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William Ottens

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..

What Would Alfred Read? A Failed Summer Reading Challenge

In the summer of 2011, I came up with the perfect challenge: read at least one title by each of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature since its first awarding in 1901 and blog about my thoughts and reflections. I had the best title for my blog too: What Would Alfred Read? (The Nobel Prize is named after its Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel.) Read More..

Road Trip Idea: Haunted Locations in Kansas

Back when I worked in reference, the library received an envelope postmarked from Santa Rosa, California with our address scrawled across the lower left hand corner in untidy, barely legible print. Inside was a 20 page letter, written in the same hand, requesting information on the alleged paranormal activity at the Eldridge Hotel featured on an episode of My Ghost Story on A&E’s Biography Channel. Read More..

YA Backlist: 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is probably one of my top favorite YA authors. His characters are honest and relatable, and their stories are always engaging. 100 Sideways Miles is no exception. Read More..