Tag Archives: Nebraska Author

Book Club Spotlight – Death Comes for the Archbishop

Cover of Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. The cover art is a pencil drawing of a road curving around sand dunes covered in sparse vegitation.

A new year means new books will be entering the public domain! According to copyright laws, works originating in 1927 will now be free for all to share, use, and create new stories with. For example, last year, the original Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne entered the public domain, leading to a new horror movie featuring the characters. So now, in 2023, we have a whole new set of stories to look out for, and today we’ll be talking about one in our very own Book Club collection. Death Comes for the Archbishop is Willa Cather’s re-telling of the lives of Roman Catholic clergymen Jean-Baptiste Lamy and Joseph Projectus Machebeuf as they establish a diocese in the U.S. New Mexico Territory in the 1800s. Cather, preferring to call it a “narrative” rather than a novel, wrote Death Comes for the Archbishop as a cluster of vignettes, legends, and stories surrounding the fictionalized Southwest and how the Catholic Church came to shape the region. But don’t let that frighten you; her book isn’t that of religious zealotry but of the people.

Father Jean Marie Latour, a French Jesuit priest, has been sent off to be the Vicar and Bishop of the newly American-owned New Mexico territory. He, with his close childhood friend Father Joseph Vaillant, attempts to serve their diocese, which often descends into disarray with the Mexican and Native American population content to perform religion in their own way due to the prolonged absence of a Vicar. The men, unused to the harsh New Mexico region, but earnest in their faith, meet and grow fond of their parishioners in the American Southwest, painting a knowledgeable and sympathetic portrait of the times and the people. The intelligent and philosophical Father Latour is open-minded about other cultures and finds human love at the root of his faith. At the same time, his abrupt friend Father Vaillant is much more direct in his faith and actions, which often leads to a more closed-minded approach. Because of this, the two, though immensely fond of each other, find themselves at odds in their passions. Vaillant’s often taking him away on evangelical missions, all the while Latour’s passion keeps him close to home, cultivating deeper bonds there but missing his partner. Together and apart, they explore the vast New Mexico territory, expanding their faith and assisting those in their care.

“Where there is great love there are always miracles,”

Willa Cather

Death Comes for the Archbishop is a quiet and reflective narrative that celebrates communities and cultures coming together while still holding onto their traditions. Not Catholic herself, Cather shows a gentler depiction of religion than her typical portrayal and how it can build a community of not only faith but trust and security. She does not portray the church or even the priests in the novel as perfect but as humans who want to do their best for their parishioners and God. Father Latour is wholly human, makes mistakes, and has his own prejudice, but he never looks down on another person; he advocates for the rights of the Navajos, Mexicans, and all people in his diocese. While the more brash Vaillant is more prone to prejudice, he has his own deep connections in the community as well. And everyone, especially the women, is treated kindly and with reverence, and any biases the priests may have do not bleed into the narration overall. Of course, being a Willa Cather book, any Nebraska book club will have a great time reading one of her classics. Readers will find discussion topics in the many vignette parables scattered throughout the book. While some phrasing or ideas are old, the novel still holds up in its earnestness and love for all people. Modern audiences and book groups will appreciate the sympathetic acknowledgment of the Native and Mexican people whose homes are displaced by white intruders and see how our modern ideals have or have not changed.

To see this year’s list of copyrighted works entering the public domain, visit the link here!

If you’re interested in requesting this book for your book club, you can find the Book Club Kit Request Form here. There are 5 copies available (Items must be requested by a librarian) 

Cather, Willa. Death Comes for the Archbishop. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1927

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#BookFaceFriday “Catfish at the Pump” by Roger Welsch & Linda Welsch

This #BookFaceFriday is a whopper!

This week’s #BookFace is for a very special Nebraska author, known for his pioneer humor and wit, Roger Welsch. We wanted to take the time to highlight his many works in our various collections, like “Catfish at the Pump: Humor and the Frontier” by Roger L. Welsch and Linda K. Welsch (University of Nebraska Press, 1986), available as an NLC Book Club Kit. In total, NLC has eleven of Welsch’s titles in our Book Club Kit Collection. You can also find Welsch’s work through Nebraska OverDrive Libraries, we have copies of “Embracing Fry Bread: Confessions of a Wannabe”, “Why I’m an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales”, and “Wyoming Folklore: Reminiscences, Folktales, Beliefs, Customs, and Folk Speech” by Federal Writers’ Project.

“Were our forefathers liars? ‘You bet they were, ‘ says Roger Welsch, ‘and damned fine ones at that.’ From yellowed newspapers, magazines, and forgotten Nebraska Federal Writers’ Project files, well-known folklorist and humorist Welsch has produced a book to be treasured. Here are jokes, anecdotes, legends, tall tales, and lugubriously funny poems about the things that preoccupied the pioneer plainsman: weather extremes; soil quality; food and whiskey; an arkload of animals, including grasshoppers, bed bugs, hoop snakes, the ubiquitous mule, and some mighty big fish.”

from the back cover

TBBS borrowers can request or download several Roger Welsch titles 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.

Available on Duplication on Demand (physical cartridge) and download on BARD:
DB45458 Uncle Smoke Stories: Four Fires in the Big Belly Lodge of the Nehawka
DBC01987 It’s Not the End of the Earth, but You Can See It from Here: Tales of the Great Plains
DBC13621 Mister, You Got Yourself a Horse: Tales of Old-Time Horse Trading

Available on cartridge only:
DB00941 Love, Sex and Tractors: The Eternal Triangle DB01042 Forty Acres and a Fool: How to Live in the Country and Still Keep Your Sanity

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

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

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

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

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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 – Why I’m an Only Child & Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales

Cover for: Why I'm an Only Child and Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales. Two older men in farming clothes look up over rolling hills at a yellow propeller plane.

I admit that I’m a newbie to the bibliography of Roger Welsch- so I thought I’d dip my toes into the proverbial waters for this week’s Book Club Spotlight. With over 40 books to his name (11 of which are in our Book Club collection), the retired UNL English and Anthropology professor is a recognizable humorist and storyteller. And in the tradition of fellow Nebraskan Louise Pound, he is also a lauded scholar of folklore, with 50 plus years of experience in the field. His book, Why I’m an Only Child & Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktales, was awarded the Nebraska Center for the Book Award for Nonfiction: Folklore in 2017 and features a foreword by Dick Cavett.

Why I’m an Only Child is the vehicle for Welsch to define the specific type of midwestern humor he has coined “Civil Ribaldry.” In his own words: “These jokes take the form of extraordinarily subtle, distinctly rural narratives. While there is a punchline, unlike the riddling joke, for example, “civil ribaldry” does contain a clear narrative element. The stories, while slightly off-color, can be, and are, told in mixed company, even with children present, without much danger of being understood by the innocent” (Citation). According to Welsch, the oral tradition is an essential aspect of Civil Ribaldry and it tends to be more of a performance than a joke. This form of rural wit is not something to perfect or concoct; it is simply having the talent for timing and a flair for diction and detail when the moment presents itself. Welsch discusses its relationship to other forms of wit and verbal jousting, such as the Black American game of “Dozens,” and asserts their value as linguistic American traditions.

For Welsch, while Civil Ribaldry pokes fun at the stereotypical everyman, it exists more to poke fun at ourselves and to cement ourselves within a community. So often, these stories revolve around dear neighbors or even the teller’s own shortcomings. Punching down in comedy is never appropriate- but here, you might be able to get away with punching sideways. We can see this communal self-deprecation in Welch’s depiction of his hometown of Dannebrog, Nebraska: “It’s said that if you have a hammer in Dannebrog, you’re a carpenter. If you own the hammer, you’re a contractor.”

“Despite the common misunderstanding, laughter is not the universal language.”

Roger Welsch

If your group is looking for a book chock full of “slightly naughty” but lighthearted stories of the Nebraskan Plains, Why I am an Only Child is a great pick. Welsch is genuinely passionate about the rural Nebraskan diaspora, and his collection of ribaldries and musings has something everyone can appreciate and build upon in a discussion. Many of our Book Club Groups that we lend to are located in rural Nebraska, and I would love to see how they approach this type of book centered around their home, especially if they have civil ribaldries of their own. I know I do.

My final verdict? I believe that Roger has a good sense of humor. For an old man. 😉

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)

Welsch, Roger. Why I’m an Only child & Other Slightly Naughty Plains Folktails.University of Nebraska Press. 2016

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“In Cold Storage” on BARD!

In Cold Storage: Sex and Murder on the Plains” by Nebraska author James W. Hewitt is now available on cartridge and for download on BARD!

“In 1973 the small southwest Nebraska railroad town of McCook became the unlikely scene of a grisly murder. More than forty years later, author James W. Hewitt returns to the scene and unearths new details about what happened.”

Book Jacket

James W. Hewitt is president of the Friends of the Center for Great Plains Studies and was an adjunct professor of history at Nebraska Wesleyan University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is the author of “Slipping Backward: A History of the Nebraska Supreme Court” (Nebraska, 2007).

TBBS borrowers can request “In Cold Storage,” DBC01892, 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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New Nebraska Memoir on BARD!

Our Life Our Way: A Memoir of Active Faith, Profound Love, and Courageous Disability Rights” by Nebraska author William L. Rush and Christine F. Robinson is now available on cartridge and for download on BARD.!

“Our Life Our Way, A Memoir of Active Faith, Profound Love, and Courageous Disability Rights explores an extraordinary love story grown out of engagement with both disability rights advocacy and Christian faith communities. This important memoir contains thoughtful, often-entertaining, and sometimes heart-wrenching anecdotes of a couple’s journey to create their profoundly intimate relationship and Christian marriage, in a world not yet ready for them.”

Book Jacket

This memoir was written by a husband and wife, and is narrated by Christine Robinson, it is the sequel to Rush’s autobiography, “Journey Out of Silence,” which is also available on BARD and cartridge.

TBBS borrowers can request “Our Life Our Way,” DBC01986, 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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New Nebraska Book Available on BARD!

Journey Out of Silence: An Autobiography” by Nebraska author William L. Rush is now available on cartridge and for download on BARD.!

Bill Rush’s exceptional journey continues to encourage and inspire all who aspire to live fully and contribute to society. Bill lived with a significant disability of quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He did not have use of his arms, hands or voice. Society’s prejudices proved to be a greater obstacle than his disability in attaining his first life’s goal of completing college. William (Bill) L. Rush chronicled his extraordinary life from childhood until graduation from the University of Nebraska -Lincoln in Journey Out of Silence, first published in 1986.”

Book Jacket

This humble and uplifting autobiography is a window into the world of people with disabilities. It’s narrated by Scott Scholz, who is a past director of Talking Book and Braille Service at the Nebraska Library Commission.

TBBS borrowers can request “Journey Out of Silence: An Autobiography,” DBC 01985, 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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Roger Welsch Book Added to BARD!

It’s Not the End of the Earth, But You Can See It From Here: Tales of the Great Plains” by Nebraska author Roger Welsch has been recorded by our Talking Book and Braille Service!

“In this rather slight collection of monologues, stories and essays, Welsch–a regular on CBS’s Charles Kuralt show, a columnist and collector of Great Plains lore–celebrates small-town America’s leisurely pace, human scale and the ordinary man or woman who “moves mankind and shapes destiny.”

Publisher’s Weekly

The book is a collection of stories which demonstrate that small-town Nebraska life is filled with color and variety, ideas and humor, wit and warmth. Some pieces are short narratives; others are descriptions of characters. The book was previously recorded in the TBBS studios and has been reformatted for national distribution.

TBBS borrowers can request “It’s Not the End of the Earth, But You Can See It From Here,” DBC 01987, or download it from the National Library Service BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) website. Another Welsch title available for download is “Mister, You Got Yourself a Horse: Tales of Old-time Horse Trading,” DBC 13621. 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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#BookFaceFriday “The River Wife” by Jonis Agee

Come up for air with this #BookFaceFriday!

There’s no need to tread water with this week’s #BookFace, “The River Wife: A Novel” by Jonis Agee (Randomhouse, 2007.) It’s available as an NLC Book Club Kit, or through Nebraska OverDrive Libraries in both eBook and Audiobook format! Nebraska author, Jonis Agee, also wrote this year’s One Book One Nebraska selection, “The Bones of Paradise: A Novel.” In total, NLC has five of Agee’s titles in our Book Club Kit Collection.

“Agee’s long-awaited fifth novel is an all-consuming experience. From the moment Hedie Rails arrives in Jacques’ Landing, Missouri, in 1930 as Clement Ducharme’s young bride, readers are swept into a tale of passion, deceit, and misfortune steeped in the best southern gothic tradition. This mesmerizing saga teeming with memorable characters, sharp depictions of frontier life, and lucid, beautifully wrought prose will haunt readers long afterward.”

Booklist

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

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

Find this title and many more through Nebraska OverDrive! Libraries participating in the Nebraska OverDrive Libraries Group currently have access to a shared and growing collection of digital downloadable audiobooks and eBooks. 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 “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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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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#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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#BookFaceFriday: Bivouac

Don’t just stand there, it’s #BookFaceFriday!

Another #BookFace throwback as we celebrate Black History Month. Bivouac, by Nebraska author Kwame Dawes, was originally posted as a dual #BookFaceFriday and Friday Reads review by NLC staff assistant Lynda Clause, and was featured at the 2019 Nebraska Book Festival.

“With expressive description and languid cadence, Dawes deftly constructs a background that serves as an amorphous setting for the complicated experience of a grieving son…With subtle yet lyrical description of internal struggles set against a foreign background, Bivouac serves as a deceptively symbolic read about the bleak and mirthless aspects of life and, subsequently, death.”
The Daily Nebraskan

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 Line Between by Tosca Lee

Cults, the impending apocalypse, and an ancient plague.

Wynter and her sister spent fifteen years within the walls of the New Earth doomsday cult compound under the charming leadership of Magnus, an ambassador to God himself. As Wynter’s sister, Jaclyn, seemed to thrive in this world, Wynter struggled.

After she’s cast out from her family and community, Wynter is forced into the outside world just in time for it to start ending. An ancient disease has been freed from the melting Alaskan permafrost and is sweeping across America causing victims to fall into madness (as well as general societal chaos and violence). Late one night, Jaclyn reappears with medical samples that might just hold the key. Now Wynter must find a way to get them to a research lab in Colorado before the world really does end as prophesied by Magnus.

The story alternates between past/present, through Wynter’s time living in the compound, to her banishment, as she connects with old family friends and tries to adjust to the outside world, then through the dangerous journey to save (and understand) the world with the help of former military, Chase Miller.

The sequel (A Single Light) comes out September 17th. (Don’t worry though, this first book doesn’t end with a big cliff-hanger.)

Don’t miss Tosca Lee tomorrow at the Book Festival!

Saturday, September 7th 1:00-2:30 p.m.

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Friday Reads & BookFace Friday: Bivouac by Kwame Dawes

I’m reading Bivouac by Kwame Dawes, and I’m reminded that the 1980s were more than a station on your satellite radio. (And does your 80s station play Burning Spear as well as Musical Youth?) The novel is set in Jamaica, and politics are tumultuous throughout the region, and the activist father of our protagonist has died. It could be murder, but that murder might be medical malpractice, or it might have been as assassination.

Dawes uses a notable structural technique in telling the book from more than one viewpoint, and it feels modern as storytelling, extratextual—and the structural choices in form suggest to the reader that they consider the structural forms of the novel, and of family, and of political organization.

The formal structure only helps the reader become more intimate with the characters, and there is much to know. I’m thinking about the problem of guilt for a person who does not have good luck, but has still better luck than people close to them. I’m thinking about how a person can lose a progenitor but have that family live on as a symbol of something important to them—and how that can create tension between the love they feel for family, and the reality they have to continue to live in without that family present. You can’t resolve anything with someone who is gone, except by resolving with yourself. And everyone who is left behind has their own grief, and not all grief gets along.

Review by Lynda Clause, Nebraska Library Commission employee

Dawes, Kwame S. N. Bivouac: A Novel. , 2019. Print.

Meet the author at the upcoming Nebraska Book Festival September 7th in Lincoln.

 

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Friday Reads: “After the Flood” by Kassandra Montag

How far would you go to find your stolen child? What lies would you tell? What lines would you cross? I have been waiting at least a year to get my hands on this book, and when I finally did I couldn’t put it down. In her debut novel, Kassandra Montag has created a world that doesn’t seem as unlikely as you’d hope. Left in a Noah-esqu existence, characters are just trying to survive the destructive effects of climate change. Only the highest mountain tops dot the new landscape after massive flooding covers the earth. Myra, our heroine, and narrator is making her life on a small fishing boat after suffering devastating loss and betrayal. With only her six-year-old daughter by her side, Myra must make the choice of pursuing the trail of the daughter she lost or protecting the one she still has.

While the setting is a post-apocalyptic, the characters are completely authentic. No super-human strength, good looks, or smarts, just real people coping with their new reality. This book left me wanting more of everything, the story, the characters, and their relationships. I’m not so secretly hoping Montag has a sequel up her sleeve.

Come hear more about this great novel from the author herself on September, 7th at the Nebraska Book Festival. This Nebraska author will be answering questions and signing books, so don’t miss it!

Montag, Kassandra. After the Flood. William Morrow (2019)

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Friday Reads: “Zoo Nebraska” by Carson Vaughan

A few Nebraska natives still remember the little ragtag children’s zoo in Royal, Nebraska before its tragic end, but its existence has faded into the background of local knowledge like an empty, weathered barn. Easily overlooked. Carson Vaughan invites readers to slow down and take a closer look at what happened—or what could have, should have happened—in Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream.

The murder of a mentor, a chimp named Reuben, a generous donation from Johnny Carson, and a white-knuckled hope to wring a scientific center out of an underfunded zoo drive founder and director Dick Haskin, but the dream alone can’t sustain him for long. Exhausted, Haskin turns directorship over to others, and we watch the actions of each new, well-meaning but misguided leader unravel into tragedy.

Vaughan calmly lays out the facts in vivid detail. Reading these pages I could feel the gravel crunch beneath my feet as he guided me through Royal, showing the empty buildings, the shadows of past residents. And I felt Vaughan’s shock as my own as he pointed, saying, “That’s where they shot Reuben.”

This week’s Friday Reads was guest written by Anna Weir, Publicist at the University of Nebraska Press! Vaughan will speak at the Nebraska Book Festival on September 7. Read Zoo Nebraska and bring your questions – I’m sure this candid narrator would be happy to answer.

Vaughan, Carson. Zoo Nebraska: The Dismantling of an American Dream. Little A (2019)

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#BookFaceFriday “The Progeny: A Novel”

Being the descendant of a famous serial killer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

"The Progeny: A Novel" by Tosca Lee, BookFace Photo

The Progeny: A Novel” by Tosca Lee, is the first novel in her Descendants of the House of Bathory series. It’s a thrilling tale that takes you through the underground world of Eastern Europe. Tosca Lee, a New York Times bestselling and Nebraska author, brings a modern twist to the ancient mystery of Elizabeth Bathory, the most notorious female serial killer of all time. This novel is a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, make it the next read for your book club today!

“Tosca Lee is a masterful storyteller who has created a rich and engaging tale of adventure, mystery, and loyalty in the face of perpetual betrayal, which kept me on edge from the first page until the last.” (Jobie Hughes, #1 New York Times bestselling author)

This Nebraska author will be make two appearances in Lincoln tomorrow (Jan. 26, 2019)promoting her new book, “The Line Between: A Novel.” Find her at Francie & Finch Bookshop​ (130 S. 13th. St., Lincoln, NE) from 11am-12:30 and at the South Point Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 2:00 pm!

Today’s #BookFace model is relatively new to NLC, meet Kayla Henzel! Kayla started with us in December as an Administrative and Communications Staff Assistant.

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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#BookFaceFriday “The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God”

This week’s #BookFace had us at “seriocomic love story,” and yes, seriocomic is a real word."The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God" BookFace Image

The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God” by Timothy Schaffert (Unbridled Books, 2005) is this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Written by a Nebraska author, and set in our very own state, this novel is all about the twisting turns of the “Good Life.”  This novel a part of our NLC Book Club Kit collection, and it’s the perfect choice for your next book club read!

“Laced with hope and an aching sweetness, it is as whimsical and smile-inducing as its title. Readers will fall for Hud, his family, and the one-off inhabitants of the quirky little town from page one owing to Schaffert’s homey yet elegant and precise prose. The only reason to put the book down is to make it last.” —Library Journal, starred

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Information Services Librarian, Aimee Owen!

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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#BookFaceFriday “A Lost Lady”

It’s the end of an era with this week’s #BookFace!

"A Lost Lady" by Willa Cather BookFaceWe chose, renowned Nebraska author, Willa Cather’s novel “A Lost Lady” (Virago UK, 2006) as this week’s #BookFaceFriday selection. Published in 1923 and set against the background of the west, it’s a third person account of a small town aristocrat’s social decline, and the symbolic end of the idealized pioneer and old west. The heroine, Marian Forrester, has been coined a “symbolic flower of the Old American West,” and is rumored to have been an inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan. This short novel is a quick and engaging read for any book club!

Her finest novel… Unforgettable…This wonderful performance displays Cather’s narrative technique at its sharpest, as well as her understanding of the eloquence of the slightest gesture, the simplest statement … A masterpiece.” –Irish Times

This week’s #BookFaceFriday model is our Cataloging Librarian, Allison Badger! If you get a chance, wish her a happy birthday, because it’s today!

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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