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)!
I love giving books and will take advantage of any occasion to find something I think will fit my giftee, and that includes pondering if there’s something you might want to gift yourself of course! I sorted the titles into broad ideas of who they might appeal to but left the heavy lifting of plot description to the reviews on bookshop.org (Bookshop is an online bookstore with a mishttps://bookshop.org/books/weather-9780345806901/9780385351102sion to financially support local, independent bookstores.) I hope this list helps you finish off your holiday shopping on a high note!
For your friend who wants something “different”
Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain
The Butterfly Lampshade by Amiee Bender
Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
Jane in Love by Rachel Givney
The Darkness Duology by Robin LaFevers
Weather by Jenny Offill
Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman
For your friend who wants something “thoughtful”
Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown
Barnstorming Ohio by David Giffels
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Do Nothing by Celeste Headless
Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times by Katherine May
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
The Daughters of Erietown by Connie Schultz
Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler
For your friend who wants something “funny”
Anxious People by Fredrick Backman
The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan
The Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan
The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman
For your friend who wants to “solve the puzzle”
Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen
Death in Her Hands by Ottesa Moshfegh
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
Of Mutts and Men by Spencer Quinn
Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood
Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
And if you’re looking for a way to do something extra, I just discovered the United States Postal Service has a program called “Operation Santa.” This won’t be news to everyone as it’s been going on for years but if you, like me, hadn’t heard of it before I’ll drop a link here.
I wish everyone a safe, healthy holiday season, with a book (or two) to help you keep feeling strong!
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!
For me, the answer to “why democracy?” is an easy one. America’s democratic system of government grants me many freedoms that other countries’ citizens are not automatically given.
Two of my favorites are my freedom of speech and the right to vote for my choice in our elections. And while I admit that it’s hard for me sometimes when I see neighbors’ yard signs in support of a candidate running against the one I support, I’m sure glad I’m able to put up my own yard sign. When I feel myself getting aggravated by such a display, it’s important for me to take a step back and realize that this disagreement is actually our country’s Constitution at work. I take a deep breath and know that it’s not just okay that my neighbor might not agree with me, it is their right, too!
During these five days for democracy, think about how opposing yard signs make you feel. And then take your own deep breath and be grateful that you too live in a country where you can express such a thing.
So, help celebrate these 5 Days for Democracy and sign up here to receive emails this week that will help you better understand, celebrate and think of ways to improve what democracy does for you. Oh, and don’t even think about stealing any yard signs!
I hadn’t read any Black Panther comics or books and had the same amount of background knowledge of his place in the Marvel Universe as I did about Thor (ie – so very, very little) before seeing the movie based on the character. Oh. My. Gosh. The 2018 film staring Chadwick Boseman was 134 minutes of greatness!! The history and lore of Wakanda, the special effects, the serious moments mixed with humorous moments, all the surprise twists, and getting to watch Chadwick Boseman create an unforgettable, strong, vulnerable hero as King T’Challa. Mr. Boseman passed away on August 29th but his kindness, his vision of what the movie industry could be, and his long list of films, speak to the legacy of this legend, taken too soon. Thank you for all the gifts you gave to us Mr. Chadwick Boseman!
Do you feel like if you might scream if you have to read one more email, attend yet another meeting online or answer another group text message? If so, then I feel your pain. I was right there with you a week and a half ago. I managed to complete my workdays without taking anyone’s head off, but then I realized, for me, it was time to unplug.
I’ve heard that unplugging for just 24 hours can be beneficial and can help people feel more centered and grounded in the present moment. But gosh, it seems harder than ever to unplug, right? We are in the middle of a pandemic. We are being forced to attend more virtual meetings than ever, order online more, stream everything, and text everyone that it seems impossible to avoid technology. But maybe this is the perfect time to do it.
A 2011 study from the University of Maryland demonstrated that when students unplugged from technology, they spent more time with friends and family, got more exercise, and cooked and ate healthier foods. That all sounds pretty good.
This past weekend, I left my phone alone, chose a paper book over my e-reader, avoided the video game console, and just let my brain relax. It wasn’t easy. I had to bow out of my weekly family Zoom meeting, miss an installment of a TV show I’ve been watching, and (sigh) put on my reading glasses to read, but think I ultimately benefited from it. I got lots of spouse and cat-time and some daydreaming in, got a bit of extra sleep, and crossed a few chores off my list. It was worth it.
So, how about it? Unplug for a day and see how it makes you feel. I won’t even be mad if you read my blog post a day late.
How often have you had the discussion about which was better -the book or the movie? All the time, right? And how often do you pick the movie over the book? Not as often as you pick the book, right? Well, I’ve got a win/win for you this week! You can read the book *and* watch the movie, in any order, and walk away thinking, “that was great!” Are you curious yet?
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson blends his personal experiences and life journey with his drive to create social justice and encourage us all to get involved. I read this book when it first came out, and have enjoyed it as an audio book as well, and I think part of what makes Mr. Stevenson’s book so special is how a reader can emotionally connect to experiences, feeling his pain and his joy, while breaking down those systemic issues surrounding the inequality of our justice system. Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative leading force in the creation of the Legacy Museum as well as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Mr. Stevenson is changing our World for the better!
“But what about Just Mercy as a movie?” you ask. This movie focused in on how Mr. Stevenson became Mr. Walter McMillian’s lawyer over other experiences in the book. Sometimes it’s that trimming that can leave a reader feeling like something was missing, but I would be surprised to hear that after you watch this film. Instead, I’d guess you might also think of this as an additional chapter to the book?
I hope you read *and* watch Just Mercy, and then -please, let me know what you think!
Ooo! What happened? Somewhere over the past few weeks, I’ve realized my attention span has gotten very short. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about, right? It’s a good thing I’m already a fan of making lists -and checking items off the list. Now I need to figure out how to remember where I put my most current list… heh heh. (I also need to remember to recycle that finished list-geez,)
So maybe you’re on the same page as I am (book humor on purpose!) and you’d like to listen to an entertaining book or podcast right now? Great! May I suggest the following podcasts: Stuff You Should Know-covering a wide variety of topics, the length varies by episode, Flash Forward -possible futures based on current ideas, Imaginary Worlds-mostly SF topics but also plenty of general appeal, or NPR’s Life Kit -nicely compact discussions of truly helpful tips for navigating everyday life. May I suggest an older nonfiction book: Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt -I learned so much about European Starlings and Mozart (of course?) plus musical moments were included in the audio book! And how about an older mystery/dark comedy series: Izzy Spellman Series starting with The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz -you too might fall a little in love with this seriously loving and dysfunctional family like so many of us have!
Or if you want to fall down a rabbit hole of what? who knew? I need to try that! nope. Yes! May I suggest checking out #recipes on TikTok? (If you can figure out a good way to limit your time on this one -please send that good tip my way?!)
And please, don’t forget to be kind to yourself, okay?
Despite the recent snow (sigh) it really is Spring, a season that brings out all sorts of newly created flora and fauna. Spring also reminds everything that went into hibernation it’s time to wake up! While it isn’t really news to anyone, this year -being inside at home so much- I realized this includes house spiders! ugh. I’m working very hard to embrace the challenge of living peaceably with these multi-legged, fast-moving arthropods. (It would help a lot if they would stop running across the ceiling or hiding in the bathroom…¯\_(ツ)_/¯) So, what have you learned about your house this Spring?
As I give my new spider frens plenty of space, I’m also attempting to grow an avocado tree from a seed! I’m mid-week two and no roots yet but we’re in the early stages… oh, the hope! In-between refilling the water and moving Ava Cado to the warmest spots around the kitchen I’m enjoying some upbeat songs on Freegal, the Library’s new ad-free music service -all you need is your Rocky River library card and pin number to start streaming music! Check out the different genres and why not try making your own playlist – enjoy!
Be kind to yourself today!
A is for All the Feelings. I’ve talked a lot about anxiety in general and how it has effected me specifically. I think we’ve reached a point in all of this that most people are well aware that we are feeling stress and anxiety, so I am changing this week’s A. Story time. Working from home has really drawn attention to just how bad my home home internet service is, so I decided to take advantage of a different company’s new customer offer. I placed my order and the company sent me the equipment. I felt very proud of myself for managing this basic task. I woke up Tuesday ready to set it all up. I disconnected the old modem. I unpacked the new one, feeling determination that quickly turned to anger and despair. I didn’t have the needed cable outlet! Feeling stupid that I didn’t know I needed cable, I made a quick call to customer service and the kindest woman dispatched a technician. Relief. I reconnected the old modem, only to discover it didn’t work. So, there I was, in a house with 2 internet companies, 2 different modems, and ZERO internet. I spent the next three hours waiting for help to arrive. I spiraled through ALL THE FEELINGS. I FELT them ALL. I walked myself to the ledge and then talked my own self off. My internet was finally installed, but I wasn’t up and running yet…I needed a router. Sigh. Being an adult is stupid and hard. Curbside pick up at Target. The internet ordeal that began at 11 am was about to finally end…9 hours later. Wrong. Which leads me to this week’s B.
B is for Breakdowns. Yup. I was finally defeated by a wireless router. What should have been a simple installation became my own personal hell. After an hour of trying and failing, of unplugging and restarting, of factory resets, of watching videos and reading all the help articles, I admitted defeat. I gave up. I sat on the couch and disolved into angry, self-pitying tears. I cried over a router. I cried because I had such a first-world problem that I couldn’t solve. I cried because I had a day full of ALL THE FEELINGS. For someone who likes to keep all the feelings deep inside, feeling them is shocking! If you have read this far, you might be nodding along, feeling all your own feelings. Or you might, like me, be wondering what this has to do with the library. Bare with me. I am about to make it sort of connect.
C is for Connecting. We are going through something. We are all feeling all the feelings at any given moment. My colleagues and I have been working on mourning the loss of our exciting summer plans for the public. We have had to completely switch gears. We have had to make tough decision about what programs to completely abandon and which ones to rework for our new virtual reality. Prior to all of this I was part of a team working to put on the library’s first ever mini-con. RiverCon 2020 was going to be AWESOME! Last week we had a team meeting. We felt all the feelings together and then got to work reimaging our program. I am proud of what we came up with and I so happy that Ms Nicole’s RiverCon 2020 is still going to happen. Details will be forthcoming, but for right now I can tell you that virtual RiverCon will include interviews with comic creators and experts, an at-home cosplay activity, comic recommedations for readers of all ages and a virtual superhero storytime with Ms. Amanda. Finally, we are working on bringing RiverCon directly to you! On May 16 you can register for a RiverCon@Home kit, full of fun crafts, comic resources and hopefully some cool comic swag. Save the date and register here. We are all working hard behind the scenes and from our make-shift home offices to stay connected with our patrons. We are adapting and thinking outside the box and we are excited about what we are coming up with. Stay with us. We are here for you. We are all in this together.