Categories
Recommendations

All The Presidents’ Memoirs

by Public Service Associate Owen

It’s February! It’s the time of year for dreary weather, expressions of love, Super Bowls, and forgotten New Year’s resolutions. It is also the month that contains the birthdays of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and as such February 17th is celebrated as Presidents Day. In honor of this day and of those who have served as our nation’s chief executive, I thought I’d assemble a list of some of my (and my dad’s) favorite biographies of presidents.

“Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.”

  • Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty by John B. Boles | print / digital

“Not since Merrill Peterson’s Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In Jefferson, John B. Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson’s life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker — as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician, and gourmet. We witness him drafting of the Declaration of Independence, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, and inventing a politics that emphasized the states over the federal government — a political philosophy that shapes our national life to this day.”

  • The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner | print

“Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln’s lifelong engagement with the nation’s critical issue: American slavery. A master historian, Eric Foner draws Lincoln and the broader history of the period into perfect balance. We see Lincoln, a pragmatic politician grounded in principle, deftly navigating the dynamic politics of antislavery, secession, and civil war. Lincoln’s greatness emerges from his capacity for moral and political growth.”

“With lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as “nothing heroic… and yet the greatest hero.” Chernow’s probing portrait of Grant’s lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America’s greatest biographer, bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant’s life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.”

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as “a masterpiece” (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and almost fatal asthma attacks, and his struggle to manhood: an amazing metamorphosis seen in the context of the very uncommon household in which he was raised.

A book to be read on many levels, it is at once an enthralling story, a brilliant social history and a work of important scholarship which does away with several old myths and breaks entirely new ground. It is a book about life intensely lived, about family love and loyalty, about grief and courage, about “blessed” mornings on horseback beneath the wide blue skies of the Badlands.”

  • Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of FDR by H. W. Brands | print

“Drawing on archival material, public speeches, correspondence and accounts by those closest to Roosevelt early in his career and during his presidency, H. W. Brands shows how Roosevelt transformed American government during the Depression with his New Deal legislation, and carefully managed the country’s prelude to war. Brands shows how Roosevelt’s friendship and regard for Winston Churchill helped to forge one of the greatest alliances in history, as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin maneuvered to defeat Germany and prepare for post-war Europe.”

Categories
Recommendations

After Watching The White Lotus

by Public Service Associate Juliana

Maybe you watched The White Lotus week by week as it aired or maybe you waited and devoured it all in a single weekend. Either way, The White Lotus season two has an excellent cast and plot line that keeps viewers eager to catch the next episode. But for me, the real draw was the setting. I love to travel and have a preference for books, movies, and shows with a strong sense of place. After watching season 2 in its entirety, I immediately set out in search of books that would allow me to stay within the setting. More Italy please, because I am simply not ready to leave that stunning, shimmering, sunny country in the middle of the Mediterranean. 

Categories
Recommendations staff favorites Youth Services

Best of 2022: Youth

by Youth Services Librarian Amanda

In the youth services spot, we highlighted some of the best new books across a range of ages from this past year.

Early Childhood

The Hair Book by LaTonya Yvette, illustrated by Amanda Jane Jones |print

This beautiful new board book combines adorable art with the presentation of a diverse array of hairstyles and the people who wear them. The bright, contrasting colors are great for babies and their still-developing eyes and the friendly-looking art style is sure to please any little one.

My Parents Won’t Stop Talking by Emma Hunsinger, illustrated by Tillie Wonder |print

This adorable book covers a topic that every little one has experienced at some point: patiently waiting for their adults to finish a conversation. This book is a humorous take on patience and perspective, and has the cutest illustrations, to boot!

Mermaid Kenzie: Protector of the Deepby Charlotte Watson Sherman, illustrated by Geneva Bowers |print / Libby

Mermaid Kenzie is a beautiful meshing of diverse character design and writing forms, beautiful artwork, and an important message. The book, written in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), discusses pollution and its effects on the ocean, as well as what we can do to help, all in the company of the very endearing Kenzie. If you have a mermaid-loving member of the family, this is a great little primer on how we can help our world. 

Sports Heroes: Inspiring Tales of Athletes Who Stood Up and Out by Mia Cassany and Iker Ayestaran

This book details inspiring stories of athletes overcoming social barriers to come out on top in their sport. This is the perfect book for young athletes and covers a diverse range of professional athletes. Ayestaran’s colorful, quirky illustrations are a great addition and help break up the text so that it’s more readable for children of all sorts of different reading levels.

School-Aged

A Taste of Magic by J. Elle |print / Libby

This is the perfect book for fans of the ‘magical school’ genre. Kyana, a young witch attending Park Row Magic Academy, has to navigate the non-magical world outside of the academy. When the school loses funding, she’s told that her options are to attend another academy that is too expensive and across town or to lose her magic forever! Can a combination of her sharp mind and great baking skills save the school? 

A Duet for Home by Karina Yan Glaser |print / Libby

A wonderful entry in the realistic fiction genre, this book follows a pair of biracial sixth-graders who live in a homeless shelter and the bonds they build together. When their place at the shelter is under threat, the pair team up to keep their place, fighting against all odds. This book is well-written with realistic, diverse characters and an impactful story.

Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa |print / Libby

Written by a popular YA author, this book takes all of the wonderful writing and world-building of Kagawa’s other works and puts it in a middle-grade novel! Based on the Disney fandom and the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, this novel follows Shinji as he turns to the group for aid, tries to find out more about the magical guardian that has taken over his body and stop the people trying to take the guardian for themselves.

Teen/YA

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison |print

A new entry in the wildly popular YA thriller genre. This book explores the social dynamics of community acceptance, friendship and the dating world all around a hard-to-put-down murder mystery plot. Celeste, a new student, builds a friendship with the town pariah, Vivvy over their mutual love of fanfiction. When they try to play out some of the fiction in real life, Celeste ends up kissing the most popular boy in school… and he ends up dead immediately after. Can these two figure out what happened?

Once Upon A K-Prom by Kat Cho |print / Libby

K-pop is huge these days, and whether they’re a fan of BTS or a BLACKPINK enthusiast, there’s no better book to enthrall your local teen K-pop stan than Once Upon a K-Prom. Elena is a teen struggling with finding her path in life, but things start to come together when her former-best-friend-turned-K-pop-star asks her to prom. Will Elena take this chance on a new, glitzy path?

Loveless by Alice Oseman |print / Libby

Alice Oseman is a hugely popular YA writer, and this latest entry of hers is right on par with her other phenomenal works. A teen novel all about romance… that is also not about romance. As Georgia begins her college career, she realizes something about herself: she has never had a crush on anyone, ever. Follow along with her as she navigates what this means for her life right alongside dealing with all the new experiences at the university. 

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao |print / Libby

Technically, this was published at the end of 2021, but with this book receiving both a sequel and a movie adaptation soon, we couldn’t leave it off the list! The country of Hauxia has been under attack by alien creatures called hunduns for hundreds of years and the people have managed to take a stand against them with giant robots (called Chrysalises) crafted from their husks. When Zetian’s sister dies under mysterious circumstances while in the piloting program, she joins herself to enact revenge on the pilot who did it. The following story has intrigue, action, giant robot fights, and a romance subplot like no other. 

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

Ghost Stories

by Public Service Associate Hannah

It’s said that Halloween is a time when the veil between our earthly plane and the spiritual world is thin. And a thin veil means it is easier for spirits to cross and walk among the living. Whether you believe in phantasms or not, telling ghost stories is a timeless, cross-cultural tradition. Even Pliny the Younger (c. 61 – 113 CE) wrote about the specter of an old man, complete with a long beard and rattling chains, haunting his home in Athens. So without further ado, allow me to share some of the latest ghost stories haunting the library shelves!

Categories
BPL News & Information

Banned Books – A History

by Public Service Associate Owen

Yesterday marked the beginning of Banned Books Week, a week that aims to celebrate the freedom of literary expression. Book censorship is a rising problem in the United States, with the American Library Association reporting an “unprecedented” number of book challenges, as well as The New York Times dictating in January that “parents, activists, school board officials and lawmakers around the country are challenging books at a pace not seen in decades.” For whatever the reason, there has been a consistent rise in censorship attempts; Banned Books Week is an effort to both raise awareness in opposition to these attacks on literary freedom and to celebrate the books that have been targeted. I hope to lay out a brief history of book censorship, especially in the United States, to provide context as to why this week is so critical.

Categories
BPL News & Information Programs Recommendations

Summer Gardening

by Public Service Associate Owen

Other than the shock of spring, summer is far and away the most verdant time of year. It is the perfect time to get the overalls on, find your gardening gloves and trowel, and spend hazy days in the garden. If you’re the sort of person who finds fulfilment on your knees in the soil, or even if you simply appreciate a good house plant, then this blog is for you! I’d like to highlight our extensive plant and gardening section here at the library, as well as shout out a fantastic event we’re having here involving plants and gardening that you won’t want to miss!

Categories
Recommendations

If You Liked Matrix: Resurrection

by Public Service Associate Luke

After almost twenty years, the Matrix finally returned, as slow motion bullets, kung fu wirework, and Keanu Reeves once again graced our screens. Lana Wachowski brought back our favorite green-tinted science fiction to theatres and HBO Max, and the world of cyberpunk is here again. 

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

Veterans Day Books for All Ages

by Adult Services Manager Whitney

As we honor all US military veterans this week, here are some books for all ages that explore the perspectives and challenges of the men and women who have served our country. Libby has also created a collection of over 160 titles curated by librarians on Military Memoirs and History.

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

The Perfect Autumn Read

by Public Service Associate Nichole

Whether autumn is your favorite season or not, I think we can all agree that it is by far the coziest season of them all. Rustling leaves, a hot drink, and a good book. Sounds pretty perfect, right? Be it a cozy mystery or a romance there is a book for every reader! Here are my recommendations to get you in the perfect autumnal mood:

Categories
Booklists Recommendations

Spooky Reads

By Public Service Associate Hannah

Do you feel that chill in the air? Wrap yourself tight in a blanket, these book recommendations will give you goosebumps!