Posts tagged: lists

YA Road Trips

By , August 15, 2015

“It’s a road trip! It’s about adventure! . . . It’s not like we have somewhere to go.”

John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

Summer is winding down, the days are getting shorter, and the first day of school is just around the corner. Shake off your back to school blues and go on an end-of-summer vacation with a hot YA Road Trip title. Before hitting the open road, don’t forget to fill up the gas tank, pack some snacks, and create the perfect summer playlist.

Summer Went Up In Flames
How My Summer Went Up in Flames
by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
First comes love, and then comes… a temporary restraining order? Rosie didn’t mean to set her ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. She was just trying to burn everything he ever gave her after finding out he was “dating” i.e. cheating on her with a cute, blond freshman. The summer before senior year was not supposed to turn out like this. Between pending criminal court dates and stalking charges, Rosie’s parents decide it would be best to send her on a road trip to Arizona with neighbor, Matty, and two of his responsible (a.k.a “nerdy”) friends. Can Rosie’s summer be salvaged by finding real love in unfamiliar places?Playlist: 1000 Forms of Fear by Sia

Eat, Brains, Love
Eat, Brains, Love
by Jeff HartSenior Year. Zombie Virus. Two Undead Fugitives. One psychic zombie hunter. After Jake and Amanda devour half the senior class during lunch period, they realize something has gone terribly wrong. They’ve become zombies. As suspicious news reports are released calling the lunchtime massacre a run-of-the-mill “school shooting”, Jake and Amanda decide the open road is their only option for freedom and…Food. Meanwhile, Cass, a telepathic, zombie-hunting, government agent is tracking their cross-country movements, as she questions the ethics of her chosen profession. Tensions rise and attractions grow as the hunt for the undead duo continues across state lines and Jake, Amanda, and Cass find themselves in a strange zombie love triangle.Playlist: Strange Desire by Bleachers

The Disenchanchments
The Disenchantments
By Nina LaCourBev and Colby are the only seniors at their high school who are not going to college next year. However, they’ve planned an epic travel adventure filled with music, friends, and fun. First, they’ll embark on a West Coast tour with Bev’s band, The Disenchantments, followed by a year dedicated to exploring Europe. The van is packed, the band hits the road, and everything is going well, until Bev reluctantly admits to applying for college in secret. Colby is finally forced to figure out what his future looks like without Bev, or a backup plan.Playlist: Peace & Noise by Patti Smith

Amy and Roger's Epid Detour
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
by Morgan MatsonEver since her father’s fatal accident, Amy Curry doesn’t drive. No one talks about what exactly happened or whether Amy is to blame. In the aftermath, solitude becomes Amy’s best friend after her twin brother, Charlie, is placed in a North Carolina rehab center and her mom lands a teaching job in Connecticut. Sad and alone on the West Coast, Amy has to face her biggest fears to get from California to Connecticut with Roger, an old family friend, who is incredibly cute. Can Amy confront the ghost of her past while road tripping with a seriously hot chauffeur?Playlist: Coming Home by Leon Bridges

- Raemona

Book List: The 2015 Reading Challenge

By , January 17, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge


Since New Year’s is all about making resolutions, I think one of the best resolutions a reader can make is to diversify what they read throughout the year.

That being said, POPSUGAR has created a 2015 Reading Challenge, check out their post and see the POPSUGAR list. They even offer a handy printable version, which you can hang up on your desk or near your favorite reading spot to keep track of the books that you have already read.

Here are a few highlights of the list, plus a few suggestions (from my list) about what to read for them:

A book with more than 500 pages -

Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance

The second book in the Stormlight Archives, Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, doubles this page count! I’m really hoping to getting around to reading it this year, before the third one comes out.













A book your mom loves -

The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn Girl

My mom is a huge fan of historical fiction, so for this one, I’ve picked The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I know this is one of her favorites!














A book that made you cry -

Imajica, by Clive Barker


Clive Barker has always had such beautiful imagery in his works, and Imajica has several moments throughout that usually have me reaching for a tissue or three.













A memoir -

As You Wish, by Cary Elwes

As You Wish

I think this counts, right? It’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and Cary Elwes sits down to tell us behind-the-scenes stories you haven’t heard before in As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.













A book with antonyms in the title -

Memory and Dream, by Charles de Lint

Memory and Dream

Trying to figure out what to read for this one was a bit of a tough choice, but I’ve been putting off reading Charles de Lint for a while. For this one, I’m going with Memory and Dream. Don’t worry! There are a ton of possibilities for this challenge.



Check Out the List

If you want to find a more complete list of my suggestions, check out the list on the library website here: 2015 Reading Challenge

Orange is the New Black

By , May 31, 2014
The second season of Orange is the New Black will be released on Netflix this Friday, and I’ll be binge-watching along with rest of us on the outside.  If you missed the first season, it was as fun and engaging as television can be, and you can catch up by placing your holds on the DVD’s here.

While some may criticize the accuracy of how it portrays life in prison, one cannot deny that it starts a conversation about the conditions and power dynamics in our nation’s prisons that, to most of us, remain invisible. The library helps bring the conversation to the community by providing the materials needed to help round out the picture.  Netflix may have perfected binge watching, but libraries have long been enablers of binge reading (are those 100 book check-out limits just a rumor?)  If you’re looking to delve a little deeper, here are some places to start:

If you weren’t aware, Orange is the New Black (the show) takes its title from the best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman, and loosely follows her experiences in women’s prison. In addition to paperback copies, the audio book is now available for download instantly from Hoopla (where you can also check out the soundtrack).  For book clubs, you can get everything you need in one bag with our Book Club in a Bag (10 copies, plus discussion questions and an author bio).


A World Apart : Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars : While Kerman writes about her experience at a women’s minimum security prison, this exposé sheds light on one of the longest running women’s prisons in the country and serves to humanize its inmates


Assata : An Autobiography by Assata Shakur : A rare modern classic that is also a page turner.  Full of gripping descriptions and biting criticism, by a controversial figure and the grandmother of Tupac Shakur, dealing with issues of race, gender, and incarceration.


Herman’s House :  Herman Wallace made news last year when he was released after 41 years of solitary confinement and died just three days later, a free man.  This documentary deals with the practice of long term solitary confinement (called Solitary Housing Units, or “the SHU,” on Orange is the New Black) and the transformative power of art.  Available on DVD and streaming on Hoopla.

10 Women that Rock on Hoopla

By , March 7, 2014
Since it’s women’s history month, I’m featuring 10 of my favorite female musicians on Hoopla, the library’s newest site for digital content.  I realize that women can rock in any number of ways, but it just so happens I’m talking about Rock n’ Roll. Top 10 lists are inherently subjective, and if you caught my post of 10 African American artists last month, then you know mine are no exception.  10 is the number of albums the library gives you on Hoopla per month. While I naturally recommend you download all of 10 of my picks, I encourage you to sign up and take a look :


Pure Heroine (Extended) 10) Lorde: People come in to the library all the time trying to get their hands on this one.  I show them the CD hold list and watch their face drop. Then I tell them it’s available instantly on Hoopla, and now I tell you…
Album : Pure Heroine



St. Vincent 9) St. Vincent : Her new album dropped just 2 weeks ago and was available on Hoopla that day. Using her guitar more as a noise-maker, Annie Clark forms infectious pop from chaos. For now, check out her back catalog from the library’s CD collection.
Album : St. Vincent


Medulla 8) Bjork : Always on the cutting edge of pop and electronic music, she also proved capable of shedding the machines with 2004′s Medulla, one of her most brilliantly layered albums; done almost entirely with vocals.
Album : Medulla



This Island 7) Le Tigre : Everybody gives Seattle credit for grunge, but mostly leaves out the other half of the story, dubbed Riot Grrrl.  Kathleen Hanna was it’s leader (she coined the phrase “Smells Like Teen Spirit”).  Check out her recent bio pic, the Punk Singer, from the library.
Album : This Island


The Woods 6) Sleater-Kinney : Carrie Brownstein as a highly underestimated rock guitarist in my humble opinion. But you may know her better as half of the comedy duo in IFC’s hipster parody, Portlandia.
Album : The Woods



Living In Clip 5) Ani Difranco : Folky yet righteous.  What’s always impressed me is her guitar playing, with inventive open tunings and notes so fiercely plucked it becomes like a percussive instrument.  Her label, Righeous Babe Records consistently puts out new quality artists (See : Anais Mitchell)


A Tori Amos Collection: Tales Of A Librarian 4) Tori Amos : A piano player with chops and vision, who writes songs that feel like journeys into fairy tale realms. She’ll be at the Ryman this summer. The title of her recent retrospective is too good to pass up.



Shadows And Light 3) Joni Mitchell : One of the best songwriters of her generation, and often lost in the shadow of her male counterparts.  She managed to assemble one of the best jazz bands of the 70′s on her Shadows and Light tour.  This double disk finds legendary bassist Jaco Pastorious at his finest.


I Put A Spell On You 2) Nina Simone : If the record starts in her low register, you might assume she were a man, but her range is more than vocal in nature.  Runs the gambit from peppy jazz to some of the deepest, most mournful cries put to acetate.



Gospel Train 1) Sister Rosetta Tharpe : An unsung pioneer of the electric guitar. Download an album then watch her go to town on YouTube.
Album : Gospel Train


Book list: Fifty Shades of Grey Read-a-Likes

By , July 30, 2012

House of Holes
by Nicholson Baker
Though this book lacks an arrogant millionaire with an excessive, ah, belt collection, it makes up for it with literary inventiveness and sex positive glee. House of Holes is an invite only surreal retreat where visitors are sexually healed. Each chapter tells how different person found their way to the H of H and what they did once they got there. It can be addictive, both in the book and in real life. I had this book out for so long the library billed me for it. I had to do the walk of the shame – to the circulation desk.

The Story of O
by Pauline Réage
This is the ur-novel of the unexpected joys of submission genre. A talented young photographer learns she wants nothing more than to submit to someone else’s will and be proud of it to boot. Simultaneously better written and more hardcore than Fifty Shades of Grey, it won the Prix des Deux Magots when first published in France in 1954.

Delta of Venus
by Anais Nin
Keeping things French, Nin is best known for chronicling the bohemian milieu of 1930s Paris. How did she pay her bills during that rollicking time? She wrote erotica for a private patron. These stories have a very old world, 19th century feel. Though elegant, Delta of Venus is not staid. The spirit of the day seems to be if you are going to break one taboo why not break them all.

by Zane
Before real housewives of Nashville discovered you could download hot library books for free, Zane was the queen of long holds lists at NPL. Somewhat more guilt ridden than Fifty ShadesAddicted tells the story of a mom that gets lured into the world of, you guessed it, sex addiction. If she regrets her actions, she sure does seem to like telling her therapist (and readers) all about it.

Twilight series
by Stephenie Meyer
If you haven’t heard, Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction. While waiting on Fifty Shades you could pregame by reading the source material. Though definitely lacking in naughty bits, the tension between the characters can get you geared up for what is to come. If you are impatient and on team Jacob, you can jump right to the chase with Glen Duncan’s The Last Werewolf which my coworkers have described to me as “werewolf erotica.”

The Pilgrim’s Progress
by John Bunyan
To paraphrase Chris Rock after a Marilyn Manson performance at the MTV Music Awards: get your butts to church!



The Secretary
What if you just wanted to watch a movie?  The Secretary tells the now familiar inner-submissive-finds-perfect-dominant story with admirable amounts of heart and wit without totally crossing the line into Pornland. There is even an arrogant millionaire if that is an element you require for full narrative satisfaction. The real show is Maggie Gyllenhaal in her best role. By the end, we are rooting for her to get her man schmaltzy date movie style. The man in question is James Spader. If the movie has a flaw, it is that one flashback of Spader as the neurotic creeper in Sex, Lies, and Videotape kind of nixes the whole arrogant millionaire deal. Where’s Don Draper when you need him?

- Bryan

Book list: Night Circus Read-a-Likes

By , December 12, 2011

Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus has become a run away hit. If you loved it, or are looking for something else to read while floating to the top of that holds list, you might want to check out these fantastical love stories:

Nights at the Circus
by Angela Carter
A dazzling tale about a half-swan aerialiste and the American journalist who travels around the world to love her.


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
This alternative history novel about warring magicians in 19th century England was the Night Circus of 2004. It may be missing some of the romantic elements, but its Englishyness is crack for Anglophiles.


Geek Love
by Katherine Dunn
Love and family presented in the freakiest of freak modes, à la Tod Browning.



Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
by Haruki Murakami
Though not dealing with circuses explicitly, it does take place in a dream world filled with unicorn skulls and the love of the protagonists has far more riding on it than just romance.


Under the Poppy
by Kathe Koja
Koja’s prose are always luscious, but she one-ups herself with this complex narrative of puppeteers in 1870s Brussels.


- Bryan

Book list: LGBTQ History

By , November 14, 2011

Like many, I am anxiously awaiting the publication of Larry Kramer’s The American People: A History which is set to be released in 2012. That book is sure to be equal parts insight and controversy. Until then we can read about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (and their allies) in this handful of critically acclaimed titles:


A Queer History of the United States
by Michael Bronski
This book considers our nation’s history through the lens of sexuality and gender from pre-1492 to present. It demonstrates that even in seemingly repressive times all people have had an integral role in shaping the cultural and political landscape. Many historical figures you’ve probably never heard of, and many facts you probably didn’t know about those you have, are presented.


A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives the Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds
by Martin Duberman
Noted historian Duberman profiles the lives of two early activists whose uncompromising lives are symbolic of the radical 1960s. Blurb alert: McReynolds was the first openly gay man to run for president. Bias alert: I don’t have a great one line blurb about Deming.


The Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade
by Justin Spring
Spring chronicles of the life Samuel Stewart, aka Phil Sparrow, as he transforms himself from college professor to Chicago South Side tattoo artist. Friends with the art elite of his day and Alfred Kinsey, Stewart’s truly unique life offers great insight into what it was like to be gay pre-Stonewall.

- Bryan

Book list: Country Noir

By , October 24, 2011

The popularity of Daniel Woodrell following the success of Winter’s Bone seems to have sparked a renaissance of country noir. Rural life can be dark, violent and strange. These qualities define a slew of new books that show back roads can be just as hard going as any city street.


Crimes in Southern Indiana: Stories
by Frank Bill
Mr. Bill is a new player on the country noir scene. The title says it all: poverty, shotguns and a whole lot of Schedule 1 controlled substances. The author’s blog, Frank Bill’s House of Grit, declares, “Tight. Flat and to the point. I don’t waste words. I write them.”


Once Upon a River
by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Campbell doesn’t disappoint with the story of Margo Crane, an Annie Oakley obsessed teenager with nothing but her rifle and survival skills taught by her deceased grandfather to keep her alive. She turns on, tunes in, and drops out rural Michigan style only to be told, “you can’t live like a wolf girl.” Says who?


The End of Vandalism
by Tom Drury
Perhaps to snobbishly literary to include on this list, Drury’s tale of Grouse Country and its sheriff Dan Norman has reinvented the small town novel. Think of it as a country version of Tao Lin. Did I just go there? Though published a few years ago, the library just picked up a few new copies.


Fante: A Family’s Legacy of Writing, Drinking, and Survival
by Dan Fante
Though most of his novels are set in Los Angles, John Fante’s portrayal of working class life and stripped down prose style has been an inspiration for most of the writers on this list. Fante’s son Dan overcame a life of drugs and guns to become a successful writer himself. Fante chronicles the father and son’s relationship with alcohol, writing, and each other.


The Devil All the Time
by Donald Ray Pollock
Blood sacrificing preachers and a pair of serial killers populate this second novel by Pollock. How a young orphan can remain sane in midst this American nightmare? You have to read The Devil All the Time to find out. This the first novel by the author of the short story collection Knockemstiff, a book whose title was taken from the real life name of Pollock’s crazy home town.


The Outlaw Album
by Daniel Woodrell
No, this not a Waylon Jennings greatest hits album. This is the first collection of short stories from the aforementioned Woodrell, the author of Winter’s Bone and Tomato Red.


- Bryan

Music list: (Not) Ken Burns’ Jazz

By , May 16, 2011

Quartet (Moscow) 2008
by Anthony Braxton

I was pleasantly surprised to find this in a display of new music at the Main Library. Braxton, an unclassifiable “jazz” saxophonist, is accompanied by the young Mary Halvorson on electric guitar and creates the best album Sonic Youth never recorded. It is good to hear Braxton’s vision and bravery have not faded with age.

by Steve Reid Ensemble

Reid does with drums what Braxton does with a horn: deconstructs classic lines and then use those basic elements to string together post-minimalist-jazz-raga-does-not-computes. Though recorded in Africa, it doesn’t sound particularly African but with digitally tweaked keyboard up front in the mix Daxaar feels electric miles and miles away. After a four decades of experimentation, Reid’s career came to an end when he passed away in 2010.

The Olatjunji Concert: The Last Live Recording
by John Coltrane

You’ve heard Trane before, but you’ve never heard this Trane. During this hour of scorched Earth psychedelia, Pharoah Sanders‘ tenor sax is the breath of dragon. This kind of maximum volume jamming probably appeals to fans of King Crimson more so that traditional jazz fans. Recorded shortly before his death, this is no swan song, this is the cry of a phoenix.

Book list: May Day books

By , May 1, 2011

Most of the world celebrates May first as International Worker’s Day. Here are some sleeper novels that offer diverse perspectives on United States labor history that I have found in the stacks recently.

Lonely Crusade
by Chester Himes
From one of the godfathers of hardboiled crime fiction comes this story of an African American man who reluctantly takes of job as a union organizer at an airplane factory during World War II.

Blood on the Forge
by William Attaway
Three African-American brothers leave their home in the Kentucky hills to work in the steel mills of Pittsburgh prior to World War I in this grim realistic novel of Northern migration.

Night Rider
by Robert Penn Warren
This early, under-appreciated novel by Warren provides a fictionalized account of the Black Patch Tobacco Wars which took place on the borders of Kentucky and Tennessee in first decade of the twentieth century.

Joe Hill
by Wallace Stegner
If Robert Penn Warren is associated with the American South, Wallace Stegner is associated with the American West. Joe Hill is his fictionalized biography of America’s most famous (executed) cartoonist, song writer, and anarchist. Mr. Hill is also the inspiration for Stephen King’s son’s nom de plume.

Haymarket: A Novel
by Martin Duberman
Duberman trains his scholarly eye on the lives Albert and Lucy Parsons, an ex-Conderate interracial couple made famous by their participation in the Haymarket riots, an event which would define labor relations in the United States for decades.

Sometimes a Great Notion
by Ken Kesey
Hippie guru Kesey’s second novel brings us the Stamper family, a spirited clan that will bust a union and fight the current of a river rather than change the way they do business.

In the United States, we celebrate labor day on the first Monday in September.

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