Teen Book Club – Fangirl

Do you end up saying “just one more chapter” every night? Or maybe you haven’t read a book in forever. Either way, our new Teen Book Club is perfect for all young adult readers!

This month, we will be reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This coming-of-age story introduces Cath, the quintessential, modern-day fanatic, and her journey through college, growing up, and worst of all, real-life boys who aren’t Simon Snow.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life–and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Our next book will be selected by YOU, the reader! Our meeting will be at the Aurora Public Library on February 28th at 4 pm. Everyone ages 13 to 19 is welcome to attend. Registration is recommended but not required.

Books will be available for pickup at the library soon! We hope to see you there.

Teen Book Club – Maus

Do you end up saying “just one more chapter” every night? Or maybe you haven’t read a book in forever. Either way, our new Teen Book Club is perfect for all young adult readers!

This month, we will be reading Maus by Art Spiegelman. This harrowing tale of one of the worst atrocities in history is told through the eyes of a mouse, as he recounts his experiences of being persecuted by the Nazi cat regime.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus tells the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), shocks us out of any lingering sense of familiarity and succeeds in “drawing us closer to the bleak heart of the Holocaust” (The New York Times).

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek’s harrowing story of survival is woven into the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits. This astonishing retelling of our century’s grisliest news is a story of survival, not only of Vladek but of the children who survive even the survivors. Maus studies the bloody pawprints of history and tracks its meaning for all of us.

Our next book is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. After our first two meetings, book club members will select the next read. Our first meeting will be at the Aurora Public Library on January 24th at 4 pm. Everyone ages 13 to 19 is welcome to attend. Registration is recommended but not required.

We would like to include a trigger warning for suicide and abuse for this book.

Books will be available for pickup at the library soon! We hope to see you there.

#BigLibraryRead with Libby!

This fall, get ready to cozy up with a great new book without holds, waitlists, or overdue dates thanks to Libby! Overdrive, Libby’s parent company, is starting another #BigLibraryRead this November, providing all Libby users with free simultaneous reader access to A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger.

Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.

Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.

Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.

And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

Join in the conversation with other readers from around the world by visiting biglibraryread.com and selecting the discussion forum. Make a social media post about your reading adventures with the hashtag #BigLibraryRead to be entered for a chance to win a blanket, a new tablet, and some cool Libby swag!

Start reading November 2nd by logging onto Libby and checking out the title. It’s that simple! Not sure how to start reading e-books and e-audiobooks on Libby? Just ask a librarian or give us a call to get set up. This book club ends November 16th, so check out this title as soon as you can!

Bleak Books with Olivia: House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Have you ever read a book all the way through just to close it for the last time and say “wow, that was bleak”? Well, I’m here to make the case for those dark, dreary, haunting, and disturbing reads that keep you up at night long after you put them down. Welcome to Bleak Books with Olivia, your resident creepy book lover at the Aurora Public Library District.

Let’s switch gears for a minute, shall we? I think it’s time to make the case for teen fiction. I turn 24 in a week, but I still love to read teen fiction. Although it’s not aimed at my age group, recent young adult novels have evolved into darker, scarier, and deeper stories that grip you from start to finish, and the only time House of Hollow doesn’t stick out is when it’s blending into the edgy new class of young adult books.

Iris Hollow just wants to be a normal seventeen-year-old with a normal life, and she does her best to fade into the background at school and in public, but her normal dream is far from reality. When Iris was a child, she and her two sisters, Grey and Vivi, went missing for a month and returned apparently unharmed, but certainly… different. All three sisters’ hair turned the color of snow, matching scars appear on their throats, and each one of them has a new ability more strange and terrifying than they could have imagined. Where did they go? None of the sisters remember. Almost a decade later, Vivi and Grey have left home to live their extravagantly wild lifestyles, leaving Iris with her overprotective widowed mother and nothing but memories of her dead father, who took his life shortly after his daughters returned home.

Iris is finally settling into her seemingly quiet and normal life when her oldest sister, Grey, goes missing. Vivi returns to help Iris search for their sibling, but as they look, the clues they find become increasingly strange, terrifying, and dangerous. Who took Grey, and where did she go? The truth will leave you haunted.

This book was incredibly morbid, haunting, and beautiful all at once. The Hollow sisters were so interesting to read about and were written like real, honest young women. They were tough, honest, imperfect, and brutally beautiful. I cannot recommend this book enough.

So next time you think you’ve run out of things to read, check the teen shelf! You never know what you may find or what may spark your interest. Don’t let the label scare you.

Thank you for joining me on this dissection of one of my favorite Bleak Books. I hope to see you again sometime soon! Please take a look in the Adult and Teen Fiction section at the Aurora and Dillsboro Public Libraries for my favorite Bleak Books, or check out our e-books on Libby. If you are looking for this specific title, you can use our catalog to locate it or ask a librarian for help! If you meet me in the library and have any Bleak Books suggestions, please let me know! I’m always looking for a new book to disrupt my life for a couple of weeks.

2022 Novelist Reading Challenge: “Maus” by Art Spiegelman

For the second year in a row, NoveList has created a year long reading challenge to help people stretch their reading comfort zones. The challenge gives 24 prompts for readers: 12 for beginners and 12 for aficionados. My goal is to complete all 24 prompts this year. I’ll be making my way through the list and writing reviews about the books I really like. You can find the full reading challenge here.

First up is prompt #17: Read a graphic novel with black and white illustrations. I don’t typically read graphic novels so I was planning on putting this prompt off until later in the year. Then I saw some new articles about controversy over the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, Maus by Art Spiegelman. It was removed from the 8th grade curriculum by a Tennessee school board for its “unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.” There is nothing I love more than challenged books, so I knew I needed to read it.

Maus follows the strained relationship between author Art Spiegelman and his aging father, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor. The novel begins in 1978 with a visit between Art and Vladek. It moves between two timelines, intertwining their visits in present day with Vladek’s stories of his life during the Holocaust. We follow Vladek all the way through the war: from his time as a POW, his time in a ghetto, his multiple hiding spots in between, and finally to his time in Auschwitz and Dachau. He tells of the people and family members he met and lost along the way, and the horrors he faced during those six years. The novel ends after Vladek tells the story of his return to his hometown at the end of the war and his reunion with his wife Anya, Art’s mother. The last panel is an image of Anya’s and Vladek’s tombstone. Anya died by suicide in 1968 and Vladek of congestive heart failure in 1982 before the book was completed.

This book was intense, and it took me a while to get through it. I picked it up and read the first part in one sitting. I usually read books in about 2-4 days, but I had to let this one sit for about a week before I could continue. Maus does not gloss over gruesome details of the Holocaust. Vladek tells stories about murder, violence, torture, starvation, medical experimentation, sickness, and suicide. Maus is one of the best books I’ve read in my adult life. It was difficult, but it was a necessary reminder of a terrible part of the world’s history. Spiegelman said it best, “This is disturbing imagery, but you know what? It’s disturbing history.” I highly recommend this book, even if you’ve read other Holocaust stories in the past. The graphic novel format makes the amazing storytelling that much more impactful.

Check Out All the Books I’ve Read for This Challenge

         

Must Read Teen Fantasy

Some of these series have been around awhile and others are much newer. Whichever you prefer, these are great choices for teens and adults who enjoy reading fantasy.

Laini Taylor made a huge splash in the publishing world with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. She followed these books with Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

After a long pause, Kristin Cashore has returned to the Graceling Realm series this month with the publication of Winterkeep. Graceling was the first book written, but Fire is described as a prequel-companion book.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Fire by Kristin Cashore Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Leigh Bardugo describes the fantasy world she created for her Grisha trilogy as influenced by Imperial Russia, rather than medieval England, and as more repeating rifles rather than broadswords. Start now, and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in this world before the Netflix series premieres in April. Bardugo has other related books that are also set in this fantasy world.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy by Traci Chee is described as intricately plotted and culturally diverse with a lyrical writing style. It’s a swashbuckling world filled with pirates and assassins!

 The Reader by Traci Chee The Speaker by Traci Chee The Storyteller by Traci Chee

Here are some more “first books” in great fantasy series. Let us know which you like, and what new fantasy book you’re looking forward to.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir  Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

 

The Brontes Live On

If you love classic literature, you probably already know that there are many, many recent novels that tie into the plots created by Jane Austen. Novelists have also taken the opportunity to rework or reimagine the novels of the Bronte sisters, with Jane Eyre probably the most common source material. The books range from prequels to novels about the Brontes to modern updates. Let us know which of the original Bronte novels you love, and which retelling you enjoy!

Adele by Emma Tennant  The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

Jane by April Lindner My Plain Jane by Hand, Ashton, and Meadows Jane Steele by Lyndsay Fay

The House of Dead Maids by Clare Dunkle The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Celebrating Black Authors

 

February is Black History Month! We’re celebrating by highlighting some books in our collection by Black authors! Click on the book covers to place holds online.

Adult Fiction

The Parable of the Sower Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosely

The Changeling by Victor Lavalle

Adult Nonfiction

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Teen Fiction

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Black Boy White School by Brian F. Walker

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal


Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Juvenile Fiction

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

New Kid by Jerry Craft

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Easy Books

I Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick D. Barnes

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson


 

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.


 

Stuck Between the Pages Final Meeting

The YA Book Discussion Group: Stuck Between the Pages will have it’s final meeting on November 12, 2019 at 6pm. We will be discussing the book: Pay it Forward by: Catherine Ryan Hyde and its movie adaptation that we will be watching on November 5, 2019 at 5:30pm. While we have been happy to see young adults enjoying the book club, we do not have enough interest to continue the book discussion group for next year.

About the Book:

The story of how a boy who believed in the goodness of human nature set out to change the world.

Pay It Forward is a wondrous and moving novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts the challenge that his teacher gives his class, a chance to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world for the better — and to put that plan into action.

The idea that Trevor comes up with is so simple and so naïve that when others learn of it they are dismissive. Even Trevor himself begins to doubt when his “pay it forward” plan seems to founder on a combination of bad luck and the worst of human nature.

In the end, Pay It Forward is the story of seemingly ordinary people made extraordinary by the simple faith of a child. In the tradition of the successful and inspirational television show Touched by an Angel, and the phenomenally successful novel and film Forrest GumpPay It Forward is a work of charm, wit, and remarkable inspiration, a story of hope for today and for many tomorrows to come.