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Book Club Resource

Celebrating Black Voices with the Book Club Resource

The Colorado State Library would like to invite everyone to celebrate Black History Month with our newly updated Book Club Resource! Over the past year, we have refocused our energy toward making our book club collection more diverse and inclusive, so that readers from all cultures and backgrounds can find stories for them written by someone like them. This Black History Month, we are proud to highlight some of our favorite black voices as we remember the struggles of the past and work toward a more equitable future.

 

Citizen: An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.

 

The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

 

March: Book 1
by John Lewis

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president. Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story.” Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

 

The Origins of Others
by Toni Morrison

America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?

Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison’s fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books―BelovedParadise, and A Mercy.

If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. Morrison writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative. Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison’s most personal work of nonfiction to date.

 

The Coldest Winter Ever
by Sister Souljah

During one of New York’s worst snow storms, Winter is born to Ricky Santiaga and his wife. At the age of sixteen, Winter is well-accustomed to a life of decadence provided by her notorious father who commands an intricate family web of drug dealers in their Brooklyn ghetto. As familiar as she is with riches, she is also acutely aware of the devastation of urban poverty to which she is determined never to succumb.

Her father’s decision to move his family to Dix Hills, an affluent Long Island suburb, creates unimaginable consequences. Winter is left alone to find her way precariously through the shifting maze of power, sex, money, and drugs, determined to vindicate her father and rise above the laws, social welfare system, poverty, and dangers that surround her.

Author Sister Souljah, a political activist, is a part of this story as a constant voice through all of Winter’s struggles. Winter hears Souljah’s voice intermittently on the radio and lives with her briefly while in pursuit of her own dubious ambitions. Souljah’s pleas to the young black women she works with to realize their dignity, beauty, and inner power fail to find a place to rest in Winter’s driven spirit.

The Coldest Winter Ever is a fast-moving, impeccably brilliant account of choices and consequences within the urban hip-hop culture. Sister Souljah writes eloquently with expressive insights and language of youth. Amidst the crisis and cruelty of inner city poverty and seemingly insurmountable struggles, Sister Souljah’s voice is one of grace and unmistakable clarity in one young woman’s coming-of-age story.

 

Celebrate black history all year long by checking out these and many other great titles from the Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource!

(All book descriptions taken from Amazon.com)

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Book Club Resource CSL News

CSL Book Club Resource Brief Hiatus Beginning January 31st

The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource and Resource Kit Program will be taking a brief hiatus while our friends at the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC) complete their AspenCat migration, which is scheduled to begin the first week of February. During this time, we will not be able to add or change any records, or operate any circulation through the system. As a result, the Book Club Resource and Resource Kit Program will not be accepting any hold requests after 10:00 pm on January 31st. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and hope that the process will go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you would like to place a request for your a book club set or resource kit, please do so as soon as possible.  While we do not have an exact date for the completion of the migration, we know that our friends at CLiC will be working tirelessly to get us back up and running. We will, of course, still be accepting any returns that you might have during this time. So if you’ve been considering a title for your book club or planning a program with one of our resource kits, go ahead and snag it today! And as always, if you have any questions, issues, or concerns now or during the hiatus, please contact Madison Basch at basch_m@cde.state.co.us.

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Book Club Resource

The Book Club Guide to Literary Libations

You’ve finally done it. You’ve formed your book club. Congratulations, because just getting more than two people together in a room that they’re not getting paid to be in is a feat all in itself. Whether you finally got all the names you needed on your library’s sign-up sheet, got a firm commitment from everyone in your group chat, or learned enough co-workers’ names to stop by their desks, the hard part is over… almost. Now all you have to do is get multiple people with multiple opinions to settle on a book and a mood for your weekly (monthly, bi-monthly, etc) meetings.  Fortunately The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource has you covered! We’ve compiled a list of our favorite titles and paired them with some grown-up beverages to compliment your literary content and bring out the best (or at least, the most interesting) in your book club meetings! Bottoms (and books) up, readers!

 

On the Road
by Jack Kerouac

Genre: Beat Fiction

Drink: 2 margaritas more than you should have had (and make sure to follow each one with a line about how much better they are in Mexico)

Mood: Arrange the room in a deliberately haphazard way: books strewn about, full ashtrays, meticulously chosen vinyl in second-hand crates. If you don’t own a record player, buy one. Bonus points if you can come up with a great story as to how you found it at a garage sale, in the basement of a dead relative’s home, or in a dumpster. Now that you have the aesthetic down, the key to really capturing the mood of this book for your fellow book club members is all in the discussion. You want to make sure and dominate the conversation as best you can, even if the topic turns to something with which you have little to no experience. The goal is to take the great human experience of self-discovery that has been happening for thousands of years, slap your label on it, and call it a revolution. Fortunately, (if you’re a man) this is relatively easy!

 

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death
by Caitlin Doughty

Genre: Non-Fiction

Drink: Vodka, straight-up, served in a human skull

Mood: Now capturing the essence of this book is going to be a little tougher than simply tricking an entire generation into thinking they invented self-expression. You want to place death front and center at every turn, but in a way that makes your fellow book clubbers feel like they want it. For example: If you lost a beloved family pet recently, drag (or dig) the little fellow back out. And don’t just casually place ol’ Ginger in a corner or on the mantel, make him/her the centerpiece of the room. Place some cheese cubes on him or use him as a makeshift cozy for the vodka bottle and pass him around! The point is to get your guests as up close and personal with death as possible through positive reinforcement. They’ll laugh, they’ll cringe, they’ll be wildly uncomfortable, but they’ll leave feeling strangely at ease!

 

Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Murakami

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism

Drink: Johnnie Walker from the small thermos you brought with your lunch

Mood: This book club meeting must absolutely be a picnic. Choose a nice bench near a museum, lay a blanket out in an empty lot, or lead the group off into the woods and lose the trail! The goal is to include the element of surprise and maybe a little seeming chaos. If it rains, good. If it rains small fish, even better! After you’ve chosen your setting, you may want to reevaluate your guest list. If it seems to be only human book clubbers, you’ve done something wrong. The most important part of this meeting is that your guest list must include every cat in the area. Find them, invite them, feed them, and make sure to include them in the conversation. You may be surprised how much they have to contribute. One of them may even set you on the path to finding the other half of your soul! That is, after all, why you joined a book club, right?

 

The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics
by John Hickenlooper

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography

Drink: We’re pretty sure it’s a Wynkoop Mile High Pale Ale, but that might change if it’s an election year.

Mood: The key to creating the right atmosphere for this book club meeting is all in the publicity. Hint to your fellow members that it may or may not be happening at such-and-such a time or location. Build some intrigue, get your book clubbers talking. Maybe suggest that if this meeting goes according to plan, you’ll be hosting book clubs all over the country. You want to make sure that your fellow members are mostly excited about the meeting because of what it could mean for them. Timing is everything. Once the meeting finally does take place, have a regular discussion like any other day, serve your beer and crackers, and skip the next two years of meetings until you’re ready to start building some hype for the next time you host!

 

The Princess Bride
by William Goldman

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Drink: Wine, but when your neighbor’s back is turned, switch your glasses just to be safe

Mood: In order to properly capture the mood of this book, your meeting must include two key elements. The first thing you need to do is to set the scene for a really classic book club meeting. We’re talking fire in the hearth, cheese plate, several bottles of merlot, and wine glasses with little identifying charms for each member. Wear the novelty t-shirt your book club Secret Santa got you two Christmases ago. You know, the one that says, “My book club only reads wine labels” (man, that shirt is hilarious). The second key element of this meeting is to treat the meeting itself as if it is a part of the discussion of the story. Narrate the conversation you are all having in the third person, including exclamations and interjections of each member who speaks (ie: “But I don’t think that was intentional on the part of the author,” Cheryl said in an attempt to remind us that she took a 6-week writing workshop at Naropa 3 years ago). If the discussion seems to be getting particularly heated or reaching a point of mutual agreement between members, break in to describe the large handful of chips that a member just took or how they tried to sneakily check their phone. If you get these two elements down well enough, no one will even know that you didn’t even read the book, but just watched the movie the night before!

 

Whatever book and beverage combo suits your book club, the Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource has you covered with 5 or more copies of each title. So check our our full catalog and make some pairings of your own!

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Book Club Resource

Jump Start Your New Year with the Book Club Resource!

2019 is just around the corner and the Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource wants to help your book club ring in the New Year right! Whether you want to focus on physical health, grow your mind, expand your global horizons, or just read more for fun, we have a title to inspire and prepare you for the coming year. If your library doesn’t already have a book club, now is the perfect time to start one. Learn more about how the program works and enroll your library today! Then, visit our online catalog and choose from hundreds of titles, all with five or more copies.  You could be reading your favorite by New Year’s Day! Don’t know where to start? Check out these great, inspirational titles from celebrated authors who will inspire, uplift, and transform the way you approach 2019!

 

 Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years
by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa

Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to finish his term of office, but was unable to finish. Now, the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding and a wealth of previously unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, Graça Machel, the result is a vivid and inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency, a country in flux and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the extraordinary story of the transition from decades of apartheid rule and the challenges Mandela overcame to make a reality of his cherished vision for a liberated South Africa.

 

I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai

“I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.”When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world.

 

Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness, and Humanity
by Dr. Ronald Epstein M.D.

In Attending, his first book, Dr. Epstein builds on his world-renowned, innovative programs in mindful practice and uses gripping and deeply human clinical stories to give patients a language to describe what they value most in health care and to outline a road map for doctors and other health care professionals to refocus their approach to medicine. Drawing on his clinical experiences and current research, and exploring four foundations of mindfulness—Attention, Curiosity, Beginner’s Mind, and Presence—Dr. Epstein introduces a revolutionary concept: by looking inward, health care practitioners can grow their capacity to provide high-quality care and the resilience to be there when their patients need them.The commodification of health care has shifted doctors’ focus away from the healing of patients to the bottom line. Clinician burnout is at an all-time high.  Attending is the antidote. With compassion and intelligence, Epstein offers a crucial, timely book that shows us how we can restore humanity to medicine, guides us toward a better overall quality of care, and reminds us of what matters most.

 

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
by Jenny Lawson

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest: “I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family―and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy―and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

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Book Club Resource

Book Club Updates: You Spoke and We Listened!

The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource would like to thank everyone who participated in our partner library survey and to let you know that we heard you! According to your responses, the number one factor in your decision on a particular title is the number of copies available.  So for the next several months, the Book Club Resource will temporarily halt additions of new titles to our catalog in order to add more copies of our existing titles. You, our partner libraries, are our number one priority and we want to do everything we can to minimize the obstacles between you and the services you need to better serve your patrons. This past month alone, we have already added as many as 7 copies each to 8 different titles in our Book Club catalog. If you’ve ever wanted to check out a title, but we didn’t have enough copies to meet your demand, check back again and often as we’ll be adding more copies all the time!

But that’s not the only improvement coming to the Book Club Resource.  For our brand new partners, you can now enroll your library in our book club program directly from the Colorado Virtual Library’s Book Club page. Now it’s even quicker and easier to get your library enrolled and get your book club going! And to our existing partners as well as the newbies, we want to know what you think! As your library’s book club grows and changes, let us know how your needs have changed as well. No complaints? Let us know what we’re doing well, what your book club meetings look like, or just what your patrons thought of a particular title! We want to know it all so we can make sure your experience is the best possible.  For any questions, comments, or suggestions, email Madison Basch at basch_m@cde.state.co.us and read on, Colorado!

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Book Club Resource

The Book Club is Having una Celebración!

The Colorado State Library’s Book Club Resource is excited to announce the addition of five Spanish language titles to our book club catalog as one of many steps in  our continued effort to best represent and serve the diverse and ever-changing population of our Colorado community!  Our new titles include works from celebrated authors such as Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Fernando Vallejo, and Yuri Herrera.  Cisneros’s La Casa en Mango Street was the recipient of the American Book Award, Vallejo’s El Desbarrancadero won the 2003 Romulo Gallegos International Prize, and Alvarez made waves with En el Tiempo de las Mariposas when the English adaptation was nominated for the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award, but was also banned by a New York school district.

If all that isn’t exciting enough, we have 15 copies of each title, so now you can welcome more people than ever to your book club or reading group! The process for borrowing is just as easy as ever and you can still check out multiple titles at a time.  So if you are already registered with the State Library’s Book Club Resource, head over to our catalog and browse our new Spanish language titles! If your library is new to the CSL Book Club, visit ColoradoVirtualLibrary.org and Click on our “Resource Sharing Tab” to learn more about the book club and how to get started. While you’re there, browse our other great categories, such as Non-Fiction, Social Justice Titles, Young Adult, Urban Fiction (new!), and stories set right here in Colorado!

We are so pleased with our new additions and hope you’ll enjoy checking them and our other great titles out over and over.  And don’t forget to check the catalog often, as we’re adding new titles all the time!

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Book Club Resource

Book Club Welcomes Social Justice Titles!

We at the State Library’s Book Club Resource are pleased to announce some exciting new additions to our Catalog!  Not only are we adding almost twenty new titles to our collection, but we are also adding a new category to our online catalog with titles geared toward social justice and action reading groups as well as book clubs! The titles in this category have been chosen specifically to open a dialogue about the social issues we have faced and continue to face even right here in Colorado.

Whether you’re looking for non-fiction, poetry, personal essays, or even graphic novels, we have a book for you with the power to inform, enlighten, and inspire your reading group. You can find these new titles and many more in our online catalog right here at the Colorado Virtual Library and make sure to check back often as we’re adding new titles every month!  So browse our collection, get your reading group together, and be prepared to read, discuss, and take action!

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Book Club Resource CSL News

New Lead for Colorado Book Club Resource

Dear Book Club Devotees –

You might recall a post I made back in early September 2017 regarding the ownership of the Colorado Book Club Resource temporarily changing hands to me for an undetermined length of time while we found the perfect person to fill the recently vacated role of Consultant Support Specialist with the State Library.  Well, I am delighted to let everyone know that we have indeed found the perfect person to fill the role, and she started working with us earlier this week.  Madison Basch is our new Book Club Guru and we are overjoyed to have her join our team.  I will be working with Maddie over the next few weeks to help her get assimilated to the process, but I encourage you all to say hello and contact her directly with any Book Club questions, problems, concerns or suggestions.

The easiest way to contact Maddie is via email, and she can be found at basch_m@cde.state.co.us.

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Book Club Resource

New Book Club Titles to Help You Combat the Cold Weather

Is the snow getting you down already?  Well, then find a good book, five of your bestest new friends and make a book club happen.  That’s the best way I can think of to make the unwanted weather pass on by.   We have quite a few new titles added to our collection this week with five copies of each.  Check them out.

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

A Heads Up for the Interim

As we say goodbye to Arian – our Book Club Guru and all-round Girl Friday, we want to assure Book Club members that the service will continue on while we search for our new Guru.  Our trusted Admin Team at the State Library is poised to jump in and take care of all lending and returns, and we will all be happy to answer any questions that you may have.  However – as the process is new to all of us, please bear with us while we learn the ropes.  Because of resource limitations, we will not be creating a bi-weekly blog post, but we are still in business and look forward to serving you and your book club needs.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you might have and I will do my best to answer them for you.

Thanks for your support.

Regan

 

 

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

The Newest in New

We have 11 new titles that have been added to our collection this month! Please check them out.

Every day brings new choices. -Martha Beck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

Keys to Mysterious Places

Some libraries can seem mysterious (is yours?) and authors have been known to use it to their advantage in their novels. This one does just that with a dose of mythical realism that is both strange and beautiful. Sound appealing? Then consider this title for your next bookclub option! We have 6 copies.

An enchanted collection of linked, intertwined stories cleverly built around the idea of keys, literal and metaphorical. The key to a house, the key to a heart, the key to a secret: the keys in this extraordinary book not only unlock elements of the characters’ lives, they promise further labyrinths on the other side. One special key opens a library, a garden, and clues to at least two lovers’ fate. One key keeps a mystical diary locked (for good reason). 

If love is the treasure, laughter is the key. -Yakov Smirnoff

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

Lovely, Lazy Reading Days

Summer is here and relaxing with a good book is always a welcomed lazy, hot day activity, is it not? And while your body is hopefully enjoying a moment of lounging, your brain need not be. Perhaps consider sneaking in a little knowledge within your fiction. What about historical fiction? We have many titles of the historical fiction variety.

Middle Ages

Late 19th Century

WWI

 

Between world wars

WWII

Post WWII

Mid-Century

1970s

1980s

The power of historical fiction for bad and for good can be immense in shaping consciousness of the past. -Antony BeevorRead

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

Warning: This Book Includes Fiercely Loved Taxidermy

5 copies

Depression and anxiety hardly seem like topics that could be twisted into laugh out loud humor, but Jenny Lawson has a gift for such things.  In her book Furiously Happy she exposes her struggles with the difficult reality of depression and anxiety preventing her from doing even the simplest things, as well as her often unique decisions of trying to find a way to be happy and find a way to live life outside the confines of her dysfunctional brain.

This book is about “taking those moments when things are fine and making them amazing, because those moments are what make us who we are, and they’re the same moments we take into battle with us when our brains declare war on our very existence. It’s the difference between “surviving life” and “living life”. It’s the difference between “taking a shower” and “teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair.” It’s the difference between being “sane” and being “furiously happy.”

“Some people might think that being ‘furiously happy’ is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he’s never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos.

Jenny has written more books about her struggles and has a fabulous website thebloggess.com for her additional insights (or giggles galore!).

Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment. -Grenville Kleiser

 

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

Who Doesn’t Love Unicorns!

Feeling daydream-y and ready for summer reading with the influx of kids visiting your children’s/teens section at all hours of the day? We have a fantastical YA novel even the younger types may enjoy all about a lovely, sweet, lonely unicorn. These days it might be considered a wee bit of a classic for the younger types.

The Last Unicorn
14 copies

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. So she ventured out from the safety of the enchanted forest on a quest for others of her kind. Joined along the way by the bumbling magician Schmendrick and the indomitable Molly Grue, the unicorn learns all about the joys and sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of a despondent monarch—and confronting the creature that would drive her kind to extinction… 

As an author, I’ve never forgotten how to daydream. -Neil Gaiman

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

Tips for Funtastic YA Book Clubs!

Oh the tricky business of  convincing pre-teens/teenagers that a book club could be a super fun, fantastic event. I am here to help! I have scrounged the internet for some interesting or helpful tips when considering a book club for the younger set.

  •  Have the kids/students pick out the book

  • Keep the meeting relatively short, ~20-30 minutes. You will need to help facilitate the discussion. Some helpful generic questions for YA readers can be found here.

  • Have an activity after the discussion. Techhub.com recommended a Pictionary type game using words, places, etc., from the book. The site also suggested having an archery contest with a Nerf bow and arrow to accompany reading the Hunger Games (which we have!).

  • Encourage the kids/students to invite friends.

  • Consider themes and let the kids/students choose a book they’d like to read around that theme.

  • Always include nibbles.

  • Consider inviting the author to the discussion. This can be done remotely via any video meeting service (e.g. Google/Skype). 

  • Encourage the kids/students while reading the book to mark parts they found interesting/engaging/thought-provoking with posties to help facilitate discussion at the meeting.

  • (for students) Meet during lunch.

  • Have a quarterly party, where everyone dresses up cosplay style of their favorite character from their favorite book they read in book club.

I hope this has given you some great ideas. Please share some of your ideas that were a big hit in your YA book club below in the comments!

Talking about books has always been an important and invigorating part of reading them… -Ann Packer

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

Grrrl Power!

Let’s honor the strong women in our collection! We have roughly 10 titles for your borrowing needs that celebrate brave, independent, and strong women. Some of these women wield their power subtly, others subversively, and yet others with confident grace. Enjoy the following quotes of these amazing fictional and real ladies.

10 copies
[Dr. Thomas] Mrs. Jessup is my patient and you’ve no business handing out questionable home remedies to her. Especially the kind that send her husband to my door, ready to have my head. I think I should warn you, Mrs. Bigelow, that any  means of preventing conception…is illegal…  [Mrs. Bigelow] And the secrets a woman chooses to keep between her sheets are not your business.  (pgs 232-233)

 

 

5 copies

The truth is that many female clerks now do as much work, if not more, and do it well, if not better for $900 per annum, than some of the male clerks are able to do who receive a yearly salary of twice that amount. [General Francis Spinner, U.S. Treasurer 1861-1875]  (pg 209)

 

 

9 copies
[Abileen] What if-what if you don’t like what I got to say? I mean, about white peoples.  [Skeeter] I – I…this isn’t about my opinion. It doesn’t matter how I feel.  [Abileen] But how I know you ain’t gone get mad, turn around on me?  [Skeeter] I don’t…I guess you’ll just have to…trust me.  I hold my breath, hoping, waiting. There is a long pause. [Abileen] Law have mercy. I reckon I’m on do it. (pg 142)

 

10 copies
[Katniss] When they televise the replay of the reapings tonight, everyone will make note of my tears, and I’ll be marked as an easy target. A weakling. I will give no one that satisfaction. (pg 23)

 

 

8 copies

There’s a tapa I want to rewrite…Tapae are the centuries-old collected wisdom of our society; you don’t change them. “If the men cannot win the battle, O my country, Then the women will come forth and win you an honor.” I wanted to change it to: “Whether the men are winning or losing the battle, O my country, The women are coming and the women will win you an honor.” (pg 296)

 

 

10 copies

I have something to talk about now, Henrietta Lacks…how my mother went through all the pain all by her self with those cold hearted doctor…she was robbed of her cells…They say donated..No No No Robbed Self. [Deborah Lack’s journal entry] (pg 195)

 

 

7 copies [15 Things I Learned From My Mother] 11) Respect isn’t something you command through intimidation and intellectual bullying. It’s something you build through a long life of treating people how you want to be treated and focusing on your mission. (pg 108)

 

 

10 copies

One of the things that made her proud of Randolph-Macon [women’s college] ever after was the faculty’s firm refusal to grant the students’ annual petition for classes in home economy (“the theory was and I think it entirely correct, that any educated woman can read a cookbook or follow a dress pattern” [Pearl Buck]). (pg 73)

 

 

7 copies

I couldn’t believe-still can’t-how angry I could become…everything from the verbal assault on the street, to a “well-meant” sexist joke your husband tells, to the lower pay you get at work (for doing the same job a man would be paid more for), to television commercials, to rock song lyrics… [Robin Morgan] (pg 189)

 

 

15 copies

I decided early on it [my currency] was not going to be my looks…decide what your currency is early. Let go of what you will never have. People who do this are happier and sexier. (pg 21) Women are mighty…doing something together is often more fun than doing it alone. (pg 165)

 

 

NO MORE BEAUTY STANDARDS – EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL! – 1960s Women’s Movement sign. [When Everything Changed]

 

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Book Club Resource Resource Sharing

A Man and His Dachshund

Colorado is a dog lover’s kingdom. This title in our collection is an ode to that overwhelming love we have for our doggies and how they are such an integral part of our family, be it small or large.

(5 copies)

This is a story about that special someone: the one you trust, the one you can’t live without. For Ted Flask, that someone special is his aging companion Lily, who happens to be a dog. Lily is loved fiercely by Ted, who must face the difficulty of letting her go.

A wee taste–the first paragraph of the book for your reading pleasure:

It’s Thursday the first time I see it. I know that it’s Thursday because Thursday nights are the nights my dog, Lily, and I set aside to talk about boys we think are cute. She’s twelve in actual years, which is eighty-four in dog years. I’m forty-two, which is two hundred and ninety-four in dog years-but like a really young two hundred and ninety-four, because I’m in pretty good shape and a lot of people tell me I could pass for two hundred and thirty-eight, which is actually thirty-four. I say this about our ages because we’re both a little immature and tend to like younger guys. We get into long debates over the Ryans. I’m a Gosling fan, whereas she’s a Reynolds gal, even though she can’t name a single movie of his that she would ever watch twice. (We dropped Phillipe years ago over a disagreement as to how to pronounce his name. FILL-a-pea? Fill-AH-pay? Also because he doesn’t work that much anymore.) Then there’s the Matts and Toms. We go back and forth between Bomer and Damon and Brady and Hardy depending on what kind of week it has been. And finally the Bradleys, Cooper and Milton, the latter of whom is technically way older and long dead and I’m not sure why my dog keeps bringing him up other than she loves board games, which we usually play on Fridays. 

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. -Mark Twain

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Oldies But Goodies

Ah…those books that we were required to read in high school English. The “classics.” Authors of a time gone by. Some were even controversial by society’s standards when they were published. All are worthy of conversations and discussions even today. We have seven such titles in our collection. Perhaps your bookclub would love to revisit some of the titles. Do they still hold up and mean the same for them upon their first readings when younger, as when they do now (have you ever re-read Catcher & the Rye as an adult? Sadly, when the teen-angst has dissipated, Holden comes off as spoiled and whiny)? Or perhaps, you are one of our schools that use our service and true, blue contemporary high school students could benefit from exposure to greats of the 19th & 20th centuries? We are here to help your English teachers out!

Here are the classics we possess for your borrowing needs (number of copies available are noted on bottom right of the covers):

It doesn’t have to be all about reading, however, all of these titles now have movie versions. Perhaps your very library has copies of them. A couple of the movies are as classic as the books themselves these days. How do they compare to the original?

I’m a little bit out of it, I suppose; I’m more of the golden oldie type. –Cat Stevens

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A Story About Yummy Foods

Kitchens of the Great Midwest (5 copies) is story about a single chef dad raising his daughter and how that lovely daughter acquires an amazing palate and becomes a fabulous, but mysterious chef in her own right. And of course…there are recipes in the book! I am sharing three found within this delectable story that will go perfectly with your bookclub discussion!

CARROT CAKE (pg 9):

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups salad oil

4 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons cinnamon

3 cups shredded carrots

1 cup chopped nuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 325°. Combine all of the ingredients and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes.

Icing recipe:

1/4 lb or 1/2 cup butter

8 oz cream cheese

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix and spread on cooled carrot cake.

CARAMEL BARS (pg 211):

1 bag caramels

5 tablespoons cram

3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the caramels and cream in a double boiler. Cool slightly. Combine the butter, sugar, oatmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until crumbly. Press half of this mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chips, nuts, and melted caramel. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs and bake for 15-20 minutes. Don’t overbake. Cut while warm. The caramels and cream may be melted in the microwave.

MISSISSIPPI MUD BARS (pg 216):

4 eggs

1 cup softened butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup chopped nuts

7 oz marshmallow crème

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large copper mixing bowl, at medium speed, beat the eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flour and cocoa. Beat until well blended. Fold in the nuts. Spread in a greased 9 x `3 baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Immediately place spoonfuls of marshmallow crème on top and spread until smooth. Let cool for one hour.

Frosting: 

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter, stir in the cocoa. Cook for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, whipping cream, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Spread on top of the marshmallow crème. Freezes well.

If baking is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from generation to generation. -Regina Brett

 

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Let’s Get Graphic

Graphic novels. A unique and fantastic way to get the older kids reading and discussing a story, especially when they are about noteworthy subjects such as war, disabilities, and civil rights. We now have three graphic novels to choose from (which is so exciting!).

DOGS OF WAR: Dogs were often used in the time of war and while the stories of the military canines are fictionalized accounts based on the brave actions of the dogs from WWI through the Vietnam War, it still conveys the importance of non-human assistance in times of made-made disaster.

EL DEAFO: This is a memoir of the author’s journey of hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent adjustment to her new disability. Read more about the author and the book here [broken link removed], in this fantastic blog post.

MARCH (book one): John Lewis, civil rights activist, presents the first part of his story in this historical account.

In addition to our three graphic novels (hope to acquire more this year!), we have two stories that have plenty of amazing art or illustrations interspersed within the text-

I FUNNY: A story that uses humor about a boy in a wheelchair who aspires to become a comedian and his struggles with his bullying cousin.

THE STRANGE LIBRARY: As strange as the title, this book is about a boy who is lonely, a girl who is mysterious and the pair of them trying to escape an oppressive library with an intense sheep man.

Not only are graphic novels a fantastic idea for a bookclub for the kid types, but there are also webcomics. They are just what they sound like. Comics found only on the web, “a rich, diverse medium where young creators learn their craft and established creators branch out in new directions.”1 Many have been discovered and printed as graphic novels. Often times, the authors/illustrators start out creating fan art and it then morphs into their own unique story. “I started out posting on Tumblr…There’s an audience for every story, including-especially!-the ones skipped over by mainstream publishers, often because the focus on or are created by minority groups”- Katie O’Neill, author of webcomic Princess Princess.2 Perhaps, after a discussion about the book, a follow up meeting/gathering could be arranged where the group creates their own version of a webcomic around the same theme as the book, showcasing the storytelling and artistic talent of the kids in the group.

Comic books and graphic novels are a great medium. It’s incredibly underused. -Darren Aronofsky

For more about the webcomics and how to get started/where to go, click on the link in one of the footnotes in the body of this blog.