Awards Round-up: February 2017

by Michelle C.

Welcome to the February Awards Round-up! At the end of each month we compile the book, movie, television and music winners for that month. February has the double whammy of the Grammys and the Oscars. Get ready to place some holds!

Academy Awards

Presented annually on television, the Oscars can cause a flurry of interest in the films nominated. The nominations for Best Picture include:

And the winner was… after some confusion caused by an envelope mix-up (you can even read the full transcript of this shocking moment)… Moonlight! Congratulations to Barry Jenkins and all the cast and crew of this film. The full list of winners is up now on the Oscar website.


BAFTA Awards

BAFTA stand for the British Academy Film Awards. BAFTA is a charity that supports the arts. The winners were chosen on February 12th and among them are:

You can find a full list of the winners and nominees on their website.

Cybils Awards

The Cybils Award looks at a combination of literary and popular appeal in Children’s and Young Adult books. They describe the award as thus, “If some la-di-dah awards can be compared to brussels sprouts, and other, more populist ones to gummy bears, we’re thinking more like organic chicken nuggets. We’re yummy and nutritious.” The winners for 2016 are:


The Grammys

The Grammys were already posted about here, so check out the winners if you haven’t yet!

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Scandalous Ladies

by Lindsey

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I was inspired this month (which happens to be Women’s History Month) by Jason Porath’s phenomenal compendium of fascinating females, Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics. He adapted his book from his popular website, Rejected Princesses: Women Too Awesome, Awful, or Offbeat for Kids’ Movies. History maligned many of the women in this book – justly, in some cases, but often unjustly. Often the only crime was living an unconventional life – which only makes them more interesting!

You’ll find fabulous historical fiction about women who defied convention in a world bent on oppressing them. Here are just a few of my favorite offbeat heroines!

Empress Theodora in The Secret History by Stephanie Thornton

This 6th century Byzantine empress was heavily criticized by her contemporaries and early historians, mainly for having so much influence over her husband, Justinian I, but also because of her “low-born” status (she is cited as having been a prostitute and actress). No one was more vocal against her than Procopius, who wrote his own “Secret History” full of outrageous accusations. Theodora, in fact, spent much of her time improving the lives of women, including sex workers.

Lucrezia Borgia in The Vatican Princess by C.W. Gortner

As the daughter of the notorious Pope Alexander VI (and his mistress Vannozza dei Cattanei), Lucrezia was bound to have many enemies. Rumors of incest, poison and fratricide have been tied to her name for centuries. Initially a pawn (married three times before age 22), she eventually found her strength. Vilified by some, praised for her intelligence by others, she managed to survive the deadly politics of 15th century Rome.

Rani Lakshmibai in Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

This 19th century Indian warrior queen refused to bow down to the British Empire. A widowed mother, she was deeply invested in the agency of women, teaching her female subjects skills like sword fighting and horsemanship. Lakshmi died in battle, never to see the dissolution of the British East India Company, but India gained independence from Britain a century later.

Mata Hari in The Spy by Paulo Coelho

Everyone knows Mata Hari, right? “Exotic” dancer and courtesan. Spy. Executed for espionage. The truth is that she was likely framed. The Dutch Margaretha Zelle escaped an abusive relationship by masquerading as an Indonesian princess, delighting European audiences with her performances. The road to her arrest as a German spy was long and convoluted, but many now agree that she was not quite the “maneater” her image suggests. This year marks the centennial of her execution by French authorities.

You’ll find even more scandalous women in the list I created. Happy reading!

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Teen Fiction: Not Just For Teens!

by Liz

I read teen fiction. Not religiously, but quite a bit. I know some folks (my sister!) who don’t, or maybe won’t, read teen fiction. Perhaps hung up on misconceptions that the writing quality is somehow inferior, or that the subject matter won’t pertain to them, and I have to say, I think these folks are really missing out. Why? Because a good book is a good book! No matter who the intended audience is!

New to teen fiction? Looking for your next teen read? Here are a few of my top picks:


The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

One of my all-time favorite books. Force me to pick titles for a “top ten” or “desert island” list and it will always make the cut. At over 50 years old, “The Outsiders” is rightfully considered a classic, proving that struggles with class and acceptance are ageless teenage problems. “Stay gold, Ponyboy…Stay gold…”



Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

“Eleanor and Park” is a richly written, beautiful story of first-love and all the feelings that come with it. The more of Rainbow Rowell’s books I read, the more I think she can do no wrong. This was my first Rainbow read. It should be yours too.



Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

The new librarian at Cynthia’s high school, Mr. Gabriel, is young, cute, and, oh yeah, a full on horn-having, wing-sprouting demon. Funny and smart, “Evil Librarian” sucked me in almost as quickly as Mr. Gabriel sucked the souls out of his students. And there’s a sequel!

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LibraryReads List March 2017

by Marina

It’s March!

The month when many people are rooting for one college basketball team or another. But if you aren’t a sports fan then you need to root for something else, right? How about these upcoming releases? Librarians around the country are already giving them rave reviews.

The top title of the March releases is The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti.

Let’s also give a cheer for the rest of the top 10!

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
The Wanderers by Meg Howrey
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler
Eggshells by Caitriona Lally
Say Nothing by Brad Parks
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
If Not For You by Debbie Macomber

Which one of the titles above look good to you?

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Prose Bowl 2017 – Round 1

Welcome to Prose Bowl 2017!

As we teased in Monday’s post, this is where the competition begins! We’ve narrowed it down to sixteen of the most popular, recent books and we’re looking for your help to find the winner. What books are your favorites? Which would you like to see make it to the next round?

Vote now using the poll below. And if you’d like to be considered for prizes, fill out the form at the end that asks for your email address.

The poll closes on Tuesday, March 7 at 12pm.

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by Marina

When I was a kid I was a fanatic for books about horses. And sometimes dogs. And The Baby-sitters Club. But mostly horses.

I started out by devouring the Billy and Blaze series. Multiple times. And then anything by Walter Farley–my absolute favorite was Man O’ War. (I still have my paperback copy.) Marguerite Henry, of Misty of Chincoteague fame, was also a favorite of mine. And, yes, I have several of her books in paperback, too. The obsession–to put it lightly–fueled my interest to continue reading horse books as an adult. Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit: An American Legend was a wonderful read! And I’m anticipating getting into The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts (the author of Eighty-Dollar Champion) as I work through my audiobook queue.

As a kid, not only would I read horse book after horse book I would also watch any movie about horses. The Man From Snowy River remains in my favorite movies of all time–yes, I’ve even read the poem it’s based on. (“You can bid the mob good day.”) Walt Disney also had some classic horse movies for me to enjoy. These were movies that weren’t the classic cartoons (The Little Mermaid, 101 Dalmatians, etc.) that you can still find somewhat easily on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming. These movies had a smaller budget with a more limited release (or were direct to TV). A few were even based on the Marguerite Henry books (Justin Morgan Had a Horse was one).

But what really got me thinking about my childhood favorites is that I ran across something pretty cool recently. I was so excited when I was poking around hoopla and found one of the movies that I would watch over and over. It stars Tab Hunter as a Canadian wilderness/hunting guide. He and the daughter of one of the people he takes on a fishing trip decide to capture a wild stallion locals named Hacksaw. Also the title of the movie. The culmination of the movie is participating in a chuckwagon race at the Calgary Stampede. Kinda cheesy but I loved it!

And, not only did I find Hacksaw but I found so many other “old school” live-action Disney movies in hoopla. The Love Bug movies. The Shaggy DogThe Ugly Dachshund (which made me really want a Great Dane but not a Dachshund. Go figure). Documentaries. I had just listened to The Quiet World by David Brinkley about conservation in Alaska and there was a whole chapter (maybe more? It’s hard to tell on audio sometimes) about Walt Disney and his conservational influence. Including discussion about the documentary White Wilderness.

You can easily find almost 200 options by searching Walt Disney Productions, Walt Disney Television, or Walt Disney Pictures in hoopla. Have fun walking, uh watching, down memory lane! And share some of your nostalgic favorites in the comments below.

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Prose Bowl 2017: Will Your Favorite Win?

by Jocelyn

Get your game face on! Sno-Isle Libraries’ second annual Prose Bowl begins on March 1. This online, bracket-style competition will decide our communities’ favorite read of 2016. We’ve narrowed it down to sixteen of the most popular, recent books and we’re looking for your help to find the winner.

Here’s how it works:

Every week in March, you can go online, look at the match-ups, and then vote for your favorites. Each bracket will be posted on a Wednesday and be open for one week, closing on Tuesdays at 12 pm. As with all such competitions, the contenders will be pared down until only one remains. We’ll announce the winning book on March 29.

One quick note: If you want to be considered for prizes, you MUST submit your email address by filling out the form at the end of the poll. Prizes will include advance reading copies of upcoming books, Read posters featuring yourself and a favorite book, and more!

Wondering how we chose the titles for the competition? Well, we considered about 300 books and whittled it down looking for a balance of genre, gender, perspective, and audience. We included both name-brand authors and titles that are popular and recognizable, but might not have achieved mainstream success. While it’s unlikely that any one person has read all sixteen titles, there should be something for everyone on the slate. We then arranged the titles in a sports manner, matching the title with the highest circulation with the lowest, and so on.

You don’t need a library card to vote, so feel free to share this with your family and friends. Voting begins this Wednesday, on March 1. Will your favorite win?

The Contenders

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Album Art

By Brian

Total Records features iconic record covers and provides a history of photography through the art of the album cover.

While it’s the music recorded on a album or CD that ultimately determines the success of a recording by a musician or band, an album’s artwork gives us that first impression. Thirty-three rpm or 12 by 12 the circle in a square became the vehicle for creating culturally iconic images. As the introduction to Total Records states:  “The history of music and photography are intertwined: each chapter, from abstraction to portraits, finds an echo in record covers”.

The number of these album covers you recognize in this book will depend on how extensive your record collection was/is or how many hours you’ve spent pouring over albums in your local record store or whether you’ve spent time at the public library thumbing through the record collection there.

Sno-Isle Libraries record collection is extensive. Search and find album covers and recordings featured in this book.

“ is another way of seeing, photography another way of hearing. The two have been echoing each other for a century.” Total Records

In the Catalog

From hoopla

From Freegal


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Magical Love in Fantasy Romance

by Jocelyn

I’ve always enjoyed immersing myself in alternate worlds and cultures, so fantasy novels are a mainstay on my reading list. But for me, a fantasy novel is best when it also contains a romance within it.

With fantasy romance, the growing romantic relationship is at the heart of the story, but it is one also rich in fantasy elements like magical foes, perilous quests, and imaginary worlds. Romantic relationships generally give readers the opportunity to see many different facets of a character as they deal with emotional challenges and conflicts as well as normal issues like trust, class divisions, and so on. But the fantasy setting often lets the author take it to the next level, as characters must focus on higher goals like saving the world (no pressure!) as they face their inner fears and fall in love.

Are you ready to get lost in some magically romantic reads?

The Mark of the Tala – Jeffe Kennedy
This is the first novel in the Twelve Kingdoms trilogy about the daughters of High King Uorsin. When Andromeda – the middle daughter, the one who’s always felt out of step with the world – meets Rayfe, her life takes a drastic turn. For Rayfe is the King of the Tala, an enemy people full of magic, and he wants Andromeda to be his bride.

Warprize – Elizabeth Vaughan
Daughter of a warrior-king, Lara is a healer who treats the injured regardless of their nationality. When her half-brother, the King, negotiates to truce with the attacking Firelanders, he offers Lara as a slave, a Warprize, to seal the deal. To save her people from more suffering, she accepts her new role. But she knows nothing about these barbarians, or what being a Warprize really means. As they move across the plains, she begins to learn their customs and language, and to fall in love.

Radiance and Eidolon – Grace Draven
A duology that follows Ildiko, a human, and Brishen, a Kai, as they fall in love and face challenges like racism, horrible in-laws, and political intrigue. The two are married to seal a political alliance, but their two species find each other repulsive. As their love grows, we see that the mind and character are just as key to attraction and building a strong relationship as outer beauty.

Heartmate – Robin D. Owens
Welcome to Celta, a world where social rank comes from the power of one’s psychic power, where blood feuds can wipe out entire families, and where the greatest love one can hope to find is that of a fated heartmate. In this first novel of the Heart Mates series, nobleman Rand T’Ash has discovered his fated heartmate. Since the law states that he cannot tell Danith Mallow what she is to him, he sets out to woo her. But he grew up in the slums after his entire family was killed, so his grasp of the social niceties is somewhat lacking. Can Danith see past his faults to the man beneath? Will she claim her heartmate?

Are you a fan of fantasy romance? Do you have any suggested reads?


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Book Group Cafe: New Book Discussion Kits

by KP

Welcome to the Book Group Cafe. Pull up a chair, grab a warm mug of your favorite tea or coffee and join us in a discussion of all things book group. Today we’re excited to unveil three new additions to our Book Discussion Kits!

Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation Into Space by Margot Lee Shetterly*

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as “Human Computers,” calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these “colored computers,” as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America’s fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

*Kit donated by the Coupeville “One Thing” Book Group

 The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Winner of the Hugo Award for best Novel, and nominated for the Nebula and World Fantasy awards: This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back. She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.



The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic

At eleven, karate-loving Kenan lives peacefully with his family in Brcko, a sleepy Yugoslavian town. Kenan’s life is shattered when his favorite karate coach shows up at his home wielding an AK-47 and a deadly ultimatum: “You have one hour to leave or be killed!” Kenan’s crime: being Muslim at a time of brutal ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe. Twenty years later, Kenan returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family, and discovers something more powerful than revenge.

Each book kit contains ten copies of a single title and can be checked out for any book group. If there’s a book you absolutely love as a book group pick and want to share with others, let us know in the comments! Book Discussion Kits can be sponsored for a $200 donation to the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation. Contact SIL Foundation to donate.

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