Currently Reading- August

This month I’ll be enjoying some vacation, including some stay-cationing at home, as well as doing some out-of-state traveling for the first time in a long time. I have a relatively short flight ahead, but we have some long layovers, so I was sure to load up my Kindle with ebooks and my phone with audiobooks from OverDrive to keep me occupied. Nothing is worse than being book-less at the airport! Take a look below to see what I’m currently reading this month.

August eBook Display- Cooking for Busy Schedules

With another school year just around the corner, and many of us returning to spending more time in the office, you might be in need of some help in the kitchen! Fear not- all the titles below are cookbooks perfect for crafting delicious meals that work for those short on time.

Click here to jump to our OverDrive digital library!

Staff Picks- August

One of the best things about working in a public library is being exposed to so many different books! I know I can be guilty of sticking to my reading comfort zone, but thanks to the eclectic readership we have on staff, I’m always hearing personal recommendations and reviews from my amazing colleagues, including a wide variety of genres.

This month Adult Services staff shared some current favorites, including a discussion worthy nonfiction title, an updated classic with a fantasy twist, and a stand-out autobiography. Take a look below for our five staff picks!

Hop on over to our digital library to snag one of these titles now! Ilhan Omar narrates the audiobook version of This is What America Looks Like, which was highly recommended by our staff, so if you are an audiobook fan don’t miss out on this great title.

Bicycling with Butterflies Read-alikes: One Book, One City

Have you been loving Bicycling with Butterflies by Sara Dykman? Perhaps you finished it already and are looking for something similar to read? As someone who admittedly doesn’t read much non-fiction, this book inspired me to consider adding more nature focused non-fiction titles to my ever growing to-read pile.

Below you’ll find some suggested read-alike titles, including some stellar nature and travel writing.

You can request a title through our online catalog here or check out our digital collection offerings through OverDrive!

Adventure Cycling: One Book, One City

Biologist, outdoor educator, and author of Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration, Sara Dykman, rode an impressive distance on her bicycle to follow the monarch butterfly migration. My first thought when hearing about this immense feat was- how in the world did she bike that far?! As someone who only bikes around my neighborhood, and occasionally a bike trail in the Cleveland Metroparks, I couldn’t fathom riding thousands of miles across the country on a bike. Naturally, being a librarian and all, I was inspired to take a look at how one might go about such a trip and tips for embarking on your own adventure cycling trip!

Image from https://www.adventurecycling.org/blog/from-the-magazine-following-the-monarchs/

Dykman was not new to bike touring, as she shares in this article from Treehugger. She says, “I was actually on a year-long bike tour, traveling from Bolivia to the United States when I first had the idea to follow the monarch butterflies.” She also shares a bit about her bike in the article, describing it as, “… an old, rusty steel mountain bike frame from the ‘80s, the components were newish, cleanish, and ready to get me down the road. Most people were shocked at how unfancy my bike was, especially when it was saddled with my homemade kitty-litter-bucket panniers. It might not have been light or pretty, but my no-frills bike is a reliable machine.” 

Dykman took extensive photos on her trip and you can check them out on her website here and see all the places she’s biked!

If you are feeling inspired to do your own adventure biking trip but aren’t sure where to start, you’ll want to work your way up to long distances. Whether you have an old mountain bike or a fancy new all-terrain bike, you’ll want to get your bike in tip-top shape before you venture out. Here is a list of tips from Adventurecycling.org on items to contemplate prior to setting out on your trip.

  • Make final purchases of clothing and equipment.
  • Make certain that all repairs and maintenance, including lubrication, are made on your bike.
  • Buy an extra pair of glasses, or contacts, and get a copy of your prescription.
  • Continue your training rides, working up to 50- to 70-mile day rides on weekends. (You might try for a century — 100 miles in a day — if you’re taking a trip of more than three weeks.) Seek out hills and varied terrain, attempting to simulate the type of riding you’ll encounter on your tour, and do some rides with fully loaded packs to test for proper weight distribution.
  • Make arrangements for paying any monthly bills coming due during your absence.
  • Make sure you have used all your equipment and know how it works. Make all final adjustments to your bike.
  • Continue training rides; try to do at least one overnight “shakedown” trip with a fully loaded bike. It’s better to discover and take care of problems before your tour begins.
  • Pack your bike in a reinforced box and ship it, if it’s not traveling with you.
  • Pick up your travel tickets.
  • Buy traveler’s checks for emergency and spending money.
  • Fill medical prescriptions to last longer than your trip.
  • Cancel your newspaper delivery.
  • Change mail delivery or have mail held at the post office.
Image from Adventurecycling.org

You can find travel tips for your first bike tour here from The Adventure Junkies. There are plenty of great blogs out there that you can check out with information on bikepacking, adventure cycling, and bike touring such as Cycling About and Bikepacking.

For more resources, we have plenty of great materials at the library, including a variety of digital cycling magazines you can access from the comfort of home.

Finally, we recently had Deltrece Daniels from Bike Cleveland offer a virtual program all about Adventure Cycling. Keep your eyes peeled on this blog for that recording in the coming weeks.

Have you ever taken a long distance biking trip? Are you planning one? We’d love to hear about your adventure cycling, so please share with us in the comments!

RRPL Summer Reads- The Chosen and The Beautiful

It’s finally June which means that summer is officially right around the corner! We will be counting down the days until the first day of summer, Sunday, June 20th, by sharing the books we are most excited to read in the months ahead. Each week you’ll get a look at titles that Rocky River Public Library staff can’t wait to dive into!

My first summer read pick is The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo.

This book, just published yesterday (!) is a Best of Summer Pick for Time Magazine and a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine, so I’m definitely not the only person who has been looking forward to this title to hit bookshelves.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents the American classic story of The Great Gatsby through a queer, magical, immigrant lens. Reimagining Fitzgerald’s character Jordan Baker as a young, queer woman who was born in Vietnam and raised in white, American high society, Vo invites readers along for a fresh, imaginative look at this Gatsby woman. Jordan has money, education, invitations to the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age, but is treated like an exotic attraction by her peers.

Vo, a Milwaukee-based author, whose previous works include the novellas Then the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, said in a recent interview that her early influences include Neil Gaiman, British fantasy writer Angela Carter, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” author Patricia Highsmith, and the popular podcast series “Welcome to Night Vale.”

As many students have had to throughout the years, I first read The Great Gatsby in my high school freshman English class, and wasn’t particularly impressed. I’ve re-read it since then and am a fan of Fitzgerald’s works now, but am very excited to read a modern, diverse voice such as Vo’s take on this well-known narrative. I also love magical realism and this new novel sounds like an amazing mash-up of some of my favorite literary elements!

What are some titles you are excited to read this summer? We’d love for you to share your titles with us this month in the comments! Happy reading!

Love is in Bloom: New and Upcoming Romance

Ahh May. That magical time of year when the flowers are blooming, everything is a beautiful green, and the weather is wildly unpredictable (that might just be a Northeast Ohio factor). It’s also a great time of year to pick up a light and fun romance! Take a look below for ten new and upcoming romance titles sure to make for a great read- whether you are cozied up on the couch or soaking up some sunshine poolside.

Excited to dive into one of these titles? Visit our OverDrive digital library or request a print copy today!

Staff Poetry Favorites

Welcome back to our final installment of Staff Poetry Favorites in honor of National Poetry Month 2021. This week we look at some of our favorite poetry collections!

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Dearly by Margaret Atwood

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

blud by Rachel McKibbens

The end of April is quickly approaching and thus the end of National Poetry Month. Hopefully you have been inspired to continue reading poetry throughout the year! We have a great selection of poetry on our shelves at Rocky River Public Library, and don’t forget you can access our digital shelves via OverDrive for more poetry titles from the comfort of your couch.

Staff Poetry Favorites

As we continue to celebrate National Poetry Month here at Rocky River Public Library, I’m sharing some more staff favorites with you today. Last week we heard from our Outreach Department and this week we will hear some favorite poems from some of our Adult Services Department staff.

Image from The Poetry Foundation.

The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions
of what just is
isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes we are far from polished.
Far from pristine.
But that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert,
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation,
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Selected by Shannon, Adult Services Librarian

Image from The Poetry Foundation.

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in)

by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Selected by Shannon, Adult Services Librarian

Image from The Poetry Foundation.

Good Bones

by Maggie Smith

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Selected by Dori, Adult Services Manager

Check back next week for our final National Poetry Month post featuring a list of recommended poetry collections!

Staff Poetry Favorites

April is National Poetry Month and in honor of this special celebration of poetry, I asked my colleagues to share some of their favorite poetry with me. For the next couple weeks I will highlight these selections on the blog. This week we hear from members of our Outreach staff on their favored works.

Image from The Poetry Foundation.

Fog

By Carl Sandburg

The fog comes

on little cat feet.

It sits looking

over harbor and city

on silent haunches

and then moves on.

“For me, poetry is a good way to connect with how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking about in a certain time and place. There are so many poems and poets, the style and content can be so different, it’s like there’s always a piece of candy that catches my eye. 

If Fog by Carl Sandburg were candy, it would be my perfect mix of caramel, chopped nuts, nougat, and chocolate. In just a few words, the poet creates an image and atmosphere, including a touch of whimsy with an accurate cat vibe. Thank you, Mr. Sandburg, for the gift of this poem!” Stacey, Outreach Coordinator

Image from The Poetry Foundation.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

by Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn’t frighten me at all

Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don’t frighten me at all

Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn’t frighten me at all.

I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won’t cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don’t frighten me at all.

That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don’t frighten me at all.

Don’t show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I’m afraid at all
It’s only in my dreams.

I’ve got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.

Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

” ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me’ by Maya Angelou is my pick this year. I’ve been chanting it to myself lately (for obvious reasons)!” Carol, Outreach Librarian