Tag Archives: books

Book Club Spotlight – One Hundred Years of Solitude

Cover of One Hundred Years of Solitude. A painting of a sleeping person next to oranges and an ant. There are mountain and a crescent moon in the background.

For Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), I wanted to spotlight a particular writing style popularized and, in my opinion, perfected in Latin America. I became interested in Magical Realism through an article on Book Riot about Disney’s Encanto. The article explains Magical Realism as: “having magical/supernatural elements presented in an otherwise mundane setting…Magical Realism does not rely on heavy exposition or narration. Everything, according to the reticent narrator, is as it should be.” And today’s book One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is one of the most famous examples of Magical Realism. Being the second most translated literary work in Spanish after Don Quixote, One Hundred Years is brimming with magic;  Flowers raining from the sky, insomnia plagues, and beautiful women simply floating away. Yet, while the characters go about their lives, they don’t seem to realize that the world around them is magical. Everything is as it should be.

The 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude begins with the first of its seven generations of the Buendía family. José Arcadio Buendía, with his wife/cousin Úrsula Iguarán, established an isolated village named Macondo and began to raise their family in that small community. And as the years go by, the family (all named after each other) grows and faces hardships, usually stemming from their ambitions to reach higher and go farther than they are able to. After being visited by the worldly Romani people and wanting to explore what the world has to offer, Macondo eventually grows into a thriving city with a train station and a banana plantation. However, when civil war begins to tear the country apart, and the plantation turns against its workers, the Buendía men and women live and die by their beliefs, and the family name lives on for better or worse. Through a cyclical repetition of misfortunes, battles, and incest, the house of the Buendía stands through the long years with Úrsula as their matriarch. But the family’s fate is controlled by the ceaseless march of time, and ghosts of their past (real and imagined) are waiting at the end of those 100 years.

“Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction”

Gabriel García Márquez

As José Arcadio Buendía built Macondo by following a dream of building a beautiful city of mirrors, Márquez created Macondo to mirror our own world, especially that of Columbia and its imperialists. One Hundred Years of Solitude, while representing many aspects of Columbian life, is also a socio-political critique of Western Imperialism’s effect on Columbia. The banana plantation that overruns the town and its subsequent destruction is based on the Banana Massacre that Márquez experienced as a child. And the long war that takes Colonel Aureliano Buendía away from home is Columbia’s brutal Thousand Days’ War. For a book group, there is no shortage of ways to move your discussion. Topics can range from how Márquez shows the cyclical nature of history. Or how the Buendía family affected each other, all living under one roof for so long. And, of course, how the symbolism of Magical Realism drives the story. You also might need to consult a family tree to reference as you read along. 

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. (Items must be requested by a librarian)

To see more our our Hispanic/Latino book club titles, visit the link here.

Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Harper Collins. 1967.

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Nebraska Libraries Report 1,381,624 Minutes of Reading for Summer 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 15, 2022

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Denise Harders
402-462-1975
denise.cpls@gmail.com
Central Plains Library System

Nebraska Libraries Report 1,381,624 Minutes of Reading for Summer, 2022

Summer reading programs are helping students become better readers

Hastings, Nebraska – Since mid-May, more than 100 Nebraska libraries have been carrying out summer reading programs that have allowed patrons of all ages to log their reading progress.

As of August 3, 2022, readers have logged:
1,381,624 minutes read
12,153 books completed
131,179 pages read

The Nebraska Library Commission and the Nebraska Regional Library Systems have worked to engage more than 100 libraries in summer reading programs through an innovative reading app called Reader Zone. These programs consist of participants of all ages with the majority being kindergarten through 6th grade.

Success in 2022 follows similar reading success for Nebraska readers in 2020 and 2021.  Each of those years also saw more than one million minutes of reading logged by Nebraskans in summer reading programs.

“We are excited to have another successful summer reading season in Nebraska libraries and we thank all our hard-working librarians and our wonderful patrons for their dedication to literacy and reading,” said Denise Harders, Director of the Central Plains Library System. “Our libraries will continue to offer Nebraskans quality programs that can build positive reading habits for readers of all ages”.

Nebraska libraries offer ongoing reading programs like “1000 Books Before Kindergarten” for young children and many compelling programs for teens and adults. These programs are free to Nebraskans in every corner of the state.

“Seeing Nebraska readers reach a third summer in a row of more than 1 million minutes demonstrates that there are many dedicated public librarians and engaged families throughout the state. Students will return to school in the fall with their hard-earned reading skills sharpened and ready to learn,” Jake Ball, creator of Reader Zone.

Reader Zone is a web-based reading program and app that helps organizations build and deploy meaningful reading programs. Reader Zone offers a mobile app that makes participation in reading programs simple and rewarding for readers of all ages.

The Nebraska Regional Library Systems consist of four non-profit corporations governed by boards representative of libraries and citizens in the region. Systems provide access to improved library services by facilitating cooperation among all types of libraries and media centers within the counties included in each System area. 

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, bringing together people and information. The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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New Book Available on BARD!

George Norris, Going Home: Reflections of a Progressive Statesman” by Nebraska author Gene A. Budig and Don Walton is now available on cartridge and for download on BARD!

“Nebraskans need to remember George Norris. He truly was one of our great citizens. This book is a very enjoyable journey through those memories.”

Francis Moul, Lincoln Journal Star

This enjoyable book takes readers back through George Norris’ career and what he accomplished. It provides a contemporary perspective about a man who fought to improve everyday life for all American citizens.

TBBS borrowers can request “George Norris, Going Home,” DBC01907, or download it from the National Library Service BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) website. If you have high-speed internet access, you can download books to your smartphone or tablet, or onto a flash drive for use with your player. You may also contact your reader’s advisor to have the book mailed to you on cartridge.

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Book Club Spotlight – Melissa

Cover of Melissa by Alex Gino published by Scholastic. The title is in big colorful block letters, with a drawing of a young person (Melissa) peaking out from the LA"

Today’s Book Club Spotlight, Melissa (previously published as George) by Alex Gino is a beautiful story that explores bullying, self-expression, and having the courage to stand up for yourself and your friends. I have always appreciated books that don’t talk down to children and aren’t afraid to explore tough topics while handling them with care. And Melissa is a perfect example of one of those books. Recently added to our collection thanks to a grant from the Reading Classic Committee, Melissa is a winner of the Stonewall Book Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and Alex Gino is a Children’s Choice Book Award Debut Author.

Melissa is like any ten-year-old girl; she loves tween magazines, cute clothes, and her awesome best friend. However, she also has some big problems. Not only does she have to deal with awful bullies at school, the whole world sees her as a boy named George!  As a school project, Melissa’s grade is putting on a play of Charlotte’s Web, and she desperately wants to play the wise and supportive Charlotte. But her dreams are crushed when her teacher tells her that “boys” can’t try out for “girl” parts.  Between school and a mother who thinks her girly interests are “childish,” Melissa doesn’t feel safe confiding in anyone that she’s transgender, except for her best friend. Taking inspiration from Charlotte’s confidence, the two girls form a plan to get Melissa the role she deserves. 

“It takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination…Don’t ever lose that”

Alex Gino

Have you ever had to be brave in order to be who you truly are? Recommended for 8 to 12-year-olds, Melissa is a timeless and tender approach to finding yourself, which all readers (even adults) can relate to. Group discussion with your readers can focus on what it would feel like to be born in the wrong physical body, issues with parents, and how to support your friends when they are going through a difficult time. Melissa shows how gender conformity can hurt everyone, not just trans kids, and letting kids express themselves without fear of ridicule will lead to a more confident and happy future.

If you’re interested in requesting for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. (Items must be requested by a librarian)

To see more of our LGBT+ & Queer book club titles, visit the link here.

Alex Gino. Melissa. Scholastic Press. 2015

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#BookFaceFriday “Just Like That” by Gary D. Schmidt

Throw your hands in the air for #BookFaceFriday!

Check out this new book by Newbery Honor-winning writer Gary D. Schmidt!  This week’s #BookFaceFriday! “Just Like That” (Clarion Books, 2021), follows a character we meet in Schmidt’s Wednesdays Wars, and like his other titles, expertly blends humor and tragedy. It is available to all Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both ebook and Audiobook format, so no matter how your kid likes to read, this book is for you. We have eight Gary Schmidt titles in our OverDrive collection, and two titles available in our Book Club Kits collection.

“Set in 1968, Just Like That is part of an outstanding series that began with Newbery Honor recipient The Wednesday Wars and continued in Okay for Now, a finalist for the National Book Award. While each book can be read separately, overlapping characters and themes enrich each other in understated and often profound ways. “Just Like That” is a riveting, award-worthy novel from a truly accomplished writer. Don’t miss it.” —BookPage

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. 190 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!

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Cataloging Librarian, Shoshana Patocka!

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

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Friday Reads: Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road is a post-apocalyptic dystopian movie with an outwardly simple plot: the protagonists escape captivity and race towards a destination, The Green Place, where they will be safe from their captors who are in murderous hot pursuit. After discovering The Green Place no longer exists, they go back the way they came, taking the fight to their oppressors in order to return to the only viable home they know, in the process transforming from property to heroes who make it rain with redemption. It is the archetypal hero’s journey, but in the hands of director George Miller, it arrives customized with outrageous visionary style and much chrome. This book, Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road by Kyle Buchanan, is an oral history of the making of the movie. On every page, somebody involved with the movie discloses something that reinforces how unlikely it is that it movie ever came to be.

The captivity/desperation/redemption arc in Fury Road could function as a metaphor for its own production. Starting around 1997, multiple studios tried to get it made, each one eventually glad to get it off their hands until the game of heavy metal musical chairs ended within the studios of Warner Brothers. Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Michael Fassbender, Johnny Depp, and even Eminem were at various points seriously considered for the role of Max, which eventually went to Tom Hardy. Gal Gadot, Jessica Chastain, and Uma Thurman were slated to play Furiosa, the true main character of the movie, before Charlize Theron won the role.

Immortan Joe, the chief villain, was initially blue. All of the stunts observable in the movie were created with real, ornately customized vehicles and real people. The shoot was moved from Australia to Namibia because a historic amount of rain turned the inert wasteland into fields of wildflowers. The flame-throwing electric guitar wielded by Immortan Joe’s mutant bugler had to be redesigned because director Miller wanted it not only to shoot flames but to actually play notes. It then weighed eighty pounds, which is why the bugler character, The Doof Warrior, dangles throughout the movie from a bungee in front of the wall of speakers fastened to the Doof Wagon…et cetera.

The long gestation of the movie allowed Miller to get every second visualized. This fever dream manifested itself as 3,500 storyboard panels; there was no real script. This was a problem for the actors, who did not necessarily know why they were doing what they were doing at any given time; only George Miller knew. Because they were filming from basically a graphic novel, panel by panel, the takes were often only a few seconds. Once these pieces were edited together, the method resulted in action of a remarkably frenetic pace, perhaps the reason why many cite Fury Road as the greatest action movie of all time. But it could have been the greatest disaster in the history of film.

 

Buchanan, Kyle. Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road. New York: William Morrow & Company, 2022.

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Friday Reads: Imaginary by Lee Bacon

Artwork by Asher Owen

I have an 11-year-old son that is going into middle school this fall, so when I picked up Imaginary by Lee Bacon this spring and saw that it was also about an 11-year-old starting middle school, I suggested we read it together. I mentioned to my son that I was going to write about the book for our Friday Reads series, and he kindly offered to just let me copy the review he wrote for school. It is summer after all, so I should be taking it easy, right?

“This story is about a kid named Zach who is going into middle school. Yeah, I know, like it’s middle school, it’s not that complicated… or is it? This book is in the perspective of his imaginary buddy, and not Zach’s.”

The imaginary buddy is Shovel, whom Zach invented when he was a small child. Shovel is basically a big ball of purple fur with arms and legs. Many kids have imaginary friends, but most outgrow those friends as they age. Zach does not. Shovel remains a constant in his life when so many other things change – his family, his home, his friendships, and his attitude. Shovel is our narrator and he is self-aware enough to know that his existence at this point in Zach’s life is both unusual and also necessary for some yet-unknown reason. He wants to help Zach but he is also afraid that Zach will forget about him, as all children eventually must.

The setting of this story is the backyard of a kid named Zach.”

The first appearance of Shovel takes place in the backyard of Zach’s first house. The story also takes the duo to Zach’s new home on the other side of town, to the middle school, and deep into Zach’s imagination, where he and Shovel are heroes that fight dragons and trolls.

“In this book the main characters, or the characters you have to know about, are named Zach, Shovel, Anni, Ryan, and Principal Carter.”

Besides Zach and Shovel, we meet Zach’s first best friend, Ryan, who by middle school has joined the cool crowd. Anni is a new student and Zach’s chance to start fresh with someone that doesn’t know his past. Principal Carter, towering over the student body, is an unexpected ally who knows how to gently guide her charges’ emotional development. Zach’s mom also appears frequently in the story, as well as flashbacks to Zach’s dad.

“Overall, I think this book is a funny, good, and amazing book and deserves a five star rating. Most people think it is worth a 1 star (which is reasonable), but I think it is worth much more!”

I am pretty certain no one would give this book only 1 star, because it is truly funny, good, and amazing, and definitely worth 5 stars. It is also about grief, forgiveness, empathy, learning when to hang on and when to let go, and the importance of a good imagination…and good friends.

Lee, Bacon. Imaginary ‎ New York, New York : Abrams, 2021.

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#BookFaceFriday “Strong, Hot Winds” by Iris Johansen

We’re heating it up with #BookFaceFriday!

It’s been hot out there this week so we thought we’d bring you the quintessential Nebraska summer title, “Strong, Hot Winds” by Iris Johansen ( Bantam, 2013.) No, it’s not about balmy gusts rolling across the plains, more like a steamy desert romance, but you can’t have everything. This title is available as an eBook in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries collection. We have several Iris Johansen titles in the collection, including A Face to Die For, High Stakes, Fatal Tide, Chaos, and No One to Trust

#1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen gives readers plenty of heat in a sultry tale of love and betrayal in the hot desert sun.
book jacket

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. 188 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 “Half a Chance” by Cynthia Lord

Whatever floats your #BookFaceFriday!

The summer camp vibes are strong with this week’s #BookFace! Take a break from the lake with “Half a Chance” by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic Press, 2016,) available in the NLC Book Club collection. Summer Reading Programs and book lists are the perfect opportunity to start some kid’s book clubs! Book clubs are a great way to fight the summer slide, encourage critical thinking, and developing social skills, not to mention another way to foster a child’s love of reading. This is your reminder that NLC’s Book Club Kits Collection is not just for adults. We have a huge collection of young adult titles that are perfect for fostering discussion. You can search the Book Club Kits Collection by selecting “Young Adult” in the Genre drop down, or by selecting a specific grade level.

“Catherine is an endearing narrator who tells her story with both humor and heartbreak… A lovely, warm read, and a great discussion starter.”

— 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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Book Club Spotlight – How to Be an Antiracist

Cover of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Welcome to the first Book Club Spotlight of June! With Juneteenth this month, I thought we’d start by highlighting How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Dr. Kendi is a historian, and the founding director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. Having spent 45 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List, and named one of Time’s “must-read” books, How to Be an Antiracist now has two companion books: Antiracist Baby, and Be Antiracist.

Using a memoir approach, How to Be an Antiracist follows Dr. Kendi through his formative years, experiencing racism as a Black man and acting upon it himself. The narrative works as a starting point for those new to the antiracist ideology by examining ethics, intersectionality, and the history of racism/race from a first-person perspective. How to Be an Antiracist encourages its readers not just to be opposed to racism but to see how it affects every aspect of our lives and to challenge it.

“What a powerful construction race is—powerful enough to consume us. And it comes for us early.”

Ibram X. Kendi

Being only the second year that Juneteenth has been recognized as a federal holiday, discussions of race might be on your book club members’ minds. I’d recommend this for adult book groups who don’t know where to start in their discussion of race or just want to learn more about the racial system in America. Dr. Kendi leads the reader through difficult terrain in a manner accessible to the layman and ripe for discussion. His guided journal, Be Antiracist, can also help facilitate discussion amongst your members with questions such as: “Who or what scares you the most when you think about race?” and “What constitutes an American to you?”

If you’re interested in reserving this title for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here.

To see more of our Black Voices collection, visit the link here.

Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Antiracist. New York, NY: One World, 2019.

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#BookFaceFriday “Keeping Faith” by Jodi Picoult

Keep your hat on ‘its #BookFaceFriday!

Some authors are just perfect for book club discussions and #BookFace! With subjects and characters that keep the conversation flowing check out “Keeping Faith: A Novel” by Jodi Picoult (William Morrow, 2006,) available in the NLC Book Club collection. We have twenty, say that again, TWENTY Jodi Picoult titles in our Book Club Kit Collection! If that’s not enough for you, there are even more Picoult books available in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries collection, both in eBook and Audiobook format.

Keeping Faith is a raging success. . . . A triumph. This novel’s haunting strength will hold the reader until the very end and make Faith and her story impossible to forget.
Richmond Times-Dispatch

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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Friday Reads: Nonbinary: Memoirs of a Gender and Identity

I found myself talking about all-girls code clubs in an NCompass Live presentation earlier this week. Mid-sentence, I remembered an episode of the Queer Eye where a trans girl was trying to find groups in school that fit her identity. As I recalled her troubled face, I ended the sentence to include people who identify as girls. I tried to limit the verbal word vomit as I struggled to find the right words to describe people who don’t identify as male or female.

That night, I went on Hoopla and checked out the audiobook for Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity by Micah Rajunov, hoping to find the right words. Plus, it’s almost Pride Month, so it might be a good book to help people understand a changing world. The nonbinary narratives in this book give a voice to those who do not fit neatly into the gender categories of male or female. As with any large group of people, one collection of stories can never represent an entire subset of the population. Each individual defines themselves.

Honestly, I find it difficult to neatly define what nonbinary means when the nonbinary population is still trying to define themselves, and struggling for acceptance in the world. Before reading this book, I knew that some nonbinary people used the they/them pronoun instead of she/he. Several years ago, I met them in a writing group and heard their story. Yes, you read that sentence right.

To this day, I still hear my grammar school teacher saying on repeat: ‘They’ are a group of people. She is an individual. He is an individual. We had to practice proper pronoun use around the room. Now, I still have to override the grammar side of my brain to be inclusive to all genders. So, I met them in a writing group. Just one person out of many people I met in that group.

I heard their story in that group, and now I have read the memoirs in this book. I learned from a man who finally gained the courage to transition to a female after fifty years. A trans advocate revealed the struggle of the trans nation. I added new words to my vocabulary: femme, gender rebel, genderqueer, nonbinary. These words are not my own, so I can’t help but pronounce them as though practicing a foreign language. The words are not wrong, just new. My voice tilts up at the end, as though asking if I got it right. Femme? Genderqueer? They’re never there to answer. This book gave them a voice and helped me find better words.

Stories are how we come to understand ourselves and the world. Sometimes we find a piece of ourselves we never knew was missing. New ideas give deep-seated, intangible feelings a name.  Naming an enemy gives us power to stand strong in the face of adversity. Like Rumplestiltskin. I read and wondered how many people saw ‘nonbinary’ and found peace after decades of mental anguish. Personally, I would prefer them to be nonbinary rather than depressed or suicidal.

So next time I talk about a Girls Who Code club, I will say that they are welcome. Anyone who wants them to feel safe and included is welcome. Anyone who wants to degrade them and make them feel insecure, unsafe, and less than human can see themselves out. Maybe not forever, just long enough to process. We are all human. Read their story, then we can all learn together.

Rajunov, Micah, and Scott Duane, editors. Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity. Columbia University Press, 2019.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Millennial Cervantes” by Bruce R. Burningham

We’re tilting at windmills with this week’s #BookFaceFriday.

Go on an adventure with this week’s #BookFaceFriday, “Millennial Cervantes: New Currents in Cervantes Studies (New Hispanisms)” edited by Bruce R. Burningham (University of Nebraska Press; Illustrated Edition, 2020.) The Nebraska Library Commission’s Collection is always growing, the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP). UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

“Millennial Cervantes explores some of the most important recent trends in Cervantes scholarship in the twenty-first century. It brings together leading Cervantes scholars of the United States in order to showcase their cutting-edge work within a cultural studies frame that encompasses everything from ekphrasis to philosophy, from sexuality to Cold War political satire, and from the culinary arts to the digital humanities.”

Book jacket

“This collection of nine provocative, beautifully elaborated essays explores the impact of Cervantes’s writings in their own time and place, and well beyond.”

—E. H. Friedman, Choice

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

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#BookFaceFriday “At the Water’s Edge” by Sara Gruen

It’s raining #BookFaceFridays!

We took advantage of yet another rainy day for this week’s #BookFaceFriday! “At the Water’s Edge” by Sara Gruen (Random House, 2015) is now available in the NLC Book Club collection! We just added this New York Times bestseller to our collection thanks to a donation from Bellevue Public Library! We love that book clubs around the state regularly donate their books so that more book clubs can read them. So we want to say a big THANK YOU to all those who have sent us donations! We have three of Sara Gruen’s titles in our Book Club Kit Collection, reserve one for your group’s next read!


“Magical . . . At the Water’s Edge skillfully transports us to a small, tenacious Scottish village in the grip of war, and into the heart of Madeline Hyde, a woman who is a stranger to herself until forces convene to rock her awake. Sara Gruen is a wizard at capturing the essence of her historical setting, and does so here in spades, but it’s Maddie’s unexpected transformation that grounds and drives the novel. As her husband and best friend search the surface of the Loch, desperate for a sign of the elusive creature, Maddie learns to plumb her own depths, and comes fully alive to the world around her.”
Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife

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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Friday Reads: “Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone” by Diana Gabaldon

I have been a huge fan of time travel fiction, historical fiction, and medical fiction for a very long time, and the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, tops my list of all three of these genres. The 9th book in the series, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (2021), is her latest installment in this sweeping saga. I am also a huge fan of the Outlander TV series, currently having just concluded season 6, with each season roughly matching each book. Because it had been 8 years since the previous book, I went back and listened to books 6, 7, and 8–before diving into book 9. As always, it did not disappoint!

For those new to the series, Claire Beauchamp Randall, a WWII British Army nurse, falls through standing stones (similar to Stonehenge) in 1946, and lands in 1743 Scotland, where she meets Jamie Fraser, a twenty-something red-haired Scots warrior and laird. Claire, while trying to figure out how to get back to her own time and husband, is protected by Jamie, and they fall in love. Together they must survive clan wars, British Redcoats, injuries, starvation, and French intrigue as they come ever closer to Culloden–the Jacobite Rising battle that would determine the fate of Highlands culture and possibly the throne of Great Britain. Through all of these circumstances, Claire uses her medical knowledge to help any and all in need. Immediately before Culloden, Jamie sends Claire back through the stones to her own time–back to her husband Frank. For the next twenty years, Claire believes Jamie to be dead at Culloden, and not until Frank dies does she begin to suspect that Jamie might still be alive in the past. Eventually Claire and Jamie are reunited, and their adventures together in 18th century Scotland, the Caribbean, and the American Colonies are a great read. That brings us to Book 9–Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

It is now 1779, and Claire and Jamie have been settled for awhile on Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, along with their daughter Brianna and her family, friends, and other refugees from Scotland. They have built a solid life–Jamie as a land owner, and Claire as a healer. Independence from Great Britain has been declared, but loyalties are split across all of the colonies, even on Fraser’s Ridge. As the Revolutionary War rages from New York to Georgia, Jamie and Claire need to once again stay closely bonded to survive–through war, fire, disease, injuries, death, and someone special from Jamie’s past. As always, a wonderful historical fiction saga with a great set up at the end for book 10. I can’t wait!

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Friday Reads: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Avery Grambs just wants to survive high school, get a scholarship, and travel, leaving her terrible home life behind forever.

One day, she learns that billionaire Tobias Hawthorne has just died, leaving his entire fortune to the orphaned high school student. But Avery has never met or even heard of any member of the Hawthorne family.

In order to receive this unexpected fortune, Avery must live and stay at the Hawthorne mansion for one year. According to the will, Hawthorne’s two (quite angry) daughters and four grandsons, who all received nothing, would also be allowed to continue living at the mansion. Awkward. Avery seemingly has only her sister, Libby, and best friend, Max, on her side.

What is Avery’s connection to Tobias and the family? Is she just a con-woman, as the brothers suspect? Is she just a pawn in Tobias’ final twisted game? What secrets are hidden throughout the enormous mansion and mysterious passageways? Will Avery stay alive long enough to even claim her fortune?

This is the first book in a three-part series. It’s an entertaining read that focuses more on the puzzles and riddles left by Tobias, rather than a more straight-forward detective style story. The plot moves fairly quickly as Avery and the brothers work to make sense of the will, uncover family secrets, and avoid the threats against Avery’s life.

  • Book #1: The Inheritance Games
  • Book #2: The Hawthorne Legacy
  • Book #3: The Final Gambit (August 2022)

Barnes, J. (2020). The Inheritance Games. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

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Friday Reads: Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake

I first read Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake last winter with my kids, who both enjoy humor and talking animals (who doesn’t, right?). A story of an unlikely friendship, Badger and Skunk must learn to co-exist in Aunt Lula’s brownstone. Quiet Badger has lived contentedly alone, doing Important Rock Work, when a knock on the door heralds the arrival of his new roommate, Skunk. An arrival Badger would have foreseen had he checked his mail more often and read Aunt Lula’s letter informing him of her decision to invite Skunk into the house. Alas, he had not and the knock is an unpleasant surprise. Now Badger’s world is chaos: no quiet time for reflection and Important Rock Work, piles of dishes to scrub after Skunk cooks them both delicious meals, an errant potato left in the corner of the kitchen. And the chickens! It’s too much for one Badger to bear. Change is hard, but sometimes even the most stubborn of Badgers will realize that life is better with a good friend.

This book was reread this past week by my 11-year-old to present as a book report, and an Important Brownstone Diorama is in the works on our kitchen table. We both highly recommend this first book in the series, as a read-aloud if you are more like Skunk, or as a quiet read-alone if you are more Badger-like. We are currently awaiting the arrival of the sequel in the mail, which we check about as often as a certain Badger.

Timberlake, Amy. Skunk and Badger. ‎ Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Young Readers, 2020.

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Relaxed Copyright Rules For Virtual Storytimes Ending

Throughout 2020 and 2021, many publishers relaxed their read-aloud and book-sharing rules to allow librarians and educators to have virtual storytimes. While a few publishers have extended these policies until December 31, 2021 (and a couple into 2022), many have allowed these permissions to expire.

If your library has hosted (or is still doing) an online storytime for your youngest patrons, be sure that you check with each publisher’s rules so that you don’t run afoul of copyright laws. For instance, some may allow livestreaming of read-aloud performances, but not recorded videos. Others allow recorded videos posted to limited audiences. Videos may need to be deleted or have access disabled by a certain deadline. Permission forms may still need to be submitted and the publisher credited during the performance. Taking care to check the specific publisher’s rules will help you avoid any legal complications for your library.

We’ve been keeping track of a number of publishers’ rules here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/readonline.aspx#copyright

You can check out our other copyright resources here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/legal/copyright.aspx?menu2

Recommended reading:

These titles and more are available from the Nebraska Library Commission and can be borrowed by librarians and library science students in Nebraska. Find them in our catalog!

  • Coaching Copyright (2020, ALA Editions) by Smith, Kevin L.
  • Compact copyright : quick answers to common questions (2021, ALA Editions) by Sara R. Benson
  • Complete copyright for K-12 librarians and educators (2012, ALA) by Carrie Russell.
  • Copyright Conversations: Rights Literacy in a Digital World (2019, ACRL) edited by Sara R. Benson.
  • Copyright law for librarians and educators : creative strategies and practical solutions (2020, ALA Editions) by Kenneth D. Crews.
  • The copyright librarian : a practical handbook (2016, Chandos Publishing) by Linda Frederiksen

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Friday Reads: “Come Fly With Me: the Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am” by Julia Cooke

If you’ve spent the pandemic grounded as I have, you may enjoy the escape to exotic locates found in Julia Cooke’s Come Fly the World: the Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am.

Following the career progression of three Pan Am flight attendants, Cooke also delves into the evolution of the career itself from the 1950s through the ’70s. Many young women vied for the job of globe-trotting stewardess, but few possessed both the physical attributes (height and weight requirements) and education (a college degree and fluency in two languages were expected), combined with the poise and grace needed to deal with unruly passengers and remain calm in mid-air emergencies. Those who did were rewarded with the opportunity to see the world, shop in foreign markets, and establish themselves as independent women with their own income, with the caveat that they were expected to retire at the age of 26 or upon getting married.

These women were often on the forefront of world events, from Cold War espionage to shuttling U.S. troops on R&R trips out of Vietnam. Flight attendants on layovers in Moscow were surveilled by the Russian government, and planes were shot at in war zones.

They were also often on the leading edge of the feminist movement, pressing the industry for changes in uniforms and physical requirements, as well as allowing married and pregnant women to continue working, and helping men gain entry into the profession.

If your impression of flight attendants is more “Coffee, tea, or me?” than “I am woman, hear me roar”, you will find Cooke’s history of the profession, with it’s glamour and grit, as fascinating as I did.

Cooke, Julia. Come Fly With Me: the Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am. Marine Books, 2021.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Calamities of Kalamity Kate”

Yeehaw! Get along, lil’ #BookFaceFriday!

In honor of a true Nebraska legend, today we are highlighting Leta Powell Drake’s memoir, “The Calamities of Kalamity Kate: A History of Nebraska’s Children’s TV Shows(J & L Lee Co., 2014). Leta Powell Drake was a celebrity in Nebraska and throughout the world of entertainment with a 50-year career in broadcasting. To us, at NLC, she holds a special place as a narrator for our Talking Book and Braille Service. Many of her famous interviews have been archived by History Nebraska and can be found on their YouTube channel. We highly recommend her memoir and as part of our permanent collection, it’s available for check out to anyone. Just ask our amazing Information Services staff! This title is published by the University of Nebraska Press, which we collect from for our state document program. In 1972, the Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.

“The Calamities of Kalamity Kate is a nostalgic trip into the past that is not only enjoyable but edifying.” — foreword by Ron Hull

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

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