Your Library Staff At Home… 4 Book Clubs You Can Join Now

Struggling with what to read next? This can be overwhelming, especially with the constant barrage of best seller lists readily available anywhere, yet ever changing.  Joining a celebrity or popular book club can be a great way to discover new books and possibly dive into some meaningful discussion. This can be a great option if you can not physically attend a book group.

Here are 4 celebrity or popular book groups you should consider joining now:

Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club, Hello Sunshine.  The book choices in her club focus on books written by female authors.  Reese’s current book pick is The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist - ebook

 

Jenna Hager Bush, co-host of NBC “Today Show”, Read With Jenna Book Club.  The book choices in her club are generally contemporary novels with a compelling plot.  Hager explained her book tastes in an interview as, “No matter what, you have to have a great, compulsively readable plot. Something where you cannot wait to figure out what’s going to happen.”  Jenna’s current book pick is All Adults Here by Emma Straub.

All Adults Here - ebook

 

Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club,  Oprah’s Book Club.  Oprah deserves the ultimate round of applause for popularizing book clubs across the county. Oprah unveils her pick each month, and then features an interview with the author. Oprah’s current book pick is Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker.

Hidden Valley Road - ebook

 

Now Read This, a book club from PBS NewsHour and The New York Times.   This is a staff created book list in which they choose a book that, in their own words, “helps us makes sense of the world we’re living in — fiction, history, memoir, and more.”  The current fiction book choice is Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips.

Disappearing Earth - ebook

Your Library Staff at Home- Favorite Comics on Hoopla

Revisiting favorites is a comforting and fun activity during these uncertain, and often stressful, times. Whether it is a favorite film (I just watched Back to the Future last night!) or a favorite book, there is something about that second or fifth re-watch or re-read that feels like visiting with an old friend.

Maybe you will notice a small detail in the plot you never caught before, or a line will hit you in a new way, or maybe the story will read entirely different to you this time around! I’ve been perusing some of my all-time favorite comics series and have shared them below. Maybe you’ll spot a favorite of your own or find a brand new series to pick up!

East of West by Jonathan Hickman

A weird series that has it all- dystopian future Earth, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, epic robot/monster battles, political intrigue, forbidden romance (with Death!), sci-fi spaghetti western tones.. .and the art is gorgeous. This series hasn’t ended yet so snag Volume 1: The Promise now on Hoopla and prepare for the end!

Locke & Key by Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s talents as a terrific horror and thriller author shine in this amazing series! Readers follow the Key family as they move into the mysterious Keyhouse mansion, which they discover is filled with mysterious and powerful keys. The Key kids also soon find other nefarious forces are at work to obtain the keys- will they survive? You may have recently caught the new Netflix series based on the comics, but I can assure you the books are much weirder, darker, and spookier than the show- in the best way. You can read the entire series from beginning to end on Hoopla, starting with Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft.

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman

This is the series that truly began my love affair with comics. Sure, I’d read X-Men and Spider-Man plenty, but when I picked up Gaiman’s brilliant tale of Morpheus aka Dream I was blown away by how philosophical and creative The Sandman world was. The imaginative weaving together of mythology, fairy tales, Shakespeare, and more will entrance you. The impressive cast for the Audible adaptation was announced last week and inspired me to want to read this series for a third time! You can read the entire series, including the 30th anniversary edition of Volume 1: Preludes & Nocturnes, on Hoopla now.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga is a huge, sweeping sci-fi epic that is actually about love and parenting- but also super weird, graphic in more ways that one, and sometimes soul-crushingly sad. But it is so so good! Two soldiers on opposite sides of a long-running war fall for each other and have a child, quickly making them the most wanted fugitives in perhaps the entire galaxy. Saga is their story, as told by their daughter, Hazel. The series is on a hiatus, so while we patiently await the next new issue (or not so patiently), you can get caught up on Hoopla starting with Volume 1!

If you are a comics fan be sure to check out our online programming celebrating comics, graphic novels, and fandom kicking off June 6th- RiverCon! Originally envisioned to be a mini-con in the library, we have revamped our plans to offer you some awesome goodies and activities to safely enjoy at home! Register for a RiverCon@Home activity kit now on our event calendar and keep your eyes peeled on our website for more great stuff. I’ll be posting next week with a sneak peek of some of the cool content coming your way in June.

Stay safe and happy reading!

Your Library Staff at Home -hunh?

Ooo! What happened? Somewhere over the past few weeks, I’ve realized my attention span has gotten very short. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? It’s a good thing I’m already a fan of making lists -and checking items off the list. Now I need to figure out how to remember where I put my most current list… heh heh. (I also need to remember to recycle that finished list-geez,)

So maybe you’re on the same page as I am (book humor on purpose!) and you’d like to listen to an entertaining book or podcast right now? Great! May I suggest the following podcasts: Stuff You Should Know-covering a wide variety of topics, the length varies by episode, Flash Forward -possible futures based on current ideas, Imaginary Worlds-mostly SF topics but also plenty of general appeal, or NPR’s Life Kit -nicely compact discussions of truly helpful tips for navigating everyday life. May I suggest an older nonfiction book: Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt -I learned so much about European Starlings and Mozart (of course?) plus musical moments were included in the audio book! And how about an older mystery/dark comedy series: Izzy Spellman Series starting with The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz -you too might fall a little in love with this seriously loving and dysfunctional family like so many of us have!

Or if you want to fall down a rabbit hole of what? who knew? I need to try that! nope. Yes! May I suggest checking out #recipes on TikTok? (If you can figure out a good way to limit your time on this one -please send that good tip my way?!)

And please, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, okay?
—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Back to the Library!

You may have heard that we are starting curbside delivery service at the library next week. We are as excited to get materials to you as you are to receive some new reads, watches and listens.

Here’s how it’s going to work: from the hours of 11-7 Monday through Friday, we will take your phone calls to request items. We will only be able to place items on hold that are owned by Rocky River Public Library; unfortunately, we cannot get items from other librarys until they open. In the meantime, our library is a full of unknown treasures, so explore the catalog. Use the upper left hand filtering option to choose Rocky River Only. Then search away and find something new! We are also always willing to make recommendations if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.

Once you call and ask for the item, you have then have to wait until you are notified with a phone call/email/text telling you that your items are available. Then come to the library, call us and let us know you are here. If you’re in a car, tell us the number of the parking space that you are in. If you’ve walked or biked, let us know – there will be a spot for you to pick those items up as well. All items will be walked out to you by staff with masks on and they will place in the items in the trunk of your car – think Heinen’s or any other curbside pickup service. That’s it!

Speaking of book recommendations, here’s another episode of RRPL Book Harbor – and please send us more at askalibrarian@rrpl.org!

Patrick emailed asking for a few book recommendations. He has previously enjoyed The Expanse series, The Boys in the Boat, and Into Thin Air.

Adult Services Associate Sara responded:

Those are some excellent books you’ve chosen!  Since you enjoyed The Expanse series, here are a few other science fiction series that feature the ideas of colonization, adventure, exploration, and conflict between species. You may enjoy: The Shadow Series by Orson Scott Card, start with The Ender’s Shadow. Old Man’s War Universe by John Scalzi, start with Old Man’s War. Since you enjoyed Into Thin Air and Boys in the Boathere are a few other non-fiction titles that are filled with outdoor adventure, teamwork and overcoming adversity.  The Three Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and their Quest for Olympic Glory by Julie Checkoway, Wild: Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed and The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko.

I can’t wait to take your calls and help you get your library materials. Stay safe and stay home between library trips!

~ Dori

Your Library Staff At Home… Staff Highlight

Trent

Deputy Director

What is your favorite book this year and why is it your fave?

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? - ebook

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy   Two strangers with nothing to lose in depression-era California enter a marathon dance where they battle physical and mental exhaustion.  I was fascinated by the parallels between 1930’s  marathon dancing and modern-day reality televisions.

 

What book are you looking forward to reading next?

The Wolf and the Watchman - Audiobook

The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt Och Dag

 

What are you currently watching?

I recently started Schitt’s Creek after having been told to watch it by many people for the last few years.

Schitt's Creek (TV Series 2015–2020) - IMDb

 

What are you doing to occupy your time during these uncertain times?

 I’m well into my second 3000 piece puzzle and I’ve been replaying the video game Mass Effect 3. Also, I have a sourdough starter from which I’ve made a few loaves of bread with already.

Mass Effect™ 3 for PC | Origin

Your Library Staff at Home – Making & Crafting

Last week, I interrupted our regularly scheduling blogging with a post about Book Harbor, RRPL’s personalized book recommendation service. Today, I am resuming my deep dive into making & crafting, with a little book recommendation thrown in – it’s a combo offering!

Spring has sprung and I am busy making my garden sing! I have a shady backyard and a sunny front – and I usually alternate years – one year I work a lot on the front – the next, the back. Well, this year it’s been a backyard effort – a shady, woodland type garden filled with a mix of native plants and non-native shade lovers. Last week, I took a trip to Wilmot, Ohio to the Wilderness Center, where I picked up some native plants that I had ordered in advance. I had never heard of the Wilderness Center, until an internet search brought up their plant sale. It’s a lovely area, surrounded by farms and rolling hills. I will definitely make a trip back there to visit their Interpretive Center and trails when things open up again. I bought Pennsylvania Sedge and Black Cohosh for the back garden and milkweed, liatris and rattlesnake master (such a great name) for the front. I’ve lived in my house for almost 25 years and my garden is, and will always be, a work in progress, but I love it.

Of course, there are many books that I’ve consulted about shade gardening because that’s what I do – I’ve got to read everything I can get my hands on before taking action (it’s a fault, I know). Glorious Shade: Dazzling Plants, Design Ideas, and Proven Techniques for Your Shady Garden by Jenny Rose Carey is a really good place to start. Then there’s The New Shade Garden: Creating a Lush Oasis in the Age of Climate Change by Ken Druse, who’s considered an expert on natural gardening, and Designing and Planting a Woodland Garden: Plants and Combinations that Thrive in the Shade by Keith Wiley which packs inspiration into every page.

I’ve also been making food – constantly it seems. I’m a member of Fresh Fork Market and we received chicken backs this week to make stock; so I threw them in a pot with some onions, carrots, celery, garlic and thyme (that I recently planted) and it’s simmering away right now, filling the house with an aroma that’s driving the dog a little crazy – delicious. I like to have to figure out how to cook whatever ends up in my weekly share – to cook seasonally and with whatever you have on hand instead of running to the store. I’ve also been dipping into cookbook/memoirs that I love to revisit. Ruth Reichl’s Save Me the Plums is a memoir of her time after the magazine Gourmet folded, complete with seasonal recipes. Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, is filled with reflection and humor. And of course, check out If I Can Cook/You Know God Can: African American Food Memories, Meditations, and Recipes by playwright Ntozake Shange, who weaves together historical/sociological knowledge with personal experience of people, places and food.

Ok – onto Book Harbor! Please send us your requests at askalibrarian@rrpl.org.

8-year-old Abigail’s favorite books are Harry Potter, the Who Was Series, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Shannon, one of our talented Adult Reference Librarians, responded:

My first recommendation would be Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, which is the first book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles series. It features magic, humor, and strong female characters. A princess decides that she doesn’t want to marry any of the princes who ask for her hand, so she goes to live with the dragons. I loved this series as a kid (and still do!) She could also try Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. It’s a lot like Harry Potter, but with a lot more snark. Artemis Fowl is a 12-year-old genius who kidnaps a fairy for ransom so that he can restore his family’s fortune. Third, she could try The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi,  which is the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles. In this one, two children go to stay with their great aunt in the countryside and discover a world of fantastical creatures.

Stay safe and stay home!

~Dori