Graphic novels and comics are a great medium because they combine strong storytelling with visually appealing art. Plus, reading stories in this format can help you play catch-up on your reading goals, because they typically take less time to read than a standard novel! As a long-time student who never thought I’d have time to read anything non-academic while in school, I’m grateful that graphic novels helped me rediscover pleasure reading. Despite reading tons of other comics and graphic novels, I never delved much into manga until recently, but there are tons of great titles. Manga is a Japanese form of comics, including comics written in Japanese or made in Japan that adhere to certain stylistic elements. Manga is read from right to left, and may take some time to adjust to if you are used to reading from left to right. Continue reading “Manga: Read Harder 2019”
This year’s One Read selection, “Nomadland” by Jessica Bruder, explores the lives of people left out of, or let down by, our financial system. Though their stories are often rooted in misfortune, they also display resilience, ingenuity and a sense of community. Bruder’s book, which started as a cover story for Harper’s Magazine called “The End of Retirement,” shows us a new 21st century iteration of migrant workers who are often older and retired. With their options limited by circumstance, they choose to live in RVs and retrofitted vans as they follow work opportunities across the country. Bruder buys her own van and ventures out with them, chasing temporary jobs in national parks, Amazon fulfillment centers and beet fields. The plight of these Americans might remind you of the Okies in “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, and there are other excellent books that explore similar territory. If “Nomadland” whets your appetite, here are some suggestions for further reading. Continue reading “Literary Links: Nomadland”
Here is a quick highlight of some of the noteworthy nonfiction titles being released the August. Visit our catalog for a more extensive list.
“The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America” by Karen Abbott
In the early days of Prohibition, long before Al Capone became a household name, a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law and starts trafficking whiskey. Within two years he’s a multimillionaire. The press call him “King of the Bootleggers,” writing breathless stories about the Gatsby-esque events he and his glamorous second wife, Imogene, host at their Cincinnati mansion, with party favors ranging from diamond jewelry for the men to brand new Pontiacs for the women. By the summer of 1921, Remus own 35 percent of all the liquor in the United States. Pioneering prosecutor Mabel Walker Willebrandt is determined to bring him down. Willebrandt’s bosses at the U.S. Attorney’s office hired her right out of law school, assuming she’d pose no real threat to the cozy relationship they maintained with Remus. Eager to prove them wrong, she dispatches her best investigator, Franklin Dodge, to look into his empire. It’s a decision with deadly consequences: with Remus behind bars, Dodge and Imogene begin an affair and plot to ruin him, sparking a bitter feud that soon reaches the highest levels of government — and that can only end in murder. Continue reading “Nonfiction Roundup: August 2019”
It’s really summertime now, so grab a new book and sit in the shade (or stay inside, I won’t judge you!). We have a great lineup of LibraryReads books for August, so read on to find a favorite to stay cool with.
“The Right Swipe”
by Alisha Rai
“An intelligent, multicultural contemporary romance. Rhi, CEO of the Crush dating app, and Samson, NFL star, embark on a joint project that turns into more than just talk. Issues of #MeToo in the tech industry and the NFL’s concussion problem are woven in. For readers of the Forbidden Heart series, Elle Wright, and Alyssa Cole.”
~Jessica Werner, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA Continue reading “LibraryReads: August 2019”
Task number 19 of this year’s Read Harder Challenge has participants reading a book of nonviolent true crime. Titles under this heading include stories of forgeries and thefts carried out by individuals, as well as accounts of large-scale malfeasance committed by multi-national corporations.
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” is a memoir by literary forger Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy starred in the movie version. Israel was a highly-esteemed author, earning top dollar for her work. But as she entered middle age, one big publication flop marked the beginning of the end of her literary career. Desperate for an income, she turned to forging letters, purportedly by famous authors of the past. The book is a quick read and focuses a lot on the process of creating the forgeries, which involved a ton of research, it turns out. While the author takes full responsibility for her own behavior, her account also sheds a light on some the unsavory parts of both publishing and autograph collecting, as well as our culture of celebrity. Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: A Book of Nonviolent True Crime”
It’s always a good thing when people attempt to understand each other. The 2019 Read Harder Challenge is here to nudge us along in this pursuit with task number 13, a book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse.
Temple Grandin is an animal scientist and perhaps the country’s most well-known author with autism. She’s spent decades educating the public on both issues. Her book, “Animals Make Us Human” is the product of 30 years of research into how to help animals live their best lives. She covers pets, zoo animals and livestock, with an eye to meeting their needs in a compassionate way, rather than prioritizing human entertainment. The book contains some disturbing facts about factory farms and other settings, but also offers ways to improve. Continue reading “Read Harder 2019: A Book by or About Someone That Identifies as Neurodiverse”
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
— Season 1 opening narration
We’re two weeks out from the close of Summer Reading, and the procrastinators among us may have just one or two tasks to complete before they can take that victory lap. In honor of both the 60th anniversary of the premiere and Jordan Peele‘s new reboot, here are a few ideas to take your Summer Reading into the fifth dimension, because who doesn’t appreciate a timely theme? Continue reading “Summer Reading in The Twilight Zone”
Another month, another crop of exciting new books by debut authors! As always, for a longer list of books by debut authors, please visit our catalog.
“The Vexations” by Caitlin Horrocks
Erik Satie begins life with every possible advantage. But after the dual blows of his mother’s early death and his father’s breakdown upend his childhood, Erik and his younger siblings — Louise and Conrad — are scattered. Later, as an ambitious young composer, Erik flings himself into the Parisian art scene, aiming for greatness but achieving only notoriety.
As the years, then decades, pass, he alienates those in his circle as often as he inspires them, lashing out at friends and lovers like Claude Debussy and Suzanne Valadon. Only Louise and Conrad are steadfast allies. Together they strive to maintain their faith in their brother’s talent and hold fast the badly frayed threads of family. But in a journey that will take her from Normandy to Paris to Argentina, Louise is rocked by a severe loss that ultimately forces her into a reckoning with how Erik — obsessed with his art and hungry for fame — will never be the brother she’s wished for. Continue reading “Debut Author Spotlight: July 2019”
“The Incendiaries” by R.O. Kwon has already scored a bunch of plaudits, and, you might presume, that it, like many of my recommendations, isn’t in need of my recommendation. You’d be correct, but there is a devoted sect who wait for my monthly recommendation, refusing to read all else, waiting in front of the DBRL blog home page, their finger’s friction eroding their F5 key, until finally those sweet words light up the page and their eyes: “The Gentleman Recommends.” It is for these devoted followers that I recommend reading “The Incendiaries.” Continue reading “The Gentleman Recommends: R.O. Kwon”
Love is a many-splendored thing. And first love, in particular, is splendidly awkward, uniquely devastating and often poorly timed. Whether it hits at age 16 or 60, and whether it ends in heartbreak or happily ever after, we only get one first love to live. Luckily, there are many, many first love stories to read! And I don’t think it matters whether you’re happily married, happily single or entrenched in the frog-kissing process — there’s nothing like escaping into a good first love story. Continue reading “Literary Links: First Love”