Category Archives: Books & Reading

Friday Reads: Reading with Mary

My dear friend Mary, who lives two floors above me, suffered a television outage last winter. This was catastrophic since her TV is always on, serving as companion, entertainer, and white noise. Out of desperation, Mary–who in recent years earnestly believed she’d lost the concentration needed to read an entire book—picked up the copy of Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer that I’d given her. She read it cover to cover; it reminded her of her home in North Carolina, and she loved it! More importantly, she felt triumphant, proving to herself that she COULD still read books!

I wanted to keep her reading momentum going so when Nigella Lawson, a favorite food writer of ours, released a new book called Cook, Eat, and Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes, and Stories, I ordered two copies. We kept a running commentary as we consumed the pages. An entire chapter on anchovies? Are they REALLY the bacon of the sea? Saving and cooking with banana peels was a zero waste solution? Not something either of us will try. But her essay on food as a guilty pleasure?  That was worth rereading together.

Nigella’s book made me think of Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life: A Cookbook, and I bought it for Mary and I listened to my copy a second time. This lead to conversations about Ruth’s other books, many of which Mary owned. Just as she’d somehow missed My Kitchen Year, I’d missed For You Mom, Finally, so Mary happily lent me her copy.

I turned to Mary’s own book stacks for my next recommendation, handing her an unread copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. As a faithful letter writer and a lover of stationary, I had a feeling she would enjoy this epistolary book. She did and was ready for more.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mary-2.jpg
Mary in her eclipse sunglasses, August 2017.
Photo credit: Julee Hatton

After I finished reading Andre Leon Talley: The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, I thought it would be a good fit for Mary knowing she had been a Women’s Wear Daily and Vogue subscriber. An added bonus was Andre’s North Carolina nativity. After reading the first chapter she told me she was purposely taking it slow to make it last. Mary took a reading break to watch Wimbledon but once she was finished with Andre, I handed her I.M.: A Memoir by Isaac Mizrahi because I could tell she was still in the mood for fashion designers and had a penchant for biographies.

We next tackled, The Barbizon: The Hotel That Set Women Free by Paulina Bren, recommended by a coworker. This safe haven for modern, working women was the home to many celebrities including Sylvia Plath, an author Mary had previously researched. We both finished and thought the book was interesting and worthwhile but the finest takeaway was our discussion afterwards.  I was able to ask Mary questions no one had ever asked her before, and she answered them. It was an intimate communion and an evening I will never forget.

Floundering over what to offer Mary next, I ended up loaning her my copy of The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, continuing with the theme of female solidarity. Mary initially greeted this selection with reticence because she grew up in a house with hired help. However, because I’d earned her trust with my previous recommendations, she acquiesced and agreed to try it. She was hooked from the first page! When she finished it a week later, she returned it with high praise and a heartfelt thank you note I will treasure forever.

Having spotted two Rosamunde Pilcher paperbacks in Mary’s collection, I gave her a copy of the The Shell Seekers, confident she would appreciate Penelope, the bohemian protagonist, and the English locations. She finished in a week, sad for it to be over and sharing that she usually skips over description but she read every word in this book. She then expressed concern that she was now spending too much time reading, but she also wanted more Pilcher books!

Most recently–and just in time for the U.S. Open Tennis tournament–I presented her with the new Billie Jean King autobiography, All In. The next day she told me she stayed up way too late the night before, using the index to cherry pick stories, and that she really needed to get more sleep! My copy of All In is on hold at the library, and I’m eager to read it so we can discuss this amazing icon of tennis and gender equality.

I have never experienced this kind of simpatico with another reader. Whatever aligned for us to enjoy so many of the same books at the same time has been a luxury. Our discussions have been a respite from the pandemic and the news, but the biggest gift is learning more about each other and deepening our friendship. It has been such a pleasure to plot Mary’s reading through these last several months, and I must say I’m so grateful Mary’s television stopped working!

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech – Tech-Friendly Book Club Ideas

The best way to learn about technology is to read about it! Get some ‘Tech-Friendly Book Club Ideas’ on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, August 25 at 10am CT.

Even if they are not all going to make it themselves, people are infinitely curious about robots, computers, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and all the tech that is changing the world. While libraries can’t be expected to teach all of this directly, books can help tackle the big stuff! Over the years I tracked the books I used to learn about all my favorite tech and practiced with different discussion questions and ways to talk about tech.

By the end of this session you will have:

  • A list of recommended titles for book clubs & discussion
  • Tech topics to tackle in book groups
  • Ideas for wraparound activities
  • Book groups as market research

I focus mainly on options for adults and teens in this session, but harvested some options from people who specialize in K-12 to help out the kids!

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.os Live shows:

  • Sept. 1 – NLC Grants for 2022
  • Sept. 8 – Manga and Graphic Novels in Your Library
  • Sept. 15 – Library School Now – Library Workers Talk about Their Library Science Coursework
  • Sept. 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • October 6 – The Queer Omaha Archives: The First Five Years
  • October 13 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA!

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 Perfume Thief” by Timothy Schaffert

 We’d let this #BookFaceFriday steal us away any day!

Nebraska’s very own Timothy Schaffert has just released his latest book, “The Perfume Thief” (Doubleday, 2021) and we just couldn’t wait to share it with you! 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. Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Meet the author and hear him talk about his work this Saturday, 4:30-6:00 pm, at Francie & Finch Bookshop in downtown Lincoln!

“[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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Friday Reads: “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro

If you could save the lives of eight people by sacrificing the life of one, would you do it? Is it possible to break free of a path your life has been set on since before you were even born? If you create something, do you own it? What if the thing you created is a human? These are all questions a reader will find themselves grappling with in “Never Let Me Go,” the sixth novel by British and Japanese author, Kazuo Ishiguro.

An idyllic childhood spent at a boarding school in the English countryside, what could be better? Kathy spends her adulthood traveling around England working as a Carer, looking after hospice patients. After ’caring’ for two of her old classmates and reminiscing about how they grew up, all Kathy can think about is her childhood. As Kathy’s memories unfold so does the mystery and strangeness that is this “Brave New World” she lives in. With each new memory, we begin to understand just how different Kathy’s life has been, and we come to understand that what at first seems idyllic is far from it.

In “Never Let Me Go” the topics of childhood innocence, science and ethics, and free will are all explored in this thoughtful novel. Readers who like a slow burn and subtle, yet thought-provoking plot twists will enjoy this book.

Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. Vintage, 2006.

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NCompass Live: One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens

Wouldn’t it be great if kids all over Nebraska were talking about books? Hear about the Nebraska Library Commission & the Regional Library Systems’ program where kids can all read and discuss the same book on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, August 18 at 10am CT.

Join Sally Snyder, the NLC’s Coordinator of Children and Young Adult Library Services, and Aimee Owen, Information Services Librarian, to learn all about the One Book for Nebraska Kids and Teens program. Our 2021 titles are: One Book For Nebraska Kids – Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, and One Book For Nebraska Teens – Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson. And the 2022 titles have been selected: One Book For Nebraska Kids – The Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader, and One Book For Nebraska Teens – Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • August 25 – Pretty Sweet Tech – Tech-Friendly Book Club Ideas
  • Sept. 8 – Manga and Graphic Novels in Your Library
  • Sept. 15 – Library School Now – Library Workers Talk about Their Library Science Coursework
  • Sept. 29 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • October 6 – The Queer Omaha Archives: The First Five Years
  • October 13 – NO NCOMPASS LIVE THIS WEEK – ENJOY NLA!

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 “Sidekicked” by John David Anderson

We love a good back-to-school #BookFaceFriday!

Ahh, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new erasers, makes us want to go out and buy school supplies! This week’s #BookFace is a reminder that a Book Club Kit is the perfect back-to-school supply too. This service allows libraries and school librarians to “check out” multiple copies of a book without adding to their permanent collections, or budgets. We have a great selection of kids/YA titles for you to choose from, like “Sidekicked” by John David Anderson (Walden Pond Press, 2014). Even better, this book club kit is available for your next read! You can search for books based on grade level, genre, the number of copies available, or keywords, helping librarians and teachers find great reads for their YA book clubs.

“From memorable characters to a complex yet accessible plot, this [is a] superhero story that any comics fan will enjoy.”

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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Friday Reads: Great Plains Indians by David J. Wishart

David Wishart covers a vast span of over thirteen thousand years in his book, Great Plains Indians. Many know bits and pieces of this astonishing story. Professor Wishart dispels a number of myths and provides important detail and perspective in his coverage of Indian life on the Great Plains.

Wishart describes in his Great Plains Indians historical account the elements of geography, climate, perseverance, innovation, culture, and adaptation. The book is organized in four broad chapters: coverage of thirteen thousand years of Plains history, life circumstances of Plains Indians around the early nineteenth century, the period Lewis and Clark explored the Plains region, and the period that began and continued with regional control by the United States.

Significant are the impacts of disease (notably smallpox), food sources, climate, horses, guns, alcohol, and beginning contacts and conflict with people moving into the Great Plains region.

Wishart provides extensive coverage of the nineteenth-century and continuing to the present geographic and cultural dispossession of the Great Plains Indians. Within a hundred year span, the Plains Indians land base was reduced from an area extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico to a territory inclusive of a small number of reservations in Oklahoma and other Plains areas.

A slim book, Great Plains Indians is written in a clear, concise style. Professor Wishart’s Great Plains expertise, and notably that of Great Plains Indians, provides the reader with a rich and informative historical presentation.

Great Plains Indians is among books in the University of Nebraska Center for Great Plains Studies “Discover the Great Plains” series (Richard Edwards, Series Editor).

David Wishart is a professor of geography at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The author of many books, Wishart is the editor of Encyclopedia of the Great Plains (2004).

Wishart, David J. Great Plains Indians. University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Lake” by Natasha Preston

This #BookFaceFriday knows what you did last summer!

Pack up your marshmallows and bug spray because we’re headed to summer camp with “The Lake” by Natasha Preston (Random House Children’s Books, 2021.) It’s available as an eBook and Audiobook at Nebraska OverDrive Libraries. This YA thriller sounds like the perfect tale to tell around the campfire. New titles are added daily to Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, including children, YA, and adult fiction!

“[T]he strong buildup…leads to a shockingly satisfying finale. An eerie thriller reminiscent of summer horror movies that will keep readers on edge.”

Kirkus

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 180 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 25,520 audiobooks, 32,303 eBooks, and 3,403 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: Post Office

Charles Bukowski was a lowbrow writer. On the one hand, some can certainly relate to his pessimistic and unpretentious philosophies of life, while others surely look upon him with disdain. The thing is, he probably would not have cared either way. Perhaps he would have even relished in the thought that someone looked upon him with disdain, as this was often the case in his writing career. Frequently, he read his poetry in various settings (frequently college campuses), had too much to drink, and then arguments with those attending often ensued or the reading quickly devolved into chaos. A long time alcoholic, who for years lived on skid row in L.A., Post Office recounts his years with the agency, first as a substitute mail carrier, then after a gap in service, a full-time postal employee. Overall, Bukowski worked for the Postal Service for 14 years. The main character in Post Office, based on Bukowski himself, is Henry Chinaski, who appears in many of Bukowski’s novels. Think of Chinaski as synonymous with Bukowski. Post Office details the personal life of Chinaski, packed with heavy drinking and subsequent hangovers, gambling, and an overview of what working for the Post Office was like in the 50’s and 60’s in L.A. I imagine some parts are the same today, others much different. Bukowski has a way of telling a story in a direct and uncensored manner that is not only appealing but also refreshing for the lowbrow reader. This particular story has a second anti-hero, namely Chinaski’s postal supervisor, Johnstone. The interaction between Chinaski and Johnstone, aka “The Stone” provide comic relief in a sadistic sort of way. Here’s a taste of what to expect:

“The post office, or any world of work, is only one institutionalized system of control that is designed to beat people, to condition them into accepting that humiliation and failure is the norm. Those who do not rebel against this lose any ability to think for themselves. The workers are robbed of power whilst the bosses have only a small amount of it and can only use it arbitrarily, which is to say, pointlessly.”

–Charles Bukowski, Post Office

Bukowski, Charles. Post Office. Black Sparrow Press. 1971.

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Friday Reads: “Alright, Alright, Alright: The Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused” by Melissa Maerz

I enjoy celebrity biographies and behind-the-scenes stories, and those two things come together quite groovily in Melissa Maerz’s oral history of the 1993 cult-classic Dazed and Confused.

Maerz interviews everyone involved with the movie, from Richard Linklater, to the costume designer, casting director, the casts and their families, even Linklater’s high school classmates, many of whom were inspirations for the characters (however unflattering they may find that fact). I learned all sorts of fun facts about the movie and it’s cast, as did my family and friends, because I would constantly share what I was reading as I went along (sorry guys!). I couldn’t help it – this movie was on constant VCR rotation when I was in high school and I can still quote whole scenes without fail. This book was a fun trip down memory lane.

It was especially fun to look at the cast and how far they’ve come since 1993 – this was Matthew McConaughey’s first movie, and his bit part grew and grew until he became the breakout star. Mila Jovovich, who was the biggest name of the cast at the time, saw her part shrink considerably as she got caught up in an on-set romance and neglected her role; her boyfriend Shawn Andrews effectively got himself blackballed from Hollywood for a time due to his attitude and behavior during filming. Texas native Renee Zillweger wanted to be in the movie badly enough that she took a non-speaking, uncredited roll as “Girl in Blue Truck”.

If you’re in need of a slow ride down memory lane while school’s out for the summer, this book will help you rock and roll all night long. Just don’t forget your reading glasses, because if this was your favorite movie in high school, you’re now old like me.

Maerz, Melissa. Alright, alright, alright: the oral history of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. Harper, 2020.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Librarian Tales” by William Ottens

This #BookFaceFriday really stacks up!

We are not done hyping NLC’s library science collection! It’s not just textbooks and curriculum, but fun reads like “Librarian Tales: Funny, Strange, and Inspiring Dispatches from the Stacks” by William Ottens (Skyhorse, 2020.) A book of anecdotes that is perfect for library staff and those who think librarians just read all day long. This Library Science Collection provides professional and reference materials for Nebraska librarians and library science programs. This includes all librarians and library science students. The checkout period is 4 weeks, and items can be sent through the mail or picked up in person. You can find all of these books and more in our catalog, or reach out to our reference staff for a recommendation!

“”In this delightful book, Ottens pulls back the cover of library life and the magic and mayhem found within. Librarians will recognize themselves in these wonderful stories, while readers will gain a greater appreciation for their favorite local library.”

Jill Grunenwald, author of Reading Behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian

This week’s #BookFace model is the most adorable book stack I’ve ever seen.

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

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Friday Reads: Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors by Benjamin Wallace

What does a librarian do after the apocalypse? He becomes a post-apocalyptic nomadic warrior, of course!

Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors, by Benjamin Wallace, is the first book in a series, the Duck & Cover Adventures. There are 5 novels in the series, plus an anthology of short stories.

You would think that, seven years after nuclear bombs and chemical weapons destroyed civilization, there would be plenty of work for such a person. Chaos reigns, food and medicine is scarce, mutants and cannibals are around every corner! And don’t forget the Super Smart Bears. Right? That’s what we’ve all been told an apocalypse would bring.

But, no, not this apocalypse. Things are actually going…OK. Most people have gathered together into safely walled communities, growing plenty of food, governing themselves with few issues. The Librarian believes that they need his help anyway, and travels from town to town with his female mastiff, Chewy, offering to save them from whatever they might need saving from. He tries to convince the town of New Hope, Texas that they need to hire him. But, he’s told they’re doing just fine and don’t require the Librarian’s services, literally throwing him out the front gate.

The Librarian isn’t the only post-apocalyptic nomadic warrior around, though. His rival, Logan, has also come to New Hope. And he tells the town that there actually is a roving band of killers out there, and they may be on the way to New Hope next.

Will the Librarian or Logan be the savior of New Hope? Is there really a silver lining in an apocalypse? And how smart are Super Smart Bears anyway?

If you’re looking for a quick, fun read that doesn’t take the apocalypse too seriously, this book is for you.

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#BookFaceFriday – “Creativity for Library Career Advancement”

A bright idea for a #BookFaceFriday!

Voila! Did you know the Commission has a collection of library science titles? Our Library Science Collection provides professional and reference materials for Nebraska librarians and library science programs. This includes all librarians and library science students. The checkout period is 4 weeks, and items can be sent through the mail or picked up in person. We get new titles in all the time like “Creativity for Library Career Advancement: Perspectives, Techniques and Eureka Moments” edited by Vera Gubnitskaia and Carol Smallwood (McFarland, 2019.) You can find all of these books and more in our catalog, or reach out to our reference staff for a recommendation!

“An insightful collection…expertly organized and presented…an extraordinary, informative, comprehensive, and insightful contribution that is very highly recommended”―Midwest Book Review

This week’s #BookFace model is Jen Wrampe, NLC’s Administrative Staff Assistant. She pretty much keeps our office running; without her we wouldn’t even have pens to write with.

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

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Friday Reads: Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen

A memoir in five parts. There is a reason Gary Paulsen is so popular: his writing – both his stories and his words.  The author’s method of storytelling creates a smooth transition that enables the reader to evolve from observer to active participant.

Many librarians have read or heard Paulsen say that the library saved his life.  Here, along with other tales of his childhood and young adulthood, the reader learns much more about the story behind his statement.  Part Four, titled “Thirteen,” contains this story.  It begins,

“Because it was safe there.

In the library. Only three places safe. The library, moving through the alleys at night after hard dark and, best of all, the woods.”

Part One starts the book with his mother putting him (at five years old) on a train, alone, in Chicago, for a total trip of about 800 miles to his relatives’ farm in Minnesota.  We join Paulsen as he encounters security with his aunt and uncle, then the opposite as his life changes on another person’s whim, with no consideration for his preferences or choices.  Throughout his life, he found security, safety, and peace in the woods, on his own. This book is for anyone who has loved any of Gary Paulsen’s books, from middle school age through high school and adulthood.  Readers of his other memoir, Guts, will find different stories of his life here.

Paulsen, Gary. Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood. (New York) Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, LLC, 2021.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Collected Works of Jim Morrison” by Jim Morrison

The time to hesitate is through, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Come on baby light my fire as we explore the poetry, prose, and lyrical genius that was Jim Morrison. “The Collected Works of Jim Morrison: Poetry, Journals, Transcripts, and Lyrics” by Jim Morrison (‎HarperAudio, 2021) is an Audiobook available in our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries collection. Narrated by the Lizard King himself, along with other musicians such as Patti Smith, Liz Phair, Ian Morrison, and Ian Ray to name a few. This title can be found in Literary Anthologies or the Latest 500 Titles Added collection on the main page. Excellent new titles are added daily to Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, make sure to check them all out!

“The definitive anthology of Jim Morrison’s writings with rare photographs and numerous handwritten excerpts of unpublished and published poetry and lyrics from his 28 privately held notebooks.”

book jacket

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 180 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 25,520 audiobooks, 32,303 eBooks, and 3,403 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 model is a new face around the Commission, even though you can’t see it in this photo. Eric Saxon is our new Talking Book & Braille Service Circulation/Studio Support Clerk! We had to break on through to the other side (of the building) to find him. How appropriate that we caught him at work in one of our recording booths!

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

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

New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for March through June, 2021.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, History Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska Legislature, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.

Most items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted link above, or directly in the .pdf below.  You can read synopses of the books received from the University of Nebraska Press in the Book Briefs blogposts.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse in 1972, a service of the Nebraska Library Commission. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and provide access to all public information published by Nebraska state agencies.  By law (State Statutes 51-411 to 51-413) all Nebraska state agencies are required to submit their published documents to the Clearinghouse.  For more information, visit the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse page, contact Mary Sauers, Government Information Services Librarian; or contact Bonnie Henzel, State Documents Staff Assistant.

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Friday Reads: Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón

“I want to try to be terrific.
Even for an hour.”

During the Impossible age of everyone (23)

Ada Limón is an American poet who, along with Richard Siken, Natalie Diaz, and Mary Oliver, is one of my favorite poets. Her poem, “The Leash” – which is not included in this collection – is a poem I reach for like the hand of a trusted friend, after stumbling on the road. I know that it will be there to pull me back onto my feet.

Bright Dead Things, published in 2015, was a National Book Award finalist. It is Limón’s fourth collection of poetry. I could stare at its cover all day.

Poetry is a heavy, fluid beast to review and recommend. You cannot trap it, pin it down. Every poem is a kaleidoscope, shifted in image from the time of my witnessing to the moment that I hand it to you. How can I show you a poem and have you see the same poem?

And yet, Limón’s collection in Bright Dead Things is about the universal, the human, the everyday: nature, grief. The body, the entropy of the body, life, and the passage of time.

In “State Bird,” Limón writes about her move to Kentucky from New York in a way that is so personal that tears sprang to my eyes, because it was exactly how I felt about remaining in Nebraska, despite my original, younger plans to leave for some distant, fresher place. “Confession: I did not want / to live here, / among the goldenrod, / wild onions, / or the dropseed” (58). Peace is made with it; on her part, and on mine. “Sometimes,” Limón writes in a later poem, “Oh Please, Let It Be Lightning” (174), “you have to / look around at the life you’ve made and / sort of nod at it, / like someone moving their / head up and down / to a tune they like.” There’s a repetition, to use a grief analogy — this collection is, I think, at its heart, about grief — of coming through the stages to acceptance and back again, like the way the wind changes direction.

There’s a line that struck me, from “Miracle Fish”: “I swear I will play on this blessed earth until I die” (64). Her use of the word play is fantastic, poignant. Not work, not grin and bear it, not survive: I will play. Especially since this collection is saturated (as life is) with grief. With lost family, lost homes, lost friends – lost, sharp as I read this in the ongoing roils of a pandemic, time. Limón takes that grief and rather than shear it from life (as we are wont to do, or want to do) — she says, this is a part of life. This is how it happens. This is a part of what make us alive. Death, loss — it is not an antithesis, it is a harmony.

Overall, the image of the bright dead things has remained with me. I won’t spoil that poem’s title here, so that you can discover what they are for yourself. Maybe you can carry them with you as well, you, ebullient and reckless, you, living just because you can.

Limón Ada. Bright Dead Things. E-Book, Milkweed Editions, 2015.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah

The mountains are calling, and #BookFaceFriday must go.

Sometimes you find the perfect book club read, but if you’re really lucky, you find the perfect book club author. We think Kristin Hannah deserves such an honor. Her novels are hard to put down and full of great topics to spur discussion in your groups. NLC has seven Hannah titles in our Book Club Kit collection, including “The Great Alone” (‎Griffin, 2019). This book is available in both eBook and Audiobook formats in our Nebraska OverDrive Libraries collection, along with 16 other Kristin Hannah titles.

“There are many great things about this book…It will thrill her fans with its combination of Greek tragedy, Romeo and Juliet-like coming of age story and domestic potboiler. She recreates in magical detail the lives of Alaska’s homesteaders…and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America. A tour de force.”

Kirkus (starred review)

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive. 180 libraries across the state share the Nebraska OverDrive collection of 25,520 audiobooks, 32,303 eBooks, and 3,403 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!

Rules for Book Club Kits

  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

This week’s model is the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado! While we are very committed to getting the perfect #BookFace shot, we did not travel to Alaska for this week’s photo. Special thanks to my dad for waking up at the crack of dawn to stand on an overpass and hold a book for me.

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

 
 
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Friday Reads, Dead in Dublin, by Catie Murphy

Dead in Dublin

I rarely have the good fortune to pick up the first in a series, but this time I picked up a fun read, a cozy mystery called Dead in Dublin, by Catie Murphy. Not only is the writer excellent, but she also lets one have a very good view of Dublin, and Irish culture. The writer keeps the reader working to catch up with the mystery, too.

Megan Malone is an American retired combat medic, veteran of 20 years in the U.S. Army. She drives limos and town cars for a living for the Leprechaun Limo Service in Dublin, Ireland, and has for three years. She enjoys hearing her passenger’s stories as well as driving them through Ireland. She’s picking up a famous American food blogger & her husband, when the blogger drops dead in front of the Molly Malone statue near the restaurant they were having dinner. Her husband, a doctor, begins CPR, and Megan arrives from the nearby car to help. The restaurant owner is a friend of Megan’s, Fionnuala (Finn) Canan, is frantic about the fate of the blogger, and worried about her restaurant’s reputation, as is her partner, Martin Rafferty, who also runs an adjoining club upstairs, since both will be closed over the weekend. Megan is the chef, and Martin is the moneyman—finding loans and silent partners. Megan keeps meeting red headed handsome detective garda (what the police are called in Ireland), Paul Bourke, as she asks questions. He in turn, is both annoyed, and intrigued by the “Yank.” Fortunately, for Finn, the blogger didn’t have food poisoning. She was poisoned.

The story is filled with information about the city—street signs are on the buildings, making them hard to see, even to the natives. Housing is in short supply, and very old, historical, even. Doughnuts are still not like our doughnuts—they look pretty, but taste like bread with frosting. With the historical and cultural information, is a lot of computer and cell phone texting, calling, and Voning (Video phoning, a term one of Megan’s friends wants to make a “thing”.) As well as modern cultural run ins—one bit of gossip has the blogger having an affair with a young woman. At another point in the story, Megan is speaking to a slender, young adult, with long hair, and dressed in baggy clothing, gender undetermined. Altogether a very modern story, set in a very old city, among people with their own way of doing things!

Spoiler alert. Catie Murphy is also C. E. Murphy, writer of “award-winning fantasy and Scifi books”, quote from the back blurb about the author. She’s one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t realized who the writer was until I started writing this Friday Reads, and found the blurb!

2nd title in the Series, Death on the Green, is out.

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#BookFaceFriday “The Duke and I” by Julia Quinn

Is it steamy out here, or is it just #BookFaceFriday?

A rakish rouge, a scheming debutante, a mysterious gossip column…what could go wrong? Whether or not you spent your pandemic binging Bridgerton on Netflix, why not read the series that inspired it? The Nebraska Library Commission has the first book in the series, The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn (Avon Books, 2000) in our Book Club Kit collection. You can browse the other romances in our Book Club Kits collection by choosing Romance in the Genre dropdown.

Quinn is a consummate storyteller. Her prose is spry and assured, and she excels at creating indelible characters.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Rules for Book Club Kits

  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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