Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Meal Plan To Save Time and Money

Do you want to save time and money?

Have you ever tried meal planning?

Try these simple steps to get started …

Step 1: Get started with a meal planning calendar

Keep an eye out for new recipes that fit your time frame and your appetite. In the beginning, flexibility may be necessary. Write it down, see what works.
Meal Planner Calendar from Little Housewife

Step 2: Make that shopping list

Keep sales in mind. Working with sales to do your meal planning can save you big time.

Check out your local grocery store online. Many offer online couponing and buying rewards. View ads, clip what you use, and earn rewards in one location!

Shopping for groceries - looking for deals or sales - image from

Step 3: Prep your food

If your upcoming recipe requires sliced or diced veggies, do the work now and store them for easy access later. Prepping food ahead of time can be your biggest time saver on busy days.
Veggies on cutting board - food preparation - image from

Step 4: Practice preemptive cooking

Pre­cook components of lunches and dinners for easy access. Store them strategically for on the go meals.

If a recipe can be cooked in advance and frozen, why not? Spending time on prep day by doing some bulk cooking will cut time and energy later. If you have a day of chaos in the cards, it may be the day to pull from your pre­-frozen entree list.

Don’t underestimate the value of doubling batches! Double up now to stock your freezer and use up extra fresh ingredients before they go bad. Double the reason to double batch.

Lunch box - meal prep - image from

Pave your way to meal planning success with the help of quick recipes

Eat at home tonight : 101 simple busy-family recipes for your slow cooker, sheet pan, Instant Pot®, and more / Tiffany King
Run fast. Cook fast Eat slow : quick-fix recipes for hangry athletes / Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky
Fit men cook : 100+ meal prep recipes for men and women - always #healthyAF, never boring / Kevin Curry
How to feed yourself : 100 fast, cheap, and reliable recipes for cooking when you don't know what you're doing
The Everygirl's guide to cooking / Maria Menounos with Keven Undergaro
The quick six fix : 100 no-fuss, full flavor recipes, 6 ingredients, 6 minutes prep, 6 minutes clean-up / Stuart O'Keeffe with Kathleen Squires
Michael Symon's 5 in 5 for every season : 150 quick dinners, sides, and holiday dishes / Michael Symon with Douglas Trattner
It's all easy : delicious weekday recipes for the super-busy home cook / Gwyneth Paltrow with Thea Baumann
Or check out these books to save time and money
$10 dinners : delicious meals for a family of four that don't break the bank / Julie Grimes
Supermarket healthy : recipes and know-how for eating well without spending a lot / Melissa d'Arabian with Raquel Pelzel ; photographs by Tina Rupp
Good and cheap : eat well on $4/day / Leanne Brown
Affordable paleo cooking with your Instant Pot : quick + clean meals on a budget / Jennifer Robins
No time to visit the library? Explore our eBook collection
Runner's World Meals On The Run 150 Energy-Packed Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less by Joanna Sayago Golub
Williams-Sonoma School Night Dinner Solutions for Every Day of the Week by Kate McMillan
Mastering Meal Prep - Easy Recipes and Time-Saving Tips to Prepare a Week of Delicious Make-Ahead Meals in just One Hour by Pamela Ellgen
New Slow Cooker Magic - Fix it and forget it cookbook set by Phyllis Good
Rookie Cooking: Every Great Cook Has to Start Somewhere by Jim Edwards
Build-A-Bowl : 77 Satisfying & Nutritious Combos: Whole Grain + Vegetable + Protein + Sauce = Meal by Nicki Sizemore
Vegan Yack Attack on the Go! Plant-Based Recipes For Your Fast-Paced Vegan Lifestyle - Quick & Easy, Portable, Make-Ahead, And More by Jackie Sobon
The Taco Tuesday Cookbook : 52 Tasty Taco Recipes To Make Every Week The Best Ever by Laura Fuentes
Web Resources for Meal Planning

10 Family Meal Planning Tips & Ideas on a Budget – Money Crashers

$200/Month Menu Plan for Our Family of 5 – Thrifty Frugal Mom

Meal / Menu Planners – Money Saving Mom

Weeknight Family Meal Plans – My Recipes

Your Four-Week Dinner Plan – Real Simple

Originally posted by Jessica H. on

Happy Little Trees: A Playlist

I was going to write up a playlist of songs that make me happy and songs that make me sad, but as Dwight said in the Office “I’m just tired. The days are short. I don’t know. Maybe I’m depressed,” so I jettisoned the sad to cheer myself up. Not all of these songs are traditionally happy, but they uplift me just the same.

Below, you’ll find a collection of songs that make me happy, none of which are “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (no offense to him. I really like N.E.R.D. and the Neptunes!)

Songs That Will Put You in a Better Mood

The Monkees - Goin' Down / Daydream Believer
The Best of Bill Withers - Lean on Me
Way to blue : an introduction to Nick Drake
The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats
Album cover for Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron and Wine

1. Daydream Believer by The Monkees

I grew up watching The Monkees’ TV show and went to Seligman Brothers records on Sylvania to score some vinyl. I found the single for “Goin’ Down” which had “Daydream Believer” as a B-side. I absolutely loved it. And I still do. Hearing it makes me think of when I was a kid. Still. Every single time.

2. Lovely Day by Bill Withers

Someone who gets way less credit than they deserve. Bill Withers was a factory worker (the photo of the cover of his first album Just As I Am was taken on his lunch break) who just happened to be an incredible song writer. He wrote amazing folk/soul for a while but by 1977’s Menagerie he had moved into a more adult contemporary style. I prefer the earlier stuff, but that’s just me. What Menagerie did have was “Lovely Day,” and wow. It’s so sweet and upbeat! The choruses are incredibly uplifting but I have no idea how he can hold the note on the word “Day” for so long. Just like he kept going with the “I know” part on the earlier “Ain’t No Sunshine.” That’s some real vocal control.

3. Northern Sky by Nick Drake

Ok, so Nick Drake is probably the poster boy for sad fella music. His songs run the gambit from “melancholy” to “hey, where do you keep your razor blades?”. They’re all wonderful songs, they just aren’t terribly uplifting. Except “Northern Sky.” Released on his second album, Bryter Layter, it’s absolutely glorious. Beginning with the line “I never felt magic crazy as this” the song builds and builds until the Hammond organ swells over at around the 2:15 mark. A blaze of sunlight from
someone surrounded by darkness.

4. This Year by The Mountain Goats

Not a happy song, not by a long shot. But for some reason, I find it incredibly uplifting. The tale of a teenager taking a bottle from his stepfather and going to the arcade to play video games with a girl he likes, the song takes a nasty turn when he returns home. Acknowledging how awful his life usually is, the chorus is simply “I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.” See? Not exactly Chicken Soup For The Soul. But, for some reason, it fills me with joy.

5. Walking Far From Home by Iron And Wine

A song filled with allegorical things that Sam Beam saw when out walking, none of which I understand! The lyrics (which, again, I have no idea what they mean) are wonderful! Lines like “I saw sinners making music, and I’ve dreamt of that sound” or “I saw kindness and an angel, crying “Take me back home.” Seriously, no clue. But I love it just the same. It just seems so hopeful.

Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie
The Very Best of The Lovin' Spoonful
B.O.B. by Outkast
Stay Positive by The Hold Steady
Odessey And Oracle by The Zombies

6. Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie

Sure, the lyrics are some sort of claptrap about oceans being born and moats and boats and whatever, but when Ben Gibbard sings “So come on!” over and over, it lifts my soul so high that the rest of the words doesn’t matter.

7. Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful

A great song but, wow, do those chants of “Do you believe like I believe?” make me happy? You know? I just might believe!

8. B.O.B. by Outkast

I’ll admit Outkast slipped by me. As amazing as their first three albums are, I missed it, I don’t know why. So when I first heard “B.O.B.” off of their fourth album Stankonia on a CMJ compilation, my jaw just dropped. The song was so fast. It was basically speed metal with incredibly nimble rhyming over it, then a breakdown with chanting over it, THEN a midtempo part with almost gospel-like vocals. W.O.W.! And it still thrills me, although it’s best if I don’t listen to it when I drive.

9. One For The Cutters by The Hold Steady

Although “Massive Nights” off of Boys And Girls In America is a way more fun and joyful song with its chanted “Whoaaah” vocals, “Cutters,” from the follow up album Stay Positive, is the song that gets me. Neither fun nor joyful, it tells the tale of a college student who gets mixed up with “townies” (The Cutters in the title is a reference to the wonderful film “Breaking Away“). There’s a fight and a stabbing and a trial where “her father’s lawyers do most of the talking” (Craig Finn is probably my favorite lyricist right now), and I sing along at top volume no matter where I’m listening to it. Don’t know why, just do.

10. This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies

British Invasion band The Zombies had already broken up by the time (of the season) their masterpiece Odessey And Oracle had come out. It’s absolutely incredible. Baroque melodies mixed together with majestic vocals in three minute songs. And my favorite is “This Will Be Our Year.” I’ve never been the most optimistic person, but this song makes my soul half full. I play it every New Year’s Eve, which would probably annoy all of the others at whichever party I was at, but it’s so glorious, I have a feeling they don’t mind.

11. Georgy Girl by The Seekers and Windy by The Association

The Seekers and The Association
“Georgy Girl” was the theme song for a movie of the same name. Co-written by Jim Dale (who narrated the Harry Potter books on CD and the TV show Pushing Daisies, and also appeared in the British Carry On movies) and Tom Springfield (Dusty’s brother!), it was performed by Australian band The Seekers, who would soon become The New Seekers and would like to teach the world to sing.

“Windy” was written by Ruth Friedman (who also wrote songs featured in the cult biker movie The Peace Killers). It was performed by American band The Association, a sunshiny pop band with psychedelic aspirations who would have close to a thousand different members throughout their lifetime (exaggerating, kind of). Both of these songs sound somewhat similar and they both make me happy.

Originally posted by Tim P. at

Historical Images, Right in Your Twitter Feed

The Local History and Genealogy department of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library now has a Twitter handle dedicated exclusively to delivering a new historical image from our digital collections to the public on a daily basis. These images might be historical photographs of Toledo and Lucas County, items from our special collections, maps, architectural drawings or anything else of interest from our Local History and Genealogy department.

Follow TLCPL Digital Collections (@tlcpldc) on Twitter

Upcoming Historical Images from Our Digital Collections

The image below is from the book, “Toledo, the convention city,” published in 1910 and filled with wonderful images of the city from near the turn of the century.

Shelter House Located at Ottawa Park in Toledo, Ohio, 1910s

Shelter House Located at Ottawa Park in Toledo, Ohio, 1910s

The image below is from the Toledo Heights Tidbits: World War II Portraits Collection, filled with both identified and anonymous images of soldiers and sailors.

Cecil Severence - WWII Sailor - Toledo, Ohio - 1940s

Cecil Severence – WWII Sailor – Toledo, Ohio – 1940s

This photograph of a couple performing their wedding vows comes from our Toledo’s African Americans Collection, which includes images of African American Toledoans from the 1890s to the 1990s.

African American couple performing wedding vows in Toledo, Ohio - 1960s

African American couple performing wedding vows in Toledo, Ohio – 1960s


Originally posted by John Dewees on

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

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

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

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 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

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

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.


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

Available at West Toledo.


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

Available at Sylvania.


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

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

10 Best Fiction Books of 2018

Working in a Library has perks, because as a librarian I’m able to browse books on my lunch break. The challenge is trying to carry them out at the end of the day and then find time to read them all. And believe it or not, people often ask me “what do you do all day? Read? Wouldn’t that be great? Leisurely reading all day long would be a dream job for any avid reader. And yes, some people do get paid to read and review books. I have often wondered what that would be like. But surely finding a way to provide a balanced review for a variety of books has its own set of challenges.

Dream jobs aside, finding a good book can be challenging if you don’t know which sources to trust. After all, there are so many “best books” and “top reads” and “notable lists” floating out there on the internet. So, here’s what I try to do … stick with trusted resources that consistently provide balanced reviews.

Here are my top 7 go-to “best books of the year” resources:

  1. BookPage
  2. Goodreads
  3. Kirkus Reviews
  4. Library Journal
  5. The New York Times
  6. NPR
  7. Publisher’s Weekly

And yes, there are many other fantastic resources out there, but these are just some of the ones I consistently enjoy reading. Based on what these sources are recommending, the list below includes ten notable general fiction books well-worth checking out. As always, it goes without saying that the “best books” are ultimately a matter of opinion. So, if the selections below do not appeal to you, explore some of the other “best books of the year” lists or use our Give 3 Get 3 service to receive more personalized recommendations.

Notable General Fiction Books of 2018

Circe : a novel by Madeline Miller
Still Me : a novel by Jojo Moyes
There There : a novel by Tommy Orange
An American Marriage : a novel by Tayari Jones
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

1. Circe by Madeline Miller

Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.

2. Still Me by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark arrives in New York to start a new life and a long-distance relationship with Ambulance Sam while working for the super-wealthy Gopniks, a job that introduces her to New York high society and a secretive man who reminds her of her own past.

3. There There by Tommy Orange

A novel that grapples with the complex history and identity of Native Americans follows twelve characters, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

4. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

When her new husband is arrested and imprisoned for a crime she knows he did not commit, a rising artist takes comfort in a longtime friendship only to encounter unexpected challenges in resuming her life when her husband’s sentence is suddenly overturned.

5. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

A novel set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris follows the director of a Chicago art gallery and a woman looking for her estranged daughter in Paris who both struggle to come to terms with the ways AIDS has affected their lives.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Overstory : a novel by Richard Powers
Virgil Wander : a novel by Leif Enger
You Think It, I'll Say It : Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

6. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

When her father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season.

7. The Overstory by Richard Powers

A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.

8. Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

Emerging from an accident with damaged memories and compromised language skills, Virgil Wander, a movie-house owner from a small Midwestern town, pieces together his story and the story of his community with help from affable locals.

9. You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

Presents a collection of ten short stories that feature both new and previously published pieces, including “The World Has Many Butterflies,” in which married acquaintances play an intimate game, with devastating consequences.

10. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

This is part of a series of blog posts highlighting some of the best books of the year. If you enjoyed this blog post, you may also like …

10 Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2018

10 Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2018

10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2018

10 Best Business Books of 2018

10 Best Biographies of 2018


More Best Books of 2018 Lists

These lists are well-worth exploring … they include books with a wide-range of appeal, offering readers with a wonderful variety of selections.

The Best Books of 2018 (So Far) – Esquire

The Best Books Of 2018 We Can’t Wait To Read This Year – The Refinery

Best Books of 2018: Across Fiction, Politics, Food and More – The Guardian

The 30 Best Fiction Books Of 2018 – Bustle

The Best Books of 2018 – The New Yorker

The Best Books of 2018 – Real Simple

Best Books of 2018 – Amazon

The Best Books of 2018 So Far – Powell’s Books

Lit Hub’s Favorite Books of 2018 – Literary Hub

The 19 Best Books of 2018 (So Far) – Elle


Originally posted by April S. on


Become a Part of Toledo’s History

We’re creating a photo collection to preserve the history of Toledo/Lucas County and we need your help! We are looking for pictures depicting scenes from Toledo and Lucas County or of residents out in the wider world. We would love to include your vacation photos in the Smoky Mountains from the 80s, snapshots from your 4th of July picnic, Instagram selfies from Jeepfest, or your hundred year old historical photographs; absolutely anything so long as it is about Toledo/Lucas County or its residents.

Community Photo Album Details

Up to five images can be contributed at a time, and we ask that you provide a little context for the image, as much of the “who, what, when, and where” as possible. For digital photographs there is a short online form to submit to the Community Photo Album. If you have physical photographs you would like to submit to the collection, there is a PDF form that can be filled out (be sure to download it to your computer before filling it out, your progress won’t be able to be saved if you fill it out in a web browser), and either mailed in to the library along with the photographs, or you can drop the form and the photos off to a TLCPL branch library who will take care of sending them along. Staff at the branch libraries can also help you fill these forms out if you have any questions. For physical photographs, we’ll be careful to take good care of them and then mail them back to you at no cost.

Rebecca Louise Law: Community display from The Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio

The image above shows the gorgeous flowers on display at the “Community” art installation at the Toledo Museum of Art and you’ll find more examples from the collection below. The first image is a tintype portrait of a young woman; the original photograph was quite tiny, less than an inch high. The second image is a snapshot from the 1960s showing flooding along a residential street in western Toledo. The third image was taken in late 2018 at the Momentum festival held at Promenade Park in downtown Toledo.

Full collection of images in the Community Photo Album

A Sampling from the Community Photo Album

 Louise Emma Bollman Rippel [approximately 1895]
Louise Emma Bollman Rippel, approximately 1895
 Flooding on Portsmouth Street, May 1966
Flooding on Portsmouth Street, May 1966
 A Giant Inflatable Sculpture at the Momentum festival at Promenade Park on September 15, 2018
Momentum festival, September 15, 2018

Form to Submit Digital Images

Form to Submit Physical Photographs


Originally posted by John D. on

Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2018

Over the past few years the comic book industry seems to have re-entered a golden age, at least in terms of quality. There is a comic or graphic novel for almost everybody, and many of them can be found on the shelves of your local Toledo Lucas County Public Library or in one of our many digital collections, like hoopla.

If you’re just getting into reading comics, or looking to read the cream of the crop, here are some of the best new comics and graphic novels from 2018.

Notable Comics and Graphic Novels from 2018

Print / Digital

Berlin by Jason Lutes
Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor
Gideon Falls by Jeff Lemire
Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy

Berlin by Jason Lutes

In this opus, Jason Lutes examines the intricacies of the day-to-day lives of the inhabitants of pre-war Berlin. He shows us their wants and desires in a way that will make you realize that when it comes down to it, people just want to live their lives in the best way possible. Their stories are timely and Lutes demonstrates artistic mastery with a clean black and white art style that engrosses readers in the massiveness of a diverse and bustling city.

Sabrina by Nick Drnaso

A woman disappears under mysterious circumstances, leading to an entanglement of characters who would have otherwise had no impact on one another.

In “Sabrina,” Nick Drnaso gives us a harrowing take on conjecture in our era of fake news. This is a personal story about how media can influence the behavior of people at an individual level. Our anxieties can become amplified and our views distorted by missing information.

X-Men: Grand Design by Ed Piskor

Ed Piskor delivers a super-sized love letter to the X-Men in “Grand Design” and “Second Genesis.” Essentially, these two volumes are a crash-course in mutant history. From Namor the Sub-Mariner to the Phoenix Force, this is a great book for newcomers and seasoned comics readers alike.

Piskor accomplishes two things with “Grand Design.” He creates an entry point to the Marvel universe, so if you’re looking for a place to start reading superhero comics, this is the perfect point of departure.

Secondly, “Grand Design” makes sense of confusing lines of comic book continuity. Piskor accomplishes this in a way that stays true to major X-Men themes of oppression, justice, and finding your place in a world that does not always embrace diversity.

Gideon Falls Vol. 1: Black Barn by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino

One benefit to reading comics is that you tend to get a sneak preview of what will be coming down the road as far as future TV shows are concerned. And you get just that in Jeff Lemire’s foray into horror, which is in development for a TV series.

TV is one thing, but what makes “Gideon Falls” one of the best comics of 2018? It creates a sense of unease and mystery, leaving you wanting more. It also poses a cryptic question, asking readers to ponder what exactly is the black barn, an ominous building that lingers over the multiple plot threads weaved in the series.

Most importantly, “Gideon Falls” is a horror comic that is serious without being too serious. There’s the perfect amount of fun to be had with this book, and fans of TV shows like “Lost,” “Twin Peaks,” and “Dark” will feel right at home.

Batman: White Knight by Sean Murphy

What if Batman was the villain and the Joker was Gotham’s hero? That’s the premise of Sean Murphy’s “White Knight,” a book that takes a new spin on the Dark Knight.

Of course, the story is more complicated than that, but what we get on the surface is an homage to Batman’s history – the cars, the gadgets, the movies, the comics – Murphy ties all of it together in a story that is just as exciting as any other Caped Crusader adventure. This is an instant Batman classic that is sure to be remembered for years to come.

All Summer Long by Hope Larson
Young Frances by Hartley Lin
Nancy by Olivia Jaimes
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

“All Summer Long” is the comic I wish I had when I was an eleven-year-old mired in the boredom of summer, waiting for the ice cream truck to roll through my neighborhood and for weekly runs to the video store so that I could rent a game for the Nintendo 64.

Alas, the mid-90s are two decades gone, but the riff on teen spirit is alive and well in Hope Larson’s “All Summer Long.” The book follows Bina, a pre-teen who finds herself home alone and without her best friend for most of the summer. Left to her own devices, she messes around on the guitar, discovers new music, and watches TV. But what ensues when she starts hanging out with an older girl is a heartwarming coming-of-age tale appropriate for all ages.

Young Frances by Hartley Lin

If you’re a young(ish) person trying to get by in the global economy, you’ll find a lot of familiar themes in “Young Frances” – work apathy, being late on the rent, constantly trying to figure out your professional life.

Frances, the titular character, is a clerk at a corporate law firm. She can’t sleep, but she works hard, keeps her head down, and is incredibly good at her job. The only problem is that she doesn’t quite know why she’s putting up with the long hours and office politics, especially when her friends are leading completely different lives that appear to be a bit more stress free.

“Young Frances” will speak to anybody who has had a job and felt a bit aimless in their career pursuits – which is probably all of us.

Nancy by Olivia Jaimes

This one isn’t a graphic novel, and you won’t find it on Library shelves or in one of our digital collections – you can find it online or in newspapers nationwide. However, Olivia Jaimes’ take on the comic strip “Nancy” is a revelation and any “Best of” list for 2018 would be remiss for excluding it.

Jaimes’ spin on “Nancy” is modern, hilarious, and speaks to the American pastime of staring at a screen all day. And in a not-so-strange twist, the most famous thing about the current run of “Nancy” isn’t the strip itself, but a single panel where Nancy uses a collection of millenial ephemera while saying “Sluggo is Lit.” This panel and three words have become a meme, forever (temporarily) ingrained in Internet culture.

If you really want to take a serious dive into comics, check out “How to Read Nancy” by Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden. It provides an excellent breakdown on how to read comics with the help of a single “Nancy” strip.

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

Every kid doesn’t fit in at some point during their childhood and almost every kid wants to go away to summer camp. “Be Prepared” combines the awkward time of pre-adolescence with the summer rite of passage that is the mosquito-laden horror of sleep-away camp.

That’s where we find the protagonist of “Be Prepared.” Vera is a 9-year-old daughter of Russian immigrants who is looking for her station in life and when the opportunity to go away to camp presents itself, she begs her mother to send her off.

This middle-grade graphic novel will be right at home with kids and adults alike who have ever felt like they didn’t quite belong.

This is part of a series of blog posts highlighting some of the Best Books of the Year.

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Blog post originally posted by Franco V. on

Looking for an Outstanding, Holiday Appetizer? Create a Charcuterie Board!

With today’s busy schedules, we often choose quick and easy appetizers, like trays of supermarket veggies or chips and dip. If you are like me, this type of snack is sufficient, but not really outstanding. Once, in desperation, I ripped open a gift box of cheese and summer sausage, you know, the one with the little jar of mustard. It was consumed by my guests with appreciation, but served without much fanfare.

Recently, I read about a new gourmet appetizer called “charcuterie,” pronounced “shar-koo-tuh-ree.” Thinking about it a little more, I see that charcuterie is processed meat and cheese, with the distinction of being served on a nice wooden board! I encourage you to do a Google search with the keywords, “charcuterie and Toledo” and you will be surprised to see how many restaurants have charcuterie on their menus. Just so you know, a purist would say that an authentic charcuterie board must be prepared with processed pork products, old world meats like dried ham, sausages, terrines, and pâtés, mortadella, speck and many other mystery meats.

It’s all about appearances!

I truly believe that charcuterie is all about putting a creative spin on what goes on a serving board. For the holidays, I intend to take my charcuterie to a new level. Imagine the cheese board as a blank canvas, one to be adorned with a contrasting arrangement of meats, cheeses, spreads and breads. I am the artist who may roll some meat slices, stack the cheeses into stair steps and accent the creation with tidbits of color and texture. My creation will require a few small dipping bowls, or even some hollowed out green peppers, filled with tasty olives, compotes or spreads. Then, I will add some small plates for guests, some craft beers and wine. Perhaps I will realize an impressive, almost gourmet appetizer? I am the artistic director, one who will build a food masterpiece on a piece of wood.

It’s a culinary masterpiece that won’t break your budget

In keeping with frugality and practicality, I think a person should use whatever meats they can afford, things like summer sausage, hard salami, kielbasa or chorizo. Canadian bacon and prosciutto are pricy choices. Friends from east Toledo will steer you to a local market that makes a favorite Hungarian sausage known as kolbász. Another non-traditional charcuterie could include something like smoked turkey, pastrami or smoked salmon. Venison smoked sausage is a nice choice too if you have access to it. Some folks may skip the meat and go Vegan.

Table with fruit, vegetables and appetizers - photo from PXhere

One money saving strategy is to choose discounted cheese, selecting the one in the gourmet section with the marked down Whoo-Hoo sticker on it. Complex and aromatic, aged cheese does not go bad. Cheese is meant to age. So, a sell by label should not bring on its’ demise. Buy the good stuff before the cheese is forced to walk the green mile. Then, to balance the creation with color and taste, a second bargain cheese, like cheddar, is always on sale in the dairy aisle.

wooden board with a variety of cheeses - photo from PXhere

The meat might possibly be the most expensive component. Again, look for what’s on sale. As a small plate meal or appetizer, four people could easily manage less than a pound of meat. Remember that the meat is rich and your guests will also enjoy cheese, bread and possibly dips. Don’t forget, a crusty bread, cracker or “trencher” is an essential structure for holding these goodies. Spinach or artichoke dips and hummus are good choices to fill out the occasion. Some folks have sophisticated skills at a gourmet level, while others appreciate the simplicity of being a novice. “Cook’s Illustrated” has a fantastic article on how to make the Ultimate Cheeseboard. For the novice chef, I recommend the resources below. There’s also a great article in the October 2018 issue of “Food & Wine,” which offers a great Charcuterie Lover’s Pairing Guide. This magazine and article can be accessed via Flipster, which is one of the eMedia subscription services available to Library cardholders.

Practical, Holiday Delights for the Novice Chef

My favorite cookbooks contain a variety of practical, easy-to-prepare dips, spreads, nibbles and bites for holiday entertaining.

Taste of Home Christmas : 465 recipes for a merry holiday!
Martha Stewart's appetizers : 200 recipes for dips, spreads, nibbles, bites, snacks, starters, small plates from the editors of Martha Stewart Living
Bobby Flay fit : 200 recipes for a healthy lifestyle / Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson
Platters and Boards Beautiful, Casual Spreads for Every Occasion by Shelly Westerhausen
Dips & Spreads : 46 Gorgeous and Good-for-You Recipes by Dawn Yanagihara
Related Toledo Library blog post:

5 Party Ideas for Mixing Drinks

Vegan Holiday Celebrations

Vegans may prefer a separate board where little lettuce leaves become wraps and cucumber discs dip into delectable spreads. I’ve noticed that some charcuterie boards appear to have the addition of fancy accents. Dijon mustard, Kalamata olives, cranberry compote, raspberry jam, tiny dill pickles, and pepperoncini are great choices for savory, sweet or tangy options. Serve a bit of this on your fancy board and suddenly a few simple ingredients have morphed into a gourmet treat!

Vegan Cookbooks

Quick and easy vegan celebrations : over 150 great-tasting recipes plus festive menus for vegantastic holidays and get-togethers all through the year by Alicia C. Simpson
Vegan holiday kitchen : more than 200 delicious, festive recipes for special occasions / Nava Atlas ; photographs by Susan Voisin
Blissful bites : vegan meals that nourish mind, body, and planet / Christy Morgan
Raw, vegan, not gross : all vegan and mostly raw recipes for people who love to eat / Laura Miller ; photography by David Loftus
Vegan Finger Foods : More Than 100 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for Bite-Size Eats Everyone Will Love by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes
Related Toledo Library blog post:

Celebrating the Holidays Vegan Style

Palatable resources

The Di Lusso Deli Company offers an excellent online guide, Charcuterie Board 101, for selecting, layering and combining flavors in a traditional manner. Cookbooks which feature charcuterie are fascinating. I have respect for those charcutier or “pork butchers” who are passionate about their craft. Do you have a passion to follow step-by-step instructions for making brined, smoked, cured, skewered, braised, rolled, tied, or stuffed meats at home? Our Library has advanced resources for experienced cooks who can delve into making delicious things from scratch, like fresh cheeses, liver pâté and herbed butters.

Advanced charcuterie resources

The new charcuterie cookbook : exceptional cured meats to make and serve at home / Jamie Bissonnette, chef/owner of Toro NYC, Coppa and Toro Boston, winner of the James Beard Best Chef: Northeast award
From scratch : an introduction to French breads, cheeses, preserves, pickles, charcuterie, condiments, yogurts, sweets, and more / Laurence Laurendon, Gilles Laurendon, Catherine Quevremont, Cathy Ytak
Charcuterie : the craft of salting, smoking, and curing / Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
In the charcuterie : the Fatted Calf's guide to making sausage, salumi, pates, roasts, confits, and other meaty goods / Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller
Essential Pepin : more than 700 all-time favorites from my life in food / Jacques Pépin

Creating new holiday traditions

Share your charcuterie as a new holiday tradition with your children. Teach kids how to arrange cheeses in Domino layers or show the kids how to stack veggies and fruits on bamboo skewers. Teach the little ones simple kitchen basics. Layering, arranging and stacking food pieces are skills which are ideally suited for little hands. The Library resources listed below all have at least one great dip or finger food for kids to create.

Tidbits for Kids

Look I'm a Cook by DK Publishing
Barbara Beery's pink princess party cookbook
The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen 70 Fun Recipes for You and Your Kids, from the Author of Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan
Eat fresh food : awesome recipes for teen chefs / Rozanne Gold and her all-star team
Betty Crocker Kids Cook
Related Toledo Library blog post:

Kids in the Kitchen

Treasure the moment

This holiday season, I’ll treasure my time with family in the kitchen. I am hoping that our collaborative charcuterie board will become a tempting showpiece, served with pride and artistic satisfaction. Even if my holiday appetizers don’t meet all expectations, I am going to sell it as if I just beat Bobby Flay! A little enthusiasm goes a long way. Remember, it’s all about appearances.

Holiday food traditions and other inspirational stories

Apron anxiety : my messy affairs in and out of the kitchen / Alyssa Shelasky
Wreck the halls : cake wrecks gets "festive" by Jen Yates
Christmas Days : 12 stories and 12 feasts for 12 days / Jeanette Winterson
Festivus The Holiday for the Rest of Us by Allen Salkin, forward by Jerry Stiller
Food : a love story / Jim Gaffigan
Related Toledo Library blog post:

November Thankful Reads


Originally posted by Clare T. on

Make Your Own Natural Homemade Gifts

Make your own beauty products, cleansers, soaps, candles and more at home year-round. These natural products are better for you, the environment and they make great gifts to boot!

Homemade Beauty Products and Natural Cleansers

Fresh & Pure: Organically Crafted Beauty Balms and Cleansers by Jules Aron
Natural Soap at Home : How to Make Felted Soap, Wine Soap, Fruit Soap, Goat's Milk Soap, and Much More by Liz McQuerry
The handmade mama: simple crafts, healthy recipes, and natural bath + body products for mama and baby / Mary Helen Leonard ; photography by Kimberly Davis
Beehive Alchemy : Projects And Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, And Pollen To Make Your Own Soap and Candles by Petra Ahnert

Fresh & Pure : Organically Crafted Beauty Balms & Cleansers by Jules Aron

Tired of wondering exactly what went into her beauty products, holistic health and wellness coach Jules Aron decided to make her own. Whipping up a luxurious face mask using little more than honey, apricots, and coconut oil, and an acne-fighting toner with cooling cucumber and antioxidant-rich green tea, she knew without a doubt that no preservatives or toxic chemicals were used. In Fresh & Pure, Aron explains how to use fruit, flowers, herbs, and minerals to craft healthy beauty products that promote radiant skin, strong nails, and shiny hair. With this helpful guide, readers will be able to pamper themselves from head to toe with aromatic, forward-thinking potions like charcoal soap, strawberry rose facial mist, pineapple sunflower body scrub, and aloe and avocado hair conditioner.

Natural Soap At Home : How to Make Felted Soap, Wine Soap, Fruit Soap, Goat’s Milk Soap and Much More by Liz McQuerry

The creator of the natural skin care line Moon Magic, Liz McQuerry offers here a step-by-step guide for natural cold-process soap crafting. Mostly utilizing kitchen ingredients to create a variety of innovative soap blends-including felted soap, beer soap, and seasonal soaps – McQuerry will put you in touch with your inner alchemist. From body bars to hair care bars, with wonderful tidbits and advice on herbs and essential oil blends, you and your family will enjoy a clean like never before. Here are instructions for: Mermaid Kisses Salty Sea Soap. Golden Coconut Milk Soap. Wine and Rose Soap. Felted Soap Stones. Refreshing Lemon Solid Shampoo Bars. Beard Wash Solid Soap Bars. And more! After you learn to make your own soap, you’ll also discover how to scent, color, design, troubleshoot, and even sell your soap. McQuerry’s soaps make for attractive and personal bathroom and kitchen décor at home, as well as nifty gifts for just about any occasion.

The Handmade Mama : Simple Crafts, Healthy Recipes, and Natural Bath + Body Products for Mama and Baby by Mary Helen Leonard

Many of the everyday products we rely on through pregnancy and baby’s first year are actually quite simple to make at home with safe and natural ingredients. Making your own food, homemade skin care products, and everyday objects allows you to choose exactly what you put on and into your body. With help from Mary Helen Leonard, natural lifestyle writer of the blog Mary Makes Good, you’ll create handmade items for mama and baby using sustainable materials. You pick the color. You choose the ingredients. You make adjustments to suit your own tastes and needs. There’s nothing better than custom-made, and when you do it yourself it can actually be affordable! The techniques you’ll discover in “The Handmade Mama” will make cooking, sewing, and planning your own healthy baby projects a breeze. From ginger syrup for upset stomachs to baby powder, changing mats, food purees, teethers, and simple toys, this book is stuffed with useful projects, tips, and sidebars for a natural pregnancy and baby’s first year that you’ll cherish.

Beehive Alchemy : Projects and Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, and Pollen to Make your Own Soap, Candles, Creams, Salves and More by Petra Ahnert

From crayons to cough drops, cookies to candles, “Beehive Alchemy” offers a comprehensive introduction to incorporating the miracle of bees into everyday life. “Beehive Alchemy” is a continuation of Petra Ahnert’s best-selling “Beeswax Alchemy.” With this new book, beekeepers (and bee lovers) will learn about the benefits and attributes of beeswax, honey, propolis, and more alongside a full range of projects and techniques to process and harness the amazing gifts of bees. Whether you keep bees or just love them, “Beehive Alchemy” will become your go-to comprehensive guide for hive-to-home creations.

More ways to inspire your creative spirit …


Cool stuff for bath & beauty by Pam Scheunemann
Nature's essential oils aromatic alchemy for well-being by Cher Kaufmann.
Vintage beauty your guide to classic Hollywood make-at-home beauty treatments by Daniela Turudich
Beeswax alchemy how to make your own candles, soap, balms, salves, and home decor from the hive by Petra Ahnert
Botanical beauty 80 essential recipes for natural spa products by Aubre Andrus

This is part of a series of blog posts dedicated to creating handmade gifts.

Crafty Library Blog Posts

Feeling Crafty?

DIY Holiday Gifts

What’s Really In Your Beauty Products (and How to Make Your Own)?

Give 3 Get 3

Personalized Recommendations Just for You!

Looking for your next great read?Let us help you!Tell us what you’ve enjoyed reading, watching or listening to, and our librarians will give you personalized recommendations.No algorithms, cookies or data mining – just real experts in your community sharing their love of great books, music and movies with you. We call it Give 3 Get 3.Get started today at!


Originally posted by Amy H. at

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