Best of 2020

Our patrons checked out over 34,000 books, ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and DVDs in 2020! That’s a lot of reading, watching, and listening! Here are the items people checked out the most in 2020!

*Data is as of 12/28/2020

CD

The CD section includes both Adult Fiction and Nonfiction Audiobooks. Our patrons checked these items out over 350 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 Long Range by CJ Box

#2 Twisted Twenty-Six by Janet Evanovich

#3 The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

DVD

The DVD section includes both films and tv series. Our patrons checked these items out over 4,000 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 Game of Thrones Season 1

#2 Game of Thrones Season 2

#3 Outlander Season 4

E

The E section consists of easy picture books. It does not include board books, easy chapter books, or ABC books. Our patrons checked these items out over 6,000 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 Chicken Big by Keith Graves

#2 Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis

#3 Dinosong by Tim McCanna

FIC

The FIC section includes both paperback and hardback Adult Fiction books. Our patrons checked these items out over 6,500 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 Hush by James Patterson

#2 Moral Compass by Danielle Steel

#3 Cajun Justice by James Patterson

 

JFIC

The JFIC section is comprised of both paperback and hardback Juvenile Fiction books. These items were checked out over 2,500 times. The most popular items were:

#1 Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey

#2 For Whom the Ball Rolls by Dav Pilkey

#3 Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey

LP

The LP section includes Large Print Adult Fiction and Nonfiction books. These items were checked out over 1,500 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 A Cat Named Brat by Lydia Adamson

#2 Deceived by Irene Hannon

#3 A Cousin’s Challenge by Wanda Brunstetter

MAG

The Mag sections includes all Magazines. These items were checked out over 1,000 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 People

#2 Food Network

#3 Country Homes & Interiors

NF

The NF section includes all Adult Nonfiction books including Oversized and Biographies. These items were checked out over 1,500 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 Caring for Your Baby and Young Child

#2 Nolo’s Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home

#3 Magnolia Table Volume 2

TFIC

The TFIC section includes both paperback and hardcover Teen Fiction books and Graphic Novels. These items were checked out over 800 times. The most popular titles were:

#1 Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

#2 Arch Enemies by Marissa Meyer

#3 Supernova by Marissa Meyer

 

There you have it! The most popular items of 2020! Have you read these titles yet? You can place a hold* on these items by clicking on the link, selecting “Place Hold,” and signing in with your library card number and pin. You can also call us at 812-926-0646 (Aurora) or 812-954-4151 (Dillsboro) and we will place a hold for you!

*Holds cannot be placed on DVDs.


 

I Am … Biographies for Kids

Over the past year, we’ve been adding some great biographies to our children’s book collection. This series by Brad Meltzer provides an easy introduction to a variety of famous people and is written to appeal to younger children. The books in the series are divided between the Dillsboro and the Aurora collections, so make sure you ask if you don’t find the one you want on the shelf. The images shown below represent about half of the books in the series.

I Am Amelia Earhart I Am Albert Einstein I Am Anne Frank

I Am Benjamin Franklin  I Am Jane Goodall I Am Abraham Lincoln

I Am Jackie Robinson I Am Sonia Sotomayor I Am Gandhi

I Am Neil Armstrong

This friendly, fun biography series focuses on the traits that made our heroes great–the traits that kids can aspire to in order to live heroically themselves. Each book tells the story of one of America’s icons in a lively, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers and that always includes the hero’s childhood influences. At the back are an excellent timeline and photos.

Post-It Note Memoirs

Recently, we had a display up at the Aurora branch inviting our patrons to write a six-word memoir. We left this display up for roughly two months and received many post-it memoirs from our patrons. The prompt was: Tell us your story in six words or less!

Basically, we wanted patrons to write down a simplified version of their life’s memoir. They could either sign it with their name, or leave it unsigned, it was their choice! Here are some we received:

“My life began at 30.”

“I miss you, Bob, my brother.”

“I feel like I’m nothing inside.”

“Getting depression changed my life…”

“I can see.”

“Found..myself, my love, my family.”

“Through the valleys, love sustains me.”

“I died, but I am back.”

“Found my love, my family, my friends.”

“I used to be deaf.”

“I live life to the fullest.”

“A struggle to maintain my sanity.”

“Read. Work. Work. Eat. Sleep. Read.”

“I have cancer…” “My life changed.”

“I strive to be kind and happy every day.”

“Always live your life moving forward.”

This was a creative way for our patrons to interact with a display and give it a personal touch. To read more six-word memoirs,  check out the book that goes with this display:

  • A collection of six-word memoirs, contributed by both famous and obscure writers, records the human experience in works that are by turn whimsical, poignant, and bizarre, by such authors as Joyce Carol Oates and Joan Rivers.
Six Word Memoirs

Thank you to all those who participated!

Roald Dahl: #1 Storyteller

Roald Dahl was a spy, a pilot, a chocolate historian and an inventor!

He was also a beloved author of many original and entertaining children’s books.

Roald Dahl was born in Wales on September 13, 1916 to Harald Dahl and Sofie Hesselberg. His parents named him after the first man to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen.

His mother sent him to several boarding schools in which many bizarre events happened and later were written in his autobiography, Boy. At one of his boarding schools, the pupils were invited to test chocolate bars which helped inspire Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

His lust to travel took him from Canada to East Africa until the start of World War II where he enlisted into the Royal Air Force at 23 years old. After receiving severe injuries in the Western Desert, and after recovering from those injuries in Alexandria, he returned to the fight by taking part in the Battle of Athens. Afterwards, he became a spy for MI6.

In 1961, he wrote James and the Giant Peach, which was quickly followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also wrote several screenplays and adult novels. In 1970, a year before the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was released, he published Fantastic Mr. Fox

In the early 80s, he published The Twits, The BFG, and The WitchesMatilda was published in 1988 and Esio Trot in 1990.

Many of his works have been adapted as films and will forever entertain children and adults for generations to come!

To help us celebrate Roald Dahl, stop by the library on Roald Dahl Day (September 13) and check out some his works and adaptations!

 

Helen Hoang: The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test

 

A couple weeks ago, I sat down and read the summary for The Kiss Quotient. written by Helen Hoang. I was curious and interested, because I’d never read a romance novel where one of the main characters was diagnosed with a disorder. So I thought, let’s take a chance; I bought the book, and started reading it.

I was not let down!

I loved the book! I loved the main character Stella, and I loved her love interest Michael! I enjoyed reading about a character who was on the spectrum and how, even with being on the spectrum, she gets her guy! I completely understood all the hype about this book.

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan.

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

I really loved the characters and everything about Stella. I loved how Helen didn’t shove Stella’s ‘disorder’ in our face, but let us learn slowly that she had Asperger’s. I enjoyed reading about Stella’s life and understanding more about Asperger’s Syndrome and how it affects Stella’s everyday life. It was amazing to read a different type of romance instead of our normal everyday “run of the mill” romance. I was especially happy to read more about Asian culture! She incorporated the perfect amount of education and entertainment to even out the playing field.

Helen Hoang’s journey with this book is just as beautiful as the story.  She wanted to write a gender-swapped Pretty Woman, but couldn’t figure out why a successful, beautiful woman would hire an escort. So when her daughter’s preschool teacher informed her that she thought her daughter was on the spectrum, Helen started doing research. So she thought, “That’s an interesting reason to hire an escort.”

From there, she started researching autism solely for her book and ran into the difference between men and women on the spectrum; women have learned to mask their autism and to copy peers. While she was reading, she started to think about the things she does. “I tap my teeth, but I tap them because no one can see. Because if you move your fingers or you move your body or you rock in your chair, then people will see, and that’s no good, it has to be secret … and that put me on this journey where I started to explore, could I be on the spectrum?.” 

While Helen learned more about her new character Stella, she learned more about herself, and then the diagnosis came, and her first novel was born.

Helen has released book two in The Kiss Quotient Series,  The Bride Testand was inspired by a website that stated autistic people were heartless and that they couldn’t experience injustice. So her new character Khai was born. She wanted to display that just because autistic people don’t operate on the same wavelength as everyone else and don’t show their emotions as much as others, doesn’t mean they don’t have those emotions. She was also inspired by her own mother’s story of being a Vietnamese refugee. Helen decided to base her heroine, Esme Tran, on her mother’s story and the inner strength she needed to create a new life for herself.

Book three in the series is expected to be published next year!

This is definitely a book that will stay with you for awhile and make you come back and think about it months after finishing! She’s officially been tagged as one of my new favorite authors!

I want to believe that I can be a main character, I can be a leading character in my life, that I can have a happily ever after, that I can find true love, and I can get married, and conquer, and be happy.

-Helen Hoang on why she has characters on the spectrum

Tessa Dare: Girl Meets Duke

Who is Tessa Dare?

Well, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty historical romances. She is “a librarian by training and a book lover at heart”. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and many kitties.

What does she write?

Tessa Dare writes amazing historical romances that are just to die for. She mixes emotion, love, sensuality, romance, and drama together and creates amazing stories and characters that will stay on your mind for years to come! Her stories are generally set in the regency time period (1811-1820), so no outrageously poofy dresses or white wigs.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

She creates unique heroines who engages in ‘unladylike’ pursuits from paleontology to beer-making. She also dreams up strong-willed heroic men who find their hearts captured by these heroines.

What’s Girl Meets Duke?

Girl Meets Duke is a new series Tessa Dare is writing that can also be read as stand-alone. Each book features a new couple and a new story line. Each male character is a Duke while the ladies each venture into a new world of sin….romance…and love. So far there are three published works with another title in the works!

Can I check them out?

Luckily for you, the Aurora Public Library has purchased them in both hardback and eBook! The Duchess Deal and The Governess Game can be found in our adult fiction in the D’s. The Wallflower Wager can be found on our New Releases shelf.

 

Eloisa James: The Wildes of Lindow Castle

Who is Eloisa James?

Eloisa James is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a mother and a wife. When Eloisa isn’t writing novels, she is a Shakespeare professor.

What does Eloisa James write?

Eloisa James writes historical romances. Occasionally, you can find some Shakespearean themes within her stories.

Why is she different than other historical romance authors?

Eloisa James uses her own experiences as a mother in her stories. From a miscarriage to her own daughter’s problems as an infant, she connects each of her stories to herself in some unique way.

What’s The Wildes of Lindow Castle?

The Wildes of Lindow Castle is a series Eloisa James has began in 2017. The series follows the large family of the Duke of Lindow and is set in a castle. Think of Modern Family with a little of Downton Abbey mixed in. The stories are all set in the Georgian time period; yes, that means big wigs and poofy skirts! This also marks the beginning of the celebrity culture due to the printing press.

Where can I read them?

Print books by Eloisa James can be found in the Large Print collection or the Adult Fiction area under “J” for James. There are even more choices in our digital library.

 

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day I wanted to republish this post, first posted Feb 13, 2017.

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is a celebration of accomplishments by African Americans. It’s also a time to recognize how African Americans helped shape this nation. The US is not the only country who dedicates a month to celebrating black history, Canada and the United Kingdom do, as well.

Black History Month actually started out as a single week called ‘Negro History Week’, by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. They chose the second week of February because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

In decades that followed, cities across the country issued yearly proclamations recognizing the week. In the late ’60s, around the same time as the civil rights movement and the growing awareness of black identity, the week evolved into the month. President Gerald R. Ford was the first president to officially recognize the month in 1976

To help celebrate Black History Month, below are some books showing African American History.

      

 

 

Picture Books About Scientists

Children are naturally curious about the world around them! As parents, we always want to find ways to nurture that curiosity. We can provide them with a wide variety of learning activities, including lots of books that lead to more and more questions for us to explore with them. Here are some great picture books about famous scientists, paired with a related storybook.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamda relates the story of a young boy from Malawi who brought electricity to his village by building a windmill out of scraps. It would be a perfect book to share after a day of playing with Legos or blocks with your child. Dreaming Up pairs block play with famous buildings around the world in a celebration of creativity.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba   Dreaming Up by Christy Hale

Big Al by Andrew Clements is a story of friendship and will also introduce kids to fish that live around a coral reef. Follow the story up with Manfish by Jennifer Berne, a book about legendary marine scientist Jacques Cousteau.

Big Al by Andrew Clements   Manfish: The Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne

If you and your family enjoy watching birds at a feeder, these next two books are perfect for you! Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward explores all ways that birds build their homes. For the Birds shares the story of Roger Tory Peterson, the creator of many bird guidebooks.

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward   For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson by Peggy Thomas

Creativity is the name of the game in Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. When you’re through playing with boxes, read about a scientist who thought outside the box in On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein, another biography by Jennifer Berne.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis   On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Trees are always interesting to kids, for playing under and around. Share A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry, then read about The Tree Lady who changed San Diego from a desert town to a garden-filled oasis.

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry   The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins

These are all book pairs that work well with younger kids. The following picture book biographies are better suited for upper elementary students or older. There is a new research study that shows that teens who read about the struggles of famous scientists do better in their science classes, so keep the books coming and keep talking about the way that scientists persevere through many mistakes!

   Look Up! The Story of the First Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh