Some facets of American history are heavily romanticized, and some are unjustly forgotten. For example, mention of the Pony Express conjures images of daring men racing westward, braving the elements to deliver important messages and join the two coasts of America. In actuality, this male-driven, short-lived business venture lasted a mere 18 months and served only the wealthy. Infinitely cooler and yet barely remembered are the horseback librarians (know colloquially as “book women”) who braved long, treacherous mountain routes to deliver books to the poverty-stricken Appalachian community during the Great Depression. Continue reading “The Horseback Librarians of the Great Depression”
With the new year comes new librarian favorites! I’m excited to start this year on such a positive note with plenty of books. We have a trilogy-finisher, a long-awaited second novel and several heartwarming reads to protect you from the cold and snow outside. Check out these books nominated by librarians across the country with this month’s LibraryReads.
“Once Upon a River”
by Diane Setterfield
“A wonderfully dark and mysterious read. Something happens one stormy winter solstice evening that triggers a chain of events that changes the lives of all the main characters. Moody and mystical. For readers who love gothic fiction like ‘The Death of Mrs. Westaway‘ and ‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter.’”
~Melanie Liechty, Logan Library, Logan, UT Continue reading “January LibraryReads”
A few things that prompt me to make lists:
- Mistrust of my own memory
- A desire to share reading recommendations
I harbor an extreme fondness for lists, both creating and reading them. Judging by the number of books on the topic, I know I have a lot of company.
Last year saw the publication of three noteworthy books containing suggested reading lists. “1,000 Books to Read Before You Die” is the product of decades of work. James Mustich, a longtime book seller, pulls titles from many genres, time periods and cultures. His suggestions include Plato and Zadie Smith, as well as “The 9/11 Commission Report.” Continue reading “Literary Links: List Mania”
We’re taking a look back at some the most in-demand nonfiction book titles released in 2018 at DBRL. In 2018 there were several categories of nonfiction books that were popular.
- “Becoming” by Michelle Obama
- “Educated” by Tara Westover
- “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo‘” by Zora Neale Hurston
- “Whiskey in a Teacup: What Growing Up in the South Taught Me About Life, Love & Baking Biscuits” by Reese Witherspoon
Here is a new DVD list highlighting various titles recently added to the library’s collection.
Website / Reviews
Playing last year at Ragtag Cinema, this film is a personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of fashion icon Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, it is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary. Directed by Ian Bonhôte and co-directed/written by Peter Ettedgui. Continue reading “New DVD List: McQueen, Support The Girls & More”
Here is a quick look at the most noteworthy nonfiction titles being released this January. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
“Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land
“Evicted” meets “Nickel and Dimed” in Stephanie Land’s memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work — primarily done by women — fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In “Maid,” she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: January 2019”
One of the reasons I love the New Year is because it feels like a fresh start. A chance to reflect on the past year, improve upon myself and set new goals. Setting a New Year’s resolution is a popular activity for many people. The beginning of a new year is a great time for transition and change. Maybe you want to write a book, run a marathon, lose weight or start a new career. It can be exciting to take advantage of a fresh, new year to motivate you to make a change in your life.
On the downside, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. While it is fun to envision a “brand new you” and set big goals, sometimes we set ourselves up to fail by choosing goals that are unrealistic. According to “Psychology Today“, there could be a number of reasons that your New Year’s resolutions fail. One of the most common issues with goal-setting is that goals are not clear. If goals are too general or vague it can be hard to determine the steps you need to reach your goal. Another possible reason for failing at your resolution is feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. It can be difficult to know where to start with your goal, or perhaps it is such a big change that you feel overwhelmed by the pressure. Sometimes we fail because we are just not ready for change. It is important to think about your motivation or reason for change and be ready to make a commitment. When we don’t truly want to change our habits or lifestyle we find excuses and have a hard time putting in the effort. Continue reading “Building New Habits for the New Year”
It has been another stellar year of reading. I love looking back at what I have read and analyzing the various books and the tangents that I went on for the year.
I overshot my goal of 100 by just a little — I managed to read 170. I was all prepared to be really impressed with myself but when I took a closer look it just means that I read shorter books than last year. For example, the shortest book I read was a book that my daughter brought back to me from her visit to Atlantis Books in Greece called “Unpacking My Library” by Walter Benjamin. It was a slight 23 pages long. And the longest book I read was “Mencken: The American Iconoclast” by Marion Elizabeth Rogers at 662 pages, which is still about 300-400 pages shorter than my longest books for previous years.
Our library took part in Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge for 2018 and so, of course, I couldn’t resist. I even took the challenge a step farther in reading only books by women in the hopes that I might get a little closer reading at least half of my total books for the year by women. How did I do with that goal? I read 110 books by women!!! That is my first time ever breaking (or really even getting near to) this goal of reading 50% by women authors. And how has that affected me overall? I have to admit that I have much less patience for old white men now. I hope to keep this trend of reading more women up in the coming year and I’m already planning out my Read Harder Challenge for 2019.
I still managed to read broadly through time with many books from before I was born such as “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf, and “Excellent Women” by Barbara Pym. But a large portion (58) of the books I read were published this year. There were only a handful of books that I felt compelled to actually own including, “Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too” by Jomny Sun, “Educated” by Tara Westover, “In the Shadow of 10,000 Hills” by Jennifer Haupt, “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald” by Therese Anne Fowler, and “Dear Fahrenheit 451” by Annie Spence.
Looking over the topics in my reading list, it’s obvious that I have continued to be worried about politics and the state of the country, as well as racial issues. I have tried to understand the present by learning more about the past with books like “Leadership in Turbulent Times” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and “Impeachment: An American History” by Jeffrey A. Engel. I have also tried to figure out my part of the racial imbalance in our country with books like “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo and “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” by Carol Anderson. And then I have tried to figure out what’s next and what can be done with books like “How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals” by Sy Montgomery, “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling and “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels” by Jon Meacham.
I have made a list of my FAVORITE books read for the year if you would like to take a peek. I don’t know where next year’s reading will take me but I know it will take me through a lot of excellent books, and I’m excited to go there! You can join me at the library for the 2019 Read Harder Challenge and we can journey together.
Here we are again. December. The start of the holiday season and the end of another year. It feels like 2018 just rushed by and now it’s definitely beginning to feel a lot like winter. So while you’re huddling under the covers to keep warm, here are some books to keep you company. They are best enjoyed with a dog (or cat) on your lap and a hot beverage of your choice. And, as always, visit our catalog for a longer list of titles (though ’tis the season for publishing to slow down, so the list is only ten books long).
“Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar” by Olga Wojtas
A time-travelling murder mystery in which middle-aged librarian Shona McMonagle is recruited by the founder of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls to travel back in time to czarist Russia. As a former head girl at the school, Shona’s education has prepared her for such a mission, with skills ranging from martial arts to country dancing and quantum physics. Her mission: to “prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and — in any spare time — see to it that only the right people get murdered,” (from the publisher).
“Hearts of the Missing” by Carol Potenza
When several members of the Fire-Sky tribe go missing from their reservation in New Mexico and a young woman linked to them commits suicide, reservation police sergeant Nicky Matthews is assigned the case. Nicky is familiar with the traditions and history of the reservation, which aid her in the investigation, even as she deals with departmental politics and personal difficulties. And when her instincts and mystical visions convince her the suicide was actually murder, she runs up against opposition within the force and begins to suspect that her new partner may not be entirely trustworthy.
Some documentaries are so compelling that you don’t want them to end. Fictional films can expand upon a documentary in unique and surprising ways, including scenes and people that didn’t make it into the original. Check out these docs that have inspired feature films:
“An American Family” (1973)
First debuting in 1973 over twelve episodes, viewers were introduced to the William C. Loud family and the dramatic life events that unfolded during seven months of documentary shooting. This DVD edition is a two hour compilation of the series’ best moments. The documentary series inspired the fictional film “Cinema Verite” released in 2011. Continue reading “Imitation Game: Docs That Inspired Feature Films”