as a case management officer, law professor, consultant to tribal defenders’ offices, and workshop leader in prisons, she believes this upward trajectory of incarceration continues largely unacknowledged and untended. She explores how a combination of F. David Peat’s gentle action theory and the Native traditional ways of knowing and being could heal Native American women who are or have been incarcerated.

Colonization and the historical trauma of Native American incarceration runs through history, spanning multiple generations and including colonial wartime imprisonment, captivity, Indian removal, and boarding schools. The ongoing ills of childhood abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and drug and alcohol addiction and the rising number of suicides are indicators that Native people need healing. Based on her research and work with Native women in prisons, Corcoran provides a theory of wellness and recovery that creates a pathway for meaningful change. The Incarceration of Native American Women offers students, academics, social workers, counselors, and those in the criminal justice system a new method of approach and application while providing a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical experiences of Native Americans in relation to criminology.

Nebraska Volleyball : the Origin Story, by John Mabry.

When Title IX was enacted in 1972, the University of Nebraska volleyball program, like many across the country, received a fraction of the funding and attention given to the school’s mighty football program. The players had to organize a run from Lincoln to Omaha to raise money for uniforms. The women were asked to wait their turn to use the weight room. Today the Nebraska women’s volleyball team is one of the sport’s most decorated programs—with more career wins than any other program and five NCAA National Championships—and draws standing-room-only crowds at home games in the 8,000-seat Devaney Center.

Nebraska Volleyball is the first book to recount how volleyball took hold at Nebraska, through Pat Sullivan, the team’s first coach; through such early figures as Cathy Noth, a decorated player and later an assistant coach into the 1990s; through Terry Pettit, who coached the team for twenty-three seasons and led it to its first National Championship in 1995; and through John Cook, who took over as head coach in 2000. John Mabry highlights the small Nebraska towns that have sent some of the best players to the program and helped build statewide support for the team. Public television helped too, with its power to broadcast games early on and thus build a following across the state.

The success of Nebraska’s volleyball program is one of the greatest stories in sports. As Karch Kiraly, head coach for the U.S. National Women’s Volleyball Team, said: “If you want to learn about women’s college volleyball, your first stop has to be Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Of Love and War : Pacific Brides of World War II, by Angela Wanhalla. Series: Studies in Pacific Worlds.

Between 1942 and 1945 more than two million servicemen occupied the southern Pacific theater, the majority of whom were Americans in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. During the occupation, American servicemen married approximately 1,800 women from New Zealand and the island Pacific, creating legal bonds through marriage and through children. Additionally, American servicemen fathered an estimated four thousand nonmarital children with Indigenous women in the South Pacific Command Area.

In Of Love and War Angela Wanhalla details the intimate relationships forged during wartime between women and U.S. servicemen stationed in the South Pacific, traces the fate of wartime marriages, and addresses consequences for the women and children left behind. Paying particular attention to the experiences of women in New Zealand and in the island Pacific—including Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and the Cook Islands—Of Love and War aims to illuminate the impact of global war on these women, their families, and Pacific societies. Wanhalla argues that Pacific war brides are an important though largely neglected cohort whose experiences of U.S. military occupation expand our understanding of global war. By examining the effects of American law on the marital opportunities of couples, their ability to reunite in the immediate postwar years, and the citizenship status of any children born of wartime relationships, Wanhalla makes a significant contribution to a flourishing scholarship concerned with the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and militarization in the World War II era.

Rise Up! : Indigenous Music in North America, by Craig Harris.

Music historian Craig Harris explores more than five hundred years of Indigenous history, religion, and cultural evolution in Rise Up! Indigenous Music in North America. More than powwow drums and wooden flutes, Indigenous music intersects with rock, blues, jazz, folk music, reggae, hip-hop, classical music, and more. Combining deep research with personal stories by nearly four dozen award-winning Indigenous musicians, Harris offers an eye-opening look at the growth of Indigenous music.

Among a host of North America’s most vital Indigenous musicians, the biographical narratives include new and well-established figures such as Mildred Bailey, Louis W. Ballard, Cody Blackbird, Donna Coane (Spirit of Thunderheart), Theresa “Bear” Fox, Robbie Robertson, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joanne Shenandoah, DJ Shub (Dan General), Maria Tallchief, John Trudell, and Fawn Wood.

Settler Aesthetics : Visualizing the Spectacle of Originary Moments in The New World, by Mishuana Goeman. Series: Indigenous Films.

In Settler Aesthetics, an analysis of renowned director Terrence Malick’s 2005 film, The New World, Mishuana Goeman examines the continuity of imperialist exceptionalism and settler-colonial aesthetics. The story of Pocahontas has thrived for centuries as a cover for settler-colonial erasure, destruction, and violence against Native peoples, and Native women in particular. Since the romanticized story of the encounter and relationship between Pocahontas and Captain John Smith was first published, it has imprinted a whitewashed historical memory into the minds of Americans.

As one of the most enduring tropes of imperialist nostalgia in world history, Renaissance European invasions of Indigenous lands by settlers trades in a falsified “civilizational discourse” that has been a focus in literature for centuries and in films since their inception. Ironically, Malick himself was a symbol of the New Hollywood in his early career, but with The New World he created a film that serves as a buttress for racial capitalism in the Americas. Focusing on settler structures, the setup of regimes of power, sexual violence and the gendering of colonialism, and the sustainability of colonialism and empires, Goeman masterfully peels away the visual layers of settler logics in The New World, creating a language in Native American and Indigenous studies for interpreting visual media.

The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico : Revolution, Reform, and Repression, by Jürgen Buchenau. Series: Confluencias.

Two generals from the northwestern state of Sonora, Álvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles, dominated Mexico between 1920 and 1934, having risen to prominence in the course of the Mexican Revolution. Torn between popular demands for ending the privileges of wealthy foreign investors and opposition by a hawkish U.S. administration and enemies at home, the two generals and their allies from their home state mixed radical rhetoric with the accommodation of entrenched interests.

In The Sonoran Dynasty in Mexico Jürgen Buchenau tells the story of this ruling group, which rejected the Indigenous and Catholic past during the decades of the revolution and aimed to reinvent Mexico along the lines of the modern and secular societies in western Europe and the United States. In addition to Obregón and Calles, the Sonoran Dynasty included Adolfo de la Huerta and Abelardo L. Rodríguez, four Sonorans among six presidents in less than two decades. Although the group began with the common aims of nationalism, modernization, central political control, and enrichment, Buchenau argues that this group progressively fell apart in a series of bloody conflicts that reflected broader economic, political, and social disagreements. By analyzing the dynasty from its origins through its eventual downfall, Buchenau presents an innovative look at the negotiation of power and state formation in revolutionary Mexico.

Ted Kooser : More Than a Local Wonder, by Carla Ketner, illustrated by Paula Wallace.

Long before Ted Kooser won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, served as the U.S. Poet Laureate, and wrote award-winning books for children, he was an unathletic child growing up in Iowa, yearning to fit in. Young Teddy found solace in stories, and one specific book, Robert McCloskey’s Lentil, inspired him to become a writer. As a child and later, while working in the insurance industry, Ted honed his craft and unique style as he wrote about the people and places of the rural Midwest. Ted Kooser: More Than a Local Wonder celebrates the power of stories and of finding oneself through words.

Washington State Politics and Government, by T.M. Sell. Series: Politics and Governments of the American States.

In the twenty-first century, as many candidates actively campaign against the very government they seek to serve in, and as many people appear to believe their government irreparably broken, T. M. Sell argues that in Washington State, the system works better than most realize. In Washington State Politics and Government Sell explains how the many parts of government function and introduces readers to a diverse array of individuals who work in government, including how they got there and what it is they’re trying to do. Sell covers the three branches of state government, plus county, city, special purpose district, and tribal governments. He explains the state budgets and taxes; the functions of major and better-known state agencies; how policy is made; the political landscape of Washington; and parties, voting, and elections.

Sell discusses economic development, including the importance of high-tech industry, aviation, Amazon.com, and more traditional parts of the state economy, such as timber and agriculture. He also provides a contemporary look at Washington’s elected officials, constitution, judiciary, media, demographics, and political culture and landscape. With this volume, any Washington citizen, student of politics, or specialist in government can gain insight into the state’s current political system.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw

I wouldn’t want to run into this #BookFace in a dark hallway!

Not to make you lose sleep or anything but this week’s #BookFaceFriday has us keeping the lights on. If you love Halloween and a a good scary read, this USA Today bestseller is perfect for you; check out “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw (Berkley, 2014.) This title is available as an audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Find this title and other tales of horror in Nebraska OverDrive’s curated collection, “Hallow-Reads: Spooky tales for October nights“! Now if you’re looking for something fun and just a little spooky for the whole family, we also have the curated collection Spooky BOO-ks on our OverDrive Kid’s & Teens pages.

“If Guillermo del Toro directed The Ring, it might play out something like this engaging thriller. Japanese mythological creatures come to life in this dynamic, unique tale that will satisfy horror readers eager for fresh blood.”

—Booklist

Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Lesser Dead” by Christopher Buehlman

Something #BookFace this way comes!

If your go-to Halloween activity is watching a horror flick or visiting a haunted house, you probably also love a scary story. This week’s #BookFaceFriday is the perfect way to get your adrenaline flowing; check out “The Lesser Dead” by Christopher Buehlman (Berkley, 2014.) This title is available as an eBook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. Find this title and other tales of horror in Nebraska OverDrive’s curated collection, “Hallow-Reads: Spooky tales for October nights“!

“Cormac McCarthy’s The Road meets Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in this frightful medieval epic…Buehlman…doesn’t scrimp on earthy horror and lyrical writing in the face of unspeakable horrors…an author to watch.”

—Kirkus Reviews

Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 189 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 21,696 audiobooks, 35,200 eBooks, and 3,964 magazines. As an added bonus it includes 130 podcasts that are always available with simultaneous use (SU), as well as SU ebooks and audiobook titles that publishers have made available for a limited time. If you’re a part of it, let your users know about this great title, and if you’re not a member yet, find more information about participating in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries!

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Friday Reads: The Brothers Hawthorne, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

After Holli Duggan wrote a Friday Reads post about it, I listened to the Inheritance Games trilogy last year–and loved it! So when a fourth book in this YA series was released this summer, I had to listen to that as well, and it did not disappoint. A 5th book, The Grandest Game, is due out in July 2024.

Four brothers. Two missions. One explosive read. And the stakes have never been higher.  
 
Grayson Hawthorne was raised as the heir apparent to his billionaire grandfather, taught from the cradle to put family first. Now the great Tobias Hawthorne is dead and his family disinherited, but some lessons linger. When Grayson’s half-sisters find themselves in trouble, he swoops in to do what he does best: take care of the problem—efficiently, effectively, mercilessly. And without getting bogged down in emotional entanglements.
 
Jameson Hawthorne is a risk-taker, a sensation-seeker, a player of games. When his mysterious father appears and asks for a favor, Jameson can’t resist the challenge. Now he must infiltrate London’s most exclusive underground gambling club, which caters to the rich, the powerful, and the aristocratic, and win an impossible game of greatest stakes. Luckily, Jameson Hawthorne lives for impossible.
 
Drawn into twisted games on opposite sides of the globe, Grayson and Jameson—with the help of their brothers and the girl who inherited their grandfather’s fortune—must dig deep to decide who they want to be and what each of them will sacrifice to win.

** Synopsis courtesy of Audible.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

We’re united in our love for this #BookFaceFriday!

Let Freedom Read! That’s the theme of this year’s #BannedBooksWeek. We are celebrating with a banned #BookFace! The Nebraska Library Commission supports readers and the freedom to read so we make sure our various collections reflect that. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin, 1993) has been banned or challenged in the US since 1994, less than a year after it’s publication, cited for “violent and sexual passages, infanticide and euthanasia.” The Giver received the 1994 Newbery Medal, given for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. It’s available as a book club kit, or as an eBook and Audiobook on Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. A book is considered challenged when calls are made for it to be banned or removed from the public’s access. This is one of many banned or challenged titles NLC has available in our Book Club Kit Collection, titles like Looking For Alaska by John Green, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, just to name a few.  This week’s #BookFace and other banned books can be found on the NLC Book Club Kit webpage. This service allows libraries and school librarians to “check out” multiple copies of a book without adding to their permanent collections, or budgets. NLC also has several banned or challenged titles available to our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries.

“Lois Lowry has written a fascinating, thoughtful science-fiction novel. The story is skillfully written; the air of disquiet is delicately insinuated. And the theme of balancing the virtues of freedom and security is beautifully presented.”

— Horn Book (starred review)

You can find more information about Banned Books Week and the fight against censorship at ALA.org/advocacy/bbooks! What are you doing to celebrate Banned Books Week? Let us know!

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

  1. These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and media centers.
  2. Circulation times are flexible and will be based upon availability. There is no standard check-out time for book club kits.
  3. Please search the collection to select items you wish to borrow and use the REQUEST THIS KIT icon to borrow items.
  4. Contact the Information Desk at the Library Commission if you have any questions: by phone: 800/307-2665, or by email: Information Services Team

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in July and August, 2023:

Bad Subjects : Libertine Lives in the French Atlantic, 1619-1815, by Jennifer J. Davis. Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

In a lively account that spans continents, Jennifer J. Davis considers what it meant to be called a libertine in early modern France and its colonies. Libertinage was a polysemous term in early modern Europe and the Atlantic World, generally translated as “debauchery” or “licentiousness” in English. Davis assesses the changing fortunes of the quasi-criminal category of libertinage in the French Atlantic, based on hundreds of cases drawn from the police and judicial archives of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France and its Atlantic colonies alongside the literature inspired by those proceedings.

The libertine life was not merely a subject for fiction nor a topos against which to play out potential revolutions. It was a charge authorities imposed on a startlingly wide array of behaviors, including gambling, selling alcohol to Native Americans, and secret marriages. Once invoked by family and state authorities, the charge proved nearly impossible for the accused to contest, for a libertine need not have committed any crimes to be perceived as disregarding authority and thereby threatening families and social institutions. The research in Bad Subjects provides a framework for analysis of libertinage as a set of anti-authoritarian practices and discourses that circulated among the peoples of France and the Atlantic World, ultimately providing a compelling blueprint for alternative social and economic order in the Revolutionary period.

Butterfly Nebula, by Laura Reece Hogan. Series: The Backwaters Prize in Poetry

Winner of the Backwaters Prize in Poetry, Butterfly Nebula reaches from the depths of the sea to the edges of space to chart intersections of the physical universe, the divine, the human, and the constantly unfolding experience of being “one thing in the act of becoming another.” This collection of poems teems with creatures and cosmic phenomena that vivify and reveal our common struggle toward faith and identity. The longing and metamorphosis of the human heart and soul are reimagined in an otherworldly landscape of firework jellyfish, sea slug, stingray, praying mantis, butterfly and moth, moon and star, and celestial events ranging from dark matter and Kepler’s Supernova remnant to a dozen classified nebulae. Our desire for purpose and renewal collides with the vast constellation of divine possibility in this collection, which invites the reader to enter a transformative world both deeply interior and embracing of the far-flung cosmos.

Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives, Edited by Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons. Series: Frontiers of Narrative

Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives interrogates the multimodal relationship between fictionality and factuality. The contemporary discussion about fictionality coincides with an increase in anxiety regarding the categories of fact and fiction in popular culture and global media. Today’s media-saturated historical moment and political climate give a sense of urgency to the concept of fictionality, distinct from fiction, specifically in relation to modes and media of discourse.

Torsa Ghosal and Alison Gibbons explicitly interrogate the relationship of fictionality with multimodal strategies of narrative construction in the present media ecology. Contributors consider the ways narrative structures, their reception, and their theoretical frameworks in narratology are influenced and changed by media composition—particularly new media. By accounting for the relationship of multimodal composition with the ontological complexity of narrative worlds, Fictionality and Multimodal Narratives fills a critical gap in contemporary narratology—the discipline that has, to date, contributed most to the conceptualization of fictionality.

The Gathering of Bastards, by Romeo Oriogun. Series: African Poetry Book

Like I knew, standing
on the seashore, the hunger
wracking a migrant’s body
is movement.
—from Romeo Oriogun’s “Migrant by the Sea”

The Gathering of Bastards chronicles the movement of migrants as they navigate borders both internal and external. At the heart of these poems of vulnerability and sharp intelligence, the poet himself is the perpetual migrant embarked on forced journeys that take him across nations in West and North Africa, through Europe, and through American cities as he navigates the challenges of living through terror and loss and wrestles with the meaning of home.

The JPS Bible Commentary : Psalms 120-150, The Traditional Hebrew Text with the JPS Translation, Commentary by Adele Berlin. Series: JPS Bible Commentary

The Jewish Publication Society’s highly acclaimed Bible Commentary series provides the Hebrew text of the Bible, the JPS English translation, and a line-by-line commentary. This volume presents commentary on Psalms 120–150, based on the most recent research on the language of the Bible, its literary forms, and the historical context that may have given rise to the psalms. The commentary pays special attention to the message of each psalm and to how the poetry shapes the message. At the same time, it draws on traditional Jewish interpretations of the meaning of the psalms.

¡Vino! : The History and Identity of Spanish Wine, by Karl J. Trybus. Series: At Table

¡Vino! explores the history and identity of Spanish wine production from the mid-nineteenth century to today. Nineteenth-century infestations of oidium fungus and phylloxera aphids devastated French and Italian vineyards but didn’t extend to the Iberian Peninsula at first, giving Spanish vintners the opportunity to increase their international sales. Once French and Italian wineries rebounded, however, Spanish wine producers had to up their game. Spain could not produce only table wine; it needed a quality product to compete with the supposedly superior French wines. After the Spanish Civil War the totalitarian Franco regime turned its attention to Spain’s devastated agricultural sector, but the country’s wine industry did not rebound until well after World War II. In the postwar years, it rebranded itself to compete in a more integrated European and international marketplace with the creation of a new wine identity. As European integration continued, Spanish wine producers and the tourism industry worked together to promote the uniqueness of Spain and the quality of its wines.

Karl J. Trybus explores the development of Spanish wine in the context of national and global events, tracing how the wine industry has fared and ultimately prospered despite civil war, regional concerns, foreign problems, and changing tastes.

The Women Who Built Omaha : a Bold and Remarkable History, by Eileen Wirth.

During the 1930s the Federal Writers’ Project described Omaha as a “man’s town,” and histories of the city have all but ignored women. However, women have played major roles in education, health, culture, social services, and other fields since the city’s founding in 1854. In The Women Who Built Omaha Eileen Wirth tells the stories of groundbreaking women who built Omaha, including Susette “Bright Eyes” LaFlesche, who translated at the trial of Chief Standing Bear; Mildred Brown, an African American newspaper publisher; Sarah Joslyn, who personally paid for Joslyn Art Museum; Mrs. B of Nebraska Furniture Mart; and the Sisters of Mercy, who started Omaha’s Catholic schools. Omaha women have been champion athletes and suffragists as well as madams and bootleggers. They transformed the city’s parks, co-founded Creighton University, helped run Boys Town, and so much more, in ways that continue today.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Lake House” by Sarah Beth Durst

You might have to leave the light on for this #BookFaceFriday!

Summer Camp isn’t all it’s cracked up to be in this week’s #BookFace! “The Lake House” by Sarah Beth Durst (HarperTeen, 2023) is a nail biting thriller for teens, and it’s all set at a sleep away camp. Perfect for readers who like something a little scary, described as “Yellowjackets meets One of Us Is Lying.

“Nail-biting and atmospheric, The Lake House explores how secrets keep people apart—and the power of female friendships. Reyva, Mariana, and especially Claire are characters you can’t stop rooting for, even as every obstacle they surmount is replaced by a bigger one. I read it every time I had a spare second, and a lot of times when I didn’t.”

— April Henry, New York Times bestselling author

This title comes from our large collection of children’s and young adult books sent to us as review copies from book publishers. When our Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, is done with them, the review copies are available for the Library System Directors to distribute to school and public libraries in their systems.

Love this #BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse has received.

UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in May and June, 2023:

Agriculture in the Midwest, 1815-1900, by R. Douglas Hurt.

After the War of 1812 and the removal of the region’s Indigenous peoples, the American Midwest became a paradoxical land for settlers. Even as many settlers found that the region provided the bountiful life of their dreams, others found disappointment, even failure—and still others suffered social and racial prejudice.

In this broad and authoritative survey of midwestern agriculture from the War of 1812 to the turn of the twentieth century, R. Douglas Hurt contends that this region proved to be the country’s garden spot and the nation’s heart of agricultural production. During these eighty-five years the region transformed from a sparsely settled area to the home of large industrial and commercial cities, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Detroit. Still, it remained primarily an agricultural region that promised a better life for many of the people who acquired land, raised crops and livestock, provided for their families, adopted new technologies, and sought political reform to benefit their economic interests. Focusing on the history of midwestern agriculture during wartime, utopian isolation, and colonization as well as political unrest, Hurt contextualizes myriad facets of the region’s past to show how agricultural life developed for midwestern farmers—and to reflect on what that meant for the region and nation.

The First Migrants : How Black Homesteaders’ Quest for Land and Freedom Heralded America’s Great Migration, by Richard Edwards and Jacob K. Friefeld.

The First Migrants recounts the largely unknown story of Black people who migrated from the South to the Great Plains between 1877 and 1920 in search of land and freedom. They exercised their rights under the Homestead Act to gain title to 650,000 acres, settling in all of the Great Plains states. Some created Black homesteader communities such as Nicodemus, Kansas, and DeWitty, Nebraska, while others, including George Washington Carver and Oscar Micheaux, homesteaded alone. All sought a place where they could rise by their own talents and toil, unencumbered by Black codes, repression, and violence. In the words of one Nicodemus descendant, they found “a place they could experience real freedom,” though in a racist society that freedom could never be complete. Their quest foreshadowed the epic movement of Black people out of the South known as the Great Migration.

In this first account of the full scope of Black homesteading in the Great Plains, Richard Edwards and Jacob K. Friefeld weave together two distinct strands: the narrative histories of the six most important Black homesteader communities and the several themes that characterize homesteaders’ shared experiences. Using homestead records, diaries and letters, interviews with homesteaders’ descendants, and other sources, Edwards and Friefeld illuminate the homesteaders’ fierce determination to find freedom—and their greatest achievements and struggles for full equality.

French St. Louis : Landscapes, Contexts, and Legacy, Edited by Jay Gitlin, Robert Michael Morrissey, and Peter J. Kastor. Series: France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization

A gateway to the West and an outpost for eastern capital and culture, St. Louis straddled not only geographical and political divides but also cultural, racial, and sectional ones. At the same time, it connected a vast region as a gathering place of peoples, cultures, and goods. The essays in this collection contextualize St. Louis, exploring French-Native relations, the agency of empire in the Illinois Country, the role of women in “mapping” the French colonial world, fashion and identity, and commodities and exchange in St. Louis as part of a broader politics of consumption in colonial America. The collection also provides a comparative perspective on America’s two great Creole cities, St. Louis and New Orleans. Lastly, it looks at the Frenchness of St. Louis in the nineteenth century and the present.

French St. Louis recasts the history of St. Louis and reimagines regional development in the early American republic, shedding light on its francophone history.

Hoarding New Guinea : Writing Colonial Ethnographic Collection Histories for Postcolonial Futures, by Rainer F. Buschmann. Series: Critical Studies in the History of Anthropology

Hoarding New Guinea provides a new cultural history of colonialism that pays close attention to the millions of Indigenous artifacts that serve as witnesses to Europe’s colonial past in ethnographic museums. Rainer F. Buschmann investigates the roughly two hundred thousand artifacts extracted from the colony of German New Guinea from 1870 to 1920. Reversing the typical trajectories that place ethnographic museums at the center of the analysis, he concludes that museum interests in material culture alone cannot account for the large quantities of extracted artifacts.

Buschmann moves beyond the easy definition of artifacts as trophies of colonial defeat or religious conversion, instead employing the term hoarding to describe the irrational amassing of Indigenous artifacts by European colonial residents. Buschmann also highlights Indigenous material culture as a bargaining chip for its producers to engage with the imposed colonial regime. In addition, by centering an area of collection rather than an institution, he opens new areas of investigation that include non-professional ethnographic collectors and a sustained rather than superficial consideration of Indigenous peoples as producers behind the material culture. Hoarding New Guinea answers the call for a more significant historical focus on colonial ethnographic collections in European museums.

The Korean War Remembered : Contested Memories of an Unended Conflict, by Michael J. Devine. Series: Studies in War, Society, and the Military

Michael J. Devine provides a fresh, wide-ranging, and international perspective on the contested memory of the 1950–1953 conflict that left the Korean Peninsula divided along a heavily fortified demilitarized zone. His work examines “theaters of memory,” including literature, popular culture, public education efforts, monuments, and museums in the United States, China, and the two Koreas, to explain how contested memories have evolved over decades and how they continue to shape the domestic and foreign policies of the countries still involved in this unresolved struggle for dominance and legitimacy. The Korean War Remembered also engages with the revisionist school of historians who, influenced by America’s long nightmare in Vietnam, consider the Korean War an unwise U.S. interference in a civil war that should have been left to the Koreans to decide for themselves.

As a former Peace Corps volunteer to Korea, a two-time senior Fulbright lecturer at Korean universities, and former director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Devine offers the unique perspective of a scholar with half a century of close ties to Korea and the Korean American community, as well as practical experience in the management of historical institutions.

The Mobilized American West, 1940-2000, by John M. Findlay. Series: History of the American West

In the years between 1940 and 2000, the American Far West went from being a relative backwater of the United States to a considerably more developed, modern, and prosperous region—one capable of influencing not just the nation but the world. By the dawn of the twenty-first century, the population of the West had multiplied more than four times since 1940, and western states had transitioned from rural to urban, becoming the most urbanized section of the country. Massive investment, both private and public, in the western economy had produced regional prosperity, and the tourism industry had undergone massive expansion, altering the ways Americans identified with the West.

In The Mobilized American West, 1940–2000, John M. Findlay presents a historical overview of the American West in its decades of modern development. During the years of U.S. mobilization for World War II and the Cold War, the West remained a significant, distinct region even as its development accelerated rapidly and, in many ways, it became better integrated into the rest of the country. By examining events and trends that occurred in the West, Findlay argues that a distinctive, region-wide political culture developed in the western states from a commitment to direct democracy, the role played by the federal government in owning and managing such a large amount of land, and the way different groups of westerners identified with and defined the region. While illustrating western distinctiveness, Findlay also aims to show how, in its sustaining mobilization for war, the region became tethered to the entire nation more than ever before, but on its own terms. Findlay presents an innovative approach to viewing the American West as a region distinctive of the United States, one that occasionally stood ahead of, at odds with, and even in defiance of the nation.

My Side of the River : an Alaska Native Story, by Elias Kelly. Series: American Indian Lives

In 1971 the U.S. government created the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and extinguished Alaska Native aboriginal rights to hunting and fishing—forever changing the way Alaska Natives could be responsible for their way of life. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claimed all wildlife management responsibility and have since told Natives when, where, and how to fish, hunt, and harvest according to colonial management doctrines. We need only look at our current Alaska salmon conditions to see how these management efforts have worked.

In My Side of the River, agricultural specialist Elias Kelly (Yup’ik) relates how traditional Native subsistence hunting is often unrecognized by government regulations, effectively criminalizing those who practice it. Kelly alternates between personal stories of friends, family, and community and legal attempts to assimilate Native Alaskans into white U.S. fishing and hunting culture. He also covers landownership, incorporation of Alaska residents, legal erasure of Native identity, and poverty rates among Native Alaskans. In this memoir of personal and public history, Kelly illuminates the impact of government regulations on traditional life and resource conservation.

Remembering World War I in American, by Kimberly J. Lamay Licursi. Series: Studies in War, Society, and the Military

Poised to become a significant player in the new world order, the United States truly came of age during and after World War I. Yet many Americans think of the Great War simply as a precursor to World War II. Americans, including veterans, hastened to put experiences and memories of the war years behind them, reflecting a general apathy about the war that had developed during the 1920s and 1930s and never abated. 

In Remembering World War I in America Kimberly J. Lamay Licursi explores the American public’s collective memory and common perception of World War I by analyzing the extent to which it was expressed through the production of cultural artifacts related to the war. Through the analysis of four vectors of memory—war histories, memoirs, fiction, and film—Lamay Licursi shows that no consistent image or message about the war ever arose that resonated with a significant segment of the American population. Not many war histories materialized, war memoirs did not capture the public’s attention, and war novels and films presented a fictional war that either bore little resemblance to the doughboys’ experience or offered discordant views about what the war meant. In the end Americans emerged from the interwar years with limited pockets of public memory about the war that never found compromise in a dominant myth. 

The Visible Hands That Feed : Responsibility and Growth in the Food Sector, by Ruzana Liburkina. Series: Our Sustainable Future

The Visible Hands That Feed provides crucial insights into the rifts and regularities that are characteristic of today’s food systems. These insights attend to the widespread disquiet about the ethics and politics of food production and trade. While challenging utopian thinking, these findings give hope by elaborating on the promising nature of what falls between political and moral agendas.

In The Visible Hands That Feed Ruzana Liburkina approaches the food sector against the backdrop of its pivotal role for social and ecological relations to trace the potentials and limitations for sustainable change from within. Drawing on the results of ethnographic fieldwork in Europe and South America, Liburkina conducts an in-depth exploration of the practices, visions, concerns, and relationships that unfold at the very locations where food is grown, processed, stored, and served. By scrutinizing two critical notions in relation to sustainability—responsibility and growth—Liburkina offers insights into how sustainable change might be understood and further supported. In this first study of food production and provisioning that is grounded in participant observation in four types of food sector enterprises—farms, food processing companies, foodservice distributors, and public caterers—Liburkina fills an important gap in the literature on sustainable futures by offering detailed and diverse empirical insights into corporate food production and provisioning.

When Women Ruled the Pacific : power and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Tahiti and Hawai’i, by Joy Schulz. Series: Studies in Pacific Worlds

Throughout the nineteenth century British and American imperialists advanced into the Pacific, with catastrophic effects for Polynesian peoples and cultures. In both Tahiti and Hawai‘i, women rulers attempted to mitigate the effects of these encounters, utilizing their power amid the destabilizing influence of the English and Americans. However, as the century progressed, foreign diseases devastated the Tahitian and Hawaiian populations, and powerful European militaries jockeyed for more formal imperial control over Polynesian waystations, causing Tahiti to cede rule to France in 1847 and Hawai‘i to relinquish power to the United States in 1893.

In When Women Ruled the Pacific Joy Schulz highlights four Polynesian women rulers who held enormous domestic and foreign power and expertly governed their people amid shifting loyalties, outright betrayals, and the ascendancy of imperial racism. Like their European counterparts, these Polynesian rulers fought arguments of lineage, as well as battles for territorial control, yet the freedom of Polynesian women in general and women rulers in particular was unlike anything Europeans and Americans had ever seen. Consequently, white chroniclers of contact had difficulty explaining their encounters, initially praising yet ultimately condemning Polynesian gender systems, resulting in the loss of women’s autonomy. The queens’ successes have been lost in the archives as imperial histories and missionary accounts chose to tell different stories. In this first book to consider queenship and women’s political sovereignty in the Pacific, Schulz recenters the lives of the women rulers in the history of nineteenth-century international relations.

**Pictures and Synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press.

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Friday Reads — Atlas : The Story of Pa Salt, by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker

Earlier this year, I read and did a Friday Reads post about The Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley. Atlas : The Story of Pa Salt is the 8th book in that series, released in May of this year after a two-year gap, and let me tell you, it was worth the wait! Sadly, Lucinda Riley died of oesophageal cancer in 2021, and her son, Harry Whittaker, completed this final book in the series. And once again, it does not disappoint. Spanning a lifetime of love and loss, crossing borders and oceans, Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt, draws Lucinda Riley’s saga to its stunning, unforgettable conclusion. I listened to the audio version and was amazed at how masterfully all of the pieces of the seven previous books came together. I won’t say more, because to do so would give away too much, but trust me when I say–this book was a non-stop page-turner!

1928, Paris. A boy is found, moments from death, and taken in by a kindly family. Gentle, precocious, talented, he flourishes in his new home, and the family show him a life he hadn’t dreamed possible. But he refuses to speak a word about who he really is.

As he grows into a young man, falling in love and taking classes at the prestigious Conservatoire de Paris, he can almost forget the terrors of his past, or the promise he has vowed to keep. But across Europe an evil is rising, and no-one’s safety is certain. In his heart, he knows the time will come when he must flee once more.

2008, the Aegean. The seven sisters are gathered together for the first time, on board the Titan, to say a final goodbye to the enigmatic father they loved so dearly.

To the surprise of everyone, it is the missing sister who Pa Salt has chosen to entrust with the clue to their pasts. But for every truth revealed, another question emerges. The sisters must confront the idea that their adored father was someone they barely knew. And even more shockingly: that these long-buried secrets may still have consequences for them today. In this epic conclusion to the Seven Sisters series, everything will be revealed! [Audible]

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