Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
Having spent the first part of my KPL career working in the Teen Services area, I had the opportunity to be exposed to a whole new genre of literature that I’m quite sure didn’t really exist when I was a teen. As a result, and because I had to know what I was talking about when recommending books, I read perhaps a disproportionate amount of teen literature as an adult. Among some of my favorites, in no particular order, were:
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt
I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
As I review this list, I recognize that the overriding theme of most of these titles is self-identity, obviously a developmental hallmark for kids between the ages of 12 and 18. I also recognize honest characters, humor, and intelligent writing as some common features of many of these books, things that I would think are important to kids today who are looking for a book that will be worth the time it takes to read…no small task in this digital age of immediate gratification.
What’s worth noting, however, is that those themes still speak to me as an adult and that sometimes, tackling them through the eyes of young protagonist gives me just the perspective I need in my own life.
If you haven’t been to the Teen room lately, you owe it to yourself to check it out and perhaps find a book that will appeal to you.
You’ll never look at roosters the same after you’ve seen the images of the genetically engineered featherless one shown in this larger-than-life collection of animal portraits by photographer Tim Flach. Treat yourself.
More Than Human
I've enjoyed Anne Lamott's previous books and therefore have been looking forward to reading her latest, Help. Thanks. Wow.: The Three Essential Prayers. The simple concept of the title combined with her familiar and often humorous writing style have led me to think (hope) that once again, I'll be able to identify with her perspective on personal spirituality in an easy-to-read, down-to-earth way.
Help. Thanks. Wow.: The Three Essential Prayers
If you're in a book club that is about to set a reading calendar for the year, don't forget to check our Book Club in a Bag offerings. We added new titles earlier this year, and will continue to add more--both fiction and nonfiction--in our ongoing effort to keep the BCIB collection as current and relevant as possible.
And if you haven't been to the Central library downtown in a few months, you may not know that the Book Club in a Bag sets are now available for patrons to browse and check out on their own, without having to talk to a staff person. You can also search for them in the catalog and place a hold to have a set sent to a different branch location for your convenience. Simply type "Book club in a bag" in the catalog to see what titles are available.
If you have any questions about Book Club in a Bag procedures, consult the borrowing guidelines or contact Reader Services.
Book Club in a Bag
I have always struggled with feeling good about the dinners I prepare for my family. And now that I have teenagers whose extracurricular activities decrease the likliehood that we'll all be home during the conventional dinner hour--whatever that is--it has become all too easy to leave them to their own devices to find something they WANT to eat, WHEN they can, and just take care of it themselves. But then I feel guilty about not sitting together at the family table because that connection is still important to me. It's an ongoing battle.
So you can imagine how interested I am in this new book (currently on order) by Jenny Rosenstrach based on her blog of the same name. According to the author:
Family dinner is a mindset, and once you get comfortable with the idea of not doing it, the harder it becomes to make it happen. But the more you force yourself to make meals for your children, the more it will become second-nature, and the more addicted you’ll get to all the pleasures and dividends a family meal can yield.
At this point, I'll take all the help I can get!
Dinner: A Love Story
Popular magazines often fill space with little blurbs about what books are on prominent peoples’ nightstands, giving us a glimpse into their world as human beings with curiosities and interests outside of their own celebrity. While I do not presume that my own book choices would attract similar attention, my nightstand currently holds quite a variety that might be of interest to someone:
Hassman, Tupelo Girlchild (fiction) - Rory Dawn Hendrix, growing up in a trailer park in Reno, Nevada, is determind to defy the odds of her environment and family history.
Keaton, Diane Then Again (memoir) - Keaton’s own stories alternate with excerpts from journals kept by her mother, Dorothy Keaton Hall. Poignant account of an interesting life.
Green, John The Fault in Our Stars (young adult fiction) - Combine this popular young adult author with a love story about teenagers with cancer, and you get a fast-moving and powerful narrative that goes beyond the surface.
Cain, Susan Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking (nonfiction) - I have not read this one yet, but am looking forward to it, especially after seeing Cain’s TED presentation.
So many books, so little time...