Teenage Girls Who Save the World

By Jennifer K.
Once upon a time, not too long ago, I happened to be in the Young Adult section of my library. Nearby was a person who audibly scoffed at the selection: “All these books about teenage girls who save the world.”

Now, that is a completely valid point of view. We all have different tastes, and no one has to read about awesome teenage girls saving the world if they don’t want to.

Personally, I always want to read about teenage girls. I want books about nerdy girls, and funny girls, and fat girls, and girls of color, and queer girls. The vulnerable girls, the smart girls, the scared girls, the creative girls, the brave girls. I definitely want to read books about the teenage girls who save the world.

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You Can’t Go Back, But You Can Rewatch

by Marina M.

I’m swinging for the nostalgia fences in my posts this year. I’ve already mentioned one iconic 1989 movie so I thought I’d go the distance and highlight a couple other favorite movies celebrating their 30th year. I was spurred to this current path by a podcast from The Rewatchables about a certain baseball movie that has been a longtime favorite of mine. OK, OK, I’ll ease your pain and halt the suspense about the title. The movie is Field of Dreams. And the podcast was a wonderful mix of nostalgia, humor, and respect for a well-deserved movie.

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That Old Black Magic

By Isaac H.

No, this isn’t about the Billy Eckstine song, though I’m sure it fits in here somewhere. Documenting magic, it’s not just card tricks, horcruxes and invisibility rings. I’ve always had a passing interest in the paranormal. Not necessarily the general concept of magic, more like the history of human beliefs in the unexplained. Now I can’t say I believe in the arcane arts, but I do find the history of  magic and the paranormal to be fascinating. Just as interesting are belief systems that have emerged from cultural merging of metaphysical traditions and mythologies.  Here are a few selections that provide examples of what’s so interesting about magic.

Grimorium Verum

Fun fact: There is a type of magic called Goetia, which specifically involves the invoking of demons or spirits to do your bidding. Like Aladdin and the genie (the cartoon, not the middle eastern legend), but in a less cheery and more ghastly way.  The Grimorium Verum is a 18th century “how-to” instruction booklet for calling forth ethereal beings to follow your command. What bidding, you ask? Cleaning out your garage? Building your furniture? Crushing your enemies? Who knows?! There is some evidence that this was written to inflame the sensibilities of the strict religious adherents of the time. Reading it, it is a bit difficult to believe it was written to be taken wholly seriously, even being translated from 18th century French. Either way, heed caution if you insist on practicing: results may vary. Continue reading »

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Rome: The Eternal City

by Karin T.

I love Rome for its food, fashion, art, history and ancient ruins. The soaring umbrella pines. The wisteria in spring.

Rome offers hundreds of paintings, sculptures, monuments and churches I want to see, and just one glorious week to see it all. But my philosophy of travel is to see a few things well rather than try to cram six or seven attractions in each vacation day.

That’s why I’ve visited Rome three times in five years – because I had to return to see more.

My husband and I save our vacation budget for a couple of years to visit. And yes, there are so many other fascinating destinations, both in the United States and abroad. For our next trip, we’ve resolved that we really must go somewhere else.

For now though, let me extend my trip just a little longer by sharing some recommendations. Whether you’re planning a vacation or you prefer armchair travel, the library can help. Continue reading »

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13 Quick Reads to Help Escape the Slump

by Lisa C.

Once upon a time, I kept huge stacks of lengthy books by my bedside. I read them all – and pretty quickly, too! I was so smug. Now, I still surround myself with books, but am less likely to finish them before they are due or before they disappear like ghosts under layers of dust. They are scattered all over my life, mocking me with their uncreased spines, their lovely stories still an undiscovered secret. I know others out there also struggle to complete their reading challenges. There’s even a Japanese word for acquiring books and never reading them: tsundoku. What’s interfering with our glorious reading hours – work, families, decreasing attention spans, binge-watching GoT, obsessively scrolling on our phones, dusting piles of unread books, existential dread?

Whatever your reading roadblocks, I found a way to beat my reading slump and you can too, by embracing the quick read. The New York Times recently called them “bite-sized books” whose manageable size can “kick-start” reading habits that have stalled.

13 Quick Reads to Help Escape the Slump

Using this approach, I rediscovered the power of poetry through Dorianne Laux’s plainspoken and evocative verse, dived into impressively succinct short novels like Shirley Jackson’s delightfully creepy We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and read insightful essays and letters such as those contained in James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, a devastatingly timeless account of US race relations in the 1960s.







Check out the full list to see more quick reads that have helped keep my completed books pile growing. What books or tactics get you out of a reading slump?


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A Game of Thrones

By Kristi S.

Are you one of the 17.4 million viewers who tuned in to the start of the final season of Game of Thrones on April 14? Are you also one of the 17.4 million viewers who will be devastated and drifting aimlessly when the final episode airs on May 19? I am with you, so we can mourn together. But, I’ve been researching what content to get into after a suitable grieving period. When you are ready to immerse yourself in another world of reading, watching, and learning turn to these ideas.

If you backed House Targaryen:

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The Coen Brothers

by Craig B.

Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen got their first shot in movies by helping their friend Sam Raimi edit his first film The Evil Dead in 1981. Three years later, Raimi, now a cult darling, convinced the Coen Brothers to shoot a pitch trailer for a script they’d written but hadn’t filmed yet. Bruce Campbell, the star of The Evil Dead, offered to play the lead for the trailer. The pitch worked, and in 1984, the Coen Brothers had their debut film, Blood Simple. Thirty five years later, the duo are still going strong and are considered among the most iconic filmmakers of our time. Following is a list of some of my favorite Coen Brothers films.

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Beyond Bestsellers: Humor

By Kristi S.

Here we are in the merry month of May, and we are ready to celebrate the sunny days ahead with our next Beyond Bestsellers theme: Humor. If you need a refresher on what Beyond Bestsellers is all about, here’s a quick recap. Each month, we are challenging our reading habits by trying new genres. As you read, be sure to make lists of your book journey to inspire other readers to branch out. This month is certainly a departure from the norm for me, as I tend to gravitate towards dark, depressing books. In the spirit of the season, I set those aside and dove deep into humorous reading.

Beyond Bestsellers: Humor Sampler

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Beyond Bestsellers Moves On, Making Historical Fiction History

by Denise D.

As April nears its end, it’s time to move our Historical Fiction month into the bin of history. But first, check out these lists that our fellow readers created!

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Getting Ready to Get Out!

By Kaley C.

If you’re reading this, I am on vacation with my dogs. They deserve one too, you know? Here is what I used from our library to get ready for it!

Getting Ready to Get Out!


Shavo and Nimoy were born road-dogs.

I snagged this Creaky Knees hike book because one of my dogs is an older gentleman, and the other has a special paw and only really likes to hike so far. Hike the Parks has nature walks too, which I’m looking forward to! This didn’t make it into the planning phase, but I think I need to bring this book with 300 cheeses as a reference for every stop I make during this trip. That’s reasonable, right?

See you guys later with a few more freckles, but not much of a tan!










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