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William Ottens

5 Books to Read for LGBT History Month

In 1994, a group of teachers and community leaders in Missouri, led by high school teacher Rodney Wilson, sought to designate a month for the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history (http://lgbthistorymonth.com/background). With endorsements from GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and other national organizations, October has since been recognized as LGBT History Month, coinciding with traditions like Coming Out Day on the 11th.

As the Lawrence Public Library is committed to articulating the diversity of the Lawrence and the country, there are a number of resources on our shelves that expound the history of the LGBT community. Here are five recent titles in the library’s collection that celebrate and explore the lives and influence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals of the past and present:

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YA Backlist: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Whatever happened to Steampunk? According to some sources, this subgenre of science fiction that incorporates industrial steam-powered machinery from the 19th-century in alternative histories was “over” in 2010. Others might say last year.

In this YA Backlist post, I’m taking a look back at Scott Westerfeld’s YA contribution to Steampunk, Leviathan. To be honest, this was one of three or so Steampunk novels I read – but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the subgenre or Westerfeld’s novel. I do always find something fascinating about a “what if” premise. Read More..

Finding Pride in the Stacks

“We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel…is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

For me, the public library has always been place of possibility and self-discovery.  As a gay youth growing up in a small, predominantly Christian and conservative community, I didn’t feel comfortable accepting my true self, let alone trying to relate to others about it. Huddled in the stacks reading, it was in the books on the shelves of my local library that I first discovered I wasn’t alone, that other people felt the same as I did and had experienced similar journeys.pridebooks1 Read More..

Five Books that Have Stayed with Me

When I saw the Book Squad’s first Squad Goal (Re-read a book you haven’t read in more than 5 years), I was excited for an excuse to pick up one of the books that have been sitting untouched on my shelf for longer than I care to admit. It also gave me an excuse to reflect on the many books I’ve read over the years. Here are five that have stayed with me:

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Albums that Influenced Me as a Teen

By now, you’re probably aware of the recent Facebook trend of sharing a list of 10 albums that influenced your teenage years. Perhaps you even made one yourself.

While many see it as a way to reflect on the music that shaped your youth in a meaningful way, others have viewed it as a self-absorbed opportunity to present a revisionist version of one’s past. I’ll take it as an opportunity to promote the library’s CD and digital music collection! 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..

YA Backlist: Reality Boy by A.S. King

I’m not ashamed to admit Young Adult lit predominated my reading list this year. It’s partly because I get to order books for the library’s teen collection—but also because YA books are awesome. Yeah, awesome. Books for teens have gotten so much more diverse, so much more in-depth, and so much more engaging over the past decade and a half. Any fan of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, Tessa Gratton (this list could go on forever…) could tell you that. 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..

YA Backlist: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton

Yes, that catchy electropop hit by Ellie Goulding from 2012 is the inspiration and anthem for this young adult novel from 2015. Anything Could Happen is a light-hearted, pleasant read filled with optimism and a bit of cheese. Read More..

Read Harder Challenge Check In

We’re more than half way through the year – you haven’t forgotten about Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge have you? Many of us here at LPL have been plugging away at the 24 challenges, ever expanding our literary horizons. Here’s a look at some of my favorite challenges and reads so far: Read More..