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Six Debut Novels About Families for Book Clubs

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 13:03
From ancient Rome to 20th century Middle East to contemporary USA, these debut novels will inspire lively conversation about family from vastly different angles. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, The Confusion of Languages and George and Lizzie take a close look at marriage and parenthood; Salt Houses takes us into a Palestinian family caught between present and past, displacement and home; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine focuses on how to open your heart to create family; and Feast of Sorrow shows how disregarding family can ultimately destroy you. While all six books are quite different from one another, they are all reminders that the foundations of life are relationships--and family, whether the one you're born into or the one ... [More]
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Six Books for Adults that Spark Empathy

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 20:14

Empathy seems to have taken a bit of a hit recently. There's rarely a week when blatant hate or some form of intolerance isn't at the forefront of the news; and there can be few of us who haven't felt the need to disconnect from the media at times unable to take anymore. It would seem we could do with more empathy in our lives. With this in mind, here are six books for adults that have helped me see empathy – and its importance. Books can't solve everything but perhaps reading can be one kind of spark to creating more kindness in our world.
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Six Thrillers to Chill Your Book Club in the Heat of Summer

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 18:40

Rules for summer: Get outside. Sit down. Breathe deep. Grab a great book. Read.

We've got the last two covered! Here are six books that are page-turning, heart-racing, nail-biting thrillers sure to keep you riveted. Read them in blissful solitude or find a few extra chairs and invite your book club to read and discuss with you. Then you'll be following one last summer rule: Spend time with friends.

All six books are recently published in paperback and come with discussion guides; they are also available in hardcover and ebook.

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Young Adult Novels Exploring Depression

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:28
According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), suicide is the second leading cause of death in people 15-24 years of age, and ranks tenth when considering all ages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in the United States, eight percent of all people over the age of twelve suffer from depression in any two-week period. Although females are more likely to experience a major bout, males' related suicide attempts are more likely to end in death.

In addition to The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork, several recently published books for teens explore the issues of depression and suicide in teens.
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Ways to Maximize Your Library's Welcome Kit

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 10:44

Dean Baumeister at Memorial Hall Library in Andover, Massachusetts talks about ways to maximize a library's welcome kit.

Hello Dean! Please tell us about Memorial Hall Library's welcome kit; I'm curious to hear what you include.
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Contemporary YA Novels about 9/11

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:08
Over 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001. With the impact of that catastrophe being so far-reaching, it's no surprise that there have been a plethora of films and books released that recall 9/11. Oliver Stone's World Trade Center and Paul Greengrass' United 93 are two of the most popular movies to recreate that day. Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, an outstanding novel about an eccentric nine-year-old boy trying to piece together a puzzle his father left behind after being killed in the World Trade Center, is another title that might be familiar to those who seek out art related to America's contemporary history. But these well-known works aren't aimed specifically at younger readers, and there was certainly ...
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Books About North & South Korea for Book Clubs

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 10:35
One narrative can never fully represent any cultural experience but becoming aware of singular stories helps us find empathy for a wide range of the world. Here we have gathered a variety of stories that together explore a diverse representation of Korean perspectives, history and life situations. [More]
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Anythink Libraries' Shakespeare Society: Pizza and a Play

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 16:40
In the first of a new series of posts that feature librarians' successful ideas and creative solutions, Katharine Phenix from Anythink Libraries in Colorado tells us about "Shakespeare Society: Pizza and a Play," a popular program that has been running strong for six years! Hello Katharine, please tell us about this program! This program started out as readers' theater for adults, and we read a few plays that were copyright free, but after we read our first work by Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, we never looked back. We meet every other month (except June, July and December) on the first and second Tuesdays from 6 to 8 pm. Each play takes exactly two sessions, with the first half hour being for pizza. Attendees have included y...
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Do readers have an obligation to history to read "difficult" books?

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:47
I was recently participating in BookBrowse's online book discussion for Vaddey Ratner's excellent novel, Music of the Ghosts, in which the main characters are survivors of the Khmer Rouge. Needless to say, since it discusses the horrors Cambodian citizens endured during the genocide, it contains some pretty intense passages, and one of my fellow posters mentioned finding the subject matter "difficult" and therefore hard to read about. This comment prompted an offline discussion with others regarding books that cover topics that we generally don't want to dwell on, specifically humanity's ability to be unimaginably cruel to others or indifferent to their suffering.  The question arose: As readers, do we have an obligation to history... [More]
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Five Female-Focused Historical Novels for Book Clubs

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 16:30
Women are at the heart of each of these historical novels, and so are the deep challenges of holding family together and pursuing personal dreams all at the same time. The Women in the Castle and Manhattan Beach both explore the effects of war on women and their families, while Love and other Consolation Prizes and Rebellion take readers across time and place to shine a light on the hidden ways we are all connected. Finally See What I Have Done offers an intimate glimpse into one family's complicated dynamics - sometimes what we think we see isn't always what is true, and sometimes we are not as connected as we appear to be. Each of these books are, or soon will be, available in paperback and are already available in e-b... [More]
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