Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: The House in the Cerulean Sea” by T.J. Klune

I’ve probably said it before but if you’re anything like me reading has recently become kind of a chore. After recently getting a dedicated e-reader the total volume of my reading has increased, just from the sheer volume of titles now available to me at the click of a button, but I was still having a hard time finding a book that I thought deserved particular attention. That is until I found this week’s book.

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” is the sweetest little novel, and a surprisingly quick read, written by T.J. Klune. It takes place in a fantasy world, not unlike earth,  that follows the life of one Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department In Charge of Magical Youth. At DICOMY his job is to evaluate the orphanages the department runs when situations arise, including the facilities and the masters in charge of each one. Although not uncaring Linus is proud of his ability to do his work by the book, literally a 900+ page volume entitled “Rules and Regulations” that he purchased from the company and lugs with him wherever he goes. It is because of this attention to the rules that Linus is given a special assignment by Extremely Upper Management to evaluate one of their more extraordinary orphanages.

An orphaned gnome, who keeps the most beautiful garden, and a shy young man who, when overtaken by extreme anxiety, turns into a Pomeranian are just a few of the children that give this orphanage its life and color, a very different setting than Linus’s usual drab gray life. Over the month that Linus has been given to evaluate the home, he is confronted with how living by the book can not only be restrictive of life and all it has to offer but may end up being detrimental, too.

If you’re looking for a cozy read that makes you think a bit “The House in the Cerulean Sea” fits the bill perfectly. I’ve heard good things about his most recent book “Under the Whispering Door” and it’s now on the top of my to-be-read book pile. Could this mark the end of my reading slump?

Klune, T.J. The House in the Cerulean Sea. New York: Tor, 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Perfume Thief” by Timothy Schaffert

It’s a One World One #BookFaceFriday !

We wanted to give a shout-out to Timothy Schaffert, and his latest book, “The Perfume Thief” (Doubleday, 2021) it was recently selected by Penguin Random House International for the One World One Book program! The novel is one of only two titles selected annually for this global promotion. You can find out more about this honor and the author in Nebraska Today’s article “Schaffert’s ‘Perfume Thief’ Earns International Recognition,” published on January 19th. We are so proud to have Nebraska literature represented on a global scale, congrats to Timothy Schaffert! This historical fiction novel, set in Paris at the beginning of WWII, is one of six Schaffert works NLC has available in our Book Club Kit Collection! This week’s #BookFace and Timothy Schaffert’s other 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. Get in on the One World One Book fun and reserve “The Perfume Thief” for your book club!

“[An] intoxicating blend of decadence and intrigue . . . Schaffert’s evocation of Paris and its wartime demimonde is sensual and alluring, but the heart of his novel is Clementine’s demonstration through her own adventures of how every life is its own heady perfume. . . This is a rich and rewarding tale, as original and unique as the handiwork of its eponymous character.”

 Publishers 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

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

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NCompass Live Schedule Change – Sign up for “Booktalking – Before, During, & After the Pandemic”

Due to staffing issues, next week’s NCompass Live webinar “If You Build it, Will They Come? Makerspaces Work in Small, Rural Libraries” is being postponed to a later date. The new date has not been selected yet, but as soon as we have a new date, it will be announced and the webinar will be added back to the NCompass Live schedule.

But, we do have a replacement show on the schedule for next week!

You can register for “Booktalking – Before, During, & After the Pandemic”, to be held on Wednesday, January 19 at 10am CT, at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=21439

This is an overview of basic booktalking skills for presentation to small-to-medium groups and/or for providing online content. Virtual programming can include: in-person programs that are streamed, broadcast, or recorded, or a combination of those; audio podcasts; book and media recommendations on a website; using Zoom or other interactive meeting software for book discussions, etc. Emphasis is on how booktalking programs and Readers Advisory resources have been kept viable remotely through use of technology that maintains existing access and also allows increased or new online consumption/attendance/participation and also with safety precautions in place for live events.

Between them, Becky and Scott have more than 80 years of work experience with Lincoln City Libraries. This includes: creating reading lists and book displays; appearing on local radio to give reading recommendations and promote library events and services; presenting live hour-long thematic book talks; recording book recommendation podcasts of various lengths for online access; conducting video-conferencing genre book discussions; and presenting toddler and pre-school storytime in person and via pre-assembled kits. When this presentation was in development, we had no idea the pandemic would still be such a huge consideration for library programming, so we are not fully in the “after” reality, but there is a variety of usable ideas and concepts contained here for vibrant ongoing booktalking.

Presenters: Becky Wurm Clark, Bess Dodson Walt Branch Library, and Scott Clark, Bennett Martin Public Library, Lincoln City Libraries.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 26, 2022 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Web Scraper 101
  • Feb. 2, 2022 – Intentional Design: Crafting a Mutually Beneficial Internship Program in a University Archives

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

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

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#BookFaceFriday “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 Elementary, my dear #BookFace!

Elementary, that’s what we think the idea of Book Club Kits are for libraries in our state. A simple idea that just makes so much sense. The Nebraska Library Commission’s Book Club Kit Collection is available and easily accessible for all libraries and schools across the state. This service allows libraries and school librarians to “check out” multiple copies of a book without adding to their permanent collections, or budgets. Not sure what to read in the new year? Are all the hot bestsellers already checked out? Try a classic for your next book club read, like “The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Tribeca Books, 2010,) I mean, it’s a classic for a reason. This week’s #BookFace can be found on the NLC Book Club Kit webpage. This title is also available to our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both eBook and Audiobook format, along with many other Sir Arthur Conan Doyle titles.


”It is not going too far to say that in Sherlock Holmes we find one of the most interesting characters of contemporary fiction. The versatile pen of Dr. Doyle has never done better work than these capital detective stories, the best of which is the powerfully written novel here considered.”

Book News

 

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: Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty, by Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe’s latest book, Empire of Pain, released on April 12, 2021, is a timely account of three generations of the Sackler family and the role they’ve played in the ongoing opioid crisis. It starts out as a classic American rags-to-riches story–three entrepreneurial brothers, born to poor immigrant parents in Brooklyn in the early 20th century, who succeed beyond their wildest dreams, winding up as billionaire philanthropists. It also tells a darker tale of corporate greed, coupled with personal hubris, leading to devastating social consequences.

Most of us know a bit about the Sacklers, due to media coverage of the multiple lawsuits filed against their privately owned company, Purdue Pharma, which manufactures and markets OxyContin. Purdue Pharma introduced this highly addictive extended-release painkiller to the market in 1996, and it was a game changer. Indeed, many view its arrival on the scene as the most significant precipitating event leading to the now-decades-long opioid epidemic.

If you want to know more, Keefe’s extensively researched book provides compelling evidence of why this family and their pharmaceutical company are viewed as culpable. And sadly, it feels like a too-familiar narrative:

  • There’s the FDA employee who, shortly after overseeing approval of OxyContin, wound up accepting a well-paid position with Purdue Pharma.
  • There’s the misleading marketing strategy of touting OxyContin as less addictive and less prone to abuse because of its time-release coating, even though company insiders knew from monitoring online discussion groups that users were crushing and chewing the drug to get a bigger “hit.”
  • There’s the sales force that continued to call on and sell to doctors who were clearly running pill mills, because of unending pressure to increase revenue.
  • And finally, there is the pathological refusal of family members to accept any responsibility for the problems that proliferated in conjunction with OxyContin sales. They seemed to view reports of OxyContin-related addiction and overdose deaths as PR problems that unfairly sullied the reputation of Purdue’s prized product, not as human tragedies: Addicts were the victimizers and Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers were the victims.

If you’re a fan of corporate exposes, this book will be right down your alley. It would also be a good companion read if you are watching the limited series Dopesick, now streaming on Hulu.

Keefe, Patrick Radden. Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. New York: Doubleday, 2021.

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Elementary School Book Club reads Refugee by Alan Gratz

Sarah Castillo, media specialist at Logan View Public Schools in Hooper, borrowed copies of Refugee by Alan Gratz for her 4-6 Grade Enrichment Program Students from the Library Commission book club collection. This year students had 3 options to choose from: Book Club, Macrame, or creating Book Soundtracks. She sent us this photo and said “thank you again for supplying the books for us!”

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NCompass Live: 2022 One Book One Nebraska: ‘The Bones of Paradise’

Celebrate the 2022 One Book One Nebraska selection, The Bones of Paradise, with us on next week’s FREE NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, January 12 at 10am CT.

In this eighteenth year of One Book One Nebraska, Nebraska libraries and other literary and cultural organizations continue to plan activities and events to encourage all Nebraskans to read and discuss the same book. Join us to hear more about this state reading promotion activity, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and the Nebraska Library Commission.

We are very pleased to announce that our featured guest will be Jonis Agee, author of the 2022 selection The Bones of Paradise: A Novel (William Morrow, 2016).

Join Author Jonis Agee, Nebraska Library Commission Communication Coordinator Tessa Terry, Humanities Nebraska Director of Literary Programs Erika Hamilton, Nebraska Center for the Book President Christine Walsh, and Nebraska Center for the Book Board Member Becky Faber to:

  • Learn about how to create a successful local reading promotion using Nebraska’s year-long, statewide celebration featuring The Bones of Paradise, by Jonis Agee.
  • Brainstorm strategies to read and discuss The Bones of Paradise.
  • Find tools to help engage your community in local activities to encourage them to come together through literature to explore this work in community-wide reading programs.
  • Learn about the 2022 Celebration of Nebraska Books, which will celebrate this book, along with the winners of the 2022 Nebraska Book Awards.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan. 26, 2022 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Feb. 2, 2022 – Intentional Design: Crafting a Mutually Beneficial Internship Program in a University Archives

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

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

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#BookFaceFriday “The Chicken Sisters” by KJ Dell’Antonia

 This #BookFaceFriday is no chicken!

Book Club Kits at the Nebraska Library Commission are a great resource for libraries in our state! The Nebraska Library Commission’s Book Club Kit Collection is constantly growing, either from purchases or donations. One of our newest titles is “The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020) and we just couldn’t wait to share it with you! This week’s #BookFace 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. This title is also available to our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both eBook and Audiobook format, which one will you check out today?


The Chicken Sisters is a pitch-perfect book with which to begin the New Year, when the spirit of starting anew and putting aside baggage (no matter how many centuries old it may be!), is exactly what we need. Well, that and a plate of fried chicken, of course.”

Country Living

 

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: The Forgotten Botanist : Sara Plummer Lemmon’s Life of Science and Art

Every once in awhile, a book comes along that, even though it is non-fiction, is so well written that it reads like a novel. The Forgotten Botanist : Sara Plummer Lemmon’s Life of Science and Art, by Wynne Brown, is just such a book. I was drawn in immediately by Ms. Brown’s eye for detail and well written narrative of Sara Plummer Lemmon’s life, loves, and scientific contributions to the field of botany.

The Forgotten Botanist is the story of an extraordinary woman who, in 1870, was driven by ill health to leave the East Coast for a new life in the West—alone. At thirty-three, Sara Plummer relocated to Santa Barbara, where she established the town’s first library and taught herself botany. Ten years later she married botanist John Gill Lemmon, and together the two discovered hundreds of new plant species, many of them illustrated by Sara, an accomplished artist. Although she became an acknowledged botanical expert and lecturer, Sara’s considerable contributions to scientific knowledge were credited merely as “J.G. Lemmon & wife.”

The Forgotten Botanist chronicles Sara’s remarkable life, in which she and JG found new plant species in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Mexico and traveled throughout the Southwest with such friends as John Muir and Clara Barton. Sara also found time to work as a journalist and as an activist in women’s suffrage and forest conservation.

The Forgotten Botanist is a timeless tale about a woman who discovered who she was by leaving everything behind. Her inspiring story is one of resilience, determination, and courage—and is as relevant to our nation today as it was in her own time.

*Courtesy of University of Nebraska Press

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NCompass Live: Teen Titles of 2021: Books They Will Read

Join us for the first FREE NCompass Live webinar of 2022, ‘Teen Titles of 2021: Books They Will Read’, on Wednesday, January 5, 2022 at 10am CT.

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.

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

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Jan 12, 2022 – 2022 One Book One Nebraska: The Bones of Paradise
  • Jan. 26, 2022 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Feb. 2, 2022 – Intentional Design: Crafting a Mutually Beneficial Internship Program in a University Archives

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

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

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#BookFaceFriday “Fifty-Four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers” by Caela Carter

There’s nothing wrong with this #BookFaceFriday!

Woman with short hair poses with a book. The book is positioned so that the cover blends with the woman's body.

Writing your New Year’s Resolutions? Lots of folks create lists of things they’d like to accomplish or change about themselves. In this week’s #BookFace, “Fifty-Four Things Wrong With Gwendolyn Rogers” by Caela Carter (Quill Tree Books, 2021), our protagonist has a long list of things other people thinks she needs to change. But are they truly flaws, or are they just the traits that make Gwendolyn… Gwendolyn? This middle-grade book has a lot to say about acceptance of one’s self and others.

“This sensitive #OwnVoices novel balances the frustration and challenges being dealt with by all the characters. Particularly effective is the cadence of Gwendolyn’s thoughts and voice, creating a likable, realistic character that readers will gravitate to. Recommended to everyone, but particularly for those drawn to Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird and Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign.” — Booklist (starred review)

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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Friday Reads: The Unexpected Universe, by Loren Eiseley

If a Mount Rushmore of Nebraska literary figures were ever to be carved into the Dakota sandstone through which Lincoln’s Salt Creek flows, the bespectacled visage of Loren Eiseley would have to be considered for inclusion. Eiseley (1907 – 1977), a renowned paleontologist, anthropologist, poet, and science writer, was born in Lincoln and spent his formative years here (his early childhood home on South Street still stands and there is a Lincoln City Libraries branch named after him), establishing a lifelong pattern of wandering widely, often alone, and investigating what nature revealed to him.

Eiseley is a compelling writer because his interpretation of these clues is always an amalgam of hard science knowledge, compassionate humanism, and a sort of stoic poetry that often seems to stop just short of surrendering to the void. This is particularly true of the ten essays that comprise his 1969 book, The Unexpected Universe. Each essay is a set piece built around some image or experience that has profoundly affected Eiseley, and he spends the essay turning his scientific eye inward — examining his own emotional strata and why he is, to use modern parlance, so “shook” — and outward, drawing upon a classical set of allusions that include Plato, Shakespeare, Darwin, Emerson, Thoreau and others to frame the piece in context for the reader.

Similar to the transcendentalist modes of Thoreau and Emerson, being alive in human form is ultimately a cosmic mystery for Eiseley, and life is a quest for meaning. These essays suggest that this meaning or understanding tends to emerge in coded disguise, such as the letter-like markings of an alphabet shell, a suddenly recalled memory of a “junkman” and his horse-drawn cart at the corner of R and 13th in 1923, or a giant cecropia moth that invades an outdoor theatrical play staged under the lights. These sparks of connection with the rest of the universe are fleeting, leaving the author perhaps even more alone than he realized before.

In this sense, The Unexpected Universe is truly a product of its cultural-historical moment in the late 1960s, the same zeitgeist that infuses Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, created right before human beings placed one of our own on the moon on July 21, 1969. After decades of sci-fi pulp fiction speculation about encountering other intelligent life forms on other planets, the reality of the vast emptiness of outer space and the lonely human position within it became more apparent. 

The evolutionary anthropologist Eiseley reminds us that it was always so. However, within matter there is solid-arity: throughout the book he imbues most every living thing and once-living thing with the mythopoeic quest of Odysseus, at one point even lamenting individual blood cells reaching their adventure’s end as they pool below his head after a fall. Reading Eiseley is an exercise in heightened awareness of the microcosmic, macrocosmic, and long geologic history of the earth that offers a renewed sense of how special it is to be alive in this moment.

Eiseley, Loren C. The Unexpected Universe. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Last Holiday Concert” by Andrew Clements

We wish you a Merry #BookFace and a Happy New Year!

Fa-la-la-la-la! Driving over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house is the perfect time to listen to an audiobook like “The Last Holiday Concert” by Andrew Clements (Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, 2004). This title is available as an audiobook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, along with many of Clements’ other children’s favorites. We also have a few of his titles in our book club kit collection, if your younger readers want to read them as a group.

“Clements is a master at taking elements of relatively common school situations and turning them into masterful stories with truly engaging characters….[This story] will leave youngsters teeming with emotion.”

School Library Journal

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. 186 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,554 audiobooks, 32,935 eBooks, and 3,940 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 – Book Drive!

Happy #BookFaceFriday to all the young readers out there!

No matter the book, whether it’s about Christmas, Hanukkah, or Halloween, we want it for our annual Children/YA book drive! Just like one of this year’s donated books, “Witches of Brooklyn: What the Hex?!: (A Graphic Novel)” written and illustrated by Sophie Escabasse (Random House Graphic, 2021.) Anyone and everyone are welcome to drop off donated books. We need them by the end of the day TODAY, so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army tonight. Every year, for the last 30+ years, Nebraska Library Commission staff collect new or gently used books for children and teens to be donated to the People’s City Mission and the Salvation Army for their Christmas giveaway for youth in need. The books come from all over. Brought from homes, bought new in stores, or purchased at thrifting excursions, Lincoln City Library’s book sale, or the Scholastic Book Sale. Our models this week spearhead this program, Children and Young Adult Library Services Coordinator, Sally Snyder, and Janet Greser, who runs Computer Help Desk Support. The third model is Janet’s daughter, Amanda Heier, who has been helping them get the books ready by cleaning off stickers and wiping down donated books. With her assistance, we are ready to deliver books to the Salvation Army!

“A humorous, magical romp about a modern-day apprentice witch who is struggling to be a good friend. Stellar comedic timing and whimsy galore combine in this magical friendship story.”—Kirkus

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!

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Friday Reads: Celebrating Jolabokaflod

Jolabokaflod, or “Christmas Book Flood” in English, is the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve and reading into the night. Here are two books I am gifting my friends Vern and Jon for their Christmas Eve reading.

Vern was born the same day and year as Stanley Tucci and honestly, there are some passages in Taste that make me believe there could be something to birthday twins being similar. Vern’s husband Jon is a huge Foo Fighters fan, and all the press Dave Grohl’s book, The Storyteller, received made me curious to learn more about this musician’s life.  I think it is helpful (mandatory?) to read a book before you gift it because giving books can be a burden to the recipient — if you don’t believe in the book, why should they? I’m pretty certain I have a sure thing with both titles.

For those who aren’t familiar with Stanley Tucci, he became an internet sensation this past spring for his viral instructional video on mixing a negroni which is, incidentally, the very first recipe in his book. The recipe concludes with the following instructions: sit down, drink it, declaring, “the sun is now in your stomach.” Tucci’s book is a memoir through the lens of food. There are chapters on his Italian parents and their traditions; the family’s year spent living in Italy; restaurants and life in New York as a young actor; food on several film sets and locations; food with his wife, Kate; life in London with his wife, Felicity; and surviving tongue cancer. This book also complements the CNN Series Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, which aired earlier this year and is still available for viewing on demand if you missed it the first time around. And good news, there is confirmation of season two!

I devoured this book, and knowing I would be sharing it with Vern I consumed it with anticipatory glee, imagining his reactions. And even though I listened to Tucci narrate the audio edition of his book, I used post it notes to mark certain passages in Vern’s print edition that I hoped would stand out. I predict the New York chapter and the Meryl Streep Julie and Julia chapter will be favorites. I read a review of this audiobook that said “listening to this memoir is not a completely successful experience,” but in my opinion that reviewer is simply wrong. While it’s nice to have the recipes in print, listening to Tucci speak Italian and curse makes the audio preferable to me.  During the pandemic, armchair travel was all many of us could do, and if Italy is on your list? Get Tucci’s book, watch his series, boil some pasta, and you’ll be halfway to celebrating la dolce vita!

As a former musician, I found Grohl’s process of coming to music as a vocation fascinating. Like the Beatles and my personal favorite, James Taylor, Grohl never learned to read music.  Dave taught himself to play by fastidiously listening to music and literally making the drum sounds with his teeth, leading his dentist to wonder what caused his early dental deterioration. Because he couldn’t rely on written music, there was a memorization that made the music a part of him. He does admit to taking one drum lesson where he was told he was holding his sticks wrong, but that was his only formal education. Grohl also described how he experienced music through synesthesia – a process when hearing music makes you see shapes or smell something specific. It is, quite literally, “a neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate one of your senses stimulates several of your senses.”

The relationship between Dave and his mom is also one to cherish. Her counsel and support to a son who was danger prone (a frequent visitor to the ER) and not driven to scholarly success was affirming to read, especially knowing that it all worked out in the end. As a single mom, he describes her as his best friend. This famous relationship is documented in a book written by Virginia Grohl: From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars .

After reading several memoirs and biographies, I have to comment that Dave’s attention to his relationships lacks details. Describing a particular recording session, he mentions his marriage was falling apart, and unless I missed it there was no prior mention of a marriage. He begins another paragraph with a phone conversation to his mom by saying, “Mom, we’re having a girl.”  It’s possible wives past and present wanted little mention in the book or maybe that’s just the way Dave rolls. The overall takeaway for me is that Dave is driven and deeply introspective in a way that has served him well. I admired his ability to make and maintain friends throughout his life and his tenacious optimism.

And – if you’re wondering what my neighbor Mary is reading? Once I found the very first book in the Mitford Series in her book stacks, she was completely engaged with these characters and the North Carolina setting. She read all of the books in a couple of months. She followed the series by reading the Stanley Tucci book I loaned her and has now started on the Louise Penny Inspector Gamach series.  I gave her a copy of Rosamund Pilcher’s Winter Solstice for her birthday in October and we read it together for the holiday, a book that I learned she had purchased years ago and I located recently, tucked away in her collection. I only brought back to her what she had already found but had forgotten about. Happy Jolabokaflod everyone!

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New Book on BARD!

Just in Time for the Holidays!

One of the first works by Willa Cather has been recorded by our Talking Book and Braille Service! “The Burglar’s Christmas” was originally published in the December 1896 issue of The Home Monthly under the pseudonym Elizabeth L Seymour.

“William Crawford has failed at one enterprise after another. No job, no money, no food, he desperately decides to try being a thief – and gets caught. “

This is a short but powerful read, just right for the holidays. TBBS borrowers can request “The Burglar’s Christmas,” DBC 01980, 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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Friday Reads: Maisie Dobbs Series by Jacqueline Winspear

The Maisie Dobbs mystery series begins in 1929 with Dobbs, a psychologist and investigator, opening her own detective agency. With 16 books to date in the series, the 17th is set to be out this March, Winspear has been writing this character for over 18 years. The heroine, Maisie Dobbs, is a physiological detective solving all kinds of cases including murders and missing persons in the heart of London. Her inclusion of non-western methods such as meditation and intuition make for a thoughtful and all-encompassing approach to solving mysteries. Working as a nurse on the Front during WWI, war and its effects play a large role in Dobb’s storylines as well as crossing society’s class lines. As a fan of mysteries, procedurals, and detective books in general, I find a certain comfort in Winspear’s series. The thrill solving the mysteries is there without some of the more graphic aspects you might find in other crime novels. I love the female lead in a mostly male occupation as well as the thought-provoking nature of the stories. The Maisie Dobbs series is perfect for readers who already love Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and Armand Gamache. 

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#BookFaceFriday “A Winter’s Love” by Madeleine L’Engle

 #BookFace it’s cold outside!

Well, it’s sort of cold outside, so we’re going with it! Check out “A Winter’s Love: A Novel” by Madeleine L’Engle (Open Road Media, 2017) it’s available as an eBook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. L’Engle was the author of sixty books, her most famous work being, “A Wrinkle in Time,” it and several other of her titles are also available for readers in OverDrive. Our model this week is a new addition to the Nebraska Library Commission! Welcome to Alisha Baginski, our new Federal Documents Staff Assistant. She joins us from the Omaha Public Library, she has a degree in History, and a background working in museums and archives. Alisha enjoys reading mystery and fantasy, her favorite books include “The Great Gatsby” by F Scott Fitzgerald and “The Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie. She likes to read a mix of audiobooks (Libby is the best!!) and physical books, we think she’s going to fit right in!

Poignant and powerful, this is a timeless tale of the turmoil that comes with falling in—and out—of love, and “a convincing story of mixed loyalties and divided affections.”

— Kirkus Reviews

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. 186 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,554 audiobooks, 32,935 eBooks, and 3,940 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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NCompass Live: Best New Children’s Books of 2021: Super Librarians Continue on with Youth Services!

Hear about the Best New Children’s Books of 2021 as our Super Librarians Continue on with Youth Services!, on next week’s NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, December 8 at 10am CT.

Super Sally Snyder and Daring Dana Fontaine will showcase new and exciting children’s and middle grade books to the library community. We will give tips and tricks on how to move your story times online and how to accommodate your patrons.

Presenters: Dana Fontaine, Librarian, Fremont High School; Sally Snyder, Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Dec. 15 – Libraries Build Pathways to Wellbeing
  • Dec. 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Jan. 5, 2022 – Teen Titles of 2021: Books They Will Read
  • Jan 12, 2022 – 2022 One Book One Nebraska: ‘The Bones of Paradise’
  • Jan. 19, 2022 – If You Build it, Will They Come? Makerspaces Work in Small, Rural Libraries

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

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

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#BookFaceFriday “The Storyteller” by Dave Grohl

There goes my hero, he’s #BookFaceFriday.

I mean honestly, does it get any better than Dave Grohl?! We are head over heels for all the amazing memoirs and nonfiction works out right now, we couldn’t help but highlight “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music” by Dave Grohl (HarperCollins, 2021.) In fact, Nebraska OverDrive Libraries has over 3,700 titles in its Nonfiction: Biography & Autobiography section alone. This excellent memoir is available as both an eBook and an Audiobook, as an added bonus, the Audiobook is read by Dave Grohl himself.

“Grohl candidly shares his reverence for the enduring power of music. . . Reflecting on his fame, Grohl writes, “I have never taken a single moment of it for granted.” Paired with his sparkling wit, this humility is what makes Grohl’s soulful story a cut above typical rock memoirs. There isn’t a dull moment here”.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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. 186 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 26,554 audiobooks, 32,935 eBooks, and 3,940 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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