Who Are You and What Are You Doing Here?

 Who are you? No, really?

 Do you know your grandparent’s names? What about your great-great grandparent’s names? Do you know where they lived? If they were born in America or Overseas? Were they Italian, Irish, Middle Eastern?

 I love learning about my own ancestry, and based on the popularity of PBS shows like Genealogy Roadshow, African-American Lives, and Finding Your Roots, as well as the use of websites like Ancestry.com, it is obvious that many other people do too.

 Did you know that you can research your family roots with resources provided by your favorite library? Here at Rocky River Public Library, we subscribe to two genealogy research databases, Ancestry (for in-library use only) and Heritage Quest. Did I mention they are free to use with your library card? You can find access to those resources at: http://www.rrpl.org/research/research_subject.html#genealogy We also link to cool searchable websites like Ellis Island passenger lists (http://libertyellisfoundation.org/passenger), the Ohio Death Index, and others that can help you get to the bottom of just how and when your people got here, their occupations, and who they lived with. Just think, you might just find a long-lost cousin or two.

I found census records for my family from 1920, enlistment cards from my Grandfather’s time in the Army, death records for family members I didn’t know existed, and much, much more! One of my favorite discoveries is a picture of the ship my grandparents emigrated upon, the Oropesa:

oropesaAre you curious about your origins? Why not try searching your family tree? What might you discover?

I hope you enjoy finding out!

~Carol

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Fourteen Fantastic Reads of 2014

This annual post combines two of my favorite things: making lists and talking about amazing books. Of course, it is always a challenge to winnow the list down. A quick look at my first draft of my list (yes, there are multiple drafts), tells me that I read and enjoyed a lot of mysteries and memoirs and a TON of YA. That being said, my final draft has more variety. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite reads of 2014:

1. The Secret Place by Tana French. I think this is the third year in a row that Tana French has made it onto my end of the year Top Reads list. She is amazing.

secret place

2. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Last year my list included The Husband’s Secret, which was full of family drama, hidden secrets, suspense, with a touch of romance and humor. That pretty much describes this latest offering. The audio is fantastic.

 

big little lies

3. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. Are you looking to feel better about your own quirky family? Check out the hilariously dysfunctional Foxmans!

this is where i leave you

4. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. If someone forced me to pick only one favorite of 2014, I think this would the one.

i'll give you the sun

5. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Nonfiction always surprises me. Who knew a book about rowing would be a favorite?!

boys in the boat

6. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. Quirky characters and an unlikely friendship!

universe versus

7. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker. This French import is a book about a book…and a murder. Plenty of twists and turns. Read the book before it hits the big screen!

harry

8. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. Humor and heart! This is another one that is fabulous on audio.

rosie

9. Vicious by V.E. Schwab. Superpowers and moral ambiguity abound in this dark and dangerous read.

vicious

10. Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys. New Orleans in the 1950. A murder threatens to derail a young girls dreams of a better life. Heartbreaking and lovely.

out of the easy

11. The Storied Life of A.J. Fickery by Gabrielle Zevin.  A love letter to book lovers.

a.j.

12. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. The prolific Mr. King takes a stab at a cat-and-mouse police procedural.

mr. mercedes

13. 10% Happier by Dan Harris. A non-intimidating, practical look at meditation.

10

14. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. A new-to-me series full of wizards and magic and good vs evil. And a skeleton detective. LOVE.

skulduggery

I can’t wait to see what all of my coworkers put on their lists. Be sure to check back all week for more fun lists!

Happy Reading!

∼Megan

 

Bonus: Memorable Memoirs of 2014

yes not my father nph love

 

 

 

Random Favorites

After you read through the following list I hope it will give you a springboard to think of your own fiction titles and you own categories that you will share with a friend. There are so many ways to find books but I still find my best recommendations are “word of mouth.”

 Brave Irene by William Steig is my favorite children’s book.

My favorite teen book is Holes by Louis Sacher.

Fortunes Rocks  by Anita Shreve and A Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon are two of my favorite adult works of fiction.

It’s hard to believe that The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Help by Kathryn Stockett are debut novels.

Keeping Watch by Laurie R. King is my favorite war-related book.

A quirky book that is worth reading is The Girl I Used To Be by David Christofano.

The best book dealing with all sides of Teenage Pregnancy is Girls in Trouble by Caroline Leavit.

An author that I believe deserves a larger readership is Kaye Gibbons.

A strong work of historical fiction that was overlooked by readers is The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvavi.

Two books that had my undivided attention from the first page are – American, America by Ethan Canin and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

The book I’ve been recommending lately is The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard.

—Janet

Get your Daily Prophet here!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened in Universal Studios Orlando!! It looks like it an amazing experience for fans of the books (which would seem to include a great proportion of the world’s population). An interesting note is that althougth there are no doubt numerous opportunities to shop in the park, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods is the only place to buy Rowling’s books. Fun, no?

I need to start planning my trip to Florida – do you think the Floo Network operates between Cleveland and Orlando?

— Julie

Radical idea – read a book!

Following along with the books to help kids with summertime learning, how about some books to help parents? I was researching books for parenting teens and found this blog, Radical Parenting (not as scary as it sounds). The author of the blog, Vanessa Van Petten, and her teen reviewers put together a list of recommended parenting books — I thought it was interesting to see what non-parents thought was good advice!

— Julie

A Tribute to Grandma Brown

After reading Miss Julia Paints the Town by Ann B. Ross, I have decided that Miss Julia reminds me of my husband’s late grandmother. Vera Brown -like Miss Julia- was feisty, outspoken, determined, devoted, caring, devout and adventurous. She spent her life in rural Missouri and Nebraska. She loved being around children, with 8 of her own followed by many grandchildren and many more great grandchildren. She worked as a cook at the local high school. Money was tight so she always planted a huge garden which provided an abundance for canning and plenty to share with neighbors. She excelled at sewing and needlepoint, often entering her handiwork in county fair competitions, earning some blue ribbons and a little extra cash. The coffee pot was always on at Grandma Brown’s house ready for a neighborly visit with anyone who stopped by.

  

Later in life Grandma Brown became an avid reader. I know she would have loved reading the Miss Julia series and would have valued the comparison between herself and the character of Miss Julia.

~Emma