Library Staff Picks: What Are We Reading In 2020?

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A new year brings with it new reading challenges! Whether you want to read one book or fifty this year, the library has many for you to choose from. Need inspiration? Take a look at what the library staff are excited to read in 2020!

 

Melissa Moore, Library Director:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Becoming C.S. Lewis by Hal Poe

 

Olivia Chin, Circulation Manager:

Home by Toni Morrison

The Female Experience: An American Documentary by Gerda Lerner

American Predator by Maureen Callahan

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon

 

Mya Putman, Student Assistant:

The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry

 

Stephen Mount, Systems Librarian:

1984 by George Orwell

Any book by Harlan Coben

 

Rachel Bloomingburg, Evening Circulation Supervisor:

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Colors of Truth by Tamera Alexander

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

 

 

 

Top 5 Booker Prize Winners At The Library

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The Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded annually to the best original novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom. The library has several Booker Prize winners that are available to you, which are listed below. For a full list of the Booker Prize winners (from 1969 to present), click here.

 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (2019)

The Testaments was just recently awarded the Booker Prize for this year. The long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale has been a bestselling favorite since it was published in September. The Testaments takes the reader back to the horrors of Gilead with three different narrators.

*If you’d like to read The Testaments, I’d suggest asking a librarian to put a hold on it for you, so that you will be the first person in line to get it once it is returned. It’s been constantly checked out since we first got it for the library!

 

Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002)

This is the unusual story of zookeeper’s son Pi Patel, a tiger, and their struggles for survival after a boat accident. Life of Pi was also turned into a popular movie in 2013, which is available here at the library.

 

Last Orders by Graham Swift (1996)

In England, three working-class veterans drive their friend’s ashes to the sea, learning about each other’s lives along the way. This book has been on my reading wish list for awhile- I’ll get to it some day!

 

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

After reading Never Let Me Go by the same author, I’ve been eager to read his famous book The Remains of The Day. Stevens, a quintessential English butler, narrates his life and career throughout WWII.

 

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)

From the publisher: “A classic novel, in which the man who calls himself the “bomb of Bombay” chronicles the story of a child and a nation that both came into existence in 1947-and examines a whole people’s capacity for carrying inherited myths and inventing new ones.” Rushdie is more well known for his book The Satanic Verses, but it was Midnight’s Children that won the Booker Prize in 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Gift Guide For The Readers In Your Life

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If you have an avid reader as a friend or relative, then you know there’s probably at least one book on their Christmas list! But which book should you give them this year? Here’s a few book options for the different types of readers you may know. Some of these items are also available to read here at the library!

For the reader who loves Jane Austen: Why not give the gift of both the book and the movie? This edition of Pride and Prejudice has a beautiful cover, so even if they already have a version of the book, they’ll probably still love getting this new one. You can also pick up Pride and Prejudice, along with several other Jane Austen books, from our library shelves.

And there are two popular Pride and Prejudice movies to choose from! For viewers that love humor and don’t mind sitting through a long movie, get the 1995 TV mini-series (it has the famous Colin Firth portrayal of Mr. Darcy). For viewers that enjoy beautiful cinematography and faster-paced films, get the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. Both of these movies are available for check out here at the library.

 

For the reader who enjoys fast-paced books with plenty of action: Pick up a book in the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy. Fans of the TV show will love reading the source material. We also have these books available at the library.

 

For the reader who likes true crime and mysteries: Hello, I am this reader. American Predator by Maureen Callahan is on my reading wish list. This recently released true crime book tells about a meticulous serial killer and how he was caught. Chances are your true crime-loving friend hasn’t read this one yet since it’s still so new, so it makes for a great current gift!

If you want to read some true crime for free, the library has I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara, which I can’t recommend enough. You’ll find this book in our Recreational Reading section.

 

For the reader who wants something light and fun: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a modern classic in the fantasy YA realm. It’s funny, cute, and a well-told, intelligent story. Pick this one up from our Family Room.

 

For the reader who likes to stay current: You can’t go wrong with the bestseller The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. Whitehead has recently made a name for himself in the literary community; he writes about African American history and experiences. You can find this book in our Recreational Reading section.

Another bestselling book that will undoubtedly be read in book clubs is Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This book has been flying off the shelves in book stores and libraries alike, but it’s currently available on our Staff Picks Display.

 

Good luck on your Christmas shopping, and happy reading!

A Reading List For The Newly Engaged

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Engagement is a wonderful and exciting time in a couple’s relationship.  Energy and hope about the future arise as this transition into a new phase of life begins.  Wedding planning gets off the ground running, bringing with it lots of decisions and preparations to be made for the big day.  But what about preparation for the actual marriage?  While there are wedding planning websites, countless wedding dress boutiques, invitation companies, and caterers aplenty, where does one look to get advice about the central reason why this big day is happening in the first place?

As a newly engaged individual myself, these have been my “wonderings” over the past few months.  Though I have picked a venue, bought my wedding dress, booked a photographer, and started looking at invitations, I still feel a little in the dark as far as preparing for the beginning of my marriage.  Because of this, I decided to search for some advice.  My goal was to find books that were based on Biblical truths and that would help me to better understand and apply these truths as I enter into married life.  As I conveniently work in a library, one day I decided to see if we might have some books in the Logos that I could take a look at right away.

I began searching for lists of the most popular books for engaged couples online.  I found several that seemed legitimate and intriguing, and so I began making a personalized list of the ones I was most interested in.  After making my list, I decided to jump right in and see if we had any available in the library.  While I do have almost 7 months until our wedding day, I wanted to get a head start on tackling my reading list! Furthermore, as I am a nursing major, time for extracurricular reading is limited, so creating my reading list was not a light matter, and I am still tweaking it as I go.

My list as it stands now has 8 books on it, but my realistic goal is to have read 5 of these by the time I graduate. Who knows, maybe I will be able to sneak a few more in in the last month before getting married? As of now I have included on my list:

Currently, I am on my second book. I started with The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller because I had not only read great reviews on it, but had also gotten great feedback and recommendations from friends and family.  As my dad is a pastor and often facilitates marriage counseling for engaged couples, I looked to him to help me confirm my list and give me advice on which books to prioritize.  I was excited that there were several books on my list that he highly recommended and has used often when leading discussions between couples.  The Meaning of Marriage was one of the books he most strongly recommended and as it seemed to be the most foundational, I chose it as my first book.

While looking for that book on the Union University Library’s website catalogue, I also searched for several other books that I had put on my list.  I went ahead and checked out The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman and A Handbook for Engaged Couples by Alice & Robert Fryling.  The 5 Love Languages especially struck my interest so I began to read this book before completing the first one on my list.  It was a short read so I finished it in a couple of days.  It reminded me of when I first starting learning about the Enneagram – learning more about myself and how I interact with others in light of my personality type, or in that case, number.

In The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman dives into the 5 different love languages: words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch, and acts of service.  I personally found this book to be enlightening on how we all desire love in different forms and how it is crucial to discover our significant other’s primary love language and learn how to speak that love language to them more fully and intentionally.  I would highly recommend this book to any engaged couple who wants to better understand their fiancé and learn how to love him/her more specifically to how they emotionally desire to be loved.

The Meaning of Marriage has proved to be a solid foundational read and I am looking forward to finishing it up.  Keller takes time to explain how we see marriage in this day and age and then compares that with what a Biblical marriage looks like. For me, I am glad I chose this book for my list, because I already see how the foundational truths that Keller delves into will be very beneficial in helping shape my view of how marriage should look like at its core, as that indeed was my main hope in embarking on this little engagement reading and research adventure!

After finishing up The Meaning of Marriage, I plan to read Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs by Emerson Eggerichs. As some of these books are more designed to be discussed with one’s significant other, I am saving them for closer to the time that my fiancé and I begin marriage counseling. The two I am referring to include A Handbook for Engaged Couples by Alice Fryling & Robert Fryling and Our Bucket List Adventures: A Journal for Couples by Ashley Kusi and Marcus Kusi.

By no means do I claim to have all the right books for your premarital reading list, but I hope that this personalized account of my search for marital advice as a newly engaged individual will be helpful to someone along the way!

 

New: Staff Picks Display

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Ever wonder what the librarians are reading? Looking for something new and recommended at the library?

Presenting: Staff Picks! This first floor display will show you which books and movies we recommend. The display will be refreshed with new choices regularly. You can read a little about each item (and who picked it) with our handy signs.

Currently, the Staff Picks are as follows:

 

Each item is available for check out. Happy reading!

Spotlight On Library Displays

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Did you know that the library creates displays to showcase our collection? Each month, a new display theme goes up on the first-floor bookcase near the stairs. Monthly themes include:

  • Star Wars
  • Harry Potter
  • Summer Reading
  • STEM
  • Historical Fiction

and more!

 

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We also have books on display in the Family Room. These include children’s books and young adult books. Pictured below is our “Universe of Stories” display!

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All of the books, audiobooks, and DVDs on display are available for checkout. Just take the item you want to the Circulation Desk and they will check it out for you.

How To Find New Books At The Library

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Want to see the latest books that we’ve purchased? We have 3 different ways that you can see new books at the library!

 

The New Books Shelf

Did you know that we have a special section for the new books we acquire? The New Books Section is located on the second floor of the Logos. The shelves include selected titles on display, and each new book is marked with a green sticker on its spine indicating the date of its acquisition. The New Books Section makes it easier to browse the latest books by shelving them in a group together for a time.

 

The New Books List (On Our Website)

We keep an updated list of our new books and movies on our website. You can find the link to this list under the “Quick Links” section of the website’s homepage; or just click here!

 

Scrolling New eBooks

The new eBooks that we’ve purchased can be seen on the library website’s homepage. They automatically scroll across the screen just below the library chat box.

 

If you need any help finding the new books, ask a library team member at our Circulation Desk or our Research Desk!

Featured Poetry: “Quiet Fire: A Historical Anthology of Asian American Poetry 1892-1970”

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This anthology is intended to serve as an archival counter-memory, illuminating the gaps in what has been presented as “American poetry” and “American culture.”

Juliana Chang, the editor of Quiet Fire, introduces this poetry anthology with a reminder. Chang wants the readers to know that Asian American poetry has a longer, older tradition than one might have been led to believe. Chang states that Asian American poetry dates back to the 1890s with poets like Sadakichi Hartmann (secretary to Walt Whitman) and Yone Noguchi. The tradition has carried on among Asian American writers- Chang includes poems that date up to 1970.

After the introduction, Quiet Fire includes poems by Moon Kwan, Jose Garcia Villa, Jun Fujita, and many more. Brief biographies of the authors can be found toward the back of the book, as well as the written memories of different Asian American literary movements and poetry scenes.

Not only can you enjoy various poems in Quiet Fire, but you can also learn about a vital part of poetry history in America that was once overlooked. Quiet Fire is available for check out here at the library.

 

Book Review: “Amal Unbound” by Aisha Saeed

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This is what I now remember most about my last afternoon at school- the smell of the dusty chalkboard, the sound of the students lingering outside the door, and, mostly, how easily I took my ordinary life for granted.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed is the story of a bright Pakistani girl who has to make the most of unfortunate circumstances. When Amal’s mother begins to struggle with post-partum depression, Amal stays home from school to take care of her younger sisters. She dreams of a better future when she can go to college and become a teacher. When Amal accidentally offends a member of her village’s ruling family, she is forced into indentured servitude and her whole world turns upside down.

What Amal Unbound gets right: It’s refreshing to read a book that’s not set in the United States. Amal’s story is uniquely Pakistani, and reading about her culture helped me learn new words and customs. The injustice that Amal faces is heartrending, but we cheer for Amal as she learns how to navigate the world and still be herself. Aisha Saeed wrote the fictional story of Amal as a reflection of Malala Yousafzai and her fight for women’s education, and Saeed hopes that Amal Unbound and similar stories will inspire young girls all over the world to stand up for what is right.

What Amal Unbound gets wrong: Nothing, really. My only caveat is that this book is written for a younger audience than me, so there’s some repetition here and there. However, that’s not a reason to ignore this book! The story is compelling for both adults and children.

Who should read Amal Unbound: Middle-grade children, teens, and adults who want to learn about different cultures, customs, and global problems.

Who shouldn’t read Amal Unbound: Adults who prefer adult narratives.

Book Review: “North of Beautiful” by Justina Chen

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North of Beautiful is a well-written young adult book about a girl who learns to be brave. Terra Cooper was born with a port-wine stain on her face and has learned to hide it from others, in particular her verbally abusive dad. Together with her timid mom, Terra learns to stand up for herself and accept herself as she is. In the midst of Terra’s transformation, she meets a Goth romantic interest, goes to China, and creates map-based art.

 

What North of Beautiful gets right: The main characters experience a lot of growth throughout the book. None of them become perfect, but they each begin to make positive changes in their lives. North of Beautiful has a happier ending but not so optimistic that it’s unbelievable.

The traveling part of the book is fun but never overshadows the characters themselves. North of Beautiful is all about relationships and inner motivations. It’s encouraging to watch Terra repair her relationship with her mother and begin building a new one with Jacob.

What North of Beautiful does wrong: Terra’s insecurity can be hard to read about in the first part of the book. She seems to look down on others who don’t put as much effort into their appearance as she does. However, as the book goes on, we begin to understand why Terra feels that way, and we get to see her grow and change.

Who should read North of Beautiful: Anyone who has struggled with how they look, likes cartography, or enjoys a (mostly) innocent romance. Teenagers who need someone to relate to. Adults who will understand the relationships between Terra and her parents.

Who shouldn’t read North of Beautiful: People who aren’t interested in reading about teenagers or families. People who get bored by character development and need more action in their stories.

 

Check out North of Beautiful from the library’s Family Room.