Library Reads (05/20/2021): Just Mercy

Just Mercy (cover)

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.
Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction • Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction • Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize • An American Library Association Notable Book

Next Meeting:
May 20th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Book Wizards (05/11/2021): Spinning Silver

Spinning Silver (cover)

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.

Next Meeting:
May 11th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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April Reading Resolutions…Let’s Get Graphic!

This month’s Reading Resolutions challenge is to read a graphic novel or Manga. While our library has an excellent collection in our Young Adult/Teen area, these books might be less familiar to adult readers.

If you’re wondering what a graphic novel is, the simple answer is that it’s a story told through illustrations. While most people are familiar with comic books, and graphic novels are often referred to as comics, the label is deceptive.  Graphic novels can cover all genres of literature, (including non-fiction!) and aren’t limited to traditional comic book/super hero fare. Graphic novels can also include serialized works, and even illustrated versions of popular novels.

Find this badge in your Beanstack account. Enter the title of the Graphic Novel you read to change it to color

Manga are Japanese graphic novels and are read from right to left. Manga have a distinctive artistic style and are most often serialized into multi-volume stories.

We’ve created a special collection of graphic novels, which you can browse here , and we’ve also highlighted a few selections by genre. We’re sure you’ll find a great read, but if you’d like a recommendation, be sure to give us a call.

General Fiction

The Crossroads at Midnight by Abby Howard – In this collection of evocative, unnerving slice-of-life horror, five stories explore what happens when one is desperate enough to seek solace in the unnatural, and what might be waiting for us at the Crossroads at Midnight.

Blankets by Craig Thompson – Loosely based on the author’s life, chronicling his journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring the people, experiences, and beliefs that he encountered along the way.

Girl in Dior by Annie Goetzinger – It’s February 12, 1947 and the cráeme de la cráeme of Paris Haute Couture is flocking to the momentous event of Dior’s first show. Clara, a freshly hired chronicler, is our guide in the busy corridors of the brand new house of Christian Dior. In a flurry of corolla shaped skirts, the parade of models file down the runway. Dior’s career is launched and Clara’s story begins when she is picked by Dior himself to be his model.

Victor and Nora: A Gotham Love Story by Lauren Myracle – Victor is mourning the death of his brother, and Nora is coping with the illness she knows will eventually kill her. Readers looking for a tragic romance with moral ambiguities, even those unfamiliar with the DC universe, will appreciate this backstory of one of Gotham’s most notorious criminals.


Autobiography and Non- Fiction

March by John Lewis – A  first-hand account of Congressman 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.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – Author and cartoonist Bechdel tells of her childhood with a closeted gay father, who ran a funeral parlor. The book is the basis for a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical.

Persepolis: the story of a childhood by Marjane Satrapi –The great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor and the daughter of ardent Marxists describes growing up in Tehran in a country plagued by political upheaval and vast contradictions between public and private life.

The Beast of Chicago by Rick Geary – The true-crime tale of early 20th century serial killer Herman Mudgett, better known as H.H. Holmes, who was the inspiration for the book The Devil In White City.


Novel to Graphic Novel Adaptations

The Giver by Lois Lowry – Now in graphic novel format, Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal–winning classic story of a young boy discovering the dark secrets behind his seemingly ideal world is accompanied by renowned artist P.Craig Russell’s beautifully haunting illustrations.

Octavia Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy – Dana is a 1970s black woman repeatedly and involuntarily whisked back in time to a nineteenth-century plantation, where she becomes embroiled in the lives of the people enslaved there, risking everything by educating their children, even as she forms an uneasy and dangerous relationship with her own white ancestor.

Anne Frank’s Diary by Ari Folman – Authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation, this volume beautifully brings to life the inhabitants of the Secret Annex. Although this account has not been adapted verbatim, owing to length, Folman and Polonsky effectively convey the material, and the visuals capture the heartbreak of families in prolonged hiding.






Forever Young (05/10/2021): Kent State

Kent State (cover)

Kent State by Deborah Wiles

Kent State University.

As protestors roil the campus, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is still argument of what happened and why.

Told in multiple voices from a number of vantage points — protestor, Guardsman, townie, student — Deborah Wiles’s Kent State gives a moving, terrifying, galvanizing picture of what happened that weekend in Ohio . . . an event that, even 50 years later, still resonates deeply.

Next Meeting:
May 10th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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Cozy Corner (05/05/2021): Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree

Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (cover)

Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree by Susan Wittig Albert

The country may be struggling through the Great Depression, but the good ladies of Darling, Alabama, are determined to keep their chins up and their town beautiful. Their garden club, the Darling Dahlias, has just inherited a new clubhouse and garden, complete with two beautiful cucumber trees in full bloom.
But life in Darling is not all garden parties and rosemary lemonade.
When local blond bombshell Bunny Scott is found in a suspicious car wreck, the Dahlias decide to dig into the town’s buried secrets, and club members Lizzy, Ophelia, and Verna soon find leads sprouting up faster than weeds. The town is all abuzz with news of an escaped convict from the prison farm, rumors of trouble at the bank, and tales of a ghost heard digging around the cucumber tree. If anyone can get to the root of these mysteries, it’s the Darling Dahlias.

Next Meeting:
May 5th @ 7:00 PM at Virtual Library

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Join the latest Big Library Read!

Feeling stressed? Then you’ll love the latest Big Library Read selection, “The Art of Taking It Easy” by psychologist, comedian and author Dr. Brian King.

The Art of Taking It Easy is a practical and hilarious book that encourages readers to embrace humor as a way to reduce stress and live a happier, fuller life.

In his book, King defines stress, discusses it’s origins and how it impacts our bodies and brains. His practical approach offers ways to deal with everyday stress, and other conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, hypertension and obesity, that occur as a result. But what sets The Art of Taking It Easy apart from other books on this topic is the author’s humor, memorable stories and life-changing tips and instructions gleaned from his personal experience.  Read a sample here.

“I wrote The Art of Taking It Easy to put my insights on stress management on paper, so my
daughter, Alyssa, who is now three, can use them one day. Of course, in the process I wrote a book that can be enjoyed by anyone,” said King, in an interview with Libby/Overdrive, sponsors of the Big Library Read.

The Big Library Read is the world’s largest digital book club, with over 20,000 libraries participating. Between April 5 and April 19, library card holders can download copies of The Art of Taking It Easy with no waiting. After reading, check out the discussion questions (click here to download) and share your thoughts on The Big Library Read discussion board. And join the Professional Book Nerds podcasters for a free live conversation and Q&A session with Dr. King, Tuesday, April 13, at noon, central. Click here to register.

If you haven’t used Libby or Overdrive previously, install the free app to get started. You’ll find instructions here. Download your copy, join the fun, and master the fine art of taking it easy!


Stranger than Fiction (05/04/2021): Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (cover)

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.
With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.
They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.
Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.
Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

Next Meeting:
May 4th @ 6:30 PM at Virtual Library

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Spinecrackers (05/07/2021): My Dark Vanessa

My Dark Vanessa (cover)

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Next Meeting:
May 7th @ 10:00 AM at Virtual Library

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