Your Library Staff at Home- Arts and Culture Online

Hello All! Greg here, Cowan Pottery Museum Curator and Local History Librarian. During this time many museums and cultural institutions have expanded their already substantial online presence to give patrons remote access to their resources. Each week we will be highlighting a different institution and all of the free resources they offer. Whether you are looking for new educational opportunities, entertainment, inspiration for your own creative practice, or research resources for remote academic resources.

The first institution we will be highlighting is a local one:

The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Home

The Cleveland Museum of Art will be be coming to RRPL with the new speaker series:


Exploring the Collections

Celebrating over a hundred years (founded in 1916) this museum already offered many online and remote resources. Recently they have made it very easy to find all they offer by creating their Home Is Where the Art Is resource page.

On this page you will find links to search and explore their vast collections online. You can choose different stylistic periods, limit results by medium, artists, and culture. Some objects have video that allow for a more dynamic appreciation of sculptural pieces and information on the history of the piece.

Learn about their 30,000 public domain artworks and how they are being used in commercial and non-commercial ways. This resource also has 3D models that can be downloaded via Sketchfab.

Looking for some direction? You can hear from their staff with their Blog and new Video Series. A great resource when you are looking where to start.


Parents and Educators

Additional they offer some amazing resource for learners at any age with their:

And

Patrons can search these resources by grade level and topics to create engaging lessons about the history of art as well as connecting them to STEM.


Research

11 paintings
Artist: Frederic Clay Bartlett
11 paintings Artist: Frederic Clay Bartlett, 1918, Negative 00057, Cleveland Museum of Art Archives

The Museum’s library, Ingalls Library, has some amazing remote resources for researchers. I have personally used these resources when researching the artists of the Cowan Pottery Studio. Specifically their May Show Archive has been especially valuable to my research of Cowan Artists’ careers. When researching my talk for last year’s Cowan Pottery Symposium I was able to use their Entry Card Database to find the handwritten entry cards from artists like R. Guy Cowan, Edris Eckhardt, Thelma Frazier-Winters, and many more!

Cowan, Reginald Guy–1919 May Show, Cleveland Museum of Art Archives

To get familiar with these resources a great place to start is their Digital Collections. This page highlights their digitized resources and allows users to become comfortable with the interface.

The Editorial Photography collection gives you the opportunity to see exhibition’s from the museum’s past. You get the chance to see previous exhibits as well as how the museum’s appearance has changed over the years.

Gallery 27 - Year in Review

Gallery 27 – Year in Review, 1961, Negative
32720J, Cleveland Museum of Art Archives

Your Library Staff at Home- Reader’s Advisory

March has proven to be quite a surreal month, and I hope all of our Read it Or Weep readers are staying safe and healthy amid the current global COVID-19 crisis. Rocky River Public Library might be closed until further notice, but rest assured that you can still access an amazing array of great titles from home through our digital library. One positive outcome of social distancing and staying home is that you can really dive into that pile of to-read books that has been beckoning you for weeks! Perhaps there is a classic you’ve wanted to read for years or a favorite you’ve been wanting to re-read- now is the time! (Am I the only one who always has at least 6 books waiting to be read?!)

So what have I been reading while camped out at home? Scroll on!

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Yes, this is a zombie story, but it isn’t your typical flesh-eating undead story thanks to amazing literary writing from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Whitehead. I had been re-reading through this book as it was (somewhat ironically) the title I had chosen for my next Novel Scares Book Club meeting in April (which has since been cancelled due to COVID-19). If you are looking to lean in to current events with your fiction reading, I highly recommend Zone One. After a pandemic has ravaged Earth, the living must attempt to rebuild among the living dead. Focusing on life in New York City and the characters who are struggling with Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder, this horror novel is a great read.

The Boatman’s Daughter by Andy Davidson

This is Davidson’s second book, but the first I’ve read by him, and I have been absolutely amazed with his writing. This haunting and beautiful Southern Gothic novel takes readers to a town deep in the bayous of Southwestern Arkansas where we meet many complicated characters, including the main protagonist plucky Miranda. Having lost her father as a child one mysterious and tragic evening, she’s been making ends meet ferrying contraband on the river for a corrupt sheriff and a deluded preacher, all the while harboring some serious secrets involving a witch and a rescued child. The story has the feel of a dark fairy tale, and is filled with magical realism. I haven’t finished this book yet, but already it reminds me of one of my favorites: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesymn Ward.

I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum

I read this collection of essays slowly over the past month, processing each essay and thinking it over, before moving on, because it was such a fun book. Reading this felt like having a fabulous conversation with a smart friend and I didn’t want it to end! Nussbaum, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for criticism, writes with such an insightful, witty, and conversational tone, providing astute perspectives but still making this accessible to a broad audience. Included in this collection are her profiles of well-known showrunners Jenji Kohan and Ryan Murphy, as well as feminist takes on shows like Sex and the City, True Detective, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and more. Also, it was great to have my endless love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer validated by Nussbaum! Recommended for anyone who loves watching television and a great choice for readers looking for a book that allows them to read short pieces here and there.

Dead Astronauts by Jeff Vandermeer

I adore all of Jeff Vandermeer’s books (if you like weird fiction/ sci-fi/ horror/ speculative fiction you must read his Southern Reach trilogy!) and tore through Borne earlier this year, which is a related story to Dead Astronauts, though not necessarily a prequel read. In this story, the all-powerful bio-tech corporation known only as the Company returns as we once again see the destruction they have inflicted upon the unnamed City. Three rebels are introduced who seem to be traveling through time and various dimensions over and over in an effort to thwart the evil Company- but seem to always fail. A mysterious blue fox who can also travel time and space seems to be an important piece of the puzzle, and monstrous genetically engineered creatures are around every turn. I have no idea where this book is going, but that is part of the fun. Vandermeer’s strange and hallucinatory world building keeps me turning the pages with curiosity!

What are you reading at home? Are you reading happy, cozy novels or are you finding entertainment and comfort in stories of post-apocalyptic futures (like me)?

Keep your eyes peeled right here for more updates on what your library staff is reading, watching, listening, and creating at home!

New Fiction Coming in February 2020

 

Check out some of the exciting new fiction coming to our shelves this winter. Whether you are looking for a literary fiction read, a historical page-turner, or biographical fiction, we have something for you!

 

 

02/04: The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata – Decades after a 1929 Dominican immigrant writer passes away believing her final manuscript was destroyed, a Chicago lawyer discovers the book and endeavors to learn the woman’s remarkable story against a backdrop of Hurricane Katrina.

02/11: Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen – When a twist of fate lands her in Queen Victoria’s kitchen, a talented young chef is selected to accompany a royal retinue only to be wrongly implicated in a murder. By the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and The Victory Garden.

 

 

02/18: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin – When a brief but fateful encounter brings her together with one of the men originally suspected of killing her sister, Claire, hoping to gain his trust and learn the truth, forms an unlikely attachment with this man whose life is forever marked by the same tragedy.

02/18: The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica – Unnerved by her husband’s inheritance of a decrepit coastal property and the presence of a disturbed relative, community newcomer Sadie uncovers harrowing facts about her family’s possible role in a neighbor’s murder. By the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl.

 

 

 

02/25: Apeirogon by Colum McCann – Two fathers, a Palestinian and an Israeli, navigate the physical and emotional checkpoints of their conflicted world before devastating losses compel them to work together to use their grief as a weapon for peace. By the best-selling author of Transatlantic.

02/25: The Lost Diary of M by Paul Wolfe – A re-imagining of the life of Georgetown socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer traces her marriage to a CIA chief, presidential affair and LSD experiments before her baffling murder a year after JFK’s assassination.

~Semanur

What we’re reading so far….

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House is a story of siblings, Danny and Maeve Conroy, their obsessive connection with the iconic family house they lived in as young children and how their lives unfolded over the years.  The story is told through the eyes of Danny, younger of the two siblings.  We, as readers, watch Danny realize his life is peculiar, his childhood home is extraordinary, and the rooms and people of his childhood are more complex than he thought.  At times, the story resembles a fairy tale, with stepchildren and evil step mother, however, author, Ann Patchett, with such great compassion and wit, brings the story so alive that one can’t help but get hooked.  Get yourself on the holds list for this right now.  It was my favorite book of 2019.  In the meantime, treat yourself with any other book by Ann Patchett. Mary

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

VanderMeer quickly became one of my favorite authors after I read his amazing Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance) so I began reading Borne with high expectations. I’m happy to report that Borne does not disappoint and delivers more of the weird, literary, dark, dystopian science fiction that I had hoped for. In a destroyed city that is never named, readers meet the smart and resourceful scavenger Rachel. She tries her best to survive in the city with her partner Wick, gathering relics from abandoned buildings, rebuilding biotech, and trying to evade the gigantic, monstrous bear, named Mord. Mord enjoys flying above the city, eating whatever and whomever he pleases, and generally destroying all in his path. Mord is the creation of the evil and ominous Company, who appear to be responsible for not only Mord’s terrible presence but also the general collapse of the city and all of the terrifying and strange creatures who live there. Rachel finds a curious blob-like creature entangled in Mord’s fur one day while scavenging, and quickly discovers the blob is intelligent, talks, and is also growing at a rapid rate. She names the now tentacled discovery Borne, and things only get weirder from there. Nicole

That Darkness by Lisa Black

That Darkness by Lisa Black

That Darkness is the first in the Gardiner and Renner series. Maggie Gardiner is a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department. Jack Renner is a homicide detective working a series of murders with the same cause of death but no other obvious connection. The more Maggie pores over the evidence, the more she suspects a vigilante killer who possibly has ties to the police department. When the evidence finally points to Jack, Maggie is confronted with a moral dilemma. Will she reveal Jack’s secret? Lisa Black is a former trace evidence specialist for the Cuyahoga County coroner and current CSI in Florida, and the crime scene details of the book are meticulously written and described. Jack’s vigilante serial killer story is introduced but not completely explained. Readers will have to continue the series for more details! I did, in fact, binge the series in it’s current entirety and it definitely gets better as they go along. Maggie and Jack tackle cases involving the murders of journalists, corrupt politicians, and teens living in a county facility. As they cover different cases they have to navigate the huge secret that defines their relationship. I look forward to more stories of fictional Cleveland crimes from Lisa Black.  Megan

Loom by Sarah Gridley

Loom by Sarah Gridley

I’m reading a book of poetry, Loom, by Sarah Gridley, which came out in 2013.  I had Sarah as a poetry teacher when I was briefly a student at Case, and she was wonderful for many reasons, so I could be biased.  But sometimes I think Sarah’s poetry is a kind of well-kept secret, not only in CLE but elsewhere as well, and that she deserves a wider audience.  Like other poets I love, including John Ashbery and Anne Carson, Sarah’s poetry gets pegged as “difficult,” but in a pejorative way – it’s too weird, people say, too interior, too lacking in narrative maybe, customary guideposts, something like that. But that’s exactly why I love Sarah’s poetry.  It is a kind of startling confrontation, because it forces you to trust your intuition, your heart, your own senses and your own mind, and encounter the poem without any preconceptions about what a poem should do, think, imagine or be.  Sarah’s poems are profoundly intelligent, open, spacious, deeply feeling-full, generous, fun, imaginative, and creative.  And the music of her poetry is her own – funny, wondering, modestly immodest, intimate. Check out Loom from RRPL, if you’re interested, and stay alert – her latest book of poems, Insofar, which won the Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press, chosen by Forest Gander, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry last year, is coming out later this year in April.  Andrew

Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin

Recently I decided to take advantage of our large collection of digital audiobooks through ClevNet Overdrive to listen to audio versions of fantasy novels I haven’t yet read. I began with the iconic Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin. I am 4 books in and have enjoyed listening to each one immensely. Already being a fan of audio books, I have found this digital format very convenient as I am able to switch from device to device and pickup where I left off. Audio books have allowed me the chance to catch-up on books that I have been meaning to read. Would high recommend this series and this format. Greg

The Furies by Katie Lowe

The Furies by Katie Lowe

Violet begins the fall term as the new girl at Elm Hollow Academy, the site of witch hangings in the 17th century and the mysterious death of a student years later. Her home life has been unhappy since her father and sister died in a car crash, and her mother never mentally recovered from the tragedy. She expects to be a loner, like she has been since the accident, but is immediately taken under the wing of a wild and charming girl and her group of friends. They are part of an advanced study group with a teacher who studies ancient history and mythology as well as the rites and spells of the witches from long ago. Taught as history not practice, the girls nevertheless are drawn towards the idea of powerful women and powerful magic. They become increasingly wild and reckless as they learn the secrets of the women who came before them and begin to feel the power these women held. When one of the girls is violated, they swear revenge, and Violet is no longer sure of what is real, what is make believe, and what is magic. Sara

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

Journalist Lulu Randolph heads to Nassau in 1941 to investigate the governor, actually the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, for a popular New York magazine. Soon Lulu falls in love with Benedict Thorpe, a British scientist who is captured by the Nazis. Told in alternating chapters, It’s also the story of Benedict’s parents, Elfriede and Wilfred decades earlier. This is an exceptional historical novel full of romance, spies, intrigue, racial tension and murder. Emma

Collection Spotlight: the 300s

This is the first post in a series that wishes to highlight important aspects of a public library’s collection that might go unnoticed. (You can read the introductory post here.)  But before we start…. 

A public library doesn’t just have books, let’s be honest.  It has music, often in the form of CDs or digital tracks we can stream or even download through a streaming service like Hoopla.  It has movies, blueray and DVDs, often categorized by genres like drama, action, documentary, and comedy (but see our movie collection here at River, which also has a wonderful and unique foreign film section; and also definitely check out Kanopy, a free film streaming service offered by many public libraries (including River), which has an astonishingly high quality selection of films, especially in the documentary genre).  Public libraries have magazines and newspapers, concerning a variety of interesting topics – everything from culture to technology to books to the arts to politics to psychology to business to cars to philosophy and beyond – and these are resources that are unfortunately often very expensive to subscribe to, but can be read at your local public library for free.  And they have audiobooks and e-books and e-audio books and playaways, etc.

Now there is of course a very understandable emphasis nowadays in the public library world on digital collections – ebooks, e-audio books, e-magazines, film and music streaming, etc.  And that’s fine and good – I know I sometimes feel I need a book very quickly, and the Internet (via libraries, Amazon, but most especially, for me at least, the wonderful, fabulous Internet Archive) gives it to me, lickety-split. But sometimes we forget that public libraries are also gathering places, in the physical world, where you can slow down, disconnect from the admittedly rather frightening, time-devouring monster-tentacles of social media, turn the pages of an actual book, and sit next to a neighbor who is also reading something. I mean, where you can actually see your neighbor, give him or her or they a nod – and maybe strike up a conversation about something you share in common, or (better yet?) something you don’t, but which he or she or they might find interesting, anyways. Everyone has heard about how so many social institutions in our country are being eroded – social clubs, unions, families, government, places of worship – and how this erosion frays the threads that bind us together as a community, culture and country.  And that is troubling, no doubt about it, and we need to talk about this. But public libraries are places where we can practice each day to keep these threads tight and taut, and in doing so “talk about it.” Because, yes, of course it’s great and convenient to download a book on a Kindle.  But it’s also great, as Sherry Turkle has pointed out over and over, just to see and talk to actual human beings.

*

In today’s post, as I mentioned earlier, I’m not going to focus on music, movies, newspapers or magazines, but on books, which are still (and I think should be) the bread and butter, the heart, of a library’s collection. And I’m going to focus on one of my favorite sections in the library, the 300s, which I’m guessing many people might not be totally aware of. What does “the 300s” refer to?

The 300s is a Dewey Decimal Number that stands for a very large category called the “social sciences.”  In that sense, the 300s are exactly what they sound like – they are the numbers on the spines of books that start with 300 and end with 399. (When you look for a book in an online library catalog, the “call number,” which is the Dewey Decimal Number for most public libraries, will be what you use to find the book on the shelf.)  Every single book in the 300s will be about the social sciences.  Okay, so what are the social sciences?

Well, look at the phrase – “social sciences.” The social sciences are a bunch of different ways or lenses (“science” means “knowledge” in Latin) for thinking about and looking at society (“social”).  Are they sciences, like hard physical sciences – physics, chemistry, astronomy?  Well, not really. Are they like the humanities – literature, poetry, fiction, visual art, film, music, where people “make stuff up” and are super imaginative, we could say?  Well, no, they’re not like that either. So what the heck are they?

The social sciences are more squishy that the hard sciences and harder than the humanities, let’s say.  Or we could say, more philosophically (and probably contentiously), if the humanities are primarily concerned with beauty, the self, and subjectivity, and science is concerned with truth, nature and objectivity, the social sciences are considered with ethics, culture and inter-subjectivity.  (The threads that bind us together.)  But all this is too abstract.  Here are the main topics within the 300s:

Sociology

Anthropology

Statistics

Political Science

Economics

Law

Military Science

True Crime/Criminology

Education

Commerce

Customs and Etiquette

Folklore

*

Okay, now that we’ve got that covered, let’s look at actual particular physical (and of course digital, since we are writing and reading this online) examples.  But first, look at this:

What do you see?

This is a view of some shelves here at River. But that sticker on the shelf on the left – that shows us what call numbers can be found all down that row, starting with the 280s (religions) all the way through the 300s, ending at the 330s (economics).  So what books can be found in the 300s?

Well, let’s look at one example (talk about pressure!).  Here’s our example:

The first picture is the cover – and book covers I think are always fun to look at and wonder about, though bestseller covers (Patterson, Danielle Steele, etc.) can, let’s be honest, be kind of homogeneous and uninspiring – along with the title, author’s name, and the name of the author who wrote the foreword.

The second picture is the call number – 305.800973.  And the 305’s are….”social groups.”  Okay, so what’s this book about? Well, here’s an excerpt from a review from the NY Times.  (Book reviews published by good sources of information, like the NY Times, for the most part, are great ways, probably the best ways, to help us make decisions about what to read and therefore what to spend our valuable time on and with; this particular review was written by a journalist from the Times named Lauretta Charlton, who is also an editor and music columnist):

In the essays, written between 1994 and 2018, Pinckney reports from the streets of Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of the death of Michael Brown. He traces the ways in which the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s fiery sermons nearly derailed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008. He charts, block by block, the gentrification of Harlem, and visits a recovering New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where he tells the story of the ham.

In “How I Got Over,” he reflects on black expatriates — from Richard Wright to James Baldwin, Pinckney’s lodestar — who left for Europe to escape Jim Crow, only to witness racism by another name: Islamophobia.

But what stands out in this collection are the moments when Pinckney turns his eye toward the contradictions of the black bourgeoisie, of which he is a longtime member. Pinckney grew up in a middle-class family, in the 1960s, when being black and middle class often meant being accused of “trying to act white,” he writes. His mother and father were civil rights foot soldiers who in their spare time would do things like sue their hometown police department to force it to desegregate. His father “hawked N.A.A.C.P. memberships in airport men’s rooms.” His mother’s cousin was lynched in 1931, while a student at Atlanta University.

 

This blog post is not exactly about the content of books, so much as just making one hopefully more aware that important content such as this is not only available, but free with a library card.  But I should say that Pinckney is a novelist, playwright and essayist, and that I personally enjoy Pinckney’s writing, and sometimes read his essays in a magazine called The New York Review of Books.  But also, and more importantly, the book has gotten good reviews, and would therefore not be a bad place to start if one wishes to explore the social sciences, race relations, racial discrimination, and African American culture.

Well, that’s our collection spotlight post for today. But just think about how many examples there are out there – many of which have received good book reviews from people who are experts in their respective fields – from all the various branches of the social sciences – politics, economics, law, education, true crime, criminology, military science, anthropology, folklore, etiquette, commerce, customs, statistics, sociology.  I mean, basically, the sky is the limit. And public libraries are avenues, which cost no money at all, for rocketing right up there into the illuminating blue.

 

 

Collection Spotlight: Introduction

In the next few weeks, I’m hoping to write a few blog posts that spotlight different sections of the library’s collection that patrons seem to be less aware of, but that are just as worth checking out as the bestsellers (no offense to the bestsellers!).  Libraries have so much, but sometimes we need someone just to point to these things, to say “hey, look at this!,” so we can become aware of things we haven’t noticed yet, or weren’t even aware existed.  William Jamesone of the greatest, most original, perceptive and creative psychologists who ever walked the earth, pointed out a long time ago that all human beings have blindspots.  This series will be an attempt to point things out we might have missed because of our natural human blindspots. In order to jumpstart this series, here is an introductory post. 

*  

Maybe it’s a cliche, but I’ve always taken seriously the idea that the best way to know if a book is any good is whether or not it passes the rereading test.  What’s the rereading test?  Just what it sounds like, really – if you read a book for the second time, does it still hold up?  Has it “grown with you”?  Does it still help you to learn, think, grow?  Or is it, alas, juvenile, dogmatic, immature?  In other words, when we read a great work of literature as an adolescent, say – Jane Austen, or Dickens, or “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” by Whitman – and then read it as an adult, we find that we have completely different interpretations of said work.  In that sense, the work has grown with us, changed with us.  The best works of literature are always a step ahead of us.  What we experience from Don Quixote in our thirties will be very different from what we experience in our sixties – I’ve actually heard it said by one reader that Quixote read in old age is a much sadder book.

I wanted to start this blog post with the analogy of how, as we age, we notice entirely new things about books we reread, because if we really think about it, the same can be true about our experience of space itself, of the physical, perceptible world.  How do I mean?  Well, have you ever heard the idea that you can never step into the same river twice?  It’s really a wonderfully incisive insight.  Why?  Because if you think about it, it’s really true – if you walk to a gas station at 9am, say, and visit the same gas station at 9:45am, in a way it will not be the same store.  There will be different people, different conversations.  Less coffee in one dispenser, more coffee in another.  Different music playing.  The light itself in the place will be different, in accordance with the different time.  It might seem like the same store – the cardboard box holding the Three Musketeer candy bars is still there, and it looks like the same amount of Three Musketeers are there as well – but in a way it’s really not. (I’m not a big science guy, but I’m sure we’ve heard of the idea, in a similar way, that our bodies themselves are constantly changing.)

Okay, that was quite a detour!  Why am I talking about this stuff?

In the same way in which our experience of ourselves and the physical world is constantly growing and changing, the same can be said for our experience of libraries, as well as the stuff inside libraries, i.e. books, among other things. In other words, I’m not sure people see libraries as places that are so utterly ripe for discovery, in the same sense in which a walk in nature can be, or reading a great book.  And I wonder if this is because many people don’t realize what libraries have and/or offer.  And, among many important and beautiful and life-giving things, libraries have books: good books, books that are important and can change how one sees the world.  And these books are free.  Which, for me at least, never gets old.

________

So the question then arises, what kinds of books can be found at libraries?  Because the library doesn’t just have books in a big random pile!  No, we have books that are organized a certain way.  Here at RRPL, we organize our books according to the Dewey Decimal System.  There are other ways of doing this – many academic libraries use the Library of Congress organizational schema – but I want to focus today on Dewey. Well, what is Dewey? Here is the breakdown of the Dewey organization.  We might not have books on every category here at RRPL, but we are a part of CLEVNET, and CLEVNET has a staggering amount.

Did you look at it?  It’s kind of astonishing, honestly, isn’t it?  I mean, knowledge isn’t everything – I think who someone is matters more than what they know – but it’s still just sort of dumbfounding to look at and contemplate.  And, when we pause and think about it, we might conclude that, yes, we can’t help but have blindspots, considering how much there is to know, think about, wonder, discover, imagine, experience.  So, this series of blog posts aims at pointing out sections, categories, books, that we’re probably not aware of – not crazily obscure or outdated things, just hopefully interesting and alive things that might pique our curiosity and even, eventually or suddenly, broaden our reading, thinking and imagining lives, and make those blindspots slightly less blind, or oppressive, or just annoyingly in the way.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

Nicole’s Top Ten of 2019

It was such fun to look back on what I’ve read this past year and pick my favorites! Below you’ll find mostly adult fiction titles, including some standout graphic novels, as well as a stellar young adult novel (Wilder Girls!). 2019 was also the year I dabbled in reading outside my comfort zone of generally weird and spooky, venturing into the land of romantic fiction and true crime. Much to my surprise, I was so utterly charmed by a romance novel that it ended up on this list (I’m looking at you Chloe Brown). I hope that if you haven’t read one of these titles you will be inspired to stop by and check it out this winter. Maybe you will also find yourself pleasantly surprised by broadening your reading horizons *wink*. Wishing you a joyful holiday season and happy reading!

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley

Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

The Institute by Stephen King

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen by Marjorie M. Liu

Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe