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Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Preserve and Share Precious Family Memories

A lot of people spend time tracing their family history. But how much time does the average person spend preserving the stories and/or memories of friends, family and loved ones for future generations?

Last year, one of my colleagues told me about the National Day of Listening, started by StoryCorps. The project encourages people to sit down with a loved one and record a meaningful conversation. The concept excited me, which prompted a visit to my grandfather in an attempt to “preserve a meaningful conversation.” Long story short, the reality didn’t match up with what was in my head. For one thing, I didn’t have a realistic plan. It’s important to make preparations and consider all of the possibilities before undertaking something like this seemingly straight-forward concept of preserving a precious memory.

Making Memories : Things to Consider

The idea or concept of preserving memories for future generations is definitely intriguing and the possibilities are worth exploring. Here are a few things to consider if you plan to record a conversation with a loved one to share or preserve for future generations:

  1. What questions should you ask?
  2. What equipment should you use?
  3. How will you edit the audio/video?
  4. How will you save and preserve the finished product?
  5. What’s the best way to share these memories with loved ones?

6 Ways the Library Can Help You Preserve Precious Memories

The Toledo Lucas County Public Library offers a variety of tech tools and/or services to valid cardholders at select locations.

Photo of camera lens, photo of girl and camera from Pixabay.com

1. Film to Digital Converters

Do you have old film you would like to preserve?

How can the Library help?

We offer digital converters for turning 35mm, 126KPK, 110 slides/negatives, 8mm and Super 8 movies into digital images or movies in seconds.

No computer or software needed. All items are saved into its internal memory or optional SD/SDHC memory card, up to 32GB capacity.

Easily connects to any Windows PC or MAC, to offload images or view on TV.

Available at King Road, Oregon and Sylvania.


Photo of VCR and VHS Tapes from Pixabay.com

2. VHS to DVD Converter

Do you have precious memories saved to a VHS tape, but no longer have a VCR?

How can the Library help?

Use our DVR (Digital Video Recorder) and transfer your VHS tapes to DVDs.

Available at King Road, Oregon and West Toledo.


Photo of laptop, camera and journal from Pixabay.com

3. Digitization Services

Do you have items you would like to scan, edit or store?

How can the Library help?

The Local History department can help you digitize, edit and store precious items to share with loved ones and preserve memories for future generations.

For more information, email digitization@toledolibrary.org or call 419.259.5233 and set up an appointment today.

Please note that the minimum turnaround time for digitization services is approximately two weeks.


Photo of studio equipment from Pixabay.com

4. Studio Equipment

Do you want to record audio and/or video?

How can the Library help?

Use our studio equipment to record a meaningful conversation with a loved one.

Select Library locations have audio and video equipment for use in their studios.

Microphones, mixing consoles, headphones and accessories are available, as well as audiovisual equipment.

Available at King Road, Oregon and Sylvania.


Photo of a photographer holding a camera from Pixabay.com

5. Cameras / Camcorders

Do you want to take quality photos and/or home movies?

How can the Library help?

Did you know the Library lends out cameras and camcorders?

Use this great equipment to record memories and share with loved ones.

Camcorder

The Canon XA10 camcorder is an ultra compact professional camera that records in full HD 1080p.

Available at West Toledo.

DSLR CAMERA

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera will suit many photography needs and skill levels.

Available at Sylvania.

GOPRO HERO CAMERAS

GoPro Hero Cameras are durable digital cameras that film from your point of view.

Available at King Road, Oregon and Sylvania.


Photo of an image editing program from Pixabay.com

6. Editing Software

Do you have photos and/or videos you would like to edit in a creative way?

How can the Library Help?

Computers at some of our locations feature additional software that allows you to be your own producer.

Create your next masterpiece with the same platforms the pros use, including:

iLife Suite

Contains Garage Band, iMovie, and iPhoto.

Take those little video clips and photos from your iPhone/iPad and create a mini movie or slideshow.

Available at King Road, Oregon, Sylvania and West Toledo.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Photo editing software.

Take photos and edit them in creative ways.

Available at King Road, Oregon and West Toledo.

Final Cut Pro

Video editing software.

Take video clips and edit them together to create a home movie.

Available at King Road, Sylvania and West Toledo.


Related Library Books

How to archive family photos : a step-by-step guide to organize and share your photos digitally / Denise May Levenick, The Family Curator
How to archive family keepsakes : learn how to preserve family photos, memorabilia & genealogy records / Denise May Levenick
Digital photography : an introduction / Tom Ang
The advanced photography guide / David Taylor

How to Archive Family Photos : A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally by Denise May Levenick

A practical how-to guide for organizing your growing digital photo collection, digitizing and preserving heirloom family photos, and sharing your treasured photos.

Also available in eBook.

How to Archive Family Keepsakes : Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia & Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick

Presents advice on how to preserve and create a catalog of family heirlooms, organize genealogy records, and store family information on computer files.

Also available in eBook.

Digital Photography : An Introduction by Tom Ang

Learn how to capture, enhance, and transform your digital photographs taken with any camera, from phones to DLSRs with renowned photographer and teacher Tom Ang.

The Advanced Photography Guide : Expert Techniques to Take Your Digital Photography to the Next Level by David Taylor

A practical, visual guide to digital photography covers a comprehensive range of topics from experimenting with lenses, exposure and aperture to useful post-production techniques.

 


Upcoming Programs

Digiscrapping 101: Photos + Pages

Learn how to work with the photos on your phone. Make some quick edits with cropping and filters. Create beautiful, shareable scrapbook pages using apps like Project Life. Then, print them out to take home!

Jan. 30, 2019 | 6:30pm – 8:00pm | Heatherdowns

Feb. 27, 2019 | 6:30pm – 8:00pm | Holland

Apr. 09, 2019 | 6:00pm – 7:30pm | Birmingham

May 04, 2019 | 2:30pm – 4:00pm | West Toledo

 


Learn more about recording, preserving and sharing family memories

Record and Share Your Family History in 5 Steps
The New York Times

How to Preserve Your Family Memories, Letters and Trinkets
The New York Times

8 Ways to Preserve Your Family Memories
Next Avenue

Simple Steps to Preserve Your Precious Family Memories
Family Search

Beyond Scrapbooking: 5 Creative Ways To Preserve Your Family’s Memories
Joan Lunden

 

Originally posted by April S. on ToledoLibrary.org/blog/preserve-and-share-precious-family-memories

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The Art of Storytelling: 5 Tips on Crafting Compelling Storylines

Are you an aspiring writer trying to get started on that next bestselling novel?

Are you an experienced writer, but need a little help creating compelling storylines or dynamic dialogue?

No matter where you’re at in the writing process your Library can help! We have a ton of great writing resources to help you from start to finish.

5 Tips on Crafting Compelling Storylines

Tip 1: Avoid Common Plot Cliches

We all know a cliche when we see it in a movie or read it in a book. It’s important to think about how cliches annoy you when you come across them, so you’ll be less likely to include them in your own work. By writing a story that only you can tell, instead of borrowing from popular formulas, it will be fairly easy to avoid common plot pitfalls.

We read so that we can be moved by a new way of looking at things. A cliche is like a coin that has been handled too much. Once language has been overly handled, it no longer leaves a clear imprint. ~ Janet Fitch

Tip 2: Generate New Story Ideas by Asking – What If?

If you’re having trouble generating new story ideas – try the what if question game. What if you lived in an alternate universe? What if you had to change occupations? What if you were alive during the early 1900s? By asking a series of what if questions with your personal experiences and interests in mind you’ll be able to ensure your stories are coming from a place of sincerity.

Alternate history fascinates me, as it fascinates all novelists, because ‘What if?’ is the big thing. ~ Kate Atkinson

Tip 3: Use the Power of Emotion

Engage readers with emotional content. Readers that feel emotionally invested in the characters or story won’t want to put the book down. After all, emotion often overrides reason in the human brain (compelling reasonable people to stay up all night reading).

A plot is nothing but a normal human situation that keeps arising again and again….normal human emotions—envy, ambition, rivalry, love, hate, greed, and so on.
~ Louis L’Amour

Tip 4: Create Characters That Resonate With Readers

It’s important for readers to feel connected to your characters. Think about what you can do to make them seem more real to the audience. Research facts, build backstories and create character profiles to ensure they are truly authentic.

As a writer, I demand the right to write any character in the world that I want to write. I demand the right to be them, I demand the right to think them and I demand the right to tell the truth as I see they are. ~ Quentin Tarantino

Tip 5: Draft Dynamic Dialogue

Effective dialogue helps to bring characters to life and advance the story. Read authors renowned for dialogue to find inspiration when writing your own.

If you are using dialogue — say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech. ~ John Steinbeck


Craft Compelling Stories With the Help of These Great Books

The Writer's Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings That Sell by Paula Munier
The Irresistible Novel: How to Craft an Extraordinary Story that Engages Readers from Start to Finish by Jeff Gerke
Writing with Emotion, Tension, and Conflict: Techniques for Crafting an Expressive and Compelling Novel by Cheryl St. John
The Secrets of Story: Innovative Tools for Perfecting Your Fiction and Captivating Readers by Matt Bird
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer
The Emotional Craft of Fiction - How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface by Donald Maass (eBook)
Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction from the editors of Writer's Digest; foreword by Cheryl St. John
Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative by Chuck Wendig (eBook)
The Art and Craft of Storytelling by Nancy Lamb (eBook)
Spellbinding Sentences by Barbara Baig (eBook)

Learn More About the Art of Storytelling With These Helpful Articles

Three Powerful Ways to Brainstorm New Story Ideas – Well-Storied

5 Golden Rules for Writing Authentic Dialogue – Writer’s Edit

5 Elements for Crafting a Compelling Story Your Audience Will Love – Write to Done

5 Tips For Creating Characters Readers Can’t Wait to Come Back To – The Creative Penn

5 Tips on Writing Dialogue – NY Book Editors

7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great – Writer’s Digest

Ten Authors Who Write Great Dialogue – LitReactor

10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Dialogue – Write to Done

10 Tips to Avoid Cliches in Writing – Writer’s Digest

The 7 Tools of Dialogue – Writer’s Digest

Emotion vs. Feeling: How to Evoke More From Readers – Writer’s Digest

Novel Settings: 7 Tips to Get Setting Description Right – Now Novel

Some of the Greatest Writers of Dialogue (And What We Can Learn From Them) – Gizmodo

Story Plots: 7 Tips for Writing Original Stories – Now Novel

Your Novel’s First Scene: How to Start Right – Jane Friedman


Toledo Library Blog Posts on Writing

Writers on Writing: Tips for Aspiring Writers

5 Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills

Top 5 Reasons to Join a Writing Group

Memoir Writing Resources

Developing Characters that Resonate with Readers

How to Write a Novel in a Month

Learn How to Publish a Book

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Take the 101 Picture Book Challenge

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is here! We’ve chosen 101 Picture Books and we want you to read them, too! The Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians chose the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

How Do You Take the 101 Picture Book Challenge?

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

Favorite Book on the 101 Picture Book Challenge List

Bark, George by Jules Feiffer

My favorite book on the list is “Bark, George,” written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. The book is hilarious and has been a favorite for years! I absolutely love sharing this book with kids – probably because I get to ‘moo,’ ‘meow’ and ‘bark’ with glee. Published in the late ’90s, this beloved new classic is a perfect title for the challenge.

Also available in Read-Along Audio [Book on CD]DVDeAudio and eVideo.

Reading Beyond The 101 Picture Book List

If you like the humor in “Bark, George” by Jules Feiffer , you may also like …

Petra by Marianna Coppo - picture book

Petra” by Marianna Coppo

A little rock who believes she is a mountain has her perspective changed by a series of movements, including a dog playing fetch, a bird’s nest, a pond, and a little girl.

A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker - picture book

A Visitor for Bear” by Bonny Becker

Bear is quite sure he doesn’t like visitors. He even has a sign. So when a mouse taps on his door one day, Bear tells him to leave. But when Bear goes to the cupboard to get a bowl, there is the mouse — small and gray and bright-eyed. In this slapstick tale that begs to be read aloud, all Bear wants is to eat his breakfast in peace, but the mouse — who keeps popping up in the most unexpected places — just won’t go away!

It’s a Tiger by David LaRochelle - picture book

It’s a Tiger” by David LaRochelle

Kids and parents alike will rejoice in this lively read-aloud picture book, as the main character runs into (and away from) a tiger over and over again as the plot gets sillier and sillier.

Also available in Audio [Book on CD] and eBook.

Marigold Bakes a Cake by Mike Malbrough - picture book

Marigold Bakes a Cake” by Mike Malbrough

Marigold the cat likes everything just so, but when he sets out to bake a perfect cake one Monday, he is interrupted by one finch, two pigeons and three loons.


This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

Looking for reading, listening and viewing suggestions beyond the 101 Picture Book Challenge? We can help! Just visit us online and fill out a short form. That’s all it takes to receive personalized recommendations from our knowledgeable staff.

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Cindy V. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/take-the-101-picture-book-challenge-today.

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Plays by African-American Playwrights

Tarell McCraney’s having a pretty good couple of years. He’s the playwright who last year won an Oscar for writing the daring screenplay for the exquisite movie Moonlight, and next year he’ll see his play Choir Boy open on Broadway.

The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell McCraney
Choir Boy by Tarell McCraney
Moonlight DVD

He’s also part of a long tradition of African-American playwrights who have long been at the forefront of pushing the art form of the American theater into new artistic, political, and popular territory.  Whether the plays are doggedly realistic, bitingly satirical, or wildly expressionistic, the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has on its shelves a variety of examples from this tradition that are well worth reading. A selective compendium follows.

The first African-American playwright to reach Broadway with a non-musical play was Willis Richardson with The Chip Woman’s Fortune in 1923, a play you don’t hear about too much anymore. But Lorraine Hansberry was the first African-American woman to hit Broadway (collaborating with Lloyd Richards, a black director), and the play she took there in 1959 has been enormously influential. A searing family drama about class and race and community pride, A Raisin in the Sun is a cornerstone of American literature and continues to dialogue with successive plays and writers to this day.

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry - book
A Raisin in the Sun with Sidney Poitier DVD
A Raisin in the Sun with Sean Combs - DVD

As disquieting as the economic realities exposed by Hansberry were, the naturalism and domestic setting of her play made her uncompromising vision of the world digestible to a broad audience. Just a few years later, the playwright LeRoi Jones (later Amiri Baraka) took a very different approach.  His 1964 play Dutchman is starkly allegorical and viscerally violent, following the tumultuous interaction between a white woman and a black man on a subway car.

James Baldwin, of course, is a colossal figure in American thought and literature, known primarily for his bracing prose. But he also wrote plays. Most notable is his 1964 play Blues for Mister Charlie, a history play inspired by the horrific murder of Emmett Till.

Vastly different in style is Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy, which shared the Obie award with Dutchman in 1964. Ambitious and exhilarating and occasionally exhausting, Kennedy’s play about racism and stereotypes is absurdist and dreamlike, featuring masks and hair loss and an enormous statue of Queen Victoria. Even though she emerged on the scene decades ago, Kennedy is still relevant; the University of Toledo produced Funnyhouse as recently as 2003, and her latest play He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box just opened in New York last month.

Meanwhile, Charles Gordone was the first African-American playwright to receive the Pulitzer Prize for drama, in 1970, for his play No Place to Be Somebody. Inspired by what he observed in his job as a bartender at a Greenwich Village watering hole, the play’s story of struggling urbanites chasing broken dreams seems descended from Hansberry and O’Neill, but with the sordid and flashy elements of gangsters and gunplay mixed in to goose the action.

Gordone’s play has a rough poetry to it, but for a play that takes lyricism to a whole other level check out Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf.  Shange calls this theatrical work, a collection of twenty poetic and idiosyncratically punctuated monologues, a choreopoem, because each character’s speech – some about very difficult subjects and upsetting experiences – is composed to be paired with music and choreography.

For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange - book
For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange - Audiobook on CD
For Colored Girls - play on DVD

Samm-Art Williams’s 1978 play Home was originally produced by the Negro Ensemble Company and transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for a Tony.  Like some of the other plays on this list, Home – a kind of staged bildungsroman – chronicles the experiences of a character who enters an urban milieu and is buffeted by crime and economic woes and poor choices. What differentiates the play from a lot of serious issue-oriented theater is its sense of humor and its ultimately sunny outlook; this protagonist, when things are going poorly, merely hypothesizes that God must be “on vacation in Miami.”

Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer-Prize-winning A Soldier’s Play, by contrast, doesn’t have much humor, but it does do interesting things with genre, appropriating the conventions of a murder mystery to explore violent bigotry and internalized racism. With its use of flashbacks and multiple locations, Fuller’s play is thoroughly cinematic, and it made an effortless leap to the screen in a film adaptation featuring Denzel Washington.

Before George C. Wolfe became one of the most celebrated and influential theatrical directors in the country, shepherding major works by other writers like Tony Kushner to the stage and running the Public Theatre, he wrote The Colored Museum, an exuberant and bitingly satirical series of sketches best remembered for “The Last Mama-On-The-Couch Play,” an irreverent parody of A Raisin in the Sun.

There are few more towering figures in American theater than the playwright August Wilson. His ten-play oeuvre, The Pittsburgh Cycle, chronicles the twentieth-century black American experience decade by decade in plays that range from rambling kitchen-sink naturalism to magic realism while always maintaining a remarkable tonal unity. Probably the most famous of these plays is Fences, which Denzel Washington turned into an award-winning film.

Jitney by August Wilson - book
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by August Wilson - book
Joe Turner's Come and Gone by August Wilson - book
The Piano Lesson by August Wilson - book
Two Trains Running by August Wilson - book
Seven Guitars by August Wilson - book
King Hedley II by August Wilson - book
Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson - book
Radio Golf by August Wilson - book

Encouraged in college to become a playwright by James Baldwin, Suzan-Lori Parks exploded onto the scene with early plays like The America Play, which established her as someone who writes for the stage with a grammar and orthography that are all her own. She explores about race and America and history by approximating a heightened version of Black English and telling unconventionally theatrical stories about characters with evocative names and symbolic resonance.

The Red Letter Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks - book
The Book of Grace by Suzan-Lori Parks - book
Father Comes Home From the Wars by Suzan-Lori Parks - book

With two actors playing multiple roles, Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith explores how being dark-skinned or light-skinned influences its characters’ experiences of the pressures exerted by race and class – and shapes their relationships with one another. Orlandersmith is currently in New York performing a new play of hers, Until the Flood, about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Lydia Diamond often writes about affluent African-Americans, in plays that typically open with congenial interactions among friends and colleagues until conflicts over issues like race and poverty boil to the surface.  Check out her play Stick Fly.

And Passing Strange, an acclaimed musical by a playwright and performer who calls himself Stew, combines autobiography, allegorical drama and rock & roll into a highly entertaining mélange.

Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith - book
Book / eBook
Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond - book
Passing Strange by Stew - book

One of the most significant writers in the American theater today is Lynn Nottage, a prolific and eclectic playwright who’s also the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama twice: in 2009 for Ruined, a riff on Brecht’s Mother Courage that interrogates the human capacity for resilience and compromise amidst the unrelenting brutality of wartime in Congo; and in 2017 for Sweat, a portrait of working-class malaise in the 21st-century American heartland.

Crumbs From the Table of joy by Lynn Nottage - book
Ruined by Lynn Nottage - book
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage - book
Sweat by Lynn Nottage - book

The playwright Katori Hall has written a number of plays and won several awards, but thus far has attracted the most attention for her slyly metaphysical two-hander The Mountaintop, which imagines an interaction between Martin Luther King and a hotel housekeeper on the night before his assassination. Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett played the roles on Broadway, and the play helped initiate a conversation about theatrical representation of race when another theater produced the play with a white actor in the King role.

Thomas Bradshaw, meanwhile, is a provocateur, writing plays about violence, sexual aberrations, and racism that are designed to make the audience uncomfortable. His (possibly ironically titled) play Intimacy, about pornography, is no exception.

Katori Hall - book
Intimacy by Thomas Bradshaw - book

And then there’s one of the most striking success stories of the recent American theater, the self-made writer/director/actor Tyler Perry. He went from writing, self-producing, and starring in his own plays at community theaters to making feature films and being named the highest paid person in entertainment by Forbes magazine. But his plays are where it all began, and several are available in their theatrical form on DVD from the library, including Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Marriage Counselor, Madea’s Big Happy Family, The Haves and the Have Nots, Neighbors From Hell, and Madea On the Run.

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Eric P. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/plays-by-african-american-playwrights.

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Halloween Costumes, Crafts, Cookies & More!

We have many titles with oodles of great ideas for a spookily festive holiday. Everything from creating your own unique costume to creative holiday treats. Get creative and have fun with the help of your local library!

Costumes

1000 incredible costume & cosplay ideas : a showcase of creative characters from anime, manga, video games, movies, comics, and more! / Yaya Han, Allison DeBlasio & Joey Marsocci a.k.a. Dr. Grymm

1000 Incredible Costume & Cosplay Ideas: A Showcase of Creative Characters from Anime, Manga, Video Games, Movies, Comics and More by Yaya Han, Allison DeBlasio, and Joey Marsocci (a.k.a. Dr. Grymm)

Provides a broad and detailed glimpse into the ingenious artistry and attention to detail behind some of the most fabulous costumes you can find.

 

Duct tape costumes / by Carolyn Bernhardt

Duct Tape Costumes by Carolyn Bernhardt

Easy to follow step-by-step guide on creating costumes using duct tape.

 

The hero's closet : sewing for cosplay and costuming / Gillian Conahan

The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming by Gillian Conahan

A skilled crafter and avid cosplayer presents a DIY guide to creating unique and fantastical homemade costumes that provides an abundance of inspiration, technical tips and advice on pattern selection, alterations, fabrics and more for creating an awesome costume.

 

Crafts

Glitterville's handmade Halloween : a glittered guide for whimsical crafting / Stephen Brown

Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween by Stephen Brown

Celebrate the season of costumes and candy with Glitterville’s guide to creating a wondrously wacky and whimsical holiday! This title is also available as an eBook.

Treats

Halloween treats : simply spooky recipes for ghoulish sweet treats / with recipes by Annie Rigg

Halloween Treats: Simply Spooky Recipes for Ghoulish Sweet Treats with recipes by Annie Rigg

There’s nothing more exciting for them than hosting their own Halloween party, complete with ghoulish sweet treats. In this spooky new book, queen of cakes, Annie Rigg, turns her hand to simple, cute and creepy cakes, cookies and other edible sweet treats to delight any Halloween-loving child.

 

If you’re looking for more great books on the topics featured in this blog post, search the library catalog using the following keywords:

  • Halloween cooking
  • Halloween costumes
  • Halloween decorations
  • Handicraft
  • Holiday cooking
  • Holiday crafts
  • Cosplay
  • Costume design
  • Sewing

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Amy H. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/just-in-time-for-halloween-costumes-cosplay-crafts-and-cookies.

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Good Day, Good Reads

The most jarring thing about “A Good Day,” by Kevin Henkes, is the first page, the way it begins:

“It was a bad day…”

Kind of seems like false advertising, yeah? I mean, look at the title. The title, Henkes! There were promises made!

But indeed, the first half of the book is all about characters having a real bummer of a day.

A Good Day by Kevin Henkes

But then…

Things get better. And by the end, the way they get better intersects unexpectedly with the events of the first half of the book, an elegant overlap that may satisfy fans of “This is Us” or, depending on your tastes, “Pulp Fiction.”

The plot’s overall simplicity is part of the book’s genius. Things were bad, things got better. Meaning what? Things aren’t as bad as you think they are? You should sit tight and wait for improvements to happen? Life is an unpredictable mosaic of suffering and joy? The fact that Henkes doesn’t tell you what it’s all supposed to mean is another part of the book’s genius.

Which is no surprise: writer/illustrator Henkes has a history of folding complicated emotions into deceptively simple narrative packages.

Picture Books by Kevin Henkes

Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin henkes
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
Old Bear by Kevin Henkes
Egg by Kevin Henkes
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

Above all, “A Good Day” is not so much about luck or fate or fairness – it’s about feelings. Often feelings are directly influenced by outside circumstances, and sometimes you can control the impact of outside circumstances by managing your reaction to them, but the fact remains that sometimes you’re the little yellow bird who lost his tail feather, and sometimes you’re the little brown squirrel who found the biggest nut ever, and either way, there are going to be feels.

And one of the biggest challenges about being human, at least for those of us who are somewhere roughly between the ages of 2 and 115, is confronting and controlling and understanding our feelings.  Good thing there are picture books to help us with that.

Picture Books About Feelings

I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis
Are You Scared Darth Vader by Adam Rex
I'm Sad by Michael Ian Black
Penguin Problems by Jory John
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket
I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett
Mr Particular by Jason Kirchner
Bug in a Vacuum by Melanie Watt
Now by Antoinette Portis
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
Grump Groan Growl by bell hooks
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems
Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney

What is the 101 Picture Book Challenge and How Do You Take It?

The 101 Picture Book Challenge is for anyone at any age. Librarians hand picked the titles on the list which includes classics, new titles and everything in between.

To get started, register online. You can track your progress online or if you prefer a paper log booklet, pick one up at your neighborhood Library. The books are organized into categories but you can read the books in any order and at your own pace. When you read all 101 titles, you earn a free picture book (while supplies last).

This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring some of the things we love about these books.

Originally posted by Eric P. at ToledoLibrary.org/Good-Day-Good-Reads

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Haunted Midwest Travel for Those Who Dare!

I don’t know about you, but I come from a long line of non-scaredy cats! You just can’t spook my family and friends, much as you may try. And yet, they all love scary movies, books, and places!     

My mom’s probably not going to be super happy about my sharing this – but my love affair with all things spooky started in elementary school, when she and my dad made the mistake of letting me watch The Exorcist. They had guests over and I heard the voice of my beloved babysitter Missy – so I crept out to see her, and they let me stay up and watch it with them. I was PETRIFIED, but have been feeding the need to be scared ever since.      

Like my family and friends, I too have a passion for all things scary – Halloween, haunted houses (real and fake), horror movies, and the like. My best friend and I even toured one of America’s most haunted places – The Waverly Hills Sanatorium. It was really cool to walk through the place, but I was (and always am) disappointed that I neither felt nor viewed anything of the paranormal sense. Others in our group said they did…which leads me on my continued search.      

So, do ghosts really exist? I don’t know, but I will never stop trying to discover the answer!     

If you’re like me, and you love to be scared, here are a few regional locations you can visit to get your spooky fix, along with some companion books and movies! 

Ohio State (Mansfield) Reformatory, Mansfield OH   

Have you seen the movies The Green Mile, Tango & Cash, or Air Force One? All three films feature footage of the Ohio State Reformatory!      

This sprawling and legendary prison has been featured in countless TV shows, documentaries, and books, including on Season 3 (episode 4) of the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures and Season 1 (episode 5) of the National Geographic Channel’s Inside Secret America: Ghosts.      

The reformatory was opened in the early 1900’s and closed officially per a United States Federal Court ruling (the Boyd Consent Decree) in the 1990’s. During its time in operation, more than 150,000 prisoners passed through its doors. Many died due to violence, influenza, tuberculosis, or other diseases. One of the most tragic incidents associated with the Ohio State Reformatory occurred in July 1948, when the farm boss, his wife, and daughter were kidnapped and shot by two parolees known as the “mad-dog killers.”     

I’ve not yet had the chance to take one of the reformatory’s public ghost hunts, but I did attend one of their Murder Mystery Dinner Theaters. It was a blast and the food was surprisingly delicious! I highly recommend it.

Related BooksThe Haunted History of the Ohio State Reformatory by Sherri Brake  The Ohio State Reformatoryby Nancy K. Darbey

Loveland Castle, Loveland OH   

Did you know there’s a castle in Ohio? Well there is, and it’s really cool…and apparently haunted. It also has an interesting story as far as how it came to be!      

The castle was built by Harry Delos, who constructed it (mostly by hand) “as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived when Knighthood was in flower.” Loveland Castle has a sense of humor about its ghostly grounds too – the “Activities” section of its website reads:      

Ghosts.  If you believe in ghosts…the Castle has them! If you don’t…fine, be that way! Either way, you will find pictures of the Castle’s ghosts and ghost stories galore at the Castle! 

Related BookOhio Historic Haunts: Investigating the Paranormal in the Buckeye State by James Willis  

Waverly Hills Sanatorium, Louisville KY  

Waverly Hills Sanatorium has a rather sad history. In the early 1900s, the Board of Tuberculosis Hospital constructed a sanatorium that could accommodate up to 50 tuberculosis patients. Eventually, tuberculosis reached epidemic levels in the surrounding communities, and the sanatorium was expanded to accommodated over 400 patients.      

At its height, Waverly Hills was known as one of the most advanced tuberculosis sanatoriums in the country. Despite this, most of the patients succumbed to the disease and (as was common practice) were often subjected to painful and bizarre “treatments” such as having balloons surgically implanted into their lungs.  

Waverly Hills has been featured on Season 3 (episode 18) of the SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters, and Season 2 (episode 5) of TLC’s Paranormal Lockdown. As far as hauntings, the most prolific sightings surround a boy (dubbed “Timmy”) who plays with a ball along the 3rd floor as well as sightings in room 502, which is believed (and was told during our tour) to have been the location where a nurse hung herself as a result of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy in 1928.

Today, Waverly Hills is owned by “historical and paranormal enthusiasts,” Charles and Tina Mattingly who operate the sanatorium as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, offering ghost tours, a haunted house, and laser light shows.

Related BooksHaunted Hospitals: Eerie Tales About Hospitals, Sanatoriums, & Other Institutions by Mark LeslieHaunted Asylums, Prisons, and Sanatoriums : Inside the Abandoned Institutions for the Crazy, Criminal & Quarantined by Jamie Davis  

The Masonic Temple, Detroit MI     

If you haven’t ever attended an event inside of the Masonic Temple, I implore you to do so! It is the world’s largest Masonic Temple – an absolutely beautiful and magnificent Gothic revival building with 14 floors and 1,000 rooms full of winding stairways, secret passages, and ornate sculptures and lighting.      

In fact, the Masonic Temple is so grand that its construction is said to have left architect George D. Mason bankrupt. Unfounded gossip also says that as a result, his wife left him and he committed suicide by jumping from the top of the building – however, in reality Mason died in 1948 at the age of 92.      

That hasn’t stopped it from being included in most “haunted Michigan” lists, nor has it detracted interest from numerous paranormal investigative teams, including 313 Paranormal, the Marter Paranormal Research Team, and the Erie Shores Paranormal.      

Other notable paranormal activity that’s been widely experienced are slamming doors, knocking, and other random bumps in the night. If you’re interested in taking a tour, the Temple offers building tours or if you really want to ramp up the spooky factor, why not attend one of the most beloved Halloween parties in the world there – Theatre Bizarre – which is held each year inside of the Masonic Temple!

Related BooksDetroit Ghosts by Mimi Staver  Ghosts of Southeast Michigan by Kristy Robinett  

Disclaimer: The information included in this blog post is for educational purpose only. The Toledo Lucas County Public Library does not endorse any businesses featured in this blog post.

Originally posted at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/haunted-midwest-travel-for-those-who-dare by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Heather H.

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Podcasts: What are They and Why Should I Care?

I have a confession to make; I can’t stop listening to podcasts. For years now, people have asked me what book I’m reading/listening to and most of the time I shamefully mumble something about not having much time, or finding it difficult to discover new books I like. This, however, is a bold-faced lie. The truth is that podcasts have taken over my life. I listen to them when I’m cleaning, driving, getting ready, falling asleep, waking up, cooking (ok, that’s a stretch – more like microwaving). Just ask my husband who so graciously hid his eye rolls for almost an entire year when every other sentence out of my mouth was “I was listening to This American Life…”

To all of you who are reading this asking, “What’s a podcast?” – my response is: only the greatest invention to be popularized by the smartphone. Imagine being able to listen to your favorite radio broadcast at any time, in any place. Or consuming bite-sized documentaries that are delivered to your phone automatically and captivate from the first minute. And the best part is that anyone (even you!) can make and distribute a podcast, making the range of content available absolutely remarkable. I know what you’re thinking, “But Allison, how do we know what is worth listening to and what’s not if anyone can make anything?” Never fear. That’s what I’m here for.

Below you will find a list of some of the best freely-available podcasts around. They cover a breadth of topics to suit anyone’s interests as well as provide an easy route to discover something new. Most smartphones have a podcast app preloaded on the device at purchase where these titles can be found. They can also be found on the respective websites for each cast.

And once you’ve listened through this list and decided to become a podcaster yourself, come on down to the King Road or West Toledo branch libraries where our recording studios are waiting to turn your podcast idea into my next obsession.

General Interest

This American Life

No list of podcasts would be complete without This American Life. One of the longest running NPR offerings, Ira Glass’s iconic radio show looks at different aspects of life in America (and sometimes beyond) and offers new perspectives on ideas of all kinds. So many people you’ve probably heard of have contributed to TAL including David Sedaris, David Rakoff, Sarah Vowell, John Hodgeman, and many (many, many more). Personal favorites of mine are episodes 107: Trail of Tears and 199: House on Loon Lake.

Listen Alikes:

Invisibilia

Strangers


True Crime

Serial

If you’ve heard of any of these, chances are it’s Serial, the smash-hit from 2014 that dove deep into a murder that took place back in 1999. Because it’s unsolved? No. A man named Adnan Syed is currently serving time for the crime. But should he be? Sarah Koenig investigates and tells the story episode by episode, sometimes only hours after she has learned new developments herself. If you want a story that is all but guaranteed to hook you, this is where you should start. (Seriously, before this no one would have guessed that cell phone records could be so enthralling.) This one requires serial listening (Get it? 😉 ) so you’ll want to start with Ep. 1: The Alibi.

Listen Alikes:

In the Dark

Criminal


Science and Technology

Radiolab

Polar opposites and conversational wizards Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich explore all things science in a way that feels a little closer to performance art than information sharing. From the beautifully haunting contributions of the late Oliver Sacks in episodes such as “Oliver Sacks’ Table of Elements” to episodes like “The Ceremony” that are just plain creepy, Radiolab is a show for those people who are fascinated by the intricacies of the world we live in.

Listen Alikes:

99% Invisible

Every Little Thing


Myth and Folklore

Lore

I like to call this “Are You Afraid of the Dark: Adult Edition.” Lore takes true stories that frighten and disturb and turns them into campfire-style tales. Recently made into a TV show as well, it is best if listened to on a long night drive or with the lights dimmed. Fans of The Twilight Zone will appreciate its anthology-style storytelling and the added bonus is that these stories actually happened. Where to start? Ep. 2: The Bloody Pit


History

Revisionist History

Malcolm Gladwell is very likely a familiar name to you from his best-selling books Blink, The Tipping Point, and What the Dog Saw. In Revisionist History, Gladwell takes all the energy and enthusiasm he has for storytelling and applies it to ideas that we think we already understand. His brand of thinking deeply on topics that seem obvious on their surface works especially well in the podcast format. Check out “Hallelujah,” in which Gladwell examines the idea of genius and how it emerges in individuals.

Radiolab Presents: More Perfect

A podcast about the Supreme Court of the United States? Really? Yup. And it’s even better than you could ever imagine. From tales of its inception to the cases being argued today, More Perfect delves deep into the backstories of the people behind the cases and offers an in-depth view on how the court arrives at its decisions. Personal favorites of mine include “Kittens Kick the Giggly Blue Robot All Summer,” which looks at the very early years of the court while it was still finding its place in our system of law and “The Political Thicket,” in which we see just a glimpse of the pressure that serving on the court entails.

Listen Alike:

Stuff You Missed in History Class


Current Issues

Embedded

Embedded reporting is a long-standing tradition within the journalism field, but with Embedded (the podcast), Kelly McEvers takes this to the next level. By focusing in on a story currently in the news and placing herself in the center of the action, McEvers provides a unique type of insight into issues that can seem too big to be ever fully understood. In the gripping episode “The Capital,” McEvers ventures to the murder capital of the world, El Salvador, and spends 24 hours in the capital city, San Salvador, where she witnesses first-hand the gang violence that grips the nation. It’s edge-of-your-seat listening and just one example of an overall stellar body of work. Intrigued? – Check out the entire list of casts.

Listen Alikes:

The Daily

Reveal


Sports

30 for 30

What? Think I forgot about you, sports fans? Never. 30 for 30 will be familiar to you as a fan of sports/watcher of ESPN. The TV show has established itself as the most excellent avenue to the behind-the-scenes (off-the-field?) stories of the athletes we love. The jump to podcast was only natural and has only improved the long-form sports story. Whether it’s the tale of Madden and his videogame domination or the fight to open Wrigleyville up to night games, 30 for 30 is a must-listen for any die-hard fans who seek to know more about their favorite teams/players/sports than what you can get from just watching the main event.

Listen Alike:

The Bill Simmons Podcast


If you like the podcasts featured above, you may also like these great radio programs available at your local library …
NPR driveway moments [spoken CD] : radio stories that won't let you go. Moms
NPR driveway moments for dads [spoken CD]
NPR funniest driveway moments [spoken CD]
NPR driveway moments. Love stories. [spoken CD]

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Allison F. at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/podcasts-what-are-they-and-why-should-i-care.

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Best Fiction & Nonfiction Books of 2017

So many books, so little time. What were some of the best books of the year and what makes them the best anyway? Books may end up on best seller lists when the subject is extremely topical like current events. However, after reviewing so many booklists, the selections may seem random at first glance. How do you find gems among the thousands of books published each year? You might rely on a highly trusted source like the “100 Notable Books of the Year” by The New York Times. Or maybe you just browse Amazon’s best seller lists and hope for the best. Well, my approach was a little more involved and it took a lot of time … time most people don’t have to spend on picking a few good books to read. The books featured below were selected after reviewing major book award websites, book reviews, and a wide variety of trusted booklists to narrow down the selections to only include the “best of the best” fiction and nonfiction books from the past year. Yet, it’s really still a matter of what interests the individual reader.

Now, the challenge is to find the time to read them!

Best General Fiction Books of 2017

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng“Spectacular sophomore work…a magnificent, multilayered epic that’s perfect for eager readers and destined for major award lists.” ~ Library Journal (starred review)Amazon rating: 4.4

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Fiction Book with over 39,000 votes.

#1 book of the year – BookPage and LibraryReads.

Named one of the best or notable books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Esquire, The Guardian, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: Fighting an ugly custody battle with an artistic tenant who has little regard for the strict rules of their progressive Cleveland suburb, a straitlaced family woman who is seeking to adopt a baby becomes obsessed with exposing the tenant’s past, only to trigger devastating consequences for both of their families.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
Looking for more noteworthy fiction books from the past year?

The 17 Best Fiction Books of 2017 – Bustle

The Best Fiction Books of 2017 – Chicago Review of Books

Best of 2017: Best Fiction Books – Entropy

Best Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

The Best Fiction of 2017 – The Guardian

Best Fiction of 2017 by Category – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: The Best Fiction – Los Angeles Times

Top 10 Novels of 2017 – Time


Best Historical Fiction Books of 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders“Profound, funny and vital . . . the work of a great writer.” ~ Chicago TribuneAmazon: 3.6 | Goodreads: 3.89

Winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), BookPage, Esquire, Goodreads, The Guardian, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal (top 10), Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, O Magazine, Time (top 10), and The Washington Post (top 10).

Book summary: A long-awaited first novel by the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the 16th President after the death of his 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War.

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Looking for more noteworthy historical fiction from the past year?

22 of the Biggest Historical Fiction Books of 2017 – BookBub

Best Historical Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Historical Fiction of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: Historical Fiction – NPR

The Best Historic Fiction of 2017 – Overdrive


Best Literary Fiction Books of 2017

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward“A tour de force … Ward is an attentive and precise writer who dazzles with natural and supernatural observations and lyrical details … she continues telling stories we need to hear with rare clarity and power.” ~ O, the Oprah Magazine

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction.

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, BookPage, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review (top 10), NPR, Publisher’s Weekly (top 10), Time (top 10), The Washington Post.

Book summary: Living with his grandparents and toddler sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his tormented mother’s addictions and his grandmother’s terminal cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
Autumn by Ali Smith
Looking for more noteworthy literary fiction from the past year?

Anticipated or Best Literary Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads

Best Literary Fiction of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Fall 2017 Announcements: Literary Fiction – Publisher’s Weekly


Best Mystery / Thriller Books of 2017

Glass Houses by Louise Penny
Glass Houses by Louise Penny“The tension has never been greater… A meticulously built mystery that follows a careful ascent toward a breaking point that will leave you breathless.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads: 4.46

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, Goodreads, Library Journal, LibraryReads, LibraryReads, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Starred review – Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: A suspicious figure that appears on the village green on a cold November day leaves a dead body in its wake, compelling Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec to pursue an investigation that has difficult consequences.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Ill Will by Dan Chaon
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
The Force by Don Winslow
Looking for more noteworthy mysteries & thrillers from the past year?

The Year’s Best Crime Novels, 2017 – The Booklist Reader

Best Mystery & Thrillers of 2017 – Bookriot

The Best Crime and Thriller Books of 2017 – Panmacmillan

Best Books of 2017: Mystery/Thriller – Publisher’s Weekly

The 10 Best Thrillers and Mysteries of 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Science Fiction / Fantasy Books of 2017

The Power by Naomi Alderman
The Power by Naomi Alderman“I was riveted by every page. Alderman’s prose is immersive and, well, electric, and I felt a closed circuit humming between the book and me as I read.” ~ Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review

Amazon: 4 | Goodreads: 3.91

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, and The Washington Post.

Starred review – Booklist and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: In a novel of speculative fiction, an award-winning author contemplates a world where teenage girls now have immense physical power—they can cause agonizing pain and even death, drastically resetting the balance of the world.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Looking for more noteworthy science fiction and fantasy novels from the past year?

The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books of 2017 – Barnes & Noble

The 9 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books Written by Women in 2017 – Bustle

Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017 – The Guardian

Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: SF/Fantasy/Horror – Publisher’s Weekly


Best Short Story Collections of 2017

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen“The Refugees will haunt its readers, especially in these times, when refugee stories need to be told, shared, and told again, ad infinitum.” ~ A.V. Club

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 3.95

One of the best books of 2017 – BookPage, Esquire, Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, The New York Times Book Review, and NPR.

Starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Book summary: A collection of stories, written over a twenty-year period, examines the Vietnamese experience in America as well as questions of home, family, and identity. By the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer.

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang
Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
Five Carat Soul by James McBride
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
Looking for more noteworthy short story collections?

7 Short Story Collections to Read in 2017 – Barnes & Noble

13 Short Story Collections Out This Fall to Help You Escape Reality for a Few Pages – Bustle

Best New Short Story Collections of Fall 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Teen / Young Adult Novels of 2017

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway“Family issues are neither airbrushed nor oversimplified. From the first page to the last, this compassionate, funny, moving, compulsively readable novel about what makes a family gets it right.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Amazon: 4.8 | Goodreads: 4.38

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

Named one of the best or notable books of the year by Kirkus Reviews, NPR, The New York Times Book Review, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Book summary: Feeling incomplete as an adopted child after placing her own baby up for adoption, teen Grace tracks down her biological siblings and finds herself struggling with the dynamics of being a middle child between an embittered older brother and an outspoken younger sister.

The book of Dust : La Belle Sauvage / Philip Pullman
The hate u give / Angie Thomas
Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson
Turtles all the way down by John Green
Looking for more noteworthy teen / young adult novels from the past year?

Best Young Adult Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

The 30 Best Young Adult Books of 2017 – Paste

The 17 Best Young Adult Novels of 2017 – POPSUGAR

25 of the Best Young Adult Books of 2017 – Seventeen


Best General Nonfiction Books of 2017

The lost city of the monkey god : a true story / Douglas Preston
The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston“Breezy, colloquial and sometimes very funny…A very entertaining book.” ~ The Wall Street Journal

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 3.92

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Goodreads, New York Times Book Review, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Book summary: Recounts how the author and a team of scientists discovered a legendary sacred city, the Lost City of the Monkey God, hidden deep in the Honduran jungle.

The apparitionists : a tale of phantoms, fraud, photography, and the man who captured Lincoln's ghost / Peter Manseau
Irresistible : the rise of addictive technology and the business of keeping us hooked / Adam Alter
Nomadland : surviving America in the twenty-first century / Jessica Bruder
Word by word : the secret life of dictionaries / Kory Stamper
Looking for more noteworthy nonfiction from the past year?

Best Nonfiction of 2017 – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Nonfiction of 2017 by Category – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: The Best Nonfiction – Los Angeles Times

The 20 Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 – Paste

Best Nonfiction Books of 2017 – Publisher’s Weekly

50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Biography / Memoir Books of 2017

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie“Evident throughout are humor and rage, respect and loving irreverence.” ~ Oprah Magazine

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

Amazon: 4.5 | Goodreads: 4.36

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), BookPage, Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Los Angeles Times, NPR, O Magazine, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: The National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian presents a literary memoir of poems, essays and intimate family photos that reflect his complicated feelings about his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation with his siblings and alcoholic parents.

The bright hour : a memoir of living and dying / Nina Riggs
Hunger : a memoir of (my) body / Roxane Gay
Leonardo da Vinci / Walter Isaacson
Priestdaddy / Patricia Lockwood
Looking for more noteworthy biographies and memoirs from the past year?

Best Biographies & Memoirs of 2017 – Amazon

Best Books of 2017: Memoir & Autobiography – Goodreads Choice Awards

Best Biographies of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

Best Books of 2017: Biography & Memoir – NPR

Best Memoirs of 2017 – O Magazine

5 Best Memoirs of 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Business and Leadership Books of 2017

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein
Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein“Goldstein is a talented storyteller, and we root for her characters as, moment by moment, they try their hardest.” ~ The New Yorker

Amazon: 4.4 | Goodreads: 4.25

Winner of the 2017 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

Best Business Book of 2017 – Business Insider, CNBC, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class. Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human.

The power of moments : why certain experiences have extraordinary impact / Chip and Dan Heath
The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams by Sam Walker
Insight : why we're not as self-aware as we think, and how seeing ourselves clearly helps us succeed at work and in life / Tasha Eurich
The new rules of work : the modern playbook for navigating your career / Alexandra Cavoulacos, Kathryn Minshew
Looking for more notable business and leadership books?

The 7 Best Lessons from the 7 Best Business Books of 2017 (so far) – Success

13 of the Best Business Books of 2017 – CNBC

The 19 Best Business Books of 2017 – Business Insider

The Best Business and Leadership Books of 2017 – Omnivoracious

Best Business Books of 2017 – Financial Times


Best History Books of 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon : the Osage murders and the birth of the FBI / David Grann
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann“A master of the detective form…Killers is something rather deep and not easily forgotten.” ~ Wall St. Journal

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal.

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads: 4.14

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon (top 20), Goodreads, Kirkus Reviews, LibraryReads, The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Paste, Publisher’s Weekly, The Smithsonian, Time, and The Washington Post.

Book summary: Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

Code girls : the untold story of the American women code breakers of World War II / Liza Mundy
The future is history : how totalitarianism reclaimed Russia / Masha Gessen
Greater Gotham : a history of New York City from 1898 to 1919 / Mike Wallace
The radium girls : the dark story of America's shining women / Kate Moore
Looking for more noteworthy history books from the past year?

Best History Books of 2017 – Amazon

Best History Books of 2017 – History Today

Best Books of 2017: History – Financial Times

Best American History Books of 2017 – Kirkus Reviews

The Ten Best History Books of 2017 – The Smithsonian


Best Poetry Books of 2017

Half-light : collected poems 1965-2016 / Frank Bidart
Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart“Art of first order . . . Truly remarkable.” ~ Piotr Florczyk, New Orleans Review

Winner of the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry.

Amazon: 5 | Goodreads: 4.5

Positive reviews from Booklist (starred review), The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and Publisher’s Weekly (starred review).

Book summary: Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience.

Depression & other magic tricks / poems by Sabrina Benaim
The sun and her flowers / Rupi Kaur
When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities / Chen Chen ; foreword by Jericho Brown
Whereas : poems / Layli Long Soldier
Looking for more notable poetry collections from the past year?

The 18 Best Poetry Collections of 2017 – Bustle

The Best Poetry Books of 2017 – Chicago Review of Books

Best of 2017: Best Poetry Books & Poetry Collections – Entropy

The Best Poetry Collections of 2017 – The Washington Post


Best Science Books of 2017

Astrophysics for people in a hurry / Neil deGrasse Tyson
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson“With wry humor, keen vision, and abundant humanity, Neil deGrasse Tyson distills the big questions of space, time, and reality into short, insightful chapters you can enjoy with your morning coffee.” ~ Discover

Amazon: 4.6 | Goodreads: 4.14

Winner of the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Science & Technology Book with over 42,000 votes.

One of the best books of 2017 – Amazon, Business Insider, Goodreads, and Kirkus Reviews.

Book summary: Offers witty, digestible explanations of topics in cosmology, from the Big Bang and black holes to quantum mechanics and the search for life in the universe.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
Homo Deus - a brief history of tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari
Why time flies : a mostly scientific investigation / Alan Burdick
Why we sleep : unlocking the power of sleep and dreams / Matthew Walker
Looking for more great science books?

7 Favorite Science Books of 2017 – Brain Pickings

The Very Best Science Books of 2017 – Business Insider

The Best Science Books of 2017 – Science Friday

The Ten Best Science Books of 2017 – The Smithsonian


Notable Booklists from 2017

Best Books of 2017 – BookPage

50 Best Books of 2017 – Esquire

Best Books of 2017 – Part One and Part Two – The Guardian

19 Best Books of 2017 (so far) – Harper’s Bazaar

LJ’s Top 10 Books of 2017

LibraryRead’s Favorite Books of 2017

NYT’s 100 Notable Books of 2017

NPR’s Guide To 2017’s Great Reads

Best Books of 2017 – O Magazine

PW’s Best Books of 2017

Best Books of 2017 – The Washington Post


Note: Some websites may restrict access to their content after you access them multiple times (i.e., The Washington Post and similar publications).

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger and Adult Services Librarian April S. at http://www.toledolibrary.org/blog/the-best-fiction-and-nonfiction-books-of-2017.

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