NPR book reviewer Maggie Stiefvater recently noted that 55% of YA (Young Adult ) fiction is read by adults. She goes on to recommend five YA titles “you’ll never outgrow.” Her favorite among them, and ours, too, is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. As Stiefvater writes, “[T]wo girls join the war effort in World War II Britain. During a mission, they’re shot down over France and a lengthy interrogation begins. What sounds like a deeply unpleasant story is actually a frequently wry and astonishingly real portrayal of two best friends. It’s hard, but not harrowing. And most importantly, it has stuck with me ever since I picked it up. It is one thing to love a novel. It’s another for that love to endure for months. It’s the holy grail for this particular reader, and that is why it is my No. 1 read of 2012. “
One of the great things about working in the library is that you are constantly exposed to new things, you are always learning. Just today I came across a comment from an astute EPL patron on our library website which alerted me to a great new online resource for book recommendations. The website is called Five Books and each day features a different writer or expert recommending five books on a particular subject matter in which said writer is particularly well versed. So, for instance, Calvin Trillin recommends memoirs, Sophie Kinsella recommends chick lit, and Alison Weir recommends historical fiction. And unlike many book recommendation sites, you don’t just get a brief, pat listing of titles, but instead are treated to fascinating, in depth interviews with these learned experts expounding on their choices and why they chose them. The site is also handily organized so that you can browse the archives of lists by either subject matter or by region of the world you are interested in reading about. Just browsing over the site a bit this morning I’ve already come across a whole list of great new books to read, including several written by the experts themselves (thanks to informative biographies of the contributors and a helpful links feature directing users to their books). So if you’re looking for good book recommendations or are just an unapologetic list-junkie, check out Five Books. But users beware, your “To Read” list is about to get much longer. Thanks to EPL patron David G. for the tip!
It has long been a fantasy of mine to go away for a weekend and do nothing but read. No commitments, no interruptions, just me and a book. So when an open weekend, frequent flyer miles, and an understanding husband presented itself, I jumped at the chance – an entire weekend alone in warm weather with nothing but my bathing suit and books (and my laptop. Although I crave solace, I can’t imagine being completely out of touch!).
If you’re a fan, you’ll have two chances Monday, March 15, 2010, to see–and maybe even ask a question of–Joyce Carol Oates at the Chicago Public Library. At 2:30, British Oates scholar Gavin Cologne-Brooks moderates a question and answer session with the author. Then, at 6 p.m., Donna Seaman, an associate editor of Booklist and Chicago Public Radio book critic, engages Oates in conversation about her wide-ranging body of work. These events are presented by the Columbia College Fiction Writing Department as part of their Story Week 2010. Among Oates’s more than one hundred books in every genre imaginable, are the Oprah Book Club selection We Were the Mulvaneys, National Book Award finalists Blonde and The Gravedigger’s Daughter, New York Times best seller The Falls, and her latest suspense thriller, A Fair Maiden.
On February 26, 1932, he was born to poor Southern Baptist sharecroppers in the tiny town of Kingsland, Arkansas. In 1950, he was stationed in West Germany to eavesdrop on Soviet radio traffic for the U.S. Air Force. By 1956, he was perched atop the Billboard charts with his song “I Walk the Line” and well along the road to becoming an American legend. He was Johnny Cash, and today would have been his 78th birthday.
Over a career that spanned nearly 50 years, Cash’s distinctively deep baritone and “freight train” rhythm resonated with fans of country, rock, blues, folk, and gospel music and carried him to the pinnacle of musical success. He won 17 Grammy Awards, sold over 90 million records, hosted a successful primetime T.V. show, and was inducted into both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. But along with these great heights there also came devastating lows. Cash’s struggles with drugs and alcohol cost him his first marriage, wreaked havoc upon his health, and saw him jailed for smuggling amphetamines across the U.S.-Mexico border. Through it all, however, Cash remained true to his humble roots while singing both to and for the downtrodden, downhearted, and down-and-out. He was a rebel, a reformer, and above all, a relevent artist who continued to reach new audiences up until his death in 2003 from complications with diabetes.
Did you know that in addition to the pages and pages of book recommendations from our library staff members, we’ve also got a whole section of our website dedicated to books read and reviewed by library patrons like you? Well lower those eyebrows, reel that jaw up off the floor, and stop acting so surprised, because you’re about to get all the info on how you too can unleash your inner critic. To post a review on epl.org, just head on over to our Books/Music/Movies page and click the Submit Review tab on the left-hand menu bar. Or if your dragging and clicking fingers are tired out from all the page turning you’ve been doing, simply click on this link to submit a review. And don’t just limit yourself to books. If there’s a CD or a film you’ve been dying to tell the world about, here’s your chance. And don’t forget to check out all the great patron reviews we’ve already received. The full archive is available here. Now get reading and get reviewing! We know you’ve got an opinion, and we want to hear it!
Evanston Public Library is now on Goodreads. Are you?? Click on our Goodreads link on the right side of our page to get started. Once you sign up for Goodreads, you can check out our book recommendations, write reviews of your own, start a discussion group, and invite your friends. It’s a fun and easy way to talk about books and find your fellow book lovers. So check it out, and happy reading!