From the Director
Library news and happenings.
Most librarians like to read, compile, and share book lists. We seek them out, we check off the ones we’ve read, and add still more titles to our ever growing list of books we want to read.
Of course there are many annual lists and best of lists in all different categories, but there are also subject lists that are timely. I want to share two that are vastly different but both timely.
The young adult division of the American Library Association has compiled a list of basketball books to support March Madness. There are some good suggestions to help extend the college basketball season.
To mark the ten year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, The Washington Post has compiled its list: “10 Years of the Iraq War: 10 Great Books.” They write that “like all wars, this one has produced a library of great books.”
Do you have any to add to either list?
The Final Four
The awards and “best of” season continues in the entertainment and publishing fields. The Library of Michigan just announced the “2013 Michigan Notable Books.”
This designation began in 1991. Each year 20 books published during the previous year are featured. The books are about, or set in Michigan or the Great Lakes region, or are written by a native or resident of our state. Fiction and nonfiction titles with a wide appeal on an array of topics are selected.
In the news release announcing this year’s choices, our state librarian, Nancy Robertson, wrote that “this program successfully shines the spotlight on the number of talented writers and illustrators we have in Michigan; these books help tell Michigan’s story.”
By coincidence, I happened to be reading Detroit City Is the Place to Be, one of this year’s selections. I’ve also added several titles to my ever-growing list of books I’d like to read.
I hope your reading year is off to a good start; mine is.
Michigan Notable Books
My Ideal Bookshelf was recently published. We have it in our collection, although it is checked out and I haven’t yet seen it. I have read about it, however.
The premise is that the books we keep, let alone read, say a lot about who we are and how we see ourselves. The author asked dozens of cultural figures – authors, filmmakers, chefs, architects – to select a small bookshelf worth of books to represent themselves.
What books would you select if you had been asked? I’m still pondering this for myself. As I look around my bookshelves at home, I see favorite novels, biographies of presidents especially Lincoln, memoirs by women, some autographed children’s books. I’m not sure these are the ones I would select to say who I am but for various reasons and at various times, those are the books I have chosen to have on my shelves.
What’s on your shelf that says who you are? If you can’t select the entire shelf, how about one title?
My Ideal Bookshelf
I like lists, especially lists of books. The Library of Congress recently selected a list of 88 books they judge to have shaped America. All the titles are by American authors; Benjamin Franklin is the only author with multiple titles on the list…..he has three.
The list includes a wide variety of titles and has generated some interesting online comments: thin on books from the 60s; what, no John Updike or Maya Angelou; few writers of color.
The books are on display at the Library of Congress through September. They also have an online survey on their website.
What do you think of the list? What’s missing or shouldn’t be included?
Books that Shaped America
Many “best of” and “book winners” are announced at year-end so announcing winners at this time of year caught my attention and is probably a good marketing strategy.
The American Booksellers Association recently announced the winners of the “2012 Indies Choice Book Awards” with the following description: “after a month of voting by the owners and staff at independent bookstores across the county, we have an outstanding list of winners that reflects the types of books independent bookstores champion best.”
And the winners are….
- Adult Fiction Book of the Year: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
- Adult Debut Book of the Year: The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
- Young Adult Book of the Year: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The full list of winners, 2012 Honor Award recipients, and Most Engaging Author Awards designees are listed on their website.
Readers can support independent booksellers by purchasing these titles or any books, of course, or borrowing them from the library. Independent booksellers and public libraries are good partners in promoting books and reading.
2012 Indies Choice Book Awards
The “best of” lists are out in full force. Along with these lists, nominations for awards for 2011 books, music, and movies are also being announced.
Many KPL staff are sharing their favorite books, movies, and music from the year to support our priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” Our lists, along with ones from previous years, are on our website.
I freely admit I am not current on music or movies, but I think I am current on books until I see these lists. I realize how many titles I haven’t even heard of that are staff favorites. I’ve also learned whose reading interests are similar to mine – I’ve likely to enjoy the book if it is on their list.
What was your favorite from the year?….a new book, an older one you had missed….doesn’t matter. Please share!
I hope the new year provides time and opportunity for reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. Best wishes.
Best of 2011
As year-end approaches, almost every publication has its “best of” list. Lists of best books, movies, and music, at least in some editor’s or reviewer’s opinion, are especially popular. When I see such list of books, I immediately want to begin checking off those I have read and adding those I haven’t read and sound good to my “list of books to read sometime.”
Some lists are divided by genre….travel , romance, historical fiction, mysteries….and on and on. Library staff are working on our lists to share. We are dividing ours by format: books, movies, and music to match our strategic priority of “reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure.” We want to share with you what we liked, no matter what the reviewers or critics might have said about the title.
Our lists are due December 5 so look for our “best of the year” shortly thereafter on our website. In the meantime, you can review our favorites from past years. When you see our lists, please share yours on one of our blogs.
I hope it has been a good year of reading, viewing, and listening for pleasure for you. As always, I’ve added more titles to my list than I read ; it gets longer each year. I need more reading time in 2012!
Best Of 2011
Cookbook awards were recently announced by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. More than 500 titles were entered in seventeen categories.
I’m pleased we already have many of the winners in our collection. To name a few you might want to put on hold or look for next time you are here:
• In the “American” category: The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern
• “Baking: Savory or Sweet” category: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
• “Children, Youth and Family” category: Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners
• “Compilations” category: The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Cookbooks are popular. We are restocking our current display of “grilling” books daily. Although the many food and cooking sites on the internet make it easy to find a particular recipe, it’s not the same as leafing through a new cookbook with mouthwatering photos as you get inspired to try some new recipes and make the grocery list.
Browse our cookbooks on line or on the shelf.
Simple fresh southern : knockout dishes with down-home flavor
It’s that time of year that most every publication I pick up seems to have a “Best of the Year” list of one type or another. The ones I am most drawn to, not surprisingly, are those of best books.
I want to immediately start checking off the ones I have read and add the others to my “list-of-books-to-read-sometime.”
Most lists of best books of the year are from those published during the past year; mine is of books I have read that year, not necessarily those published.
It’s hard to decide, but here is my list:
Many staff have shared their favorite books, movies, and music from 2010 on our website under “Best of 2010” and we share routinely on our blogs in these same categories.
What were you favorite books of the year OR what do you think of mine? I’d appreciate hearing what you read and enjoyed.
Best wishes for the new year – good times, good health, good friends, and, of course good books!
Let the Great World Spin
…a book that doesn’t grab your attention, that is.
Some of us feel an obligation to finish a book once we have started it. We’ve become invested in it and should press on to the end.
Reader advisory expert and book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, encourages readers to give themselves permission to stop reading a book. She even has a “rule”: if you are 50 or younger, read at least 50 pages before you commit to reading it. If you are over 50, subtract your age from 100 and that is the number of pages you should read before deciding to read to the end or give up and move on to another title. Her theory is the older you are, the less time you have to read all the books on your list.
I like this “rule”. Some books just don’t grab my attention or it’s not the right time. I might want a lighthearted book, this one is serious. For those titles, I’ll keep them on my list, but come back to them at another time.
I think it is Thomas Jefferson who wrote “so many books, so little time”, but whoever it is, it makes the point of Nancy’s approach – move on to a book that engages you, ignites your imagination, takes you to new places.
We have many good books, come visit soon.
Nancy Pearl visited Kalamazoo Public Library in 2006