Dead Collections by Isaac Feldman

Are you a dedicated user of our Special Collections department, or another archive? Do you love urban vampire stories or LGBTQIA literary fiction? If you said yes, or are intrigued, definitely try reading Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman. I checked it out because I had heard it was good transgender representation set in an archival setting and was delighted by the love story and identity exploration amidst an archival mystery. Here’s a quick summary:

When archivist Sol meets Elsie, the larger than life widow of a moderately famous television writer who’s come to donate her wife’s papers, there’s an instant spark. But Sol has a secret: he suffers from an illness called vampirism, and hides from the sun by living in his basement office. On their way to falling in love, the two traverse grief, delve into the Internet fandom they once unknowingly shared, and navigate the realities of transphobia and the stigmas of carrying the “vampire disease.” Then, when strange things start happening at the collection, Sol must embrace even more of the unknown to save himself and his job.

I loved reading both the experiences of trans man Sol and Elsie, who goes down a rabbit hole of gender exploration while falling in love with Sol. I also thought the way the story’s different threads wove together was clever and unique; this isn’t just a romance, or an urban fantasy, or a literary fiction, or a mystery, it’s a truly unusual blend of all of these, and reads like a prose poem. Sol’s narration is also reminiscent of the storytelling in Life of Pi by Yann Martel, incorporating glimpses of and insights from different times in Sol’s life. Different formats (email, scripts, etc.) were also woven into the narrative to echo the multimedia landscape of modern life.

As someone who reads more genre fiction than literary fiction, I did find the poetic writing style difficult in places, but the raw and real emotions, in all their complexity, that the characters lived through were really powerful and profound. I recommend this quirky and moving book to anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind reading experience full of queer representation, cool libraries, and mysterious goings-on.

September is Deaf Awareness Month

The Davenport Public Library is putting on the Quad Cities Deaf Resource Fair on Thursday September 29th at our Eastern Avenue location.

Please join us at the Davenport Public Library Eastern Avenue location as we celebrate Deaf Awareness Month on Thursday, September 29th from 4-7 PM. The Resource Fair will include a wide variety of information available in the Quad Cities area for people who are Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing and/or Late-Deafened. The Fair is open to the entire community and all ages are welcome. FREE food and beverages will be available and door prizes as well! The event is available to anyone in the community who wants to learn more about resources and information for the Deaf community! American Sign Language interpreters will be provided.

This event is brought to you by Relay Iowa, Telecommunications Access Iowa, Iowa/Illinois Center for Independent Living, Quad Cities Deaf Club & the Davenport Public Library.

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September is Deaf Awareness Month.  Below is a list of titles for all ages selected by our library staff.  This is by no means a definitive list. All descriptions are from NoveList, GoodReads, or the publishers.

Can Bears Ski? by Raymond Antrobus

Is Little Bear ignoring his friends when they say hi, or is something else going on? A discovery opens new doors in a tale that will delight kids with deafness and all children learning to navigate their world.

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El Deafo by Cece Bell

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.

Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school — in the hallway… in the teacher’s lounge… in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend?

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This is Kind of An Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender

Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?

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Disability Visibility  edited by Alice Wong

The seventeen eye-opening essays in Disability Visibility, all written by disabled people, offer keen insight into the complex and rich disability experience, examining life’s ableism and inequality, its challenges and losses, and celebrating its wisdom, passion, and joy.

The accounts in this collection ask readers to think about disabled people not as individuals who need to be “fixed,” but as members of a community with its own history, culture, and movements. They offer diverse perspectives that speak to past, present, and future generations. It is essential reading for all.

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You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino

Jilly thinks she’s figured out how life works. But when her sister Emma is born Deaf, she realizes how much she still has to learn.

A big fantasy reader, Jilly connects with another fan, Derek, who is a Deaf Black ASL user. She goes to Derek for advice but doesn’t always know the best way to ask for it and makes some mistakes along the way. Jilly has to step back to learn to be an ally, a sister, and a friend, understanding that life works in different ways for different people, and that being open to change can make you change in the best possible ways.

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Show Me A Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Deaf author and librarian Ann Clare LeZotte weaves a riveting Own Voices story inspired by the true history of a thriving deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 19th century.

Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there — including Mary — are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage.But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary’s brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a “live specimen” in a cruel experiment. Her struggle to save herself is at the core of this penetrating and poignant novel that probes our perceptions of ability and disability. It will make you forever question your own ideas about what is normal.

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Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism by Elsa Sjunneson

A Deafblind writer and professor explores how the misrepresentation of disability in books, movies, and TV harms both the disabled community and everyone else.

As a Deafblind woman with partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids, Elsa Sjunneson lives at the crossroads of blindness and sight, hearing and deafness—much to the confusion of the world around her. While she cannot see well enough to operate without a guide dog or cane, she can see enough to know when someone is reacting to the visible signs of her blindness and can hear when they’re whispering behind her back. And she certainly knows how wrong our one-size-fits-all definitions of disability can be.

As a media studies professor, she’s also seen the full range of blind and deaf portrayals on film, and here she deconstructs their impact, following common tropes through horror, romance, and everything in between. Part memoir, part cultural criticism, part history of the Deafblind experience, Being Seen explores how our cultural concept of disability is more myth than fact, and the damage it does to us all.

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Impossible Music by Sean Williams

Music is Simon’s life—which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counselled, refusing to learn sign-language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly-experienced deafness.

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True Biz by Sara Novic

True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.

This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

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Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Ben and Rose secretly wish for better lives. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories – Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in pictures – weave back and forth in symmetry.

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Song for A Whale by Lynne Kelly

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the Schneider Family Book Award-winning story of a deaf girl’s connection to a whale whose song can’t be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

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Unstoppable: Women With Disabilities written by Helen Wolfe, illustrated by Jaren Patkau

Ten very different disabled women, from neurosurgeon Dr. Karin Muraszko to environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who are making a difference in the world.
Around the world, people living with disabilities face barriers in the built environment, in employment and education, and in social attitudes and policies that can make it hard to live a full and satisfying life.

The ten women we meet in this book face physical and mental health challenges, some from birth and some who became disabled later in life. But they all share the determination to make the world a better place, not just for themselves but for those who will come after them. Their fields are as diverse as elite sport, neurosurgery, architecture, and environmental activism, and while some have devoted themselves to disability policy, others prefer to lead by example. In either case they have proved themselves to be unstoppable.

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Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters—her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice?

September’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s a new month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you.

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Jenna Bush Hager has selected Solito: A Memoir by Javier Zamora for her September pick.

Curious what Solito is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

A young poet tells the unforgettable story of his harrowing migration from El Salvador to the United States at the age of nine in this moving, page-turning memoir hailed as “the mythic journey of our era” (Sandra Cisneros)

Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago—“one day, you’ll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.”

Javier’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone except for a group of strangers and a “coyote” hired to lead them to safety, Javier’s trip is supposed to last two short weeks.

At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, and living under the same roof again. He cannot foresee the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.

A memoir as gripping as it is moving, Solito not only provides an immediate and intimate account of a treacherous and near-impossible journey, but also the miraculous kindness and love delivered at the most unexpected moments. Solito is Javier’s story, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton for her September pick.

Curious what On the Rooftop is about? Check out the following description provided by the author.

A stunning novel about a mother whose dream of musical stardom for her three daughters collides with the daughters’ ambitions for their own lives–set against the backdrop of gentrifying 1950s San Francisco.

At home they are just sisters, but on stage, they are The Salvations. Ruth, Esther, and Chloe have been singing and dancing in harmony since they could speak. Thanks to the rigorous direction of their mother, Vivian, they’ve become a bona fide girl group whose shows are the talk of the Jazz-era Fillmore.

Now Vivian has scored a once-in-a-lifetime offer from a talent manager, who promises to catapult The Salvations into the national spotlight. Vivian knows this is the big break she’s been praying for. But sometime between the hours of rehearsal on their rooftop and the weekly gigs at the Champagne Supper Club, the girls have become women, women with dreams that their mother cannot imagine.

The neighborhood is changing, too: all around the Fillmore, white men in suits are approaching Black property owners with offers. One sister finds herself called to fight back, one falls into the comfort of an old relationship, another yearns to make her own voice heard. And Vivian, who has always maintained control, will have to confront the parts of her life that threaten to splinter: the community, The Salvations, and even her family.

Warm, gripping, and wise, with echoes of Fiddler on the Roof, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton’s latest novel is a moving family portrait from “a writer of uncommon nerve and talent” (New York Times Book Review).

Join our Best Sellers Club to have Oprah, Jenna, and Reese’s adult selections automatically put on hold for you!

‘Daisy Darker’ by Alice Feeney

“Families are like fingerprints; no two are the same, and they tend to leave their mark.”
― Alice Feeney, Daisy Darker

Alice Feeney’s latest novel, Daisy Darker, is a dark and twisty locked-room mystery of a family gathered together for their grandmother’s birthday. It was deliciously messy and full of family drama. This is a contender for my favorite novel of 2022.

Daisy Darker was born with a broken heart. She wasn’t particularly wanted by either of her parents, but nevertheless she survived and was brought home to start her life with her parents and her two older sisters. Flash forward years and Daisy’s entire family is assembling for Nana’s 80th birthday party on a tiny tidal island in her crumbling gothic house. The family has been avoiding each other for years, but a fortune teller foretold that Nana would die on her 80th birthday, so the family has assembled per her wishes.

As each member of the family arrives, they bring baggage, both physical and the secrets that they are all hiding from each other. The tidal island that Nana lives on means that the entire family will be shut off from the rest of the world for eight hours until the tide goes out. At midnight, a storm rages across the island. A scream pierces the night. Nana is found dead. An hour later, another family member is discovered dead. A deadly mystery has come to the island and the Darker family is left wondering who is responsible. Stuck on the island where someone is murdering the members of the Darker family one by one, they all must pull out their past secrets until they figure out the present murder mystery. They just have to make it until the tide goes out and they can escape the island. The deadly force on island may not let them leave alive though. Only time will tell.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Key Changes: Machine Gun Kelly and Mainstream Sellout

As someone who’s had the song Emo Girl (featuring Willow Smith) stuck in their head on and off for weeks, I think this is a perfect time to explore controversial artist Machine Gun Kelly’s professional journey from hip-hop and rap to pop-punk and mainstream success, culminating in 2022’s appropriately-named album Mainstream Sellout.

He rose to fame with a series of rap and hip-hop mixtapes (generally acclaimed) before releasing studio albums, starting with Lace Up in 2012, General Admission in 2015, and Bloom in 2017. Notable features included rapid-fire flow and pride in an unattractive underdog image. Then in 2020 he made a dramatic shift from rap to pop/punk with the release of Tickets to My Downfall – a shocking, impressive, and fluid album still with rap-inspired elements.

Why did he make the move? Without knowing details, it reminds me of Lady Gaga’s professional journey (which is a blog post in itself) in which she made mostly loud statement pieces until she’d captured public attention and then, fame established, moved to a more stripped-down mainstream sound in albums like Joanne. (Lady Gaga, of course, has now moved back to her outlandish roots with the flashier album Chromatica, but I digress.) Sometimes musicians want to try something different and explore their other interests, but don’t have the freedom to do so until they’ve reached a certain level of success.

Whatever the reason he seems satisfied with his new career track, since he continued with pop/punk in 2022’s album, Mainstream Sellout. The reviews have been mixed, but the album has had big commercial success debuting high on the Billboard 200 charts. Emo Girl ft. Willow is particularly good track (though I may be biased in saying that) — it’s a good example of the overall pop punk revival going on in the 2020s, partly because it’s extremely self-aware of how it’s referencing a scene more than participating in it. Rolling Stone called it “gleefully derivative” and on the whole the feeling is of playing a part and having a ton of fun with it.  Willow Smith’s vocals shine, her gen Z energy a good balance to Kelly’s so-called “buzzsaw bubblegum”.

For myself, I haven’t heard the whole album yet, but I enjoy Machine Gun Kelly better in pop-punk, which is one of my favorite genres. I know I may be in the minority; what are your thoughts on Machine Gun Kelly, Willow, or the pop-punk revival? Let us know in the comments!

Best Sellers Club September Authors: Jojo Moyes and J.R. Ward

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! September’s authors are Jojo Moyes for fiction and J.R. Ward for romance.

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Our September fiction author is Jojo Moyes. She studied journalism at City University and then worked at The Independent for 10 years. In 2001, she became a full-time novelist. Jojo has sold over thirty-eight million copies of her novels worldwide and has hit the number one spot in twelve countries. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages. She won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004 for her novel, Foreign Fruit aka Windfallen. Her novel Me Before You was adapted into a movie starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke that was released in June 2016. Jojo currently lives in Essex with her husband and has three children. She writes historical fiction, romance, and general fiction.

Kingsbury’s newest book is The Giver of Stars, which was published in October 2019.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our September romance author is J.R. Ward. This is a pseudonym used by author Jessica Bird. As Ward, she has written over thirty novels. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is both a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series. So far, there are more than 15 million copies of her novels in print worldwide published in 25 different countries.Ward first majored in Art History and History at Smith College, but then decided to go to law school. After law school, she worked in healthcare in Boston, eventually worked many years as Chief of Staff at one of the premier academic medical centers in the United States. She currently lives with her husband and her golden retriever in the south. Ward primarily writes romance while focusing on paranormal romance and romantic suspense.

Ward’s newest book is The Viper, set to be published in September 2022. This is the third book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp series.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher:

In this newest Prison Camp installment, #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward pens a heart-wrenching tale of love and betrayal in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world…

Framed for the grisly murder of his shellan, Kane is condemned to the notorious prison camp—unaware of the dark truth behind his arranged mating. Centuries later, when he is horribly burned while attempting to save others, he prays he’ll finally be reunited in the Fade with his mate…not knowing what revelations await him.

Nadya is a self-taught nurse who does what she can to ease the suffering of the prisoners. When Kane comes under her care, she cannot help but empathize with his condition for very personal reasons—and as the guards take him away one last time, she fears he is facing a terrible death.

After a daring rescue, Kane is offered a treatment that will change his very nature. Choosing life, for the time being, he goes back for the female who took such good care of him—but his duty to Nadya sets him on a collision course with his own past. When long-buried secrets are exposed, his self-destruction is inevitable…unless true love can save his soul.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Michelle Zauner’s wildly popular memoir, Crying in H Mart, is everything everyone said it would be: devastating and beautifully written. Zauner is a musician who rose to fame with her band Japanese Breakfast with their breakout album Psychopomp which came out in 2016. Her memoir, though, is not about her musical fame, but about her mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis and the months following her death. 

Zauner grew up in Eugene, Oregon, which is the backdrop of her contentious childhood and difficult relationship with her mother. She describes her mother as “not a mommy-mom,” compared to the mothers of her classmates. She was not as warm or affectionate as Michelle thought she ought to have been, but as she grew into adulthood the two became much closer. Her mother’s diagnosis only cemented her filial love, and they ultimately became “innately, intrinsically intertwined.” 

Food fuels the story. The title, for one, references the Asian grocery store chain H Mart, but Korean food is also woven into every aspect of the narrative: The fish covered in gochujang Zauner’s mother makes for her before she leaves for college; the “tender short rib” with “Hard-boiled soy-sauce eggs sliced in half, crunchy bean sprouts flavored with scallions and sesame oil, doenjang jjigae with extra broth, and chonggak kimchi, perfectly soured” she prepares when she comes to visit after the initial cancer diagnosis; the jatjuk (pine nut porridge) Zauner makes for her mother during her final months and continues to make for herself when she is gone; the doenjang jjigae (fermented soybean soup) she makes the day after her funeral.

Perhaps the most powerful element of Zauner’s story is how she ties the living memory of her mother to the Korean food she ate as a child and learns to cook in her mother’s absence. Each dish holds a piece of her mother. Each conversation she stumbles through in Korean grasps at her mother. She found a home in her mother’s culture, thus allowing her to embrace that culture as her own.

Zauner’s memoir is striking in many ways, but one of the most profound is how she brings a humanity to her mother that we sometimes struggle to do with a parent. After her mother’s death, she learns more about her than she ever knew while she was alive. She realized how similarly she and her mother saw the world, how their emotional turmoil was inseparable, and how the memory of her mother would continue with her. Even as just a reader and spectator at the sidelines of Zauner’s relationship with her mother, Crying in H Mart feels like a tether between the two that now lives beyond their physical bodies. It was beautiful to read about and I think Zauner did an excellent job memorializing her mother with this book.

This title is also available in the following formats:

Large Print

Libby eBook

Libby eAudiobook

Hispanic Heritage Month Reading Challenge

Summer Reading might be over, but we have a new challenge open now! September 15th – October 15th, patrons can participate in our Beanstack exclusive Hispanic Heritage Month Reading Challenge. National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from Sep. 15 to Oct. 15. This year, the theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” Honor diverse voices, unique perspectives, and rich cultural traditions through activities and book recommendations. Log your reading and complete activities to earn badges throughout the challenge. Enter your tickets into the prize option of your choice for a chance to win! Visit davenportlibrary.beanstack.com to sign up or join in the Beanstack app!

Unlike past off-season reading challenges, we have prizes for this one! It’s an all ages challenge with two prize drawing options listed below.

Adult & Teen Prize:
A Mercado on Fifth gift basket including

  • a $25 gift certificate to Restaurante El Mariachi in Moline
  • Mercado on Fifth t-shirt
  • Mercado on Fifth cantarito
  • Group O magnetic koozie
  • two books on Latino leadership
  • a Mercado on Fifth lanyard

This prize was generously donated by Maria Ontiveros – co-founder of Mercado on Fifth.

Children’s Prize:
Win a mini home library of picture books by Hispanic and Latinx authors and illustrators including:

  • Bright Star by Yuyi Morales
  • ¡Vamos! Let’s Cross the Bridge by Raul the Third
  • Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler
  • My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
  • ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raul the Third
  • Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika A. Denise
  • Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt be la Peña
  • Islandborn by Junot Díaz
  • Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
  • Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You by Sonia Sotomayor
  • Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Mendez
  • Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Romance Reads: Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory

“I’ve never seen you look at anyone or anything like you look at her. And you’re just going to throw all of that away for some bullshit reason? Because you’re too scared for something real?”
― Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date is the first book in the Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory. I enjoyed this title as it’s a contemporary multicultural romance with one of my favorite romance tropes: fake dating!

Alexa Monroe works in Berkeley as the mayor’s chief of staff. She has a busy professional life, but with her sister living across the country in New York, her personal life isn’t as fulfilled as she wishes it was. When Olivia comes to California for a visit, Alexa is excited and a bit hesitant to see her. Their relationship isn’t the best, but she’s determined to try fixing it. Deciding to visit Olivia at the hotel where she is staying, Alexa is so caught up in her emotions that she misses the attractive guy who is in the hotel elevator with her. Fate intervenes, the elevator gets stuck, and Alexa soon finds herself as a last-minute date to a wedding with elevator guy.

Drew Nichols is a pediatric surgeon in Los Angeles. Spending the weekend in Berkeley for his ex’s wedding festivities is not how he wanted to spend his time, especially since his date wasn’t able to come. Getting stuck in the elevator with the stunningly attractive Alexa Monroe is the perfect distraction that Drew needed. In fact, he is so drawn to her, he asks her to be his last-minute wedding date and his fake girlfriend to the wedding.

Alexa and Drew have more fun than they originally thought they would have had at the wedding. After the weekend is over, the two head back to their high-stress jobs, but soon find that they can’t stop thinking about each other and the good times that they had. Alexa and Drew begin talking and decide to spend more time together with the assumption that their relationship, or whatever they want to call it, is only short-term. This long-distance dating situationship starts to get messier and messier, soon leaving the two to have to think about what they actually want and need from each other.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Wedding Date series

  1. The Wedding Date (2018)
  2. The Proposal (2018)
  3. The Wedding Party (2019)
  4. Royal Holiday (2019)
  5. Party of Two (2020)
  6. While We Were Dating (2021)

Raising Men: Reads for Modern Masculinity

I recently spotted How to Be a Real Man by Scott Stuart at our Fairmount branch and I really recommend you check it out. This super cute children’s book draws you in with verse and a gently progressive message about identity and value. First, it examines different “tough guys” from history — vikings and pirates, etc. — and how “tough” they were. Then it offers a real set of guidelines for good men: fight for what’s right, express your feelings, help others. It’s a good read for all ages and genders to feel a hopeful breath of fresh air.

Here are some reads from the adult section that share a more enlightened view of masculine identity:

Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity by Justin Baldoni

In this urgent, groundbreaking and provocative reimagining of what it means to be man enough, Justin arms readers with new tools and the ability to have both compassion and empathy for themselves and the men in their lives.

Pretty Boys: Legendary Icons Who Redefined Beauty (and how to glow up too) by David Yi

In this inclusive, illustrated history and guide to skin care and beauty, journalist and founder of Very Good Light David Yi teaches us that self-care, wellness, and feeling beautiful transcends time, boundaries, and binaries-and that pretty boys can change the world.

Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad by Jordan Shapiro

Shapiro presents an exploration of the psychology of fatherhood from an archetypal perspective as well as a cultural history that challenges familiar assumptions about the origins of so-called traditional parenting roles.

Better Boys, Better Men: The New Masculinity That Creates Greater Courage and Emotional Resiliency by Andrew Reiner

How modern forms of masculinity are harming men-and what we can do about it.

Tough: My Journey to True Power by Terry Crews

Not only the gripping story of a man’s struggle against himself and how he finally got his mind right, but a bold indictment of the cultural norms and taboos that ask men to be outwardly tough while leaving them inwardly weak.