Books and Movies to Share on Galentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, February 14, and whether you love or hate this holiday, it’s hard to deny that it does make for a great excuse to eat copious amounts of chocolate covered strawberries without shame (or is that just me?). I am personally a fan of the holiday, but one of my most favorite holidays is actually the day preceding Valentine’s Day- Galentine’s Day!

Image from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”

If you are unfamiliar with Galentine’s Day, it was born out of the amazing television show Parks and Recreation. The holiday was the creation of the beloved fictional deputy director of Parks and Recreation in Pawnee, Indiana, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). The show’s writers centered the 16th episode of the second season around Leslie’s favorite February tradition, Galentine’s Day. Over a brunch of waffles and excessive gift-giving, Leslie celebrates the joy of female friendship with close friends and co-workers. This has now become a legit holiday with companies creating cards for the occasion and businesses offering Galentine’s Day specials.

Leslie explains, “Every February 13, my ladyfriends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” Unfortunately, this is not the time for brunch gatherings and long evenings at the wine bar, so how can you celebrate? Share some amazing books with your best gal pals or watch a film together online (ideas for how to watch together here)!

Below you’ll find some of my top picks for books (fiction and nonfiction) and films that are perfect for Galentine’s Day celebrating and sharing!

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Bridesmaids directed by Paul Feig

Booksmart directed by Olivia Wilde

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship by Gail Caldwell

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Girls Trip directed by Malcom D. Lee

Mean Girls directed by Mark Waters

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Girl Talk: What Science Can Tell Us About Female Friendship by Jacqueline Mroz

Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Wishing you all a safe and happy Galentine’s Day! Happy reading!

Time to Prepare?

There’s still time! You can still bake, and craft, and read, all the holiday treats your 2020 heart desires! (I qualify this to your “2020 heart” as this year is not like the others. Maybe you’re skipping, or maybe you’re all in, it doesn’t feel like there’s one, right answer. Aannyyyywho…)

If you want to make something Buddy the Elf would approve of: Cookies and other Sweet Treats might have a digital book that can help you out!

Rather than hitting all the stores, maybe you want to check out a digital book from Why Buy it When You Can Make it? collection!

Or perhaps you’d like to unwind, read or listen to Holiday Stories for the Young and the Young at Heart -which also tend to be shorter, and great for my minimal attention span?

Maybe you want to sample something from all three options -and then- take a nap! This is a judgement free zone -enjoy what works (plus a piece of candy)!

Stacey

Books to give for Christmas (of course, we also recommend checking them out from the library ;-)

This year, Christmas feels a little strange and isolated. But it also feel a little cozy. The first snowfall was absolutely beautiful and really got me into the Christmas spirit. As I try to avoid malls and busy stores, I have of course turned to online shopping like many of us. But somehow that just seems impersonal this year. After weeks of quarantining, ordering carry out, groceries from Instacart, and pretty much everything else in the world from Amazon, I’m ready to get back to basics for this year’s holiday. My daughter and I tried our hand at making candles (we definitely need to read up on this a little bit, as I watch one of ours smoke itself out), we have plans for many more cookie varieties than ever, and are drawn towards handmade gifts from Etsy and local stores.

In keeping with this, I am buying books as gifts for the first time in years! My teen/young adult kids don’t read as vociferously as they used to, and most of my family reads on a Kindle. But this year, it just feels right to go back to basics, hold a real book in my hands while I sip coffee by my Christmas tree and lights. My kids have watched pretty much everything Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have to offer, so I think I’m going to try and entice them to take an electronic break, relax on the couch with me to read a good book by the tree.

Here are a few titles coming out in December. Some of them haven’t been published yet, but what is more fun then preordering a book and knowing you will be one of the first to read it? Remember that our local retailers need you this year more than ever. So head to bookshop.org to get some of these new titles that promise to be keepers! They also offer gift cards if you just can’t choose ;-).

Simply thrilling

There’s no such thing as a perfect family. And it’s usually not wise to point that out.

Thriller, romance and fantasy, all rolled into one.

A debut thriller that asks one simple question, shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?

On the lighter side

Quinn and Minnie share their day of birth, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

A dare and a crash course in flirting turn a frumpy college professor’s life upside down.

An anxiety-ridden introvert finds herself in the spotlight and decides to fake it til she makes it.

Different times and places

Stunning debut explores Afghanistan on the eve of a violent revolution.

A story of survival, loss and love, and the sisters who changed fashion forever.

A poor girl with dreams grows up in the shadow of Biltmore House, the palatial Vanderbilt mansion.

RRPL Gift Guide Kickoff

It’s the last day of November and the Black Friday sales are behind us, but there is still plenty of time to shop for holiday gifts. At Rocky River Public Library, we’re in the business of recommending books and movies, music and audiobooks, so we thought we’d spend the next couple of weeks sharing with you some titles we’d like to give, or get, for the 2020 Holiday season.

Below I’ll mainly talk about 2020 books and link them to our catalog so you can read a longer description. If you’re interested in buying the book, go to bookshop.org and they’ll find you a local, independent bookstore to order from. We want to support our independent bookstores!

First, for anyone on your list who likes to DIY or who has spent their pandemic time learning new skills, check out Storey’s Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills: 214 Things You can Actually Learn How to Do, an oversized book with images and step-by-step instructions. Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks by Maria Del Mar Sacasa would make any cocktail afficionando light up. Me, I hope to get Jacques Pepin’s new cookbook Quick & Simple, which is how I like to cook right now.

For lovers of historical fiction, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell is a fascinating look at the family of William Shakespeare, particularly his wife, Agnes, an expert in nature and cures. It’s perfect for a winter lie-in (the audiobook is also very well done). I’m going to give my daughter an oldie, but one of my favorites, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, the story of a former slave who becomes a slaveholder; it’s become a classic.

For scifi/fantasy fans, I’ve recently read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and this story of a woman who makes a deal with the Devil will mesmerize you. Again, the audiobook is stellar, so hop to it! Becky Chambers, author of the Wayfarer Series, has a new addition to the series coming out next year, so now’s the time to buy your space-loving, fantasy adoring giftee the 3 previous volumes – it’s fun, character-rich, and so so good!

If your recepient is interested in the state of the world, politics or, searing experiences, please give them Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. I also really love the writing of Paul Yoon, who’s Run Me to Earth follows a group of 3 friends in Laos during and after the Vietnam War. If non-fiction is their bag, try Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, described as, an “Instant American Classic”.

I love a good crime novel or thriller. The Searcher by Tana French brings a Chicago police detective to Ireland, where all is not fairies and rainbows. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is altogether different, a funny murder mystery starring retirees. Both would make great gifts for your mystery loving pals.

I’ll finish up with some more books that I’d like for Christmas, as well as a few I’m going to buy for family and friends.

I love the great outdoors and would be so happy to get a copy of Robert McFarlane’s Lost Spells, with poetry and art to inspire. Other nature books that I’d like to receive are World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald (she of H is for Hawk).

I gave my daughter Say Nothing by Patrick Keefe last year, and she then took a deep dive into “The Troubles” and Irish politics. I thought I’d add Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen to her gifts this year; it’s lighter, , about an autistic young woman who lives in a town in Northern Ireland still affected by “The Troubles” For my son, who has been reading Anna Karenina, but also loves Murakami and history, I will buy the 2020 National Book Award Winner for Translated Fiction, Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Marie. Or maybe the non-fiction award winner, The Dead are Arising, a Life of Malcom X. Wait, I think he’d really like Vassily Grossman’s, republished classic, Life and Fate. Oh what to buy?!?

And to close, you couldn’t do better than to give The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories: From Hans Christian Anderson to Angela Carter, “…a collection of the most magical, moving, chilling and surprising Christmas stories from around the world, taking us from frozen Nordic woods to glittering Paris, a New York speakeasy to an English country house, bustling Lagos to midnight mass in Rio, and even outer space.”

Have a beautiful, peaceful, and loving holiday season.

~ Dori

Let’s Make Something Good!

Here we go, headed into the making-est time of the year! And even though the 2020 Holiday Season may not offer the exact same opportunities for celebration as previous years, it doesn’t mean you can’t pick and choose some favorite parts! Maybe you just want to experiment with new foods or you want to get back into crafting, this feels like a good time to change things up.

If you’re ready to start planning, why not take a look at the books available in Fall Harvest, Fall Flavors, Crafting for the Holiday Season, or Why Buy it When You Can Make it? And while you’re making new stuff, if you want a book to listen to, I just finished Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood -here’s hoping it the first in (long running) series!

-Stacey

Take a Break, Read a Book!

So you say you want to take a break but you still want to keep up with those timely topics of: Democracy and Spooookkkyyy Season? Guess what! You can tune out from some of the daily excitement, on both topics, with a …book! Read a little -have a little conversation, feel done with the conversation (I mean really, obviously chocolate is a better treat than a lollipop,right?!) and excuse yourself back to that page turner you’ve got going on!!

If you want to read something to keep up with your friends talking about Democracy, social issues, and past or current politics, check out the Five Days for Democracy collection. Feeling extra inspired? You can check out some of the resources on the 5DaysforDemocracy website, take a challenge or watch a video!

Or maybe you want to look over your shoulder a lot, think way too much about that strange noise, or stress eat some crunchy foods? Well then you might want to read a Spooky Book for Adults! (And keep checking back as new books are being added all the time!)

Me? Maybe I’ll give out chocolate *and* lollipops this year!

Whatever you pick, I hope it’s all treats and no tricks! -Stacey

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

This week we have a collection of autobiography, romance, mystery, historical fiction, and much more for you to choose from. You can also find topics such as music, family life, and animals… Enjoy!

Silent Bite by David Rosenfelt – Finally getting into the Christmas spirit, lawyer Andy Carpenter, while running a dog rescue organization, which is his true passion, agrees to help his partner prove the innocence of a man wrongly accused of murder.

Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber – Urged by her mother to take a cruise for the holidays, workaholic Everly tours the Amazon under the guidance of a charming naturalist who helps her discover that her relationships are more important than her career.

Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr – A latest entry in the best-selling, faith-oriented series interweaves modern themes into traditional storylines in an original romance set in the fan-favorite rural community of Virgin River.

Goodnight Beautiful by Aimee Molloy – Eavesdropping on the therapy sessions her husband conducts for clients in a downstairs office, a lonely young bride finds her life and marriage turned upside down when her husband goes missing after welcoming a sophisticated new patient.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell – Suspended from work amid allegations of sexual misconduct, a virgin geography teacher is targeted by a sinister predator upon joining an online support group for the involuntarily celibate, before a therapist neighbor’s distraught patient goes missing.

A Time for Mercy by John Grisham – Court-appointed lawyer Jake Brigance puts his career and the safety of his family on the line to defend a 16-year-old murder suspect who is facing the death penalty. By the best-selling author of A Time to Kill.

A Song for the Dark Times: Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin – A thrilling new Rebus novel, from a master of mystery, is about crime, punishment and redemption.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – A trilogy debut by the Nebula Award-winning author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn is inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and follows the unbalancing of the holy city of Tova amid a fateful solstice eclipse.

She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs by Sarah Smarsh – The National Book Award-finalist author of Heartland explores how the music of Dolly Parton and other prominent women country artists has both reflected and validated the harsh realities of rural working-class American women.

Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow – Working for a transnational cybersecurity firm while secretly helping high-paying troublemakers evade detection, a counterterrorism hacker is forced to acknowledge the consequences of her actions when one of her hacks puts loved ones in danger.

~Semanur

Reconnect @RRPL

by Tracey Enerson Wood

I love this story of a strong independent real-life woman, namely Emily Warren Roebling. Emily was the person responsible for completing the Brooklyn Bridge. Emily’s father-in-law, John A. Roebling, was the original engineer but died of tetanus before the project began. Emily’s husband, Washington A. Roebling took over the project. Unfortunately, he became deathly ill with decompression sickness (caisson disease) and was confined to bed for several months never quite recovering. In the novel showman P.T. Barnum befriends Emily helping her overcome her fear of public speaking since Emily was required to make fundraising speeches. (The story spans 1864-1884 and women just did not do that, at least not very often.)

If you are interested in wonderful nonfiction book on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, I suggest reading The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough.

~Emma

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom by John Boyne – From the award-winning, best-selling author of The Heart’s Invisible Furies comes an epic tale of humanity, a novel that aims to tell the story of all of us. Imaginative, unique, heartbreaking, this is John Boyne at his most creative and compelling.

No Offense by Meg Cabot – A sequel to No Judgments finds a broken-hearted Molly relocating to a library in the Florida Keys before the discovery of an abandoned newborn leads to an unexpected partnership with an arrogant town sheriff.

Choppy Water by Stuart Woods – When his Maine vacation is interrupted by extreme weather that a menacing adversary uses as cover to target a close friend, Stone Barrington uncovers a massive scheme with corrupt ties spanning New York City through Key West.

Lone Jack Trail by Owen Laukkanen – A veteran Marine and an ex-convict find themselves on opposite sides of the law, in a new thriller from the best-selling author of Deception Cove.

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin – The discovery of an unknown girl found by the side of the road a decade after an unsolved disappearance compels a young police officer’s investigation into dangerous local and personal secrets. By the best-selling author of Black-Eyed Susans.

The Midwife Murders by James Patterson & Richard DiLallo – When two kidnappings and a stabbing occur on her watch in a Manhattan university hospital, a fearless senior midwife teams up with a skeptical NYPD detective to investigate rumors that shift from the Russian Mafia to an underground adoption network.

Microbes: The Life-changing Story of Germs by Phillip K. Peterson & Michael T. Osterholm – With straight-forward and engaging writing, infectious diseases physician Phillip Peterson surveys how our understanding of viruses has changed throughout history, from early plagues and pandemics to more recent outbreaks like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Zika, and Coronavirus.

Then She Vanished by T. Jefferson Parker – Helping a rising politician whose wife has gone missing amid an inexplicable series of bombings, private investigator Roland Ford investigates the activities of a mysterious group before uncovering sinister ties to a kidnapping that threatens an entire city.

Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family by Omid Scobie & Carolyn Durand – With unique access and written with the participation of those closest to the couple, the insider authors offer an honest, up-close and disarming portrait of a confident, influential and forward-thinking couple who are unafraid to break with tradition, determined to create a new path away from the spotlight, and dedicated to building a humanitarian legacy that will make a profound difference in the world.

Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman’s Journey into the Heart of Africa by Brad Ricca – Draws on personal writings in an account of Olive MacLeod’s search for her missing fiancé, naturalist Boyd Alexander, in 1910 Africa, a quest shaped by dangerous natural elements, a murderous leopard cult and two adorable lion cubs.

Last Call on Decatur Street by Iris Martin Cohen – Working as a Crescent City burlesque dancer after college pressures and a drinking problem lead to her expulsion, Rosemary interweaves her pain into seductive performances before resolving to go sober on a transformative night.

Via Negativa by Daniel Hornsby – Dismissed by his conservative diocese for his eccentric insubordination, a homeless Father Dan transforms his car into a mobile monk cell and embarks on a spiritual road trip marked by an injured coyote and other offbeat travelers.

Making Sense: Conversations on Consciousness, Morality, and the Future of Humanity by Sam Harris – The best-selling neuroscientist and author of The End of Faith shares transcripts of 12 top-selected conversations from his controversial podcast to explore such topics as the nature of consciousness, free will, political extremism and ethical living.

Little Scratch by Rebecca Watson – A debut novel written in the style of a woman’s thoughts on a deceptively ordinary day traces her growing perturbation of mind as she moves through a routine marked by self-doubt, impatience, philosophical development and personal neuroses.

Houseplants for All: How to Fill Any Home With Happy Plants by Danae Horst – A beautiful guide to selecting and growing the right plants for your home, with a plant profile quiz.

Help Yourself: A Guide to Gut Health for People Who Love Delicious Food by Lindsay Maitland Hunt & Linda Pugliese – More than 125 gut-friendly recipes plus science-backed advice for wellness in body and mind. This game-changing cookbook will make you rethink how you eat.

Operation Vengeance: The Astonishing Aerial Ambush That Changed World War II by Dan Hampton – The best-selling author of Viper Pilot presents a narrative account of America’s secret World War II mission to assassinate Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander who masterminded the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen – The best-selling author of Fantasyland presents a deeply researched history of America’s 20th-century transition toward government-sanctioned, normalized inequalities that favor big business and resist progressive change while rendering everyday workers increasingly powerless.

~Semanur

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, fantasy, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!

The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards – A celebrated singer in World War II occupied France joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison. By the award-winning author of The Fifth Doctrine. A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager – Twenty-five years after her father published a wildly popular non-fiction book based on her family’s rushed exit from a haunted Victorian estate, naysayer Maggie inherits the house and begins renovations only to make a number of disturbing discoveries. Is the place really haunted by evil forces, as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound and dangerous secrets hidden within its walls?

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams – The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty – Investigating the fate of a forgotten aviation pioneer, a 1947 war correspondent tracks down the pilot’s former student before learning the remarkable story of their complicated and passionate relationship. By the best-selling author of The Golden Hour.

All the Broken People by Leah Konen – Moving to rustic Woodstock to escape an unhappy past, Lucy bonds with an alluring couple, Vera and John, who embroil her in a plot to fake John’s death, before Lucy finds herself framed for the man’s actual murder. She bargained for in this twisty and addictive domestic thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door.

The Dilemma by B. A. Paris – Organizing a lavish birthday party after decades of hardship, a woman hiding a secret about a daughter who cannot attend is forced to confront a devastating truth when her husband arranges a surprise. NYT and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back.

Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean – New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with the much-anticipated final book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series, featuring a scoundrel duke and the powerful woman who brings him to his knees.

Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey – A demure kindergarten teacher with dreams of Nashville stardom makes a difficult choice when she reunites with a smitten and wildly attractive rancher during an annual western-themed Christmas ball that launches a holiday season of romance and promise.

Word to the Wise by Jenn McKinlay – It’s no-holds-barred murder. Lindsey Norris is finally getting married to the man of her dreams but it’s not all roses for Briar Creek’s beloved library director, as town newcomer Aaron Grady gives the term “book lover” a whole new meaning. Inappropriate looks and unwelcome late-night visits to Lindsey’s house have everyone from the crafternooners to Lindsey’s fiancé, Sully, on edge.

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty – In this final installment in the critically acclaimed trilogy, Nahri and Ali are determined to save both their city and their loved ones, but when Ali seeks support in his mother’s homeland, he makes a discovery that threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

The Chicken Sisters by K. J. Dell’Antonia – Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster. The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight. When family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?

One Last Lie by Paul Doiron – When his beloved mentor disappears amid the discovery of an antique badge,Mike Bowditch investigates the presumed death of an undercover warden before the cold case is upended by dangerous secrets and a daughter’s return.

Firestick by William W. Johnstone & J. A. Johnstone – In this exciting new series, bestselling authors pay homage to America’s trail – hardened backwoodsmen who, like a fine grain whisky, only get better with age. Firestick is the town marshal. Beartooth and Moosejaw are his deputies. And when a hired gunman shows up with bullets blazing, these three hard-cases are ready to prove they aren’t getting older.

Nacho Average Murder by Maddie Day – While looking forward to her high school reunion back in California, Robbie’s anticipation is complicated by memories of her mother’s untimely death. But then she gets wind of rumors that her mother, an environmental activist, may not have died of natural causes. With the help of friends, Robbie starts clearing the smoke surrounding the mystery; but what she finds could make it hard to get back to Indiana alive . . .

Selfcare by Leigh Stein – Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and seen countless influencers who seem like experts at caring for themselves from their yoga crop tops to their well-lit clean meals to their serumed skin and erudite-but-color-coded reading stack? Self Care delves into the lives and psyches of people working in the wellness industry and exposes the world behind the filter.

~Semanur