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Booklists Recommendations

Pride Month

by Public Service Associate Nichole

While Pride festivities are mostly still on hold this year, you can still show support for the LGBTQ+ community by reading, watching, and listening to their stories with your BPL card.

BOOKS

Check out Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters which follows Reese, a trans woman who seemingly had it all. The only thing missing? A child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?

Or get immersed in the true-crime tale Last Call by Elon Green. The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable. He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray-haired man. He will not be his first victim. Nor will he be his last. The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten. This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him.

FILMS

Enjoy cult-classics like The Birdcage and But I’m a Cheerleader, or settle in for 49 Pulses a documentary chronicling the June 2016 attack on Orlando’s Pulse nightclub which resulted in over 100 victims shot and 49 lives lost.

MUSIC

Dance around to classics like Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” or jam out to Sam Smith’s latest album Love Goes.

  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John | CD / digital
  • Hey, I’m Just Like You by Tegan and Sarah | CD / digital
  • Love Goes by Sam Smith | CD / digital

Whatever you do this month, celebrate the lives of our LGBTQ+ friends and storytellers because without them, our lives wouldn’t be nearly as colorful!

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Booklists BPL News & Information Programs Recommendations

Commemorating Juneteenth

by Adult Services Library Associate Beth

Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday that celebrates the emancipation of those who were enslaved in the United States. It originated in Galveston, Texas, recognizing the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 announcement of General Order No. 3. This order freed the remaining enslaved people in the state via President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

To celebrate this historic day, Bexley Public Library, in partnership with The City of Bexley, Bexley Chamber of Commerce, Capital University, Transit Arts, and Bexley Community Foundation, will host a Juneteenth Community Observance. The day will feature a marketplace of Bexley and central Ohio black owned businesses, artists and service providers. Attendees will enjoy music, poetry, art and dance workshops and activities led by community art engagement group, Transit Arts. Bexley Public Library staff will also lead family book reads! The day’s event will conclude with a concert, Songs of Freedom, with Ohio State Senator Herschel Craig will provide the keynote presentation. The celebration will run from 12 PM – 5 PM, on Saturday, June 19 on Capital University’s Main Street Lawn.

And check out the small media list below, with books, music, and films to go along with your Juneteenth celebration! These – and so much more – are always available to you free of charge with your Bexley Library card!

BOOKS
MOVIES
  • Just Mercy / directed by Destin Daniel Cretton | DVD
  • Miss Juneteenth / directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples | DVD
  • If Beale Street Could Talk / directed by Barry Jenkins | DVD
  • Judas and the Black Messiah / directed by Shaka King | DVD
MUSIC

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Programs Recommendations Staff Book Reviews

Animal, Vegetable, Junk

by Adult Services Library Associate Beth

“This is a book about man’s war against nature, and because man is part of nature it is also inevitably a book about man’s war against himself.”

Rachel Carson
Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal by Mark Bittman | print / digital

The above quote from Carson can be found in the opening to Mark Bittman’s latest book, Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal. In his book, Bittman traces the history of agriculture from its earliest post-hunter gatherer/small-scale farming to our modern (i.e. “Western”) system which is overwhelmingly industrial, corporate and monopolized. In telling this history, Bittman demonstrates how agriculture systems were (and in many ways, still are) drivers of slavery, colonialism, and famine. And today, this food system is responsible for intensifying climate change, deteriorating the planet, and exacerbating diet-related, chronic diseases. (After all, we can’t ultimately distinguish environmental destruction from human destruction, as Carson’s quote illustrates.)

This history takes up about the first three-quarters of the book. Admittedly, it is a hard-hitting, oftentimes depressing, and exasperating read. But it’s also fascinating, thought-provoking and incredibly important. Rather than repeating that history here, however, I recommend picking up a copy of Bittman’s book yourself. And check out an upcoming program on a very similar topic! “Diet for a Large Planet”, presented by OSU History Professor Chris Otter, will look at the history of how our modern diets – diets largely reliant on red meat, white bread and sugar – developed.

The last quarter of Bittman’s book, thankfully, is much more optimistic and uplifting. After discussing all the ways our current food system is destructive and unsustainable, Bittman highlights efforts both here and abroad to create new types of food systems: fights to raise wages and improve working conditions for workers throughout our food systems, creating more local and regional food networks, transitions to farming that is less reliant of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and national school-lunch programs that use locally sourced ingredients. And while the scale of the problem will require collective and systemic changes, Bittman offers readers ways to make changes in their own individual consumption: changing your eating habits, supporting initiatives to protect the rights of workers in the food and farm industry, and buying food from small-scale farms that use sustainable and holistic farming practices. On the topic of changing eating habits, be sure to attend our virtual program on July 14, “Eating Plants“, where Bexley residents Dr. Andrew Mills and Dr. Jessica Garrett-Mills discuss the practice and philosophy of veganism.

Bittman ends his book with the following: “We are all eaters. Providing the food we need to sustain ourselves and flourish is the single most fundamental and important human occupation. How we do it defines our present and determines our future.” With this in mind, I’m grateful to be a part of the BPL community, which offers invaluable resources and educational materials on such important topics to help learners navigate and understand the world we live in. And I’m grateful for Bittman’s book, which is such a transformative and profound read.

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Booklists Online Resources Programs Recommendations

Tails & Tales

by Adult Services Library Associate Nichole

This year’s Summer Community Read theme is Tails & Tales! Over the summer, you’ll be able to enjoy virtual programs like Voices From The Ape House with author Beth Armstrong, Eating Plants: The Philosophy and Practice of Veganism, and many more. 

While we have many excellent virtual programs to attend, I’d like to highlight a few animal advocacy groups to get you thinking about what you can do to help our friends in need.

Colony Cats & Dogs is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose primary mission is to address cat overpopulation in central Ohio through public awareness and spay/neuter efforts. Since 2002, their organization has facilitated spay/neuter of nearly 19,000 cats and dogs, and placed more than 15,000 pets in homes.

Specialized help for feral, stray and abandoned cats is a core element of our programs. We assist compassionate caregivers who are feeding and watching over homeless cats by providing TNR (trap-neuter-return) and other support services including food, shelter, vaccines and additional vet care for injuries/illness, as well as educational resources.

colonycats.org/aboutus

Spay & Neuter Abandoned Cats & Kittens, Inc. (SNACK) is an all volunteer organization formed in 2011. SNACK’s mission is to humanely reduce the overpopulation of homeless cats and kittens by conducting, promoting, and supporting trap, neuter, return (TNR) programs and low-cost spay/neuter programs.

Cause for Canines is a 501(c)(3) volunteer-based, all-breed dog rescue founded in Central Ohio, who’s committed to the rescue of homeless dogs, dogs given up by their owners due to difficult circumstances or those in danger of abuse or neglect, and dogs in shelters that are at risk of euthanasia.

Our mission is to find safe, loving, committed and permanent homes for the dogs we take into rescue.  All of our dogs are placed in foster care and receive any necessary medical care and treatments and are spayed/neutered and microchipped, while waiting for their forever homes.  Applicants are put through an extensive adoption process to ensure our dogs are placed in the best homes possible.  We also provide education to prospective adopters to ensure they have the tools necessary to provide appropriate pet care for their new forever friend.

causeforcanines.org

SPEAK! for the Unspoken is a registered 501(c)(3) pet rescue located in the Columbus, Ohio area devoted to special needs animal rescue and education.

We focus our rescue efforts on special needs dogs and cats, double merle dogs born with vision and/or hearing deficits due to poor breeding practices. We believe special needs dogs can live happy and healthy lives, and until the careless breeding stops, we will continue to find these special dogs the homes they deserve. We see possibilities, not disabilities. We adopted our motto “special needs and good deeds” to incorporate all the animals outside of the ‘special needs’ category that we are able to help. We are a foster based rescue so all of the animals in our program are living and cared for in a loving home.

speakfortheunspoken.com/about

Sunrise Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that provides a loving and permanent shelter for over 170 formerly abused, neglected, disabled, or unwanted farm and companion animals.

We at Sunrise Sanctuary encourage more humane and compassionate behaviors and believe that each living creature has value and deserves to live free of suffering and exploitation.

sunrisesanctuary.org

Whether you’re new to animal advocacy or a lifelong defender, we can all do our part to help creatures great and small. Check out these books to see how you can help animals in your community and across the world:  

  • Voices from the Ape House by Beth Armstrong | print
  • Happily Ever Esther by Steve Jenkins & Derek Walter | print
  • Tiny but Mighty by Hannah Shaw | print
  • Dogland by Jacki Skole | print

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

Hot Books for Summer

by Adult Services Library Associate Debbie

Every time of year is a great time for reading but there is something about summer with it’s longer days, lemonade and lounging that is particularly inviting to curling up with a good book. Here are some of the buzziest books of the season for all sorts of summer fun!

Best Book to Throw in a Beach Bag

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry | print / digital

Alex is quiet and studious. Poppy is a wild child. But after sharing a ride home for the summer, the two form a surprising friendship. Every summer the two find their way back to each other for a magical weeklong vacation. Until one trip goes awry, and they lose touch. Now, two years later, Poppy’s in a rut and nothing is making her happy. In fact, the last time she remembers feeling truly happy was on that final, ill-fated Summer Trip. The answer to all her problems is obvious: She needs one last vacation to win back her best friend.

Best Book on a Family Vacation

The Guncle by Steven Rowley | print / digital

Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits. When tragedy strikes, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.

Best Book to Enjoy the Summer Sizzle

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams | print

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer. Shane Hall is a reclusive, award‑winning novelist, who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York. When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can’t deny their chemistry—or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years. Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect—but Eva’s wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered..

Best Book for Readers Who like Twists and Turns

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris | print / digital

Young, literary, and ambitious, Nella Rogers has spent the last two years as an editorial assistant at Wagner Books, a premier publishing house, where she’s been the only Black person in the room. She’s excited when she detects another Black girl on her floor: finally, someone else who gets it. And she does, at first. Wagner’s newest editorial assistant, Hazel-May McCall, cool and self-possessed, is quick to befriend Nella, echoing her frustrations with the never-spoken racial politics of their office, encouraging her to speak up. But it doesn’t take long for Nella to realize there’s something off about Hazel, even if she can’t quite put her finger on it.

Best Book While Sipping a Cocktail

A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin | print / digital

For years, rumors have swirled about a secret, women-only social club where the elite tastemakers of NYC meet. People in the know whisper all sorts of claims: But no one knows for sure. That is, until journalist Jillian Beckley decides she’s going to get the scoop and break into the club. But the deeper she gets into this new world, the more suspicious Jillian becomes. The women are really into astrology and witchcraft, and their lives are somehow perfect. Too perfect. These women have a secret.

Have a fun summer of reading!

Categories
Bexley History Programs

Bexley’s Victory Gardens

by Local History Librarian David

War time rationing of the food supply combined with shortages in production found many front yards across Bexley converted into vegetable gardens. These Victory Gardens that first appeared during World War I were encouraged during World War II by the Bexley Garden Club.

Experiencing demand for ground to plant gardens, the garden club acquired undeveloped land, rent free, from the Berwick Corporation. Located on the south side of Livingston Avenue, the ten acre tract was divided into forty by fifty foot plots, plowed and fertilized, and offered to anyone desiring to plant a garden of vegetables to aid the war effort.

In March of 1943, Bexley residents lined up at the Bexley Garden Club headquarters, at Bexley Public Library, and registered for over two hundred plots. During a meeting at the Montrose school building, a specialist in vegetable gardening from The Ohio State University provided advice and for two hours daily, a garden clinic was held at the library to distribute literature.

Victory Gardens were not entirely without problems. Soon after their planting the city began to enforce “an almost forgotten ordinance” to prevent dogs, who were feeding on the gardens, from roaming the streets. Emboldened by the dog quarantine, rats became a problem and by June complaints of rats eating the produce poured into city hall.

Despite losses of crops, the amount of produce grown in Victory Gardens across the United States during the Second World War was estimated to be equal to commercial production. After the war, such mass production in gardens waned, but renewed efforts to promote Victory Gardens emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Victory over Virus Gardens” promoted by the Ohio State Extension and Ohio Department of Agriculture during the fall of 2020, produced carrots, kale, beets, radishes, lettuce, and herbs, much of which were donated to community food pantries. The Bexley Community Gardens were included in the “pilot gardens” across the state.

To learn more about Bexley’s Community Gardens and the history and architecture of the homes on this year’s Bexley Women’s Club House & Garden Tour, join us for a virtual program via Zoom at 7 PM on Thursday, May 20. Registration is required.

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Online Resources Recommendations

Explore Ohio with BPL

by Adult Services Library Associate Nichole

Now that Spring is here, it’s time to get outside! Did you know that with your Bexley Public Library card you can check out telescopes and birding kits?

Two birding kits, one for individuals and one for families, are available for a two-week checkout period. Each pack contains one set of binoculars, a variety of three field guides, two birding activity sheets, and a Birding Quick Start Guide. The family kit includes an extra set of compact binoculars suitable for a child or adult. Check out the borrowing guidelines here.

After you’ve checked out your birding kit, head on over to Bird Watcher’s Digest to find Ten Bird Watching Hotspots in Ohio. Don’t want to drive to Hocking Hills or Shawnee State Forest? Try visiting one of our many wonderful Metro Parks, perhaps Scioto Audubon or Pickerington Ponds!

Photo: Bryan Huber via metroparks.net/parks-and-trails/pickerington-ponds/

As the nights get warmer, what better time to borrow a telescope from BPL? Two telescopes are available for patrons to view astronomical events, learn more about our solar system and develop a greater appreciation for the earth’s place in the universe. These telescope kits include EZ Finder Scopes for aiming, instructions, eyepieces for magnification, LED mini red flashlights to help with night vision, and skygazing resources. Check out the borrowing guidelines here.

Want to venture out of your backyard to explore the sky? Head over to Columbus Astronomical Society to read up on observing sites where you’ll learn more about the John Glenn Astronomy Park and the Perkins Observatory (located just north of Columbus)!

image via jgap.info

One of my favorite outdoor activities this spring has been exploring trails, big and small, across Ohio. Recently the Ohio Department of Natural Resources released the DETOUR app which allows you to explore trails systems across the state from your phone. You can explore Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks, Cleveland Metroparks, Central Ohio Greenways, and so many more!

Whatever you do this spring, make sure to get outside and soak up all of the goodness that Mother Nature has bestowed at our feet!

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Booklists Programs Recommendations Virtual Book Club

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

by Adult Services Library Associate Beth

Did you know that May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? During the month of May, we recognize the contributions and achievements of Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans in history, culture, science and beyond. Celebrate with us this May (and every month) by reading, watching, and listening to the multitude of AAPI authors and artists available to you through the Bexley Public Library and the CLC consortium! See the small collection of films, musical albums and books below to get started. 

And be sure to register for this month’s BPL Virtual Book Club, where we’ll be discussing Susan Choi’s Trust Exercise, winner of the 2019 National Book Award. Provoking conversations about fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, Trust Exercise is sure to inspire a lively discussion. The discussion will take place on Wednesday May 5 at 7pm on Zoom. Hope to see you there!

Films

  • The Farewell; Written and directed by LuLu Wang | DVD
  • Lucky Grandma; Directed by Sasie Sealy, Written by Angela Cheng and Sasie Sealy | DVD / digital
  • Minding the Gap; Directed by Bing Liu | DVD

Music

  • Omoiyari by Kishi Bashi | CD
  • Nectar by Joji | CD / digital
  • Be the Cowboy by Mitski | CD

Books

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

Poetry and Nature

by Adult Services Library Associate Nichole

April 2021 marks the 25th annual celebration of National Poetry Month and 51 years of recognizing Earth Day. What better way to honor these two significant milestones than look at how nature has inspired poetry then and now. 

An incredible inspiration, nature allowed The Romantics to reflect on the environment’s impact in our daily lives, physically and emotionally…while modern-day ecopoetry focuses more on nature, it’s non-human inhabitants, and examines humans’ impact on the environment.

When I think of nature, my mind immediately goes to my favorite poet John Keats. Whether you’re reading To Autumn, Ode to a Nightingale, or Sonnet VII [O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell], Keats has a way of transporting you into the dreamiest and earthy settings.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

To Autumn by John Keats via poetryfoundation.org/poems/44484/to-autumn

And while I’m in my happy place reading poetry from The Romantics, I also love diving into modern-day poetry coming from ecopoets!

So, what is ecopoetry exactly?

…an ecopoem needs to be environmental and it needs to be environmentalist. By environmental, I mean first that an ecopoem needs to be about the nonhuman natural world — wholly or partly, in some way or other, but really and not just figuratively. In other words, an ecopoem is a kind of nature poem. But an ecopoem needs more than the vocabulary of nature.

Why Ecopoetry? There’s no Planet B. by John Shoptaw via poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/articles/70299/why-ecopoetry
The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Whether you’re a fan of Keats, Wordsworth, Shelley, or Blake or you prefer modern day ecopoetry, there is something for every reader at BPL.

  • The Poetical Works of Keats | print
  • The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley | print / digital
  • Wordsworth, The Eternal Romantic | print
  • The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake | print
  • The Ecopoetry Anthology | digital
  • The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane | print
  • Here: Poems for the Planet | print
  • Habitat Threshold by Craig Santos Perez | print

Continue celebrating National Poetry Month online by visiting poetryfoundation.org or poets.org and see how you can join the movement this Earth Day by visiting earthday.org

Categories
BPL Podcast Programs

Black Performance and the Music of Sharon Udoh

by Adult Services Library Associate Christian

Photo taken from Counterfeit Madison’s second record, Opposable Thumbs.

Last week we had Sharon Udoh on the BPL Podcast where she spoke with adult services librarian Jeff about her professional career as an Enrollment Coordinator at ACPA (The Arts & College Preparatory Academy) and diversity in education. While we got to know about what she does in the daytime, Udoh is an enigmatic figure that has multiple layers to her artistry.

Sharon Udoh is a person known well throughout the art and music scene of Columbus for her various ventures as a musical performer. She is best known for the work in her band Counterfeit Madison, where she has put out two records and several EPs and singles. (available through the CLC or bandcamp). On the podcast she discussed a third album, stating “…when I recorded my third album, which hasn’t been released yet and I don’t know if it ever will be” with laughter. Despite the purgatory state of new Counterfeit Madison material, Udoh has still kept busy with other projects in the musical landscape.

She is seen continuing the legacy of Black performance by covering the likes of Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, and Sade–musicians that reflect the truth of American life through their underrepresented voices. While discussing the work of Nina Simone, Udoh declares “it is my undeniable belief that we cannot move past these American fears without deep personal and individual revolution.” Through her artistry, Udoh is adding to the narrative of black performance as a movement of liberation and equity.

Still image from Sharon Udoh’s appearance in the music video for Clipping’s song, “All In Your Head”.

Udoh has also appeared on experimental hip hop group Clipping’s record, There Existed an Addiction to Blood, on the song “All In Your Head”. As the song crescendos, Udoh’s sings her beautiful gospel over the drones and buzzes within the song’s production, showcasing her diverse range of musical identity.

There’s no way to box Sharon Udoh. Much like her eclectic professional career (wherein she has bounced from C++ coder to dancer instructor), her exploration in music is boundless. Her musical identity is reflective of the legacy of Black performance.


For more…

Sharon Udoh has recently collaborated with Chamber Brews, composing a piece entitled “Dig”, which can be found the Johnstone Fund for Music’s facebook page.

For more more on Black artistry, be sure to check out our Black Performance in America: A Celebration program with speakers Hanif Abdurraqib, Dionne Custer Edwards, Dr. Mark Lomax II, and Paisha Thomas on Thursday, April 8, 7:00pm – 8:00pm.