Staff blogs

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There Can Only Be One: A Biography of Everyone’s Favorite Device

“Today we’re introducing three revolutionary products … The first is a wide-screen iPod with touch control. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device.” It’s 2007, only ten years ago. On stage, Steve Jobs continues: “Are you getting it? ... Continue reading

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2017’s Best New Picture Books (So Far)

I’m lucky enough to do storytime here at the Lawrence Public Library, and while there are some challenging days of herding toddlers, it is a joy and a privilege to introduce children to literature and catch a small slice of their innocence and wonder. When we started ... Continue reading

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Renaissance Woman: Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston wrote during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, contributing novels and short stories, as well as literary anthropology. She was a bold woman surrounded by male peers and unparalleled in both talent and ideas. She died alone and impoverished, buried in an unmarked grave, ... Continue reading

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Peanuts, A Great American Novel After All

The DNA of four-panel funnies, well-respected graphic novels, and highfalutin literary novels might not be so different as they seem. Obviously, a strip like "Family Circus" isn’t even remotely in the same realm as, say, Toni Morrison, to be clear, but each tradition shares some surprising hallmarks ... Continue reading

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“Relatively Wild”— inspired intersections of ecological and social justice

I live within a mile of the Kansas River. In spite of the Bowersock Dam and other infrastructure, this is a good place to connect with wildness. Walking on the levee beside the river offers a chance to watch birds soaring and fishing — great blue herons ... Continue reading

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Doc Discussions

I’ll be honest, until this year I had never participated in a book club. In theory, they’re right up my alley. I work at a library. I’ve always worked in bookstores. Reading = good. Discussions = good. But joining a book club can be a little intimidating. ... Continue reading

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What are you reading? #SummerReading2017

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock rather than reading our phenomenal blog posts, I’m obligated to tell you that my colleague [Sarah Mathews][1] is a freaking rockstar. She reads things, she writes about them, she spreads generally wonderful vibes and every Sunday morning throughout ... Continue reading

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For Marvel’s consideration

We’ve now entered into what I’ve deemed the “weird phase” of Marvel. With the commercial and critical success of the previously unknown property "[Guardians of the Galaxy][1]," director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman have paved the way for indie creators to work on blockbuster titles while ... Continue reading

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My bookish bucket list

I’m fascinated by the concept of bucket lists. Few things fascinate me more than hearing what other people consider to be must-have life experiences, mostly because the range of “must-have” encompasses so much. I have a general life bucket list (see the Northern Lights; go sky-diving; walk ... Continue reading

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3 favorite books I’m dying to read again

Okay, so “dying” is quite an exaggeration, but sometimes hyperbolic language is necessary when you’re really really excited to crack open one of your favorites. Lately, more and more, I have been inspired to revisit some old friends of mine, rather than discovering new books. There is ... Continue reading

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YA Backlist: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Whatever happened to steampunk? According to some sources, this subgenre of science fiction that incorporates industrial steam-powered machinery from the 19th century in alternative histories was “over” in 2010. Others might say last year. In this YA Backlist post, I’m taking a look back at Scott Westerfeld's ... Continue reading

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Don’t forget the Bootleg Series

There’s no dearth of Bob Dylan’s music. Last year the septuagenarian, Nobel laureate, singing-songwriting extraordinaire released yet another LP. That brings him to a total of 37 studio albums, 58 singles, 11 live “albums” — some of which, such as the 32-disc "The 1966 Live Recordings," defy ... Continue reading

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Is a book a sandwich? “Super Extra Grande” edition

Just over 100 miles separate the United States and Cuba. Yet, as history would have it, the two nations have carried on a messy and surprisingly limited relationship. Setting aside the geopolitics of the real world — for now — leaves us with a sadly restrained amount ... Continue reading

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A Court of Thorns and Roses: An Ending Done Right

There is nothing more satisfying for me as a reader then reaching the end of a book that has a fist-pumping ending. A book where every single character gets an ending that resonates with their trajectory. There aren’t any outstanding “what the heck just happened?” questions floating ... Continue reading

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Reading Water, Hearing Trees

It’s Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday! In honor of the man who’s mostly famous for sitting by a pond, here’s a look at a few recent books that might be of interest – whether or not you choose to go to the woods, build a cabin, and ... Continue reading

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Our new friend Libby

It’s no secret how much I love Hoopla. I’ve been known to chat to anyone about it at the library and in my book clubs (and at the grocery store, the bar, the laundromat … pretty much anywhere.) It’s just so easy to use, and I’m a ... Continue reading

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Into the woods: a different take on beach reads

When I was growing up, “going on vacation” was synonymous with “going to the beach.” Every summer, my parents loaded me and my brothers in our beat-up Ford Aerostar — books and Barbies in tow for yours truly — and trekked seven hours straight south from our ... Continue reading

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Summer soundtracks

Ah, summer. Grown-up summer has a lot going against it. The days of three month summer vacation are long gone, and the electricity bill is higher than ever. The humidity leaves your shirt sticking to your back the moment you step outside, and getting into your car ... Continue reading

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Local author’s new book offers hope for social justice

I am hopeful that this 4th of July has inspired more than just a feeling of patriotism or nationalism. I am hopeful that it has instead encouraged hope for social justice and a move away from a nationalism that leans dangerously toward prejudice and injustices. I offer ... Continue reading

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Tips and tricks for overcoming a reading slump

It’s no secret that I love books and that reading and exploring new stories is a major part of who I am as a person. Consequently, when I encounter a particularly brutal reading slump, it’s like a part of me is missing. It’s hard not to take ... Continue reading

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