Categories
staff favorites

Summertime Vibes at Your Library!

by Juliana, Public Service Associate

It’s going to be a hot one this week folks, and we’re here today to spark up reading and listening inspiration for the season we’ve all been waiting for — summer! If you’re looking for something to make your days dreamy and luminous, you’ve come to the right place.

I asked the following questions to a few of my fellow library staff members and compiled our responses to share with all of you.

What are your favorite summer reads? Beach reads, vacation reads, summer vibes in general. Are you checking things off your TBR list? Are you rereading an old favorite? Do you use vacation to catch up on Stephen King? Are you choosing audiobooks for a road trip? Do you have a favorite cd or movie that seems especially summery? 

I hope you enjoy this list of responses as much as I do.

Josh, Tech Librarian

I love finding a Summer listen. Not a playlist, necessarily. I love finding an album where every song is a Summer song. Headphones, computer speakers, home stereo won’t do this music justice though… no, no, no. This music sounds the best in your car when the windows are down, a light breeze wafting in and the music blasting out. The three albums I’d recommend are:

  • Raze Regal & White Denim Inc. – 70s feeling album with a lot of ear candy! The foundation of every song is a solid groove with catchy melodies.
  • Aaron Frazer – Introducing… – Very grooving and Motown-ish feeling! Aaron drums and sings with Ohio’s own Dan Auerbach producing.
  • Anderson Paak – Malibu – Another drummer/singer on the list! Paak’s breakthrough album in 2016 still feels great in the car! (Note: there are very explicit lyrics on this album, so if that’s a deterrent I would suggest the edited version that’s available on streaming services).

Windows down, volume up!

Hannah, Patron Service Associate & Creative Content Coordinator

I enjoy reading seasonally. While haunting tales suit the moody autumn air and A Christmas Carol at Christmastime enhances the festivity, I find lighthearted novels, fairytales, and exciting adventures pair well with iced tea and hot days. My summer reading pile is stacked with…

Mary, Public Service Lead & Adult Volunteer Coordinator

Westerns have my heart during the hot summer months. I am planning on reading The Virginian by Owen Wister (which is technically a re-read for me!) along with Cities of the Plain, Cormac McCarthy’s final book in his Border Trilogy

Juliana, Public Service Associate

  • I somehow didn’t read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine until my thirties, and now I love re-reading it every summer. It’s so shimmery, filled with golden light and simple summery joys. When I think of Dandelion Wine I think of one word: Relish! (referring to great enjoyment, not the condiment).
  • Another favorite is The Summer Book by Tove Jansson. If you’ve not read anything by Jansson, I highly recommend her books. They are short and quiet and full of everyday life.

Joseph, Public Service Associate

As far as I’m concerned, summer has just one thing going for it: it makes certain music sound fantastic, such as…

  • Baumstam – On Tour – For several years now, this has been my capital-S, capital-A, Summer Album. Something in the guitar fuzz has a transmutative power, I tell you, to turn the drowning humidity which floods the night aesthetic.
  • Can – “Halleluwah” – This is another German recording from the ’70s, to listen to as or after the sun sets, except this one you’ll actually be able to stream from your service of choice.
  • Wipers – Is This Real? – Daytime listening (that is, the non-depressing tracks are). These songs are like sunglasses for my ears.
Categories
Recommendations staff favorites

Lots of Love

by Public Service Associate Juliana

I was fourteen years old and obsessed with Kurt Cobain. His song, “Heart-Shaped Box”, inspired me to dump my Valentine candy into a bag and use the empty heart-shaped box for safekeeping. Shiny red, about the size of a dinner plate, it was perfect for love notes, by which I mean literally notes of “Things I Love.”

Categories
staff favorites

2023 Video Game Roundup

By Public Service Associate Paul

2023 was a remarkable year for gaming and as we come to a conclusion on this 3rd year in the 9th generation of home video game consoles let’s take a look back at some of the best this year had to offer. In no particular order, I would like to highlight some of the games this year that, when faced with the challenge of launching in a window of time that was surrounded by so many other hotly anticipated games, rose to the occasion and left an indelible impression on myself and so many others that I would be remiss to not include them today to share with you all. 

Categories
staff favorites

Staff Favorites 2023!

Revel in the beauty of the All Staff “Reply All” email! I started an email thread asking for lists of favorite materials published in 2023. Collected below you will find a selection of standouts. There is so much variety here, truly something for everyone. Maybe you’ll feel inspired to try a new title or new author. Maybe this is the encouragement you need to read outside your typical genre! Have fun:) Read something you’ve heard lots about or nothing about. As a staff, we read a lot of fiction — psychological, gothic, horror, historical, romance, thriller. We read a lot in general — memoir, essays, picture books, and manga. You’ll also find our favorite movies, television, and music.

Categories
Recommendations staff favorites

Festive Reads to Help You Enjoy the Holidays!

by Public Service Associate Juliana

Shorter days make me nostalgic for the winter evenings I sat on a low stool, my back warm in front of a fire that my mother built with logs my father stacked all summer. We’d decorate the tree after Thanksgiving with multicolored lights, salt dough angels and crocheted snowflakes. 

Categories
Recommendations staff favorites

Tolkien’s 50th Death-iversary and Hobbit Day Celebration

by Public Service Associate Luke

September is an important month for Tolkien fans. On the 2nd, his loyal readers celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famed author’s death, both mourning the loss of the greatest fantasy writer to ever live and taking the opportunity to honor the greatest fantasy world to ever exist. Twenty days later, on the 22nd, Tolkien lovers observe the fictional birthdays of two of Tolkien’s central characters: Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins, a day known as Hobbit Day.

Categories
Book Spotlight Recommendations staff favorites

Book Spotlight: Aug 9–Fog

by Public Service Associate Juliana

Aug 9–Fog by Kathryn Scanlan (2019) | print

Spare • Experimental fiction • Literary realism

Welcome to another Book Spotlight! Today’s feature, Aug 9–Fog, will appeal to those who gravitate toward literary realism.

Literary realism: a literary movement that represents reality by portraying mundane, everyday experiences as they are in real life. (Master Class)

All the books currently checked out on my library card contain the subject “everyday life”, books by Tove Jansson, Virginia Woolf, Kathryn Scanlan. These books highlight the beauty of the day-to-day, the minutiae of real life. This results in leisurely paced narratives that focus on character rather than plot; nothing much happens; characters talk about the weather, daily routines and what they’ll watch later on TV.

Categories
Recommendations staff favorites

Gonzo Journalism: Dark, Funny, Strange, and Mostly True

by Public Service Associate Luke

One of the core tenets of journalism is to remove yourself from the story and keep that sense of detachment in order to avoid any kind of bias or personal involvement. This rule is what allows journalists to maintain an air of neutrality in their reporting. “Gonzo Journalism” is the direct breaking of and sometimes flippant disregard for that rule. These stories often become more about the writing itself, rather than just the objective of the article or book. The term “Gonzo” has several disputed origins, from the semi-translation of a French term to a 1960s jazz song (no, none of them relate to the blue-beaked Muppet).

Gonzo Journalism was first mentioned by the editor of Scanlan’s Monthly when describing the seminal piece “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” by the creator of the movement, Hunter S. Thompson. This journalistic style is known for its writers being directly involved in the act they are meant to be observing. Think of embedded journalism, if the journalist also fired the rifle, smoked the drugs, or engaged in otherwise frowned-upon activities. The ethics of such a style are questionable, but they certainly bring about excellent and extremely detailed product. Hunter S. Thompson would begin and continue to add to the movement, while many other journalists and authors took influence from him and began getting involved in their own subject material. I first found Thompson in junior high, and I now own a copy (or two) of each of his works. I love this type of writing, and so I’ve collected a list of some of my favorites.

Categories
Recommendations staff favorites

Six Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month

by Public Service Associate Juliana

It’s time to celebrate poets! Do you find poetry intimidating? Does your experience extend beyond Shakespeare’s sonnets you read in high school? This April is the perfect time to give poetry another chance. Read on for six ways to infuse your month with an appreciation for verse.

Categories
Recommendations staff favorites

Celebrate Pi Day with Pizza!

by Public Service Associate Juliana

“Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Pi Day is an annual opportunity for math enthusiasts to recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and eat pie.” (PiDay.org)

I’m not really a math person, but I’m definitely a pizza person. This Pi Day I suggest a BYOP party! Yep, you read that right. It’s like BYOB except with pizza. A dear friend of mine once threw a party where she invited everyone to bring their favorite pizza from their favorite pizza place to share with everyone. BYOP. Essentially a pizza potluck, plentiful in both variety and quantity. I can’t get over what a great idea this is. Pizza is often a matter of convenience as well as taste preference. BYOP is a way to get to try some of the best that may be outside your normal range.