stacks of booksHow are you doing with our Favorite Quotes? Having fun with them, or getting frustrated? Here’s the last line from a classic we all know, but may not have read….

“He was soon borne away by waves and lost in darkness and distance”.

For those of us unfamiliar with this one, the answer is here.

stacks of booksDid our Favorite Quote from last week stump you, or was it too obvious? Ready to give it another try? Here’s a pretty easy one, from an American classic, a poignant line that perfectly evokes the novel it comes from.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”.

Check if you got the right answer here!

stacks of booksIt can be argued that we love to read books because we love the written word. Whether it comes to us by electronic device, or letters on a page, words fascinate us, inspire us, amuse us. A well-chosen quote from a favorite book has the power to evoke fond memories and take you back to that joy of first discovery. Join us as we explore some of our favorites. Do you know what book this quote is from? (we started off with an easy one!)

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Not sure? Find the answer here!

 

library readsThis probably won’t surprise you, but most librarians are voracious readers. We read books in the areas that we select, we read books that we think our patrons might be interested in, we read about books and publishing trends and we even read books for our own pleasure (if only we were allowed to read books at work…..!) Because we’re so immersed in books, we  can often be a great resource for finding your next great read. But when your favorite librarian isn’t available,  LibraryReads, a monthly list of librarian recommendations is the next best thing.

With contributions from librarians across the country, LibraryReads presents a curated list of ten about-to-be-published books that are worth reading. They cover all genres and various interests including literary fiction, romance, non-fiction, young adult, and mysteries and authors famous and unknown. This list bypasses the publisher hype and finds real gems, read and enjoyed by readers just like you – people who love to read. Be sure to check it out each month for more great titles!

Believe it or not, I don’t usually seek out libraries while I’m on vacation. I’m a big fan of libraries, of course, but when I’m visiting a new place I’m usually preoccupied with non-Iowa sites, like skyscrapers and world famous museums and mountain vistas. However, I was lucky enough to be in New York City earlier this month and my friends and I made it a point to stop in at the New York Public Library; it was a visit that was both fun and inspiring.

At the main entrance you’re greeted by the library’s famous lions, named Patience and Fortitude, and the grand facade of the beautiful Beaux-Arts building which opened in 1911. The building is very museum-like, with it’s marble columns and sweeping staircases, murals painted on the ceilings, fine art decorating the reading rooms, glittering chandeliers and ornate windows. It is also very library-like, with it’s bustling crowds (it was very busy), rows and rows of reference books and public computers, busy families in the Children’s Center and hushed silence in the research rooms. It is obviously a much-used, much-loved building.

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We were lucky enough to be visiting while a special exhibit was on display, “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter.” Beautifully curated, the exhibit was a walk down memory lane for the child in anyone – an Alice with a neck (made from books) that slowly expanded, then retracted, a charming re-enactment of the web Charlotte made to save Wilbur as well as recordings of E.B. White reading passages from his famous book, a cut-out of the Wild Thing to climb on, a life-size room from Goodnight Moon, the original Winnie-the-Pooh and friends (who are usually on display in the Children’s Center), an umbrella donated by P.L. Travers just like the one Mary Poppins carried, an original watercolor by Eric Carle and many more treasures.

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Another fun attraction was the NYPL Photo Booth in the soaring main lobby. Anyone can answer a few simple questions, then have your picture taken to commemorate your visit. The photo is later emailed to you and are also on view on the NYPL Facebook page and Flickr account. It’s a wonderful blend of old and new, something libraries all over the world practice every day.

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my ideal bookshelfThe books that we choose to keep – let alone read – can say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves.

In My Ideal Bookshelf, dozens of leading cultural figures share the books that matter to them most; books that define their dreams and ambitions and in many cases helped them find their way in the world. Contributors include Malcolm Gladwell, Thomas Keller, Michael Chabon, Alice Waters, James Patterson, Maira Kalman, Judd Apatow, Chuck Klosterman, Miranda July, Alex Ross, Nancy Pearl, David Chang, Patti Smith, Jennifer Egan, and Dave Eggers, among many others.

With colorful and endearingly hand-rendered images of book spines by Jane Mount, and first-person commentary from all the contributors, this is a perfect book for avid readers, writers, and all who have known the influence of a great book. (description from publisher)

2013Let DPL help you realize your reading goals in 2013! Whether you need books, recommendations, or just a quiet spot to devour the newest Stephanie Plum/Alex Cross novel, we can help.

Numeric resolutions: I will read X books in 2013.

  • Do you have 45 minutes a day? Count up your free time: lunch hour, breaks, waiting at the curb for your kids to get out of school, before bed, while your spouse does the dishes, while you’re on the treadmill. If you do, you could read 52 books in 2013. One book* per week = 39 pages (about 45 minutes) per day.
  • Only 15 minutes per day? Maths out to about 17 books for 2013. Not too shabby!
  • 20 minute drive to and from work? Not even counting all the other trips you make, you can listen to 21 books* this year (bonus: no more annoying radio ads).
  • Children’s books, audiobooks, graphic novels, comics, short stories, magazines, newspapers, and internet articles ABSOLUTELY. COUNT. You are more of a reader than you think; don’t sell yourself short!
Content resolutions: I will read more (insert genre) books in 2013.
  • Branching out into new content areas can be frustrating, but the librarians at DPL are here to help! We’ll cook up a list of books for you based on any criteria, and we offer 100% forgiveness for those who abandon books without finishing. Life is too precious to waste on finishing a book you don’t like.
  • Broadening your genre horizons is rewarding; more often than not, a single title will blend influences from many genres. I love fantasy, but some of my favorite fantasy titles are shelved in regular fiction or romance. If it sounds confusing, we’ll happily help you navigate.

Making your resolutions real

  • If you use a social reading log website (Good Reads, Librarything, and Shelfari, for example), you and your friends can share progress on whatever resolution you make. Nifty!
  • Use your library account online to keep track of saved title lists, saved searches, and even maintain a list of ALL the books you’ve ever checked out! (Note: for privacy and security purposes, only you can elect to maintain a reading list. It does not happen automatically and library staff cannot create the list for you.)
  • For old-fashioned paper lovers, get yourself a reading notebook: write down the titles you read and a little note about what you thought of the book. That way you won’t lose track of what you’ve read.
  • Resolve to share your love of books: Promise that you’ll read out loud to your kids or grandkids, bring a friend with you to the library, give copies of your favorite titles as gifts, or donate your pre-loved books to the Friends of DPL or another book charity. Books are best when they’re shared!

*For math purposes, a “book” is 275 pages or 8 hours of audio recording. Bonus points for reading something longer!

May is “Get Caught Reading” Month. How does one celebrate? Well, you could read, or take a picture of a friend or co-worker reading and post it on a bulletin board. (You can email bworthington@publishers.org to get the logo to make your own “celebrity” poster).

You can order an actual celebrity poster on www.getcaughtreading.org. Rob Lowe anyone? Supported by the Association of American Publishers, other celebs are Iowa’s own Shawn Johnson, Sebastian Junger and Emma Roberts.

Some schools and libraries are designating a spot for kids (and adults) to read for fun during the day. Can you think of a better way to take a break?

Don’t judge this wonderful book by its covers, which are egregious. Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm is, by a wide margin, the most intelligent and engaging romance I’ve ever read. It proves what romance readers have known for generations: a love story with a happy ending can be just as powerful and thoughtful as any other literary novel. The heroine, Maddy Timms, is a devout Quaker: she speaks in a thee-thou manner that other characters remark upon as often you inevitably will. It’s infuriating, it’s different, it’s overly pious and hard to understand. It marks Maddy as a person who lives apart, in a smaller and humbler world than her Anglican peers. Her religion is restrictive and judgmental, but it’s also warm and forgiving and kind – just like Maddy herself. Christian Langland is a standard romantic hero (a strapping, handsome, fabulously wealthy Duke who happens to be a well-known rake), until a neurological illness strikes out of nowhere, shattering his ability to communicate. Only Maddy recognizes that he is not incompetent, an idiot, a savage struck down by God for his immoral ways: he is a sick man. And she is led by God to restore him to health.

There are layers upon layers in this book. Christian is mad; Maddy is a Christian. Flowers and storms pop up in significant junctures throughout the story, bolstering the plot as well as reminding you of the central theme: there is always a way to find something beautiful, something wonderful, even in the darkest and most harrowing times. The point of view alternates between Christian and Maddy, and Ms. Kinsale does an absolutely phenomenal job of illustrating Christian’s rapid mental decline and slow recovery both from inside and outside his fuddled mind. She very rarely writes the same moment from both characters’ perspectives, so you only know what Christian can piece together or what Maddy has been present to see. The scenes inside the lunatic asylum in the immediate aftermath of Christian’s illness are heartwrenching, as we watch him struggle to make even the simplest thought understood by his doctors. Maddy is the first and only person to truly understand him, to know that his intelligence is as fierce as ever but his ability to speak and to understand has been compromised. As their love blossoms, Maddy struggles with her religious convictions and Christian struggles with his illness, his family, and his legal obligations. I’ve never been moved to root for a romance novel couple as I was for these two.

If you’re a romance reader and you’ve never read Flowers from the Storm, do so right away! You won’t regret it. Then, pass it on to a skeptical friend who thinks romances are cheap, tawdry, worthless, or sub-literary: I’ve never read a book more likely to change their mind.