Spring Break: Hit the Road With Great Audiobooks!

Posted on Monday, March 27, 2017 by Reading Addict

 

photo of road and landscape

Spring break! For my family, that usually means a long car trip and a bunch of audiobooks to make the time pass quickly. I tend to listen to a lot of audiobooks anyway, but spring break demands a little more.

The first requirement of a spring break audiobook is an overall appeal for a variety of listeners (minimal girly stuff for the boy and minimal gory stuff for the girl). Luckily, all of our travelers are over the age of 13 so I’m not quite as restrictive as I used to be. Secondly, the narration must be of the highest quality. The last requirement is that the length fit with the time frame of the trip. It’s very frustrating to get to the end of a trip and have half a book left.

Humorous books are the easiest to make work for us. “Furiously HappyFuriously Happy audiobook coverby Jenny Lawson had all of us in tears. Lawson writes from first hand experience about depression and mental illness, but she does it with such wit and hilarity. This one is narrated by the author who is from Texas, so if that accent bothers you it might not be the right choice for you. I loved it!

How about a little history? “The Good Lord Bird” by James McBride is historical fiction about abolitionist John Brown. McBride’s writing reminds me a lot of Mark Twain’s. The characters are larger than life, and he makes you laugh in spite of the circumstances.  Another great historical choice is “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell. This is another one narrated by the author, and she reflects, in her funny but deadpan way, on historical events while vacationing with her nephew.

Maybe a bit of science for your trip? Sam Kean’s “The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements” is a fascinating journey, element by element, through the periodic table with fun factoids thrown in. Or you could also try Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” This is laced with humor, but it is also an incredible overview of our history from the Big Bang to what happens next. Bryson relies on giants in their fields to try to come to an understanding on various subjects. This book is as much about his quest as it is the scientific subjects. He narrates this one himself which is a bonus. I love most of Bryson’s books. (Others by Bryson that were especially good in audio were “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid” and “A Walk in the Woods.”)

If you are travelling with younger kids, one of my favorites that appeals to adults as well is Terry Pratchett’s “The Wee Free Men.” The narration by Stephen Briggs is excellent because he has a different voice for every character. Who can resist a small blue “pictsie” with a Scottish brogue?

And if none of these are up your alley, there are the Audie Awards, which is an award given just for audio books. And I have made a short list for you from our collection. And one last tip: always pack at least two audiobooks, in case one just doesn’t work.

Travel On!

 

Image credit: Unsplash, Landscape via Pixabay (license)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Freezer Meals: Eating Well When Time is Limited (or You Just Need a Break from Cooking)

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2017 by Larkspur

Freezer meals photo

Do you like to eat well in the sense that you want your food to be delicious and nutritious? I think most people would answer “yes” to that question. Is it challenging to provide meals that fit the delicious/nutritious definition for yourself and/or your family members? Most of us would have to answer “yes,” at least some of the time, because we all know life makes many competing demands of our time. Continue reading “Freezer Meals: Eating Well When Time is Limited (or You Just Need a Break from Cooking)”

White Coats Optional: Docs Featuring Scientists

Posted on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Dewey Decimal Diver

The idea of humorless scientists who wear white coats and carry clipboards is a media stereotype that isn’t always accurate. Take a look at these documentaries to see a variety of modern scientists who don’t conform to this typical stereotype as they follow their quests to understand our world.

Particle Fever dvd coverParticle Fever” (2013)

Follow six scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet. As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists join forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson. Continue reading “White Coats Optional: Docs Featuring Scientists”

Beyond The Godfather: Gangster Fiction at the Library

Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017 by Anne

The Godfather book coverIn March of 1969 the literary world was changed forever by Mario Puzo’s book “The Godfather.” Gangster stories were not a completely new idea, but Puzo’s take on the story offered a glimpse at life on the inside of a New York City crime family. Readers were enthralled with the drama surrounding the legendary Don Vito Corleone and his sons. The book inspired what many would say is one of the greatest movies of all time, and its influence can be seen more recently in one of the most popular television series of all time. Here are a few mafia-related titles available at the library. Continue reading “Beyond The Godfather: Gangster Fiction at the Library”

April 2017 LibraryReads: Top Ten Books Librarians Love

Posted on Friday, March 17, 2017 by Kat

LibraryReads logo

With Daylight Saving Time in full swing, you get a whole extra hour of light for your evening reading, and perfect timing, because April’s edition of LibraryReads is ready for your perusal! There are a number of best-selling authors with new books this month, as well as some lesser-known authors. With books ranging the genres, this list is handpicked by librarians across the country.

 

A Twist in Time book coverA Twist in Time” by Julie McElwain

“Time-traveling FBI Agent Kendra Donovan remains stranded in 1858 England. When her confidante and potential lover, Alec, is accused of murdering his former mistress, Kendra must use her modern investigative skills to work through the list of suspects and clear Alec’s name. Kendra must also decide whether to stay in the past with Alec or to continue to try to find a way back to the present. If she makes it home, what will be waiting for her? Highly recommended to readers of historical romance, romantic suspense, and time travel.”
Glenda Ramsey, Catawba County Library System, Newton, NC Continue reading “April 2017 LibraryReads: Top Ten Books Librarians Love”

March Is National Craft Month

Posted on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by Jerilyn

The Oxford Dictionary defines “craft” as “an activity involving skill in making things by hand.” In this day and age when everything is machine made, why should we make anything by hand?

The Creativity Cure book coverCarrie Barron, MD and Alton Barron, MD, authors of “The Creativity Cure: A Do-It-Yourself Prescription for Happiness” have found that working with our hands and engaging in creative activities can improve our mood, give us a brain boost and help us focus on the present, instead of dwelling on problems in the past. “Making is crucial for happiness, health and mind expansion,” they explain. Continue reading “March Is National Craft Month”

The Gentleman Recommends: Viet Thanh Nguyen

Posted on Monday, March 13, 2017 by Chris

The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen won the Pulitzer Prize and the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by an American Author in 2016. He’s clearly trending up from an already lofty perch: in 2017 he’s published an acclaimed collection of short stories (“The Refugees”) and is now officially recommended by a gentleman.

Sympathizer book cover

The Sympathizer” takes the form of a confession by a communist agent embedded in the National Police of South Vietnam. Fortunately for readers, this communist agent has a talent for characterization, narrative building and sentence spinning. Rarely does a paragraph go by, let alone a page, without a sentence that is worthy of applause. While frequent breaks to stand and clap in the direction of the book definitely slow down the reading process, it does afford one the chance to savor the writing, and as the Pulitzer committee recognized (as they sometimes do), this is writing worthy of savoring. It’s also a narrative worthy of that 10-more-minutes style bargaining that inevitably leads to sleep deprivation and calluses caused by excessive clapping. Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: Viet Thanh Nguyen”

Staff Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Anne

The Wonder book coverBook I Read: The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue

Why I Checked It Out: The author already has one critically-acclaimed book under her belt (“Room”) so I was curious to see if she had created another. The story features a nurse who trained under Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, so it promised to deliver a strong female protagonist, which is another factor that drew me to it. And lastly, it contained an element of mystery, which I figured would be sure to pull me in. Continue reading “Staff Book Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue”

New DVD List: Cameraperson, Weiner, & More

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Dewey Decimal Diver

Camercaperson still from DVDHere is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.

Cameraperson DVD coverCameraperson
Website / Reviews / Trailer
Presented at the True/False Film Fest in 2016, Kirsten Johnson weaves a tapestry of footage captured over her 25-year career as a documentary cinematographer into a film that combines documentary, autobiography and ethical inquiry. “Cameraperson” is both a moving glimpse into one filmmaker’s personal journey and a thoughtful examination of what it means to train a camera on the world. Continue reading “New DVD List: Cameraperson, Weiner, & More”

Nonfiction Roundup: March 2017

Posted on Monday, March 6, 2017 by Kirk

Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released in March. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.

TOP PICKS

Stranger in the Woods book coverThe Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit” by Michael Finkel

The fascinating true story of Christopher Knight, who spent nearly 30 years living alone in the woods of Maine. He lived while never coming in contact with another human being and survived only through theft and ingenuity.

 

The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us” by Bruce FeilerThe First Love Story book cover

This book provides an examination of the story of Adam and Eve, their central role in shaping our beliefs about human relationships and sexual identity and the lessons they can teach us about family, togetherness and love. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: March 2017”