Since I began working at CCPL this year, I managed to expand my already mile-long reading list to one I may never fully catch up with. While finding time to read everything has been a challenge, each book has been an adventure. Here are some of my favorites for the year.
I caught up on some of the latest crazes, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Hunger Games. I relished The Phantom Tollbooth and its delightful wordplay. I even indulged my inner child with some Fancy Nancy and Eloise books.
I read a slew of graphic novels and manga. Of the new arrivals to the library, I most enjoyed Kimi ni Todoke, Kamisama Kiss, and Pandora Hearts. I also enjoyed re-reading MARS and YuYu Hakusho, while impatiently waiting for more D. Gray-man and Black Butler.
Americapedia:Taking the Dumb Out of Freedom gives a review of how American government works, and also a quick, easy-to-understand rundown of many of the issues we’ve been dealing with for the past few decades–the stuff they don’t talk about in school. It does a pretty good job of keeping a neutral stance through it all, even though it covers many controversial issues. Even better, as you probably guessed from the title, they do it all with a sense of humor.
Holy Cow! An Indian Adventure is a woman’s chronicle of her time spent living in India. While laughing at her hilarious accounts of her adventures in traveling the country and experiencing different aspects of India’s many religious groups, I sympathized with her struggles with culture shock and homesickness. Her stories reminded me of similar experiences I had while living in Japan. A great read for anyone who has traveled abroad or hopes to someday.
Kate Locke’s God Save the Queen is a heady blend of some of my favorite things: steampunk, feisty heroines and non-sparkly vampires. It’s an action-packed mystery story set in an alternate version of Victorian England that has been taken over by vampires and werewolves. Bonus points to the author for making the evolution of supernatural beings sound science-y and plausible. I’m looking forward to the next book!
I’m currently working on Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible, which talks about the history of American clothes and fashion, while also giving fashion advice and plenty of examples of different iconic styles through the decades. Next up is Expletive Deleted: A Good Look at Bad Language, which is bound to wrap up my reading adventures of 2012 with a bang.
When I was in elementary school I considered myself a pretty good athlete, after all I was the second fastest kid, the second farthest thrower, the second hardest kicker, second most accurate basketball shooter and I was pretty good at football. As far as football goes, I went to every Cincinnati Bengals home game and grew up looking up to those monstrously huge men. Residing in Norwood, at the time, the only guy I knew of that made it to the NFL or any professional sport from my hometown was Brian Pillman, but he never made it past a pro training camp. He did, however, make it as a professional wrestler.
As a six year old, watching those NFL games, I knew I didn’t want to be hit that hard, by anybody, thus, I turned my attentions toward baseball and soccer, after all I wasn’t even the best athlete in my grade, I was second. The best athlete in my grade, the guy that was first in all those categories did make it in the NFL. Not only that, he won the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. Even as a young kid I knew my friend Marc Edwards would make it in football someday. Not only did he have tools and the talent but he had the drive and determination to rise up out of blue collar Norwood. The book Odyssey : from Blue Collar, Ohio to Super Bowl champion by Aaron M. Smith is about Mr. Edwards and chronicles what it takes to make it to the professional level in athletics and compete. He battled through some of the same adversity we all have. Nothing was handed to him, he knew what he wanted and worked to make his goal.
Even though he had talent, it still takes hard work to make it in any industry and Marc is evidence of that. This story is not about being a professional athlete it is about being the best person you can. Mr. Edwards’ odyssey should give inspiration to us all. Find your talent and work to make your goals.
Read the book.
Several members of the CCPL staff have been buzzing about a challenging new biography entitled House of Prayer No. 2: a Writer’s Journey Home by Mark Richard. The book is barely 200 pages long, and yet, when you have finished it, you feel you have shared a long and intimate journey with the author.
Richard was born with a skeletal malformation which required excruciating surgeries throughout his life. His father followed one pipe dream after another while his mother tried to hold the family together. Richard was no saint and worked an assortment of jobs and lived on the edge for many years. The one strength that he clung to was his gift as a writer. While the book is not overwhelmingly spiritual, the author does make important spiritual discoveries along the way. I especially enjoyed his observation that “The problem with asking God for signs is that he sends them.”
If you liked Jeanette Walls’ Glass Castle , Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, or Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, you will enjoy this book. It would make a great diversion for any book club looking to get out of a rut!
Does local history intrigue you? Do you wonder about the people who traveled creeks, paths and roads from across the Ohio river up through Ripley, Georgetown, Bethel, Red Oak Creek, White Oak Creek, Sardinia, Russellville and Decatur over 175 years ago? Most everyone has heard about the Underground Railroad, the escape passage to the North for many slaves. But did you know
* The Ripley, Ohio line, led by John Rankin, his family and his fellow abolitionists guided thousands of runaways safely across the river from Kentucky into the free state of Ohio. Read about this true historical account in Beyond the River by Ann Hagedorn and find author information, discussion questions and resource links at Choose to Read Ohio.
* In 1818, 950 freed slaves from Virginia settled on 2,200 acres north of Ripley, Ohio, called the Gist Settlements. Read local author Paul Young’s book about the Gist Settlement held at the genealogy collection at the Batavia branch.
* Secret codes, camouflaged symbols, and disguised signposts, were used to navigate escapes on the Underground Railroad. What did the quilt patterns represent? Find the answers in Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard.
* The journey to freedom continued with the Canadian connection, with it’s own “conductors”, “parcels or passengers” and “stations”. Follow the last tracks of the Underground Railroad in the true historical account From Midnight to Dawn by Jacqueline L. Tobin.
The Bethel Book Group recently read “Beyond the River” by Ann Hagedorn. One member shared a quilt she made of Underground Railroad symbols represented in each square with one square indicating the meaning behind all the symbols. Book selections cover a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction titles and genres. Intrigued? Join a group today!
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton
Let’s wish a belated happy birthday to Sir Isaac Newton, born on January 4, 1643 by the Gregorian calendar (December 25, 1642 by the Julian calendar, which was in use in England at the time). Newton is the father of calculus, the reflecting telescope, and spectroscopy. He authored the law of universal gravitation and the three laws of motion. But did you know that in 1696, Newton moved to London to become the Warden of the Royal Mint? Working for the Mint until his death, Newton oversaw the production of the nation’s coins and sought the prosecution of counterfeiters. You can read all about it in a book I stumbled across recently, Thomas Levenson’s Newton and the Counterfeiter : The Unknown Detective Career of the World’s Greatest Scientist. Newton became a “Sir” in 1705 when he was knighted by Queen Anne. At his death in 1727, Sir Isaac was buried with great pageantry in Westminster Abbey.
Can’t remember what the three laws of motion are? Look them up from home, along with a wealth of other scientific information, in the Science Online database from Facts on File. After you read Levenson’s book, check the catalog for some others on Newton.
On December 1, 1955, a 42-year-old black seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus. Many view this quiet act of defiance as the beginning of the modern civil rights movement in America, but it would be a mistake to consider this Parks’ only contribution to the cause of racial equality. This month is the perfect time to learn more about this fascinating and revolutionary woman.
Check out a biography about her.