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Eli Hoelscher

Scary and Smart: The Hole is Horror and More

I don’t typically read books out of the horror section; but then again, categorizing the sprawling bundle of thoughts that comprise a novel into just one of a handful of neat genres is not an easy task.

Of course, my latest impulse read—Hye-Young Pyun’s The Hole— is a far cry from typical.

The recently-translated novel binds the reader to the perspective of a man trying to recover from a devastating car wreck. He’s lost not only his wife, but also his ability to move and speak. It caught my eye thanks to an intriguing cover design that sticks out like a sore thumb next to the  the horror shelves’ status quo of darker, bloodier fronts.

As different as it may be, make no mistake— The Hole fully deserves its place next to these macabre tales. Read More..

Peanuts, A Great American Novel After All

The DNA of four-panel funnies, well-respected graphic novels, and highfalutin literary novels might not be so different as they seem. Obviously, a strip like Family Circus isn’t even remotely in the same realm as, say, Toni Morrison, to be clear, but each tradition shares some surprising hallmarks when it comes to form and philosophy. Read More..

Is a Book a Sandwich? Super Extra Grande Edition

Just over 100 miles separate The United States and Cuba. Yet, as history would have it, the two nations have carried on a messy and surprisingly limited relationship. Setting aside the geopolitics of the real world—for now—leaves us with a sadly restrained amount of cultural cross pollination. Stateside, Cuba’s strongest association is almost assuredly cigars, followed by pressed ham, pork, and Swiss cheese sandwiches, and in a distant third, there’s Ricky Ricardo, I’m guessing.

For as familiar and adoring as I am of Cuban sandwiches (let me emphasize: extremely), I had never read—or even knew of—any Cuban authors before this summer, which speaks to the unfortunate priorities of our cultural knowledge of our island neighbor. Great art can not be kept back for long, though, and a shiny new copy of Super Extra Grande fell into my hands one day as if it were fate. Read More..

Local Author Reimagines a Classic with New Novel

While taking literature classes through high school, many of us had to read canon staples from the likes of Dickens and Steinbeck, despite how jarring it can seem to approach something like Great Expectations when you’re fourteen years old. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights— a title which my friends keep telling me to pronounce differently, for some reason— is one such classic. Read More..

Branding is Everything, Even in the Westerns

No, we’re not actually talking about cattle today, unfortunately—or marketing, for that matter. In the library context, a brand is a personal mark a reader puts on the inside cover of a book. Normally I wouldn’t advocate defacing the collection in this way, but there’s a pretty good reason for the practice. Read More..

Don’t Drive Your Jet Ski in the Dark: The Wisdom of DJ Khaled

If you listen to much Top 40 radio, you’re already familiar with DJ Khaled; even if you can’t quite connect his name to a particular song or face, there’s likely some liminal awareness. Just close your eyes and think of the times a moment of transition static has been torn through with the bombastic roar of “DEE JAY KHA-LED” just as a beat starts playing. Read More..

The Means of Escape: Two Books in Conversation

People react in a variety of ways when faced with hardship. Some people eat an entire box of ice cream by themselves or blow off steam at the rec center, and these are perfectly reasonable choices. These people, however, do not get books written about them.

Two recently-released titlesGoatmanand Welcome to Marwencolpresent two incredible stories about the boundaries of creativity and escapism. Each book offers a look into a world where the desire to get away from it all is extrapolated with macro-sized reactions. Read More..

Books on our Radar for 2017

A new year means new books! Last year, we compiled a list of highly-anticipated titles in both fiction and non-fiction for adults. These were the hyped super-faves for the 2016 publishing world, and they were a lot of fun to write about. This year, however, we’ve decided to switch gears and focus on some upcoming titles that may be lesser-known, or by debut authors.

Put these books on your radar, and check back in with us as you read! Read More..

The Best Books from the Worst Year

Let’s be honest, 2016 has been kind of a hot mess. Between so many celebrity deaths (David Bowie, Sharon Jones, Prince, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel… holy cow, SO MANY) and some, uh, general upheaval, most people are ready to write this one off as a loss.

But! As much as we’d like to say goodbye and good riddance to the year as a whole, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the very good things that came from 2016; this year has offered readers a wealth of fabulous new books. Debut authors and big-hitters alike have released incredible works in 2016, and the staff of LPL would like to share a few of our favorites. If you’re looking for great gifts for bibliophiles in your life, try one of these librarian-approved reads: Read More..

Local Author Karen Vaughn Talks T-Rex with Short Story Debut

It’s been a good month for Lawrence writers. Author Karen Vaughn brings us the most recent piece of local literature with her debut, A Kiss for a Dead Film Star, a genre-blending collection of short stories. Read More..