The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham. – ANNA SEWELL, Black Beauty

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is the embodiment of the above quote. The town of Baileyville, Kentucky is not what Alice Wright expected. Growing up in England, all Alice wanted was to get away from her stifling life and her narrow minded parents.  When she met Bennett Van Cleve, a handsome American who promised her a thrilling life away, Alice married him and left. Traveling across the world and eventually ending up in Baileyville, Kentucky, Alice has stars in her eyes about her new life and all the wonderous things she can do.

Baileyville does not live up to her expectations. It quickly becomes claustrophobic as Alice and Bennett are forced to live with Bennett’s overbearing father. Struggling to carve out a life for herself separate than that of her domineering father-in-law and away from the judgmental eyes of the local townsfolk, Alice wants so much more than this life has. When the opportunity to join the team of women delivering books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library appears, Alice promptly signs up.

Beginning to work with the team, Alice learns more about their daily lives and the motivations for why(and how) each ended up with the horseback librarians. The leader of the local horseback librarians is Margery, a woman who quickly becomes Alice’s friend and, more importantly, her ally. Margery has always lived on the outskirts as a self-sufficient, self-confident, and quick-witted woman who has never asked for a man’s permission to do anything. Margery, Alice, and three other women become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky and start bringing books, magazines, recipes, and information to families who desperately need them.

The women are clearly the focus in this novel, but the relationships with the men they love quickly show how compassion, loyalty, humanity, and justice are all necessary components to life in Baileyville, but whether or not the townspeople follow them is another story altogether. Although these women are working hard to provide a necessary service to people, the community doesn’t support their efforts entirely. The dangers these women face grow everyday as they travel the mountainside to bring books and materials to people who have never had any. Apparently giving the community access to facts and information is offensive to some and those people will stop at nothing to end the packhorse librarians for good.

This book is also available in the following formats:

New Nonfiction Books at the Library

Let’s talk about new nonfiction titles! Below you will find a mix of all different kinds of adult nonfiction that is new at the Library. Check them out and see if you would like to read any of them. All descriptions have been provided by the publishers.

The Socrates Express: In Search of Life Lessons from Dead Philosophers by Eric Weiner

The New York Times bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss embarks on a rollicking intellectual journey, following in the footsteps of history’s greatest thinkers and showing us how each—from Epicurus to Gandhi, Thoreau to Beauvoir—offers practical and spiritual lessons for today’s unsettled times.

We turn to philosophy for the same reasons we travel: to see the world from a dif­ferent perspective, to unearth hidden beauty, and to find new ways of being. We want to learn how to embrace wonder. Face regrets. Sustain hope.

Eric Weiner combines his twin passions for philosophy and global travel in a pil­grimage that uncovers surprising life lessons from great thinkers around the world, from Rousseau to Nietzsche, Confucius to Simone Weil. Traveling by train (the most thoughtful mode of transport), he journeys thousands of miles, making stops in Athens, Delhi, Wyoming, Coney Island, Frankfurt, and points in between to recon­nect with philosophy’s original purpose: teaching us how to lead wiser, more meaningful lives. From Socrates and ancient Athens to Simone de Beauvoir and twentieth-century Paris, Weiner’s chosen philosophers and places provide important signposts as we navigate today’s chaotic times.

In The Socrates Express, Weiner invites us to voyage alongside him on his life-changing pursuit of wisdom and discovery as he attempts to find answers to our most vital questions.

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The Ikigai Journey: A Practical Guide to Finding Happiness and Purpose the Japanese Way by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles

Discover the Japanese secret to a long and happy life with the internationally bestselling guide to ikigai.

The people of Japan believe that everyone has an ikigai – a reason to jump out of bed each morning. And according to the residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa – the world’s longest-living people – finding it is the key to a longer and more fulfilled life.

Inspiring and comforting, this book will give you the life-changing tools to uncover your personal ikigai. It will show you how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships and throw yourself into your passions.

Bring meaning and joy to your every day with ikigai.

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The Art of Showing Up: How to Be There for Yourself and Your People by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

A revolutionary guide to friendship and self-care for those who feel alone

When it comes to adult friendships, we’re woefully inept: We barely manage to show up for our own commitments, let alone maintain our relationships. What’s more, we’re living in an uncharted social landscape with new conventions on how to relate—one where actual phone calls are reserved for Mom (if anyone), “dropping in” is unheard-of, and “flaking out” is routine.

The Art of Showing Up offers a roadmap through this morass to true connection with your friends, your family, and yourself. Author Rachel Wilkerson Miller teaches that “showing up” means connecting with others in a way that makes them feel seen and supported. And that begins with showing up for yourself: recognizing your needs, understanding your physical and mental health, and practicing self-compassion. Only then can you better support other people; witness their joy, pain, and true selves; validate their experiences; and help ease their burden.

When “showing up” for others, it’s not the grandest gesture that matters most—it’s how close you come to meeting your loved ones where they really are.

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Better, Not Perfect: A Realist’s Guide to Maximum Sustainable Goodness by Max H. Bazerman

Negotiation and decision-making expert Max Bazerman explores how we can make more ethical choices by aspiring to be better, not perfect.

Every day, you make hundreds of decisions. They’re largely personal, but these choices have an ethical twinge as well; they value certain principles and ends over others. Bazerman argues that we can better balance both dimensions—and we needn’t seek perfection to make a real difference for ourselves and the world.

Better, Not Perfect provides a deeply researched, prescriptive roadmap for how to maximize our pleasure and minimize pain. Bazerman shares a framework to be smarter and more efficient, honest and aware—to attain your “maximum sustainable goodness.” In Part Two, he identifies four training grounds to practice these newfound skills for outsized impact: how you think about equality and your tribe(s); waste—from garbage to corporate excess; the way you spend time; and your approach to giving—whether your attention or your money. Ready to nudge yourself toward better, Part Three trains your eye on how to extend what you’ve learned and positively influence others.

Melding philosophy and psychology as never before, this down-to-earth guide will help clarify your goals, assist you in doing more good with your limited time on the planet, and see greater satisfaction in the process.

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The Sprawl: Reconsidering the Weird American Suburbs by Jason Diamond

For decades the suburbs have been where art happens despite: despite the conformity, the emptiness, the sameness. Time and again, the story is one of gems formed under pressure and that resentment of the suburbs is the key ingredient for creative transcendence. But what if, contrary to that, the suburb has actually been an incubator for distinctly American art, as positively and as surely as in any other cultural hothouse? Mixing personal experience, cultural reportage, and history while rejecting clichés and pieties and these essays stretch across the country in an effort to show that this uniquely American milieu deserves another look.

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Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami

The acclaimed, award-winning novelist–author of The Moor’s Account and The Other Americans–now gives us a bracingly personal work of nonfiction that is concerned with the experiences of “conditional citizens.” What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth–such as national origin, race, or gender–that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other. Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together the author’s own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre

The true story behind the Cold War’s most intrepid female spy.

In 1942, in a quiet village in the leafy English Cotswolds, a thin, elegant woman lived in a small cottage with her three children and her husband, who worked as a machinist nearby. Ursula Burton was friendly but reserved, and spoke English with a slight foreign accent. By all accounts, she seemed to be living a simple, unassuming life. Her neighbors in the village knew little about her.

They didn’t know that she was a high-ranking Soviet intelligence officer. They didn’t know that her husband was also a spy, or that she was running powerful agents across Europe. Behind the facade of her picturesque life, Burton was a dedicated Communist, a Soviet colonel, and a veteran agent, gathering the scientific secrets that would enable the Soviet Union to build the bomb.

This true-life spy story is about the woman code-named “Sonya.” Over the course of her career, she was hunted by the Chinese, the Japanese, the Nazis, MI5, MI6, and the FBI—and she evaded them all. Her story reflects the great ideological clash of the twentieth century—between Communism, Fascism, and Western democracy—and casts new light on the spy battles and shifting allegiances of our own times.

With unparalleled access to Sonya’s diaries and correspondence and never-before-seen information on her clandestine activities, Ben Macintyre has written a history of a legendary secret agent, a woman who influenced the course of the Cold War and helped plunge the world into a decades-long standoff between nuclear superpowers.

This book is also available in the following format:

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We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy by Elijah Cummings with James Dale

Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings was known for saying “We’re better than this.”

He said it in Baltimore, a city on the verge of explosion over police treatment of citizens. He said it in Congress when microphones were shut down, barring free speech. He said it when the President flaunted his power and ignored the Constitution. He said it when the President resorted to bullying, name-calling and feeding racial divisions. We are better than this. He continued to say it until his final days last October. He said it because he believed we must call out what is wrong and call on our better selves to make things right.

In We’re Better Than This, Cummings details the formative moments in his life that prepared him to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his actions while in office. Cummings powerfully weaves together the urgent drama of modern-day politics and the defining stories from his past. He offers a unique perspective on how his upbringing as the son of sharecroppers in a South Baltimore neighborhood, rampant with racism and poverty, laid the foundation of a life spent fighting for justice.

Cummings was known for his ability to referee contentious members of Congress and reach across the aisle for the sake of justice. Since his early days in politics, Cummings proved his abilities as a leader and legal mind who could operate at the highest levels of democracy, always working with – and for – the underserved.

Part memoir, part call-to-action, the book goes behind the scenes with the House Democratic leadership, offering an eye-opening account of the relentless and unprecedented obstructionism by both the President and GOP. Cummings’ final words present a vital defense of how government oversight defines our collective trust and makes the case that, even in the face of our nation’s most challenging times, we must remain rooted in the politics of optimism.

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Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig

A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate and creator of the Instagram account @sitting_pretty Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most.

Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling.

Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life.

Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.

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Son of Escobar: First Born by Roberto Sendoya Escobar

Pablo Escobar was the most notorious drug lord the world has ever seen. He became one of the ten richest men on the planet and controlled 80 per cent of the global cocaine trade before he was shot dead in 1993.

In 1965, a secret mission by Colombian Special Forces, led by an MI6 agent, to recover a cash hoard from a safe house used by a young Pablo Escobar culminates in a shoot-out leaving many dead. Escobar and several of his men escape. Only a baby survives, Roberto Sendoya Escobar. In a bizarre twist of fate, the MI6 agent takes pity on the child, brings him home and later adopts him.

Over the years, Pablo Escobar tries, repeatedly, to kidnap his son. The child, unaware of his true identity, is allowed regular meetings with Escobar and it becomes apparent that Roberto’s adopted father and the British government are working covertly with the gangster in an attempt to control the money laundering and drug trades.

Many years later in England, as Roberto’s father lies dying in hospital, he hands his son a coded piece of paper which, he says, reveals the secret hiding place of Escobar’s ‘missing millions’. The code is published in this book for the first time.

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A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School by Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire

A trenchant analysis of how public education is being destroyed in overt and deceptive ways—and how to fight back

Betsy DeVos may be the most prominent face of the push to dismantle public education, but she is in fact part of a large movement that’s been steadily gaining power and notching progress for decades—amassing funds, honing their messaging, and crafting policies. While support for public education today is stronger than ever, the movement to save our schools remains fragmented, variable, and voluntary. Meanwhile, those set on destroying this beloved institution are unified, patient, and well-resourced.

In A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider, co-hosts of the popular education podcast Have You Heard, lay out the increasingly potent network of conservative elected officials, advocacy groups, funders, and think tanks that have aligned behind a radical vision to unmake public education. They describe the dogma underpinning the work of the dismantlers and how it fits into the current political context, giving readers an up-close look at the policies—school vouchers, the war on teachers’ unions, tax credit scholarships, virtual schools, and more—driving the movement’s agenda. Finally they look forward, surveying the world the dismantlers threaten to build.

As teachers from coast to coast mobilize with renewed vigor, this smart, essential book sounds an alarm, one that should incite a public reckoning on behalf of the millions of families served by the American educational system—and many more who stand to suffer from its unmaking.

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The Language of Thieves: My Family’s Obsession with a Secret Code the Nazis Tried to Eliminate by Martin Puchner

Centuries ago in middle Europe, a coded language appeared, scrawled in graffiti and spoken only by people who were “wiz” (in the know). This hybrid language, dubbed Rotwelsch, facilitated survival for people in flight—whether escaping persecution or just down on their luck. It was a language of the road associated with vagabonds, travelers, Jews, and thieves that blended words from Yiddish, Hebrew, German, Romani, Czech, and other European languages and was rich in expressions for police, jail, or experiencing trouble, such as “being in a pickle.” This renegade language unsettled those in power, who responded by trying to stamp it out, none more vehemently than the Nazis.

As a boy, Martin Puchner learned this secret language from his father and uncle. Only as an adult did he discover, through a poisonous 1930s tract on Jewish names buried in the archives of Harvard’s Widener Library, that his own grandfather had been a committed Nazi who despised this “language of thieves.” Interweaving family memoir with an adventurous foray into the mysteries of language, Puchner crafts an entirely original narrative. In a language born of migration and survival, he discovers a witty and resourceful spirit of tolerance that remains essential in our volatile present.

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The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species by Marianne Taylor

Souvenirs of the planet: Ten (and a half) life forms, each of which explains a key aspect of life on Earth.If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This is the thought-provoking premise of Marianne Taylor’s The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species. Each life forms explains a key aspect about life on Earth. From the sponge that seems to be a plant but is really an animal to the almost extinct soft-shelled turtle deemed extremely unique and therefore extremely precious, these examples reveal how life itself is arranged across time and space, and how humanity increasingly dominates that vision.

Taylor, a prolific science writer, considers the chemistry of a green plant and ponders the possibility of life beyond our world; investigates the virus in an attempt to determine what a life form is; and wonders if the human–“a distinct and very dominant species with an inevitably biased view of life”– could evolve in a new direction. She tells us that the giraffe was one species, but is now four; that the dusky seaside sparrow may be revived through “re-evolution,” or cloning; explains the significance of Darwin’s finch to evolution; and much more. The “half” species is artificial intelligence. Itself an experiment to understand and model life, AI is central to our future–although from the alien visitor’s standpoint, unlikely to inherit the earth in the long run.

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Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy by Reid Forgrave

“I just can’t live with this pain anymore,” were among the final words in the diary of Zac Easter, a young man from small-town Iowa. In December 2015, Zac decided to take his own life rather than continue his losing battle against the traumatic brain injuries he had sustained as a no-holds-barred high school football player. In this deeply reported and powerfully moving true story, award-winning sportswriter Reid Forgrave speaks to Zac’s family, friends, and coaches; he explores Zac’s tightly knit, football-obsessed Midwestern community; he interviews cutting-edge brain scientists, psychologists, and sports historians; and he takes a deep dive into the triumphs and sins of the sports entertainment industry.

Forgrave shows us how football mirrors America, from the fighting spirit it has helped inscribe in our national character to the problematic side effects of traditional notions of manhood that it affirms. But, above all, this is a story of how one young man’s obsession with football led him and many of those entrusted with his care to ignore the warning signs of CTE until it was too late. What do Zac’s life and death mean for a society addicted to a sport that can be thrilling and character forming but also dangerous and sometimes tragic for those who play it?

Eye-opening, important, and ultimately inspiring, Love, Zac challenges us to think carefully about the ideals and values we as a nation want to instill in future generations.

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No Man’s Land: The Trailblazing Women who Ran Britain’s Most Extraordinary Military Hospital During World War I by Wendy Moore

In September 1914, a month after the outbreak of the First World War, two British doctors, Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson, set out for Paris. There, they built a makeshift hospital in Claridge’s, the luxury hotel, and treated hundreds of casualties carted in from France’s battlefields. Until this war called men to the front, female doctors had been restricted to treating only women and children. But even skeptical army officials who visited Flora and Louisa’s Paris hospital sent back glowing reports of their practice. Their wartime hospital was at the cutting edge of medical care — they were the first to use new antiseptic and the first to use x-ray technology to locate bullets and shrapnel. In No Man’s Land, Wendy Moore illuminates this turbulent moment when women were, for the first time, allowed to operate on men. Even as medical schools still denied them entry, Suffragettes across the country put down their bricks to volunteer, determined to prove the value of female doctors. Within months, Flora and Louisa were invited by the British Army to set up two more hospitals-the first in northern France and the second a major military hospital in the heart of London. Nicknamed the “Suffragettes’ Hospital,” Endell Street became renowned as “the best hospital in London,” thanks to its pioneering treatments and reputation for patriotism. It was also one of the liveliest, featuring concerts, tea parties, pantomimes, and picnics, in addition to surgeries. Moreover, Flora and Louisa were partners in life as well as in work. While they struggled to navigate the glass ceiling of early twentieth-century medical care, they also grappled with the stresses and joys of their own relationship. But although Flora, Louisa, and Endell Street effectively proved that women doctors could do the work of men, when the war was over, doors that had been opened were slammed shut. Women found themselves once more relegated to treating only women and children, and often in the poorest neighborhoods. It was not until World War II that women were again permitted to treat men. Drawing from letters, memoirs, diaries, army service records, and interviews, Moore brings these remarkable women and their patients to life and reclaims this important, spirited history. At a time when women are campaigning as hard as ever for equality, the fortitude and brilliance of Flora and Louisa serve as powerful reminders of what women can achieve against all odds.

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Storey’s Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills

With dozens of visual tutorials, this rich compendium will educate and inspire new hobbies and experiences. Have you ever wondered how to capture a swarm of bees? Predict the weather by the clouds? And just how do you darn a pair of socks, anyway? Anyone curious about the myriad ways people have taught themselves to make, grow, and build things will find everything they’ve ever wondered about in this colorful, inviting volume. With dozens of useful and intriguing visual tutorials selected from Storey’s extensive library of how-to books, you can learn how to carve a turkey, create a butterfly garden, set up a dog agility course, keep a nature sketchbook, navigate by the stars, and more. Whether you plan to “do it yourself” or just love reading about how things are done, this rich compendium will educate, fascinate, spark conversation, and inspire new hobbies and experiences.

The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

For a lot of people, 2020 was a year of loneliness. More people than ever before felt the pangs of isolation, the pain of being separated from other people and struggling to make connections. Which is partly why it was poignant and fascinating for me to read The Lonely City by Olivia Laing as 2020 was winding down.

This book does (or tries to do) a lot of things. On the one hand, Laing is telling the story of her own time spent both alone and lonely in New York City after the failure of a relationship. On the other hand, she’s telling the stories of several great artists who did their work in the midst of or in response to loneliness. And on yet another hand, she’s telling the story of what loneliness is, how it works, the studies that have been done about it, and how we can and ought to live in it. However, despite how disparate the different threads are, they braid together into a thoughtful and moving examination of a universal human experience.

Where a strictly self-help style book about living through loneliness might begin to seem preachy or subjective, where a memoir might sink into self-pity and lots of personal details, and where an art biography might seem dry or academic or esoteric, this book slipped neatly in and out of these perspectives, avoiding pitfalls and using the juxtaposition of different elements to underscore important points. The author’s message  is essentially this: all people experience loneliness, when they become emotionally and/or physically separated from the society around them. Loneliness, being essentially desperation for intimacy and human contact, makes its victim socially clumsy, overly sensitive to rejection, and defensive – all of which conspires to keep the person isolated. She urges us to build a more compassionate society that strives to include and reach out to those prone to being pushed to the outskirts.

I liked this book not only for the resonant unpacking of loneliness as a phenomenon, but also for the detailed and thoughtful descriptions of artists’ lives and works. I’m not much of an art connoisseur, so hearing background details about artists, alongside a discerning examination of their work and what it means, really helped me grasp the concepts. By using artists to explore loneliness, moreover, Laing suggests that creativity, imagination, and self-expression are powerful weapons that can be used in and against isolation. Essentially, I came away from this book with a feeling of profound hope. If you’re looking to take a deep dive into art, loneliness, and social isolation, I recommend this book – but be warned, it’s not necessarily for the faint of heart. Most of the artists she describes came to artistic self-expression by living through incredible, heart-breaking hardships that demanded to be put into words.

New Horror Books at the Library

Are you looking for something new to read? Check out the following new horror books that are available at the Davenport Public Library. If you would like to read any of the following, click the link to put them on hold or give us a call at 563-326-7832. All of the following descriptions have been taken from publishers.

The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All  by Laird Barron

Collects nine interconnected stories of cosmic horror and dark fantasy. Barron returns with his third collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. Collecting interlinking tales of sublime cosmic horror, including “Blackwood’s Baby”, “The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven”, and “The Men from Porlock”, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All delivers enough spine-chilling horror to satisfy even the most jaded reader.

The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell

Patrick Semple’s aunt Thelma Turnbill was a successful artist whose late work turned towards the occult. While staying with her in his teens he found evidence that she used to visit magical sites. As an adult he discovers her journal of her explorations, and his teenage son Roy becomes fascinated too. His experiences at the sites scare Patrick away from them, but Roy carries on the search, together with his new girlfriend. Can Patrick convince his son that his increasingly terrible suspicions are real, or will what they’ve helped to rouse take a new hold on the world?

Hunted by Darcy Coates

Eileen has gone missing while hiking in the remote Ashlough Forest. Five days later, her camera is discovered washed downriver, containing bizarre photos taken after her disappearance. Eileen’s brother Chris wants to believe she is still alive. When the police search is abandoned, he and four of his friends create their own search party to scour the mountain range. As they stray further from the hiking trails and the unsettling discoveries mount, they begin to believe they’re not alone in the forest… and that Eileen’s disappearance wasn’t an accident. But by that point, it’s already too late..

Final Cuts edited by Ellen Datlow

From the secret reels of a notoriously cursed cinematic masterpiece to the debauched livestreams of modern movie junkies who will do anything for clicks, Final Cuts brings together new and terrifying stories inspired by the many screens we can’t peel our eyes away from. Inspired by the rich golden age of the film and television industries as well as the new media present, this new anthology reveals what evils hide behind the scenes and between the frames of our favorite medium. With original stories from a diverse list of some of the best-known names in horror, Final Cuts will haunt you long after the credits roll.

Out of Body by Jeffrey Ford

A small-town librarian witnesses a murder at his local deli, and what had been routine sleep paralysis begins to transform into something far more disturbing. The trauma of holding a dying girl in his arms drives him out of his own body. The town he knows so well is suddenly revealed to him from a whole new perspective. Secrets are everywhere and demons fester behind closed doors. Worst of all, he discovers a serial killer who has been preying on the area for over a century, one capable of traveling with him through his dreams

American Demon by Kim Harrison

What happens after you’ve saved the world? Well, if you’re Rachel Mariana Morgan, witch-born demon, you quickly discover that something might have gone just a little bit wrong. That the very same acts you and your friends took to forge new powers may have released something bound by the old. With a rash of zombies, some strange new murders, and an exceedingly mysterious new demon in town, it will take everything Rachel has to counter this new threat to the world–and it may demand the sacrifice of what she holds most dear

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

A young woman living in a rigid, repressive society discovers dark powers within herself, with terrifying and far-reaching consequences, in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut. In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. The daughter of an union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement. But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood. Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Woman in Black  by Susan Hill

Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images—a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black.

Ballistic Kiss by Richard Kadrey

As the battle between warring angels continues, James Stark is focused on seemingly simpler matters now that he’s resurfaced on earth: an invasion of ghosts. L.A.’s Little Cairo neighborhood has suddenly been overrun by violent spirits, and Thomas Abbott knows if anyone can figure out why they’ve appeared—and how to get rid of them—it’s Stark.
Armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark quickly learns that the answer may reach back to the 1970s and the unsolved murder of small-time actor, Chris Stein. As he begins to dig into the cold case, another area of Stark’s life takes an unexpected turn when he becomes entangled with Janet, a woman he saved during the High Plains Drifter zombie attack.

Janet’s brush with the living dead hasn’t quenched her thirst for danger. She’s an adrenaline junkie and a member of The Zero Lodge—a club that promises “there’s zero chance you’ll get out alive.” The Lodge attracts thrill seekers who flock to perilous events such as night walks through the LA Zoo—with its deadliest animals uncaged. Joining the lodge to be with Janet, Stark makes a pair of crucial discoveries that could decide the fate of LA and Heaven itself. To prevent the Little Cairo haunting from consuming the city, Stark must piece together the connections between the Lodge and a missing angel last seen in a Hollywood porn palace. But while he may dispatch the ghosts, Stark knows that without his help, the bloody war in Heaven could rage forever.

The Bank by Bentley Little

“We know who you are! Can your current bank say that? We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled service to all of our customers. We’re looking forward to banking with YOU!”

In the small town of Montgomery, Arizona, Kyle Decker’s book shop is barely breaking even. When a bank opens in the empty storefront next door, he hopes the new establishment will bring in more foot traffic. Trouble is, nobody has ever heard of The First People’s Bank, and the local branch has appeared mysteriously overnight. Their incentives for new customers seem reasonable… at first. But is it a coincidence when Kyle’s wife has her identity stolen, and his son receives emails that seem to know his private thoughts? Or when the manager of a competing financial institution dies a gruesome death?

Soon, if people in Montgomery, Arizona, want to buy a new car or home, or if they need a small business loan, they have no choice but to work with The First People’s Bank. As The Bank makes increasingly bizarre demands on its customers, it becomes clear the town may be in too deep… and the penalty for an early withdrawal is too terrifying to imagine.

Malorie by Josh Malerman

Now from the mind of a true master of suspense comes the next chapter in Bird Box. This time, Malorie is front and center, and she will confront the dangers of her world head-on.

Twelve years after Malorie and her children rowed up the river to safety, a blindfold is still the only thing that stands between sanity and madness. One glimpse of the creatures that stalk the world will drive a person to unspeakable violence. There remains no explanation. No solution. All Malorie can do is survive. But then comes what feels like impossible news. And with it, the first time Malorie has allowed herself to hope. Someone very dear to her, someone she believed dead, may be alive. Malorie has a harrowing choice to make: to live by the rules of survival that have served her so well, or to venture into the darkness and reach for hope once more.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The House of a Hundred Whispers by Graham Masterton

Dartmoor, with its mists, bleak winter weather and overwhelming sense of isolation, is the perfect place to build a prison. It’s not a place many would choose to live–yet the Governor of Dartmoor Prison did just that. When Herbert Russell retired, he bought All Hallow’s Hall–a rambling Tudor mansion on the edge of the moor, and lived there all his life. Now he’s dead, and his estranged family are set to inherit his estate. But when the dead man’s family come to stay, the atmosphere of the moors seems to drift into every room. Floorboards creak, secret passageways echo, and wind whistles in the house’s famous priest hole. And then, on the morning the family decide to leave All Hallow’s Hall once and for all, their young son Timmy goes missing…

A Killing Frost  by Seanan McGuire

October Daye finds herself confronted with her family’s past and responsible for peace in the Kingdom of the Mists, as she plans for her wedding and for her future. When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the ceremony throwing the Kingdom in the Mists into political turmoil, she finds herself setting out on a quest she was not yet prepared to undertake for the sake of her future…. and the man who represents her family’s past.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noem̕ Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She|s not sure what she will find|her cousin|s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noem̕ knows little about the region. Noem̕ is also an unlikely rescuer: She|s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she|s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin|s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noem̕; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi|s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family|s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noem̕, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family|s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family|s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noem̕ digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noem̕, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Living Dead  by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus

Set in the present day, The Living Dead is an entirely new tale, the story of the zombie plague as George A. Romero wanted to tell it. A pair of medical examiners find themselves battling a dead man who won’t stay dead. In a Midwestern trailer park, a Black teenage girl and a Muslim immigrant battle newly-risen friends and family. On a US aircraft carrier, living sailors hide from dead ones while a fanatic makes a new religion out of death. At a cable news station, a surviving anchor keeps broadcasting while his undead colleagues try to devour him. In DC, an autistic federal employee charts the outbreak, preserving data for a future that may never come.

Violet by Scott Thomas

For many children, the summer of 1988 was filled with sunshine and laughter. But for ten-year-old Kris Barlow, it was her chance to say goodbye to her dying mother. Three decades later, loss returns–her husband killed in a car accident. And so, Kris goes home to the place where she first knew pain–to that summer house overlooking the crystal waters of Lost Lake. It’s there that Kris and her eight-year-old daughter will make a stand against grief. BUT a shadow has fallen over the quiet lake town of Pacington, Kansas. Beneath its surface, an evil has grown–and inside that home where Kris Barlow last saw her mother, an old friend awaits her return.

Tiny Nightmares edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxielli Nieto

In this playful, spine-tingling collection, leading literary and horror writers spin unforgettably chilling tales in only a few pages. Tiny Nightmares brings to life broken-hearted vampires, Uber-taking serial killers, mind-reading witches, and monsters of all imaging, as well as stories that tackle the horrors of our modern world from global warming and racism to social media addiction and online radicalization. Writers such as Samantha Hunt, Brian Evenson, Jac Jemc, Stephen Graham Jones, Kevin Brockmeier, and Rion Amilcar Scott expand our understanding of horror fiction with inventive and blood-curdling new tales.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia. To her parent’s despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barrett’s plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

This book is also available in the following format:

Just Like That by Cole McCade

The weather won’t stop getting colder anytime soon, but a steamy book might warm you right up! My latest suggestion: Just Like That by Cole McCade. This sweet story about second chances at happily-ever-after centers on Summer Hemlock, who comes back to his hometown to work at his old school, and Fox Iseya, Summer’s former teacher and current crush, who’s been grieving his late wife for so long he can’t imagine himself otherwise. Summer, crippled by anxiety, quickly changes all that by proposing an unusual deal: every time he can do something brave, he earns a kiss from Fox. Fox finds himself unexpectedly flustered and intrigued by the offer, and the resulting relationship might just heal them both.

Despite the frankly unlikely character names, I found this book sweet, endearing, funny, and yes, steamy, with lots of points in its favor, including a strongly ethical portrayal of relationships, grief, and self-confidence. Both characters are fully-developed people with personalities, hobbies, and foibles. Both characters are students of psychology, and they don’t shy away from discussing the underlying issues each is grappling with. There’s also good solid representation of consent and negotiating intimacy to both partners’ comfort level.  Maybe most importantly, though Summer is Fox’s former student, the book is clear that nothing personal happens or could happen between them unless they’re both fully mature, consenting adults – a vital point for me to enjoy the story. All of these elements combined to create a novel that, though definitely erotica, has love, respect, and the characters’ wellbeing at its heart.

If you need to believe in second chances, if you want to feel hope and bravery, and if you’re looking for a healing, escapist read for your wintry days, I recommend giving this new book a try – Just Like That.

The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

“We cannot solve our most intractable problems unless we are honest about what they are, unless we are willing to have difficult conversations and accept what facts make plain.”

Upon the groundbreaking milestone of Kamala Harris becoming the first woman, first Black, and first South Asian American to serve as vice president-elect of the United States, I made it a priority to get my hands on her book The Truths We Hold. In this book, Harris recounts memories of her upbringing, including the monumental role social justice played in her life from a young age; chronicles her career path from prosecutor, to district attorney, to attorney general, to U.S. senator, to vice president-elect; and asserts truths behind key issues affecting our world today.

Throughout the text, Harris stresses how she is motivated by the opportunity to give those without voices fair and just representation in government and, thereby, in the laws and policies governing their everyday lives. Upon finishing, I was inspired by the ways in which Harris has used her various positions of power to be a voice for the people she represented, despite the countless frustrations and setbacks she faced. No matter who may have doubted her or her ideas, she did what she knew needed to be done to serve and truly represent those counting on her.

I also appreciated the humanistic lens applied to this text. Rather than just write about her views on issues on a broad and general scale, Harris illustrated the human beings who she was able to help by listening to their stories and directly responding to their needs. From representing sexual assault victims, to creating initiatives aimed at reforming the criminal justice system, to helping pass legislation at the federal level to ensure the legality and legitimacy of same-sex marriage in the state of California, Harris’ experience and work has not only served as models for other states, but has also demonstrated her true passion for helping those who need help with the power she possesses. Additionally, she has blazed a path for up-and-coming women of all backgrounds and will undoubtedly inspire countless women to participate in U.S. government and politics.

At its conclusion, Harris takes the time to consider some of the truths she herself has learned from her experience in government over the years and one of the most powerful of these is this: “You may be the first. Don’t be the last.” Reading this immediately gave me goose bumps, as she used those very words in her address upon becoming vice president-elect with respect to her becoming the first woman to hold this office. She is truly an inspirational figure and this book was definitely one of the most interesting and motivational titles I have read this year.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Book on CD

Overdrive eAudiobook

Overdrive eBook

Best Seller Club January Authors – Nicholas Sparks and John Sandford

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! January’s authors are Nicholas Sparks for fiction and John Sandford for mystery. Have you read either of these authors?

Our fiction pick for January is Nicholas Sparks. So far, Sparks has published 21 novels and one non-fiction memoir that he co-wrote with his brother. His books have been published in more than 50 languages and have sold more than 105 million copies worldwide. His first novel, The Notebook, was written in six months when Sparks was 28 and he followed that up with more. You may already be familiar with the film adaptations of many of Nicholas Sparks novels, all of which he has served as a producer on.

Nicholas Sparks’ newest book is The ReturnThis title was released on September 29, 2020. Curious what The Return is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, NC. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked as an orthopedic surgeon sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.

Tending to his grandfather’s beloved bee hives while gearing up for a second stint in medical school, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . and yet, from their very first encounter, his connection with Natalie Masterson can’t be ignored. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

Further complicating his stay in New Bern is the presence of a sullen teenage girl, Callie, who lives in the trailer park down the road from his grandfather’s cabin. Claiming to be 19, she works at the local sundries store and keeps to herself. When he discovers she was once befriended by his grandfather, Trevor hopes Callie can shed light on the mysterious circumstances of his grandfather’s death, but she offers few clues — until a crisis triggers a race that will uncover the true nature of Callie’s past, one more intertwined with the elderly man’s passing than Trevor could ever have anticipated.

In his quest to unravel Natalie and Callie’s secrets, Trevor will learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness . . . and that in life, to move forward, we must often return to the place where it all began.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our mystery author for January is John Sandford, the pseudonym for John Roswell Camp. He has written over 40 novels and has also published two non-fiction books as well. In addition to those novels, Camp co-wrote a science fiction book called Saturn Run and three young adult novels with Michele Cook in the Singular Menace series. All of his books have made it onto the New York Times best-seller lists.  Camp is also an Iowa native! He was born in Cedar Rapids.

John Sandford’s newest book is Ocean PreyThis book will be released on April 13, 2021. Curious what Ocean Prey is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

An off-duty Coast Guardsman is fishing with his family when he calls in some suspicious behavior from a nearby boat. It’s a snazzy craft, slick and outfitted with extra horsepower, and is zipping along until it slows to pick up a surfaced diver . . . a diver who was apparently alone, without his own boat, in the middle of the ocean. None of it makes sense unless there’s something hinky going on, and his hunch is proved right when all three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.

They’re federal officers killed on the job, which means the case is the FBI’s turf. When the FBI’s investigation stalls out, they call in Lucas Davenport. And when his case turns lethal, Davenport will need to bring in every asset he can claim, including a detective with a fundamentally criminal mind: Virgil Flowers.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Ace by Angela Chen

“The words are gifts. If you know which terms to search, you know how to find others who might have something to teach.” 

In the world of relationships and identities, asexuality is relatively unknown, but it’s vitally important. To understand why, read Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen.  Journalist Chen uses her own experiences as well as those of a diverse group of asexual people to explain what asexuality is and how it feels, and also to expose some hidden truths about ourselves and our societies.

First things first: what DOES it mean? To put it simply, someone who is asexual doesn’t experience sexual attraction. There are as many different ways this works as there are asexual people, but that’s the main point to remember: no sexual attraction. If you’re puzzled, have never heard of this before, and are wondering if I’m just making this up, check out this book, or The Invisible Orientation by Julie Decker, another vital text on the subject, available through interlibrary loan.

To paraphrase the publisher: Both highly readable and unflinchingly honest, Ace uses a blend of reporting, cultural criticism, and memoir to address the misconceptions around the “A” of LGBTQIA and invites everyone to rethink pleasure and intimacy. I personally think that description is spot-on: Chen clearly conducted rigorous research to write this book, but she balances the academic language with personal stories that bring the theoretical ideas and big words into the real, practical world. This makes it easier to understand the tough concepts she introduces, like how gender and race intersect with sexual orientation. Most importantly, she makes it clear that her goal is acceptance and freedom for EVERYONE to build the life and relationships they want, without judgment, pressure, or shame.

You don’t need to be asexual yourself to benefit from this book; you just need to have an open mind. My hope is that if you don’t already know about this word and the diverse and beautiful community it represents, you’ll be intrigued, validated, or at least better informed by learning more about it.

Book Club – The Library Book on January 27th

Cure the winter blues and join us for a book discussion on Wednesday, January 27th at 6:30p. We will be discussing The Library Book by Susan Orlean. Copies of the book are available at our Eastern Avenue location for patrons to borrow for this book club. This program will meet virtually using GoTo Meeting. No registration required. Information about how to join is listed below.

Curious what The Library Book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity; brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own experiences in libraries; and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago.

Along the way, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present—from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as “The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves.

Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.

This book is also available in the following formats:

‘The Library Book’ by Susan Orlean book discussion
Wed, Jan 27, 2021 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM (CST)

Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/402755917

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212

Access Code: 402-755-917

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Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle

“Bright, colorful, and whimsical—yet charmingly familiar—Stranger Planet is out-of-this-world fun.”

One of my major habits as a reader is balance – I always need to balance out the heavy with the light, the sweet with the salty. It’s how I stay sane, ESPECIALLY when the sweet, light books are like Strange Planet and Stranger Planet by Nathan W. Pyle. There’s nothing like a book of comics as a palate cleanser, and there’s nothing like Pyle’s comics, period.

Stranger Planet is the second book of Pyle’s comics (originally shared on social media) and a worthy successor to the first. In both cases, it’s a pared-down world of bright pinks, blues, greens, and purples, where genderless aliens navigate a strangely familiar world of “cohesion” (marriage), “mild poison” (alcohol), “offspring” (kids), “elastic breath traps” (balloons), and much more.

These comics are charming for me because I love the quirky, gentle humor of examining everyday activities through a fresh perspective. I’m also a huge sucker for wordplay, which doesn’t hurt. Basically, if you’re looking for a quick break or to rediscover a sense of wonder about the world, I definitely recommend you check out Stranger Planet by Nathan Pyle.