Tag Archives: Reading

Book Club Spotlight – Rising Voices

Cover of Rising Voices: Writing of Young Native Americans. A triangle pattern adorns the cover, bringing to mind a quilt

With Thanksgiving finally here, I was pulled toward a recent donation in our collection that I found to be a fantastic and thought-provoking read for closing out Native American Heritage Month. Curated by Arlene Hirschfelder and Beverly R. Singer, Rising Voices: Writings of Young Native Americans is a collection of essays, poems, and stories from the late 1880s to the early 1990s. Hirschfelder speaks of the young authors featured in the collection: “their words bear vivid, often eloquent witness to the realities of their lives over the past hundred years. They have much to tell us”. 

Separated into the categories of Identity, Family, Homelands, Ritual and Ceremony, Education, and Harsh Realities. Each section includes writings that exemplify a part of the youth’s life. From gorgeous descriptions of mesas to warm and comforting home lives, there is also the truth of the hardships and poverty Native Americans were forced into, and many still live in today. The young writers’ strong sense of awareness and personal values ring throughout the collection, especially as we move into modern times.

The Bighorn River flows
through the reservation.
As it goes, it meets the 
Little Bighorn. They are like 
a big brother and a little
brother together.

The sound of it makes
the reservation special.
It seems as if it protects
the reservation with happiness 
And care. The reservation 
knows it has a close friend
and that’s the river.

The river wants to flow
to all the four winds but
knows it can just flow one way 
with the same wind. 

The Bighorn River – Len Plenty, 1988

Rising Voices is a beautiful and unique collection that spans multiple viewpoints and lives of young Native Americans throughout the last century. Readers are treated to breathtaking poetry and heart-wrenching essays that stick with you long after. This collection includes work from elementary schoolers to graduating seniors, making this the perfect selection for any aged Book Club Group. There is a wealth of continued reading and discussions to be had, especially on the different backgrounds and viewpoints of each author. Some have a deep sense of self and justice, while others bask in the love from their families. My favorite reading, If I Were a Pony, is a collaborative poem by Navajo children where the speaker wishes they were a pinto pony so they could run away to live a carefree life out on the mesa. It is a good exercise to delve into what the author’s were feeling, and what purpose does each excerpt serve in this wider narrative created by Hirschfelder and Singer.

For a further example of discussion topics, one particular section that stood out to me was Education—pieces included covered topics from US Indian Boarding Schools that worked to assimilate Native American youth from their culture to more modern school efforts to reintroduce students to what has been lost. 

Carlisle Indian School, whose mission was to “Kill the Indian, save the Man,” often published propagandist essays and stories from their students as a way to fundraise and maintain a good social image. One essay titled Opportunity, written by Alvis M. Morrin in 1914, extols the virtue of the off-reservation school. He speaks on famous Native Americans, such as former Vice President Charles Curtis, and shows his reverence towards the perceived landscape of progress while still maintaining his heritage: 

“Our lot is easier than theirs [our forefathers], for race prejudice has been overcome, and a beneficent Government is giving the Indian youth the opportunities which once belonged only to the white man. Open doors to any vocation are waiting for the Indian to enter.”

In stark contrast, a more modern excerpt included from 1996 when Holy Rosary High School in South Dakota introduced a new course called Modern Indian Psychology in an effort to teach their young Lakota students the importance of their history and the cultural values of their people. In Something Really Different, students reported feeling a sense of belonging and pride they had never had before, highlighting the importance that young Native Americans continue to learn about their history.

“Before this course, we didn’t even know that Indians were important or that it was important for us to know Indian history and values.” – Patrick Kills Crow and Mary Crazy Thunder 

 “Now I am glad I am an Indian. Before I was ashamed of it.” – Francis Clifford

How are these student’s voices being used? And are they being promoted for their benefit or someone else’s? And what purpose do they serve in the anthology?

If you’re interested in requesting Rising Voices for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 7 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

To see more of our Native American Voices book club titles, visit the link here.

Hirschfelder, Arlene & Singer, Beverly. Rising Voices. HarperPerennial. 1996.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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 September and October, 2023.  Included are reports from various Nebraska Legislative Committees, the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, 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 as 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.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “Everything We Keep” by Kerry Lonsdale

Get swept away with #BookFaceFriday!

We love adding new titles to our collection, just like his week’s #BookFace, “Everything We Keep: A Novel” by Karen Abbott (‎Lake Union Publishing, 2016.) It’s such good book karma when book clubs or libraries donate to us after they’re done reading a book, and allows us to pass it on to all the other book clubs across the state. Thanks to Kearney Public Library, we have twelve copies of this title available as your next book club read – add it to your to-be-read list today!

“In Everything We Keep, Kerry Lonsdale brilliantly explores the grief of loss, if we can really let go of our great loves, and if some secrets are better left buried. With a good dose of drama, a heart-wrenching love story, and the suspense of unanswered questions, Lonsdale’s layered and engrossing debut is a captivating read.”

— Karma Brown, bestselling author of Come Away With Me

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!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “Women in White Coats” by Olivia Campbell

Paging #BookFaceFriday, Stat!

This nonfiction account of Victorian-era medicine and female doctors makes for an incredible #BookFaceFriday! You might have noticed this week’s title is new to the Book Club Kit collection, on the New York Times Bestseller list, or in our Browse New Additions section. Check out “Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine” by Olivia Campbell (Park Row, 2022.) We currently have eleven copies available in our Book Club Kit Collection. It’s also available as an ebook in Nebraska OverDrive Libraries.

“An engrossing portrait of a transformative moment in Victorian medicine, when women doctors demanded the right to heal and be healed. Their battle was collective, and their hard-won triumph is ours. Women in White Coats is a timely reminder of just how many hands it takes to move mountains.”

Claire L. Evans, author of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet

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!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Club Spotlight – Tales of Burning Love

Cover of Tales of Burning Love by Louise Erdrich. A woman dressed in red lays seductively on a bed, her hand resting against her cheek. Her face is obscured by a blue rabbit mask

Today’s Book Club Spotlight is a title from prolific Ojibwe (Chippewa)/ German-American author Louise Erdrich! And I can’t think of a better author to start off Native American Heritage Month with. A Pulitzer Prize Winner, Erdrich was one of the first women admitted to Dartmouth College, later becoming the writer in residence for their Native American Studies Program. Today’s title, Tales of Burning Love, is the 5th in her series Love Medicine, following a community in and around a fictional Ojibwe reservation. 

We are introduced to Jack Mauser on the day he met, married, and lost his first wife. Now, years later, his four other ex-wives gather together after tragedy and find themselves retracing the steps of their predecessor. Dot, the last wife; Candice, the young mother; Marlis, the dentist; and Eleanor, the only one who still loves him. All four women, unable to cut themselves entirely from Mauser, were taken in at one point or another by his earnest but selfish ways. Stuck in Jack’s car during a blizzard, they recall their relationships with the man as wild and passionate as the storm outside. 

“Love is brutalizing, a raw force, frail as blossoms, tough as a catgut wire.”

Louise Erdrich

Tales of Burning Love is about more than just blind, passionate love. It follows the trauma of loss, ruinous devotion, and religious ecstasy. The stories the wives tell intermingle and blow with the raging storm outside. While Jack Mauser may be at the center of each story, his involvement, and true nature shape and lead the women far beyond his reach. Their hopes and aspirations start or end at his feet. For Adult Book Club Groups looking for stories to curl up with as the weather gets colder, Erdrich’s prose and darkly humorous storytelling are enough to keep you burning through any storm.

This is Erdrich’s second time featured in the Spotlight, the other being her children’s book The Birchbark House, following the day-to-day life of young Omakayas in 1847.

If you’re interested in requesting Tales of Burning Love for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 5 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Erdrich, Louise. Tales of Burning Love. HarperPerennial. 1996.

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “El Conejito Knuffle” by Mo Willems

¿Dónde está el #BookFaceFriday?

No need to retrace your steps to find this #BookFaceFriday! This week, we are highlighting one of the new Spanish language titles recently added to our Book Club Kit Collection, “El Conejita Knuffle” by Mo Willems (Hyperion Books for Children, 2007).

Browse all available titles using the keyword “Spanish” in the keyword search field. For kits that were already available in English, the title will be shown in English; for titles only available in Spanish, the Spanish title will be shown. For both types of kits, the number of Spanish copies is listed at the bottom of the title’s record. At the present time, most of our new Spanish-language kits are geared towards younger readers, but we hope to expand this selection in the future.

“En esta combinación de unos expresivos dibujos de cmic con preciosas fotografías de Brooklyn, Nueva York, el autor de ¡No dejes que la paloma condeuzca el autobús! crea un cuento brillante de la vida real sobre lo que pasa cuando Papá es el que manda, y todo sale humorística ya terriblemente mal.

Using a pastiche of muted black and white photography and expressive illustrations, this stunning book tells a brilliantly true-to-life tale about what happens when Daddy’s in charge and things go terribly, hilariously wrong..”

– Back cover

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!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award in Outdoor Literature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nebraska Volleyball : the Origin Story, by John Mabry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

—Booklist

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

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

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Club Spotlight – Dead as a Door Knocker

Cover of Dead as a Door Knocker by Diane Kelly. An ajar door opens into a house under construction, with a sandy-colored cat sitting on a work bench next to a hammer. An ornate teal skull served as the house's door knocker.

With Halloween a week away, I love to enjoy the spookier books in our collection. But what’s great about Halloween is that there are so many ways for readers to enjoy the season without getting too scared. So, for the scaredy cats this Halloween Season, we’ll be looking at Dead as a Door Knocker by author Diane Kelly. Kelly is a prolific, cozy mystery writer, having (accidentally) worked with white-collar criminals in her former work as a tax advisor and decided to author the criminals herself rather than working with them. She has been awarded the Golden Heart Award from the Romance Writers of America and a Reviewers’ Choice Award.

In the first installment in the House-Flipper Mystery series, we meet 20-something Whitney Whitaker, a property manager living in her parents’ (renovated) pool house with big dreams and a small cat named Sawdust. When a property goes up for sale by the cheapskate Rick Dunaway, Whitney snatches up the deal, thinking it was too good to be true. But she gets more than she bargained for when Rick’s body shows up in her flower bed a few days later! With the help of her best friend Collette, cousin Buck, and Nashville’s newest homicide detective, Collin Flynn, Whitney sets out to catch the killer with her life and the house’s market value on the line.

“Are you going to buy the murder house?”

Diane Kelly

With brief mentions of blood, peril, and, of course, a body, Dead as a Door Knocker is driven by its characters and their relationships, not a murderous fiend. As we tick through the list of potential suspects, there are plenty of stops along the way into the world of house-flipping, rentals, and kitty shenanigans. Cozy mysteries like Dead as a Door Knocker let the more squeamish in your book club groups enjoy the fun of solving a good mystery without all the blood and gore getting in the way.

If you’re interested in requesting Dead as a Door Knocker for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 10 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Kelly, Diane. Dead as a Door Knocker. St. Martin’s Press. 2019

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday – “The Lesser Dead” by Christopher Buehlman

Something #BookFace this way comes!

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

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

—Kirkus Reviews

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

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

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Friday Reads: The Brothers Hawthorne, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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

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

** Synopsis courtesy of Audible.

Posted in Books & Reading, General, Information Resources | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “Daughter of Fortune” by Isabel Allende

Fortune favors the #BookFaceFriday!

This #BookFaceFriday is written by one of the many talented authors we are celebrating during National Hispanic American Heritage Month (September 15- October 15), Isabel Allende. Set against the backdrop of the 1849 gold rush in California, Daughter of Fortune (Harper Collins, 1999) is available as a Book Club Kit, as well as an audiobook in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries. You can find many more of Allende’s works as ebooks and audiobooks in Nebraska Overdrive Libraries, as well as all of our curated Hispanic Heritage Month collection titles.

“Until Isabel Allende burst onto the scene with her 1985 debut, The House of the Spirits, Latin American fiction was, for the most part, a boys’ club comprising such heavy hitters as Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Mario Vargas Llosa. But the Chilean Allende shouldered her way in with her magical realist multi-generational tale of the Trueba family, followed it up with four more novels and a spate of nonfiction, and has remained in a place of honor ever since. Her sixth work of fiction, Daughter of Fortune, shares some characteristics with her earlier works: the canvas is wide, the characters are multi-generational and multi-ethnic, and the protagonist is an unconventional woman who overcomes enormous obstacles to make her way in the world. Yet one cannot accuse Allende of telling the same story twice; set in the mid-1800s, this novel follows the fortunes of Eliza Sommers, Chilean by birth but adopted by a British spinster, Rose Sommers, and her bachelor brother, Jeremy, after she is abandoned on their doorstep.”

– Margaret Prio, Oprah Book Club

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!

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Club Spotlight – How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

cover for How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez. 
Four different colored hummingbirds fly around a flower in a glass vase

In 1960, ten-year-old Julia Alvarez left her home in the Dominican Republic for the United States, and by 2013, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama and had an honorary doctorate from Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. So, to end Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re Spotlighting Alvarez’s debut book, which has been widely studied and lauded as a hallmark in Latino Literature. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents is an episodic novel that encapsulates the Dominican immigrant identity in the United States and their struggles of assimilation, heritage, and identity.

When Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía were children, their family was forced to flee the Dominican Republic to escape the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. But that was 30 years ago, and now the sisters who are “too American” for their parents find themselves lost in an identity they never had the chance to form. As the narrative progresses (or regresses), short vignettes of each sister encapsulating their lives move backward in time toward their beginnings in the Dominican Republic. They struggle to cope with the distinct differences in women’s liberation and expectations between their two homes. In the United States, they are expected by their peers to be free-spirited, educated, and beautiful. At the same time, their visits back home are shadowed by the traditional values of Catholicism, a patriarchal society, and their own set of beauty standards. Torn between being acceptable in each culture but still their own people, each member of the family faces immense pressure and collapse. Their mother dreams of becoming an inventor, and their father struggles with sudden poverty; Sandra becomes weighed down by the impossibilities of beauty and stress, while Yolanda, a struggling writer, is caught between her cultures of liberation, joy, and failure. Even 30 years after immigrating, each of the four sisters tries their best to live up to unreachable standards and criticism but never quite feels whole, as if some part of themselves was left back in the Dominican Republic, where they were pushed too soon from their nest. 

 They will be haunted by what they do and don’t remember. 

Julia Alvarez 

Told using a reverse timeline, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents keeps the reader in a sense of hesitation and disarray as we are pulled further back into the sisters’ own discordant existence between cultures. Their story is complex and reflects the natural uncertainties and confusion of being out of one’s space and into a new and unknown environment. Perfect for reading groups of mature Young Adult readers and above, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents opens itself up to deep and possibly intense discussions of the self. The stories explore the Female experience as much as it explores the Immigrant one, as a perfect study of Intersectionality (a type of analysis coined by feminist scholar and American Civil Rights leader Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw). Exploring how every aspect of our identities is shaped by the other, or as Alvarez puts it in her Authors Note: “There is nothing shameful in being a complex human being.”

Last week (October 1-7) was Banned Books Week– and Julia Alvarez is no stranger to censorship. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents has had its fair share of challenges and bans- even being banned from the whole of Johnston County, NC, including classrooms and school libraries. During that time, Alvarez spoke with the National Coalition Against Censorship about her experience.

Here is a small excerpt: 

NCAC: How does removing a book from a school district affect students’ educational experience?

Julia Alvarez: The sad thing about the controversy, over and above the fact that students have missed out on the reading experience of that book, is what this models for them about an experience that is difficult or upsetting.  I grew up in a dictatorship, where you couldn’t talk about difficult situations – there was this culture of silence.  We would run into a problem and have no one to talk to.  What’s modeled there by banning the book is what I find most upsetting: that it is appropriate behavior in a free country when someone is expressing something we don’t want to hear, to silence them.

NCAC: Why do you think it is important to teach literature that some might deem controversial or difficult?

Julia Alvarez: Schools provide safe spaces to talk about controversial issues, and literature presents characters portraying human experience in all its richness and contradictoriness. Reading is a way to take in the difficult situations and understand them.  The whole point of reading a book in class is to have discussion about what these situations are like.  You have writing, discussion, and classroom exercises on it, and kids come out of it having digested the experience with ways to feel and talk about it.  How wonderful! 

If you’re interested in requesting How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 10 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. Algonquin Books. 1991

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Friday Reads: Chapter and Curse

With the cooler weather (and tonight’s freeze warning!), it seems like the sort of morning for another cozy mystery.

Chapter and Curse, by Elizabeth Penney, is the first book in the Cambridge Bookshop series. The third book will be published later this month. Lovely settings, interesting characters, good mysteries, plenty of literary references.

Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, desperately could use a change in their lives. One day, they receive a letter from Nina’s Aunt Violet asking for help with the family’s struggling 400-year old bookshop in Cambridge, England. Molly (a part-time librarian) jumps at the chance to leave Vermont and help revitalize the family business, while Nina looks forward to reconnecting with family.

They arrive to find the “Thomas Marlowe Manuscripts and Folios” bookshop in rougher shape than expected, especially financially. With loans rapidly coming due, a cousin is threatening to sell the bookshop to a big-box store (which also threatens the other small shops along the same street). Molly decides that the bookshop will host a poetry reading, in coordination with the village’s book festival, to bring in new customers and raise some money.

The event appears to be a huge success until Molly finds one of the guests murdered (and evidence pointing directly towards her great-aunt). Was this driven by the bookshop’s recent money troubles? Blackmail of some kind? Or was it connected to the evening’s famous poet, who happens to be one of Violet’s oldest friends? What really happened with the rest of their friend group over fifty years ago? What other secrets does this charming little street hold?

Determined to clear her great-aunt’s name, Molly tackles these questions with the help of new friends, a possible romantic interest, a few odd family members, and a cat named Puck.

  1. Penney, Elizabeth. Chapter and Curse. Sept. 28, 2021. St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
  2. Penney, Elizabeth. A Treacherous Tale. August 23, 2022. St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
  3. Penney, Elizabeth. The Fatal Folio. October 24, 2023. St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , | Leave a comment

#BookFaceFriday “The Giver” by Lois Lowry

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

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

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

— Horn Book (starred review)

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

Book Club Kits Rules for Use

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

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

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Club Spotlight – The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist

Cover for The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle. A hand raised with a black bird perched on the middle finger. Palm trees and hills line the background

Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15th to October 15th, and to celebrate, we are Spotlighting The Lightning Dreamer, written by Margarita Engle, the first Latino awarded the Newbery Honor and the Poetry Foundation’s sixth Young People’s Poet Laureate.

A Golden Sower nominee, The Lightning Dreamer also has the unique distinction of being awarded the Pura Belpré honor, an award presented to a Latino/Latina writer who “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” Inspired by Engle’s Cuban heritage, this title is a historical fiction novel written in verse, following one of the country’s most prominent female writers, feminists, and abolitionists- Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, known here, as Tula.

Slavery was a way of life in nineteenth-century Cuba, and for young Tula, she believes that her future in an arranged marriage would be a similar kind of endless servitude. Cuban women were expected to be quiet and listen to the men rather than think for themselves—something Tula did a lot. And when she begins to read the banned works of abolitionist poet José María Heredia, her ideas grow restless and revolutionary. Breaking from expectations, Tula starts to write plays for the local orphanage, and her open views on abolition inspire her family’s cook to flee from the looming threat of enslavement. But her bold actions are belittled and mocked by her mother and others, and Tula is sent away from home after refusing an arranged marriage. At her grandfather’s estate, she falls in love with a former slave named Sab, who is desperately in love with another girl who will not have him because of his dark skin. His story moves Tula deeply, and as we follow her throughout the years, she becomes more confident and outspoken with her abolitionist and feminist poetry, even though the very act could put her in jail- or worse.

“I’m tired of being told
that my feelings are too wild.”

margarita engle

Written for readers in middle grades and up, The Lightning Dreamer serves as an introduction to Avellaneda (Tula) and other great abolitionist Latino poets such as José María Heredia and Jose Marti (a particular inspiration to Engle) and includes short bios and excerpts from Avellaneda and Heredia to tie the reader into the real-life story. While Engle’s depiction of Avellaneda meeting Sab is wholly fictional, the story is not. Avellaneda’s first and most controversial novel, Sab, about an enslaved Cuban boy in love with his master’s daughter, explores the humanity and ethics of Sab against the amoral white characters, a stance unheard of at the time. The novel was banned from her home country of Cuba because of the interracial love story, its critique of marriage, and its criticism of societal norms. While published a decade before Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the two share similar backgrounds and critical receptions when read today. Like many of Engle’s novels, The Lightning Dreamer centers around young people who choose hope in hopeless situations, which many may experience today. And Avellaneda put herself at considerable risk to publish Sab and bring hope to her home.

If you’re interested in requesting The Lightning Dreamer for your book club, you can find the Request Form here. There are 8 copies available. (A librarian must request items)

Engle, Margarita. The Lightning Dreamer. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2013

Posted in Books & Reading | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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 July and August, 2023.  Included are reports from the Nebraska Administrative Services, Nebraska Colleges & Universities, the Nebraska Board of Examiners, the Nebraska Department of Labor, 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 as 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.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, General, Information Resources, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Friday Reads: “The Wheel of Time Series” by Robert Jordan

I’ve been reading this series since I was a freshman in high school, and by then the first books were almost 15 years old, so you know they pass the test of time. I’ve been reading and rereading this series off and on ever since. It’s one of my favorite fantasy series, full of flawed characters, adventure, love stories, and tragedies. The first book in the series is The Eye of the World, It follows a group of young adults, childhood friends, as they’re pulled out of the comfortable small village they’ve always known and thrown into a fight between good and evil and the possible destruction of the world as they know it. It’s a long series, 14 books, and Lincoln City Libraries and Nebraska Overdrive Libraries both have all of them in eBook and Audiobook format available on Libby. If you were a fan of Game of Thrones with its multiple character story lines and young heroes and heroines, this is a great series for you. Prime Video came out with a TV series last year, and while I enjoyed it, I will always urge someone to read the books. They are infinitely better.

Jordan, Robert. The Eye of the World. Tor Books. 1990.

Posted in Books & Reading, General | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment