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

Your Library Staff at Home- What I’m Reading Now

I’ve been making great usage of both Hoopla and Overdrive over the past couple weeks to satisfy my reading appetite, but have also taken this time at home as an opportunity to pick up some titles in my home library that I’ve never read. Scroll on for some of my just finished and currently in progress reads.

In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

Oh how I loved this book! This memorizing horror-fantasy- historical fiction-thriller novel grabbed me and wouldn’t let me put it down until I knew all it’s twisty secrets. Set in colonial New England, readers are led along by one seemingly innocent young woman who finds herself lost in the woods after berry-picking for her husband and son. Her wanderings bring her to meet other women in the woods and it quickly becomes clear not all is as it seems and the truth is hard to discern. Highly recommended if you enjoyed the 2015 film The Witch, or The Familiars by Stacey Halls. Available through OverDrive.

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman ; Illustrated by Colleen Doran

This dark retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, by one of my all-time favorite authors, flips the classic story in a fresh and chilling way. Snow, Glass, Apples is narrated by the stepmother, who is actually quite good, and who must protect herself and her kingdom from the King’s monstrous daughter- Snow White. Beautifully illustrated and written, any fan of Gaiman or fairy tales will want to pick this up. Winner of the 2020 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel. Available through Hoopla.

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

I started reading this a while back and never finished it- probably because I had began this book while on my honeymoon in Hawaii and it’s not really a “beach read” sort of book. But! I am picking it back up and so far it is quite a curious, witty, and weird (perhaps even a bit romantic) mash-up of literary fiction and some magical realism. I think this time around I will finish this! Available through OverDrive.

Bunny by Mona Awad

The great Margaret Atwood tweeted this book was a combination, among other things, of the Witches of Eastwick and Mean Girls, so I was sold. I’ve only just begun this dark and funny novel but am very excited to see where it goes! Available through OverDrive.

Little Josephine: Memory in Pieces by Valerie Villieu; Illustrated by Raphael Sarfati

This heartwarming graphic novel is a first-hand account of the unlikely friendship that blossomed between a home nurse and her 84- year old patient stricken with Alzheimer’s, Josephine. Humor and laughter bring the two together, and readers will enjoy this story of human connection. The story takes place in Paris, but it’s critiques of an overloaded healthcare system and the frustrations of geriatric care easily translate to American healthcare and makes for a story that many can relate to. Available through Hoopla.

What is everyone else reading at home? I hope you have read some fabulous books and that perhaps one of my titles will spark your interest for your next digital checkout. Happy reading and stay safe!

Your Library Staff At Home… Staff Highlight

Stacey 

Outreach Coordinator

What is your favorite book you have read this year and why is it your favorite?

I think my favorite book is always the next book I plan to read BUT if you’re looking for a smart mystery/thriller, I’d suggest Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman.

Mr. Nobody - Audiobook

What book are you looking forward to reading next?

The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz

The Daughters of Erietown - Audiobook

What are you you currently watching?

Making the Cut with Tim and Heidi, restarting Expanse, and all sorts of YouTube!

What are you listening to…music, podcasts?

I subscribe to a whole bunch of podcasts but a few favorites are: Flash Forward, Stuff You Should Know, 99% Invisible, Imaginary Worlds, and NPR Life Kit.

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

There’s still a lot of my job I can do from home, I’m putting more time into meal planning (finally!) and enjoying a wide-range of comfort carbs, watching more movies and TV shows  than I have in a long while, staying connected to physically distant family and friends, and finishing a half-done needlepoint canvas before I pick up a new project (to finish!)…. I’m guessing this list will sound pretty familiar to people, right?

10765 Best Needlepoint images in 2020 | Needlepoint, Needlepoint ...

Your Library Staff at Home -Sunshiny Sunday Edition!

We’re firmly into Spring now and the sun is coming out so much more often -it’s fabulous! Although Fall will always be my favorite season (warm days/crisp evening air, s’mores, the leaves as they turn beautiful colors), but also very happy to have the sunshine and open windows we can enjoy now. (Downside? Pollen. so. much. pollen. sigh…)

So this week maybe we’ll have the chance to be outside a little more -maybe listening to an audiobook like Crazy Rich Asians or podcast like Flash Forward while taking a walk, or calling a friend while we sit in the sun. Doesn’t that sound nice? (I might add a scoop of ice cream in there -cone or bowl- but that’s me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

Once you’re in for the evening and  you’re looking for something to watch, I can say Victorian Slum House, the 1900s on hoopla is a series worth spending some quality time with! I’ve really enjoyed the previous series PBS has created, from Frontier House to The 1940s House, sending everyday modern people back in time to experience the daily life of that time period. As these volunteers get caught up in their new world so do viewers and soon it feels like we’re all in it together… (and reminds me how lucky I am to live in a time and place where indoor plumbing is the norm)!

Today, while I continue some serious Spring cleaning, I’m going to start listening to Wisdom From a Humble Jellyfish by Rani Shah and update you my progress next week!

Be kind to yourself and enjoy that extra Vitamin D shining down!

—Stacey

Your Library Staff at Home – Book Harbor

This week I want to share with you a new personalized book recommendation service that we’ve created at Rocky River Public Library – Book Harbor – a place where you can share 3 items you love – books, movies, TV shows, music, really anything you can think of, and we’ll send back some recommendations chosen by our Library staff, who know a thing or two about books!

bookHarbor_WEB

Here are two requests we received (the following links lead to Overdrive, our digital book collection):

Aimee loves the books In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel PhilbrickEndurance by Alfred Lansing and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Our Teen Librarian and resident true crime and nonfiction aficionado Megan responded:  It looks like you enjoy adventure filled nonfiction!

Sticking with water adventures, I would recommend: River of Doubt by Candice MillardShadow Divers by Robert Kurson. and Adrift by Stephen Callahan.

Because you liked Endurance I would recommend: Endurance: A Year in Space by Scott Kelly and The Adventurer’s Son by Roman Dial.

Finally, if you liked In Cold Blood I would recommend: Furious Hours by Casey Cep, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. I hope you discover something new from this list!

Julie gave us a list of the following books and authors that she has enjoyed: The Jan Karon Mitford series, Death on Demand Mysteries, and Jamie Beck books.

Emma, who enjoys mysteries, historical fiction and gentle reads, recommended authors Ann B. Ross and Philip Gulley as similar to Jan Karon, Joanne Fluke and Diane Davidson Mott, mystery writers with similar styles as the Death on Demand books, and Kristen Hannah and Mary McNear, both authors similar to Jamie Beck.

I’ll share more requests and our recommendations next week. Please send your requests to askalibrarian@rrpl.org and keep them coming because we love to recommend books!

Stay safe and stay home!

~ Dori

New Fiction Coming in May 2020

 

Take a look at some of the exciting new fiction coming to our shelves in May. Whether you are looking for a literary fiction read, a historical page-turner, or a woman’s fiction, we have something for you!

 

 

5/04: All Adults Here by Emma Straub – A matriarch confronts the legacy of her parenting mistakes while her adult children navigate respective challenges in high standards and immaturity, before a teen granddaughter makes a courageous decision to tell the truth. By the best-selling author of Modern Lovers.

In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.

5/05: Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – A woman confronts the dynamics of friendship and forgiveness while visiting Cape Cod to attend an old friend’s increasingly disastrous wedding. By the best-selling author of Good in Bed and Mrs. Everything.

A sparkling novel about the complexities of female relationships, the pitfalls of living out loud and online, and the resilience of the human heart, Big Summer is a witty, moving story about family, friendship, and figuring out what matters most.

5/05: Close Up, -No. 4 (Burning Cove, California)- by Amanda Quick – Welcome to Burning Cove, California where 1930s Hollywood glamour conceals a ruthless killer.
Protecting a crime-scene photographer who has identified elusive details connecting a string of murders, reclusive investigator Nick Sundridge uses his own uncanny talents to tie the killer to 1930s Hollywood society. By the best-selling author of the Arcane Society series.

 

 

5/05: Robert B. Parker’s Grudge Match, -No. 8 (Sunny Randall)- by Mike Lupica – Reluctantly taking the case of a long-time gangster associate who will forgive a betrayal in return, private investigator Sunny Randall tracks down the man’s missing girlfriend and business partner before the murder of a witness reveals unanticipated dangers. Robert B. Parker’s beloved PI Sunny Randall returns on a case that blurs the line between friend and foe…and if Sunny can’t tell the difference, the consequences may be deadly.

5/19: Furmidable Foes, –No. 29 (Mrs. Murphy)- by Rita Mae Brown – Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen and her pet sleuths investigate hidden enemies in their effort to expose a scam involving an upmarket organic grocery store that is selling substandard produce. By the author of the “Sister” Jane series. 

Mary Minor “Harry” Harristeen is on the hunt for a killer with a deadly green thumb when a day in the garden turns fatal in this exciting new mystery from Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown.

5/26: Girls of Summer by Nancy Thayer – Skeptical about their single mother’s Nantucket romance with a younger man, siblings Juliet and Theo navigate their own tangled relationships involving an idealistic environmentalist and a girl fighting the trauma of a school tragedy. By the best-selling author of Island Girls

 

~Semanur