This 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!
Off the Beaten Page by Terri Smith encourages avid readers, particularly those in book clubs and other groups, to leave the security of their living rooms and seek to experience in person the places they’ve read about.This book is ideal for anyone eager to mix their love of travel and quality time with friends or family with their desire for meaningful cultural experiences.
Inspired by years of excursions with her own book club, award-winning journalist Terri Smith offers lively, expert guidance through fifteen US destinations including Boston, Chicago, Austin, and Santa Fe. She describes each destination’s literary heritage and attractions and suggests three-day itineraries that include plenty of lit-inspired excursions – a tour of Santa Monica through the eyes of Raymond Chandler, a Devil in the White City view of Chicago in the Gilded Age, an exploration of Edith Wharton’s elite Newport, Rhode Island – while blending in “beyond the book” experiences such as Broadway shows, Segway tours and kayaking.
Practical, entertaining and inspirational, Off the Beaten Page is the ideal companion for adventurous readers or anyone looking to enrich a weekend getaway. (description from publisher)
The 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)
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 email@example.com 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?
Ever wonder how other readers find great books? What sources do they search, what fount of wisdom to they consult? Contrary to popular myth, librarians do not get to sit around all day and read (if only!!) We’re looking for our next great read, just like you. So we’re introducing a new series of blog posts that will help you find the books you want to read – books, magazines, blogs (other than our very own Info Cafe, of course) that will point you in the right direction. First up: a sure fire winner from everyone’s favorite famous librarian.
The third title in Nancy Pearl’s growing series of what to read (after Book Lust and More Book Lust) is the newly published Book Lust to Go: Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds and Dreamers. Whether you’re a globe-trotting enthusiast or prefer to dream about other lands, Book Lust to Go will satisfy your wanderlust (Nancy owns up to being a determined non-traveler herself) Using the same format as her earlier books, topics are arranged in short, pithy chapters, with brief descriptions of recommended titles plus a few choice quotes to entice you into picking up a title. Subjects range from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Texas to Tibet and include modes of transportation (hiking, walking, trains) and even a chapter cautioning on the hazards of travel (“It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time”) Coverage is idiosyncratic, covering countries, cities (Berlin, LasVegas), regions (Chesapeake Bay, Appalachia, Cornwall) and states (Ohio, Nebraska, Wyoming but sadly, no Iowa) There are some curious omissions but Nancy points out that many travel subjects and titles may have already been covered in her earlier books. You certainly won’t lack for interesting and exciting travel reading with just this book whether you’re planning your next adventure, or planning to sit comfortably by the fire and read about the adventures of others.
Nancy is a regular contributor NPR Morning Edition (usually airing on Fridays) where she always has interesting book recommendations. You can also follow her via her blog at NancyPearl.com where she has in-depth descriptions of her recommended titles, links to her NPR segments and access to the Book Lust Shop where you can buy her titles or a librarian action figure – and who doesn’t need one of those?
Watch for more Book Watch entries in the weeks to come!
Are you on your way to a dinner party where you know people will be dropping the names of hot new authors? And you barely have time to skim the newspaper, let alone devour big, fat sagas the way you used to do?
Well, look no further than www.earlyword.com. It’ll give you quick reviews of popular and notorious books, movies based on books, books featured on Oprah, Comedy Central, etc. It even forecasts “Major Titles on Sale in the Coming Week,” (no one can blame you for not reading what hasn’t even hit the shelves yet!)
A favorite of librarians, Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust reviews are featured prominently.
In the Book Group link, you’ll find information about authors available for book group discussions by phone.
Can’t remember the book everyone is suddenly talking about? You can quickly check the New York Times Bestsller lists.
*Motto of Newsweek’s book reviewer. “You love reading newsy nonfiction, but you just don’t have the time. We get it, and we’re here to help. Give us five minutes, and we’ll give you the whole book—the big ideas, the best bits, the buzziest details. And you’ll get hours of your life back…”
Here’s an opportunity to give yourself a little pre-Christmas bonus. November is going to be a huge month for fiction. The biggest names are going to hit the shelf with what I assume is what they intend to be everyone’s stocking stuffers.
Nothing says you can’t get your hold in right now on DPL’s copy. Here’s a taste. Hit the forthcoming fiction page for a full look at what’s to come as things start to chill out outside.
Clive Cussler — The Wrecker
John Grisham — Ford County
James Patterson — I, Alex Cross
Sue Grafton — U is for Undertow
Robert Jordan — Gathering Storm
Sandra Brown — Rainwater
Stephen King — Under the Dome
Dean Koontz — Breathless
Any book the President picks up instantly becomes the subject of analysis and fascination. Everyone knows that Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin which describes Lincoln choosing several political rivals for his cabinet and staff, is an Obama favorite.
According to AbeBooks.com, The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria, and Lincoln: the Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan are some other books he has been seen with.
Check out Mr. Obama’s Facebook page for some of his favorite books, such as Moby Dick, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and the Bible.
Libraries love the fact that, not only is he the world’s most famous reader, he is also a talented writer (both attributes can do no harm to our bottom line…the number of materials that are checked out).
According to the New York Times, Mr. Obama’s own Dreams from My Father, “evinces an instinctive storytelling talent…and that odd combination of empathy and detachment gifted novelists possess.” Obama won the 2006 Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album” for his reading of his memoir and search for identity.
So, check out one of these books, carry it around and see if anyone snaps a photo….
The end of the year always brings an avalanche lists and awards – winners for being the “best” in various fields and lists of the “Top 10″ of just about everything. In that spirit, the Davenport Library is joining in with our own end-of-year list. Here are the favorite books that our Blogging Librarians read in 2008.
Lynn’s favorite was The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett about the Queen of England taking up reading. It had great insight into the life of the Queen and the (sometime subversive) value of reading. Read her description of it here.
Bill liked Red White and Brew : an American Brew Odyssey by Brian Yaegaer. Follow Yaeger cross-country as he explores the brew pubs and small breweries of America.
Rita recommends following the Harlan Coben mystery series on CD. With great characters and interesting puzzles to solve, you’ll want to read/listen to them all.
Rebecca loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, about a boy who runs away with the circus. Rebecca says this was one of those rare books that is life-changing, making you stop and see the world from an entirely new perspective. She blogged about it here.
Tana’s favorite was The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Tana wrote about it before Oprah picked it for her bookclub, predicting that this was a book that would take the country by storm. Read her blog post here.
My choice is So Young Brave and Handsome by Leif Enger, a poignant coming-of-age story set at the end of the Wild West era. Full of adventure and emotion, I wrote more about it here.
Those are our picks – what about you? What was your favorite book that you read in 2008?
Today is International Literacy Day! What better way to celebrate than to teach someone to read?
At the Davenport Main Library, we have two special sections which can help you do just that. Our ESL (or English as a Second Language) area is located on the second floor in the southwest corner. If English is not your native tongue, this is a good place to start. Picture dictionaries are an example of the material found here. If you can’t remember the word, you can always point to the picture of it!
Another area located in the same corner at Main is the Learning Center, which deals primarily with literacy issues. Most of the items here help those with limited reading abilities who want to master basic life skills. For example, there’s a whole series called Life Skills Literacy which includes titles such as Things to Know About Personal Paperwork or Things to Know About Spending and Saving Money, all by Richard Kimball. Come to think about it, even some very literate people could use these books!