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In the Spotlight

Like Try Why: Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin is the 2014 recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Her novels transcend the (artificial) division between literary and genre fiction. If you’ve never read Le Guin, this guide will give you a place to start, and if you’re already a fan, hopefully you’ll find a new book.  Read More..

10 Things You Never Knew about Sesame Street

Long-lost but familiar books, games, and toys can be a revelation when re-experienced through the eyes of children, and one of the most amusing reunions I’ve had in recent years is with the people and puppets of Sesame Street.  The library is a great place to find anything Sesame Street, from classic picture books like The Monster at the End of This Book, to songs like “C is For Cookie” and “I Love Trash”.  Among my favorites are DVD compilations of the animated shorts dedicated to specific letters and numbers my sister and I always used to call “commercials.”  They hold kids as spellbound today as they did when first broadcast, and it turns out my sister and I weren’t far off the mark, since Sesame Street’s creators, who hoped for the first time to harness the educational potential of catchy 1950’s and ‘60’s advertising jingles, called them commercials, too.  Read More..

Like, Try, Why: New Literary Fiction

If you are the reader who is always on the look out for the best in new literary fiction, we’ve got suggestions based on some of last year’s most popular literary fiction.  Read More..

Girls Gone Graphic!

I bought my first comic seven years ago.

Feeling unsure and out of place, I ventured up the steps to Lawrence’s local comic shop, Astro Kitty, to buy Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8. As a longtime devotee of Joss Whedon’s TV show, I was thrilled when I learned it was going to continue in comic form, even if I didn’t have any experience with the format and had grown up thinking that it was just superhero stories that were really meant for boys who didn’t like to read (oh, how naive my younger self was). Read More..

Like, Try, Why: Short Stories

If you’ve ever lamented the fact that you can’t seem to finish a book due to a lack of reading time or been late back to work because you couldn’t put down the book you were reading on your lunch break, short story collections my be the solution to your reading woes. Here are some great literary collections to get you started.  Read More..

Jes’ Walk Right In

For something different, I thought I would recommend a CD.

Growing up in Southern California, every Thanksgiving one of the Rock and Roll stations would always play all 23 minutes of Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant.  I always enjoyed the satire and humor, as well as the powerful message of the song.  Read More..

Documentaries We Love

Released in 2013, Flex is Kings is a documentary following the lives of young African-American flex dancers over a two-year period.  Flex, an undulating, free-style street-dance, originated in Brooklyn, New York and is centered around Battlefest, where dancers face off to find out who flexes best. The filmmakers do an incredible job using artistic camera shots and beautiful staging to capture the evocative, athletic nature of flex dancing.  Focusing on the community of dancers and the struggles they face, the movie is an elegant reminder of the power of dance. Read More..

Like, Try, Why: Romantic Suspense

If you’re looking for action and love stories, chances are, you’re a fan of Romantic Suspense novels. The key factor in these novels is danger, whether it involves a murder investigation or a government conspiracy. Fans of this subgenre are in good company — it’s quite popular. Here are a handful of suggestions, and we’ve made a list of even more popular romantic suspense authors in the catalog. Read More..

Dictating History

The stereotypical 20th century office secretary—taker of dictation, orderer of flowers for the boss’s wife, getter of coffee—was a silent participant in whatever glory or tragedy befell her employers.  Such secretaries rarely found themselves subjects of historical interest, except perhaps in studies of the marginalization of women in the workplace, and characters like Mad Men’s Peggy Olson have portrayed the heartbreaking limitations of the job with an empowered twist hopefully more reflective of today’s female labor force.  But in two of the best movies I’ve seen recently, real life secretaries quietly performing their duties became involved in the most momentous historic events of the last century. Read More..

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Like, Try, Why: Stephen King Edition

Stephen King has not only a huge following, but an impressive and diverse body of work. For those looking for a creepy or scary tale this Halloween, he’s a favorite author. If you’re looking to branch out into some other novels that have that Stephen King feel, he have some suggestions. Find these titles in the catalog. Read More..