2021 was such exciting an year for the BPL Book Club! We read books new and old, discovered authors from around the globe, and, after many months of discussions on Zoom, we finally met in person! Thanks to all those who participated online and in the BPL Quiet Reading Room. Now it’s time to take a look back at what we read in 2021, and to see what we have planned for 2022. And, of course, be sure to join us in the New Year as we embark on even more literary adventures. Whether you’re a regular or first-timer, we’d love to have you!
Welcome to our yearly round up! Each December it’s become Bexley Library tradition to collect a sampling of our favorite releases from the past 12 months. We hope this year’s compilation inspires you this holiday season! For even more great recommendations, listen to our recent podcast episode, “Best of 2021!”
Enshrined in the US Constitution, via the Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments, all American citizens 18 years and older are given the right to vote (with some important exceptions across several states, specifically when it comes to individuals serving felony sentences, and those who have prior felony convictions). However, ordinary Americans, journalists, academics and organizations express concerns over recent national and state efforts that make it more difficult for Americans to access their right to vote.
On Monday, August 16 at 12 pm, in partnership with the Clio Society of The Ohio State University and Bexley Public Library, Professor Ori Yehudai will present Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after WWII. While most scholarship surrounding the creation of the nation of Israel is from the perspective of Jewish immigration into Israel, Professor Yehudai flips the narrative and focuses on Jewish migration out of Israel and Palestine. He will discuss why, for various reasons, Jewish migrants decided to leave Israel for other countries between the years of 1945 and the late 1950s.
Register for Professor Yehudai’s presentation here. The virtual event will be recorded, so even if you can’t attend the event live, you will receive a link to the recording about a week later. Professor Yehudai’s book Leaving Zion is also available to reserve at Bexley Public Library.
According to Google, searches on the site including vegan related terms increased worldwide in 2020 by nearly 50%! And trending terms such Meatless Mondays, vegan-curious and Veganuary suggest that more and more people are interested in and choosing to reduce or eliminate animals from their diet. But many of us may still wonder, why would anyone choose to make this transition? What do vegans even eat anyway – salads for every meal? And what about those of us with families, children and ultra-busy lives – is it even practical?
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.
With just less than a month to go, the second meeting of the BPL Virtual Book Club is just around the corner! The upcoming meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 4 at 7PM, and we’ll discuss the book Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. It’s an award-winning book, well received by critics and readers alike, and is sure to generate an engaging discussion. Register to join us! I’m still in the midst of reading the book, but I’m enjoying it so far. It seems like a book I could usually finish in just a day or two, but I’ve been trying to take my time with it. Not only to better prepare for the discussion, but I also have a feeling it is a book I’ll be sad to see end.
If you’re like me and don’t want to race through the book just yet, you might be looking for another book to absorb yourself with in the meantime. These books share a variety of themes with Shamsie’s: identity, belonging (especially as experienced by an “outsider”), and the nuances of strained/difficult relationships. They follow well-developed, complex and sympathetic (though often flawed) characters. They’re books that evoke a strong sense of place and that attempt to humanize and explore sometimes difficult political stories; i.e., my favorite kinds of books. Indeed, several of these make my list of all time favorite reads!
Election Day 2020 is now a mere 43 days away. Somehow this seems like both a lifetime away and, well, tomorrow. Regardless of how you plan to vote this November, Bexley Public Library is here to help! To encourage everyone in the community to exercise one of their most fundamental rights, we are hosting two drive-in voter registration events with The League of Women Voters on Tuesday, (TOMORROW!) September 22 from 3-5PM and Thursday, October 1 from 5-7PM. Both events will be held in the BPL parking lot and will also feature musical guests and food trucks. Join us as we celebrate – maybe not the election itself, but at least our ability to have a say in its outcome! And be sure to visit http://bexleylibrary.org/vote or give us a call at 614-231-2793 to get more information on deadlines, procedures, accessing voting materials, etc.
In the spirit of the election season, I’ve composed a list of some of my favorite “political” (I’m using that term in a fairly broad sense) books. And while this list is attached to a post about preparing for the upcoming election, I’ve chosen books that, I think, are largely non-partisan, and don’t focus much on presidential elections or candidates. Rather, they’re books that have helped me better understand and refine my own political worldview, while also helping me better understand those views I may not agree with. Importantly, several of these books put the struggles and concerns of real people at their centers: in my mind, what politics should always be about. Such stories help us build empathy for, and an understanding of people who aren’t always politically aligned with us already. Happy reading!
The Populist’s Guide to 2020: A New Right and New Left are Rising by Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti | print
Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis | print / digital
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Hedges and Sacco | print
With Liberty and Justice for Some by Glenn Greenwald | print
Strangers in their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild | print / digital