Did you know that 2020 marks 100 years of women having the right to vote in the United States? You can find more information, including great reading lists for all ages, educational videos, and how to get involved in the celebration at www.womensvote100.org and www.2020centennial.org. Special events have been happening all year! On August 26, 2020 buildings and landmarks across the country lit up in purple and gold as part of the nationwide Forward Into Light Campaign, named in honor of the historic suffrage slogan, “Forward through the Darkness, Forward into Light.”
One way you can help to celebrate this awesome and important anniversary is to read a book about a suffragist! Below you will find 10 great biographies and collected biographies that reveal more about U.S. suffragists of note and a few contemporary feminist titles as well.
If you are a fan of biographies and memoirs, we have an exciting virtual event next week with Eliese Colette Goldbach, the talented and acclaimed author of Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit. There are still spots open for this Zoom program- register here!
It’s been a cloudy, stormy few days here in Northeastern Ohio and some of my favorite rainy day activities include: reading on the couch, drinking many mugs of coffee, and baking tasty treats. The weekend looks like it’s going to bring more thunderstorms, so I’m rounding up my favorite five cookbooks with fabulous baking recipes to inspire you in the kitchen!
There are recipes for fancy French patisserie, dairy-free and grain-free treats, and even my favorite homemade funfetti cake. No matter your skill level there is a recipe for you to tackle confidently here!
You can find Molly Yeh’s awesome funfetti cake recipe on her blog here if you can’t get your hands on a copy of Molly on the Range in time to satisfy cake cravings.
It’s that time of year, when the kiddos are off to school, though this year may look very different than any year past. Some schools are offering hybrid class models, while others are strictly remote for the first 9 weeks, and others might be back in the classroom most of the school week. Whether you are sending a child off to college, a little one is starting kindergarten online, or your high school student is going to their school twice a week, now is a great time to pick up a book about school life!
Below you will find some great titles filled with humor, drama, mystery, thrills, tragedy, and romance- all with teachers, students, parents, and school settings of all sorts. There is really something for everyone in this selection. Check one out today!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy start to their 2020-2021 school year! Happy reading!
This is Kevin. He thinks he is the library’s mascot. I don’t have the heart to tell him he’s not really, that he’s just a handsome good boy who can rock a bandanna.
Kevin is probably 9 years old. I rescued him from a shelter about 7 years ago. It’s been a weird relationship since day one. Right before Christmas I lost my dog Lexi. It was terrible and devastating and I vowed to never have another dog again. When life after the holidays resumed I realized that I was lying to myself. I had become a dog person. I needed a dog. So I started watching the APL’s website, searching for my next companion. One day I found her-she was an older golden lab. I was looking for an older dog and lab’s are known family dogs. I needed a dog that was good with kids and other dogs since I spent so much time with my sister’s family. Excited, my sister and I and my 6 and 8-year-old nephews headed down to meet her. I found her kennel and approached to meet her. Everything was fine until the six-year-old approached with me. This sweet looking old girl turned in to Cujo at the sight of him. Teeth bared, snarls, lunging at the cage. Yikes! We quickly backed away and found ourselves in front of a fluffy little ginger dog. He was sitting sitting like a champ, staring at us with those golden eyes. He was practically a puppy and as Conor was OPENING HIS KENNEL I was saying no. But it was too late. I was going to meet Rusty.
The boys and I waited in the meet and greet group for Rusty. My sister ran home to get her dogs. This dog was nuts. He ran around the room completely ignoring all the humans and all the toys. His only interest seemed to be peeing on the walls (this has not changed). The boys were desperate to get his attention, but nothing was working on this spazz. Exasperated, Lucas, the 8-year-old, finally turned to me and said “I don’t think his name is Rusty.” Good point kid. He continued, “It must be something else. Maybe it’s Kevin.” You guys, I am not kidding. This dog’s ears perked up and he came over to us and sat! His name was KEVIN. Now, Lucas didn’t really pull the name out of thin air. They had recently seen Home Alone for the first time. My dog is named for Kevin McAllister…
At this point I had no choice. I knew this stupid dog was coming home with me, despite knowing that he had already been adopted and returned TWICE. Yup. I willingly brought him home. I immediately regretted this decision. For days he did nothing but bark in my face and poop all over the house. I discovered under the piles and piles of fluff he had mange. I learned on day one that he was afraid of cars, or walks, or noise, I don’t even know. He refused to take walks, but he let me stick him in the stationary tub for a weekly mange bath. This dog was a neurotic mess and a mystery to me.
I spent months cursing my nephews, crying, and walking around with hot dogs in my pockets desperately trying to get the hundreds of dollars I had spent on personal training to finally stick. And by training, I mean, going for a walk. I learned a lot about Kevin. Mainly, he does not care about your hot dogs if he doesn’t want to do something. It took what felt like forever, but eventually the baths ended and walks became a daily activity. Now, 7 years on, he still does not care what I think or say to him. His only trick is to sit like a champ. He would live in the car if I let him. He LOVES the vet, even when she is shoving charcoal down his gullet because he ate 3 lbs of Christmas melting chocolate (he was not sorry then, he is not sorry now, and he would totally do it again, vet visit and all). He is the master of the side-eye, loves sleeping in the fireplace, and he actually WANTS me to pet him sometimes. He is still weird and neurotic and frustrating, but I love him to death and can’t image life without this weirdo.
So it appears that I have been pretty stingy with the 5 star ratings so far this year. Here are the final titles that have been outstanding reads for me so far this year.
Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis: This brutal survival story is not for the squeamish! Ashley always felt right at home in the deep woods of the Smoky Mountains, so she was looking forward to what was supposed to be a fun night of camping and drinking. But, after finding her boyfriend with another girl, she storms off in a drunken rage. She takes a hard fall, but she’s too mad to worry. It’s not until she wakes up the next morning that she realizes she is alone, far from the trail, and injured. It’s a race against time, and the infection creeping up her leg, to get herself to safety. I am huge Mindy McGinnis fan and can’t wait to read what she offers next.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert: Marva Sheridan has been waiting to be old enough to vote for as long as she could remember. One election day she was the first in line at her polling spot. As she’s heading out to go to school she overhears a guy her age insisting he was registered, despite his name not being on the rolls. Marva steps in to intervene, and sets off a chain of events she never anticipated. She and Duke, the guy from the voting spot, set off to set the record straight and enable Duke to cast his first vote. The more time they spend together the more they learn about each and the more they learn the more they like each other. The Voting Booth hits many hot button topics in the news-voter suppression, gun violence, police brutality-in one delightful, whirlwind tale. I have read everything Brandy Colbert has written and she never disappoints. This is a must read!
Slay by Brittney Morris: You don’t have to be a gamer to appreciate the fact that 17-year old programmer Kiera is a genius. Kiera Johnson is one of just a few black kids at her school, but after school she joins thousands of black gamers in the multi-player online role playing game called SLAY. What no one knows is that she is creator. She goes to great lengths to protect her identity, but when a murder IRL is connected to the game and a troll infiltrates the world of SLAY, Kiera’s safe and beloved world is in danger. Can she protect her creation and her identity? This is not my go-to type of book as I have not interest in online games, but I am so glad I picked this one up. Great characters and a thoughtful look at the need for black people to have safe spaces just for themselves.
They Called Us Enemyby George Takei: Pair this nonfiction autobiography of the author’s childhood experience in Japanese internment camps with the Kiku Hughes’s fictionalized account of her grandparents’ experiences. Takei’s story is a harsh reminder that internment camps were part of our country’s RECENT past. There are people living today who were imprisoned for being Japanese and Japanese-American.
My last three 5 star reviews are parts of series.
The Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland: This sequel to Dread Nation picks up the story of Jane McKeene, a badass restless dead hunter, as she ventures West towards California. This alternate history duology takes place after the Civil War, when soldiers because rising from the dead and government decided that form slaves and black girls were the perfect people to battle the undead. It’s a wild ride!
The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson: This is the third and final book in the Truly Devious series. It is a completely satisfying end to the story of Ellingham Academy. Fans of true crime and My Favorite Murder will recognize the cases of hiding people Stevie mentions. Fans of Agatha Christie will appreciate the many nods to the queen of mystery stories. I can’t to see what Maureen Johnson has in store for us next!
The King of Crows by Libba Bray: This is the final book in the super creepy Diviners series. I was not expecting the tears at the end of this one. This final book in the series is a scathing commentary on our past wrongs and evils, a cautionary tale as our current political environment has shockingly repeating some of these wrongs, and also a hopeful and stirring love letter to true American patriotism. As I was having these thoughts I kept wondering if I was reading too much in to it, but the author’s note, which I recommend NOT skipping, confirmed that I was not. Oh, and there was a really awesome story about ghosts and monsters and people with powers and love and romance and running away to join the circus. Truly a masterpiece.
That’s all for my 5 star reads of 2020, but I have plenty of amazing 4 star titles to share in future posts. Stay tuned.
As we head into nicer weather and the time when people like to take Summer Vacations, this year maybe you want to consider doing a little Day Trippin‘? Why go far away when you can see travel around the Great State of Ohio (and locations nearby) with a tank or two of gas?! Economical + supporting local businesses + exploring sites in your own backyard = good times ahead! In fact, why not take a picnic lunch -you can make yummy sandwiches with the bread you’ve made!
Or if you’re feeling like hanging out in a nearby green space this Summer sounds just as good, you can either literally or figuratively Take a Hike with a book! Oh the options!
This week, I think I’ll start small with checking out some Backyard Wildlife and maybe start a little Backyard Revolution? I mean, the bunnies and deer seem to have found their way to me so why not really dig into it! (pun intended ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
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.
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 Familiarsby Stacey Halls. Available through OverDrive.
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.
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.
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.
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!
How is everyone doing at home? Though it can seem like the days blur into one another and spring weather might not actually ever arrive, something that I have been focusing on to put me in good spirits is thinking about what I can look forward to in the coming months, rather than focusing on what I can’t do. For example, I’m looking forward to decorating my new home, celebrating my one-year wedding anniversary with my husband, and reading all of the awesome books that will be published!
I’m a huge fan of the graphic novel and comic format, and am particularly excited about some forthcoming titles that I was able to get a sneak peak of earlier this week in a fun Library Journal webinar. Despite being at home, my friend and fellow comic loving librarian Megan and I were able to chat during the webinar and share our excitement in real time! Thanks technology.
Take a look below to see some of the new graphic novels I’m stoked to read!
Don’t forget that while you can’t put items on hold at the moment, you can still add titles to your wishlist, and you can still read plenty of comics and graphic novels on Hoopla (including some stellar bonus borrows that won’t affect your monthly borrow limit!).
What are you looking forward to? Have you read any amazing comics or graphic novels this past month? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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!