As part of the reorganization of space at the Library, we have created a bookshelf of Classic books. The shelf can only hold about 75 books so choosing which books are “classic” will be a challenge.
Some authors are easy choices: Twain, Hemingway, Hawthorne, Melville, Fitzgerald, Austen, Dickens, Hardy. But what about Tolkein? or Gabriel García Márquez? Graham Greene? Arthur Conan Doyle?
Is it age that decides a classic? Or whether it is taught in school?
It may come down to space. Many of the “H” authors can be considered classics which is lucky because it is often hard to “weed” that section. It would be wonderful if more “S” authors were classics because that is another crowded section.
The P’s stuffed with books by James Patterson and Jodi Picoult do not have many authors that are classic in the usual sense. However, Terry Pratchett is certainly a classic fantasy author.
Stop by the bookshelf — along the wall where the glass cabinets used to be — to see what’s there and what’s missing. What would you call a classic?
One of my friends recently had the “blue screen of death” on his computer. All of the files he used for our music ministry were potentially gone (luckily someone could get his computer working again.) I realized again how important it is to have computer files saved in more than one place.
While taking a course on the Android phone through Lynda.com, I learned about Google Photos. It turns out if you have a Google account, you can set up your phone to save your pictures to this “cloud” storage. Then when you need more storage on your phone you can delete older pictures knowing they are saved somewhere else. I can then get my photos from a computer to upload to Facebook.
For my work and home files, I use Dropbox, a free service that you install on your computer. Certain files I store permanently there so I can access them from whatever computer I am using. I have even stored my travel information there and share it with my family in case of emergencies. There is a limit of how much you can store for free, but I haven’t run out yet.
Google also has Google Drive which allows you to save files that you can work on from different computers or share with different people. Great for family event planning.
I’m sure there are other methods: external hard drives, usb “thumb” drives, and other services. And then getting rid of old files is another project.
Consider backing up your files so you won’t lose your precious photos and memories.
Do you know that if you get the Library newsletter emailed to you, you are signed up in the LibraryAware database? LibraryAware provides specialized recommended booklists covering a wide range of topics. There really is a list for every reading interest.
We use their software to create the monthly newsletter and several home-grown lists such as Summer Reading, Best Books of the Year, and Debut Fiction.
The LibraryAware lists consist of one part new books in the subject and another part older titles that you may have missed.
To sign up for the different lists go to RMLonline and click on Book Newsletter.
A good audio reader can make even a “okay” book sound wonderful; and a bad reader can make a good book awful. And a good book makes a long ride go quickly for everyone.
Audiofiles has a list of “Golden Voices” that highlight award-winning audio readers. All of these readers are available on cds of the books; if there is an * next to the reader’s name, then you can also download some of their books through OverDrive. In Enterprise, you can limit your search to Audiobooks and Author and plug in the name of the reader.
My personal favorites are Jim Dale * who did the Harry Potter series, Ralph Cosham* who did the first ten of Louise Penny’s mysteries, Carolyn McCormick* who did the Hunger Game series, Anna Fields* who was the voice for Susan Elizabeth Phillips for many years and Patrick Tull who did the Patrick O’Brian series.
Scott Brick* (does nonfiction as well as fiction)
Barbara Caruso (primarily women writers)
David Case* (classics and literary fiction)
Jim Dale* (young adult fantasy and more)
Gerard Doyle (mysteries and thrillers)
Grover Gardner* (some of everything)
Dion Graham (thrillers and more)
George Guidall* (one of the all time best! Really good with mystery and suspense)
Edward Herrmann* (lots of nonfiction as well as children’s)
Dick Hill* (Michael Connolly and Lee Child!)
Derek Jacobi* (a wonderful actor who does a number of historical fiction titles)
Martin Jarvis* (Wodehouse, Christie, and Dick Francis, oh my!)
Simon Jones* (children’s and adult both)
Garrison Keillor (You know his voice from Prairie Home Companion)
Katherine Kellgren* (historical fiction and women’s lives books)
John Lee* (some of everything — including Ken Follett)
Miriam Margolyes (children’s and young adult)
Wanda McCaddon* (nonfiction history)
John McDonough (nonfiction, children’s and adult fiction)
Robin Miles* (mostly books by women authors, both fiction and nonfiction)
Frank Muller* (Great voice — all older books including John Grisham. He died in a tragic accident several years ago.)
Davina Porter (lots of mysteries)
Simon Prebble (does some of everything)
Barbara Rosenblat (THE voice for many women mystery writers)
Stefan Rudnicki* (nonfiction and science fiction)
Jay O. Sanders* (Danielle Steel, Tony Hillerman, James Patterson and others)
Lynne Thigpen (You know her from Law and Order.)
Simon Vance* (reads everything)
It is says that you can’t understand someone unless you walk a mile in his/her shoes. Well, that’s not realistic, but what if I just read about people I don’t understand?
In the world of politics, I don’t really understand Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, so I’m going to try to read books by both of them.
I don’t understand Mormons so The Bishop’s Wife by Mette Harrison is added to my list.
I really liked the book, The World’s Strongest Librarian, which discusses Tourette’s Syndrome. There is a new book by Lindy West about being fat: Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman which may help me understand that condition.
Sometimes fiction helps you understand a person’s life. Lisa Genova does a wonderful job with early onset Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Disease and traumatic brain injury.
I’ve created a clickable list of the books (and a movie) listed below.
Here are other situations that might be worth understanding:
- Life in Prison: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson;
- Transgender: She’s Not There by Jennifer Boylan and Becoming Nicole by Amy Nutt.
- Palestinian/Israeli/Middle East: Children of Jihad by Jared Cohen
- PTSD sufferer
- Homeless person
- Illegal Immigrant/ Illegal Aliens: The Same Sky by Amanda E. Ward; Into the Beautiful North by Luis A. Urrea; Just Like Us by Helen Thorpe; Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario;
- Refugee: Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie; When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi; City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence; The Illegal by Lawrence Hill; In order to Live by Yeonmi Park
- Black Life in America: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Jazz by Toni Morrison; Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson; Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson;
- Drug Addict
- Poverty in the World: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
- Survivors of Disasters: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers; Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
- Boy Soldiers: A Long Way Gone and Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah
- Islam: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid; Stranger to History by Aatish Taseer
- Disfigurement: Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy; Wonder by RJ Palacio
- False Imprisonment: Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino; Innocent Man by John Grisham; That Night by Chevy Stevens
- Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Hadden; the movie, The Story of Luke; Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison (and Switched On.)
- Abduction: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
I am in a Reader’s Advisory Group that is looking at the category of “Women’s Fiction” or as we rather call it “Women’s Lives and Relationships.” We are getting ideas to help people who like this kind of novel find other authors they might like.
But we are having trouble deciding what fits in the category. It’s easy to say that the books have to be contemporary and about contemporary times. No historical fiction. The focus has to be on the emotional life of the people. Thrillers don’t count — they have their own audience. The plot is what drives thrillers. Psychological thrillers may be character driven, but they don’t fit either.
Many books are about women who help each other through life: think of Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons by Lorna Landvik,Wednesday Sisters by Meg Clayton or Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan. The subject term for this in the catalog is Female Friendship. But what if there are some men in the group? Ann Hood’s The Knitting Circle or The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister both have men who help the group deal with their problems. Then the subject heading is Friendship Fiction.
Mother and Daughters- or Sisters- Fiction is another category for which most books would be Women’s Fiction. However, Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper has a completely different feel than Liane Moriarty’s Three Wishes, but both are about sisters. And not all writers have the same tone for all their books.
To complicate the subject, women’s lives are different when they are teens, twenties, young mother, empty-nester, part of the sandwich generation, and retired. Someone who likes Sophie Kinsella might not want to read Ann Leary’s The Good House or Jeanne Ray’s Eat Cake.
The articles all say that Women’s Fiction books must be about women and by women authors. Is this true? Do only women read books about women? What about The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion? This is categorized as romance and humor, but it is not a Romance novel.
So if you like books about Women’s Lives and Relationships, which authors would you read? I’ll make a book list of what we discover.
Now is the time to start planning your vegetable garden, if you haven’t already. There is nothing quite like fresh vegetables in the summer and there are now many resources to help you decide what to cook with your results.
Here’s a website that might be helpful (and doesn’t have ads!): https://ag.umass.edu/home-lawn-garden/fact-sheets/vegetables
I have also made a list of books you might find helpful.
Many library patrons have signed up for Goodreads.com which is a book-sharing, book recommendation, and book list storing site. Members can search for book suggestions based on what they have read previously, or search by genre or author. There are also Goodreads Groups. I have just joined one for Terry Pratchett readers. There is a book suggestion each month and a place to comment about it.
I wonder if anyone out there would be interesting in starting a couple of Goodreads groups for the library. We could have a group that shares good audiobook titles and voice talent. Another could be for good OverDrive books. Let me know if you would be interested and I’ll set it up.
Last February I was over at Rehoboth’s Blanding Free Public Library and noticed an interesting display. There were a number of books wrapped in brown paper with writing on the outside giving a sort of teasing description of the book inside the wrapping. The display was titled “Blind Date with a Book.” It turned out to be a nationwide library display, usually for the month of February. So why not us, I thought.
As we were shifting the fiction this summer, I found that there were quite a few books that had received A’s on the blue rating slip in the back, several of them books I hadn’t read. It dawned on me that this would be a great source of books for the Blind Dates. With the help of the staff I have been collecting a list of books that received A’s and chose around 50 of them for the display. Then I checked on Goodreads.com to make sure the books seemed okay with their readers as well. For the nonfiction books, I picked books that were popular with our book discussion groups over the past 16 years or were popular with staff members.
Here’s how the Blind Date works.
- In February the main display near the elevator will be filled with books covered in brown paper.
- On each book is a short teaser description to let you know what you might be in for if you take this book home.
- You check the book out as usual. There is a duplicate barcode on each cover.
- Your job is to wait to unwrap the book until you get home and to give it a chance. It might not be something you normally read, but you might still like it.
- If you don’t care for the book after about 50 pages, don’t feel you have to finish it. After all, not all blind dates work out. Just bring it back.
- Each book has a pink review slip in it. Please fill it out and put it in the Review box at the display (or give it to a staff member.) Put your name and phone number on it for a chance to win a prize at the end of the month
When I was a teacher, one of my favorite times was after recess when we would gather the kids around and read longer chapter books to them. One former student still remembers The Book of Three as the book that turned him on to reading. When I was in grade school, I remember the librarian reading long books to us — Johnny Tremain, comes to mind — and how much we looked forward to it each week.
This fun doesn’t have to be limited to teachers or librarians. Reading aloud is a wonderful experience. And there are some great books out there that adults and older children would enjoy. Just imagine sometime this winter, turning off the television, sipping hot cocoa or cider, and listening to an adventure that takes you away from the cold, the wars, the terrorism and off to another world. Books can do that, you know.
Here’s a list of books that Eunice recommends for reading aloud:
Good Read Alouds
- Alexander, Lloyd Prydain Chronicles: Book of Three, Black Cauldron, Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, The High King
- Auxier, Jonathan The Night Gardener
- Curtis, Christopher Paul Bud, Not Buddy
- Dunrea, Olivier Hanne’s Quest
- Durham, Paul The Luck Uglies
- Estes, Eleanor The Moffats
- Feiffer, Jules By the Side of the Road
- Grahame, Kenneth The Wind in the Willows
- Jinks, Catherine A Plague of Bogles
- Juster, Norman Phantom Tollbooth
- Lawson, Robert Ben and Me
- MacLachlan, Patricia True Gift
- McCloskey, Robert Centerburg Tales, Homer Price
- Nash, Scott Tuff Fluff
- Peck, Richard Long Way from Chicago, A Year Down Yonder, A Season of Gifts
- Perkins, Lynne Rae Nuts to You
- Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter series
- Smith, Dodie 101 Dalmatians
- Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit
- Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins
- Twain, Mark The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn