Mephistophelian Reads and Watches

By Isaac H.

Have you ever read a story or watched a movie and, for some reason, the villain seemed more charming and endearing than the hero? Alternatively, have you ever really enjoyed a story only to notice the protagonist was something of a villain themselves? If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you’ll notice something of a theme. I tend to enjoy stories where the hero has something of a dark streak. Where the antagonist seems a lot like a villain, and may even be one in any other context.

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True Stories from the Roaring Twenties

By Hannah K.

Welcome to 2020!

I’m a little late in wishing you a Happy New Year, but it’s still January, so I’m going to ask you to let this one slide.

2020 New Year’s celebrations were awash in Jazz Age finery. People wanted to celebrate like a Great Gatsby party, with flapper fashion, craft cocktails, and a Roaring Twenties attitude. I don’t blame anyone for that. The 1920s launched some fabulous cultural trends. It was a time with extravagance and decadence- jazz, art deco, speakeasies, film stars, flappers, and more. Why wouldn’t you want to channel that glitz and glamour into your celebration?

As usual for popular culture, it’s a very narrow view of the world. We have musicals, award winning movies, and TV shows dramatizing the era. Pop culture about the Roaring Twenties focuses heavily on the rich-and-famous and those living large on crime. This excludes the experiences by most people at the time and neglects other important historical events, but Hollywood loves it. And it’s easy to plan a party around that aesthetic.  Gangsters and bootleggers abound, with flappers enjoying speakeasy drinks and dancing the Charleston. It’s a romanticized view of the past, but truth can be just as riveting as fiction.

While the real Jazz Age parties didn’t kick off with a Baz Luhrmann soundtrack, the decade still held spectacle and scandal. When you look back at it, the real events are just as shocking as the fictional ones.

Here are some true stories from the Jazz Age– bootlegging, murder, organized crime, con-artists, and old Hollywood. What a way to remember a decade!

 

 

Happy New Year!

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Ten for ’20

by Lisa C.

It has recently been brought to my attention (thanks colleagues and this New York Times article) that there are some who claim that a new decade hasn’t started and won’t start until January 1, 2021. Well, is 2020 the start of a new decade or the end?

In any case, there is one thing I hope we can agree on – it is the start of the twenty-twenties! In honor of the new decade next ten years, I scoured the world (wide web) to bring you 10 highly anticipated new books that are recently released or publishing within the next few months. Here are a few that are making it to the top of my TBR list: Continue reading »

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That’s What She Read

By Kristi S

With the release of the podcast Office Ladies, I have decided to re-watch the series yet again. This time, I find myself thinking of what the characters of The Office might be reading. I mean, not a lot of work gets done in their office so I am assuming they all have a book hidden somewhere. With that in mind, here is a list of books I’d recommend if my favorite employees of Dunder Mifflin came to the library.

That's What She Read

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Time to Travel, Part Two

by Craig B.

About a year ago, I posted a list of my favorite time travel flicks. It wasn’t hard to come up with a healthy docket. Rather than a pocket-sized selection of cinematic chronological conundrums, there’s actually quite a few. Too many, in fact. Time travel flicks multiply like rabbits. Since I’ve never personally seen a rabbit crack an equation, I’ll have to rely on somebody else with firsthand knowledge to prove the adage wrong. Anyway, I’ve decided to create another list of time travel movies. Déjà vu all over again. Or is it déjà vu all over again? Where was I? Oh yes, time travel movies. I hope you sample the following selections! And just think, if you feel as if somebody’s in the living room peering over your shoulder while you’re watching these films, it might just be you checking up on yourself. Probably not, but…

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All Together Now: Full-cast audiobooks

By Julie T.

While some performers are a world of voices unto themselves, many full-cast audiobook productions deliver a rich, engaging listening experience. These ensemble experiences are also a great way to discover new-to-you narrators. Think of them as a sort of aural smorgasbord that can lead you down audiobook rabbit holes.

 

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Beyond Bestsellers: Where the Crawdads Sing

 

by Julie T.

Murder, mayhem, and the magic of reading! Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens has spent several months on the New York Times Bestseller list, garnering a #1 spot and hundreds of library requests.  Reese Witherspoon helped catapult this character-driven, coming-of-age tale into the literary stratosphere with her Book Club x Hello Sunshine seal of approval.

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Build a Better Life with Books

Janus

by Melleny T.

You may recall from school (or from Goldeneye) that January was named after the Roman god Janus, who had two faces, one looking ahead and the other back. He was the god of choices, doors, beginnings, and endings. This makes perfect sense for January, the doorway between two years, the time of best-of lists from the previous year and resolutions for the next one.

In my opinion, January is two-faced in other ways too. The first of the month is filled with jubilant celebration and hopeful intentions, and then a few short weeks later we have Blue Monday, ostensibly the most depressing day of the year. By this time, the cold weather feels more demoralizing than jolly, you’ve already given up on your resolutions, and to top it all off, those holiday shopping bills are coming due.

But fear not! You don’t have to succumb to the blues this month, because the library has books that can help. We can’t do much about how much money you dropped in December, and we don’t yet have the power to manipulate the weather, but we can get creative. Books can help you better manage your money, travel somewhere warmer, and be smarter about the whole resolution thing in the coming year year.

It’s generally accepted that new year’s resolutions overwhelmingly fail, although not always by Blue Monday. But you still want to take advantage of that fresh start, and you still want 2020 to be better than 2019, so what can you do?

Many people have devised countless alternatives to traditional resolutions and it’s up to you to try out something that works for your personality and lifestyle. You may want to break down the year into smaller monthly challenges.

Perhaps you’ll read just one book each month (or better yet, listen to the audiobook while you commute) that helps you inch toward a better life. To get you started, I’ve gathered together some of the most inspiring, practical, life-improving books I’ve read in the past year, and maybe they can help you too.

Set yourself up for success this year with these library books that will provide a more manageable plan for a better 2020, no matter what area of life you’re looking to improve.

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Body Positive Resolutions

by Lois H. (they/them or she/her)

As another year comes to its end, I find myself drawn to the ever tantalizing New Years’ resolution. Maybe this year I’ll actually complete Book Riot’s 2020 Read Harder Challenge. Or the Northwest Winter Challenge, where you run or walk outside for at least one mile every day in January. Or perhaps I’ll finally get around to applying the KonMari philosophy to my closets.

Even though I enjoy the promise of a new year, there is one type of resolution that does not spark joy: New Year’s resolution diets.
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Gimme Shelter

by Marie B.

It’s time to deploy my winter plan, which involves donning my fuzzy slippers, procuring a warm beverage, and hunkering down with a good read. Yes, storms may be raging outside, but I will be snug as a bug.  Still, I do love the spectacle of stormy weather. Luckily, there are numerous books where a blizzard, nor’easter, or some other storm is practically another character.
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