Why Does Voting Matter? Five Days for Democracy-Day 3

Rocky River Public Library has joined forces with The City Club of Cleveland to invite you to participate in Five Days for Democracy— a week dedicated to exploring what democracy means to you. This year we’re taking a look at how all politics is local: what does local government look like, who represents us, and how can we impact city hall.

Sign up and receive a daily email packed with opportunities to examine different facets of our democracy—from listening to a podcast to watching a video, reading an article or responding to a call to action. Each day pick one challenge and get engaged!

Five days. Five challenges. Five ways to strengthen our democracy.

Sign up to participate at cityclub.org/fivedays

I have had this meme sent to me at least five times. Because my friends know me. They have seen me ask this question of complete strangers, seemingly out of the blue. I am passionate about voting-it’s the only way we have to make our system of government work for us.

If you didn't vote yet, please do!: GME
While I love that first image, this image represents to me WHY it is so important to have conversations about voting.

It is easy to become disillusioned with politics. It’s understandable that people think their vote doesn’t matter. While we have seen increases in the number of eligible voters turning out for big elections, cities and states still often see low engagement for primary elections and local elections. Local elections have the greatest impact on our daily lives and in our communities. Just in case you don’t believe your one vote is all that important, consider these elections:

  • 2016: A Vermont state Senate Democratic primary was determined by a single vote out of more than 7,400 cast.
  • 2016A Wyoming state House GOP primary was decided by just one vote, 583 to 582.
  • 2002: A Connecticut state House seat was determined by one vote out of more than 6,400 cast.

For more close elections, check out this article from NPR: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/03/663709392/why-every-vote-matters-the-elections-decided-by-a-single-vote-or-a-little-more

Voting is a right that many people had to fight for. It is a right that should not be given up so easily. Voting is powerful and participation from all eligible voters is the best way to keep our democracy healthy. If you haven’t already, check your registration status at your local board of elections site and make a plan to be a voter. Your local library can help you find reliable information about the candidates and issues that are on your ballot.

Use your voice. Be a voter.

Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women’s Olympic Team by Elise Hooper

If you are all caught up on this week’s Buddy Read of Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration by Sara Dykman and you’ve mulled over the discussion questions, and your thoughts are drifting to the upcoming Olympic games, then you might be interested in the book Fast Girls by Elise Hooper.

Fast Girls is a fictionalized account of the US Women’s Track team in the 1936 Olympics and the events that lead to Betty Robinson, Louise Stokes, Helen Stephens, and their teammates competing in the Nazi-sponsored games. While Jesse Owens was the public star of the games that same year, these trailblazing women were quietly carving out a place for themselves in history.

Betty Robinson:

The 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam marked the first time women were allowed to compete in track events. Seventeen year old Betty won the gold in the 100 m race, matching the world record time, and took the silver in the women’s 4×100 relay. Robinson missed the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games following a near death accident. She fought her way back to competition strength to earn a place on the 1936 team.

Louise Stokes:

Louise Stokes and Tiyde Pickett were the first Black women to be selected to compete in the Olympic after qualifying in the 1932 Olympic trials. Both women accompanied the US team to Los Angeles, but both were left off of the relay team that year. Stokes and Pickett were both among the eighteen Black athletes at the 1936 games. Stokes was once again left off the relay roster, failing to compete for a second time. She was welcomed home to Malden, Massachusetts with a hero’s welcome and she went on to found the Colored Women’s Bowling League.

Helen Stephens:

Helen, the “Fulton Flash” Stephens was a sprinter who never lost a race in her career. At 18 she competed against and beat Stanisława Walasiewicz (aka Stella Walsh-Clevelanders may recognize her name!), the reigning champion and world record holder in the 100 m race. While in Berlin, she had an unpleasant encounter with Adolph Hitler. Shortly after the Olympics she retired from running, but went on to play professional baseball and softball and eventually became the first woman to own and manage a semi-professional basketball team.

All of these amazing women overcame different hardships in order to pursue their dreams. While the world remembers the name Jesse Owens, these women also raced their way in to Olympic history in 1936. If you like captivating historical fiction, courageous women, and a good underdog story, you’ll probably enjoy Fast Girls. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself putting down the story to further research the events in the book. Their stories are heartbreaking and inspiring and deserve to be known.

~Megan

Inauguration Day Reads: American Presidents in Fiction

Since 1937 Inauguration Day has been on January 20th, following the election. If January 20th is a Sunday the president-elect is sworn in privately and the public Inauguration is held on January 21st. The presidential term begins at noon, when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court administers the oath of office to the president-elect. And with that bit of presidential trivia, I present to you these fictional titles featuring real presidents.

~Megan

Megan’s Favorite Books of 2020

This year mysteries, thrillers, and true crime book topped my reading list. The Novel Scares book club forced me out of that comfort zone and introduced me to two of the books on my list-books I never would have selected for myself.

Mystery/Thrillers/Horror:

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

The Good House by Tananarive Due

Good Night Beautiful by Aimee Molloy

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

Nonfiction/Memoirs

The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial

Good Kids, Bad City by Kyle Swenson

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

Delightful Surprises:

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Sweet Murder by Tegan Maher

With the exception of Solutions and Other Problems, I listened to all of these books. The House in the Cerulean Sea was my absolute favorite book of 2020. It was the charming and thoughtful book that I needed during this difficult year.

~Megan

RRPL Gift Guide

Growing up I had one aunt, my Aunt Mary, who always gave books as gifts. Being a life long book lover, I was always happy to get something new from her. I am now the book giving aunt and I love it. And Aunt Mary? She’s still good for the occasional book gift. In fact, she recently sent me this one, just because. Book loving aunts are the best!

A couple of wish list books for me include A Promised Land by Barack Obama, Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants by Hilton Carter, and The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

For the teens and tweens in my life, I’m considering Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, and Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell.

The younger ones might receive Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, and Dino by Diego Vaisberg.

What books are on your holiday wish list? Don’t forget to support your local bookstores when you shop-check out bookshop.org.

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays. Stay home and read this year!

~Megan

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer Review

Departing from her usual science fiction and fantasy offerings, Marissa Meyer has released her first YA contemporary romance with a hint of magical realism and it is delightful.

Prudence Barnett is the stereotypical overachiever. She’s judgmental and difficult to like at times, especially when she’s lashing out at her horrible lab partner, Quint Erickson, the well-liked slacker who is dragging her and her final grade down. After an accidental head injury, Pru discovers she has the ability to bestow instant karma on those around her. The only problem is that Quint seems immune to her new power, much to her dismay. She and Quint have been given a second chance to improve their grade, but he continues to frustrate her.

Things aren’t all fluff, teen angst, and typical romance tropes. The story has real meat to it as both teens deal with family issues. Pru is also forced to confront her own assumptions about her friends and classmates and make some tough decisions regarding how to use her unusual gift. Throw in some environmentalism, an aquatic animal rescue, and some karaoke, and you have fun, refreshing, and thoughtful cautionary tale. The queen of retellings has struck gold with this one.

As the weather grows colder and the days get shorter, treat yourself to this sunny beach read. You won’t regret it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

~Megan

Chocolate Day Reads

Try some chocolate themed fiction. We have sweet chocolate stories, dark chocolate stories, and even some hot chocolate stories.

Maybe nonfiction is more to your taste. We’ve got you (chocolate) covered.

Happy Reading (and sweet snacking)!

~Megan

Bookish Pet Peeves

I feel like I have been staring at this blank screen forever, trying to decide what the write about this week. My creative brain feels broken right now. So I sit and stare and struggle to think think think, all the while half listening to an audiobook. So far in this story a woman has fainted multiple times after receiving bad news and two characters have vomited. And there it is. My inspiration. Do people really throw up this frequently as a reaction to terrible news? I have had my fair share of terrible news and it has never lead me to seek the nearest bathroom and arrive there in the nick of time. Why does this happen so much in books?!?! Whyyyyy? Drives me crazy.

Other bookish pet peeves:

  • Dream sequences
  • Weird character names
  • Love triangles
  • Mid-series cover changes

But let’s not end on a negative note. Here are a few of my bookish loves:

  • Books within books
  • Unreliable narrators
  • Mind-blowing twists
  • Unapologetically smart and strong heroines

Enjoy this sassy baby goat while you think about your own bookish pet peeves.

~Megan