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In the Spotlight

Story of Your Life Makes the Alien Accessible

Has this ever happened to you? You’re at work, thinking about, say, Fermat’s theories, and an idea is sparked for an intriguing short story. But then you realize you really know nothing about the foundation of such a story, and it would take a long time to learn it. Read More..

Tiny Houses, Big Magic

For the last decade-and-a-half, my husband and I have been DIYing our quirky old East Lawrence home. Every year, right around now, our inner squirrels kick in: with skies and temperatures lowering, it’s time to batten down the hatches and start seriously cozifying the nest. Read More..

Squashing the Back-to-School Jitters

With a preschooler and kindergartener in the house these days, trips to and from school are a big part of my life.

Like most of the experience of parenting, many of my preconceived worries about school have never materialized, but issues I didn’t expect at all have surprised me. For instance, I spent my own first few years of elementary school staring down long hallways as older kids and adults rushed past me in a faceless torrent. Read More..

Nathan Hill, The Nix Big Thing

One of the perks (and there are many) of working at the library is the Advanced Readers Copy mini-library that we have in our staff room. Publishers send ARCs to libraries, book critics, the media, etc. in hopes that the works will be read, reviewed, and shared before the book comes out- hoping to create some buzz and get people talking about it.

This is where I stumbled upon (and quite literally judged a book by its cover) and decided to read The Nix by Nathan Hill, who just happens to be speaking at the library later this month. Read More..

No More Columbus Day: An Indigenous Peoples’ Reading List

Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first officially discussed as a construct in the late 1970’s, but it wasn’t officially enacted until 1992 (the 500 year anniversary of Columbus’s fateful maiden voyage) in Northern California. The city of Berkeley declared October 12 of that year “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in protest to the ever-problematic Columbus Day. Since then, other cities throughout the country have celebrated this counter-holiday to honor the expansive and regionally unique indigenous cultures and their rich histories. Tragically, these histories were blighted due to European interventions: many were forced to abandon their own sacred cultures and lands to assimilate, and many were victims of the mass genocide of Native peoples. Indigenous Peoples’ day is a show of continental unity and acknowledgement of tribal heritages, so what better way to participate than by reading books written by and about indigenous peoples? Read More..

Five Star Books for Fall

Autumn is almost an ethereal time of the year–there is magic in the air with the crisp scent of cold air returning and fireplaces being utilized; there is a specific kind of beauty in leaves changing color and pumpkins being present on every doorstep. With cultural traditions underway, what’s better than kicking off the change in seasons by reading a few good books? So, put on your favorite sweater, sip that pumpkin spice latte, and crack open one of these titles that will surely put you in the mood for more eerie or atmospheric reads. Read More..

Yep, That’s a Romance Novel: Three Recommendations for Not-Quite-Romance Readers

Romance is one of the most-maligned genres out there. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve gotten the “you like to read what?” response when I’ve mentioned my love of romance novels.

A few people have even followed it up with “But you were an English major!” — as though having a literature degree means I should sustain myself solely on a reading diet of dense, postmodern prose written by Serious Authors.   Read More..

Peculiar Reading

I first encountered Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children after I started working at Lawrence Public Library over three years ago.  While shelving, I would often see the creepy, antique cover leering out from the stacks, which continued to intrigue me for some time.

Eventually, I had to know what the book was about (since I am totally guilty of judging a book by its cover) and brought it home to read during a brisk autumn evening. From its opening pages, I knew that it was a match made in book heaven, and Miss Peregrine soon became one of my YA favorites. Read More..

There’s No Place Like Lawrence

Last weekend, my in-laws visited from Iowa. Don’t worry– this isn’t a horror story. Or a rant. I actually enjoy it when they’re in town, because I get to show them around Lawrence and brag about all the great locally-owned businesses and the neat events that happen in the community. It reminds me how much I love Lawrence and how glad I am to live here. Read More..

Dahl in All

You never know what thoughts will pop into your head when you wake up two hours before dawn, creep down to the darkest, quietest corner of the basement, and make a giant paper mache blueberry.  “Why the heck am I doing this?” is one recurring theme. Read More..